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The Indian Slayer
and the pioneers of Minisink and Wawarsink
by James E. Quinlan
"Hero of many a wond'rous tale,
of his dev'lish cunning!
Tom never flunked or turned pale,
Following on the Indian's trail,
Shooting as he was running."
De Voe & Quinlan, Publishers
Entered according to
Act of Congress, A.D. 1851,
By James E. Quinlan,
In the Clerk's Office of the
Southern District of New-York.
To the Reader
Chapter II Death of Thomas Quick, Senior
Chapter IV Defence of a Block House
Chapter V Murder of Muskwink
Chapter VI Massacre of an Indian Family
Chapter VIII Killing a Buck with Seven Skins
Chapter IX "The Biters Bitten"
Chapter X Capture and Escape of Tom
Chapter XI "The Biters Bitten" Again
Chapter XII Murder at
Chapter XIII Anderson and Osterhout
Chapter XIV Death of Graeme
Chapter XV Tragedy on the Shawangunk
Chapter XVI Attack near the Fantinekill
Chapter XVII Burning of Wawarsink
Chapter XVIII Tom's Revolutionary Exploits
Chapter XIX The Scouts of Minisink
Chapter XX Bryant Kaine
Chapter XXI "John Land, the Tory"
Chapter XXIII Adventure on the Sandburgh
Chapter XXIV Indian Stratagem
Chapter XXV Capture and Escape of Tom
Chapter XXVI Murder of Canope
Chapter XXVII Russ and Van Etten
Chapter XXVIII A
Chapter XXIX Death of Tom Quick
Chapter XXX Captain John, the Tuscarora
Appendix [A – Funeral Eulogium & B – Tom Quick poem]
To the Reader
Many of the following chapters were written for the columns of a newspaper entitled the "Republican Watchman," of which the writer is the junior editor. Notwithstanding their many imperfections, they were received with much favor by the public, and a very general desire was expressed for copies of the work in a form convenient for preservation. To gratify this desire, our little volume is published.
Before the reader begins to peruse what follows, the writer wishes to say distinctly and emphatically, that he is not actuated by the hope of entering the ranks of the literati. He knows that this work is no fit model for those who would win the world's applause with the "gray goose quill;" and he does not hope that it will be made a closet companion by the student, or a book of references by the historian. Its aim is humble. It is written for the amusement of a class of people who take an extraordinary interest in the narrations of the "olden time," when their ancestors followed the plough with their rifles slung to their backs, and on retiring to rest at night, first thanked God for preserving them from harm during the day, and then put fresh powder in the pans of their guns to be ready to meet the dangers of the night.
The author's business engagements have not permitted him to devote sufficient time in collecting materials for his undertaking to render it complete, and the circumstances under which he has written have been unfavorable to literary excellence or even respectability. To make our work what it ought to be would require as many days as we have devoted hours to it.
The critic will readily discover that our little book, though not a fiction, is novel in its character. It is neither a biography, history or legend; but a combination of all three in a series of sketches which possess more or less coherence, and which the author hopes present a tolerably fair picture of border life.
collecting materials for our port folio, we visited many old people, and heard
their narrations of the early history of the
NOT far from the year 1733, a Hollander, named
Thomas Quick, emigrated from the Fatherland to the colony of
At this time, except at Peenpack, on the
Neversink, the Indians held undisputed possession of the banks of the
As soon as Quick had erected a temporary log cabin, he commenced a war of extermination upon the old forests which covered his domain, and in a short time the air was perfumed with the smoke of the fallow fire, and nothing remained on many a goodly acre, except the blackened and charred stumps of the pine, oak, hemlock and their giant compeers. Luxuriant fields of wheat and maize, and rye succeeded, in due time; the log barn of the pioneer was filled to its utmost capacity with the fruits of his industry.
All things seemed to conspire to render him contented with his lot in the wilderness. His labor and enterprise were bountifully rewarded, and his new home was made more pleasant by an occurrence which forms an important event in this narrative. His wife, who had abandoned the comforts of civilization, and left father and mother, brother and sister, to accompany him to the wilds of the new world, and share with him its hardships and its perils, presented him (A. D. 1734,) with a male child—their first born. If we may be permitted to make a draft upon our imagination, it will not be too much to say, that nothing more was necessary to make his happiness complete; that the wilderness appeared to blossom with a thousand beauties which had never before been observed by him; that his life became one of tender sympathies and kindly actions; that in his joy he did not forget that he owed all to the Bountiful Giver of "every good and perfect thing;" and that his heart was replete with thanksgiving and praise, and gratitude.
The child was named Thomas, the name of its father. Of course, it was the pet of the household, and was tenderly watched by its parents, who, to use a stereotyped phrase, "had the proud satisfaction of seeing it daily develop some new faculty—daily become more beautiful and interesting."
The Indians, who frequented the house of Quick, and found a shelter under its roof whenever they desired it, seemed to admire the fine, healthy boy, and often made him presents of plumes of feathers and other articles.
As young Tom grew up, he became an associate and playfellow of the juvenile natives, and learned to speak the Indian tongue with as much ease and fluency as the aborigines themselves. He was taught by the Indians how to take the otter, the beaver, the muskrat, the mink, etc., and by the time he had become of suitable age, he was a skilful and expert hunter. He imbibed, at an early period of his existence, a liking for savage life, and became attached to the woods and the pleasures of the chase to such a degree that he could never in after life be induced to follow, except temporarily, any calling beside that of the hunter and trapper.
Young Tom had two brothers and the same number of sisters. The names of the brothers were Cornelius and James. Of the sisters little beyond the fact that one of them became the wife of a man named Solomon Decker, and that the other married a Francis Magee is known. One of the daughters was married previous to the tragedy which will be detailed in the next chapter.
Thomas Quick, Sr., continued to prosper. In a few
years he had quite a number of white neighbors, and other settlements were
formed in the valley of the
A Dutch school was established in the neighborhood, and James and Cornelius, as well as the daughters, were sent to it; but Thomas had become so much of an Indian in his habits and disposition, that he could not be induced to attend the school, and if he did go to it, he made no progress in learning. His brothers and sisters were more successful, and advanced so far in the "rudiments" that they could read the bible in the Dutch language without skipping many of the hard words. They were also taught the art of writing, so that they could trace, without much difficulty, the mystic characters which formed their signatures; and were given a very slight knowledge of arithmetic, which was sufficient for them, as people of their lineage generally possess a spirit of prudence and thrift which makes them the very best practical "calculators" of their sphere of life. While the younger children were poring over the alphabet, Tom was engaged in the athletic amusements of the Indians. In trapping, wrestling, jumping, shooting, etc., he excelled a majority of the lads of his own age and thus excited the envy of not a few embryo braves.
Previous to the French war, Tom had traced to their sources most of the streams which empty into the Delaware above Milford, and had become acquainted with nearly all the Indian paths and hunting grounds in the neighborhood of Minisink, Mamecotink, the Shavungunk, the Wawasink, the Mahackamack or Neversink, the Mangawping or Mingwing, the Maskopes, the Cushuentunk, Cashiegtonch, Papotunk, the Astraguntera, the Tewheack, the Ustayantha, Pakatagkan, Shamokin,3 etc. This was of essential service to him afterwards, as it enabled him to waylay and murder the Indians with great facility.
Cornelius and James were of an industrious, plodding disposition. They assisted their father in managing and tilling his farm, and in keeping his mills in operation; and if they occasionally participated in the sports of Thomas, they managed to do so when they could not be more profitably employed. While they assisted in furnishing the family with bread and obtaining clothing and adding to its wealth, he supplied his father's larder bountifully with venison and bear's meat. He would occasionally invade the crystal retreats of the finny tribes, and thus add much to the luxuries of his father's table. The venerable biographer of Donne, and Hooker, and Herbert (who impaled a worm with tenderness, and guarded the scaly brood from all save man) was not more proficient with the angle than Tom.
Many of the Indians almost lived in the family of the Quicks, by whom they were clothed when naked; and fed when hungry. The most pacific relations subsisted between them apparently, and the red man had received so much kindness at the hands of their friends that the latter imagined that they could rely upon their good will under almost any circumstances. Subsequent events, however, proved that they were mistaken.
The increasing numbers of the whites and the
encroachments made upon what the natives regarded as their own territory
alarmed the Indians. The
The Quicks had been kind to them; but, on the
other hand, the fact could not be concealed that they were the first who had
encroached upon them at
DEATH OF THOMAS QUICK, SENIOR.
AT the breaking out of the French war, young Tom was probably as much an Indian in habit and disposition as any of his old associates. The wild, irregular life he had led, and his early and constant companionship with the natives, had contributed much more to the formation of his character than the teaching and example of his father and mother. Even his affection for his parents resembled that of the American savage. While he was turbulent and not easily controlled by them, his love for them was unbounded—a master passion. Anyone who injured them incurred his undying displeasure, and were in danger of his insatiable revenge. He was a "good hater," and those whose admiration is Johnsonian, will find enough to please them in the legends of Tom.
When hostilities commenced, and it was suspected
that the Indians of the
The pioneers at first took what precautions they thought necessary to guard against danger, at the same time being very careful to do nothing which would tend to bring upon them directly the vengeance of the savages. Block houses were erected or repaired; arms were provided, and ammunition procured; and the inhabitants felt confident that, unless taken by surprise, they could defend themselves successfully.
The whites not being molested for some time, began to think that, possibly, they had misjudged in
the matter, and that there was little if any danger. Consequently, they became
careless and unguarded, and some of the ardent and gallant spirits of the
Tom, from the beginning of the war, had been induced by the urgent and affectionate entreaties of his mother, and the advice of his father, to forego his excursions in the woods. He no longer had the congenial company of the Indians, and became almost, if not altogether, domesticated in the family of his father. He now assisted the old man in his work and business, with his brothers and a brother‑in‑law.
While he was thus situated, the event occurred which forms a leading feature in his life. This event was the death of his father, who was killed in a cruel manner by the Indians. It rendered Tom an implacable enemy of the red men to the day of his death. He never forgave them for it, and the principal object of his existence seemed ever afterwards, in peace or war, to destroy them. The young and the old, the weak and the strong of the hated race, appeared to be equally the objects of his vengeance; for he was known to destroy the defenseless women and children of the Indians. He was literally no respecter of persons, while waging his personal warfare, as our narrative will prove, and was successful to an astonishing degree in his efforts to revenge his father's death.
The Quicks, as well as their neighbors, had become almost culpably careless as far as the Indian were concerned. Not infrequently they were in dangerous localities in the woods, and unarmed, thus giving the savages opportunities to surprise and kill them. It is possible that they presumed much upon the supposed friendship of the Indians for Tom, and upon their gratitude for the many acts of kindness the family had done them.
While the Quicks were thus thrown off their
guard, the Indians were plotting their destruction. In the hope of regaining
their lost possessions, and with the desire to plunder and punish the pale
faces, the savages determined to fall upon and destroy the outpost at
The old man found it necessary to proceed to the river side to procure hoop poles. Tom and his brother‑in‑law accompanied him. As they were in the habit of doing at this time, they took with them no fire‑arms. They proceeded leisurely around a point or ridge near the river, not dreaming of the tragedy which was impending. The outposts of the Indians yaw them approach, and watched them with eager eyes. Two of the men whom they most desired to kill, were unwittingly delivering themselves into their power. The opportunity to slay them was not to be lust, even if the main object of the expedition, (the destruction of the settlement) was defeated by a premature alarm, which would enable the inhabitants to defend themselves successfully.
When the Quicks had approached sufficiently near,
they were fired upon, and the father fell mortally wounded, a ball having
passed through a vital part of his body. The young men, who were unhurt,
instantly took hold of him, and endeavored to drag him after them as they
fled. From some cause the savages did not immediately pursue the fugitives to
complete their bloody work with the tomahawk. They probably hesitated until the
main body came up. In the mean‑time, the wounded man and his sons had got
beyond the reach of the rifles of the Indians. The savages, however, soon
followed, like hounds upon the track of a deer. The young men were at first
determined to bear their father to a place of safety, or die with him; but,
becoming too weak to go any further, even with their assistance, and finding,
as the Indians gained on them, that all three would fall victims if he was not
abandoned, he exclaimed that he was dying, and told them to leave him, and run
for their lives. After much urging, they finally left him to the mercy of the
Indians. It was well for them that they did so, for the savages were close upon
them; and even without their "sacred burden," they were not equal to
their enemies in speed. To escape they were obliged to cross the
Tom had the honor of being aimed at by a majority of the Indians. A dozen rifles gave their echoes to the frosty air, and he fell, his pursuers shouting with savage exultation, "there lies Tom Quick!" He was soon on his feet, again, however, and running as rapidly as ever. A ball had struck the heel of his shoe; and thus tripped his heels from under him. He and his companion were soon beyond the reach of the Indians.
The savages did not attempt to cross the river, and attack the settlement, knowing that the whites would be prepared to give them a warm reception. They returned, and after scalping the wounded man and exercising various other cruelties, dispatched him and held a "pow‑wow" over his dead body.
as Tom and his brother‑in‑law found that they were no longer
pursued, they cautiously crept back near enough to the Indians to ascertain
what was going on. They heard the scalp-whoop, and the rejoicings of the
Indians, and it is said that Tom, rendered frantic by their fiendish conduct,
aware that he would never be at peace with them, as long as an Indian could be
found upon the banks of the
What rendered the murder particularly aggravating was the fact that the Indians who committed it were among those who had been frequently at the house of Quick, and had always been treated kindly there. According to the ideas of the whites, he, above all others, should have been spared by them. He was killed, however, in accordance with the rules of savage, if not civilized warfare. But, regardless of the bloody codes of both the christian and the heathen, Tom thought that his father merited other treatment at the hands of those who had been fed at his table, and who had found an asylum under his roof whenever they desired it, and he imagined that the blood of the whole race was not sufficient to atone for the blood of his father.
FATE OF THE CARTER FAMILY.
The Indians held undisputed possession of Cochecton when Carter located himself there, and there was probably no other white settler there, except an Englishman named Moses Thomas, who had established himself at the mouth of the Cushetunk as an Indian trader. Carter, being industrious and prudent, was soon enabled to live comfortably, and add to his worldly possessions. What was not required for the support of his family was carefully hoarded, and when the war broke out, it was known that his purse contained not a few hard‑earned dollars. This did not render his situation more secure; for the savages, as well as their civilized neighbors, loved plunder quite as much as they did blood.
Soon after hostilities commenced the Indians, to get where they could not he easily reached by the whites, retired from Cochecton. This did not alarm the Carters, who supposed their old neighbors would not injure them. Nothing more was seen of the Indians until they began to scatter firebrands and death along the frontier. The Carters were among the first victims of savage barbarity. When their farm was prepared for it, they resolved to keep two or three cows as well as a yoke of oxen, and the head of the family went to Minisink to purchase them. While he was absent, Mrs. Carter had occasion to visit the garden, when she was suddenly confronted by a number of savages, who bore upon their bodies the pigment which they considered an appropriate mark of a brave who was bent upon the destruction of his enemies. It is said she turned pale as she saw them approach, but did not attempt to avoid them. She knew, probably, that if she attempted to escape, death was certain; and hoped that, if she quietly submitted, the Indians would spare her life. She was mistaken, however. The only salutation she received from her visitors was a blow from a tomahawk, which laid her prostrate and lifeless at their feet. Her scalp was torn from her head, and her dead body left on the spot where she was murdered.
They next entered the cabin, where they found the children, (three in number), whose lives were spared, because the eldest, a noble boy of some seven or eight summers, was so fortunate as to excite the admiration of his captors. The house was first plundered and then burnt, after which the Indians left the neighborhood, with the captive children.
When Carter returned, instead of witnessing the joy of his family at the acquisition he had made, he found a dreary—a heart‑rending scene—a scene which could not fail to make the fountain of grief overflow, and to fill his soul with an unconquerable desire for retribution and revenge. His wife, the uncomplaining sharer of what he had endured in the almost trackless forest, was a bleeding, mutilated corpse before him; his house, which had been made comfortable and pleasant by their joint labors, which was endeared to him by a thousand tender recollections, and where he had hoped Providence would permit him to spend many happy days, was a mass of smoking ruins; and his children—the children of his murdered wife—were in the power of her merciless destroyers—perhaps the war path had already been stained with their blood—perhaps they could yet be rescued—and perhaps a moment's delay would render an attempt to recover them too late, as the savages were in the habit of beating out the brains of captive children when they proved troublesome.
As soon as possible, the bereaved and grief‑stricken pioneer rallied a few of his nearest neighbors, with whom he pursued the Indians. The letter, encumbered as they were with booty, travelled slowly, while Carter and his friend, with nothing but their rifles and a limited supply of provisions, threaded the forest with rapidity. After a fatiguing march, during which Carter was always ahead, and continually urging his followers to greater speed, the retreating enemy were overtaken and attacked. In the battle which ensued, Carter fought with the most obstinate and determined bravery. Far in advance of all others, he sent death and destruction among the sons of the forest.
The whites soon found that the enemy were too numerous for them, and were compelled to fall back. Carter, however, refused to retreat. If he could not wrest his children from the savages, he would die for them, and sell his life as dearly as possible. When the heroic and desperate father was last seen by his friends, he was surrounded by the foe. He had just shot one of his assailants, and prostrated another with the butt of his gun, (the breech of which was broken off by the blow,) and was standing with his back against a tree, defending himself with his gun barrel against the blows of some half a dozen Indians. They seemed to be determined to take him alive, and reserve him for the torture; but it is probable that he had beat them off until they became so exasperated that they killed him. He was never heard of afterwards.
children were subsequently recovered by some means to us unknown, and placed
under the guardianship of their relatives in
DEFENCE OF A BLOCK HOUSE.
the Indians had become, apparently, so well disposed towards the English that a
number of pioneers settled on the Susquehanna, in the neighborhood of the
natives, while another company settled in the valley of the
We will now describe the immediate cause of the last outbreak of the Indians.
of the principal chief of the
to tradition, the Six Nations, who claimed the
To reach the settlements between the Lackawaxen and Callicoon, it was necessary, at that time, to follow the paths made by the Indians, or ascend the river in boats.
mouth of the Callicoon was an unbroken wilderness, which had been traversed by
the Indian and the hunter only. On the
There was a settlement at the mouth of the Ten Mile River which was a promising one. The brave but imprudent neighborhood was reposing in imaginary security, when it was laid waste by fire and the tomahawk. Not a human being escaped to tell the tale of blood; and every vestige of civilization, except the bare fields, was destroyed. All the settlers below the block house in Cochecton shared the same fate.
There were but three men left in the neighborhood of the block house, while the women and children seem to have been quite numerous. The names of the men were Moses Thomas, 1st, —— Witters, and —— Willis. The block house was situated a short distance from the banks of the river on land then owned by Mr. Thomas, and now in possession of Moses Thomas, 3d, a descendant of the former. It was well supplied with arms and ammunition, and if it had been well garrisoned, the inmates might have bid defiance to an army of Indians.
On the morning of the attack, Willis, who had a clearing and a log house at Big Eddy, and who had taken his family to the neighborhood of the block house for safety, directed his two sons to go to his farm to winnow some buckwheat, which had been threshed. They did not wish to go, and made many excuses for staying, all which seemed insufficient to the father, who finally compelled them to go.
They had not been gone long, when they returned, and reported that a large party of Indians were coming up the river. The lads, to the vice of laziness, too often added the sin of lying; and but little if any confidence was put in their report. It was supposed that they had concocted the story they told for the purpose of getting permission to stay at home. They persisted so earnestly, however, in saying that the Indians were coming, and seemed so anxious, that preparations should be made for the coming onslaught, that finally Thomas, Witters, and Willis concluded to reconnoiter, the father, of course, informing his hopeful sons that they would be "flogged somewhat" in case no Indians were discovered.
While the men were absent, the women and children proceeded to the block house, or prepared to flee thither at a moment's warning.
Thomas and his two companions proceeded somewhat incautiously down the river about half a mile, when they discovered the Indians. The latter had halted in a field of turnips, which they were appropriating to their own use so far as their immediate wants prompted. This field was on a knoll or promontory, and was so situated that the enemy could not be seen by the white men until the latter were within gunshot. The moment Thomas and the others appeared, they were fired upon with deadly certainty. Thomas was killed instantly. Willis was badly wounded and while running towards the block house, was overtaken and slain. Witters was so fortunate as to escape. The women and children who had not entered the block house, fled to it when they heard the firing. Witters, too, was soon within its walls.
This man possessed every characteristic of a border warrior. But few of those who have been immortalized for their daring exploits would not have abandoned the terror‑stricken women and children to their fate, and fled to the mountains for safety; or would have yielded to the enemy without striking a blow in defence. With no one to assist him in defending the helpless and dependent mortals who expected nothing but death or captivity from the yelling demons who were approaching, he determined to die with them or repel the assailants. His mind was equal to the emergency, great and appalling as was the danger which impended over him. And yet his feats have not been sung by the poet, or recorded by the historian; and tradition, although it still recounts his deeds, has failed to retain more than a part of his name. He at once dispatched a messenger to a neighborhood above to warn the inhabitants of the approach of the Indians, and to procure aid, if possible. His messenger was a little lad named Moses Thomas, 2d, who was subsequently killed and scalped by a tory at the battle of Minisink. The people who lived above the block house, when the news reached them, and they heard the reports of the guns of the Indians, after a brief consultation, fled to the woods, and made the best of their way to Esopus.
Witters also directed two boys to go to Minisink to notify the inhabitants of his situation. One of the boys was named Elias Thomas—the other Jacob Denny, and neither was eleven years of age.
The Indians did not at once rush to the block house in pursuit of the fugitive; but, fearing that it contained several men, they paused a few moments for the purpose of agreeing upon a plan of attacking it. This gave Witters an opportunity to prepare for resistance. He soon succeeded in inspiring the women with courage to such a degree that they were ready to render him all the assistance in their power. Each one was prepared for battle when the Indians came up, and a musket or rifle protruded from every port‑hole, threatening destruction, apparently, to all Indians who had sufficient temerity to approach within shooting distance.
The savages, seeing the formidable array, at once concluded that the block house was filled with white men, and that the three whom they had encountered were scouts from the main body. They consequently approached cautiously under cover of the bank of the river, which was high enough to screen them from not only the guns wielded by the women, but from the more keen and accurate aim of Witters.
In the meantime, Witters, in a loud military tone, gave orders to his men to shoot every Indian who showed himself above the bank. He was a capital mimic, and by changing the sound of his voice, he actually made the savages think that there were plenty of officers and soldiers in the block house, who were determined to defend it to the last extremity.
