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´╗┐Title: A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison
Author: Seaver, James E. (James Everett), 1787-1827
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison" ***


Who was taken by the Indians, in the year 1755, when only about twelve
years of age, and has continued to reside amongst them to the present


An Account of the Murder of her Father and his Family; her sufferings;
her marriage to two Indians; her troubles with her Children; barbarities
of the Indians in the French and Revolutionary Wars; the life of her
last Husband, &c.; and many Historical Facts never before published.
_Carefully taken from her own words, Nov._ 29th, 1823.


An APPENDIX, containing an account of the tragedy at the Devil's Hole,
in 1783, and of Sullivan's Expedition; the Traditions, Manners, Customs,
&c. of the Indians, as believed and practised at the present day, and
since Mrs. Jemison's captivity; together with some Anecdotes, and other
entertaining matter.

By James E. Seaver.


That to biographical writings we are indebted for the greatest and
best field in which to study mankind, or human nature, is a fact duly
appreciated by a well-informed community. In them we can trace the
effects of mental operations to their proper sources; and by comparing
our own composition with that of those who have excelled in virtue, or
with that of those who have been sunk in the lowest depths of folly and
vice, we are enabled to select a plan of life that will at least afford
self-satisfaction, and guide us through the world in paths of morality.

Without a knowledge of the lives of the vile and abandoned, we should
be wholly incompetent to set an appropriate value upon the charms, the
excellence and the worth of those principles which have produced the
finest traits in the character of the most virtuous.

Biography is a telescope of life, through which we can see the extremes
and excesses of the varied properties of the human heart. Wisdom
and folly, refinement and vulgarity, love and hatred, tenderness and
cruelty, happiness and misery, piety and infidelity, commingled with
every other cardinal virtue or vice, are to be seen on the variegated
pages of the history of human events, and are eminently deserving the
attention of those who would learn to walk in the "paths of peace."

The brazen statue and the sculptured marble, can commemorate the
greatness of heroes, statesmen, philosophers, and blood-stained
conquerors, who have risen to the zenith of human glory and popularity,
under the influence of the mild sun of prosperity: but it is the
faithful page of biography that transmits to future generations the
poverty, pain, wrong, hunger, wretchedness and torment, and every
nameless misery that has been endured by those who have lived in
obscurity, and groped their lonely way through a long series of
unpropitious events, with but little help besides the light of nature.
While the gilded monument displays in brightest colors the vanity of
pomp, and the emptiness of nominal greatness, the biographical page,
that lives in every line, is giving lessons of fortitude in time of
danger, patience in suffering, hope in distress, invention in necessity,
and resignation to unavoidable evils. Here also may be learned, pity
for the bereaved, benevolence for the destitute, and compassion for the
helpless; and at the same time all the sympathies of the soul will be
naturally excited to sigh at the unfavorable result, or to smile at the
fortunate relief.

In the great inexplicable chain which forms the circle of human events,
each individual link is placed on a level with the others, and performs
an equal task; but, as the world is partial, it is the situation
that attracts the attention of mankind, and excites the unfortunate
vociferous eclat of elevation, that raises the pampered parasite to such
an immense height in the scale of personal vanity, as, generally, to
deprive him of respect, before he can return to a state of equilibrium
with his fellows, or to the place whence he started.

Few great men have passed from the stage of action, who have not left in
the history of their lives indelible marks of ambition or folly,
which produced insurmountable reverses, and rendered the whole a mere
caricature, that can be examined only with disgust and regret. Such
pictures, however, are profitable, for "by others' faults wise men
correct their own."

The following is a piece of biography, that shows what changes may be
effected in the animal and mental constitution of man; what trials may
be surmounted; what cruelties perpetrated, and what pain endured, when
stern necessity holds the reins, and drives the car of fate.

As books of this kind are sought and read with avidity, especially by
children, and are well calculated to excite their attention, inform
their understanding, and improve them in the art of reading, the
greatest care has been observed to render the style easy, the language
comprehensive, and the description natural. Prolixity has been
studiously avoided. The line of distinction between virtue and vice
has been rendered distinctly visible; and chastity of expression and
sentiment have received due attention. Strict fidelity has been observed
in the composition: consequently, no circumstance has been intentionally
exaggerated by the paintings of fancy, nor by fine flashes of rhetoric:
neither has the picture been rendered more dull than the original.
Without the aid of fiction, what was received as matter of fact, only
has been recorded.

It will be observed that the subject of this narrative has arrived at
least to the advanced age of eighty years; that she is destitute of
education; and that her journey of life, throughout its texture, has
been interwoven with troubles, which ordinarily are calculated to impair
the faculties of the mind; and it will be remembered, that there are
but few old people who can recollect with precision the circumstances
of their lives, (particularly those circumstances which transpired
after middle age.) If, therefore, any error shall be discovered in the
narration in respect to time, it will be overlooked by the kind reader,
or charitably placed to the narrator's account, and not imputed to
neglect, or to the want of attention in the compiler.

The appendix is principally taken from the words of Mrs. Jemison's
statements. Those parts which were not derived from her, are deserving
equal credit, having been obtained from authentic sources.

For the accommodation of the reader, the work has been divided into
chapters, and a copious table of contents affixed. The introduction will
facilitate the understanding of what follows; and as it contains matter
that could not be inserted with propriety in any other place, will be
read with interest and satisfaction.

Having finished my undertaking, the subsequent pages are cheerfully
submitted to the perusal and approbation or animadversion of a candid,
generous and indulgent public. At the same time it is fondly hoped that
the lessons of distress that are portrayed, may have a direct tendency
to increase our love of liberty; to enlarge our views of the blessings
that are derived from our liberal institutions; and to excite in our
breasts sentiments of devotion and gratitude to the great Author and
finisher of our happiness.


_Pembroke, March_ 1, 1824.


The Peace of 1783, and the consequent cessation of Indian hostilities
and barbarities, returned to their friends those prisoners, who had
escaped the tomahawk, the gauntlet, and the savage fire, after their
having spent many years in captivity, and restored harmony to society.

The stories of Indian cruelties which were common in the new
settlements, and were calamitous realities previous to that, propitious
event; slumbered in the minds that had been constantly agitated by them,
and were only roused occasionally, to become the fearful topic of the

It is presumed that at this time there are but few native Americans that
have arrived to middle age, who cannot distinctly recollect of sitting
in the chimney corner when children, all contracted with fear, and there
listening to their parents or visitors, while they related stories of
Indian conquests, and murders, that would make their flaxen hair nearly
stand erect, and almost destroy the power of motion.

At the close of the Revolutionary war; all that part of the State of
New-York that lies west of Utica was uninhabited by white people, and
few indeed had ever passed beyond Fort Stanwix, except when engaged in
war against the Indians, who were numerous, and occupied a number of
large towns Between the Mohawk river and lake Erie.

Sometime elapsed after this event, before the country about the lakes
and on the Genesee river was visited, save by an occasional land
speculator, or by defaulters who wished by retreating to what in those
days was deemed almost the end of the earth, to escape the force of
civil law.

At length, the richness and fertility of the soil excited emigration,
and here and there a family settled down and commenced improvements
in the country which had recently been the property of the aborigines.
Those who settled near the Genesee river, soon became acquainted
with "The White Woman," as Mrs. Jemison is called, whose history they
anxiously sought, both as a matter of interest and curiosity. Frankness
characterized her conduct, and without reserve she would readily gratify
them by relating some of the most important periods of her life.

Although her bosom companion was an ancient Indian warrior, and
notwithstanding her children and associates were all Indians, yet it was
found that she possessed an uncommon share of hospitality, and that her
friendship was well worth courting and preserving. Her house was the
stranger's home; from her table the hungry were refreshed;--she made
the naked as comfortable as her means would admit of; and in all her
actions, discovered so much natural goodness of heart, that her admirers
increases in proportion to the extension of her acquaintance, and
she became celebrated as the friend of the distressed. She was the
protectress of the homeless fugitive, and made welcome the weary
wanderer. Many still live to commemorate her benevolence towards them,
when prisoners during the war, and to ascribe their deliverance to the
mediation of "The White Woman."

The settlements increased, and the whole country around her was
inhabited by a rich and respectable people, principally from
New-England, as much distinguished for their spirit of inquisitiveness
as for their habits of industry and honesty, who had all heard from
one source and another a part of her life in detached pieces, and
had obtained an idea that the whole taken in connection would afford
instruction and amusement.

Many gentlemen of respectability, felt anxious that her narrative
might be laid before the public, with a view not only to perpetuate the
remembrance of the atrocities of the savages in former times, but to
preserve some historical facts which they supposed to be intimately
connected with her life, and which otherwise must be lost.

Forty years had passed since the close of the Revolutionary war, and
almost seventy years had seen Mrs. Jemison with the Indians, when Daniel
W. Banister, Esq. at the instance of several gentlemen, and prompted
by his own ambition to add something to the accumulating fund of useful
knowledge, resolved, in the autumn of 1823, to embrace that time, while
she was capable of recollecting and reciting the scenes through which
she had passed, to collect from herself, and to publish to an accurate
account of her life.

