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T O M   Q U I C K,




As Published at Monticello in 1851.





"Hero of many a wondrous tale,

Full of his dev'lish cunning!

Tom never flunked or turned pale,

Following on the Indian's trail,

Shooting as he was running."













I.                  Birth and Youth of Tom

II.                 Death of Thomas Quick, Senior

III.               Fate of the Carter Family

IV.               Defence of a Block House

V.                 Murder of Muskwink

VI.               Massacre of an Indian Family

VII.              Adventures at Hagen Pond

VIII.             Killing a Buck with Seven Skins

IX.               "The Biters Bitten"

X.                 Capture and Escape of Tom

XI.               "The Biters Bitten" again

XII.              Murder at Mongaup Falls

XIII.             Tom's Revolutionary Exploits

XIV.             Adventure on the Sandburgh

XV.              Indian Stratagem

XVI.             Capture and Escape of Tom

XVII.           Murder of Canope

XVIII.          A Battle with Panthers

XIX.             Death of Tom Quick

XX.              Battle of Minisink

XXI.             Russ and Van Etten

XXII.           The Scouts of Minisink








NOT far from the year 1733, a Hollander, named Thomas Quick, emigrated from the Fatherland to the colony of New York, {NOTE: A man named Thomas Quick, among others, took the "oath of allegiance in ye county of Vlster, by order of His Excelly: ye Gouernor; ye ffirst day of September anno qe: domini 1689." From this it may be inferred that the Quicks came to this country sooner than the family tradition indicates. See the Documentary History of New York, Vol. 1, page 280.} and not long afterwards located himself in Milford, (then known as Upper Smithfield,) in Pennsylvania. His circumstances and position were nearly, if not quite, equal to those of a large majority of the affluent and respectable Dutch immigrants of that period. Actuated by a spirit of indomitable enterprise, he "pitched his tent" considerably in advance of those who had come into the country before him; and according to the legendary testimony of his descendants, he was the pioneer of Milford or Upper Smithfield.


At this time, except at Peenpack, on the Neversink, the Indians held undisputed possession of the banks of the Delaware and its tributaries, from Milford to the source of the river. Quick was surrounded by them, and probably they regarded him with a jealous eye—as a trespasser upon their territory. If any such feeling existed on their part, however, he soon succeeded in winning their confidence and esteem to such a degree that they did not openly manifest a spirit of discontent at the proximity of this habitation to their wigwams.


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 Delaware—some as far up as Cochecton and the mouth of the Callicoon. He erected a saw mill and subsequently a grist mill, on a stream which flows into the Delaware at or near Milford. He had, in fact become wealthy, and was regarded as one of the most respectable and enterprising inhabitants of that region. 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, 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 Delaware was a favorite haunt of the red man. Game was found upon its banks sufficient for them, and its waters swarmed with numerous kinds of fish. The bones of their fathers were interred in its most pleasant places, and the members of the tribe and their friends had been in the habit, from remote antiquity, of gathering within the sound of its waters to celebrate their annual festivals. Some of the pioneers of Cochecton have been heard to say that they had seen Cashiegtouch island, near the Indian burying ground of that town 'covered with Indians, and some of them were fine, noble fellows.'


Now the prospect was that the whites would soon occupy the whole country, if some decisive step was not taken, and that the bones of the braves who had been in the spirit land for hundreds of years, would be desecrated by the plow of the pale face. It is not a matter of surprise, therefore, that during the war between England and France, the Indians were easily induced to fight against the adherents of Great Britain, and endeavor to drive them back to their old bounds.


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 Milford, and that they had induced others to locate there. The Indians were anxious to rid the whole valley of the strange, land‑loving race; and if this had not been a suf­ficient inventive, the prospect of plundering a family as opulent as that of the Quicks, was sufficient, in case the Delaware settlements were attacked, to render the ties of gratitude weak and easily broken.







