Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

pursuing their arduous employment on a branch of the Pemigewaset, called Baker's River, in what is since Rumney, when suddenly they were surprised by ten Indians under the famous Acteon, who at this time was known by the name of Captain Moses. The whites had, but little while before, discovered traces of Indians, and had become alarmed, and were determined to leave their position. Accordingly, John Stark went out very early in the morning to collect their traps, and while thus separated from his companions, was made prisoner. As soon as he was secured, he was ordered to direct them to his friends. This he undertook to do, but purposely led them two miles farther from them, hoping that, by some means, they might take the alarm and escape; but it was not to be ended so. They seem not to have im. agined that John was taken by Indians, and soon began to shoot off their guns to direct him where they were. This also directed the Indians, and they immediately proceeded down the river, beyond the whites, and taking a station, waylaid them as they came down. All that had now passed had not taken up much time, for about sunrise the party appeared, two in a boat, Willian Stark and Slinson, and Eastman on the shore, who next fell into the Indians' hands. They now ordered John to hail his friends in the boat, to decoy them to the shore; but, with a boldness characteristic of great minds, he called to them, and instead of requesting them to land, told them he was taken, and ordered them to save themselves by pulling to the opposite shore. They pulled accordingly, and were quickly fired upon by four of the Indians, whose guns were loaded. Like a truly heroic spirit, without regarding the risk he ran, at the moment of the shot John knocked up two of the Indians' guns, and repeated the manœuvre when the rest of the party fired a second volley. He then hallooed to his brother in the boat to fly with all his might, for all the guns were discharged. He did so successfully; regained the shore and escaped. Poor Stinson was killed, and the boat and oars were pierced with bullets. John was sorely beaten and ill used at first, for the liberties he had taken in giving their shots a false direction; but they afterwards used him kindly.

The whites had collected a considerable quantity of furs, of which the Indians possessed themselves, and commenced their retreat. They made a stop at Lower Coos, about the present vicinity of Haverhill, N. H., where they had left two of their party to prepare provisions against their return. After one night's stay here they proceeded to Upper Coos. From this place Captain Moses despatched three of his men with Eastman to St. Francis, while the rest of the company hunted on a small stream in that neighborhood. Stark was meantime closely watched, and every night confined. They allowed him to hunt, and he, having shot one beaver and caught another in a trap, was approbated by a present of their skins.

At length, on the 9 of July, Captain Moses returned with his prisoner to St. Francis. Here the two captives were compelled to run the gantlet. East. min fared hard in that business; but Stark, understanding Indian play better seized a club from an Indian at the head of one of the ranks through which; he was to run, and laid it about him with such force, that running the gantlet was wholly on the part of the Indians; for they were glad to escape ana leave the ground to him, much to the delight of the old Indians, who were seated at a distance to witness the sport.

Fortunately, Stark and Eastman's captivity was not a long one. In about six weeks from Stark's arrival at St. Francis, there arrived Captain Stevens, of No. Four, and Mr. Wheelwright, of Boston, in search of some captives, who had been taken from Massachusetts, and not finding any, redeemed Stark and Eastman, who arrived home, by way of Albany, in August following. The same Indians accompanied them to Albany, where they sold the furs they had taken from them, to the amount of £560, old tenor. Stark paid for his ransom 103 dollars, and Eastman 60 dollars. The names of two others of the Indians who did this mischief, were Francis Titigaw, and Peer, a young chief, each of whom has been mentioned as chief in the capture; but it is not material.

At the treaty of 1727, which the preceding relation required us to notice, 1 ention was made by the chiefs, at that treaty, of a great many Indians, and

338
SIEGE OF WALPOLE, N. H.

[Book IIL cuong others, of one of considerable note, of whom we have before* said something, if, indeed, he be the same, namely, Sabatis. This Indian had previously, though perbaps not long before that treaty, with others, taken many captives in their depredations on the English frontiers. At this time he was living at St. Francis in Canada, and had two captives with him; but their names we cannot learn. He was of a bloody disposition, and the act which terminated his career was by a hand not less bloody, though, perhaps, more necessarily so. We have, on another occasion, and in another work, related the circumstances of it, and shall therefore pass it over here. He was killed in 1753, and we have before expressed the opinion that he was the father of bim brought away a captive from St. Francis by Captain Rogers in 1759, and who in 1775 followed the fortunes of Arnold's expedition against Quebec.

As noted an exploit as we have passed over in our history is that which vras enacted at Walpole, N. H., in the year 1755. If Philip, the leader of the Indians on that occasion, be the same that we have before given some account uf, his patriotism as well as his courage must have undergone an important change; but as we cannot settle that matter to the satisfaction of the critical antiquary without spending more time than we shall get credit for, we will relate the attair at Walpole as we have heard it.