I was employed to collect the materials, and prepare the work for the
press; and accordingly went to the house of Mrs. Jennet Whaley in the
town of Castile, Genesee co. N.Y. in company with the publisher, who
procured the interesting subject of the following narrative, to come to
that place (a distance of four miles) and there repeat the story of her
eventful life. She came on foot in company with Mr. Thomas Clute, whom
she considers her protector, and tarried almost three days, which time
was busily occupied in taking a sketch of her narrative as she recited

Her appearance was well calculated to excite a great degree of sympathy
in a stranger, who had been partially informed of her origin, when
comparing her present situation with what it probably would have been,
had she been permitted to have remained with her friends, and to have
enjoyed the blessings of civilization.

In stature she is very short, and considerably under the middle size,
and stands tolerably erect, with her head bent forward, apparently from
her having for a long time been accustomed to carrying heavy burdens in
a strap placed across her forehead. Her complexion is very white for
a woman of her age, and although the wrinkles of fourscore years are
deeply indented in her cheeks, yet the crimson of youth is distinctly
visible. Her eyes are light blue, a little faded by age, and naturally
brilliant and sparkling. Her sight is quite dim, though she is able to
perform her necessary labor without the assistance of glasses. Her cheek
bones are high, and rather prominent, and her front teeth, in the
lower jaw, are sound and good. When she looks up and is engaged in
conversation her countenance is very expressive; but from her long
residence with the Indians, she has acquired the habit of peeping from
under eye-brows as they do with the head inclined downwards. Formerly
her hair was of a light chestnut brown--it is now quite grey, a little
curled, of middling length and tied in a bunch behind. She informed me
that she had never worn a cap nor a comb.

She speaks English plainly and distinctly, with a little of the
Irish emphasis, and has the use of words so well as to render
herself intelligible on any subject with which she is acquainted. Her
recollection and memory exceeded my expectation. It cannot be reasonably
supposed, that a person of her age has kept the events of seventy years
in so complete a chain as to be able to assign to each its proper time
and place; she, however, made her recital with as few obvious mistakes
as might be found in that of a person of fifty.

She walks with a quick step without a staff, and I was informed by Mr.
Clute, that she could yet cross a stream on a log or pole as steadily as
any other person.

Her passions are easily excited. At a number of periods in her
narration, tears trickled down her grief worn cheek, and at the same
time, a rising sigh would stop her utterance.

Industry is a virtue which she has uniformly practised from the day of
her adoption to the present. She pounds her samp, cooks for herself,
gathers and chops wood, feeds her cattle and poultry, and performs
other laborious services. Last season she planted, tended and gathered
corn--in short she is always busy.

Her dress at the time I saw her, was made and worn after, the Indian
fashion, and consisted of a shirt, short gown, petticoat, stockings,
moccasins, a blanket and a bonnet. The shirt was of cotton and made at
the top, as I was informed, like a man's without collar or sleeves--was
open before and extended down about midway of the hips.--The petticoat
was a piece of broadcloth with the list at the top and bottom and the
ends sewed together. This was tied on by a string that was passed over
it and around the waist, in such a manner as to let the bottom of the
petticoat down half way between the knee and ankle and leave one-fourth
of a yard at the top to be turned down over the string--the bottom of
the shift coming a little below, and on the outside of the top of
the fold so as to leave the list and two or three inches of the cloth
uncovered. The stockings, were of blue broadcloth, tied, or pinned on,
which reached from the knees, into the mouth of the moccasins.--Around
her toes only she had some rags, and over these her buckskin moccasins.
Her gown was of undressed flannel, colored brown. It was made in old
yankee style, with long sleeves, covered the top of the hips, and was
tied before in two places with strings of deer skin. Over all this,
she wore an Indian blanket. On her head she wore a piece of old brown
woollen cloth made somewhat like a sun bonnet.

Such was the dress that this woman was contented to wear, and habit had
rendered it convenient and comfortable. She wore it not as a matter of t
necessity, but from choice, for it will be seen in the sequel, that her
property is sufficient to enable her to dress in the best fashion, and
to allow her every comfort of life.

Her house, in which she lives, is 20 by 28 feet; built of square timber,
with a shingled roof, and a framed stoop. In the centre of the house is
a chimney of stones and sticks, in which there are two fire places. She
has a good framed barn, 26 by 36, well filled, and owns a fine stock
of cattle and horses. Besides the buildings above mentioned, she owns a
number of houses that are occupied by tenants, who work her flats upon
shares. Her dwelling, is about one hundred rods north of the Great
Slide, a curiosity that, will be described in its proper place, on the
west side of the Genesee river.

Mrs. Jemison, appeared sensible of her ignorance of the manners of the
white people, and for that reason, was not familiar, except with those
with whom she was intimately acquainted. In fact she was (to appearance)
so jealous of her rights, or that she should say something that would be
injurious to herself or family, that if Mr. Clute had not been present,
we should have been unable to have obtained her history. She, however,
soon became free and unembarrassed in her conversation, and spoke with
degree of mildness, candor and simplicity, that is calculated to remove
all doubts as to the veracity of the speaker. The vices of the Indians,
she appeared disposed not to aggravate, and seemed to take pride in
extoling their virtues. A kind of family pride inclined her to withhold
whatever would blot the character of her descendants, and perhaps
induced her to keep back many things that would have been interesting.

For the life of her last husband, we are indebted to her cousin, Mr.
George Jemison, to whom she referred us for information on that subject
generally. The thoughts of his deeds, probably chilled her old heart,
and made her dread to rehearse them, and at the same time she well knew
they were no secret, for she had frequently heard him relate the whole,
not only to her cousin, but to others.

Before she left us she was very sociable, and she resumed her naturally
pleasant countenance, enlivened with a smile.

Her neighbors speak of her as possessing one of the happiest tempers and
disposition, and give her the name of never having done a censurable act
to their knowledge.

Her habits, are those of the Indians--she sleeps on skins without a
bedstead, sits upon the floor or on a bench, and holds her victuals on
her lap, or in her hands.

Her ideas of religion, correspond in every respect with those of the
great mass of the Senecas. She applauds virtue, and despises vice. She
believes in a future state, in which the good will be happy, and the bad
miserable; and that the acquisition of that happiness, depends primarily
upon human volition, and the consequent good deeds of the happy
recipient of blessedness. The doctrines taught in the Christian
religion, she is a stranger to.

Her daughters are said to be active and enterprizing women, and her
grandsons, who arrived to manhood, are considered able, decent and
respectable men in their tribe.

Having in this cursory manner, introduced the subject of the following
pages, I proceed to the narration of a life that has been viewed with
attention, for a great number of years by a few, and which will be
read by the public the mixed sensations of pleasure and pain, and with
interest, anxiety and satisfaction.



Nativity of her Parents.--Their removal to America.--Her Birth.--Parents
settle in Pennsylvania.--Omen of her Captivity.

Although I may have frequently heard the history of my ancestry, my
recollection is too imperfect to enable me to trace it further back than
my father and mother, whom I have often heard mention the families
from whence they originated, as having possessed wealth and honorable
stations under the government of the country in which they resided.

On the account of the great length of time that has elapsed since I was
separated from my parents and friends, and having heard the story of
their nativity only in the days of my childhood, I am not able to state
positively, which of the two countries, Ireland or Scotland, was the
land of my parents birth and education. It, however, is my impression,
that they were born and brought up in Ireland.

My Father's name was Thomas Jemison, and my mother's before her marriage
with him, was Jane Erwin. Their affection for each other was mutual, and
of that happy kind which tends directly to sweeten the cup of life; to
render connubial sorrows lighter; to assuage every discontentment and to
promote not only their own comfort, but that of all who come within the
circle of their acquaintance. Of their happiness I recollect to have
heard them speak; and the remembrance I yet retain of their mildness
and perfect agreement in the government of their children, together
with their mutual attention to our common education, manners, religious
instruction and wants, renders it a fact in my mind, that they were
ornaments to the married state, and examples of connubial love, worthy
of imitation. After my remembrance they were strict observers of
religious duties; for it was the daily practice of my father, morning
and evening, to attend, in his family, to the worship of God.

Resolved to leave the land of their nativity they removed from their
residence to a port in Ireland, where they lived but a short time before
they set sail for this country, in the year 1742 or 3 on board the ship
Mary William, bound to Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania.

The intestine divisions, civil wars, and ecclesiastical rigidity and
domination that prevailed those days, were the causes of their leaving
their mother country and a home in the American wilderness, under the
mild and temperate government of the descendants of William Penn; where
without fear they might worship God, and perform their usual avocations.