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 Delaware and Susquehanna might favor the French, it gave the Quicks and their friends some uneasiness. The natives became less sociable than they had been, and but few of them continued to visit the whites. Ultimately, they withdrew from the Delaware valley altogether. The fact was, each party feared and distrusted the other, and the Indians felt that they had been wronged. They had long been dissatisfied with the manner in which the whites had got possession of their lands in the Delaware region. They complained that the English had not given them as much as they had agreed to pay for the several tracts which had been sold, and that they generally took possession of twice as much as they bought. For instance: The natives had sold land to "the proprietors of Pennsylvania," the boundaries of which were to extend a certain distance on the Delaware or Great Fish Kill, and as far back, in a northwest direction, as a man could walk in a day and a half. To settle the depth of the track, the purchasers procured the swiftest runners in the colonies, who did not stop by the way even to eat while running the line. The expiration of the "day and a half" found them eighty‑six miles in the interior. The Indians were very indignant at the manner in which the "Proprietors" had overreached them and were never satisfied that the whites had treated them honestly.


The Delawares claimed that they had been wronged in the bar­gain by which the whites became the possessors of Minisink. And they complained, too, that the people of Minisink were in the habit of getting the Indians drunk when they came thereto trade, in order to defraud them. They frequently talked of driving the whites from the disputed territory. But they were a subdued and crushed people, who had had the spirit of war beaten out of them many years previously, by the haughty and warlike Iroquois, at whose mercy they had since existed, and who had imposed upon them the opprobrious characteristic of being the tribe of squaws. For a time, they committed nothing but petty acts of hostility. They occasionally murdered or captured a few whites at some of the exposed points; but seemed to spare the settlements. After a while, they appear to have become entirely quiet; but their apparent inactivity was but a prelude to new outrages.


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 Delaware even sought a more active part in the struggle by volunteer­ing to serve in the army. One or two neighborhoods were thus left almost entirely in the possession of old men, women and children.


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 Milford. With this object in view, they proceeded to a point near that place; where they halted and concealed themselves in the woods, probably for the purpose of consulting upon the manner in which they should make the contemplated onslaught or more probably to wait until night to make the attack, as was their custom. Unfortunately for the Quicks, and ultimately for Indians, the former, unconscious of danger, went to this place while the Indians were there.


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 Delaware, which had been recently frozen over, and the ice sufficiently thick to bear them. To cross in full view of the Indians was extremely hazardous; yet it was the only chance they had for escape. The attempt was made, and before they had half reached the opposite shore, the savages appeared upon the bank behind them. Now came the most critical moment of their flight. They were within rifle shot of their enemies, and with nothing to screen themselves from the murderous fire of the yelling savages, any one of whom could shoot a deer, ninety‑nine times out of a hundred, while it was bounding through the forest. Their only hope was to run in a zigzag course, so as to baffle the aim of their pursuers, and to keep as far apart as possible, so that, possibly, the Indians in the haste and excitement of the moment might not fire at both of them.


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 soon 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 scalp­whoop, 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 Delaware. His oath was not violated; and he lived to see the day when he could traverse the river almost from one extreme to the other without encountering a red man.


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.







ONE of the original settlers of the valley known as Cochecton was a man named Amos Carter, who before the French war, and not many years after he was married, removed from Cornwall, in Connecticut, and settled not far from the present site of the Damascus post‑office. Here he built a log cabin, and cleared a few acres, which he tilled.


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.


The children were subsequently recovered by some means to us unknown, and placed under the guardianship of their relatives in Cornwall.







In 1762, 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 Delaware, at and in the vicinity of a place called Cushetunk.


We will now describe the immediate cause of the last outbreak of the Indians.


The name of the principal chief of the Delaware tribe was Tediscung, or, according to the more euphonious orthography of modern writers, Teedyuscung. He was much beloved by his subjects, and was noted as a diplomatist and orator. He had formerly taken conspicuous part in the councils of the tribes.


