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September 26, 2022


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History - Pioneers - Massa Harbison


I was also awake, and saw the door open, and thought, when I was taken prisoner, that the scouts had left it open. I intended to rise immediately; but having a child at the breast, and it being awakened, I lay with it at the breast to get it to sleep again, and accidentally fell asleep myself.

The spies have since informed me that they returned to the house again, and found that I was sleeping; that they softly fastened the door, and went immediately to the block-house; and those who examined the house after the scene was over, say that both doors had the appearance of being broken open.

The first thing I knew from falling asleep, was the Indians pulling me out of the bed by my feet. I then looked up, and saw the house full of Indians, every one having his gun in his left hand, and tomahawk in his right.--Beholding the dangerous situation in which I was, I jumped to the floor on my feet, with the young child in my arms. I then took a petticoat to put on, having on only the one in which I slept; but the Indians took it from me, and as many as I attempted to put on, they succeeded in taking from me, so that I had to go just as I had been in bed. While I was struggling with some of the savages for clothing, others of them went and took the two oldest children out of another bed, and immediately took the two feather beds to the door and emptied them. The savages immediately began their work of plunder and devastation. What they were unable to carry with them, they destroyed. While they were at their work, I made to the door, and succeeded in getting out with one child in my arms and another by my side; but the other little boy was so much displeased by being so early disturbed in the morning, that he would not come to the door.

When I got out, I saw Mr. Wolf, one of the soldiers, going to the spring for water, and beheld two or three of the savages attempting to get between him and the block-house; but Mr. Wolf was unconscious of his danger, for the savages had not yet been discovered. I then gave a terrific scream, by which means Mr. Wolf discovered his danger and started to run for the block-house: seven or eight of the Indians fired at him, but the only injury he received was a bullet in his arm, which broke it. He succeeded in making his escape to the block-house. When I raised the alarm, one of the Indians came up to me with his tomahawk, as though about to take my life, a second came and placed his hand before my mouth, and told me to hush, when a third came with a lifted tomahawk and attempted to give me a blow; but the first that came raised his tomahawk and averted the blow, and claimed me as his squaw.

The Commissary, with his waiter, slept in the store-house, near the block-house. And upon hearing the report of the guns, came to the door to see what was the matter, and beholding the danger he was in, made his escape to the block- house, but not without being discovered by the Indians, several of whom fired at him, and one of the bullets went through his handkerchief, which was tied about his head, and took off some of his hair. The handkerchief, with several bullet holes in it, he afterwards gave to me.

The waiter, on coming to the door, was met by the Indians, who fired upon him, and he received two bullets through his body and fell dead by the door. The savages then set up one of their tremendous and terrifying yells, and pushed forward and attempted to scalp the man they had killed; but they were prevented from executing their diabolic purpose, by the heavy fire which was kept up through the port holes from the blockhouse.

In this scene of horror and alarm, I began to meditate an escape, and for this purpose I attempted to direct the attention of the Indians from me, and to fix it on the block-house, and thought if I could succeed in this, I would retreat to a subterranean cave with which I was acquainted, which was in the run near where we were. For this purpose, I began to converse with some of those who were near me, respecting the strength of the block-house, the number of men in it, &c., and being informed that there were forty men there, and that they were excellent marksmen, they immediately came to the determination to retreat, and for this purpose they ran to those who were besieging the block-house, and brought them away. They then began to flog me with their wiping sticks, and to order me along. Thus what I intended as the means of my escape, was the means of accelerating my departure in the hands of the savages. But it was no doubt so ordered by a kind Providence, for the preservation of the fort and the inhabitants in it; for when the savages gave up their attack and retreated, some of the men in the house had the last load of ammunition in their guns, and there was no possibility of procuring more, for it was all fastened up in the store-house, which was inaccessible.

The Indians, when they had flogged me away with them, took my oldest boy, a lad about five years of age, along with them, for he was still at the door by my side. My middle little boy, who was about three ears of age, had by this time obtained a situation by the fire in the house, and was crying bitterly to me not to go, and making little complaints of the depredations of the savages.

The Kidnapping

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