In Europe my parents had two sons and one daughter, whose names were
John, Thomas and Betsey; with whom, after having put their effects
on board, they embarked, leaving a large connexion of relatives and
friends, under all those painful sensations, which are only felt when
kindred souls give the parting hand and last farewell to those to whom
they are endeared by every friendly tie.

In the course of their voyage I was born, to be the sport of fortune
and almost an outcast to civil society; to stem the current of adversity
through a long chain of vicissitudes, unsupported by the advice of
tender parents, or the hand of an affectionate friend; and even without
the enjoyment from others, of any of those tender sympathies that are
adapted to the sweetening of society, except such as naturally flow from
uncultivated minds, that have been calloused by ferocity.

Excepting my birth, nothing remarkable occurred to my parents on their
passage, and they were safely landed at Philadelphia. My father being
fond of rural life, and having been bred to agricultural pursuits, soon
left the city, and removed his family to the then frontier settlements
of Pennsylvania, to a tract of excellent land lying on Marsh creek. At
that place he cleared a large farm, and for seven or eight years enjoyed
the fruits of his industry. Peace attended their labors; and they had
nothing to alarm them, save the midnight howl of the prowling wolf, or
the terrifying shriek of the ferocious panther, as they occasionally
visited their improvements, to take a lamb or a calf to satisfy their

During this period my mother had two sons, between whose ages there was
a difference of about three years: the oldest was named Matthew, and the
other Robert.

Health presided on every countenance, and vigor and strength
characterized every exertion. Our mansion was a little paradise.
The morning of my childish, happy days, will ever stand fresh in my
remembrance, notwithstanding the many severe trials through which I have
passed, in arriving at my present situation, at so advanced an age.
Even at this remote period, the recollection of my pleasant home at my
father's, of my parents, of my brothers and sister, and of the manner in
which I was deprived of them all at once, affects me so powerfully, that
I am almost overwhelmed with grief, that is seemingly insupportable.
Frequently I dream of those happy days: but, alas! they are gone; they
have left me to be carried through a long life, dependent for the
little pleasures of nearly seventy years, upon the tender mercies of the
Indians! In the spring of 1752, and through the succeeding seasons, the
stories of Indian barbarities inflicted upon the whites in those days,
frequently excited in my parents the most serious alarm for our safety.

The next year the storm gathered faster; many murders were committed;
and many captives were exposed to meet death in its most frightful
form, by having their bodies stuck full of pine splinters, which were
immediately set on fire, while their tormentors, exulting in their
distress, would rejoice at their agony!

In 1754, an army for the protection of the settlers, and to drive back
the French and Indians, was raised from the militia of the colonial
governments, and placed (secondarily) under the command of Col. George
Washington. In that army I had an uncle, whose name was John Jemison who
was killed at the battle at the Great Meadow or Fort Necessity. His wife
had died some time before this, and left a young child, which my mother
nursed in the most tender manner, till its mother's sister took it away,
a few months after my uncle's death. The French and Indians, after the
surrender of Fort Necessity by Col. Washington, (which happened the same
season, and soon after his victory over them at that place,) grew more
and more terrible. The death of the whites, and plundering and burning
their property, was apparently their only object: But as yet we had not
heard the death-yell, nor seen the smoke of a dwelling that had been lit
by an Indian's hand.

The return of a new-year's day found us unmolested; and though we knew
that the enemy was at no great distance from us, my father concluded
that he would continue to occupy his land another season: expecting
(probably from the great exertions which the government was then making)
that as soon as the troops could commence their operations in the
spring, the enemy would be conquered and compelled to agree to a treaty
of peace.

In the preceding autumn my father either moved to another part of his
farm, or to another neighborhood, a short distance from our former
abode. I well recollect moving, and that the barn that was on the place
we moved to was built of logs, though the house was a good one.

The winter of 1754-5 was as mild as a common fall season, and the spring
presented a pleasant seed time, and indicated a plenteous harvest. My
father, with the assistance of his oldest sons, repaired his farm as
usual, and was daily preparing the soil for the reception of the seed.
His cattle and sheep were numerous, and according to the best idea of
wealth that I can now form, he was wealthy.

But alas! how transitory are all human affairs! how fleeting are riches!
how brittle the invisible thread on which all earthly comforts are
suspended! Peace in a moment can take an immeasurable flight; health
can lose its rosy cheeks; and life will vanish like a vapor at the
appearance of the sun! In one fatal day our prospects were all blasted;
and death, by cruel hands, inflicted upon almost the whole of the

On a pleasant day in the spring of 1755, when my father was sowing
flax-seed, and my brothers driving the teams, I was sent to a neighbor's
house, a distance of perhaps a mile, to procure a horse and return with
it the next morning. I went as I was directed. I was out of the house
in the beginning of the evening, and saw a sheet wide spread approaching
towards me, in which I was caught (as I have ever since believed) and
deprived of my senses! The family soon found me on the ground, almost
lifeless, (as they said,) took me in, and made use of every remedy in
their power for my recovery, but without effect till day-break, when my
senses returned, and I soon found myself in good health, so that I went
home with the horse very early in the morning.

The appearance of that sheet, I have ever considered as a forerunner
of the melancholy catastrophe that so soon afterwards happened to
our family: and my being caught in it I believe, was ominous of my
preservation from death at the time we were captured.


Her Education.--Captivity.--Journey to Fort Pitt.--Mother's Farewell
Address.--Murder of her Family.--Preparation of the Scalps.--Indian
Precautions.--Arrival at Fort Pitt, &c.

My education had received as much attention from my parents, as their
situation in a new country would admit. I had been at school some, where
I learned to read in a book that was about half as large as a Bible;
and in the Bible I had read a little. I had also learned the Catechism,
which I used frequently to repeat to my parents, and every night, before
I went to bed, I was obliged to stand up before my mother and repeat
some words that I suppose was a prayer.

My reading, Catechism and prayers, I have long since forgotten; though
for a number of the first years that I lived with the Indians, I
repeated the prayers as often as I had an opportunity. After the
revolutionary war, I remembered the names of some of the letters when I
saw them; but have never read a word since I was taken prisoner. It is
but a few years since a Missionary kindly gave me a Bible, which I am
very fond of hearing my neighbors read to me, and should be pleased to
learn to read it myself; but my sight has been for a number of years, so
dim that I have not been able to distinguish one letter from another.

As I before observed, I got home with the horse very early in the
morning, where I found a man that lived in our neighborhood, and his
sister-in-law who had three children, one son and two daughters. I soon
learned that they had come there to live a short time; but for what
purpose I cannot say. The woman's husband, however, was at that time in
Washington's army, fighting, for his country; and as her brother-in-law
had a house she had lived with him in his absence. Their names I have

Immediately after I got home, the man took the horse to go to his house
after a bag of grain, and took his gun in his hand for the purpose of
killing game, if he should chance to see any.--Our family, as usual,
was busily employed about their common business. Father was shaving an
axe-helve at the side of the house; mother was making preparations for
breakfast;--my two oldest brothers were at work near the barn; and the
little ones, with myself, and the woman and her three children, were in
the house.

Breakfast was not yet ready, when we were alarmed by the discharge of
a number of guns, that seemed to be near. Mother and the women before
mentioned, almost fainted at the report, and every one trembled with
fear. On opening the door, the man and horse lay dead near the house,
having just been shot by the Indians.

I was afterwards informed, that the Indians discovered him at his own
house with his gun, and pursued him to father's, where they shot him as
I have related. They first secured my father, and then rushed into the
house, and without the least resistance made prisoners of my mother,
Robert, Matthew, Betsey, the woman and her three children, and myself,
and then commenced plundering.

My two brothers, Thomas and John, being at the barn, escaped and went to
Virginia, where my grandfather Erwin then lived, as I was informed by
a Mr. Fields, who was at my house about the close of the revolutionary

The party that took us consisted of six Indians and four Frenchmen, who
immediately commenced plundering, as I just observed, and took what
they considered most valuable; consisting principally of bread, meal and
meat. Having taken as much provision as they could carry, they set out
with their prisoners in great haste, for fear of detection, and soon
entered the woods. On our march that day, an Indian went behind us with
a whip, with which he frequently lashed the children to make them keep
up. In this manner we travelled till dark without a mouthful of food
or a drop of water; although we had not eaten since the night before.
Whenever the little children cried for water, the Indians would make
them drink urine or go thirsty. At night they encamped in the woods
without fire and without shelter, where we were watched with the
greatest vigilance. Extremely fatigued, and very hungry, we were
compelled to lie upon the ground supperless and without a drop of water
to satisfy the cravings of our appetites. As in the day time, so the
little ones were made to drink urine in the night if they cried for
water. Fatigue alone brought us a little sleep for the refreshment of
our weary limbs; and at the dawn of day we were again started on our
march in the same order that we had proceeded on the day before. About
sunrise we were halted, and the Indians gave us a full breakfast of
provision that they had brought from my father's house. Each of us being
very hungry, partook of this bounty of the Indians, except father, who
was so much overcome with his situation--so much exhausted by anxiety
and grief, that silent despair seemed fastened upon his countenance, and
he could not be prevailed upon to refresh his sinking nature by the use
of a morsel of food. Our repast being finished, we again resumed our
march, and, before noon passed a small fort that I heard my father say
was called Fort Canagojigge.