According to tradition, the Six Nations, who claimed the Delawares as subjects, became jealous of the popularity and power of Teedyuscung, and resolved to destroy him. In the fall of 1763, a party of warriors came down the Susquehanna, and made a pretended visit of friendship to the chief. During the night his cabin was set on fire, and the next morning nothing remained of his dwelling but a heap of ashes, nor of his body but a shrivelled and charred carcass. His people gathered around his remains in great numbers, when his destroyers led them to believe that the whites in the vicinity were his murderers. Being wild with grief and indignation, they were not in a mood to investigate the cause of his death; but eagerly received the first plausible tale in regard to the great calamity which had overwhelmed them. They at once flew to arms, and before another setting sun, thirty whites were massacred in their fields, and the other whites of the Susquehanna were fugitives in the wilderness. About two hundred and fifty of them escaped, and returned to Connecticut. During the evening after the massacre, their houses were burned. The Indians at once resolved upon attacking the settlers of the Delaware, who had located themselves above the mouth of the Lackawaxen, and before the latter knew of their danger, parties were on their way to massacre them. These parties reached the Delaware by the way of the Lackawaxen, which was the route generally travelled by the savages when they visited the Delaware.


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.


Above the mouth of the Callicoon was an unbroken wilderness, which had been traversed by the Indian and the hunter only. On the New York side there was no settlement nearer than the valley of the Shawangunk; and from the Delaware to the Susquehanna, the country way in the undisputed possession of the savages. The Indians, therefore, had good grounds for imagining that the whites, hemmed in as they were, could not possibly escape; and it really seemed as if the hand of Providence alone could save them from massacre.


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.


Witters 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 Providence, the lives of the women and children in the wooden fortress depended upon him alone.


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.


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.


When all 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 Delaware. Covering her head with a portion of her dress and moan­ing bitterly, she was borne away, while her unfortunate offspring remained upon the shore, uttering broken and inarticulate cries, as if a dim consciousness of what was enacting had entered her benighted mind. Her bones were subsequently found near the block house and buried.


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.







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 Delaware, Neversink, etc., as were living, returned and re‑occupied their farms and "clearings." And a broken band they were! But few families had not lost by disease, or the tomahawk, some of its members.


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.


On the 25th of December, 1771, Daniel Skinner, junior, his brother Hagga, some other white men, and several Indians, were at the house of Nicholas Conklin, in Cochecton. According to an old document, the red men "were something in liquor," and one of them asked Daniel to give him some rum. Daniel refused to do so, whereupon the savage got angry, and struck Daniel, "and Daniel struck him back." In the scuffle which ensued, one man was stabbed, and the Indians seem to have been handled roughly. When the savage who was at fault became sober, he acknowledged that he had done wrong, and promised to make satisfaction for the damage he had done. Notwithstanding this, Daniel and Hagga were put to considerable trouble in consequence of the emeute.  They were complained of by one Nathaniel Evans, who had the peace and welfare of the community so much at heart, that on another occasion, he was hired to carry a message to the Indians which was intended to produce a collision between the two races. The Governor and Council of New Jersey, who at that time claimed jurisdiction over Cochecton, and we do not know how much more, ordered the Skinners to be arrested for the offence they had committed, which, it was feared, would "involve the province in a bloody war," unless the offenders "were brought to condign punishment, according to law."


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.







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.


Not long after Tom shot Muskwink, he was hunting in the vi­cinity of Butler's Rift. He was yet wild with the excitement growing out of that transaction, and boiling with a desire to imbrue his hands again in Indian blood. His success in hunting had not been very great; but he was probably troubled very little on account of his ill luck; for he had a greater desire to meet with Indians and slay them than to encounter what he considered less brutal beings. He was not many days in waiting for an opportunity to gratify his revenge, if revenge like his could be gratified.


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 Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, in company with a relative named Peter Quick. While there, an Indian known as William George was discovered in a canoe on the river, and coming directly towards them. Tom made Peter squat in the reed grass, and told him that they would have some sport with the red skin. They remained concealed until the Indian came close to them, when, Tom rushed from the grass, aimed his rifle at the savage, and ordered him to come ashore. William George appeared to be much frightened when he saw Tom, and did not dare to do otherwise than as he was directed. Tom asked his business, &c., and then told him that he should die. And he would have killed him at once if Peter had not interfered, and with much difficulty prevailed upon him not to kill the savage. Tom then ordered William George to go about his business, and the latter seemed very willing to get beyond the reach of Tom's rifle; for he paddled off in fine style. As the canoe was shooting through the water, and while it was still within reach of Tom's lead, he drew up his rifle, aimed at the fast retreating Indian, and exclaimed: "Ho could ich, de dunder! out de cano tumbly!" ("Thunder! how I could tumble him out of the canoe!")