The Indians were so much awed by this show of strength, that they did not deem it prudent to attack him in his stronghold; but challenged the besieged to come out and have a fight on the open ground. With a scornful laugh he called them "foxes and ground hogs, burrowed in the earth to escape danger, not daring to expose even the tips of their noses to the Yankee rifles," and dared them to come on, at the same time intimating that they would soon have an opportunity to fight others who were coming up from Minisink. This reply so enraged them that Witters fancied for a few moments that he had brought upon himself and his proteges the calamity he most feared—that is, an assault, by which the paucity and character of his warriors would be discovered. The Indians, however, remained behind the natural breastwork afforded by the bank, and contented themselves with firing occasionally at the port‑holes; but without effect.
began to fear that he would be subjected to a regular siege, and he knew that
unless he was reinforced soon, the Indians would detect his ruse and gain an
entrance. Assistance could not possibly reach him from Minisink in less
than two or three days; but the whites
who lived farther up the river might relieve him. He looked for them in vain,
however. They were already far in the wilderness, and, under
A war of words was kept up by the parties until near night, the Indians, with all their acuteness of ear, supposing that they were answered from the fort by large numbers.
As night approached, a new source of uneasiness presented itself to Witters. A considerable quantity of hay had been imprudently stacked beside the block house, and it occurred to him that if the Indians remained until evening, they would set fire to it, and thus burn his stronghold. Nor was he mistaken in conjecturing their intention. They were waiting for that purpose.
Witters instructed the women to fire their guns [on] a given signal, and anxiously awaited the coming of night. His determination was to watch the hay closely, and shoot every Indian who approached it, well knowing that as long as the enemy supposed that the block house was defended by a respectable force, they would not detail more than one of their number at a time to fire the stack.
As the shades of evening began to thicken, Witters saw an Indian crawling cautiously towards the hay, and making the signal, a broadside was giving from the fort, Witters himself firing. With a yell, the Indian sprang upon his feet, and then fell dead. His companions soon recovered his body.
This event, it seems, effectually intimidated the Indians. They came to the conclusion that it was impossible to take the block house as long as it was defended by such a formidable force. Carrying the body of the dead savage a short distance, they buried it hastily, fearing, probably, that if the whites were reinforced, as Witters intimated they would be, they might themselves be placed in the defensive. They then returned toward the Susquehanna by the way of the Cushetunk or Calkins Creek, which runs through Judge Thomas' farm. Before they retreated, they set fire to the buildings of the neighborhood, nearly all of which were consumed.2
The inhabitants who lived above, and who had started for Esopus, endeavored to strike the Indian path which led from the settlements of the valley of the Shawangunk through what is now known as Grahamsville, Brown Settlement, etc.; but they became bewildered in the woods and wandered they knew not whither. Their situation was a painful one. Lost—fearing they were followed by the dreadful savages—apprehensive that they would fall into an ambuscade at every moment, or unconsciously return to the place from whence they had come and be shot and tomahawked—weary and worn—hunger was soon added to their other calamities, and they were compelled to feed upon their dogs, upon reptiles or any other foul thing which would satisfy the cravings of appetite. The men had not forgotten to take with them their rifles and could have furnished a scanty supply of food to the panic‑stricken and starving party by shooting a deer or bear occasionally, but they did not dare to do so, knowing that the reports of their guns might bring upon them the horrors of an Indian massacre.
At last they descried in the dim distance the Shandaken mountains, and knowing that the path they were seeking was not far from the mountains, they turned their weary feet in that direction and happily found the trail. They were not long in reaching a settlement, where they were received by kind and sympathising friends.
The lads who were sent to Minisink, after remaining in the woods for a night or two, reached their intended destination. They followed no path, but when sent off by Witters at once proceeded to the mountains back from the Delaware, which they followed, exhibiting much judgment and discretion in doing so, as they avoided the possibility of coming in contact with the savages.
When the whites of Minisink were informed of the situation of the settlers of Cochecton a party of soldiers were at once sent in canoes to the rescue. Without any extraordinary incident the detachment reached the block house, where it was joyfully received. Witters and the women concluded they had gained glory enough, and that they might not fare so well if again attacked. Consequently they made preparations for leaving, while the soldiers engaged in the melancholy duty of interring the bodies of the unfortunate men who had been surprised and killed.
was ready they proceeded to the canoes and commenced seating themselves; but it
was found that the boats were not of sufficient capacity for the whole
party—that one must be left behind. Amongst those rescued was an idiot girl and
her mother and the soldiers soon decided that the girl must be abandoned. This
of course was a heart‑rending alternative to the poor mother who wished
to remain with her child and share its fate, but she was not permitted this
poor consolation. She was forced into the boat, and was soon gliding over the
rippling waters of the
Many years after her remains and those of Thomas, 1st, were uncovered by the washing away of the earth in which they had been buried. Judge Thomas had them gathered and again committed to the bosom of the common mother.
MURDER OF MUSKWINK.
LITTLE or nothing more can be learned of Tom's conduct during the French war. He did not enlist in the army, as has already been intimated; for the tradition of his relatives clearly indicates that he never could be persuaded to place himself in a situation in which he would be obliged to submit to military discipline. He chose rather, when he felt a disposition to engage in the shedding of blood, to do so, in the language of the present day, "on his own hook." It is said, however, that he rendered important services to the English in their excursions against this Indians, by acting as a guide, whenever his services were required.
Notwithstanding tradition does not say that he signalized himself by any extraordinary deed, it is probable that he was not idle from the period of his father's death until the event occurred which we shall soon describe.
After the war, such of the former inhabitants of the
The Indians, too, began to revisit their old haunts, probably supposing that, as the hatchet was now buried, they would be as well received by the whites as they had been before the war. But their former friends no longer regarded them with "favor or affection." The fire and the scalping knife yet retained a vivid place in the recollection of the settlers, who had become merely nominal friends of the Indians. In the hearts of many of the whites ranked a deep and undying hatred, which needed but a safe and favorable opportunity to slake itself in blood. They had suffered so much during the war, and the Indians were so barbarous and cruel—so unlike soldiers of the old world in waging hostilities—that the whites could not readily forget the past, and treat their late enemies as friends.
On coming in contact with the red men again, they felt very much as a person who has submitted to a painful surgical operation does when he sees the instruments that had tortured him. They knew that there was no immediate prospect of suffering again; yet they experienced an unconquerable aversion and disgust at seeing the dread objects again.
It is said that some of the wives and daughters of those who had lost relatives by the hands of the Indians, would faint if they encountered the savages after the war.
Notwithstanding this hatred and aversion, nearly all the settlers were careful to avoid all cause of offence. The dreaded a renewal of the bloody strife which had just closed, and if they consented to live as friends with their old neighbors, it was because their own safety and interest prompted them to do so.
Among the Indians who came back was a drunken vagabond named Muskwink or Modeline, who had assisted in murdering Tom's father. The fact, however, that he had been engaged in this sanguinary transaction was not known at first. If it had been, probably he would have disappeared without any one being wiser except Tom.
About two years after the war, Tom had occasion to go to the house of a man named Decker, who kept a tavern on the Neversink. Decker was one of the early settlers on that river, and had thus far escaped the tomahawk and scalping knife.
When Tom reached the tavern, he found Muskwink there, somewhat intoxicated and very bold and talkative. He at once claimed Tom as an acquaintance, and wished to drink with him; but Tom refused to do so, and bestowed a contemptuous epithet upon the Indian, which caused the snake‑like eyes of the latter to glitter with rage. A conversation of an irritating character passed between them, during which the savage, for no apparent purpose except to exasperate Tom, boasted of his exploits in the warpath, and among other things gave a detailed account of the killing of Thomas Quick, senior, and the part he himself had taken in the affair. He asserted that he had scalped the old man with his own hand—mimicked the grimaces of the dying man—showed how he appeared while in the agony of death, and to corroborate his assertions, exhibited the silver sleeve buttons worn by his victim at the time.
This brutality had a greater effect than the drunken Indian had anticipated. It most effectually aroused the devil in Tom's heart. He at once determined to kill the savage. He was unarmed; but there was a French musket in the bar room, in the place where the early settlers kept such implements, that is to say, on spikes or pegs driven into a beam directly over the hearth stone, where they were not apt to rust, and could be got at handily in any sudden emergency which might arise.
Almost with the quickness of thought, Tom took down the musket, ascertained that it was loaded and primed, and cocked it. The Indian saw this movement of Tom, and a vague notion of what was impending seemed to force itself upon his stupefied senses; but before he could make an attempt to resist or escape, the muzzle of the musket was within a few feet of his breast, and Tom ordered him to leave the house. The Indian at once resigned himself to his fate, or at least to the guidance of Tom. He arose slowly and sullenly from his seat, and proceeded to the door, Tom following after him. No one who was present seemed to think that murder would grow out of the affair; for no one appeared to have curiosity sufficient to make him attempt to witness its termination, which would not have been the case, if it had been supposed that Tom intended to do more than compel the Indian to leave the neighborhood.
Tom drove the savage into the main road leading from Wurtsboro to Carpenter's Point. After proceeding about a mile toward the latter place, he exclaimed: "Indian dog; you'll kill no more white men!" and aiming the musket, which was loaded with a heavy charge of slugs, shot the savage in the back between the shoulders.
Muskwink jumped two or three feet from the ground, and fell upon his face dead. Tom took from him the buttons which had belonged to his father, drew the dead body to a tree that the wind had torn up by the roots, and kicking some leaves and dirt over it, left it there.
Some say that he cut the head from the body, and hoisted it on a pole at the corner of the road leading to Decker's, and that it remained there several days.
After killing the Indian, Tom returned to Decker's, put his musket in its proper place, drank a glass of rum, and left the neighborhood.
Several years subsequent, the land upon which Muskwink was killed was cleared and ploughed by a man named Philip Decker, when the bones of the Indian were "turned up."
The murder of Muskwink created considerable excitement in the exposed neighborhoods. Some thought that such transactions should be properly investigated, and that Tom should be arrested and sent to prison; while others contended that he had performed a very meritorious act. It does not appear that an attempt was made to punish him for what he had done; for he continued to fish and hunt unmolested, although he was in some danger from the savages.
That Tom was permitted to kill the Indian with impunity is extraordinary, because the authorities were not always careless as to what was done by the frontiersmen in their intercourse with the natives, as will appear by what follows.
The Skinners ransacked Cochecton and Minisink for testimonials in their favor, and the matter became a serious one for them, although it does not appear that the charge against them was sustained. The complaint was probably made more for the purpose of getting the accused into trouble than to promote the peace and welfare of the province.
Why a matter so trifling should have been considered of so grave a nature, while Tom was enabled to escape without being questioned, is something which cannot be explained at this late day.
MASSACRE OF AN INDIAN FAMILY.
WE have elsewhere remarked that Tom, from associating with the Indians a greater part of time when he was young, had become a savage in thought and sentiment. Yet he considered red men so barbarous, that a white man was justified in making their destruction his whole business; and although he denounced their cruelty, he could be equally savage himself. Not only this; but he would use the Indian argument in favor of destroying the helpless and defenceless. We do not know that he ever was guilty of killing, on more than one occasion, the children of his enemies; and his excuse for doing that was, that they would, if their lives were spared, become as bad as their parents. He then thought it good policy to destroy the serpent while it was in embryo.
after Tom shot Muskwink, he was hunting in the vicinity of
One day he stationed himself at the foot of the Rift; but whether to watch for savages or wild beasts is not known. However this may be, he found the former. He watched several hours without seeing anything of importance; but finally was rewarded, with the sight of five savages coming up the river in a canoe. The party consisted of a man, a squaw and three children. The Indian seemed to be unarmed, and he and the others were evidently not apprehensive of danger. They were on the same side of the river as Tom, and were proceeding leisurely along—the children enjoying the journey and seeming very happy.
As soon as Tom saw them, he concealed himself in the long reed grass which grew on the shore, and awaiting their approach, with the determination to destroy them. As they came near he recognized the Indian as one of those who had visited his father's house before the war, and who had been engaged in several outrages on the frontier.
When the Indian family—for the squaw was evidently the wife of the man, and the children his own—had got near enough to be within gun‑shot, Tom raised up from his recumbent posture, and ordered them in the Indian tongue to come ashore, and threatened to fire if they did not. As soon as the man saw Tom he turned very pale. He had heard while below of the murder of Muskwink, and that Tom had threatened to kill others of his race. He dared not disobey, however, and reluctantly came to the shore. Tom then inquired where they held been, and where they were going; to which answers were given. He then told them that they had got to their journey's end; that the tribe to which they belonged had murdered his father and several of his relatives during the war, and that he had lifted up his hand in vengeance against their whole race. The Indian answered that it was "peace time," that "the hatchet was buried," &c. But Tom replied that there could be no peace between the red skins and him, and that he would wage eternal war with them. He then shot the man, who jumped out of the canoe into the river, where, after a few convulsive throes, he died. Tom, after killing the Indian, tomahawked the squaw and her children. As the hatchet sunk into the brain of the squaw, she sprang instinctively towards her youngest child, and fell on the bottom of the canoe, and was soon beyond the pale of mortal life. The two oldest children, as Tom afterwards declared, "squauked like young crows" as he killed them. He had proceeded thus far without any compunctions of conscience, or feeling that he was committing a most horrible massacre, which ranked him with incarnate demons. But when he came to the youngest, his murderous propensities were for a moment checked. As he raised the tomahawk to give the fatal blow, the babe—for it was nothing more—looked up wonderingly into his face and smiled. The innocence and unconsciousness of danger beaming from its sunny, childish eyes, caused him to relent. His arm fell to his side. He could not strike it. At the moment, the idea of taking the life of such an innocent, harmless being, seemed horrible to him. It held out its tiny hands to him, and in childish glee, seemed as if it would spring to his arms. Tom's heart was completely softened. He thought he would convey it to some white family, and have it taken care of properly, and fancied that it would be very pleasant to have such a pretty, innocent creature to fondle after he had been hunting, and when he returned to the settlements. But the fact suddenly thrust itself into his mind, that the child would in a few years become an Indian, and this so enraged him that he instantly dashed out its brains.
In consequence of the excitement which grew out of the murder of Muskwink, Tom thought it prudent to conceal the bodies of his victims. Besides this, he was probably conscious that his white friends would not think very favorably of him, if they knew he had murdered helpless women and children.
Having procured some strips of baswood bark from a neighboring tree, he fastened heavy stones to the bodies, and one after the other conveyed them to the deep water of the Rift, where he sank them to the bottom. After all the bodies had been disposed of, he destroyed the canoe, and nothing remained but his own conscience, (which must have been a queer one) to tell of the horrible deed.
Tom did not relate the foregoing facts until it was safe for him to do so. Previous to his death, he repeatedly told them to Jacob Quick, Esq., of Callicoon. When asked why he killed the children, his invariable reply was, "Nits make lice!"
On another occasion, Tom was at Pond Eddy on the
The Indian was soon out of sight. Tom, during the remainder of the day, was very morose, and seemed to be angry at himself, because he had permitted the Indian to escape. It is probable that he killed many of the red men in this way.
FOR some time, Tom was very careful to commit no more murders openly. A favorite mode with him was to go the Indian hunting grounds, and remain concealed as much as possible from the Indians. Whenever he heard the report of a gun, he would creep cautiously towards the place where it was fired, and if he succeeded in finding it, he would generally discover a savage skinning a deer or a bear, and when once discovered, it was an easy matter to send a bullet through his head or heart. Tom would then conceal the body of his victim, finish skinning the game, take the skin of the animal, as much of the flesh as he desired, and the rifle of the dead Indian, and depart in search of new adventures.
Generally, he deposited the rifle in a cleft of rocks or hollow tree; but if he took it to the settlements, and was asked how and where he got it, he would say that he had found it beside a dead Indian; and when he brought an unusual number of skins, he would quietly tell them that he had "shot one buck on top of another,"—meaning that he had killed an Indian in the way we have just indicated. This enigmatical manner of describing what he had done, was the only kind of witticism that Tom was known to utter.
When in the settlements, and an Indian came there, he would pretend to be friendly toward him, and do everything in his power to allay suspicion. If he could gain the Indian's confidence he would in the end, invite him to join him in a hunting excursion, and the Indian would generally be among the missing for ever thereafter.
Among the rest, two Indians came to Minisink to sell their skins and procure ammunition, and a few other articles, which they needed. They lingered about the settlement several days and became acquainted with Tom, who finally induced them to join him is a hunt at Hagen Pond, in what is now the town of Lumberland, Tom was thinking of various plans to kill his companions, when one of them proposed to remain at the pond and fish, while Tom and the other agreed to spend the day in hunting. The arrangement was that they should take separate routes, and meet during the day at Rock Cabin. This afforded too good an opportunity to be lost by Tom, who was afraid to attack both at once, as they were equal to him in skill and agility.
According to arrangement, he took the direction he had agreed to go, and after hunting a short time, he proceeded to the Cabin, where he selected a good place to watch for the coming of the Indian he had agreed to meet there. At the time appointed for meeting, the stealthy tread of the savage was heard in the thicket—in a few moments he emerged to sight, and with a shriek fell upon the earth a corpse. Tom's sure rifle had found another victim. Some leaves and mould were soon thrown over the body, and Tom was on his way back to the pond. Here he waylaid the other Indian, and killed him.
At another time, Tom encountered an Indian at
Hagen Pond, but did not succeed in killing him. Tom went to the pond, to hunt,
with a man named Cornelius DeWitt, who, during the Revolutionary war, was
captured by the Indians and taken to
This occurred just before sunset, and when Tom saw the Indian run away, he returned to the place where he and DeWitt intended to stay during the night. DeWitt had gathered but little wood; and it was needless to do so; for prudence taught them that they should dispense with a fire that night, as a light would serve as a beacon to the savage, and enable him to turn the tables against them, if he was disposed to harm them.
The next morning, Tom told DeWitt that he intended to look the redskin up. DeWitt objected; but found it was useless to oppose Tom. Search for the savage he would, whether it was agreeable to the other or not. He soon found the Indian's trail, and followed it in company with DeWitt.
The most sagacious of the redmen could not pursue an enemy through the woods more unerringly than Tom. Through a forest which would be as trackless as the ocean to any of the present inhabitants of Sullivan) if anything short of an ox or a horse should walk in it, Tom continued in pursuit, discovering at every step, undoubted indications of the passage of the hatred red man.
Here a wood plant or weed was crushed; there the dead leaves upon the ground showed that a moccasined foot had pressed them. Here the green mould on some fallen tree had been disturbed—there on the rivulet's margin the foot print was plain. On—on went Tom through the solitary forest, bent upon his bloody mission of expiation and revenge.
Every effort of the wily Indian to baffle Tom was of no avail. The Indian Slayer followed him to the Delaware, and thence to the Brink Pond, in Pennsylvania, where he again came in sight of his intended victim—a feat, probably; which none but an Indian had ever before accomplished.
At the Brink Pond, Tom and the savage saw each other again, but the latter was beyond the reach of the others rifle, and Tom had not the satisfaction of bringing him down.
The red man, finding that his life depended upon his speed, fled like a frightened stag, and Tom, knowing that his pace would not be soon slackened, and that he would have to follow him too far into the Indian country for his own safety, gave up the chase.
From the Brink Pond, the two white men went home, without killing a deer.
WE have now reached a period of Tom's life towards which tradition does not point with certainty. There is a gap which we cannot fill except with certain legendary accounts of real or supposed exploits, which our authorities do not assign to any particular time.
Almost innumerable tales are told of Tom's encounters with the savages, and of the tact and cunning he resorted to in order to circumvent them. Many of these stories, we think, have been invented by ambitious tale tellers in their anxiety to outdo their companions in relations of the wonderful; but, on the other hand, some of them are true, or founded on facts—a few little additions having been made from time to time, as they were handed down from father to son.
As often as we have heard conflicting versions of the same story we have adopted the one that seemed the most plausible to us; or we have collected sufficient information to enable us to determine what was worthy of being recorded. This will explain to those who have furnished materials for this little work, why we do not always follow the thread of their narrative very closely.
The story of the "Buck with Seven Skins," which follows, although it has an air of probability, we place it at the head of the apocryphal tales of Tom.
Tom usually wintered at the house of some congenial spirit on the frontier. The family upon which he quartered himself was always well paid for boarding him, for as long as Tom was with them, they lived upon the fat of the land. He as previously stated, invariably supplied them with an abundance of venison and bear meat.
Once he found that winter was near at hand, and that he had not the usual supply of venison for the person whom he intended to stay with. He was about to engage in a hunt at some distance, where he was quite sure he would find deer enough in a few days to supply his friend's cabin as long as he desired, when an Indian came into the neighborhood. Tom made his acquaintance as soon as practicable, and it was not long before they agreed to go on a hunt together—Tom agreeing to take the venison for his share, and the Indians the skins. The first day they were out, they had unusual good luck. Deer was plenty, and indeed the woods seemed full of them. They killed one after another, skinned them, and hung up the "hind quarters" where they would be secure from wolves and other wild beasts until Tom could take them away. In the afternoon they found they had killed seven. The Indian was in fine spirits—and so was his white companion. They had both done a very fine day's work.
The Indian had as many skins as he could carry, and consequently did not wish to hunt any more at that time. So he got them together, and placing them upon his back, started for his cabin. He never reached it, however; for as he started off, Tom fired his rifle and down tumbled the Indian, the ball having gone through the seven skins and into his heart.
When Tom reached the settlement with the skins and venison, his friends who knew the bargain he had made with the Indian, asked him how he came by all the hides; and his reply was, that after they had got through with their hunting, he had "killed a buck with seven skins on his back!" The next winter was spent by Tom with Ben Haines, at Handsome Eddy.
"THE BITERS BITTEN."
The number of Indians who had disappeared mysteriously, and the fact that some of them were last seen with Tom, and that he had sworn to kill Indians as long as he had an opportunity, caused the natives to suspect he could tell what had become of them; and the whites generally knew that he could, if he pleased, find the rifles of the missing.
The Indians, therefore, were anxious to kill him, and many attempts is were made by them to shoot him. It is said that they had frequent opportunities; but that they missed their mark so often, that they finally believed he had a charmed life and could not be touched by an Indian ball.
The following is a fair sample of the stories told in the neighborhoods where his adventures took place, concerning the way the Indians attempted to catch or kill Tom:
One spring, Tom was splitting rails for a man
named Westbrook, who lived in the
This story has been told of Tom for more than half a century. It is almost too wonderful to be true. We give it as it was related to us by an old man named Page, who died recently, aged more than one hundred years. He assured us that it was well founded; that he had been often at the place where the savages were killed; and that he had more than once seen their bones "on the spot."