That was the only time that I heard him speak from the time we were
taken till we were finally separated the following night.

Towards evening we arrived at the border of a dark and dismal swamp,
which was covered with small hemlocks, or some other evergreen, and
other bushes, into which we were conducted; and having gone a short
distance we stopped to encamp for the night.

Here we had some bread and meat for supper: but the dreariness of our
situation, together with the uncertainty under which we all labored, as
to our future destiny, almost deprived us of the sense of hunger, and
destroyed our relish for food.

Mother, from the time we were taken, had manifested a great degree
of fortitude, and encouraged us to support our troubles without
complaining; and by her conversation seemed to make the distance and
time shorter, and the way more smooth. But father lost all his ambition
in the beginning of our trouble, and continued apparently lost to every
care--absorbed in melancholy. Here, as before, she insisted on the
necessity of our eating; and we obeyed her, but it was done with heavy

As soon as I had finished my supper, an Indian took off my shoes and
stockings and put a pair of moccasins on my feet, which my mother
observed; and believing that they would spare my life, even if they
should destroy the other captives, addressed me as near as I can
remember in the following words:--

"My dear little Mary, I fear that the time has arrived when we must
be parted forever. Your life, my child, I think will be spared; but we
shall probably be tomahawked here in this lonesome place by the Indians.
O! how can I part with you my darling? What will become of my sweet
little Mary? Oh! how can I think of your being continued in captivity
without a hope of your being rescued? O that death had snatched you from
my embraces in your infancy; the pain of parting then would have been
pleasing to what it now is; and I should have seen the end of your
troubles!--Alas, my dear! my heart bleeds at the thoughts of what awaits
you; but, if you leave us, remember my child your own name, and the
name of your father and mother. Be careful and not forget your English
tongue. If you shall have an opportunity to get away from the Indians,
don't try to escape; for if you do they will find and destroy you. Don't
forget, my little daughter, the prayers that I have learned you--say
them often; be a good child, and God will bless you. May God bless you
my child, and make you comfortable and happy."

During this time, the Indians stripped the shoes and stockings from the
little boy that belonged to the woman who was taken with us, and put
moccasins on his feet, as they had done before on mine. I was crying. An
Indian took the little boy and myself by the hand, to lead us off from
the company, when my mother exclaimed, "Don't cry Mary--don't cry my
child. God will bless you! Farewell--farewell!"

The Indian led us some distance into the bushes, or woods, and there
lay down with us to spend the night. The recollection of parting with my
tender mother kept me awake, while the tears constantly flowed from
my eyes. A number of times in the night the little boy begged of
me earnestly to run away with him and get clear of the Indians; but
remembering the advice I had so lately received, and knowing the dangers
to which we should be exposed, in travelling without a path and without
a guide, through a wilderness unknown to us, I told him that I would not
go, and persuaded him to lie still till morning.

Early the next morning the Indians and Frenchmen that we had left
the night before, came to us; but our friends were left behind. It is
impossible for any one to form a correct idea of what my feelings were
at the sight of those savages, whom I supposed had murdered my parents
and brothers, sister, and friends, and left them in the swamp to be
devoured by wild beasts! But what could I do? A poor little defenceless
girl; without the power or means of escaping; without a home to go to,
even if I could be liberated; without a knowledge of the direction or
distance to my former place of residence; and without a living friend to
whom to fly for protection, I felt a kind of horror, anxiety, and
dread, that, to me, seemed insupportable. I durst not cry--I durst not
complain; and to inquire of them the fate of my friends (even if I could
have mustered resolution) was beyond my ability, as I could not speak
their language, nor they understand mine. My only relief was in silent
stifled sobs.

My suspicions as to the fate of my parents proved too true; for soon
after I left them they were killed and scalped, together with Robert,
Matthew, Betsey, and the woman and her two children, and mangled in the
most shocking manner.

Having given the little boy and myself some bread and meat for
breakfast, they led us on as fast as we could travel, and one of them
went behind and with a long staff, picked up all the grass and weeds
that we trailed down by going over them. By taking that precaution they
avoided detection; for each weed was so nicely placed in its natural
position that no one would have suspected that we had passed that way.
It is the custom of Indians when scouting, or on private expeditions,
to step carefully and where no impression of their feet can be
left--shunning wet or muddy ground. They seldom take hold of a bush or
limb, and never break one; and by observing those precautions and that
of setting up the weeds and grass which they necessarily lop, they
completely elude the sagacity of their pursuers, and escape that
punishment which they are conscious they merit from the hand of justice.

After a hard day's march we encamped in a thicket, where the Indians
made a shelter of boughs, and then built a good fire to warm and dry
our benumbed limbs and clothing; for it had rained some through the day.
Here we were again fed as before. When the Indians had finished their
supper they took from their baggage a number of scalps and went about
preparing them for the market, or to keep without spoiling, by straining
them over small hoops which they prepared for that purpose, and then
drying and scraping them by the fire. Having put the scalps, yet wet and
bloody, upon the hoops, and stretched them to their full extent, they
held them to the fire till they were partly dried and then with their
knives commenced scraping off the flesh; and in that way they continued
to work, alternately drying and scraping them, till they were dry and
clean. That being done they combed the hair in the neatest manner, and
then painted it and the edges of the scalps yet on the hoops, red. Those
scalps I knew at the time must have been taken from our family by
the color of the hair. My mother's hair was red; and I could easily
distinguish my father's and the children's from each other. That sight
was most appaling; yet, I was obliged to endure it without complaining.

In the course of the night they made me to understand that they should
not have killed the family if the whites had not pursued them.

Mr. Fields, whom I have before mentioned, informed me that at the
time we were taken, he lived in the vicinity of my father; and that on
hearing of our captivity, the whole neighborhood turned out in pursuit
of the enemy, and to deliver us if possible: but that their efforts were
unavailing. They however pursued us to the dark swamp, where they found
my father, his family and companions, stripped and mangled in the most
inhuman manner: That from thence the march of the cruel monsters could
not be traced in any direction; and that they returned to their homes
with the melancholy tidings of our misfortunes, supposing that we had
all shared in the massacre.

The next morning we went on; the Indian going behind us and setting up
the weeds as on the day before. At night we encamped on the ground in
the open air, without a shelter or fire.

In the morning we again set out early, and travelled as on the two
former days, though the weather was extremely uncomfortable, from the
continual falling of rain and snow.

At night the snow fell fast, and the Indians built a shelter of boughs,
and a fire, where we rested tolerably dry through that and the two
succeeding nights.

When we stopped, and before the fire was kindled, I was so much fatigued
from running, and so far benumbed by the wet and cold, that I expected
that I must fail and die before I could get warm and comfortable. The
fire, however, soon restored the circulation, and after I had taken my
supper I felt so that I rested well through the night.

On account of the storm, we were two days at that place. On one of those
days, a party consisting of six Indians who had been to the frontier
settlements, came to where we were, and brought with them one prisoner,
a young white man who was very tired and dejected. His name I have

Misery certainly loves company. I was extremely glad to see him, though
I knew from his appearance, that his situation was as deplorable
as mine, and that he could afford me no kind of assistance. In the
afternoon the Indians killed a deer, which they dressed, and then
roasted it whole; which made them a full meal. We were each allowed
a share of their venison, and some bread, so that we made a good meal

Having spent three nights and two days at that place, and the storm
having ceased, early in the morning the whole company, consisting
of twelve Indians, four Frenchmen, the young man, the little boy and
myself, moved on at a moderate pace without an Indian behind us to
deceive our pursuers.

In the afternoon we came in sight of Fort Pitt (as it is now called,)
where we were halted while the Indians performed some customs upon their
prisoners which they deemed necessary. That fort was then occupied by
the French and Indians, and was called Fort Du Quesne. It stood at the
junction of the Monongahela, which is said to signify, in some of the
Indian languages, the Falling-in-Banks, [Footnote: Navigator.] and the
Alleghany [Footnote: The word Alleghenny, was derived from an ancient
race of Indians called "Tallegawe." The Delaware Indians, instead
of saying "Alleghenny," say "Allegawe," or "Allegawenink," _Western
Tour_--p. 455.] rivers, where the Ohio river begins to take its name.
The word O-hi-o, signifies bloody.

At the place where we halted, the Indians combed the hair of the young
man, the boy and myself, and then painted our faces and hair red, in
the finest Indian style. We were then conducted into the fort, where we
received a little bread, and were then shut up and left to tarry alone
through the night.