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 Canada. Almost as soon as they reached the pond, Tom saw signs of Indians being there, and exclaimed: "There are Indians about! You get some wood for a fire, and I'll look them up."


DeWitt was of a more humane or timorous disposition than Tom, and objected to his getting into trouble with the Indians; but nothing he could say had any affect on the Indian Killer. Tom seemed more like a wild best raging for blood than a human being. He instantly prepared for an encounter. He examined the flint of his rifle, and the powder in the pan—threw aside every cumbersome and useless article, and took to the thick underbrush which lined the shore of the pond, accompanied by his dog. He crept through the bushes as noiselessly as a snake would have done, and yet seemed to get over the ground quite fast. He continued to go on in this manner, until he got near the outlet, where he had to leave the bushes and cross an open space. While he was doing this, he discovered an Indian, a considerable distance off, on the big marsh, as it was called. The Indian had a gun, and was probably hunting for ducks or wild geese. He saw Tom about as soon as the latter discovered him, and with the instinct of his race, at once suspected that the white man was bound on no friendly errand. He instantly fled into the adjoining woods and disappeared, going apparently toward the Delaware.


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 beats 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.







TOM was not only in the habit of shooting the Indians us they passed up and down the Delaware in their canoes, but he frequently waylaid them as they were traveling from one part of the country to another in their usual paths. With all these paths he was well acquainted; and he would spend days and weeks in lurk­ing in their vicinity for the purpose of getting a shot.


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 Mamakating Valley. He had got hold of a rather tough log to split, and was driving in a wedge, when he suddenly found himself surrounded by seven Indian warriors. They told him that he must go with them, to which he readily agreed, provided they would help him split the log. They were so pleased at getting Tom without a fight, that they threw down their guns, and each one thrust his hand into the opening or split, according to the directions of Tom, who said he would drive the wedge in, however, he gave a well‑directed blow and drove it out, and thus fastened the whole seven by catching their fingers in the half‑split log. He then killed them, one after the other, and at his leisure.


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 Delaware.


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.







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 ear‑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.







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:


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.







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 the Delaware somewhere in Cochecton or Lumberland. The Indians had crossed where the river was very wide and were waiting on the opposite shore to have a battle if their pursuers attempted to cross. It was considered imprudent under the circumstances to make the attempt, and the Indians were not long in discovering that the Yankees would not attack them. When this became apparent, several of the Indians were on the beech. The river was very wide at this place and it was not thought that any gun could carry a ball far enough to reach the opposite shore.


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.







JUST after the Revolutionary war, I lived on the Barrens, near the Foul Woods. When the war was over, and we had gained our freedom by whipping the British and the tories and Indians, a few of the red skins came back. They had lived about the Delaware and the Shawangunk before we fought for independence, and it seemed natural for them to come again to the place where they were brought up.


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 Kingston to attend to some law business. When on his way back, he stopped at a tavern kept by a man named Brodhead. He lived near the Sandburgh, kept very good accommodations, and as good liquor as could be found on the road. When he went into the bar room, he found a wild, rough­looking man there. He had on a fur cap and a hunter's frock. His cheek bones were high like an Indian's, and he was spare in flesh, though a very bony man. His eyes were gray, and such a fiery pair of gray eyes was never seen before nor since. They seemed to go right through you, and made you feel uneasy while he looked at you.


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 Indians!—that's Tom Quick!" He seemed to feel in great distress on their account.


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.


Two or three hours later 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. The landlord charged all to say nothing of what had occurred, 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 Delaware, or to visit the graves of their fathers, or sell their furs at the outposts of Minisink. A few of them had been seen near the houses of the white men; but they had never returned to their wigwams. Their friends had listened anxiously for their home‑bound foot‑steps from moon to moon, and from the season of snow to the sea­son of flowers. The corn had matured around their wigwams, and the "feast of succotash" had been celebrated, yet they came not. A silence as profound as that of the grave—a mystery more impenetrable than that in regard to the origin of the red man, prevailed in regard to their disappearance.


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 Delaware like an evil spirit.