One John Kilburn had settled at that place in 1749, and though far beyond any other settlement, and frequently watched, and sometimes annoyed by the Indians, yet no hostile act was attempted upon him until 1755. When it became certain that war would soon begin between England and France, meas. ures were taken by General Shirley to warn the settlers along the extensive frontier of New England of the approaching calamity. But the Indians seem to have known or expected it sooner than the English, for before the latter had received word from General Shirley, the cunning Philip, in the capacity of a spy, had visited every principal settlement, under the pretence of trading for flints and other hunting munitions, all along the Connecticut River; and it was not until two Indians, employed by General Shirley, had informed the settlers that 400 or 500 Indians were preparing in Canada to make a descent upon them, that Philip's expedition for trade was understood in its real character.

Kilburn lived in a good garrison-house, and on the day Philip appeared against it with some 300 Indians, he, with three other men, were at work some distance from it; but keeping a good watch, the Indians were discovered in time to afford them sufficient opportunity to regain the garrison without molestation. The timely discovery was made about mid-day, August 17, and in less than half an hour after, they were surrounded by 197 fierce warriors, flushed with confidence of an easy and speedy victory; the remainder of the Indians forming an ambush of reserve at the mouth of Cold River about half a mile from the garrison.

Meanwhile Philip had endeavored to cut off Colonel Bellows, who, with 30 men, was milling about a mile east of Kilburn's; but in this he was foiled by a masterly manæuvre of the colonel. His men were returning from the mnill, each with a bag of meal upon his back, when his dogs by their growling gave timely notice of the neighborhood of an enemy, and the thoughts of an ambush at the same moment passed through his mind: he as soon knew what to do. He ordered his men to throw off their bags, advance to a certain eminence over which their path lay, and about which he doubted not the Indians were prepared for him. The ground contiguous was covered with high sweet feri. "Up to these Bellows and his men crawled, into the very presence of the enemy. They now, agreeably to the plan proposed at the discovery, sprung upon their feet, and giving a tremendous whoop, atter the manner of their adversary, dropped down again the same instant. The In. dians at the very moment rose up, forming a thick front across the path in a semicircle. Each of Bellows's men had now an Indian in his power; and auch was the effect of the first fire of these 30 men, that Philip and his whole party precipitately retreated, and the victors, without waiting for a further

* Ante, page 135, 136 of this Book,
$ In the Appendix to my edition of Church's Philip's War, &c., page 337.

display of tactics, regained their garrison, not having one of their number killed or wounded. Of the loss of the Indians no mention is made.

Finding so warm a reception from Colonel Bellows, Philip, it would seeni, as well as the colonel, had no notion of taking a second hand at the same gaine, and, as we have said, immediately appeared before Kilburn's garrison, where he hoped for better success. Philip was an old acquaintance here, and approaching the house as near as he could find a tree for shelter, called out to Kilburn, Old John, young John, come out here. We give you good quarter." Philip is represented as of great stature, and proportionate strength; and Kilburn was not his inferior. He answered the warrior 5 with a voice of thunder," that flowed over the adjacent hills, “Quarter! you black rascals ! begone, or we'll quarter you.”.

Thus stood the affair which was shortly to decide the fate of Walpole, between six English, four men and two women, and about 400 Indians, at the commencement of the siege. Philip returned to his men, and, after a short pause, the silence was broken by yells and whoops of the whole body of Indians, which appeared, as we have heard the old people express it, “as though all the devils in hell had broke loose.A furious onset was now begun, and in a few minutes the roof of the house was perforated like a sieve. As usual in their attacks on garrisons, they employed stratagems, but when the whole afternoon was spent, they found they had made no impression, but were greatly weakened themselves, and at night drew off, thus ending their inglorious expedition.

Such deeds could a few men, well provided, perform, well knowing it was not numbers that could save them in times of peril, while many others, relying upon their numbers, neglecting their duties, have fallen an easy prey to an enemy not half equal to themselves. Kilburn had extra guns in his house, and his wife and daughter cast bullets, and performed every other service in their power. When one of the men's guns became too much heated to be used with safety, a woman exchanged it for another, so that every man was every moment at his place. When their lead began to grow short, blankets were suspended in the roof, to catch the balls of the enemy, with good success; and thus many of the Indians fell by their own bullets! To use their powder without loss of time, they poured it into hats, which were placed close at hand; by such means an incessant fire was kept up, which probably deceived the Indians in regard to their numbers. They found time, before drawing off, to kill all the cattle, burn and destroy all the hay and grain belonging to the settlement; but this was looked upon as nothing, scarcely to be considered towards the price of their deliverance. We do not learn as it was ever known to the English what the loss of the Indians was; * but the garrison lost Mr. Peak, who, exposing himself too much before a port-hole, was shot in the hip. The wound would probably have been cured if good surgical aid could have been had; but it proved mortal in five days after the hattle. Each of these men, Kilburn and Peak, had a son with them in the garrison; and such was the force opposed to that army of Indians! JOHN KILBURN lived to be 85 years of age, and died on the 8 April, 1789, and lies buried in the Walpole burying-ground. The son (John) attained the same age, and died at his residence, in Shrewsbury, Vt, in 1822.4