       *       *       *       *       *


She is given to two Squaws.--Her Journey down the Ohio.--Passes a
Shawanee town where white men had just been burnt.--Arrives at
the Seneca town.--Her Reception.--She is adopted.--Ceremony of
Adoption.--Indian Custom.--Address.--She receives a new name.--Her
Employment.--Retains her own and learns the Seneca Language.--Situation
of the Town, &c.--Indians go on a Hunting Tour to Sciota and take her
with them.--Returns.--She is taken to Fort Pitt, and then hurried back
by her Indian Sisters.--Her hopes of Liberty destroyed.--Second Tour
to Sciota.--Return to Wiishto, &c.--Arrival of Prisoners.--Priscilla
Ramsay.--Her Chain.--Mary marries a Delaware.--Her Affection
for him.--Birth and Death of her first Child.--Her Sickness and
Recovery.--Birth of Thomas Jemison.

The night was spent in gloomy forebodings. What the result of our
captivity would be, it was out of our power to determine or even
imagine.--At times we could almost realize the approach of our masters
to butcher and scalp us;--again we could nearly see the pile of wood
kindled on which we were to be roasted; and then we would imagine
ourselves at liberty; alone and defenceless in the forest, surrounded by
wild beasts that were ready to devour us. The anxiety of our minds drove
sleep from our eyelids; and it was with a dreadful hope and painful
impatience that we waited for the morning to determine our fate.

The morning at length arrived, and our masters came early and let us
out of the house, and gave the young man and boy to the French, who
immediately took them away. Their fate I never learned; as I have not
seen nor heard of them since.

I was now left alone in the fort, deprived of my former companions, and
of every thing that was near or dear to me but life. But it was not long
before I was in some measure relieved by the appearance of two pleasant
looking squaws of the Seneca tribe, who came and examined me attentively
for a short time, and then went out. After a few minutes absence they
returned with my former masters, who gave me to them to dispose of as
they pleased.

The Indians by whom I was taken were a party of Shawanees, if I remember
right, that lived, when at home, a long distance down the Ohio.

My former Indian masters, and the two squaws, were soon ready to leave
the fort, and accordingly embarked; the Indians in a large canoe, and
the two squaws and myself in a small one, and went down the Ohio.

When we set off, an Indian in the forward canoe took the scalps of my
former friends, strung them on a pole that he placed upon his shoulder,
and in that manner carried them, standing in the stern of the canoe,
directly before us as we sailed down the river, to the town where the
two squaws resided.

On our way we passed a Shawanee town, where I saw a number of heads,
arms, legs, and other fragments of the bodies of some white people who
had just been burnt. The parts that remained were hanging on a pole
which was supported at each end by a crotch stuck in the ground, and
were roasted or burnt black as a coal. The fire was yet burning; and the
whole appearances afforded a spectacle so shocking, that, even to this
day, my blood almost curdles in my veins when I think of them!

At night we arrived at a small Seneca Indian town, at the mouth of a
small river, that was called by the Indians, in the Seneca language,
She-nan-jee, [Footnote: That town, according to the geographical
description given by Mrs. Jemison, must have stood at the mouth of
Indian Cross creek, which is about 76 miles by water, below Pittsburgh;
or at the mouth of Indian Short creek, 87 miles below Pittsburgh, where
the town of Warren now stands: But at which of those places I am
unable to determine. _Author_.] where the two Squaws to whom I belonged
resided. There we landed, and the Indians went on; which was the last I
ever saw of them.

Having made fast to the shore, the Squaws left me in the canoe while
they went to their wigwam or house in the town, and returned with a suit
of Indian clothing, all new, and very clean and nice. My clothes, though
whole and good when I was taken, were now torn in pieces, so that I was
almost naked. They first undressed me and threw my rags into the river;
then washed me clean and dressed me in the new suit they had just
brought, in complete Indian style; and then led me home and seated me in
the center of their wigwam.

I had been in that situation but a few minutes before all the Squaws
in the town came in to see me. I was soon surrounded by them, and they
immediately set up a most dismal howling, crying bitterly, and wringing
their hands in all the agonies of grief for a deceased relative.

Their tears flowed freely, and they exhibited all the signs of real
mourning. At the commencement of this scene, one of their number began,
in a voice somewhat between speaking and singing, to recite some words
to the following purport, and continued the recitation till the ceremony
was ended; the company at the same time varying the appearance of their
countenances, gestures and tone of voice, so as to correspond with the
sentiments expressed by their leader:

"Oh our brother! Alas! He is dead--he has gone; he will never return!
Friendless he died on the field of the slain, where his bones are yet
lying unburied! Oh, who will not mourn his sad fate? No tears dropped
around him; oh, no! No tears of his sisters were there! He fell in his
prime, when his arm was most needed to keep us from danger! Alas! he has
gone! and left us in sorrow, his loss to bewail: Oh where is his spirit?
His spirit went naked, and hungry it wanders, and thirsty and wounded
it groans to return! Oh helpless and wretched, our brother has gone! No
blanket nor food to nourish and warm him; nor candles to light him, nor
weapons of war:--Oh, none of those comforts had he! But well we remember
his deeds!--The deer he could take on the chase! The panther shrunk back
at the sight of his strength! His enemies fell at his feet! He was brave
and courageous in war! As the fawn was harmless: his friendship was
ardent: his temper was gentle: his pity was great! Oh! our friend, our
companion is dead! Our brother, your brother, alas! he is gone! But why
do we grieve for his loss? In the strength of a warrior, undaunted he
left us, to fight by the side of the Chiefs! His war-whoop was shrill!
His rifle well aimed laid his enemies low: his tomahawk drank of their
blood: and his knife flayed their scalps while yet covered with gore!
And why do we mourn? Though he fell on the field of the slain, with
glory he fell, and his spirit went up to the land of his fathers in war!
Then why do we mourn? With transports of joy they received him, and fed
him, and clothed him, and welcomed him there! Oh friends, he is happy;
then dry up your tears! His spirit has seen our distress, and sent us
a helper whom with pleasure we greet. Dickewamis has come: then let
us receive her with joy! She is handsome and pleasant! Oh! she is our
sister, and gladly we welcome her here. In the place of our brother she
stands in our tribe. With care we will guard her from trouble; and may
she be happy till her spirit shall leave us."

In the course of that ceremony, from mourning they became serene--joy
sparkled in their countenances, and they seemed to rejoice over me as
over a long lost child. I was made welcome amongst them as a sister to
the two Squaws before mentioned, and was called Dickewamis; which being
interpreted, signifies a pretty girl, a handsome girl, or a pleasant,
good thing. That is the name by which I have ever since been called by
the Indians.

I afterwards learned that the ceremony I at that time passed through,
was that of adoption. The two squaws had lost a brother in Washington's
war, sometime in the year before and in consequence of his death went up
to Fort Pitt, on the day on which I arrived there, in order to receive a
prisoner or an enemy's scalp, to supply their loss.

It is a custom of the Indians, when one of their number is slain or
taken prisoner in battle, to give to the nearest relative to the dead
or absent, a prisoner, if they have chanced to take one, and if not,
to give him the scalp of an enemy. On the return of the Indians
from conquest, which is always announced by peculiar shoutings,
demonstrations of joy, and the exhibition of some trophy of victory, the
mourners come forward and make their claims. If they receive a prisoner,
it is at their option either to satiate their vengeance by taking his
life in the most cruel manner they can conceive of; or, to receive and
adopt him into the family, in the place of him whom they have lost. All
the prisoners that are taken in battle and carried to the encampment
or town by the Indians, are given to the bereaved families, till their
number is made good.

And unless the mourners have but just received the news of their
bereavement, and are under the operation of a paroxysm of grief, anger
and revenge; or, unless the prisoner is very old, sickly, or homely,
they generally save him, and treat him kindly. But if their mental wound
is fresh, their loss so great that they deem it irreparable, or if their
prisoner or prisoners do not meet their approbation, no torture, let
it be ever so cruel, seems sufficient to make them satisfaction. It is
family, and not national, sacrifices amongst the Indians, that has given
them an indelible stamp as barbarians, and identified their character
with the idea which is generally formed of unfeeling ferocity, and the
most abandoned cruelty.

It was my happy lot to be accepted for adoption; and at the time of the
ceremony I was received by the two squaws, to supply the place of their
brother in the family; and I was ever considered and treated by them as
a real sister, the same as though I had been born of their mother.

During my adoption, I sat motionless, nearly terrified to death at the
appearance and actions of the company, expecting every moment to feel
their vengeance, and suffer death on the spot. I was, however, happily
disappointed, when at the close of the ceremony the company retired,
and my sisters went about employing every means for my consolation and

Being now settled and provided with a home, I was employed in nursing
the children, and doing light work about the house. Occasionally I was
sent out with the Indian hunters, when they went but a short distance,
to help them carry their game.

My situation was easy; I had no particular hardships to endure. But
still, the recollection of my parents, my brothers and sisters, my home,
and my own captivity, destroyed my happiness, and made me constantly
solitary, lonesome and gloomy.