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 Delaware in a few days. At first they concluded to wait in ambush for their intended vic­tim on the banks of the river, supposing that he would return from or go to his hunting ground that way. Day after day and night after night, they concealed themselves behind trees and in the tall reed grass; but Tom did not make his appearance. Fall came with its frosts and storms, its sleet and snow, and they were obliged to go into winter quarters, where they remained until spring. They then resumed their watch at their old station.


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.







TOM began to feel the effects of a life of exposure and hardship. He had followed trapping and hunting for nearly thirty summers, and now, in his 51st year, exhibited the usual bodily infirmities of men who had seen fully sixty winters. Yet his spirit was still undaunted, and his hatred of the Indians undiminished. He had fewer opportunities to shed their blood, however, for not many of them continued to visit his favorite hunting grounds in the vicinity of the Delaware, the Mingwing, the Mahackamack, etc. The great body of them had removed their lodges during the war to the western lakes, or the head waters of the Susquehanna, and when peace once more spread its kindly influences through the land, they did not return except in small parties. After lingering a few days, and occasionally weeks, in the vicinity of the whites, and amidst the scenes of their early years—those years when the pale‑faced, land‑grasping race had not spread over the country like a cloud of locusts, blighting and destroying all that was valuable to the Indian—they would return to their new homes, provided they escaped the rifles of a few outlaws like Tom, who regarded the life of a savage as they did that of a wild beast or venomous reptile.


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 Delaware, and trace every tributary of that river to its source, for the purpose of discovering his whereabouts and destroying him.


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 midnight, 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, 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 $30.) 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.







NOT long after Tom was taken prisoner on the Lackawaxen, two Indians came to what is now the town of Lumberland to fish and hunt. The name of one was Canope—Canope was a native of Cochecton. He and his mother lived with his grandfather, whose name was Abraham, in a swamp, near the Ruso brook—the other was called Huycon or Ben Shanks.


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 Delaware, and probably from this circumstance received his name.


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, who had formerly lived in Rochester or Shawangunk, and who was an acquaintance of the two young ladies who had been so barbarously slain by Shanks and his party. It is not too much to suppose that he was a lover of one of them, or a near rel­ative, as he readily agreed to assist Tom in killing the guests of Haines, although, as the event proved, he was unused to scenes of blood. If this were not so, why should he, who had never before engaged in any affair in which the life of an Indian was involved, now, in a time of profound peace, engage in an attempt to destroy two of the hated race, one of whom was regarded with so much abhorrence, because he had shed the blood of the two innocent and inoffensive girls?


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.


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.


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‑in­law, 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 Delaware, at Equinunk, by Mr. Parks, who has already been mentioned.


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.







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, {NOTE: Callicoon is a Dutch word, signifying turkey} 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 full­grown 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.


We have 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 Holland blood, he was very fond.


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.


As his 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 Mongaup Island, or at a hut near Hagen Pond. He often killed as many as a dozen deer in a single week. He was a very skillful trapper, and excelled all his associates is taking the otter and beaver.


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.


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.


[We have heard the following related of Tom's last sickness, etc., in neighborhoods more than fifty miles from each other:


The Indian Killer caught the smallpox when he was quite old, and it was soon ascertained that he could not live more than a few hours. He was told that death would soon seize him, when he expressed sorrow because he had not been able to kill Indians enough to make an even hundred. "And," runs the legend, "he was the means of destroying a much greater number than he wished to kill, for as soon as the redskins learned that he was dead they dug up his body, cut it into small pieces, and sent the pieces to all the Indian villages far and near. They had not an opportunity to burn him while he was alive, so they sent his remains to their friends to be burned after he was dead. By this means the smallpox was spread all over the Indian country, and incredible numbers died with it!"


That Tom died of old age, we have the testimony of a gentleman who was with him at the time, and who attended his funeral.]


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.


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. 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.







THERE were a number of transactions in the vicinity of the Delaware in which Tom had no direct agency; but which are important to our narrative, because they served to render more vindictive Tom's undying hatred for the red man. Every inhuman act of the Indians, by which Tom's friends and acquaintances suffered, afforded him an additional reason for his conduct, and it also made the pioneers of that region more firm in their determination to shield him from the officers of justice of his own government, and, so far as they had opportunity, from the wild and barbarous revenge of the savages.