An Indian came to the house where Tom had "put up" for the winter, and asked permission to stay all night, which was granted. He professed to be very friendly; but Tom's quick eye soon discovered that all was not right, and that he had an enemy to deal with. During the evening the savage pretended he had seen a great many deer a few miles off, and asked Tom if he would not like to go the next day and kill some of them. Tom pretended that he was pleased with the proposal, and agreed to go.
During the night Tom managed to get the Indian's rifle, which he unloaded, and afterwards substituted ashes in the place of the powder, and put back the ball, and placed the rifle carefully where he had found it.
The next morning the savage slyly inserted the ram‑rod in the chamber of the rifle, examined the priming, &c., and seemed satisfied that all was right. This and some other circumstances confirmed Tom in the belief that mischief was brewing.
There was considerable snow on the ground, and the hunter found it quite inconvenient to tread through it, and apparently to render the walking easier, the Indian proposed that one of them should go ahead to break the path. To this Tom readily agreed, and the Indian was greatly pleased when Tom made no objection to be the first to go in advance.
After they had proceeded in this way a mile or two, and had come to a very lonely place, Tom heard the Indian's gun snap, and the powder flash in the pan. Tom looked back and asked what the Indian had seen.
"A fine buck," was the reply.
The Indian re‑primed his gun, and they went on. Pretty soon Tom heard another snap and flash.
"Well, brother Indian," inquired he, "what did you see this time?"
"An eagle swept over the forest," replied the other as he again primed the gun.
"Brother Indian," said Tom, "the snow is deep. I am tired. You go ahead."
"Brother Yankee speaks well," said the savage gloomily, and took his station in advance.
Tom levelled his rifle.
"Lying Indian dog!" exclaimed he; "what do you see now?"
"The spirit land," was the reply, as the Indian hung his head and drew over it his blanket.
The savage was soon dispatched, and Tom returned without any venison—but with two rifles.
Tom was wandering through the woods, one day, without his rifle, when he encountered a young Indian who was armed. Tom Spoke to him in a friendly manner, and soon found himself on very good terms with the stranger.
"Brother Indian," said Tom, "would you like to see Tom Quick?"
The savage answered in the affirmative, and Tom agreed to show him the Indian Killer. After a long walk, which terminated on a high ledge of rocks, at the foot of which were a few acres of cleared land, Tom told the Indian to wait a few moments and he would show him the person they were looking for. Tom went to the brink of the precipice and peered over it. "I do not see him yet, brother," said he, "but he will soon come along." He continued to watch for several minutes, and at last pretended that he saw the person whom the Indian was so anxious to encounter.
"There he comes," said Tom; "here, you take my place, if you want to get a good sight at him." The Indian cocked his rifle, and hastily and eagerly advanced to Tom's side.
"Where is he?" inquired the red man.
"There—there," said Tom, pointing so that the Indian would lean over the brink, in his desire to shoot the enemy of his race.
"A little further—a little further," whispered the Indian Slayer.
The Indian hung over the precipice as far as he could without losing his equilibration. He peered closely into the shrubbery at the outskirts of the field, and into the field itself, without making a discovery. In the meantime, Tom slipped behind him, and suddenly grasping the shoulders of the savage, and shouting, "Shoot me!—shoot me! would you!" he hurled the red man over the precipice. The Indian fell upon the rocks below, and was killed. Tom left the body of the savage to feed the crows and the foxes, and "went on his way rejoicing."
THE Indians captured Tom several times; but they could never manage to keep him until they reached their villages. They were always anxious, when they had him in their power, to preserve his life until they reached home, so that they could there apply the torture to their wily enemy; and this is the reason they did not slay him at once.
On one occasion they surprised him while he was
asleep; but when or where is not positively known, although it is probable the
occurrence took place not far from Port Jervis. They immediately bound him
securely, and after plundering the cabin in which they found him, they sat out
for their own country by the way of the
Tom, as usual, had a large number of skins in his possession, all of which the savages appropriated to themselves. It seems that two Indians were engaged in this adventure, one of whom, in returning, carried Tom's goods and chattels on his shoulders, and walked in advance of the prisoner; while the other, had possession of the rifles of himself and companion, one of which was kept cocked and ready to shoot Tom with, if he attempted to escape. This Indian "brought up the rear."
For some time, the Indians travelled on the beach of the river or on the bank. At last, however, they came to a high ledge of rocks, where they were under the necessity of taking a very dangerous path far up on the cliff. They were obliged to travel, some part of the way, within a few feet, and indeed almost directly on the brow of the precipice. One would think this afforded a poor place to escape; but it was just the one that suited the Indian Slayer. He pretended to be dizzy and afraid of falling off the rocks, and passed along as far from the brink as possible. He several times hesitated to go on, and the Indian who followed him frequently applied the butt of his musket to urge him forward. He was determined not only to escape, but to kill the savage who followed him. A difficult feat for an unarmed man to accomplish, especially with his hands bound securely behind him! But it was an easy one for Tom.
When they had readied the narrowest part of the path, Tom was suddenly seized with a very severe attack of dizziness, and could hardly be compelled to proceed, although blows fell thick and fast upon his back and shoulders. Finally he stopped altogether, and refused to go a step further. He leaned against the bank on the upper side and shuddered whenever he cast his eyes towards the river. The Indian, after beating him severely, attempted to take hold of him to push him along. By an adroit movement, Tom got between the Indian and the precipice, and the next instant, with a loud "ugh‑whoop!" the savage was making a rapid airline descent towards the river. After falling forty or fifty feet, he landed in the crotch of a button‑ball tree. The Indian's back was broken by the fall, and he hung in the tree powerless, and roaring for his brother savage to help him. The rifles fell into the river.
Tom was almost instantly cured of his dizziness. He next relied on his heels for security, and ran with astonishing celerity towards home. The Indian who had carried the plunder, ran after him a short distance; but finding it useless to attempt to catch him, he returned to assist his companion.
Tom and two or three of his nearest neighbors returned in a short time to recover the plunder and look for the savages, but could find neither the one or the other.
Tom's habit of concealing guns in the woods on one occasion saved his life. The Indians (two in number) had captured him, and were taking him off by the Grassy Brook route. He seemed perfectly resigned to the fate which appeared to be unavoidable, and marched with them unreluctantly. His arms were pinioned with deer skin thongs, and his captors kept upon him a vigilant eye, and were ready at any moment to shoot him if he attempted to break away from them.
After a while they were visited by a shower of rain, and Tom soon found that the thongs which bound his wrists began to, stretch, and ultimately that they had become so loose that he could, whenever he thought proper, free his hands. He was very careful to conceal this fact from the savages, and patiently waited for a favorable opportunity to run or do something else to escape.
Beside the path they were passing was a very large chestnut tree, which was hollow, and on the side of the trunk that was furthest from the path the wood had entirely rotted away, leaving a large hollow space. In the opening thus made, Tom had not long before concealed several guns, which he had "found by the side of dead Indians." He had also deposited with them a flask of powder and a goodly store of bullets.
When they reached this tree, Tom expressed an urgent desire to go to it, and gave such a good reason for the request he made, that his captors consented to let him go. They permitted him to do so the more readily because he had thus far given them but little trouble.
The Indians cocked their rifles when Tom stepped from the path, and aimed them at him. Each with a finger on the trigger watched him eagerly, determined to bring him down if he made the least movement to escape.
Tom proceeded towards the tree very leisurely, and on reaching it, went behind it, and was concealed front the view of the enemies. With most inconceivable rapidity, he charged two or three of his weapons with powder and lead. The Indians, little suspecting what Tom was at, stood in the path with hardly a twig to screen them from his murderous aim. Tom afterward said that he did not stop to return the ramrods to their places until he had as many of his guns loaded as he thought he should need. He hesitated a moment after he was ready to shoot, fearing that his guns would "miss fire," in consequence of their late disuse; but knowing that this was probably his last chance, he blazed away at one of the savages, who fell dead in his tracks. The other attempted to get behind the nearest unoccupied tree; but he never reached it. A bullet sent him to the spirit land, to join those who had fallen by Tom's hands.
"THE BITERS BITTEN" AGAIN.
AN Indian who thought he was more shrewd and cunning than his fellows, undertook to kill Tom without aid from anyone. He lurked in the vicinity of the cabin where Tom was staying, devising a plan to overreach the wily white man. The savage found that the owner of the cabin had a hog, which was confined to a pen close by the hut, and he determined to make this stupid animal the means of producing Tom's destruction.
One evening, when no one but the Indian Slayer was in the cabin, the red man got into the pen, which, being made of logs, afforded a very good breastwork. He then caught the animal, and holding it between his knees, made it squeal as lustily and shrilly as if a bear had hold of it. The savage expected that Tom would rush out, without proper precaution, to rescue the porker; but he was mistaken. Tom was always on his guard.
The Indian Slayer caught up his rifle—ascertained that it was all right—looked through a crevice in the door towards the hog pen; but at first could not see anything which led him to think that the hog was not attacked by a bear or a panther. He was on the point of starting for the pen, when he saw something, which made him pause.
The savage endeavored to screen his body behind the logs of which the pen was constructed, and at the same time peer over the top to watch for the coming of Tom. But the hog did not prove a very tractable steed. It was so fractious and unmanageable that, just as Tom had concluded to open the cabin door, the head of the savage was thrust above the topmost log. This was enough for the Indian Slayer.
Tom opened the door of the cabin a few inches, so that he could have a fair chance to shoot when the scalp‑lock of the savage made its appearance the second time. The hog continued to jump and frisk, and squeal, and the red man soon exhibited his head again, when the porker was speedily released from its burden. Tom fired—the hog suddenly ceased to utter its car‑splitting notes, and the savage took up the burthen of his swinish melody. With a piercing yell, he jumped from the enclosure, and endeavored to flee to the adjoining woods; but he had received a deadly wound, and Tom easily overtook him. Of course, the fate of the savage was sealed. Tom had no mercy on him, and killed him with fewer compunctions of conscience than he would have felt at crushing a reptile.
According to an old legend, Tom had a very severe battle with a savage who came to him while he was in a field at work. Tom saw the Indian approach unarmed, and did not feel afraid to encounter him on equal terns.
The savage told a plausible tale about something that he pretended he had discovered not far off, and which he wished his "brother yankee" to see.
Tom, apparently without suspecting anything was wrong, consented to go with the Indian; his quick eye, however, saw a gleam of malignant satisfaction on the countenance of his visitor, which told him plainer than words could have done what was the errand upon which the red man was bent.
The savage had discovered Tom from a hill near by, and had concealed his gun in the woods, hoping to entice Tom to its neighborhood, while he was unarmed, and then, when he could not defend himself, kill him.
Tom was never caught napping. He was now wide awake, and concluded that there was a trap set for him. He had gone but a short distance with the Indian, when he came to a hemlock knot, which he concluded would be a very good weapon in a rough and tumble fight. He stopped to pick it up, when the savage, perceiving what he was at, sprang upon him. Tom got hold of the knot; but, with his antagonist upon him, he could not use it. A long struggle for life or death ensued between them. Tom finally succeeded, and was once more a conqueror, but to the day of his death he averred that this was the hardest and most severe fight he was ever engaged in.
When he had killed the red man, he was so exhausted that it was with difficulty he got to the house where he had found a temporary residence.
According to another legend, a native attempted to kill the Indian Slayer while he was engaged in a saw mill. Tom, by some means, found that an Indian was close at hand, and arranged his hat and coat in such a way as to deceive his would‑be destroyer. While the savage thought he was about to shoot Tom between the shoulders, as the latter had shot Muskwink, Tom was in a position to send a bullet into the body of the Indian, and his bullets were generally fatal. The legend says that once more the "biter" was so badly "bitten" that he never recovered from his wound. In other words, Tom killed him.
MURDER AT MONGAUP FALLS.
PREVIOUS to the revolutionary war, a man named John Showers lived in a log house near the falls of the Mongaup. One evening, some five or six hunters met at his house, which was quite a resort for such people. As the cabin afforded somewhat better accommodations than the forest, they concluded to avail themselves of its shelter for the night. Tom Quick was among the number. During the evening, an Indian came in, and asked permission to remain all night. He was told that he could stay.
The evening was frosty, and a rousing fire was kept up. The hunters amused themselves in telling of their adventures, and many stories like the following were told:1
One of the hunters was boasting of his skill in shooting at a mark, and told in what manner he shot a panther.
"Fudge! old fellow!" said another. "I have two boys at hum (one of 'em is 10 and 'tother 11) who'll beat that. I tell you what, they were out shooting t'other day close tu the house, when I heerd both their rifles go tu once. I felt curious 'bout it, and went to see what both on 'em blazed away together for. Well, when I got to where they was, I found 'em tryin' tu drag a painter to hum what they'd killed. They tell'd me they had seen the beast to once and fired away, and after it had hung to the tree a minit, down it cum plump. Their balls struck about two inches apart and both on 'em riddled it heart."
"I had a tussel with a bear once," said another after a short pause in the conversation, "and dang me it was curious. I had been travassing the woods pretty much all day without as much as setting eyes on a chip'n squir'l. I begun to feel kinder savage, when Ty (patting his dog on the head) began to snuff and balk at a hole in the ledge. I can allers tell when Ty has got arter sothin' and the way the critter yelled sot me a thinkin' he'd got sothin' be worth having. So I jist made up to the ledge to 'connoiter. The hole was gaul dang'd big: but Ty was shy about gettin' inter it. The critter is as full of pluck as any dog of his inches I ever see; but dang him, he did't like to go in, no how. Thinks I, old feller, if you won't go in, I will. So I just laid down old Poll there (pointing to his gun) and crawled in myself. I got about ten feet, when the hole got bigger, and I could look around a leetle, and kinder see what I was comin' to. Well, in the back end of the hole like I see the dangdest bear I ever sot eyes on. The critter sot beside a big stun about as high as my head. Ty he come in arter me, and as soon as he see the varmit, he yelled worse than ever. Well, the bear didn't seem to mind me at all, but kinder watched the dog. So I jist stepped round beside the stun, and got on it. Thinks I, old feller, you or I must go out of this dang'd quick. So I stepped down behind him like, and braced my back against the rock, and pushed away with my feet for sartin'. The critter grunted like and says I 'grunt away old feller, but you've got to go.'"
Here the narrator turned himself towards his son, who was in the company, and casting his eyes to the ground, continued:
"Well, you know, I got him started, and Ty he pitched into him before, and I pitched into him behind, and he pitched arter Ty, and we had him out danged quick, and old Poll you know gave him a pill what settled his hash!"
"That's a fact, daddy," exclaimed the son, "for I've heard you tell it afore!"
"That yarn may be true," said a young man, in a doubtful tone, "but I would rather come across ten such bears in the woods than one mad wolf. They are the animals to try your spunk, old daddy. Perhaps you never saw one. Well, I have, and blast me if I want to see another.
"The way of it was this. Dad wanted some whiskey; and I wanted some powder and lead. So I took old roan and started for the store down in Minisink. I had got almost to Ben Swartz's clearing, and didn't see nothing, when I saw something just ahead of me right in the road, which I took for a short eared wolfish kind of dog. I didn't mind it much till I got pretty close, when I whistled to it, and it turned round. You see its back had been to me till then. Gracious! wasn't I scared! It was a mad wolf, with its mouth all covered with slobber, and its eyes—oh how they did look! It come straight for old roan's smeller; but I hauled up, and the wolf stopped too, about four feet off. Says I to myself, "I'll just shear off and give you half of the road." But the wolf headed me, and yop it went at roan's nose. The old horse threw up his head as the beast tried to grab him, and I tried the other side of the road; but it was no go. The wolf headed me all the while, and every time I moved, it made a yop at roan's smeller. I tried to back out of the scrape; but as fast as old roan went tail foremost, the wolf followed after.
"I was in a pickle. I couldn't go back and I couldn't go by, and I expected every minute that it would leave the horse's nose and grab my feet; and maybe my shanks didn't seem long about that time!
"At last I out with my jack knife——"
"Why you didn't stick the brute with that, did ye?" interrupted one.
"Oh! aint he a rouser!" exclaimed another.
"Hold on, will ye? Well, I out with my jack knife, and cut off one of the stirrups, strap and all, and watch for a good chance and perhaps you think I didn't knock its brains out with the stirrup—but I did, and got hone with the old man's whiskey, and he jawed me a week after for spiling the saddle."
Late in the evening, a goodly number of logs were placed on the fire, and the hunters, wrapping themselves in their blankets, laid down upon the floor to sleep. They were soon "in the land of dreams," except Tom, who was watching quietly for a chance to kill the Indian. One would imagine that he had shed blood enough already; but the more Indians Tom killed the greater was his desire to destroy them. When the breathing of the sleepers showed that they were sound asleep, Tom threw aside his blanket, and cautiously and noiselessly got his gun. In a few minutes the hunters were awakened by an explosion. They found themselves bespattered with brains, and the Indian dead in their midst.
Quick, immediately after firing, left the cabin, and disappeared in the forests. The hunters, after consulting, concluded that the murder of the Indian should be concealed, in order to avoid any unpleasant consequences which might follow, if his brethren knew of it. The Indian was buried in the morning, and his death was unknown to any except the hunters until concealment was no longer necessary.
Wawarsing and vicinity suffered much from the tories and savages during the war for independence. The loyalists, living upon the frontiers, and professing neutrality, or sympathy with the Whigs, acted as spies upon their rebel neighbors, and by their perfidious hypocrisy escaped the vengeance of those who, if they had been certain of their character, would have made their fate a terror to all white savages. The tories engaged, too, in the murderous expeditions of the Indians against the Whigs; but were always painted and disguised in such a manner that they escaped detection, and the only thing which rendered their presence apparent to those upon whom they fell, was the color of their eyes. All tradition agrees in representing the atrocities committed by the white adherents of the British king as being of a more revolting character than those of their uncivilized allies; and it is not surprising that the "sons of liberty," after the close of the war, committed various outrages upon their former unnatural enemies.2
At an early period during the war, an outrage was committed on the family of a widow, who lived at Lackawack. She kept a public house there; and it is said some of the savages were incensed against her household because they had not been supplied with rum as liberally as they desired. One evening, while her son, Jacob Osterhout, and a man named George Anderson, were in the house, three Indians entered it, and took both of them prisoners. The woman escaped, and reached Wawarsing the next day. She wandered all night in the woods, with nothing on her but her night clothes, and it rained during a part of the time.
and Anderson were taken far into the interior, and it is supposed the.
Indians encamped with them a few miles from the present site of
was not a rugged man, and was nearly exhausted with fatigue, when Anderson, who
understood the Indian language, heard the savages speak of killing his
fellow-prisoner, because, as they said, his scalp would be worth more than he would
Indians encamped the next night, they built a large fire, as usual. During the
evening, and probably while eating their supper, they inadvertently left a
knife on the ground near
Just before the close of the tragedy, the squaws woke up, and made the woods ring with their cries. They either escaped or were spared by the white men.
and Osterhout made instant preparations to return. They knew they had no time to lose before commencing their
long and fatiguing march, is they were well aware that the squaws would bring
down upon them a host of savages from the next village, which was but thirteen
miles distant. If retaken, they were certain that the most horrid tortures
awaited them. Taking from the dead Indians whatever was of service to them,
they started for home. Osterhout travelled slowly, and
before they reached Lackawack, the small supply of food they had taken from the
Indians was exhausted, and they were suffering the tortures of starvation. They
had guns and powder and shot; but were afraid to use them through fear of being
discovered by the savages. They did not dare to follow the usual route, nor
travel in the day-time. Fortunately, when they were reduced to almost the last
extremity, they met with a horse, which they killed with a spear, and cut from
it a supply of meat which lasted them a day or two. When this was gone, they
were obliged to fast until they reached Wawarsink. Their sufferings were almost
incredible, and they had undergone so much from hunger, that if they had given
an unrestrained license to appetite when they reached home, death would have
ensued. Osterhout, as it was, fell a victim to the
hardships he had endured, for he did not live long after he reached Wawarsink;
and even the strong-minded and robust
DEATH OF GRAEME.
after the events described in the preceding chapter, the natives made another
attack on the out-posts of
The valiant Captain Kortrite pursued the enemy until his provisions gave out, when he returned. It is not improbable that he was censured by some of the Hotspurs of the frontier, for not overtaking the Indians, and engaging them in battle.
There was a fort in those days on Honkhill, where some three hundred troops were stationed. When it was ascertained that Kortrite had returned without accomplishing anything, Lieutenant John Graeme, an officer noted for reckless daring, volunteered to pursue and waylay the enemy with only eighteen men. He was offered a greater force; but very foolishly refused to accept it. His men were raw recruits, who knew nothing about Indian warfare, and the result proved that Graeme knew but little more of the traits of the enemy than his followers.
The unfortunate Lieutenant managed to reach the locality now known as Grahamsville, in advance of the Indians. He selected a place here to surprise the enemy, which, above all others, gave that enemy the advantage of him, although if his force had been sufficient, and his whereabouts had been unknown to the foe, it would have been a very good place in which to lay in ambush to intercept and cut off the savages. It is a short distance from the residence of Mr. Neil Benson, where a brook empties into the Papacton, and where the surrounding hills form a kind of basin, with narrow gorges leading up and down the streams. From this place, Graeme sent his only good marksman, a man named Abraham Vancampen, to procure some venison.
Before the Indians reached the ground, they knew Graeme's situation, and formed a sure plan of massacreing him and his whole party. Silently, and with cat-like caution, they surrounded him. Posting themselves on the high ground within rifle shot, they had an opportunity to deal death and destruction which has been rarely surpassed; but they were not content with this alone. One of their number was directed to approach the whites by the usual path, and thus draw their fire. As he came in sight, Graeme was drinking from the brook. When he rose from his recumbent posture, he discovered the savage, and directed his men to fire. As they aimed, the savage fell upon his face, and the balls whistled harmlessly over his head. He immediately disappeared in the bushes with a loud whoop, as a murderous fire was poured upon the whites from all directions. Most of them, including Graeme, were shot down, and only two besides Vancampen returned to tell the tale. Truly, their fate shows more plainly than can words, "that discretion is the better part of valor."