My sisters would not allow me to speak English in their hearing; but
remembering the charge that my dear mother gave me at the time I left
her, whenever I chanced to be alone I made a business of repeating my
prayer, catechism, or something I had learned in order that I might not
forget my own language. By practising in that way I retained it till
I came to Genesee flats, where I soon became acquainted with English
people with whom I have been almost daily in the habit of conversing.

My sisters were diligent in teaching me their language; and to their
great satisfaction I soon learned so that I could understand it readily,
and speak it fluently. I was very fortunate in falling into their hands;
for they were kind good natured women; peaceable and mild in their
dispositions; temperate and decent in their habits, and very tender and
gentle towards me. I have great reason to respect them, though they have
been dead a great number of years.

The town where they lived was pleasantly situated on the Ohio, at the
mouth of the Shenanjee: the land produced good corn; the woods furnished
a plenty of game, and the waters abounded with fish. Another river
emptied itself into the Ohio, directly opposite the mouth of the
Shenanjee. We spent the summer at that place, where we planted, hoed,
and harvested a large crop of corn, of an excellent quality.

About the time of corn harvest, Fort Pitt was taken from the French by
the English. [Footnote: The above statement is apparently an error; and
is to be attributed solely to the treachery of the old lady's memory;
though she is confident that that event took place at the time above
mentioned. It is certain that Fort Pitt was not evacuated by the French
and given up to the English, till sometime in November, 1758. It is
possible, however, that an armistice was agreed upon, and that for a
time, between the spring of 1755 and 1758, both nations visited
that post without fear of molestation. As the succeeding part of the
narrative corresponds with the true historical chain of events, the
public will overlook this circumstance, which appears unsupported by
history. AUTHOR.]

The corn being harvested, the Indians took it on horses and in canoes,
and proceeded down the Ohio, occasionally stopping to hunt a few days,
till we arrived at the mouth of Sciota river; where they established
their winter quarters, and continued hunting till the ensuing spring,
in the adjacent wilderness. While at that place I went with the other
children to assist the hunters to bring in their game. The forests on
the Sciota were well stocked with elk, deer, and other large animals;
and the marshes contained large numbers of beaver, muskrat, &c. which
made excellent hunting for the Indians; who depended, for their meat,
upon their success in taking elk and deer; and for ammunition and
clothing, upon the beaver, muskrat, and other furs that they could take
in addition to their peltry.

The season for hunting being passed, we all returned in the spring to
the mouth of the river Shenanjee, to the houses and fields we had left
in the fall before. There we again planted our corn, squashes, and
beans, on the fields that we occupied the preceding summer.

About planting time, our Indians all went up to Fort Pitt, to make peace
with the British, and took me with them. [Footnote: History is silent
as to any treaty having been made between the English, and French and
Indians, at that time; though it is possible that a truce was agreed
upon, and that the parties met for the purpose of concluding a treaty of
peace.] We landed on the opposite side of the river from the fort, and
encamped for the night. Early the next morning the Indians took me over
to the fort to see the white people that were there. It was then that my
heart bounded to be liberated from the Indians and to be restored to my
friends and my country. The white people were surprized to see me with
the Indians, enduring the hardships of a savage life, at so early an
age, and with so delicate a constitution as I appeared to possess. They
asked me my name; where and when I was taken--and appeared very much
interested on my behalf. They were continuing their inquiries, when
my sisters became alarmed, believing that I should be taken from them,
hurried me into their canoe and recrossed the river--took their bread
out of the fire and fled with me, without stopping, till they arrived
at the river Shenanjee. So great was their fear of losing me, or of my
being given up in the treaty, that they never once stopped rowing till
they got home.

Shortly after we left the shore opposite the fort, as I was informed by
one of my Indian brothers, the white people came over to take me back;
but after considerable inquiry, and having made diligent search to find
where I was hid, they returned with heavy hearts. Although I had then
been with the Indians something over a year, and had become considerably
habituated to their mode of living, and attached to my sisters, the
sight of white people who could speak English inspired me with an
unspeakable anxiety to go home with them, and share in the blessings of
civilization. My sudden departure and escape from them, seemed like
a second captivity, and for a long time I brooded the thoughts of my
miserable situation with almost as much sorrow and dejection as I
had done those of my first sufferings. Time, the destroyer of every
affection, wore away my unpleasant feelings, and I became as contented
as before.

We tended our cornfields through the summer; and after we had harvested
the crop, we again went down the river to the hunting ground on the
Sciota, where we spent the winter, as we had done the winter before.

Early in the spring we sailed up the Ohio river, to a place that the
Indians called Wiishto, [Footnote: Wiishto I suppose was situated near
the mouth of Indian Guyundat, 327 miles below Pittsburgh, and 73 above
Big Sciota; or at the mouth of Swan creek, 307 miles below Pittsburgh.]
where one river emptied into the Ohio on one side, and another on the
other. At that place the Indians built a town, and we planted corn.

We lived three summers at Wiishto, and spent each winter on the Sciota.

The first summer of our living at Wiishto, a party of Delaware Indians
came up the river, took up their residence, and lived in common with us.
They brought five white prisoners with them, who by their conversation,
made my situation much more agreeable, as they could all speak English.
I have forgotten the names of all of them except one, which was
Priscilla Ramsay. She was a very handsome, good natured girl, and was
married soon after she came to Wiishto to Capt. Little Billy's uncle,
who went with her on a visit to her friends in the states. Having
tarried with them as long as she wished to, she returned with her
husband to Can-a-ah-tua, where he died. She, after his death, married
a white man by the name of Nettles, and now lives with him (if she is
living) on Grand River, Upper Canada.

Not long after the Delawares came to live with us, at Wiishto, my
sisters told me that I must go and live with one of them, whose name was
Sheninjee. Not daring to cross them, or disobey their commands, with
a great degree of reluctance I went; and Sheninjee and I were married
according to Indian custom.

Sheninjee was a noble man; large in stature; elegant in his appearance;
generous in his conduct; courageous in war; a friend to peace, and a
great lover of justice. He supported a degree of dignity far above his
rank, and merited and received the confidence and friendship of all the
tribes with whom he was acquainted. Yet, Sheninjee was an Indian.
The idea of spending my days with him, at first seemed perfectly
irreconcilable to my feelings: but his good nature, generosity,
tenderness, and friendship towards me, soon gained my affection;
and, strange as it may seem, I loved him!--To me he was ever kind in
sickness, and always treated me with gentleness; in fact, he was an
agreeable husband, and a comfortable companion.

We lived happily together till the time of our final separation, which
happened two or three years after our marriage, as I shall presently

In the second summer of my living at Wiishto, I had a child at the time
that the kernels of corn first appeared on the cob. When I was taken
sick, Sheninjee was absent, and I was sent to a small shed, on the bank
of the river, which was made of boughs, where I was obliged to stay
till my husband returned. My two sisters, who were my only companions,
attended me, and on the second day of my confinement my child was born
but it lived only two days. It was a girl: and notwithstanding the
shortness of the time that I possessed it, it was a great grief to me to
lose it.

After the birth of my child, I was very sick, but was not allowed to go
into the house for two weeks; when, to my great joy, Sheninjee returned,
and I was taken in and as comfortably provided for as our situation
would admit of. My disease continued to increase for a number of days;
and I became so far reduced that my recovery was despaired of by my
friends, and I concluded that my troubles would soon be finished. At
length, however, my complaint took a favorable turn, and by the time
that the corn was ripe I was able to get about. I continued to gain my
health, and in the fall was able to go to our winter quarters, on the
Sciota, with the Indians.

From that time, nothing remarkable occurred to me till the fourth winter
of my captivity, when I had a son born, while I was at Sciota: I had a
quick recovery, and my child was healthy. To commemorate the name of my
much lamented father, I called my son Thomas Jemison.


She leaves Wiishto for Fort Pitt, in company with her Husband.--Her
feelings on setting out.--Contrast between the labor of the white and
Indian Women.--Deficiency of Arts amongst the Indians.--Their former
Happiness.--Baneful effects of Civilization, and the introduction of
ardent Spirits amongst them, &c.--Journey up the River.--Murder of
three Traders by the Shawnees.--Her Husband stops at a Trading
House.--Wantonness of the Shawnees.--Moves up the Sandusky.--Meets her
Brother from Ge-nish-a-u.--Her Husband goes to Wiishto, and she sets
out for Genishau in company with her Brothers.--They arrive at
Sandusky.--Occurrences at that place.--Her Journey to Genishau, and
Reception by her Mother and Friends.

In the spring, when Thomas was three or four moons [months] old, we
returned from Sciota to Wiishto, and soon after set out to go to Fort
Pitt, to dispose of our fur and skins, that we had taken in the winter,
and procure some necessary articles for the use of our family.