Brant's invasion of Minisink, and the battle which ensued in what is now the town of Lumberland, together with the incidents already described, form some of these events.


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. 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.


On the 20th of July, 1779, Brant and his white and red warriors attacked the settlement, and after massacreing many of the inhabitants, burnt their dwellings, and made a hasty march back to Grassy Brook, where he had left a part of his followers. The attack was begun before daylight, and so silently and stealthily did the wily and crafty Mohawk chief approach his victims, that several families were cut off before an alarm was made. The first intimation which the community received that the savages were upon them, was the discovery that several houses were in flames. Dismay and confusion seized upon those who had escaped the first onslaught. They were altogether unprepared to defend themselves. They were without leaders and scattered over a considerable area, although it is to be presumed they were not altogether unarmed. The first movement a large part of them made was to flee to the woods with their wives and children, thus leaving the enemy to plunder them of their property, or to destroy it, as they preferred. A few of the inhabitants gathered into one or two of the block houses, which were not assaulted.


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 Orange County, says that the savages visited the school house, and threatened to exterminate one generation of the settlement at a blow. Jeremiah Van Auken was the teacher, and they took him from the house, conveyed him about half a mile off and then killed him. Some of the boys in the school were cleft with the tomahawk; others fled to the woods for concealment from their bloody assailants; while the little girls stood by the slain body of their teacher bewildered and horror struck, not knowing their own fate, whether death or captivity. While they were standing in this pitiful condition, a strong muscular Indian came along, and with a brush dashed some black paint across their aprons, bidding them to "hold up the mark when they saw an Indian coming, and it would save them," and with the yell of a savage plunged into the woods and disappeared. This was Brant, and the little daughters of the settlers were safe. The Indians, as they passed along and ran from place to place, saw the black mark, and left the children undisturbed. The happy thought, like a flash of lightning, entered the minds of these little sisters, and suggested that they could use the mark to save their brothers. The scattered boys were quickly assembled, and the girls threw their aprons over the clothes of the boys, and stamped the black impression upon their outer garments. They in turn held up the Palladium of safety as the Indians passed and repassed, and these children were thus saved from injury and death to the unexpected joy of their parents.


Col. Stone in his life of Brant says that no sooner had the fugi­tives from Minisink arrived at Goshen with the intelligence, than Dr. Tusten, the colonel of the local militia, issued orders to the officers of his command to meet him at Minisink on the following day, with as many volunteers as they could raise. The order was promptly obeyed, and a body of one hundred and forty‑nine men met their colonel at the designated rendezvous at the time appointed—including many of the principal gentlemen of the country. A council of war was held to determine upon the expediency of a pursuit. Col. Tusten was himself opposed to the proposition with so feeble a command, and with a certainty, if they overtook the enemy, of being obliged to encounter an officer combining, with his acknowledged prowess, so much of sublet as characterized the movements of the Mohawk chief. His force, moreover, was believed to be greatly superior to theirs in numbers, and to in­clude many tories as familiar with the country as themselves. The colonel, therefore, preferred waiting for the reinforcements which would be sure soon to arrive, the more especially as the volunteers already with him were but ill‑provided with arms and ammunition. Others, however, were for immediate pursuit. They affected to hold the Indians in contempt, insisted that they would not fight, and maintained that a recapture of the plunder they had taken would be an easy achievement. Town meeting coun­sels, in the conduct of war, are not usually the wisest, as will appear in the sequel. The majority of Tusten's command were evidently determined to pursue the enemy; but their deliberations were cut short by Major Meeker, who mounted his horse, flourished his sword, and vauntingly called out—"Let the brave men follow me; the cowards may stay behind!" It may be readily sup­posed that such an appeal to an excited multitude would decide the question, as it did. The line of march was immediately taken up, and after proceeding seventeen miles the same evening, they encamped for the night. On the morning of the 22nd, they were joined by a small reinforcement under Col. Hathorn, of the War­wick regiment, who, as the senior of Col. Tusten, took command. When they had advanced a few miles, Halfway Brook, they came upon the Indian encampment of the preceeding night, and another council was held there. Colonels Hathorn, Tusten, and others, whose valor was governed by prudence, were opposed to advancing further, as the number of Indian fires, and the extent of ground they had occupied, removed all doubt as to the superi­ority of their numbers. A scene similar to that which had broken up the former council was acted at this place, and with the same result. The voice of prudence was compelled to yield to that of bravado.