A short time after the battle, a force of three hundred men went to the scene of action to bury the slain—a force which should have been sent in the first instance, and under a commander, too, who understood the character of the savages better than did poor Graeme. All the dead were found scalped and divested of their clothing. Trenches were dug, and the bodies consigned to their last resting place. No monumental stone marks the locality where they repose, and no one living can point out the exact spot where they are silently mingling with the dust. A number of years since, a near relative of one of the victims visited the battle ground to discover the bones of those who fell; but after searching several days ineffectually, he returned to his home disappointed.
TRAGEDY ON THE SHAWANGUNK.1
the first settlers of the north eastern part of the town of
On a Monday morning in September, he had occasion to go to a barrack near his barn, where he encountered two Indians, who attempted to grasp him and take him prisoner. He however eluded them, and ran towards his house, (which was a stone one) at full speed, and shouting murder! One of the savages got so near him that he stretched forth his hand to take hold of him. The Colonel, however, got into the house soon enough to close the door behind him, before the Indian came up; but he failed to bar and bolt it. A trial of strength ensued between the two for a few moments—one endeavoring to force open the door, and the other trying to keep it closed. The Colonel proved the strongest; when the Indian discovered a broad axe in the porch, and endeavored to force open the door with it. Jansen, however, frightened him away by calling loudly for his pistols and musket.
As soon as the savage had left the porch, the Colonel took his station in the entry with his musket and pistols, resolved, at all hazards, to prevent any one from entering. His wife, deeming it most prudent to close the window shutters, for the purpose of darkening the room, and thus concealing herself as far as practicable, raised the sash for that purpose, when a fellow, disguised as an Indian; pointed his musket at her, and drove her back. The blue eye of the disguised tory betrayed the white man.
assailants succeeded in effecting an entrance into the lower part of the house.
The party consisted of four Indians and one tory, each armed with a musket, and its deadly accompaniments, the tomahawk and
scalping knife. Among these was one, perhaps the leader of the gang, named Ben
Shanks, who had spent his younger years in the neighborhood of Colonel Jansen,
and many times labored for him on the farm. This fellow was well acquainted
with every part of the
He was at this time about forty years of age. In person he was tall, slender and athletic; his hair was jet black, and clubbed behind—his forehead high and wrinkled—his eyes of a fiery brown color, and sunk deep in their sockets—his nose pointed and aquiline—his front teeth remarkably broad, prominent and white—his cheeks hollow and furrowed. In a word, Ben Shanks, when arrayed in all the warlike habiliments of his nation, presented one of the most frightful specimens of human nature that the eye could rest upon. Like the others of his party, he now wore a coarse wagoner's frock of a grayish color, with a red handkerchief bound closely around his head.
Not many months anterior to the time of which we are speaking, a young woman, by the name of Hannah, had come up from the city of New York; where her parents resided, for the purpose of paying a visit to the family of her uncle, Mr. Christopher Mentze, who was by occupation a tailor, and lived not far from Colonel Jansen's house. She was in the bloom of life; aged about eighteen years, possessed of handsome features, and, in all respects, what might be termed a comely girl. Being of an industrious disposition, she employed herself in spinning in the family of Colonel Jansen, it appears that she had spent the Sabbath, previous to the fatal Monday, of which we have been speaking, at the house of her uncle, and was just returning through the gate-way at the end of the barn, to resume her occupation at the wheel, when the Colonel's three female slaves, who had been captured by the Indians, were placed beside the kitchen door, under the care of Ben Shanks. As she passed the corner of the barn, one of the slaves discovered her from the kitchen, and motioned to her, in the most forcible manner that circumstances would permit, to keep back; but the poor girl, having not the least suspicion of danger, paid no attention to the signals of the slave, and walked leisurely forward into the kitchen. When she was informed of her danger, however, her terror became extreme. She wrung her hands in agony, and besought the unfeeling monsters, in terms that would have pierced a heart of adamant, to spare her life, and let her remain where she was. In these entreaties, she was warmly seconded by both the female slaves—but all in vain. One of the monsters seized her by the hand, and, with his uplifted tomahawk, compelled her to take her station by the side of the negroes at the kitchen door. Gathering up the spoils they had collected in the cellar and kitchen, the enemy ordered the negroes, with the unfortunate girl, to advance, while one of them led the way, across the fields, toward the mountain. The luckless maiden again used every effort to prevent her being carried off; but the ruffians, turning a deaf ear to all her entreaties, seized her by the arms, and dragged her away from the door.
Christopher Mentze, of whom mention has already been made in this narrative,
was a native of
From the fatal experience of many bereaved families in the country, Mentze was at no loss in apprehending the object of Shanks. Unarmed and having no hope of safety but in flight, his first idea was to mount the animal bound to the rock-oak sapling, and ride at full speed down the path; but a moment's reflection convinced him that, by adopting this course, the horse must inevitably stumble in proceeding swiftly over the stones lying in her way, and he accordingly abandoned it as impracticable. Passing then directly under the neck of the animal, he ran off with the utmost speed. As he turned abruptly towards the south, on reaching the bank of a brook that ran down from the mountain, he heard a loud and distressing scream from the girl. The spot upon which he now stood was nearly fifteen feet perpendicular from the surface of the stream; and not deeming it prudent to waste any time in seeking for a more convenient place of passage, he resolved to spring from the bank towards the body of a tree that grew near the water, and, laying hold of it, to slide gradually down to the root. In doing this, however, his velocity was so great that his hand slipped in the act of seizing the tree, and he fell down upon his feet in the bottom of the brook. Rising up immediately, he again attempted to resume his flight; but found that his left ankle was severely sprained, and that his shoes, being filled with water, greatly impeded his progress. To divest his feet of these impediments was but the work of a moment, and then, regardless of his painful ankle he held his way,
"O'er swamp and hill—through bush and brier,"
till he suddenly found himself on the verge of a field belonging to Thomas Jansen, (a brother of the Colonel, who lived about two miles distant) and not above two hundred yards from the house. Seeing persons passing and repassing he hailed in a loud tone and was answered by the well-known voice of one of his friends.
In the meantime, Colonel Jansen had alarmed the inhabitants of the town, and several parties of men had collected at various points to prepare for a vigorous pursuit of the enemy. After relating his tale of woe to those assembled at the residence of Mr. Jansen, Mentze proceeded in haste to the house of his father and having there repeated the same mournful intelligence, he took down his faithful rifle, and, disregarding the acute pain in his sprained ankle, quickly retraced his steps up the mountain path. On arriving at the spot where the Indians were first discovered, he saw several gentlemen employed in the examination of a bundle of clothes found at the foot of a tree, the mystery of which, as may well be supposed, he soon cleared up. It was then concluded that the Indians had either murdered Mr. Mack and his daughter, and concealed their bodies in some part of the forest, or else had carried them captive to answer some horrible purpose they had in view. But when it was considered that in the latter case, the bundle of clothing, instead of being left behind, would most probably have been carried along with them—and that the old man, had invariably expressed his determination never to follow any Indian as a prisoner of war—the majority of the persons present inclined to the opinion, that they had both fallen victims to the deadly tomahawk. A search was of course, immediately resolved upon; and seeing a remnant of the bridle still hanging from the sapling to which Mentze had fastened his horse, it appeared evident that the animal had broken loose and strayed with its fellows into the adjacent woods. After a short examination, tracks were distinctly recognized leading in a westerly direction towards the before-mentioned brook, and the first impulse of the party was to follow them in that direction, searching carefully on each side as they passed along. When they had crossed the brook, and ascended about ten paces up a gentle declivity, the unfortunate objects of their search were at once exposed to view. The corpse of the poor girl lay stretched at full length upon the bank, with the clothing she had worn properly arranged; and her father lay upon his hands and knees about five feet lower down, at the foot of a rock-oak tree. Both were scalped in a most horrible manner. From the position in which the old man was found, it appeared evident that he had struggled long in the agony of death. His hands were clenched and filled with leaves, and his head hung down between his shoulders.
Having contemplated the sad spectacle for some moments in silent astonishment, some gentlemen of the party prepared a temporary bier to convey the bodies to a house, that the last solemn service due to their mortal remains might be decently performed. As they were upon the point of proceeding homeward with their melancholy burden, they perceived, with grief that their unhappy friend Mentze was unable to move. Overcome by the heart-rending scene which his lifeless relatives exhibited, and exhausted with the pain of his sprained ankle, he found himself utterly incapable of exerting sufficient strength to follow the mournful procession. But the sun was now set, and he was not in a condition to pass the night in the forest; supported, therefore, on each side by the arms of his friends, he was eventually enabled to descend from the mountain, and to enter the comfortable, but now mournful mansion, of his kind, commiserating parents.
The next day, a strict search was made in the fields and woods in the vicinity of the Colonel's homestead, for Hannah, who was no longer with the savages when they attacked Mentze; and when the party were almost on the point of abandoning their object in despair, a dog belonging to one of them was observed to direct his course towards a lonely field, in which no careful investigation had yet been made. His master followed him, and soon came in sight of the mangled corpse of her whom they sought. Like her friend Elsie, she too had been scalped, and the bleeding skull excited feelings of horror in those who came to witness the scene. She, too, was transported in silence to the humble mansion of her venerable uncle, and from thence, in due season, to that solitary bourne from whence no earthly traveller returns.
ATTACK NEAR THE FANTINEKILL.1
the Revolution, the whites who lived west of the Shawangunk, in
period, there lived three families in the immediate neighborhood of the place
where the goodly
When the Indians left the neighborhood, they took Magdalene some distance with them into the woods, where they gave her a letter, which had been written by one of their tory companions, and a war club stained with blood. The letter was directed to Capt. Bevier of Napanoch, to whom the girl was directed to deliver it, together with the club. The Captain was invited to dine with them next day at Lackawack, and it was intimated that they would delight to beat out his brains.
When Magdalene returned, she recovered the old Bible, which had been taken from her as she escaped from the cellar, and stamped into the mud. Its battle-stained pages are still in the possession of the Bevier family.
A man named Jansen, whose son Abraham had married a daughter of the widow Bevier, was suspected of criminal conduct in regard to the fate of his son's mother-in-law. He was suspected of holding intercourse with the Indians—he lived four miles south-west of the place where the tragedy occurred—the Indians visited his house, as moccasin tracks about his premises rendered evident—he was not molested by them in any way—he had taken great pains to have some of his friends go to a place of security a day or two before the savages made their appearance—and his son became the possessor of his mother-in-law's property.
The family of Michael Socks consisted of six persons—not one of whom escaped to tell the particulars of their massacre. Father, mother, sons, daughters—all shared a common fate. A young man, supposed to be one of his sons; was slain in an adjoining field, which had just been plowed. He had evidently been killed by a single Indian, after a long and desperate struggle, as the ground had been considerably trodden in the vicinity of his bloody, scalpless corpse.
The family of Jesse Bevier were all asleep, when the old man was aroused by the breaking in of one of his windows, which was instantly followed by the whizzing of two or three bullets, which passed within a few inches of his head. He at once sprung up, seized his axe, with which he stood guard at the broken window, until his sons, David and John, rushed into the room with their guns. A desperate fight ensued. The young Beviers were good marksmen and needed but a glimpse of a savage to send a junk of lead into him. They had their powder in open vessels on the table, and were not very exact in loading, provided they got enough into their gun barrels; and the women, while the men were watching for a good chance to shoot, charged the spare guns.
The Indians soon found that it was perilous work to attempt to storm the house. They therefore set fire to it at a point where the white men could not reach them with their guns. The peril of our heroes at once became extreme. The women used every drop of liquid in the house to put out the fire. They spirted water, milk, swill,—anything,—everything,—from their mouths into the cracks and crevices through which the smoke was gushing. But it was all in vain. The fire gained on them; and finally they had nothing more to put it out with. In this emergency, the mother proposed that they should cease fighting, and unite in prayer for mercy and assistance. It seemed to her that they must look to no earthly arm for aid. One of the sons replied—"Mother, you can pray while I fight." The mother knelt, and addressed her petitions to the Most High—her husband and sons, in a more subdued and reverential manner, continued to defend their little castle—the fire soon entered the apartment, and, serpent-tongued, leaped toward them, as if impatient to devour then. Yet the pious matron was heard, and the little household was rescued. Two miles off, at Napanoch, lived a brother of Jesse Bevier, whose name was Lewis. The latter heard the firing; and while he was listening to it he was surprised at the sight of his brother's dog, which came up to him, jumped against him, ran a short distance towards his master's, and then turned and looked back to see, apparently, if his motions were understood. This the faithful and sagacious animal repeated several times. Lewis was afraid to go to his brother's; but when he saw the dog imploring him, as it were, to fly to the rescue, he said "flesh and blood could stand it no longer." Going to a neighbor's who lived where the seminary now is, and whose name was Johannis Bevier, he induced a son of the latter to accompany him.
As they approached the sorely beleaguered, house of Jesse Bevier, an Indian sentinel, who occupied a neighboring height, fired an alarm gun, and the Indians and tories, not knowing how many Whigs were coming, at once fled to the adjoining woods. Their coming was very opportune. The family would soon have been compelled to evacuate, and meet a more speedy fate at the hands of the white and red savage; than they would have found beneath their blazing roof. The fire was soon extinguished.
Colonel Cortland's regiment had been stationed at Napanoch until a few days previous to this event, when the period for which his men had enlisted expired, and they received their pay—an event which had probably been communicated to the Indians by the tories of the neighborhood, so that the savages could fall upon the settlements while they were unprotected. Several of the discharged soldiers were worshiping Bacchus at a tavern in Wawarsink, when the firing commenced. They at once proceeded to Napanoch, and placed themselves under the command of Captain Andries Bevier, who had already marshalled his company to pursue the foe. The Indians fired the woods as they retreated, to prevent pursuit, and Bevier's company failed to chastise the enemy, probably because they could not overtake them.
Besides this, as soon as the news reached him that the savages had again visited the valley of the Shawangunk, the valiant and sturdy Captain Kortrite called out his company, to the number of seventy men, and proceeded to Grahamsville, where he lay in ambush awaiting the approach of the enemy. The Indians, however, discovered him before he discovered them, and the first intimation he had of their proximity was a volley discharged at the rear of his company. Silently and unperceived, they had passed within a short distance. One of their balls struck not more than six inches from the venerable patriot's head. After firing, the enemy retreated, whooping and yelling like a troop of demons. Captain Kortrite and his men then returned to their homes.
BURNING OF WAWARSINK.1
inhabitants of Wawarsink were not molested again until 1781. On the 12th of
August of that year, a white man, named
The whigs had sent out two, good and trusty
men to watch the main Indian paths across Sullivan. Their names were Silas
Bouck and Philip Hine. They were on the lookout on the Neversink, about twenty
miles south-west of Napanoch, when they discovered
Bouck was made of true metal, as we will proceed to show.
been the intention of
the scouts were taken, the enemy did not succeed in surprising the inhabitants.
They reached Wawarsink in the gray of the morning, just as some of the inmates
of the old stone fort at Napanoch were leaving for various
purposes. The alarm was given—the entrance of the fort secured, and the
soldiers were on the alert, just as the savages rushed up to gain admittance.
Two of the assailants were quickly made "to bite the dust;" after
which, the remainder dispersed through the neighborhood to plunder and set fire
to the buildings. At Peter Vanooy's, a number of them were repulsed by three
men, who killed one of them. An old hat hung in the garret of Vanooy's house,
near a port hole. The savages mistook it for a man's head and riddled it with
bullets. They attacked the house of Cornelius Depuy, where a lad who was but
sixteen years of age brought one of them down, and the others fled. A number of
the Indians were killed at the residence of Henry Kettle, whose father, John
Kettle, was overtaken by the enemy, when he was not near any house and shot.
His scalp was the only one taken by them; notwithstanding their numbers, and
the instructions received by
At this time, Colonel John Cantine was in command at Pine Bush. He was a very prudent officer. Indeed, it is said his cautiousness exceeded his valor. When the firing was heard in Wawarsink, Captains Kortrite and Burnet promptly mustered their companies, and were anxious to proceed against the enemy. After some entreaty, the Colonel was persuaded to start; but, hearing that the savages were approaching, he returned to the fort at Pine Bush, with part of his command. Kortrite and Burnet proceeded some distance further, when, not meeting with the enemy, and fearing the foe might pass them, and murder the families in their rear, they returned to the fort. They induced their commander to place a guard at some distance from the fort on each sides to ascertain whether the savages would attempt to pass them, and that was all they could get him to do. Kortrite was very indignant over his conduct.
Capt. Pierson, whose behaviour challenges our admiration, was confined to his bed by sickness. When the alarm was given, he left his bed, and with about a dozen volunteers, who were as brave and patriotic as himself, he went to the rescue. By an adroit movement, he reached the fort at Napanoch, and entered it. This so encouraged the little garrison that they sallied out and fought the enemy from behind trees, &c. Several Indians were killed by the whites, while the latter were concealed in various places, and waited for favorable opportunities to shoot stragglers. The Indians continued to plunder the inhabitants until of the next day, when they retreated, heavily laden with spoil. Among other things, they carried off a quantity of lime or plaster, and endeavored to make bread of it at Grahamsville.
retreated, a man named Jesse Mack, who was concealed in the woods, shot one of
their principal chiefs—a fine, noble-looking man who was mounted on a valuable
horse which had been stolen from a gentleman named Hardenbergh. The savage was
most gorgeously arrayed. Some forty or fifty silver ornaments were found upon
his dead body by the whites. The Indians were pursued as far as Peenpack2
by about four hundred men, including a detachment of State troops from Hurley,
under Captain Pauline, and the Militia who were under the command of Colonel
Cantine. It is said that the pusillanimity of Cantine prevented the men under
his command from chastising the savages. The latter were disheartened at the
loss of their chief, and many of them were sick from the excesses they had
committed at Wawarsink. When they ascertained that a force equal to their own
was upon their heels, they precipitately fled, leaving
DURING the Revolutionary war Tom seems to have been busy in his crusade against the Indians. He would not enlist in the army, but he would join any expedition that was got up against the Indians and continue with it as long as he pleased, when he would go off and fight "on his own hook."
On one occasion he joined a party from Minisink,
who were in pursuit of some marauding Indians. The latter were several hours in
advance of the pursuers. The whites did not see the enemy until they reached
A war of words passed between the parties, and finally one of the savages made an indecent gesture towards the Yankees, and dared them to shoot. This so enraged Tom that he raised his rifle and taking careful aim, fired. The Indian with a yell fell upon his face and was soon dead.
At another time, Tom was in the woods alone. He was on the lookout for Indians when he unexpectedly came upon one of them. They saw each other at the same moment, and both fired at once. The Indian's ball struck one of Tom's thumbs, the end of which was cut off. The ball glanced along the barrel of the rifle, and passed so close to one of Tom's ears that it tingled some time. Tom was more fortunate. His aim was unerring. The Indian was shot through the head, and Tom went on his way, cursing the savage for wounding him.
This was the only time Tom was hit by an Indian. Persons who knew Tom remember very well that one of his thumbs had lost its tip.
During the war Tom met another savage under similar circumstances. He and the Indian both took to trees within gunshot of each other, where they remained for some time; each one hoping to get a shot. After various manœvers and strategems, Tom resorted to the old one of thrusting his cap cautiously from behind the tree. Crack went the Indian's rifle, and Tom fell upon the ground, pretending to be wounded, when the Indian came running towards him, to take his scalp; but which he did not get, for as soon as the red warrior had got fairly under way, Tom sprung up, and treated him to an ounce of cold lead. The Indian exclaimed, as he saw Tom aim, "Me cheated."
According to tradition, Tom was taken prisoner by the savages during the Revolution; but in what manner and in what locality is not now known. This time he was caught by a numerous band who had probably been marauding and murdering in one of the frontier settlements. They stripped him of everything except his shirt and trowsers, as they supposed; but as Tom's good genius would have it, he had under his shirt a powder flask, which he had converted into a "pocket pistol." It was filled with rum, which has slain a greater number of Indians than the more dreaded rifle.
When the Indians found what kind of a prize they had made, they set off by forced marches for their own country. Tom of course was bound, and this time they not only bound him, but fastened a long piece of raw‑hide to his wrists, one end of which was held by an Indian. He was kept, too, in the midst of the party, and it really seemed as if the case was desperate. During the first day the savages kept up a running fire of words at him, and maltreated him in various ways, all of which he bore with as much apparent stoicism as the bravest and best of his captors would have done under the same circumstances.
At night they encamped in the usual mode, tied Tom securely within their circle, and appointed one of their number to watch over him until the next morning.
In the first part of the night Tom pretended to sleep, and after a while feigned to wake up. He soon commenced a conversation with the Indian who acted as the sentinel of the band, and was not long in discovering that the savage was an enemy of "fire water"—a thing quite unusual at that time. Tom's intention was to get the Indian drunk, and then escape; but finding that he had the wrong person to deal with, he concluded to wait until the following night, when he hoped to meet with better success. He therefore determined to sleep until morning, and hope for "better luck next time."
The second day's march was but a repetition of the first; and Tom was heartily glad when the party encamped once more. This time an Indian was chosen who loved "fire water." When all the others of the party were asleep, Tom ascertained this, and telling the native that he had been kind to him; that he had not struck him as often as the others, etc., and that he expected to die in a day or two and would need no more of the "good stuff," he directed the savage where to find the rum.
The Indian thrust his hands beneath Tom's shirt and drew out the flask with much satisfaction, and Tom saw him drink from it several times, much to his joy. It was not long before the rum began to exhibit its usual effects. The savage became drowsy, and finally, in familiar language, took an involuntary "journey to the land of nod" or dreams.
Tom then managed to get the Indian's knife, with which he in some way contrived to cut the thongs which bound his wrists. He wounded himself severely in doing so. He was soon free, and with steps almost as noiseless as the descending dew, he vanished among the giant tree trunks upon which the dying fire occasionally threw a fitful glimmer. Tom was once more rejoicing on the path leading towards Peenpack. The next morning when the Indians woke up, they found one of their number drunk—an empty powder flask by his side—and Tom "among the missing."
He was at least fifteen miles off, on his way to his white friends. He ran nearly all the next day, and got home without engaging in any other adventure. The Indians followed him almost to the settlements, but he was several miles in advance of them, and in speed was equal to the most fleet of his pursuers.
We can learn nothing more of Tom's exploits during the war. We would gladly add several other pages to this chapter, and give a more complete account of his doings previous to the declaration of peace, but, alas and alackaday! we have no more material.
THE SCOUTS OF MINISINK.