Only two days after the battle of Bunker's Hill, there arrived at Cambridge, the head quarters of the Americans, a deputation from the Penobscot Indians, of whom the celebrated Orono was chief. An order was passed for their entertainment while there, and “ for their return home.” They came to tender their services to the Americans in the war now begun, which was done by Orono, in a speech to a committee of the provincial congress, on the 21 June, 1775. “In behalf of the whole Penobscot tribe," the chief said, if the grievances under which his people labored were removed, they would aid with their whole force to defend the country. Those grievances were briefly stated, and consisted chiefly of trespasses by the white; upon thei: tim! ;

Kilburn, during the engagement, had a deliberate shot at a l:g: indian, whom he say fall, and he believed it was Philip himself.

+ Chiefly from the Cols. N. Hist. Soc. ii. 52–58.

340

NATANIS.-SABATIS.

[Book in

lands, cheating them in trade, &c. The committee returned an affectionate address; and although the groans of the dying, from the late terrible field of battle, were sounding in their ears, they say nothing about engaging the Indians in the war, but assured them that “ as soon as they could take breath from their present fight,” their complaints should receive attention. Some of the Penobscots did eventually engage in the war, but we have no particulars of them.

We have said before,* upon authority which will generally be received, that Natanis and Sabatis were the first Indians employed by the Americans in the revolution, and we see no reason yet to form a different opinion, although our attention has been called again to the subject, and some facts stated for our consideration, which have elicited further investigations and comparisons, of which the following is the result. Of a chief named Swausen, or Swashan, well known on the borders of New Hampshire in the latter French wars, we have before given some notice; at that time, or about the close of those wars, he retired to St. Francis. When the revolution began, he seems to have decided on taking the part of the Americans; and with a few followers marched to Kennebeck, and with some of the Norridgewoks rendezvoused at Cobbossee, now Gardiner, at the mouth of the Cobbosseeconta River. Over the Norridgewoks, or Pequawkets, or some of both, was a chief, named Paul Higgins, who, though a white man, had lived so long among Indians, that to all intents he was one of them. He was born at Berwick, but had been taken captive when quite young, and spent most of his days with them. This company set out for Cambridge, the head quarters of General Washington, about the beginning of August, 1775, under the direction of one Reuben Coburn. There were 20 or 30 of them, “and they were rowed down in canoes to Merrymeeting Bay by their squaws;" here they left them, and proceeded to Cambridge on foot, where they arrived about the 13 August

. || They tendered their services to the general, who gave them all the encouragement he could, consistently, but evidently advised them to remain neul. tral.I Swashan said half of his tribe was ready to join the Americans, and that four or five other tribes stood ready, if wanted, and that the Canadians were in favor of the Americans also; and this was the general opinion, and corresponds with accounts given by intelligent settlers on the frontiers. They say, “ We have had positive accounts from many of the Indian tribes, who have been applied to by Governor Carleton to distress the settlements • but they say they have no offence from the people, and will not make war on them. The French, too, say it is a war of our own raising, and they will have no part in it."** We hear no more of Swashan.

Of AssaCAMBUIT, an extended account has been given, and we should not again recur to him, but to correct the statement, that “nothing was heard of him from 1708 to the time of his death.” We have since found that in 1714, he was at Portsmouth, upon a friendly visit with several other Indians. On the 10 May of that year, as the Indians were about to leave the place, " the council of N. H. ordered their treasurer to furnish him and his compan ions with necessary provisions and liquors to carry them to their severa habitations."

* Page 136, ante, of this Book. † In a polite and obliging manner, by Rev. Wm. S. BARTLETT, of Little Falls, N. Y

As early as May 19th, 1775, the provincial congress of Massachusetts “Voted, That Captain John Lane have enlisting papers delivered to him, for raising a company of lodians at the eastward."

o Cols. N. H. Soc. ii. 76 7.
1 MS. communication of Rev. W. S. BARTLETT.
| Botla, i. 228.
** Almon's Remembrancer, i. 147—149.
tt Book III.

p.

139–141.

BIOGRAPHY AND HISTORY

OF THE

INDIANS OF NORTH AMERICA

BOOK IV.

29

« AnteriorContinuar »