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 9 o'clock 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.


The first shot was fired upon an Indian, who, as the Americans came to the bank of the river, was crossing the Delaware with a portion of the booty, and who was mounted on a horse which had been taken from a farmer of Minisink. The savage fell upon the neck of the horse, but managed to keep his seat in the saddle until he had reached the opposite bank, and joined such of his friends as had crossed before him. It is said that he died not long afterwards.


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 Bunker Hill, were strict, and that no man should fire until very sure that his powder would not be lost.


The battle commenced about 11 o'clock 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.


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 Goshen; and of the whole number that went forth, only about thirty returned to tell the melancholy story. Several of the fugitives were shot while attempting to escape by swimming the Delaware.


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.


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.


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 Goshen. They set out for the battle ground on horseback; but finding the intervening country too rough and broken for them to proceed, they hired a man to perform the pious duty, who proved unfaithful to the trust, and never returned. In 1820, the remains of these martyrs of freedom were gathered together, and, with all the eclate which attends eloquence, and the pomp of military and civic display, deposited in the burying grounds at Goshen. A merited though long delayed token of respect for the ashes of the dead, whose conduct had made it manifest that they were both brave and patriotic! A suitable monument has been erected over the grave in which the honored relics were buried, and the names of those who fell inscribed upon it in the manner following:





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.

                       Ephraim Middaugh—Ens.




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 Orange County,

July 22, 1822.

Sacred to the Memory of Forty‑four of Their

       Fellow‑citizens, who Fell at








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, hunting, farming, rafting,—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 Providence for the next. So great was the scarcity of food at times; that women and children, after traveling miles through the forest to procure something to save themselves from starvation, upon receiving a few ears of corn, would gnaw the raw kernels from the cobs with swine‑like voracity.


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. 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 Ohio, were Abraham Russ and —— Van Etten. They had married sisters, and both had families. Van Etten left  Cochecton first. He built a cabin and cleared some land. During the next spring or summer, Russ and his family followed, and   were staying with Van Etten until a shelter could be provided for them. The united families consisted of the men we have named, their wives, their mother‑in‑law, who was bedridden, and their children—eight or nine in number—one of whom (Cyrus Russ) had reached the stature of a man, while the youngest was a babe. A young man whose name we have not learned, was also an occupant of the cabin.


Van Etten went off into the woods one morning, probably for the purpose of shooting a deer. At noon, 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 heart­rendering 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 Delaware. Mrs. Russ subsequently was married to George Hawk, one of whose daughters married John Crow. The gentleman who gave us the foregoing particulars, closed his interesting narrative with the remark that the widow Russ turned to a Hawk, and one of the Hawk's young ones became a Crow.


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 Maumee.







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 remained 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 Great Britain.


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. 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 Delaware, he asked permission to stay with several persons; but he was a suspicious character, whom nobody knew; and all were unwilling to harbor him, fearing that they would get into trouble with one party or the other, if Cooley was permitted to remain with them. The friend­less and weary stranger traveled onward towards the wilderness country, until he reached Little Equinunk, where he found an unoccupied cabin, into which he entered and resolved to abide. Here he lived an inoffensive and blameless life to all appearances—with no acquaintances, no friends, a stranger in a strange land; an object of suspicion to whig and tory—a main‑forsaken, if not God‑forsaken mortal. It seemed as if he had desired a "lodge in some vast wilderness," and having found it, was disposed to remain in it, far from the scrutiny of all. He had not gone far enough, however, to be beyond the reach of harm. The scouts came up the river, and tracked him to his hiding place. They dragged him from it, and after a hasty and brief consultation, the majority of his captors decided that he should die.


This decision, however, was not unanimous; for some of the company thought that it was wrong on their part to kill him without a formal conviction, and that the right course for them was to take him to Minisink, and hand him over to those who, although they might condemn him to suffer the awful penalty of death, had a conceded right to do so.


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.


—— THE END. ——


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