AT the breaking out of the war of the Revolution,
many of the inhabitants of Cochecton who were friendly to the revolted
colonies, removed to Minisink, with their families. Others re‑trained
a while behind their compatriots, in the hope that they would not be molested,
if they maintained a semblance of neutrality. A third and fourth class
was composed of "fence men," and open and avowed adherents of
Cochecton was from forty to fifty miles from any thickly settled portion of the country, and was consequently altogether exposed to the malice of the tories, and the cupidity and bloodthirstiness of the savages. It was a perilous abiding place for all who expressed sympathy for the cause of the revolutionists; and those removed their families to less dangerous localities acted wisely.
The exodus of the whigs was so sudden, that their crops were abandoned ere they had matured, and many a rapacious tory had the pleasure of reaping what he had not sown. It was not uncommon for the fugitives to return, after leaving their families in a place of security, for the purpose of gathering hastily the fruits of what they had cultivated with anxious forebodings of evil. All such were driven from the neighborhood by their former associates and friends, who confidently believed that the arms of His Most Gracious Majesty would soon cause his rebellious subjects to sue for mercy at his feet; when, if he designed to spare their lives, he would confiscate their property, and bestow it upon those whose hearts of oak had remained staunch and loyal. They were disposed to anticipate his favors; but they did not profit much by their ill‑gotten acquisitions; for the whigs endeavored to "square accounts" with them, as will presently appear.
The patriots of Minisink, for "their own and their country's weal," appointed a committee of good and reliable whigs, which was known as the Committee of Safety. According to the recollection of our informant, this committee consisted of Jarardus Van Inwegen, Benjamin Depuy, —— Coit, and —— Swartwout, names which will be made famous by the Annals of Peenpack, provided they are ever written. The Committee of Safety, to chastise and "regulate" the obnoxious and auspicious characters of Cochecton, and to promote the cause of the whigs generally, organized a company of scouts, under the command of Captain Bezaliel Tyler, who occasionally paid the tories and others a visit, to catch those whose conduct was considered iniquitous, and to make reprisals. They did not generally return empty handed. The tories took possession of what property the whigs had left behind them; while the scouts took away the cattle and sometimes the bodies of the liege subjects of the crown. It is difficult to decide which party lost or gained most by this system of exchange; but no one will doubt that many poor people were made to suffer much for their devotion to their country or their King; and that the excesses of each continually added intensity to the furnace of hatred which glowed in the breasts of both. Mercy and Truth seldom kiss each other while the bloody conflicts of mortals are raging. They may lead forth their cohorts, and feel irresistible in their conscious strength; but, alas! when Truth is wounded, she bids her clement-eyed sister, begone; and when the two fall out by the way, Mercy, is but a silly jade, and Truth becomes transformed, and bears the semblance of Error.
When the scouts visited Cochecton, they conducted themselves is a very free and easy manner, and as they generally were in haste to get back, they had but little time to hear testimony for or against the obnoxious and suspected; yet we cannot learn that their incursions were marked with any summary proceeding on amore than two occasions, the particulars of which we will now give:
A half-witted young fellow named —— Handy had lived in Cochecton several years. Having emasculated himself, because he had been disappointed in a love affair, he was generally despised by all the men and women of the neighborhood, and was, in fact, a poor outcast from the sympathy and society of his fellow mortals. During the war, he joined a band of Indians who were under a chief named Minotto, and he spent the greater part of his time in riding from place to place, on a horse which some say he had stolen from a whig of Minisink. While thus occupied, and probably fancying that he was a man of some consequence, he encountered a company of scouts, whom he mistook for friends. As he came up to them, he exclaimed, "I'm Minotto's man!" or "I'm Brant's man!" The words were just out of his mouth, when the scouts levelled their pieces and fired. Some of them had recognized the horse, and as soon as he declared what he was, his fate was sealed. He was buried on the spot where he fell, and near the Indian burying ground of that region.
A few years since, the bones of Handy were uncovered by the washing away of the bank of the river. A physician, it is said, procured them, and they have since "graced" the doctor's studio.
During the same expedition, a whig named Nathan Mitchell escaped with his life very narrowly. He had remained in Cochecton because his wife would not go to Minisink with him, unless her father accompanied them. Mitchell, to prevent the savages from firing upon him while they were lurking about, wore an Indian head dress. He too, encountered the scouts, who, when they saw the Indian gear upon his head, mistook him for a tory, and putting spurs to their horses, advanced towards him furiously, with their rifles unslung, and in readiness to fire.
Mitchell saw at once that ere time enough would elapse for him to explain, his body would be perforated with a dozen bullets. His only way to escape was to run for his life, and reach broken ground or the woods, where his pursuers could not follow him on horseback. Run he did, but the scouts were soon upon him, with their fingers on the triggers of their pieces. Poor Mitchell's case was desperate. In an instant more he would have been a dead man, if one of the scouts, who knew why he staid in Cochecton, had not recognized him at the critical moment, and very opportunely knocked aside the muzzle of the foremost horsemen. As soon as the true sentiments of Mitchell became known to the party, all rejoiced that they had not shed the blood of a friend.
The scouts proceeded up the river a short distance further, and stopped at the house of a Scotch tory named David Young. Young's wife was an English woman of considerable intelligence, who claimed, according to tradition, that she had been employed about the person of the Queen of England.1 Her husband was absent, and she told the "rampant rebels," as she was pleased to consider them, that Colonel Brant was at the mouth of the Callicoon, with 500 warriors, and entreated them to save their lives by returning at once to Minisink. She said this with such an honest and truthful air that they believed her, and so great was their terror of the far-famed Mohawk chief, that they retreated to Minisink with great celerity, and thanked their stars when they got there.
While the scouts were in the habit of making
frequent visits to Cochecton; a stranger came up the river, who
was apparently weary and worn with travel. He represented, at the houses where
he stopped to rest or obtain refreshments, that his
name was Payne, although it was subsequently ascertained that his real name was
Cooley. It did not appear that he had any ostensible business, or an apparent
motive for visiting this exposed and emote region. As
he ascended the
Cooley himself made the most moving appeals to those who had resolved to put an end to his existence. With that extraordinary eloquence which some men can use when life depends upon the tongue, he begged them to have mercy upon him. With pathetic and heart‑broken cries, he humbled himself in the dust, and implored them to spare him as they themselves hoped for pardon when the last great agony sundered soul and body. But those who had resolved to destroy him were inexorable. There was an overpowering motive for his immediate destruction. They considered him unfit to burthen the earth longer with his guilt or obnoxious person, and even while he was sueing at their feet for life, the silver chord was snapped assunder, and Cooley's blood was mingled with the dust. He was shot and died instantly.
Who can contemplate the fate of this friendless man without a shudder? There was undoubtedly a good and sufficient reason why it was necessary to slay him; but it is difficult to conjecture what it was.
Some of those present were so shocked at the horrid scene, that they declared openly, if such work was necessary, they would no longer be known as scouts. To kill him while he was pleading for mercy, seemed like murder to them; and, rough, rude men of war as they were, they wept like children when the terrible deed was consummated.
A year before the declaration of independence
was made by the "colonies in congress aassembled," a man named Bryant
Kaine obtained a warrant or pre-emption right for a tract of land in the town
For some reason,—probably because he expressed his "sentiments" too freely—Kaine, as well as some others who remained in Cochecton, became obnoxious to the whigs of Minisink. He was deemed a dangerous character, and it was considered unsafe to permit him to run at large. The Committee of Safety, therefore, determined that he should be arrested, and held in durance until it became prudent to permit him to enjoy unrestrained locomotion.
The tories and others of Cochecton seem to have been well advised of what was going on below. There were a few persons is Minisink, who, professing openly to be whigs, were tories in secret; or they had friends and relatives in Cochecton whom they wished to screen from whig vengeance; and but little if anything was determined on which was not whispered to those whom it interested most. When it was decided that Kaine should be arrested, he was immediately informed that the scouts would soon pay him a visit, and take him from his family to prison. He wisely concluded that if he must go from home, he would prefer the society of friends to that of enemies. Accordingly he employed a man named Flowers to stay with his family, and attend to his business, and then absconded. The stern necessity of the times compelled him to abandon the children of his love and the wife of his youth. He bid them a hasty farewell, hoping that a period was not very far distant when he could again dwell under his own roof in peace and quietness, with his loved ones around him. But little apprehension was felt on account of those who were left behind in the wilderness as the whig scouts would respect the persons of the helpless and harmless, and the Indians, it was hardly supposed, would harm those who were so nearly allied to one who was proscribed by the enemies of the red men. Kaine, however, never saw the faces of his wife and children again. From some unexplained and inexplicable cause, they were murdered by a band of Mohawk Indians, who surrounded the house in the night, consummated the bloody deed, and then disappeared almost as mysteriously as they had entered the neighborhood. This occurred in April, 1777, a few days after Kaine left home.
On the day previous to the awful tragedy, some of the neighbors had labored under an almost indefinable and unaccountable apprehension that something of more than ordinary importance was pending. The wife and children of Robert Land, who lived near Kaine's, on the opposite side of the river (and of whom we shall have something more to say in the next chapter) had been informed that the scouts were coming from Minisink to drive off their cattle, and Mrs. L. and her eldest son, whose name was John, had gone, no one knew whither, with their cows, &c., to elude the "regulators." In the afternoon, an Indian had approached the house of a person who was from home; and had been driven off by his courageous wife, who threatened to shoot the savage, if he crossed her threshold. Soon after sundown, a loud, shrill whistle was heard on a height in the vicinity, and the dogs of the neighborhood were very uneasy, and kept up a continual barking until late at night. Many went to their doors several times during the evening, to ascertain, if possible, what alarmed the dogs; but were unable to make any discovery. They finally went to bed without being altogether satisfied that they would not have to leave their couches without ceremony before morning.
Some time in the night, an Indian entered the house of Robert Land, and noiselessly proceeded to the room where one of his daughters was sleeping. He awoke her by gently drawing the point of a spear, across the sole of one of her feet, which he had uncovered.
A Tuscarora chief named Captain John had been in the habit of visiting her father's house. Unlike the red man of the poet, he was an inveterate wag, and had amused himself much in tormenting the girls of the family, by playing all kinds of practical jokes upon them. Nothing pleased him more than the ludicrous vexation of the victims of his wit, who, half angry at being made the subjects of his mirth, could not help joining in his boisterous laughter. Among the pranks which he played often, was that of annoying persons who were asleep by "irritating" their noses, ears or feet with a straw or feather.
When Miss Land felt the point of the spear glide ever the bottom of her foot, half asleep as she was, she supposed her old friend of the Tuscaroras was again teasing her, and she exclaimed, as she opened eyes, "Captain John, is that you?"
"Do you know Captain John?" was the reply, in a voice with an Indian accent, but which she could not recognize.
She had presence of mind sufficient to reply, without appearing to be alarmed, that she was very well acquainted with him.
Her unknown visitor then told her to get up, dress herself as quickly as possible, and go to the neighboring families, and tell them that the Indians had come. He then disappeared. She did what she was directed to do by the unknown Indian; but it does not appear that she alarmed her brothers and sister, who were sleeping in the same house. The name of the friendly savage was never ascertained; and his mysterious conduct adds not a little to the romantic character of our narrative.
glided rapidly along a path which led to the river, trembling lest she should
encounter the savages, and starting in affright whenever she saw anything which
her imagination invested with a suspicious appearance. When she reached the
shore of the
Almost wild with terror, she fled from the premises and ere she knew precisely what she was doing or whither her footsteps tended, she found herself near the residence of Mr. Conklin, (the father of the late Judge John Conklin) who lived a short distance above Cochecton Falls. She at once alarmed the inmates of the house, who soon procured a light, and found that her hands and dress were smeared with blood. She told them what she had seen and heard, and staid with them all night. None of them retired to bed again; but all remained awake until the dawn of the next morning, and labored under the fear of a visit from the Indians until it was prudent to go forth. The whole party then proceeded to Kaine's house, where they found the entire family, including Flowers, murdered and scalped in the most barbarous manner. The poor, ill-fated mother, it was evident, was scalped while she was alive; for she had died in attempting to dress herself, and a portion of her under clothes were partially drawn over her head.
Conklin and his companions had contemplated the bloody spectacle for some time
in horrified silence, they accompanied
Before anything further was done, Mrs. Land and John returned. When the latter was informed that his brother was taken prisoner by the Indians and tarried off, he was sorely perplexed. He could not understand why his father's family should be converted into targets at which both parties considered it their duty to fire, and he could not readily determine what course to pursue for the purpose of rescuing his unfortunate brother. He did not even know which way the Mohawks had gone, until he had rallied all the friends of the family who were willing to go with him to rescue Abel. Among them were a few Delaware Indians, with whose whereabouts John was acquainted, and who told him which route the Mohawks had adopted to return to their own country. With this information, John and his party commenced pursuing the savage marauders, whom they overtook at the Quaga after a very rapid march. When John encountered them, they were posted for battle; but were not disposed to fight until they learned upon what errand the whites were bound. The object of the latter was not to chastise the murderers of the Kaine family, and perhaps it was not prudent to attempt it, as the Mohawks were the most numerous, and had the choice of the ground. They simply wished to have Abel delivered up to them, and to let his captors "depart in peace."
Land indicated to the adverse party that he was bound on a friendly errand, and called for a "talk," the result of which was an agreement that Abel should be restored to his friends; but that he should first run the gauntlet. According to this agreement the Mohawks arranged themselves in a double column facing inwards, and each armed with a club. Abel was placed at the end: farthest from his friends, and was compelled to run between the columns toward his brother's party, while each Indian had the privilege of striking him as he passed. Abel had a famous pair of heels, and it is said he never exhibited them to better advantage than on this occasion. Either because they were so astonished at his speed that they forgot everything else, or because they were not disposed to harm him after the explanation they had received concerning the family, they did not, hurt him much. He passed through their ranks without receiving more than half a dozen blows, and none of them were severe.
parties then separated, one marching towards the Susquehanna, and the other towards the
When the latter reached home, they proceeded to the house which contained the mangled remains of Mrs. Kaine, her five little ones, and Mr. Flowers. The dead bodies were gathered together, arrayed for the grave as decently as circumstances would permit, and in due course of time were consigned to the dust.
Why the Mohawks committed this shocking outrage, has never been explained to our satisfaction. Their motive must ever remain an impenetrable—a horrid mystery. By some it is supposed that Kaine himself was in the Indian country, and that he had sent the savages to kill his whig neighbor, Mr. Conklin; but that, being unacquainted with the locality, they mistook Kaine's house for Conklin's. This supposition, however, seems to be based upon imagination. Speculation cannot assign a plausible motive for the bloody deed.
Kaine lived many years after the war. He no longer had a motive to court
prosperity. He wandered about from neighborhood to neighborhood in the valley
The farm upon which Kaine settled is now owned by a man named Charles Young. The traveller, while he flies over it almost with the velocity of an arrow, and in a sumptuous car, seldom dreams that a tragedy such as we have faintly described occurred there in the olden time.
In the last preceding chapter, we alluded to Robert and John Land, in connexion with the massacre of Bryant Kaine's family. We now propose to give a more extended, though brief, account of them, so far as they were affected by the Revolution, not because the family of Land occupied a more prominent place on the theatre of that period than others who lived in the valley of the Delaware. Their mishaps and adventures are but samples of the misfortunes and trials of others; and we record them because we have been more fortunate in collecting information concerning them than we have in our researches in regard to some others.
Robert Land settled near the mouth of the Cushetunk in 1768, with his family. He had married a Miss Phebe Scott, and by this means became an uncle of General Winfield Scott.
was a tory in politics, and when the controversy between the colonies and the
mother country waxed so hot that blood began to flow pretty freely, the
Revolutionary committee of Minisink considered it prudent to have him and some
of his neighbors arrested, and placed where they could do no harm to the cause
of freedom. Before the determination of the committee could be carried into
effect, however, the obnoxious and proscribed individuals alluded to left
Cochecton, to elude the scouts who were coming up to arrest them. Land made his
way to the city of
After it became known that the father had fled to the English army, and was probably serving under the banner of John Bull, and laboring to subvert the liberty of his country, several attempts were made to drive off his cattle. John, however, was prudent and wary, and managed to take the cattle to some secret place in the woods, whenever the scouts intended to pay him a visit.
In the course time, John himself became obnoxious to the charge of being a tory, whether justly or not we cannot say, although it is more than probable that sympathy for his father, and the circumstances which were continually transpiring, exercised a powerful influence in the formation of his opinions.
decided that it was unsafe to let him be at large, and unlike some others, he
was not so fortunate as to escape the tory-detested scouts. He was arrested,
and taken to a prison in
was taken away, the family left their home on the Cushetunk and proceeded to
New-York. They took the principal part of their house-hold goods to Big
Equinunk, and deposited them in a cleft of the rocks, where they were secure
from moisture, and where no one would be apt to find them, as the place of
deposit was of very difficult access. From Big Equinunk the family crossed by
the usual Indian path to Napanoch, and from thence to New-York, where they
remained until the British army evacuated the city, when, with the head of the
family and other tory refugees, they went to
John Land lived in Cochecton many years after the war. He was a noted trapper, and actually caught beaver enough, in a few months, on the Cushetunk and one or two other streams, to pay for four hundred and thirty three acres of land, which, thirty years afterwards, sold for ten thousand dollars.
Mrs. Land visited Cochecton after peace was declared, and told John where she had concealed her goods. He employed a man to go with him to the place, and assist in bringing them away. When they reached it, John was not disposed to risk his life by climbing up to the depository, and directed his assistant to do it. The fellow very readily obeyed. He ascended to the cleft, and when he reached the place where the goods were supposed to be, he reported that nothing was there, which induced John to go home without making any further search. He ascertained subsequently that he had been deceived, and actually found many of the articles which had formerly belonged to his mother in the possession of the person he had employed, or with those to whom he had given or sold them. Land recovered some of them, and "settled" with the dishonest fellow for the balance, by thrashing him severely with a raftman's withe.
THERE were a number of transactions in the
vicinity of the
Brant's invasion of Minisink,
and the battle which ensued in what is now the town of
Count Pulaski had been stationed in Minisink with a battalion of cavalry; but in February previous to the battle, he was ordered to South Carolina.1 Minisink, which was one of the most exposed points of this region, was thus left to the mercy of the invader whenever he chose to make a descent upon it.
James Swartwout, whose father and brothers were killed the preceding year, again escaped narrowly. He was in the blacksmith shop with a negro, when he discovered the Indians close at hand. He at once crept up the chimney of the shop, while the negro remained below, not fearing the savages, knowing probably, that they would not harm him. When the Indians entered, they commenced throwing things about the premises, and selecting such as they fancied. Finally one of them went to the bellows, and began to blow the fire at a rate which proved very uncomfortable to Swartwout, who was nearly strangled with the smoke and the fumes of the burning charcoal, and had great difficulty in retaining his place in the chimney. The Indian became weary of the sport after a little, or was induced by the negro to go at something else. After they had gone off, Swartwout came down from his uncomfortable quarters and escaped.
A man named Rolif Cuddeback was pursued some distance into the woods by an Indian, and found it impossible to outstrip his pursuer. When nearly overtaken, he stopped suddenly and the Indian hurled a tomahawk at him, which, hitting a bush, missed its mark. Cuddeback at once grappled with the supple savage, and they had a furious battle with the weapons of nature. Both struggled for a knife which was in the Indian's belt; but which finally fell to the ground. Neither could safely stoop to pick it up, and so they continued to struggle for life or death in the natural way. Cuddeback was the most athletic of the two; but the savage had besmeared his limbs and body with grease, so that he could slip from Cuddeback's hands whenever the letter laid hold of him. Cuddeback, however, gave the red skin such a buffeting that, after a while, he was glad to beat a retreat. It is said that he never recovered from the rough handling he received from the white man; but died subsequently from the injuries inflicted by Cuddeback. The latter escaped.
Eager, in his history of
Col. Stone in his life of Brant says that no
sooner had the fugitives from Minisink arrived at
It was the opinion of some of the officers that the best way to attack the enemy was to fall upon them at night while they were encamped and asleep. This project was discussed at the council, but was finally abandoned because it was feared that in the confusion and uncertainty of a night attack, the Americans would be as apt to destroy each other as to kill the Indians.
Captain Tyler, who had some knowledge of the woods, was sent forward at the head of a small scouting party to follow the trail of the Indians, and to ascertain, if possible, their movements, as it was evident that they could not be far in advance. The captain had proceeded but a short distance before he fell from the fire of the unseen enemy. This circumstance occasioned considerable alarm, but the volunteers nevertheless pressed eagerly forward, sand it was not long before they emerged upon the hills of the Delaware, in full view of that river, upon the eastern bank of which, at a distance of three‑fourths of a mile, the Indians were seen deliberately marching in the direction of a fording‑place at the mouth of the Lackawaxen. This discovery was made at about in the morning. The intention of Brant to cross at the ford was evident, and it was afterwards ascertained that his booty had already been sent thither in advance.
The determination was immediately formed by Colonel Hathorn to intercept the, enemy at the fording place, for which purpose instant dispositions were made. But, owing to intervening woods and hills, the opposing bodies soon lost sight of each other and an adroit movement on the part of Brant gave him an advantage which it was impossible for the Americans to regain. Anticipating the design of Hathorn, the moment the Americans were out of sight, Brant wheeled to the right, and by threading a ravine across which Hathorn had passed, threw himself into his rear, by which means he was enabled deliberately to select his ground for battle, and form an ambuscade. Disappointed at not finding the enemy, the Americans were brought to a stand, when the enemy disclosed himself partially, in a quarter altogether unexpected.3
The first shot was fired upon an Indian, who, as
the Americans came to the bank of the river, was crossing the
The belligerents soon engaged in deadly conflict; when, above the whooping and yelling of the savages, the hurrahs of the whites, and the reports of the fire arms, Brant was heard, in a voice which was never forgotten by those who were present, commanding all who were on the opposite side of the river with the plunder, to return. They at once dashed into the river, and soon fell upon the rear of the Americans, who were thus completely surrounded and hemmed in, except about one‑third of their number, whom Brant in the early part of the engagement had managed to cut off from the main body. The enemy were several tines greater in number than the militia, who were ultimately driven in and confined to about an acre of ground.
Being short of ammunition, Hathorn's orders, in
imitation of those of Putnam at
The battle commenced about in the morning, and was maintained until the going down of the sun; both parties fighting after the Indian fashion, every man for himself, and the whole keeping up an irregular fire from behind rocks and trees as best they could.4
The militia were completely cut off from water, and suffered greatly during the day from thirst. About sunset their ammunition gave out, and the survivors endeavored to escape, breaking through the circle of blood‑thirsty savages. Many of them were cut down while making the attempt.