I had then been with the Indians four summers and four winters, and
had become so far accustomed to their mode of living, habits and
dispositions, that my anxiety to get away, to be set at liberty, and
leave them, had almost subsided. With them was my home; my family was
there, and there I had many friends to whom I was warmly attached in
consideration of the favors, affection and friendship with which they
had uniformly treated me, from the time of my adoption. Our labor was
not severe; and that of one year was exactly similar, in almost every
respect, to that of the others, without that endless variety that is to
be observed in the common labor of the white people. Notwithstanding the
Indian women have all the fuel and bread to procure, and the cooking to
perform, their task is probably not harder than that of white women, who
have those articles provided for them; and their cares certainly are not
half as numerous, nor as great. In the summer season, we planted, tended
and harvested our corn, and generally had all our children with us; but
had no master to oversee or drive us, so that we could work as leisurely
as we pleased. We had no ploughs on the Ohio; but performed the whole
process of planting and hoeing with a small tool that resembled, in some
respects, a hoe with a very short handle.

Our cooking consisted in pounding our corn into samp or hommany, boiling
the hommany, making now and then a cake and baking it in the ashes, and
in boiling or roasting our venison. As our cooking and eating utensils
consisted of a hommany block and pestle, a small kettle, a knife or two,
and a few vessels of bark or wood, it required but little time to keep
them in order for use.

Spinning, weaving, sewing, stocking knitting, and the like, are arts
which have never been practised in the Indian tribes generally. After
the revolutionary war, I learned to sew, so that I could make my own
clothing after a poor fashion; but the other domestic arts I have been
wholly ignorant of the application of, since my captivity. In the season
of hunting, it was our business, in addition to our cooking, to bring
home the game that was taken by the Indians, dress it, and carefully
preserve the eatable meat, and prepare or dress the skins. Our clothing
was fastened together with strings of deer skin, and tied on with the

In that manner we lived, without any of those jealousies, quarrels, and
revengeful battles between families and individuals, which have been
common in the Indian tribes since the introduction of ardent spirits
amongst them.

The use of ardent spirits amongst the Indians, and the attempts which
have been made to civilize and christianize them by the white people,
has constantly made them worse and worse; increased their vices, and
robbed them of many of their virtues; and will ultimately produce their
extermination. I have seen, in a number of instances, the effects of
education upon some of our Indians, who were taken when young, from
their families, and placed at school before they had had an opportunity
to contract many Indian habits, and there kept till they arrived to
manhood; but I have never seen one of those but what was an Indian in
every respect after he returned. Indians must and will be Indians, In
spite of all the means that can be used for their cultivation in the
sciences and arts.

One thing only marred my happiness, while I lived with them on the Ohio;
and that was the recollection that I had once had tender parents, and
a home that I loved. Aside from that consideration, or, if I had
been taken in infancy, I should have been contented in my situation.
Notwithstanding all that has been said against the Indians, in
consequence of their cruelties to their enemies--cruelties that I
have witnessed, and had abundant proof of--it is a fact that they are
naturally kind, tender and peaceable towards their friends, and strictly
honest; and that those cruelties have been practised, only upon their
enemies, according to their idea of justice.

At the time we left Wiishto, it was impossible for me to suppress a
sigh of regret on parting with those who had truly been my friends--with
those whom I had every reason to respect. On account of a part of our
family living at Genishau, we thought it doubtful whether we should
return directly from Pittsburgh, or go from thence on a visit to see

Our company consisted of my husband, my two Indian brothers, my little
son and myself. We embarked in a canoe that was large enough to contain
ourselves, and our effects, and proceeded on our voyage up the river.

Nothing remarkable occurred to us on our way, till we arrived at the
mouth of a creek which Sheninjee and my brother said was the outlet of
Sandusky lake; where, as they said, two or three English traders in fur
and skins had kept a trading house but a short time before, though they
were then absent. We had passed the trading house but a short distance,
when we met three white men floating down the river, with the appearance
of having been recently murdered by the Indians, we supposed them to
be the bodies of the traders, whose store we had passed the same day.
Sheninjee being alarmed for fear of being apprehended as one of the
murderers, if he should go on, resolved to put about immediately, and we
accordingly returned to where the traders had lived, and there landed.

At the trading house we found a party of Shawnee Indians, who had taken
a young white man prisoner, and had just begun to torture him for the
sole purpose of gratifying their curiosity in exulting at his distress.
They at first made him stand up, while they slowly pared his ears and
split them into strings; they then made a number of slight incisions in
his face; and then bound him upon the ground, rolled him in the dirt,
and rubbed it in his wounds: some of them at the same time whipping
him with small rods! The poor fellow cried for mercy and yelled most

The sight of his distress seemed too much for me to endure: I begged of
them to desist--I entreated them with tears to release him. At length
they attended to my intercessions, and set him at liberty. He was
shockingly disfigured, bled profusely, and appeared to be in great pain:
but as soon as he was liberated he made off in haste, which was the last
I saw of him.

We soon learned that the same party of Shawnees had, but a few hours
before, massacred the three white traders whom we saw in the river, and
had plundered their store. We, however, were not molested by them, and
after a short stay at that place, moved up the creek about forty miles
to a Shawnee town, which the Indians called Gaw-gush-shaw-ga, (which
being interpreted signifies a mask or a false face.) The creek that we
went up was called Candusky.

It was now summer; and having tarried a few days at Gawgushshawga, we
moved on up the creek to a place that was called Yis-kah-wa-na, (meaning
in English open mouth.)

As I have before observed, the family to which I belonged was part of
a tribe of Seneca Indians, who lived, at that time, at a place called
Genishau, from the name of the tribe, that was situated on a river of
the same name which is now called Genesee. The word Genishau signifies
a shining, clear or open place. Those of us who lived on the Ohio, had
frequently received invitations from those at Genishau, by one of my
brothers, who usually went and returned every season, to come and live
with them, and my two sisters had been gone almost two years.

While we were at Yiskahwana, my brother arrived there from Genishau, and
insisted so strenuously upon our going home (as he called it) with him,
that my two brothers concluded to go, and to take me with them.

By this time the summer was gone, and the time for harvesting corn had
arrived. My brothers, for fear of the rainy season setting in early,
thought it best to set out immediately that we might have good
travelling. Sheninjee consented to have me go with my brothers; but
concluded to go down the river himself with some fur and skins which he
had on hand, spend the winter in hunting with his friends, and come to
me in the spring following.

That was accordingly agreed upon, and he set out for Wiishto; and my
three brothers and myself, with my little son on my back, at the same
time set out for Genishau. We came on to Upper Sandusky, to an Indian
town that we found deserted by its inhabitants, in consequence of their
having recently murdered some English traders, who resided amongst them.
That town was owned and had been occupied by Delaware Indians, who, when
they left it, buried their provision in the earth, in order to preserve
it from their enemies, or to have a supply for themselves if they should
chance to return. My brothers understood the customs of the Indians when
they were obliged to fly from their enemies; and suspecting that their
corn at least must have been hid, made diligent search, and at length
found a large quantity of it, together with beans, sugar and honey, so
carefully buried that it was completely dry and as good as when they
left it. As our stock of provision was scanty, we considered ourselves
extremely fortunate in finding so seasonable a supply, with so little
trouble. Having caught two or three horses, that we found there, and
furnished ourselves with a good store of food, we travelled on till we
came to the mouth of French Creek, where we hunted two days, and from
thence came on to Conowongo Creek, where we were obliged to stay seven
or ten days, in consequence of our horses having left us and straying
into the woods. The horses, however, were found, and we again prepared
to resume our journey. During our stay at that place the rain fell
fast, and had raised the creek to such a height that it was seemingly
impossible for us to cross it. A number of times we ventured in, but
were compelled to return, barely escaping with our lives. At length we
succeeded in swimming our horses and reached the opposite shore; though
I but just escaped with my little boy from being drowned. From Sandusky
the path that we travelled was crooked and obscure; but was tolerably
well understood by my oldest brother, who had travelled it a number of
times, when going to and returning from the Cherokee wars. The fall by
this time was considerably advanced, and the rains, attended with cold
winds, continued daily to increase the difficulties of travelling.
From Conowongo we came to a place, called by the Indians
Che-ua-shung-gau-tau, and from that to U-na-waum-gwa, (which means an
eddy, not strong), where the early frosts had destroyed the corn so that
the Indians were in danger of starving for the want of bread. Having
rested ourselves two days at that place, we came on to Caneadea
and stayed one day, and then continued our march till we arrived
at Genishau. Genishau at that time was a large Seneca town, thickly
inhabited, lying on Genesee river, opposite what is now called the Free
Ferry, adjoining Fall-Brook, and about south west of the present village
of Geneseo, the county seat for the county of Livingston, in the state
of New-York.