Dr. Tusten was engaged behind a cliff of rocks in
dressing the wounded when the retreat commenced. There were seventeen disabled
men under his care at the moment, whose cries for protection and mercy were of
the most moving description. The Indians fell upon them, however, and they all,
together with the doctor, perished under the tomahawk. Among the slain were
many of the first citizens of
One of the militia who escaped was so exhausted he could not run far. He followed in the direction his friends had taken, until he could go no further. He then got out of the path, near which he remained some time. In a little while he saw the Indians one after another running in the direction the whites had gone. None of them looked towards the place where he was, until finally a very powerful savage discovered him. The Indian's eye no sooner rested on him than the white man fired his last shot and fled. The Indian did not follow, and it was supposed he was killed or badly wounded. The name of the white man, we believe, was Cuddeback.
There was one, (Major Wood) who, during the battle, saved himself by means which Brant said were dishonorable. By some process or other, though not a freemason, he had acquired a knowledge of the master mason's grand hailing signal of distress; and having been informed that Brant was a member of the brotherhood, he gave the mystic sign. Faithful to his pledge, the chieftain interposed and saved his life. Discovering the imposture afterwards, he was very indignant. Still, he spared his life, and the prisoner ultimately returned to his friends after a long captivity.5
There is another reason given why Wood's life was spared by Brant. Eager says the sign was accidentally made by him, and further that on the evening after the battle, when Brant was about to tie him, lest he should escape, Wood remonstrated, and said he was a gentleman and promised not to escape. They did not tie him, but directed him to lay between two Indians, who informed him that if he attempted to escape they would tomahawk him. The blanket on which he slept caught fire during the night, and he dare not move from his position to extinguish it, lest he should experience the reality of the threat, and be tomahawked. At last the fire reached his feet, and he kicked it out. The blanket belonged to Brant. Wood was harshly treated by Brant ever after, and when asked the reason of his conduct, he said: "D—n you, you burnt my blanket." Wood resided in the county many years and was a very respectable citizen.
But we are of opinion, from all the circumstances of the case, that Wood was not a free mason, and from the reason of the enmity of Brant, as expressed in the above anecdote, that Wood was innocent of any fraud upon Brant, and that the suggestion was a slander.
Among the killed was Moses Thomas, 2d, a son of the gentleman of that name who was murdered by the savages near the block house in Cochecton. He was slain by a tory named Case Cole.6
For forty three years the bones of these victims
of savage warfare were permitted to bleach upon the bleak hill side where the
battle took place. But one attempt had been made to gather and bury them, and
that was made by the widows of the slain, of whom there were thirty‑three
in the Presbyterian congregation of
Benj. Tusten—Col. Gabriel Wisner, Esq.
Bazaliel Tyler—Capt. Stephen Mead,
Ephraim Masten—Ens. Benjamin Vail—Capt.
Nathaniel Fitch—Adj. John Wood—Lieut.
John Duncan—Capt. Nathaniel Terwilliger,
Samuel Jones—Capt. Joshua Lockwood,
John Little—Capt. Ephraim Ferguson.
Rober Townsend, Joseph Norris,
Samuel Knapp, Gilbert S. Vail,
James Knapp, Joel Decker,
Benjamin Bennett, Abram Shepherd,
William Baker, —— Shepherd,
Jacob Dunning, Nathan Wade,
Jonathan Pierce, Simon Wait,
James Little, —— Talmage.
John Carpenter, Gamaliel Bailey,
David Barney, Moses Thomas,
Jonathan Haskell, Eleazer Owens,
Abram Williams, Adam Embler,
James Mosher, Samuel Little,
Isaac Ward, Benjamin Dunning,
Baltus Niepos, Daniel Reed.
Erected by the Inhabitants of
Sacred to the Memory of Forty‑four of Their
Fellow‑citizens, who Fell at
ADVENTURE OF THE SANDBURGH.
We received the following from the lips of a man whose hair was silvered by the frosts of one hundred winters:
None liked to have them about. Women were always scared at the sight of them, and worried and fretted all the time they were in the neighborhood. The young ones, too, were uneasy, and when a red skin came along, they would run into the house or the bushes, holding on to their scalps, as if they expected to have their top‑knots cut off.
The Indians were not encouraged to come back, and very few would have anything to say to them, and those who did talk to them advised them to clear out.
A man had to go to
While my horse was eating his oats, three red skins came in. They had been wandering about on the Shawangunk, and seemed to be on their way back to their own country. As soon as they got into the bar room, the strange looking man spoken of began to talk to them. He spoke in an outlandish gibberish, which the Indians seemed to understand. They answered him with a few words, and seemed quite uneasy, eyeing him suspiciously, and edging off whenever he came near them.
After talking to them some time,
he offered them some rum; but they shook their heads, saying:
"Bad—bad." He then drank about a gill of rum himself, and sat down
the tumbler as if he meant to smash it. The landlord seemed to be frightened
all the time, and did not really seem to know what he was at. At last he told
the red skins they had better go, and they took their guns and went off up the
Sandburgh. As soon as they had got out of sight, the white man took another
large horn, and went after them. His gun, I remember, was an uncommon long one,
and the stock seemed to be nearly worn out. As soon as he had got out of the
tavern, the landlord groaned and said, "Lord have mercy on them poor
The tavern keeper went to the door and listened to find out whether anything happened in the direction the Indians had gone. After a while, guns were heard fired a great ways off; and then he returned into the bar room. I staid there two or three hours longer, and before I went away, Tom came back with the three guns the Indians had taken away. How he got them, you may imagine. Tom himself never threw any light on the subject, and the Indians were never seen afterwards.
Before I went away, the landlord charged me to say nothing of what I had seen, as it might bring the settlers into trouble with the Indians.
WHEN we first heard the following story, we somewhat hastily pronounced it altogether apocryphal. We have since found reason to believe that the main part of the story is true.
On the green banks of a western river a number of
Indians hail convened in council. Several of the choicest braves of the tribe
had disappeared, and none of their brethren knew their fate. They had gone from
time to time to hunt on the banks of the
A medicine man or prophet, who was regarded as an
extraordinary specimen of his kind, had been consulted; and, having called into
requisition all the skill of his art, he declared that the missing braves had
fallen victims to the rifle of Tom Quick, who yet haunted the forests of the
They knew that he was an unrelenting foe. They knew that he had sworn by the God of the pale face never to share any of their people as long as his Deity gave breath to his nostrils. They knew that he had murdered some of their friends after the calamut of peace had passed between the two races; and that he regarded no obligation save that which he had voluntarily taken to revenge the death of his father. And they believed that no red man, unless he possessed some powerful charm or medicine, could harm him, so often had they shot at him and failed to take his scalp.
The assembled braves gave ready evidence to the words of the prophet. They firmly believed that the missing men had fallen by the hand of Quick.
At the mention of his name, the usual stoical demeanor of the warriors changed. Revenge and hatred gleamed from their eyes. Each man grasped his tomahawk, his scalping knife or his rifle.
A brave whose only brother had disappeared with the others, sprang to his feet.
"Brothers!" he exclaimed, "Tom Quick must die! One by one, in the silent forest, he has blasted the noblest of our tribe as the mighty oak is rent by the forked lightning. Their squaws and their little ones mourn for them, and hunger for the venison which is no longer seen in their lodges.
"Brothers! Their path to the spirit land is choked with thorns and briars, because their blood is unavenged.
"Brothers! Shall we seek our foe as we seek the panther which has tasted the life‑blood of our little ones, or shall we flee to the shelter of our wigwams, and tremble like squaws?
"Brothers! ere another moon, I shall go toward the rising sun, and never return until the scalp of our enemy is taken. Must I, the last of my father's sons, seek the war path alone? I have spoken."
Two other braves, whose kindred had also disappeared in the same mysterious manner, immediately volunteered to go with him, and the council broke up.
The three warriors who thus voluntarily devoted
themselves to the welfare of their race, departed for the
They had not been long in ambush during the second "season of flowers," before they encountered a white man who was bound up the river. They recognized in him a friend—a tory—who had often accompanied them in their expeditions during the recent war. At the cessation of hostilities, he had professed to give in his adhesion to the government; but he was yet in heart and soul a royalist, and hated the whigs so vehemently that at times his prudence was hardly sufficient to prevent an open "expression of his sentiments" in regard to the "rebels," who refused to associate with a man who had assisted the savages in murdering the wives and children of his neighbors. His hatred of Tom Quick was intense; for Tom had repeatedly pronounced him worse than an Indian, and had even threatened to include him among the number of his natural enemies.
When the warriors ascertained that they had met a friend, they soon elicited from him information which induced them to change their plan of operations. Tom, they found was living with one of his friends, who had a cabin near Handsome Eddy. They resolved to seek him there, and act as circumstances should dictate.
Soon afterwards, they proceeded to a height in Tom's neighborhood, from which they learned that he was in the habit of going to the woods every evening after a cow, and that a bell was on the cow. The next afternoon they went to the place where the cow was usually found. Towards evening they took the bell from her, and drove her back into the woods. They then returned toward the house, and getting on a log behind some bushes, where they could see some distance in the direction of Tom's residence without being seen themselves, they commenced ringing the tell, supposing that the stratagem would bring Quick into their clutches, and that they could easily shoot him as he approached their place of concealment.
Just before sundown, Tom started after the cow, rifle in hand as usual. As soon as he heard the bell, he thought its "ding dong" was unusual. "Mully" had never been in the habit of ringing with as much violence, or as continuously. He stopped and listened attentively. All was evidently not right. His quick ear detected something in the sound which led him to believe that the bell was not "in its accustomed place." But who or what put its clapper in motion, he was at a loss to conjecture. Caution seemed necessary and Tom was determined to exercise his ordinary prudence. As near as he could judge the bell was rung about half way up the hill, from the top of which he concluded he would reconnoitre. He took a wide circuit, (in doing which he encountered the cow,) and soon found himself on the brow of the ascent, from which he saw the Indians, one of whom had possession of the bell, while his rife was at his side. The others, with their arms ready for a conflict, were peering through the bushes in front.
They were so sure of circumventing Tom, and that he would approach from the house, that they did not deem the usual precautions necessary, and little dreamed that Quick was cooly inspecting their operations from the hill. How frequently are the most cunning taken in the very trap which they have prepared for others.
Tom thought a moment, and only a moment, what course to pursue. He resolved to attack all three, and was sure that he could do so without greatly endangering his own life. He knew that his rifle would send a ball through two of them, provided he could get in the right position, and hit them in the right place; and he thought his chance of killing the third would be good, provided he did not take to his heels and escape. He therefore endeavored to get them in range, and passed noiselessly from tree to tree until he had nearly reached the place from which he intended to shoot, when he unfortunately stepped on a twig which snapped under his foot. The bell stopped its "ding dong" instantly, and the Indians turned, with rifles cocked, towards him. But he had disappeared before they could see him, and a large hemlock completely screened his form from their eyes. They saw nothing except the cow, which was quietly grazing and walking towards them, and supposing the cause of alarm originated with her, they gave the usual Indian exclamation of satisfaction, and recommenced the ringing and watched as before.
After waiting a sufficient time behind the hemlock, Tom glided noiselessly to the point from which he intended to fire—took deliberate aim—and one of his fatal balls sped on its mission of death. Two of the savages were at once put in a situation where physic was powerless. The third (the bell ringer) was wounded slightly. He was so much surprised at what had occurred, that he sprang upon his feet without his rifle, and then took to his heels with such expedition and earnestness that he was soon beyond the reach of harm. Tom gave the finishing stroke to the two who had fallen, and left their bodies to feed the wild beasts of the forest.
Many of the circumstances connected with the killing of these men soon became known to the whites, and the savage who escaped bore the intelligence to his brethren that two more braves had become victims of Tom's rifle. This enraged the Indians so much, that they resolved to kill or capture Tom at all hazards, and during the same year they almost succeeded in their design, as will appear in the next chapter.
As has been stated in a previous chapter, some of the Indians were never heard of after they had visited Minisink. The whites as well as their red neighbors, generally thought that Tom could throw some light upon their fate, or at least produce their rifles, if he thought proper. But he maintained a prudent silence in regard to them.
Notwithstanding Tom had become somewhat infirm, he could not resist the inclination he felt to dwell again in the solitary forests during the warm season. His stay among his friends of the settlements, however, was more protracted than usual, and he did not depart until about the first of June.
He made his headquarters at a cabin near the Lechawchsin—known at present as the Lackawaxen—on the farm once occupied by Benjamin Halbert. In this cabin he deposited his furs, and generally remained in it himself while the weather was unpleasant.
The Indians were so rarely seen in that part of the country that he felt little apprehension in regard to them, notwithstanding their recent abortive attempt to kill him near the settlements.
The Indians, however, were determined to make
another attempt to capture or slay him. With this object in view, they,
organized a band of fifteen or twenty braves, who resolved to reconnoitre every
neighborhood in the vicinity of the
After searching some time they found his retreat. Fortunately for them, a storm of rain, accompanied by a dense mist or fog, occurred opportunely, and greatly aided them in their enterprise. Disposing of their number properly, they surrounded the cabin of which he was the solitary occupant, and before he knew that an Indian was in the neighborhood, he was in their power.
The cabin formed a focus towards which the cordon of savages gradually and surely converged. Tom soon found himself encircled by his enemies, with a dozen rifles pointed at his breast. Surprised and unarmed as he was, escape was impossible and, resistance useless. Like many men not half so shrewd as himself, Tom made a virtue of necessity. He submitted, and was speedily stripped of his clothing and bound hand and foot.
Great was the joy of the red men when they had secured him. Their yells of triumph echoed and re‑echoed through the forest, and it seemed as if Pandemonium, by some strange influence, had acquired an earthly locality. They insulted him in every possible way. They compared him with the most timid of animals, and spurned him with their feet.
Tom made no reply to their insults. His demeanor was fearless. Not a muscle quivered, and even his eye, that "mirror of the soul," exhibited no shade of apprehension. On the contrary, it would occasionally darken with the most deadly hatred, or resemble the tiger's, when that ferocious beast rushes upon his victim.
It was near night when Tom was taken, and the Indians, after a consultation, concluded that, as it rained, they would not turn their steps homeward until morning. A number of them watched him closely, prepared at any moment to shoot him if necessary to prevent his escape, while the others rummaged his effects. His skins and some other articles were prepared for transportation. One thing, however, they did not find, and that was Tom's rifle, which accidentally was in a dark corner of the garret.
Among other things which pleased them, they found a small keg of "fire water"—a liquid which Tom seldom used, but which he generally had in his possession, and drank of it freely. Its effects soon became visible. Some were highly exhilarated and joyous; others grew morose, sullen and bloodthirsty; while another portion seemed more shrewd and intelligent than usual. The latter saw that, unless Tom was placed beyond the reach of their ill‑natured brethren, he would probably fall a victim to their increasing moroseness ere morning; and next to taking his life, they desired the whole tribe to participate in the torturing of him. They were not disposed however, to take the exclusive charge of him; for they desired to have "a night of it" too. So they suggested that it would be well to confine their prisoner in the garret of the cabin until morning, and that he should be bound with additional thongs so as to render escape impossible. As none of there wished to have the approaching carousel checked in any manner, the proposition was readily assented to by the whole party. Extra ties were accordingly placed upon his limbs, and a long piece of deer skin attached to his thongs and then to a rafter.
Never was mortal in a more disagreeable predicament. He was in gloom and darkness, with no hope of escape—his enemies drunk and rejoicing like fiends over a fallen spirit, and his prospect of death before morning was among the uncertainties; for he heard some of the Indians declare occasionally that it would be best to take his scalp at once, and others contended that he should be disposed of in the manner usual with the Indians, when they captured a great warrior.
He remained in suspense as to the result of the debate until near , when the savages became less boisterous. Some of them were beastly drunk—others were not disposed to continue the "pow‑wow," and soon, so far as Tom could judge, all were asleep or too much intoxicated to harm him. He thought his lease of life was good until morning, but soon found that the evils of the night had not terminated.
For the first time in his life, our hero—if we may term him a hero—began to feel dispirited. Was escape possible? There appeared to be no means within his power to extricate himself, and if he could not do so when the Indians were intoxicated, how could he at another time when they would probably be sober? Having slipped through their fingers so often, he felt quite sure that they would be extremely careful to secure him for the torture. The torture! would not their ingenuity be exhausted in devising ways to render his death as painful as possible?
The thought flashed through his brain that it would be better to kill himself at once than permit them to blister, and sear, and roast him until he died. But he was so effectually tied that he could not even commit self‑murder. The dark thought was abandoned, and he began to speculate upon the possibility of exasperating the Indians in some manner the next day, so that they would tomahawk him, when his attention was drawn to a slight noise below. He listened, and ere long was convinced that something was stirring there. Soon he imagined he heard a moccasined foot upon the floor, and presently some one seemed to be ascending the ladder which led to the garret. A moment afterwards, the head of a drunken savage appeared above the floor of the apartment in which Tom was confined.
In one hand the red man held a brand of fire, and in the other a formidable looking knife. The fire east a ruddy reflection upon the Indian's face, and upon the glittering steel, giving a very sanguinary appearance to the former, and imparting to the latter a bright, bloody hue.
The Indian approached with unsteady feet, and stood before his intended victim with features distorted and brutal from the effects of rum, and with eyes gleaming, glittering, snakish. His body swaying to and fro, he regarded Tom a moment, and then murmuring, "Revenge is sweet! my knife shall drink the blood of the panther which has slain my kindred!" he prepared to strike Tom.
It was an awful moment. Tom had often taken life wantonly, but never thought before what a dreadful thing it was to be launched into the unseen world, without an opportunity to address a single petition to the Divine Author and Judge of all things. In an instant, a thousand memories of the past flitted through his brain, and his mind rested upon the great problem of the future. What would be his fate there?
Tom hadn't time to reflect much on this point; for when he reached it, the savage attempted to thrust his knife into Tom's heart. Instinctively—and instinct is a better guide in such emergencies than reason—Tom dodged—fell flat upon his face. The knife, which was intended for his heart, passed harmlessly over him, and the drunken savage, having missed his mark, was unable to preserve his balance, and fell headlong over the prostrate body of Tom. His head struck heavily against the log wall of the garret, and he fell stupid, stunned and senseless upon the floor. In his fall he dropped the brand, which fortunately did not set fire to the hut.
Tom soon had the satisfaction of knowing that his intended murderer no longer had the power to harm him. He then listened to ascertain whether the noise of the encounter had aroused the Indians below, and found that all was still.
He got upon his feet again and stood as before. Suddenly the idea occurred to him that if he could reach the Indian he might possibly get the knife, and cut himself loose. He threw himself upon the floor again and moved over it like a legless worm in the direction of the Indian. Poor Tom was doomed to disappointment in his attempt to reach the savage. The thong which was tied to his neck was not long enough! Without any object in view, he turned back, and endeavored to reach the place he had left, when he made a discovery which rewarded him for his trouble.
While crawling back his foot came it contact with something which felt colder than the rubbish on the floor. It was the knife which he was in search of, and which the drunken Indian had dropped as he tumbled over Tom. But how was he to use it? His hands and feet were useless, bound as they were. What good could a knife do him? We will see.
Tom managed to get the handle of the knife between his teeth, and soon freed his ankles and cut the strip of hide which had bound him to the rafter. He then searched for a crevice in the side of the cabin, in which he could thrust the handle of the Indian's knife, so that the blade would point outward and be firm. Then, by turning his back, he contrived to cut the remaining fastenings, and was again almost free.
His first impulse was to descend and pass over the prostrate forms of his captors. Fearing, however, that some of them had become so far sobered that they might be disturbed, he concluded to jump out of the garret, after removing some of the bark with which the hut was covered. Going to the corner of the garret he got his favorite rifle,1 which had been his companion through so many scenes of blood, and soon after was threading the mazes of the forest, naked and hungry.
Entirely destitute, he reached the settlement of Minisink, where he was kindly received, and a suit of clothes furnished him.
The Indians when they looked for Tom in the morning, found nothing but the thongs with which he had been tied. Their disappointment was great; but it was modified somewhat, by the remains of the "fire water."
In a few hours they commenced their homeward march, taking with them everything belonging to Tom.
A week or so afterwards the Indian Slayer returned to the cabin to look after his property. There is nothing which will enrage a trapper more than to rob him of his furs. He regards such an act as the ultima thule of baseness—the lowest point of meanness. When Tom found that his cabin was stripped, and that his skins (which were worth about thirty dollars.) were gone, his anger knew no bounds. In the language of one of our informants, "he was tearing mad;" and it is supposed that the robbery, more than anything else, led him to engage in the affair which resulted in the murder of Canope, who was the last Indian killed by Tom.2
MURDER OF CANOPE.1
NOT long after Tom was taken prisoner on the
Lackawaxen, two Indians came to what is now the town of
Previous to the war, they had been frequently at Minisink, particularly Canope, who was a fine specimen of his race, and had been highly esteemed by his white neighbors.
Ben Shanks, it is said, was the tallest Indian
ever seen on the
During hostilities, they had taken an active part in favor of King George, and had accompanied several of the ruthless expeditions of the tories and savages against the whigs of Wawarsink and Minisink.
Huycon was bold, crafty and cunning; and on one occasion had penetrated Wawarsink, and nearly succeeded in taking prisoner Colonel Jansen, a noted patriot. Shanks was distinguished for his barbarous murders, and was very obnoxious to the whigs on account of the part he had taken in the murder of John Mack and the two young ladies who were killed on the Shawangunk.
At the time the circumstances detailed in this chapter occurred, a majority of the white families who had located themselves in Cochecton previous to the war, had returned, and again lived on their farms. Some of them were old acquaintances of Canope and Huycon. The Indians stopped on their way down to renew the friendly relations which had existed previous to the late troubles. One of the men they called to see was Joseph Ross, who lived near the mouth of the Callicoon, and some of whose descendants still reside in Cochecton. Ross appears to have been a humane man. He advised Canope and Shanks to go no further, and told them their lives would be in danger if they went below, as there were some desperate characters there—Tom Quick among the number—who would rejoice at an opportunity to kill them. A man named Josiah Parks gave them the same advice.
The two savages were experienced and brave warriors, however, and knew not what fear was. They had lurked about the houses of the whigs when war existed, and they imagined it would now be cowardly to turn back from fear. Saying that it was "peace time," and that they did not think the whites would hurt them, they went to the ponds in the vicinity of Handsome Eddy, where they fished and hunted; but carefully avoided the settlers and others. While they were thus engaged, they were discovered by a man named Ben, or Benjamin Haines, who lived at the Eddy. He professed to be friendly, and told them that if they would go with him to the river, they might make his house their home. They declined at first; but he promised to protect them, and finally induced them to accompany him.
This Haines, as the result will prove, was a dastardly wretch. He was as barbarous as a savage; but did not possess a single trait which partially redeems the Indian character. The murders of Quick may shock us; but the mean treachery of Haines can elicit no other feeling than that of abhorrence and contempt.
While the Indians were at his house, Haines pretended that it was necessary for him to go to Minisink after rum and ammunition. The real object of his journey was to see Tom, and induce him to go to the Eddy and murder his guests. It is said that he wished to get possession of the furs which the Indians had brought with them. He found the old Indian Slayer, who was yet wild with rage, on account of having been robbed of his skins at the cabin on the Lackawaxen. Tom readily listened to Haines, and agreed to kill the savages, provided he could get some one to assist; for he thought it advisable not to attempt to cope with Huycon and Canope alone, as it was well known they were each nearly equal to him in cunning and bravery.
Among Tom's friends was a man named Cobe
Chambers, or Shimer,2 who had formerly
After conferring with Tom, Haines went home, with the understanding that the Indian Slayer should follow in a day or two and bring Shinier with him. Haines found Canope and his companion still at his cabin when he returned.
Quick and Shimer reached the Eddy a day or two after Haines, got there. They found the latter and the Indians in the cabin waiting for their morning meal, which "the woman of the house" was preparing for them. Ben professed to be surprised at their coming, and greeted Tom as an old acquaintance; but gave him a fictitious name, so that the Indians, who had never seen him before, would not know who he was. After inquiring where they were going, etc., he invited them to eat breakfast with him which, after a little urging, they agreed to do.
While Ben's wife was putting the dishes on the table, he filled a bowl with water, and taking it out doors, put it on a stump a rod or two from the house. He then returned, and told the Indians to wash themselves. They went out of doors for that purpose, and Haines had a brief opportunity to confer with Tom and Shimer. He told them that he would get the savages to go with him unarmed to the "fish rocks," to catch fish, and that the opportunity to shoot them at that place would be good, as there was a convenient clump of bushes close by, from which to fire. Tom expressed his satisfaction with what Haines had said—the Indians came back into the house, and all sat down and ate a hearty breakfast. Tom and Ben seemed to be perfectly at ease all the time, as if nothing more than usual was on their minds, while Cobe appeared to be disconcerted.
After breakfast, the new comers apparently resumed their journey up the river. They were soon in ambush, however, near the place where Ben said he would entice the Indians. Not long after this, Huycon, Canope and Haines, and a little son of the latter, came to the rocks and began to fish. Before Tom and his companion fired, it occurred to Haines that his son might be injured in the affray, and he ordered him to go home. Something in the manner of Haines caused the Indians to suspect his fidelity; but he quickly quieted their suspicions, and the three continued to angle as before. Canope having broken his hook, and none of the party being in possession of one to give him, laid down on the rocks near Shanks, with his head resting upon his hand and elbow. This was considered a favorable opportunity by Tom and Shimer, and they took aim. Cobe, who was not accustomed to such business, was greatly excited, and Tom declared afterwards that his (Cobe's) hand trembled so that he heard the barrel of his gun rattle against the log on which it rested.
They fired. Tom's ball passed through the hand and the lower part of the head of Canope, wounding him severely. Shimer, as might have been safely predicted, did not hit Shanks.
The wounded man ran to Haines and claimed the protection which had been promised; but instead of granting it, the wretch seized a pine knot, shouting: "Tink! tink how you ust to kill white folks. 'Pant! 'pant! I'll send yor soul to hall'n a moment!" and then dispatched him by beating out his brains.3
Even Tom, familiar as he was with scenes of blood was shocked at the perfidy of Haines. He came up as the latter was dealing out his blows and exclaimed, "D—n a man who will promise an Indian protection, and then knock him on the head!"
Shanks, when he heard the report of the guns, jumped into the river and pretended to be wounded and drowning, until the current had carried him down the stream a short distance, to a place where the bank was covered with bushes. Here he scrambled on shore and ran off limping, hallooing and groaning as if in great agony. The ruse did not deceive Tom, however, who, finding that Shanks was traveling pretty fast for a man who was apparently so badly wounded, started in pursuit, loading his rifle as he ran, and soon got sufficiently near to fire. At the moment he snapped his gun Shanks looked back, and as Tom shot, fell. The Indian afterwards said that he dodged at the flash of the gun. Be that as it may, Tom did not hit him. A ball hole was afterward found through his blanket, but whether it was made by Tom or Cobe could not be ascertained.4
After the last discharge of the gun Huycon took to his heels in earnest, and Tom found that his shanks were neither active nor long enough to overtake him. He returned to the "rocks," saying, "If ever legs did service, it was them."
Another narrator of this affair says: "Some time in 1784, three Indians came to the house of Joseph Ross. Their names were Nicholas, Ben Shanks and Canope. While they staid there they amused themselves by shooting across the river at a large chestnut tree, which is still standing. They several times went from the house of Ross to David Young's. In doing this they passed my father's place, which gave me frequent opportunities to see them. How long they remained in the neighborhood I am unable to say. After they left we heard nothing more about them until the report came that Canope had been killed at Handsome Eddy. The report was that Ben Haines and Shimer, in a hunting expedition, discovered these Indians on the waters of the Shehola, where they had encamped, and were just commencing to trap for beaver. Haines having been well acquainted with them before the war, accosted them in the most friendly manner, calling them brothers, and assuring them that he was overjoyed to find in them his old associates. The Indians having just killed a deer, the whole party heartily and amicably partook of a meal of venison. After this the Indians invited their brother pale faces to visit them again, and Haines invited his brother red men to visit him. They thus parted on apparent friendly terms. The white men had gone but a short distance before Shimer proposed to return, kill the Indians, and take their traps and rifles. To this Haines replied that it would be too dangerous; that they could not expect to kill more than two at the first shot; that there would be one left with three loaded rifles, while theirs would be empty, and that he would shoot both of them before they could reload. "Let them catch the beaver and other game," said he, "and then we can get cousin Tom to help us. He will be delighted to have a chance to kill them." So when they supposed the Indians had caught the game, and prepared the skins, they applied to cousin Tom. To their surprise, he refused to go into the woods where there were Indians. He consented, however, to assist them if Haines would entice the savages to the river. Accordingly Haines prevailed on two of them to come out, by agreeing to protect them and take their furs to Minisink and exchange them for such articles as they needed. After he had got them to his house he induced them to go with him to fish on a certain rock, where, by a preconcerted plan, Shinier and Quick were in ambush. As soon as the Indians were in a convenient position, the two white men fired. Shimer's bullet took effect and wounded Canope, but Quick missed his Indian, who escaped. Canope ran to brother Ben for protection, when the latter said, "Pant, d—n you! for you have not a minute to live!" and then knocked him on the head with a pine knot. Shimer was taken and put in jail, where he remained some time, but was finally liberated. Haines and Tom sculked about from one place to another to keep out of the reach of sheriffs and constables until Shimer was set at liberty, when they again came out boldly among the people. Shimer, while in prison, complained much of the unfairness of keeping him confined, while Ben and Tom, who were equally culpable, were permitted to be at large."
Two weeks had elapsed since the Indians passed through Cochecton, when Shanks returned alone, "damning the Yankees for killing Canope," and swearing that they should suffer for what they had done. He was first seen at a house a short distance from Cochecton bridge, where he stopped to rest and get something to exit. While he was there Mrs. Drake, whose father-in-law, and first and second husband were killed by savages and tories, came into the house. Almost immediately after seeing Shanks she fainted, so great was her dread of those who had slain so many of her near and dear friends. He was next seen by Mr. Joseph Ross, who invited him to tarry a while at his house, but he refused to come near Ross at first, the bad faith of Haines having caused him to suspect every pale face. He finally consented, however, to stay with him a short time. He was treated kindly by Mr. Ross and his neighbors.
While here his conduct afforded much amusement to
the juvenile members of the family. Mr. Ross and his "hands" were
hoeing corn, and every time they went to their work Shanks accompanied them. As
soon as he got to the field he selected the highest ground in it, and after
glancing rapidly and suspiciously aver the surrounding country he seated
himself a la Turque among the waving and rustling corn, where he
remained out of sight fifteen or twenty minutes. He would then jump upon his
feet, get upon the tips of his toes, "stretch his neck" upward as far
as possible, look around as if expecting to see Tom, and then squat upon his
haunches again. As long as he remained in the field he acted in this way. The
boys could compare him to nothing but a rather vigilant and somewhat alarmed
turkey cock. After remaining a day or two he continued his journey homeward to
relate another great wrong committed by the white men. He left Ross breathing
threats of vengeance, and was ferried across the
The death of Canope was regretted by most of the frontier settlers for many reasons. His murder was brought about by the blackest treachery, and was in violation of a solemn treaty of peace, the strict observance of which was necessary to their safety. Nothing could justify the murder. It was known that others beside Tom were engaged in the transaction, and there was good ground to fear that the Indians would avenge his death, and in doing so, not discriminate between the bloody perpetrators of the outrage and those who would have sheltered him from harm.
Gradually, after this event, the fears of the pioneers wore away, and finally they continued to fish and hunt and cultivate their lands without apprehension.
FOR several years after the restoration of peace,
Cochecton presented a curious scene. The settlers, old and new, were struggling
under many disadvantages to make comfortable livings for themselves and those
who were dependent upon them. Fishing,1 hunting, farming, rafting,2—anything
of the kind which promised to yield a good return in food, clothing, or what
was considered of more importance, money, was freely resorted to. Yet,
notwithstanding they had so many strings to their bow, meagre Want sometimes
strode into their dwellings, and laid his withering hand upon them. This
occurred generally when there was a "freshet" of long continuance,
which rendered it impossible to get to Minisink, where they had to get their
corn, and rye, and buckwheat manufactured into meal and flour. During such a
calamity the people were very kind to each other. Without hesitation, they
divided their last crust, and trusted in
Even while the people of Cochecton were thus laboring under all the inconveniences and deprivations of a new and secluded locality, they were seized with a mania to push still further into the wilderness. Strange tales were told of the extraordinary fertility and beauty of the Great West.3 The Sciota, the Muskingum, and other regions where their old neighbors, the Indians, had gone, became words synonymous with Eden and Eldorado. Great as were the natural advantages of the country bordering on the Ohio river, speculators and others whose interest it was to induce emigrants to go there, made the uninitiated believe that that region was a hundred times better than it really was, and thousands of eager and enthusiastic adventurers were soon thronging the military roads, Indian paths and navigable rivers, determined to brave the malaria of the climate, the scalping knife of the savage, starvation—anything, everything which was a barrier to the onward progress of the dominion of the white race.
Among those who emigrated
from Cochecton to the country bordering on the
Van Etten went off into the woods one morning, probably for the purpose of shooting a deer. At , while he was gone, and all the others were present, five Indians came to the house, and as they did not appear unfriendly, they were invited to eat, which invitation they did not decline. Mrs. Russ and her sister were fearful that the savages were not well disposed, and watched them closely. When the Indians had finished their meal, the women saw them thrust their knives into their belts instead of the sheaths in which they usually carried them, and from which they could not be drawn as readily as from belts. When this was observed, the two women spoken of, to use their own expressive language, "knew that their visitors were for war."
Perhaps this idea had suggested itself to Mr. Russ, who was sitting with an axe in his hands on the edge of the bed, upon which was his sick mother‑in‑law, and the infant, which was Mrs. Van Etten's. He pretended to be doing something to the handle. While he was thus occupied, the savages, to the surprise of all, began to inquire about the people of Cochecton, and particularly concerning Captain Bezaliel Tyler and Moses Thomas, 2nd, both of whom were killed at the battle of Minisink, and one of whom had been much hated by the tories and Indians, so much so that they had bestowed upon him an opprobrious Indian name. It was notorious to all who knew anything about Cochecton, that these men were dead, and when the savages began to make inquiries concerning them, and that too in tones of half concealed exultation, Mrs. Russ and Mrs. Van Etten were still more alarmed than when they saw the red men put their knives where they could get them in a melee with the least difficulty. While the Indians were thus asking questions, the eldest daughter of Russ noticed with alarm that one of them was getting nearer tend nearer her father, and that he was evidently watching for a favorable opportunity to tomahawk him. She immediately seated herself on the bed beside him, and attempted to tell him in a whisper to be on his guard. He imprudently turned his head towards her to hear what she had to say, when he was laid dead at her side. The savage who had been watching for a chance to strike him dashed his tomahawk into the brain of the unfortunate man the moment his eye was directed towards his daughter.
The instant this was done, one of the Indians rushed to the door to prevent the escape of any of the inmates. Before he had time to raise his tomahawk, however, to menace those who came that way, Mrs. Russ and her sister sprang against him, pushed him from the door and got out. The moment Mrs. Van Etten had escaped from the cabin, she remembered her sleeping babe, and that she had abandoned it to the brutal and cruel savages. The thought maddened her. Without thinking of the consequences which would result to herself—acting from the strong affectionate instinct of the mother, she attempted to force her way into the cabin and bring away her infant. As she attempted to cross the threshold, the Indian who guarded the door mimed a blow at her head which would have ended her earthly career if she had not fortunately turned the aim of her assailant aside with her hands. As it was, the blade of the tomahawk was buried in one of her cheeks, causing her to carry a hideous scar us long as she lived upon that part of her person which so many vain fair ones bedeck and bedaub with paints and cosmetics. Rendered almost blind by her own blood, the unhappy and half distracted mother staggered beyond the reach of the swarthy barbarian, and ultimately crawled into the woods close by, where she indulged all the heart-rendering emotions of grief.
The moment Cyrus Russ saw his father fall under the blow of the Indian who killed him, almost with the speed of thought, he caught the axe from the hands of his dying parent, and with it split open the head of the murderer. He then turned to the nearest savage and before he had received a single wound himself, he slew him also. It is supposed he wounded the third one before he was killed. While the heroic son was thus avenging the death of his father, the nameless young man of whom we have spoken, seemed paralyzed with fear. He stood, bolt upright, near the fire‑place; without attempting to escape or resist, exhibiting a picture of astonishment, and despair. After Cyrus was killed, it does not appear that this young man even raised his hand to ward off the blow which was directed at his own head. He was knocked down, and fell senseless and lifeless within the fire‑place, after which ferocious murderers stamped his dead body into the ashes. They then went to the bed, where the poor old decrepit woman was lying, a helpless and horrified spectator of the awful scene, and tomahawked her. After doing this, they took the infant of Mrs. Van Etten, and dashed its brains out against the jamb of the fire-place.
The children who were younger than Cyrus providentially escaped. At the commencement of the melee, and while the Indians were engaged with young Russ, they ran up a ladder into the garret. The savages did not attempt to stop them, probably having as much work on hand as they cared for, or perhaps supposing that, after they had slaughtered the men, they could take the young people from their retreat, and kill them at their leisure. If they expected to accomplish the destruction of the children, however, they were mistaken. There was an opening in the walls of the garret, from which the girls leaped to the ground, and then fled, first bidding their brothers to follow, and telling them that they would be killed, if they did not. The boys, however, did not at once leave the garret. Their curiosity was greater than their fear. They watched the proceedings below, through cracks in the garret floor, until the infant was killed, when thinking the savages would next be after them, they followed their sisters, and escaped to the woods, where all the members of the family who succeeded in getting from the hut concealed themselves. It was from the boys that the particulars of what took place during the latter part of the massacre were derived.
When the savages had killed all they could put their hands upon, and after setting fire to the cabin, they left the premises without attempting to search the woods where the frightened fugitives were cowering behind tree trunks and in the thick underbrush. Just as the savages were going off, Mr. Van Etten returned. He discovered that they were hostile from the fact that they had set fire to his dwelling. He prudently concealed himself until the "coast was clear," when he ventured forth to save as much of his property as he could, and to do what was possible and necessary for the living and the dead. One after another of the survivors collected around him during the afternoon and evening, and he provided for and guarded them as well as he could.
The widow and her surviving children were
subsequently brought back to Shehawken by Benjamin Jones, who had married a
daughter of Mr. Russ before the latter left the valley of the
A daughter of Mr. Hawk, it is said, was the mother of Bishop Bascom, of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
It is told that the murder of Canope, and the
negligence of the whites in bringing Quick, Haines and Shimer to punishment,
led the Indians to commit this outrage. Many outrages were committed on the
frontiers by both races at that time, and a war followed, which "Mad Antony
Wayne" closed by a brilliant victory on the banks of the
AFTER the killing of Canope, Tom was not again annoyed by the Indians, who no longer visited the region in which he hunted, which was literally to them a "dark and bloody ground." They avoided it as a good christian avoids perdition. None of them had sufficient hardihood to attempt to harm him, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that the soil which had been wet with his father's blood would no more be pressed with the red man's moccasin. Practically, he was "monarch of all he surveyed" beyond the settlements, for the trappers—the only persons he met in the woods—regarded him with an awe akin to superstition, and paid him as much deference—nay more than they would have paid to a "lord of the manor."
If he had been younger, he would have followed the Indians to their new homes, but the infirmities of age began to press very heavily upon him, and the comforts of civilized life afforded him more satisfaction than they did in the "lusty prime of manhood." The warm corner of a fire‑place—a mug of "medicated apple juice," and a bed of feathers he now thought contrasted favorably with his former mode of living in the woods, where he was compelled to subsist upon the game he could kill, and to sleep upon no other couch than what was afforded by the green boughs of the hemlock.
Occasionally however his old habits would regain the mastery, when he would wander off into the woods, with his rifle and dogs and be gone days, and weeks and months, after which he would return with a few beaver and other skins, and a good supply of venison and bear meat. The meat was invariably given to the family with whom he intended to spend the succeeding winter, and fortunate was that family, for want never intruded his gaunt form across the threshold while Tom remained, so sure was he to bring an abundant store of animal food.
During one of these excursions he met with a most extraordinary adventure.
Tom had been hunting several days on the banks of the Callicoon, to which region he was very partial. Deer and bears were plenty in its fine, park‑like forests, and the wild turkey, from which Callicoon derives its name,1 had not yet fled, like the aborigine, to a more solitary and secure retreat. Trout of an excellent quality swarmed within its crystal waters, the ice, temperature of which, even when Sirius is in the ascendant, will cause a convulsive shudder to run through the person who rashly ventures within their influence. He could wander there too, in almost all directions without being compelled to force his way through almost impassable jungles of the rhododendron, or to encounter the slough of almost equally impenetrable swamps. It was truly a charming region, and it is not surprising that Tom preferred it above all others.
The morning was exhilarating and bright. An October frost had rendered the atmosphere pure and bracing, and Tom felt full ten years younger than usual. He had visited his traps the day previous, and had nothing particular on his hand except to provide a dinner suitable to his palate; and the air was so conducive to digestion that he concluded he could dine somewhat extravagantly. He had finished his breakfast of trout and bear steak, and taken a short stroll through the woods, when it occurred to him that a fat young turkey would be just what would suit him for his noon‑tide meal. So he concluded he would find one, and roast it, after the rude fashion of hunters, for dinner.
With this object in view, he leisurely proceeded, accompanied by his dogs, to a beech ridge not far off, where he thought he would be apt to find the desired game. When he reached the highest point of the ridge, he could not but pause to view the grand panorama exhibited by nature. The sunny maple slopes particularly caught his attention, where nature seemed to flash in all the gorgeousness of gold and crimson, intermingled with every beautiful tint the mind of man can imagine, but which he cannot rival in any of the productions of his fancy. The deep emerald of the northern declivities, and the sober attire of the beech, and birch, and cherry, which surrounded the maple forests, seemed to add new glory, by contrast, to their gaudily dressed neighbors, while a mellow October sun threw over all
——— "That delicious charm,
Peculiar to our land,
That comes, ere Winter's frosty arm
Knits nature's icy band."
The scene spread out before him by the Almighty Hand was one of such surpassing beauty, that the most rude and uncultivated mind must have been affected by it with sensations alike pleasing and profitable. Its influence was not lost on him, little used as he was to "the gentle mood," for his aspect was more calm and thoughtful than usual, and he seemed pleased with himself and everything around him.
Some two or three hours were spent by Tom in quietly contemplating the unsullied face of nature. He had met with no game, and began to fancy that he might be compelled to dine otherwise than he imagined he would in the morning, unless he bestirred himself with greater diligence. He then concluded to go to a ridge on the opposite side of the valley. While walking thither, he passed near it ledge of rocks, where his dogs suddenly left him and in a few minutes began to bark furiously in the vicinity of the rocks. An old hunter can easily tell from the tone of his dogs whether they leave anything at bay worth looking after. Tom was convinced by the barking of his [dogs], that they were in the neighborhood of game worthy his attention, and he accordingly went to where they were, expecting to find them engaged with a bear or something of the kind.
When he came to the ledge he found them at the mouth of what appeared to be a cavern in the rocks, which was large enough to admit them, but which they hesitated to enter until he urged them in. After they had gone a few feet within the cave, Tom found, by the noise they made, that they had serious work before them, for amid their snarling, and growling, and yelling, he imagined he recognized the cry of a panther. It was in fact a young panther about half grown. After an engagement in the lair of some minutes, the combatants carne struggling towards the opening. One of the dogs, having outflanked the adversary, attacked him in the rear, while the other engaged the attention of the enemy in front. Both carefully avoided the formidable claws of the panther, and watched every opportunity to close in when they could do so with advantage.
Tom's first impulse, when they came out of the cave, was to shoot the panther; but thinking that an old one was probably is the vicinity, he prudently desisted, and, tomahawk in hand, urged on his dogs, which, when they found their master would participate in the struggle, fought with redoubled fury, and soon succeeded in getting the advantage, Tom in the meantime giving it one or two well-directed blows which caused it to shriek with pain. He well knew that its cries would bring something more formidable to his neighborhood which caused him to assail the animal with redoubled energy, and soon he had the satisfaction of seeing it stretched dead at his feet. It was well for him that it was so.
The dogs re‑entered the cave immediately, and to his surprise were soon engaged with a second young one. As they went in again, Tom sprang for his rifle. He had just taken it up as a full-grown panther leaped from the brink of the precipice into an elm directly over his head. Before it could give the fatal spring, however, a bullet from his rifle went crashing through its brain. With a wild cry of agony, it relinquished its hold of the tree, and fell struggling with death at his feet.
His surprise and horror may be imagined, when, as he stepped back from the dying beast, he discovered that he had another to contend with—the mate of the one, he had just killed—and that he was utterly defenceless. This, like the other, leaped from the precipice into a tree near by, and prepared to spring upon him. Before it could do so, however, Tom was behind a hemlock, which "movement" baffled the panther a moment—and but for a moment—for by the time he could charge the rifle with powder, the beast had leaped from tree to tree, and was on the one which shielded him. But the dogs very opportunely dragged the second young one, shrieking, from the cave. This diverted the attention of the monster, and as Tom rammed down a ball, it leaped upon the dogs, screaming with rage.
Almost instantly, one of the poor faithful creatures was crushed and mangled beneath the panther, while the other had its scalp nearly torn from its head by a blow from the ferocious animal, when Tom sent a leaden ball, together with his ramrod, through the heart of the beast which made such sad havoc amongst his dogs.
The young panther, released from the hold of the dogs, returned into the cavern, where Tom, as soon as he could manufacture a temporary ramrod and reload, followed it, and it shared the fate of the other three.
Tom forgot all about having a turkey for dinner that day, and indeed about having dinner at all. His danger had been so great, and his escape so miraculous, that everything else was driven from his mind, until the excitement caused by the adventure had passed away, when he skinned his game, and afterwards exhibited to admiring friends the trophies of his prowess.
He related the fact of having killed the four panthers to a favorite nephew, (who stated it to us) and described the locality of the transaction so accurately that our informant, some forty years afterwards, readily found the cave, and recognized it as the one described by the old Indian Slayer.
FROM the time Tom killed the panther until the day of his death, but few noteworthy incidents of his life occurred. He generally lived at the house of a man named James Rosencrantz about three miles below Carpenter's Point, where he was kindly treated and every comfort he could desire furnished him. Now that his conduct no longer endangered the safety of the settlements, he was regarded by all who knew him with a deferential awe, which must have been very gratifying to his self‑respect, as it showed him that if the government had regarded him as an outlaw, he still had friends who approved what he had done, and who respected him for his fearless and crafty subtlety.
seen and conversed with several aged men who were acquainted with him, and they
speak of the old Indian Slayer with as much enthusiasm as the soldiers of the
French empire exhibit when they mention the name of Bonaparte. They describe
him as having been six feet in height; and taken altogether, rather a raw‑boned
man; his cheek bones were high; his eyes gray and restless; his hair, before it
had been silvered by age, was of a dark brown. He was not in the habit of
talking very much—in fact, was taciturn and very quiet in his demeanor. His
features were grave and dignified, and seldom relaxed into a smile. He was
quite temperate, and seldom drank alcoholic liquors, except cider, of which,
like all of
In summer, until his last sickness, he was in the habit of making occasional visits to the scene of his adventures. When solicited to do so, he would generally relate, in a modest and unassuming way, the particulars in regard to the murders he had committed openly; but could seldom be induced to talk of those which he had committed when no witnesses were present.
infirmities increased upon him, he found a roof necessary, even in summer, to
protect him from the night air during his hunting expeditions. Consequently he
resorted to some house or cabin in the vicinity of his traps, and where deer
and bears were plenty. His headquarters in the summer were generally at the
house of Showers, near
It is said that, sometime during his life he was setting a trap in a certain swamp in Lumberland, and found it necessary to remove some earth from a spring so that he could "sink his trap." While making the excavation he came upon a fine vein of lead ore.
Upon making the experiment he ascertained that it would "melt" readily and easily, and he found it quite as convenient to make his bullets from the ore as from the manufactured article. It is said that he never afterwards bought much lead, but obtained what he used from the vein he had discovered.
This is rendered somewhat more probable from the fact that a similar tradition existed in regard to the Wurtsboro mine previous to its re‑discovery.1
When Tom found that his days were coming to an end, he imparted the fact of the discovery of the mine to a favorite nephew, (our informant,) and promised to go with him on a certain day to show him the locality of the ore. Before the appointed time, however, Tom was taken sick, and was never afterwards able to go from the house of Rosenkrantz, where he died of old age in the year 1795 or 1796. He was buried on the farm of Rosenkrantz.2
During his last illness he never expressed a regret that he had killed so many Indians, but was sorry that he had not murdered a greater number! The shooting of a savage he evidently thought was an act which should not render his death‑bed a bed of penitence!
Tom was in the habit of concealing in the woods some of the guns he took from the Indians. As the country has been cleared up the settlers have occasionally found fragments of fire‑arms in clefts of rocks, hollow trees; etc. These fragments are generally highly prized, and preserved as relics of the old Indian Killer.3
An old man named Homans used to say that Tom once invited him "to take a hunt." Homans had no gun, but Tom said he would find one for him in the woods. So they started off together. After they had gone some distance, Tom stepped up to a hollow tree, and drew out seven rifles, and gave Homans his choice, telling him that he had found them beside dead Indians. The one Homans took proved to be a good one, and he and Tom had a fine hunt together.
Those who knew Tom in his latter days, say that he had carried his favorite rifle until the stock where it rested on his shoulder was worn through, so that the ramrod was visible at the place. What a picture the Indian Slayer must have presented in his old age! The ancient Hunter and Indian Killer, weather beaten and venerable from age—his rifle and accoutrements all equally timeworn—his dogs in keeping with himself, would have formed no bad subject for the pencil.
Notwithstanding the assertion that Tom had a beautiful daughter who bore the pretty name of "Omoa," the Indian Slayer was never blessed with wife or child.4 It is not known that he ever contemplated marriage as something with which he had anything to do. Yet he seems to have been no misogamist. He loved, after returning from his solitary life in the woods, to enjoy the society of the fair portion of humanity, particularly if they were bound to him by ties of blood. If he ever felt the influence of Venus, the flame of affection expired almost as soon as lighted.
That his nature was not originally altogether incapable of the finer feelings of the human heart, is palpable from the strong and endearing love he bore his father. His affection for the old man was so deeply implanted in his mind that nothing could cause it to wither until the chilling hand of death was laid upon him. No other sentiment influenced his conduct to a greater degree than the love of kindred, unless it was hatred of those who injured the objects of his regard.
It would be extremely difficult to find a parallel to the life of Tom. Nearly his whole life was spent in a warfare upon a race not altogether despicable in numbers—a race equally crafty and cruel. He was outlawed by his own government, and received comparatively but little aid and comfort from any source; yet he maintained the unequal contest during his whole life, and finally succeeded in rendering the safety of the Indians who came within his district so doubtful that they avoided it altogether, and left him in undisputed possession of their former hunting grounds. That he succeeded in foiling his enemy at every point—including each artifice to ensnare him; and that he continued to imbrue his hands in blood, with entire impunity until his own age, and the removal and diminished numbers of his enemies put an end to his outrages, forms one of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of border life.
We presume that ere we close our "eventful history," it will be unnecessary to make an effort to prove that the Indians, if they had historians of their own, could have rendered the conduct of the whites with whom they came in contact quite as worthy of execration as the white historians have made that of the red man; nor is it necessary to attempt to show that the murders committed by Tom were unjustifiable, and that no system of ethics, whether of savage or civilized origin, will afford an excuse for his bloody outrages.
It is true that the elder Quick was killed by the Indians; but he was killed in a time of war. It is true, the old man treated his slayers kindly in happier times; nevertheless, they were justifiable by the "bloody code" in destroying their enemies during hostilities. According to the theology of the unsanctified, Tom would have been right in pursuing the guilty if they had shed his father's blood contrary to treaties of peace. But as it is, the writer cannot attempt to palliate or excuse his conduct, nor can he account for the admiration which his doings excited among the hardy pioneers, in any other way than by supposing that in the struggle for mastery between the aborigines and those who supplanted them, the refined and humane sentiments which are promoted by civilization and Christianity, were obliterated by the dark and unfeeling dogmas which obtain a lodgment in the human mind during perilous and bloody times.
CAPTAIN JOHN, THE TUSCARORA.
In our twentieth chapter, we alluded to Captain John, a fun-loving chief of the Tuscaroras. Since that chapter was printed, we have met with some anecdotes of him in the Historical Collections of Ohio, which cannot fail to interest those whose mothers and grand-mothers were subjects of his mischievous jests.
Historical Collections he is represented as a "Shawanee chief,"
"over six feet in height, strong and active," and "full
of fun and frolic."
That he was a Shawanee, we
doubt, because we have seen documents which have been preserved among the
papers of a family of
Although this savage was celebrated far and wide as a wag, at times he was somewhat of a demon. While sober, the spirit of fun predominated in his disposition; but when he had been indulging in potations of fire water he was as ferocious as a tiger. The following anecdotes are copied from the work we have mentioned, as related by Colonel John McDonald:
When Chilicothe was first settled by the whites, an Indian named John Cushen, a half blood, made his principal home with the McCoy family; and said it was his intention to live with white people. He would sometimes engage in chopping wood; and making rails, and working in the corn fields. He was a large muscular man; good humored and pleasant in his interviews with the whites. In the fall season, he would leave the white settlement to take a hunt in the lonely forest. In the autumn of 1779, he went up Darby creek to make his annual hunt. There was an Indian trader named Fallenash, who traversed the country from one Indian camp to another with pack horses, laden with whiskey and other articles. Captain John's camp was near Darby creek, and John Cushen arrived at his camp while Fallenash, the Indian trader, was there with his goods and whiskey. The Indians set to for a real drunken frolic. During the night, Captain John and John Cushen had a quarrel, which ended in a fight. They were separated by Fallenash and the other Indians; but both were enraged to the highest pitch of fury. They made an arrangement to fight the next morning, with tomahawks and knives. They stuck a post on the south side of a log, made a notch in the log, and agreed that when the shadow of the post came into the notch, the fight should commence. As the shadow drew near the spot, they deliberately and in gloomy silence, took their stations on the log. At length the shadow of the post came into the notch, and these two desperadoes, thirsting for each other's blood, simultaneously sprang to their feet, with each a tomahawk in his right hand and a scalping knife in the left, and flew at each other with great fury, swinging their tomahawks around their heads, and yelling in the most terrific manner. Language fails to describe the terrible scene. After several passes and some wounds, Captain John's tomahawk fell on Cushen's head, and left him lifeless on the ground. Thus ended this savage affair of honor.
About the year 1800, Captain John, with a party of Indians, went to hunt on the waters of what is called the Rattlesnake fork of Paint creek, a branch of the Scrota river. When they had been sometime at camp; Captain John and his wife had a quarrel, and mutually agreed to separate. After they had divided their property, the wife insisted upon keeping their only child, a little boy of two or three years of age. The wife laid hold of the child; and John attempted to wrest it from her. At length his passion was roused to a fury. He drew his fist, knocked her down, seized the child, and carrying it to a log, cut it in two parts, and throwing one-half towards the squaw, bade her take it; but never again show her face in his presence; or he would serve her in the same manner.
The following anecdote of Captain John and two of his friends is gleaned from Drake's Tecumseh:
war of 1812, Captain John became a friend of the Americans; and was with the
celebrated Indian chief, Captain Logan, when the latter received his death
While the Potawatamie chief and the others were
encamped near Turkeyfoot creek, four of the enemy wandered off in search of
The victory was a dearly bought one to
Previous to his death,
The death of
What became of Captain John is not known. He was probably killed in a quarrel, or died a victim of intemperance.
Thus ends our account of savage and border life.
at the Interment of the Bones of those who fell at
the Battle of Minisink, on
read, without disgust, the recommendation of Dr. Darwin1 that the sanctuaries of the dead should be
violated to furnish manure for the fields? It is the common—had
there never been such men as
It is a
sentiment sanctioned and consecrated by the Bible. Abraham purchased the cave
with the field of Machpelah, "to bury the dead out of his sight." The
body of the patriarch Jacob, at the command of Joseph, "was embalmed and
put in a coffin in
funeral obsequies, with which the remains of Saul and Jonathan were honored by
the monarch of
Forty-three years ago this day, and at this very hour of the day, the brave men, whose bones are enclosed in these coffins, were not only hazarding, but sacrificing their lives for the protection of their wives, their children, their homes, and their country. You have before you, fellow-citizens, the remains of some of those heroes whose blood paid the price of our freedom and independence; for they fell in battle at that period, when this nation, through perils the most tremendous, was struggling into existence—at a time when an old and gigantic monarchy, in the true spirit of despotic power, was putting forth all her energies to hold us in a state of vassalage, and destroy forever the cause of liberty; at the moment of its dawn on the New World. But I do not now recount the deeds of valor, nor the counsels of wisdom; which were made the means of procuring for our country all those blessings which she now enjoys in such profusion. On this topic a thousand tongues were eloquent on the late anniversary of our independence. Nor do I now call your attention to the benign providential administration of "the Prince of the kings of the earth;" whose arm wrought for us deliverance, though an ample theme that well deserves to occupy more of the public attention, and to awaken more gratitude in the celebration of our great national festival.
one feature of the policy of our enemy in managing her most unjust and
unnatural warfare against us which merits special notice, as immediately
connected with the disastrous event over which we are now called to mourn—I
mean the more than inhuman employment of the tomahawk and scalping knife of the
savage to butcher our peaceful citizens—a policy which stains
forever the pride of British glory. In ancient times; when war was waged
against any nation, hoary age, women and children, were equally the objects of
its destructive fury with the warrior in the field of battle. This
cruel feature of war has been softened, or rather obliterated, by the progress
of civilization; and by the common consent of civilized nations the soldier in
arms only is the object of attack, while the unarmed citizen, of every class,
remains unmolested—a law of nations which divests war of half
its horrors. But this amelioration in the laws of war had not reached the
savages of our wilderness, who spare no age, nor sex: all are the subjects of
their indiscriminate butchery. Their tomahawk sinks in the head of the sucking
child, while reeking with the blood of the mother. Such was the warfare to
which the British cabinet allied itself, "shaking hands with the savage
scalping knife and tomahawk." Notwithstanding the loud remonstrances of
its most enlightened statesmen; the parliament of
chieftain was distinguished, above all others, in this murderous carnage—I
mean Colonel Joseph Brant. His father was a German, and his mother a Mohawk
Indian.2 He was, at
an early age; placed in Dartmouth college, where he received many kind
attentions, and, possessing no ordinary powers, acquired a good education; and
thus he was dandled on the knees, and sucked the breasts of that country, whose
sons and daughters he was, by British cruelty, commissioned to massacre. In the
revolutionary war he received, from George
* * * * * * The ferocity of his savage nature was not tamed by education—in him the blood of the barbarian extinguished every spark of civilization that might have been kindled in his constitution. He was more cunning than the fox, and fiercer than the tiger.
band of his warriors, he set out from
Captain Tyler, who had some knowledge of the woods, was sent forward at the head of a small scouting party; to reconnoitre the movements of the enemy and give notice of the best ground for attacking him; but he had not advanced far before he was killed, a circumstance which created considerable alarm. As our troops were marching north on the hills east of the Delaware, about nine in the morning, they discovered the Indians advancing leisurely along the bank of the river, about three quarters of a mile distant.
sent forward the plunder under an escort, to a fording place of the
Out of eighty, who were in the engagement, forty-four were killed, chiefly militia officers, the most respectable citizens, who had offered themselves willingly, before their men could be equipped. Some who were wounded died by a lingering and protracted death, whose wounds may not have been of themselves mortal, by wounds inflamed with the heat of the weather, and for want of dressing, while they were distressed with hunger and burning fever, no one to administer to them a drop of cool water; or cheer the protracted agonies of death by a sympathetic word or look. Thus died a father, a brother, or a husband, far from his home; in the cheerless, the sad solitudes of the mountains.
infelix, alieno vulnere, coelumque
"Aspicit, et dulces moriens reminiscitur
What horrors surround such a death! How ungrateful that they should thus be permitted to perish for want of aid! For forty three years, too their bones were permitted to whiten among the rocks of the mountains, after their flesh had been devoured by the wild beasts. It was not that their widows, of whom it is said, there were thirty-three in one congregation, disregarded their remains, for they engaged and paid a man to conduct them to the wood of slaughter; where they intended to collect and bury them. They set out on horseback, but had not proceeded far until they were forced to return. How could females ride over the rugged and pathless mountains! The man went on, promising to perform the duty which they had piously attempted, but he violated his promise. In the country it has been long known that the bones of these heroes were thus ungratefully neglected. Were their sufferings, their agonies, their deaths for the protection of their wives, their children, their homes, their country, forgotten? This day we mourn their death, and acknowledge our ingratitude. O! ye spirits of the brave who fell in defence of our liberty, our land, too long have we neglected your remains too long we have been ungrateful, we acknowledge. But oh! my voice cannot reach you; you do not hear me; I ought not thus to address you. You, fellow-citizens, will permit me to address the nobler sentiments of your souls, and invite you to emulate the example of these heroes, in deeds of noble daring, should your country ever call. The young especially, and those now around me now under arms may see our country involved in dangers that will require even the sacrifice of life for her safety.
But you will suffer me to remind you, that in order to sacrifice life rationally, though in our country's righteous cause requires more than what is called patriotism and heroism. To meet death boldly, in any cause while the soul is in a state of natural enmity against Heaven, is no better than the rashness of the madman: it is rushing upon misery unutterable and eternal, from some blind impulse, and for the light applause of an hour. It is only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for the salvation of sinners, that any human being can face death calmly, collectedly, and rationally. Who can tell what consolations religion may have ministered to some who expired in the long agonies of death after the battle of Minisink, without any human aid? None other they could have. Great as their bodily sufferings must have been, future prospects may have imparted much alleviation. How intense would the anguish have been, had the prospects beyond the hour of death been dark and alarming!
Fellow-citizens, though you should never be called to expose your lives in the field of battle, though you should continue to the close of life, amidst scenes of peace, in the bosoms of your families, and die having your cheeks bathed with the sympathetic tears of the most affectionate, the most tender hearted friends and relatives, yet all these are poor and frigid consolations for a dying man, if he has none other. Whether then, Heaven has destined your country to peace or war, in your days, it is wise to be prepared for death, by applying to the atoning blood of the Son of God for redemption, and the sanctification and consolation of the Eternal Spirit, to carry you in triumph through death—yes, "for it is appointed to all men once to die." In a few years those thousands who now stand around me, shall sink into the earth on which you now stand; the clods of the valley shall cover you, and not one be left alive. While, this day, it is your duty to show by your gravity, your sobriety, your temperance, your decorum, that you remember with sympathetic emotions the fall of the excellent citizens, whose bones you now inter; remember yourselves.
You know that when you die, your souls shall survive, and that your bodies too shall live again. These dry bones can live; they will live again.
They await, and your bones, soon to follow into the tomb, shall await there the call of the Creator who formed the soul and body, to "stand before the judgment seat of Christ." While we look back to their death, let us look forward to our own, and to their and our resurrection on that day, "for which all other days were made." It is hastening; we must witness its awful solemnities; not like those of this day. It will not be ushered in by the sound of such artillery as you have today heard; but by the trump of God, the voice of the Archangel, reaching the depths of the ocean, and the solemn silence of the grave, whose tenants shall all start into life, raised by the omnipotent energies, that shall descend in the voice of the trumpet. Then shall
earthquakes, comets, lightnings, play
Their various engines; all at once disgorge
Their blazing magazines."
You shall not then, as today, be called to attend on the interment of a few bones, but to wait on the funeral of the material universe—the interment of the world we now inhabit—the interment of the attendant moon—the interment of yonder sun now shining gloriously in mid heaven—and the interment of every star that burns by night in the vault of heaven. Secured in the favor of the Almighty Creator by the Redeemer of man, may we all be prepared for waiting upon the funeral obsequies of the earth and the heavens, in peace and safety.
Tom Quick lived on the Sullivan hills,
By Delaware's rolling tide;
O'er laurel streams, and hemlock rills,
Away from the world and all its ills,
He hunted far and wide.
Silvery river meandering
Cochecton's balmy hollow,
Where the Callicoon waves their tribute bring—
The turtle dove, thrush, and bluejay sing,
There Tom the game would follow.
On a mountain's crest; in month July,
Ran a panther to the edge
Of a craggy steep that towers high;
Tom battled the beast till it did die,
Then threw it o'er the ledge.
Hero of many a wond'rous tale,
Full of his dev'lish cunning!
Tom never flunked or turned pale,
Following on the Indian's trail,
Shooting as he was running.
Once he saved his neck; by a good bit,
From the Indian scalping-knives:
Said Tom I've got a rail to split,
Put in your fingers and tear the slit:
When it closed he took their lives.
Once Tom crept into a hollow oak;
Down in the tree came Bruin;
He seized his tail, and off it broke,
Though it nearly proved his ruin
Undaunted, Tom seized his curly hair;
The bear crept out the tree;
For he pricked his ribs till they were spare,
And when he came out he killed the bear,
For no young hunter was he.
O'er rift and breaker he knew the way,
With his rifle, a smooth bore,
He loved to skirt each silvery bay,
Many a night in the snow would lay,
To shoot Indians along shore,
For Tom was a rafter bold and true,
He hated the black-foot race;
They had cut his old father in two;
His courage and pluck were the true blue,
And he vowed to kill the race.
He had driv'n all from their hunting ground,
Except an old fellow, Canope,
And four of his brave warrior band,
Whom Tom had often fought hand to hand,
Till they were forced to elope.
Tom had a couple of trusty dogs;
His old parent's dying boon,
Who guarded his home of maple logs,
Adown by the Callicoon.
Flunko and Plunko of old Tom Quick,
Were roarers to scent the foe;
Could any panther or wild boar lick,
And never were known to cut stick,
From tomahawk, knife, or blow.
With these lived Tom and a daughter, fair
As the fawn she loved to chase;
For the brightest curls of nut-brown hair,
Fell over Omoa's face.
No girl of the hills was half so sweet,
As Omoa, the wild wood maid,
With her furskin dress, and sandled feet
A rose of the forest glade.
It chanced old Tom to the wind-gap
Had gone to catch the beaver,
And ne'er dream'd he of any mishap,
Though soon as he fixed his stealthy trap,
He thought 'twas wrong to leave her.
Away he pulled with oar as fast
As the lightning's vivid beam;
Rocks, rifts and eddies, they were soon past,
Though he had to pull up stream.
When Tom came to Cochecton's vale,
He spied his lovely daughter
In an Indian's arms all bleeding pale,
Then the bullets flew like iron hail,
For old Canope had caught her.
Tom dodged and fired till they run
Like snakes around each clift;
But his aim was true, and one by one
He popped them into the rift.
The last of the Indians fell that day;
Tom he died soon after;
Flunko and Plunko howled o'er the bay,
With fair Omoa then went away,
And still do live, as stories say
Such the tale of the rafter.
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