Those only who have travelled on foot the distance of five or six
hundred miles, through an almost pathless wilderness, can form an
idea of the fatigue and sufferings that I endured on that journey. My
clothing was thin and illy calculated to defend me from the continually
drenching rains with which I was daily completely wet, and at night
with nothing but my wet blanket to cover me, I had to sleep on the
naked ground, and generally without a shelter, save such as nature had
provided. In addition to all that, I had to carry my child, then about
nine months old, every step of the journey on my back, or in my arms,
and provide for his comfort and prevent his suffering, as far as my
poverty of means would admit. Such was the fatigue that I sometimes
felt, that I thought it impossible for me to go through, and I would
almost abandon the idea of even trying to proceed. My brothers were
attentive, and at length, as I have stated, we reached our place of
destination, in good health, and without having experienced a day's
sickness from the time we left Yiskahwana.

We were kindly received by my Indian mother and the other members of the
family, who appeared to make me welcome; and my two sisters, whom I had
not seen in two years, received me with every expression of love and
friendship, and that they really felt what they expressed, I have never
had the least reason to doubt. The warmth of their feelings, the kind
reception which I met with, and the continued favors that I received
at their hands, rivetted my affection for them so strongly that I am
constrained to believe that I loved them as I should have loved my own
sister had she lived, and I had been brought up with her.

       *       *       *       *       *


Indians march to Niagara to fight the British.--Return with two
Prisoners, &c.--Sacrifice them at Fall-Brook.--Her Indian Mother's
Address to her Daughter.--Death of her Husband.--Bounty offered for the
Prisoners taken in the last war.--John Van Sice attempts to take her to
procure her Ransom.--Her Escape.--Edict of the Chiefs.--Old King of
the tribe determines to have her given up.--Her brother threatens
her Life.--Her narrow Escape.--The old King goes off.--Her brother
is informed of the place of her concealment, and conducts her
home.--Marriage to her second Husband.--Names of her Children.

When we arrived at Genishau, the Indians of that tribe were making
active preparations for joining the French, in order to assist them
in retaking Fort Ne-a-gaw (as Fort Niagara was called in the Seneca
language) from the British, who had taken it from the French in the
month preceding. They marched off the next day after our arrival,
painted and accoutred in all the habiliments of Indian warfare,
determined on death or victory; and joined the army in season to assist
in accomplishing a plan that had been previously concerted for
the destruction of a part of the British army. The British feeling
themselves secure in the possession of Fort Neagaw, and unwilling that
their enemies should occupy any of the military posts in that quarter,
determined to take Fort Schlosser, lying a few miles up the river from
Neagaw, which they expected to effect with but little loss. Accordingly
a detachment of soldiers, sufficiently numerous, as was supposed, was
sent out to take it, leaving a strong garrison in the fort, and marched
off, well prepared to effect their object. But on their way they were
surrounded by the French and Indians, who lay in ambush to deceive
them, and were driven off the bank of the river into a place called the
"Devil's Hole," together with their horses, carriages, artillery, and
every thing pertaining to the army. Not a single man escaped being
driven off, and of the whole number one only was fortunate enough to
escape with his life. [Footnote: For the particulars of that event, see
Appendix, No. 1.] Our Indians were absent but a few days, and returned
in triumph, bringing with them two white prisoners, and a number of
oxen. Those were the first neat cattle that were ever brought to the
Genesee flats.

The next day after their return to Genishau, was set apart as a day
of feasting and frolicing, at the expence of the lives of their two
unfortunate prisoners, on whom they purposed to glut their revenge, and
satisfy their love for retaliation upon their enemies. My sister was
anxious to attend the execution, and to take me with her, to witness the
customs of the warriors, as it was one of the highest kind of frolics
ever celebrated in their tribe, and one that was not often attended with
so much pomp and parade as it was expected that would be. I felt a kind
of anxiety to witness the scene, having never attended an execution,
and yet I felt a kind of horrid dread that made my heart revolt, and
inclined me to step back rather than support the idea of advancing.
On the morning of the execution she made her intention of going to the
frolic, and taking me with her, known to our mother, who in the
most feeling terms, remonstrated against a step at once so rash and
unbecoming the true dignity of our sex:

"How, my daughter, (said she, addressing my sister,) how can you even
think of attending the feast and seeing the unspeakable torments that
those poor unfortunate prisoners must inevitably suffer from the
hands of our warriors? How can you stand and see them writhing in the
warriors' fire, in all the agonies of a slow, a lingering death?

"How can you think of enduring the sound of their groanings and prayers
to the Great Spirit for sudden deliverance from their enemies, or from
life? And how can you think of conducting to that melancholy spot your
poor sister Dickewamis, (meaning myself), who has so lately been a
prisoner, who has lost her parents and brothers by the hands of the
bloody warriors, and who has felt all the horrors of the loss of her
freedom, in lonesome captivity? Oh! how can you think of making her
bleed at the wounds which now are but partially healed? The recollection
of her former troubles would deprive us of Dickewamis, and she would
depart to the fields of the blessed, where fighting has ceased, and the
corn needs no tending--where hunting is easy, the forests delightful,
the summers are pleasant, and the winters are mild!--O! think once, my
daughter, how soon you may have a brave brother made prisoner in battle,
and sacrificed to feast the ambition of the enemies of his kindred, and
leave us to mourn for the loss of a friend, a son and a brother, whose
bow brought us venison, and supplied us with blankets!--Our task is
quite easy at home, and our business needs our attention. With war we
have nothing to do: our husbands and brothers are proud to defend us,
and their hearts beat with ardor to meet our proud foes. Oh! stay then,
my daughter; let our warriors alone perform on their victims their
customs of war!"

This speech of our mother had the desired effect; we stayed at home and
attended to our domestic concerns. The prisoners, however, were
executed by having their heads taken off, their bodies cut in pieces
and shockingly mangled, and then burnt to ashes!--They were burnt on the
north side of Fall-brook, directly opposite the town which was on the
south side, some time in the month of November, 1759.

I spent the winter comfortably, and as agreeably as I could have
expected to, in the absence of my kind husband. Spring at length
appeared, but Sheninjee was yet away; summer came on, but my husband
had not found me. Fearful forebodings haunted my imagination; yet I felt
confident that his affection for me was so great that if he was alive he
would follow me and I should again see him. In the course of the
summer, however, I received intelligence that soon after he left me at
Yiskahwana he was taken sick and died at Wiishto. This was a heavy and
an unexpected blow. I was now in my youthful days left a widow, with one
son, and entirely dependent on myself for his and my support. My mother
and her family gave me all the consolation in their power, and in a few
months nay grief wore off and I became contented.

In a year or two after this, according to my best recollection of the
time, the King of England offered a bounty to those who would bring
in the prisoners that had been taken in the war, to some military post
where they might be redeemed and set at liberty.

John Van Sice, a Dutchman, who had frequently been at our place, and was
well acquainted with every prisoner at Genishau, resolved to take me
to Niagara, that I might there receive my liberty and he the offered
bounty. I was notified of his intention; but as I was fully determined
not to be redeemed at that time, especially with his assistance, I
carefully watched his movements in order to avoid falling into his
hands. It so happened, however, that he saw me alone at work in a
corn-field, and thinking probably that he could secure me easily, ran
towards me in great haste. I espied him at some distance, and well
knowing the amount of his errand, run from him with all the speed I was
mistress of, and never once stopped till I reached Gardow. [Footnote:
I have given this orthography, because it corresponds with the popular
pronunciation.] He gave up the chase, and returned: but I, fearing that
he might be lying in wait for me, stayed three days and three nights in
an old cabin at Gardow, and then went back trembling at every step
for fear of being apprehended. I got home without difficulty; and soon
after, the chiefs in council having learned the cause of my elopement,
gave orders that I should not be taken to any military post without my
consent; and that as it was my choice to stay, I should live amongst
them quietly and undisturbed. But, notwithstanding the will of the
chiefs, it was but a few days before the old king of our tribe told one
of my Indian brothers that I should be redeemed, and he would take me to
Niagara himself. In reply to the old king, my brother said that I should
not be given up; but that, as it was my wish, I should stay with the
tribe as long as I was pleased to. Upon this a serious quarrel ensued
between them, in which my brother frankly told him that sooner than I
should be taken by force, he would kill me with his own hands!--Highly
enraged at the old king; my brother came to my sister's house, where
I resided, and informed her of all that had passed respecting me; and
that, if the old king should attempt to take me, as he firmly
believed he would, he would immediately take my life, and hazard the
consequences. He returned to the old king. As soon as I came in, my
sister told me what she had just heard, and what she expected without
doubt would befal me. Full of pity, and anxious for my preservation,
she then directed me to take my child and go into some high weeds at no
great distance from the house, and there hide myself and lay still till
all was silent in the house, for my brother, she said, would return at
evening and let her know the final conclusion of the matter, of which
she promised to inform me in the following manner: If I was to be
killed, she said she would bake a small cake and lay it at the door, on
the outside, in a place that she then pointed out to me. When all was
silent in the house, I was to creep softly to the door, and if the cake
could not be found in the place specified, I was to go in: but if the
cake was there, I was to take my child and; go as fast as I possibly
could to a large spring on the south side of Samp's Creek, (a place that
I had often seen,) and there wait till I should by some means hear from

Alarmed for my own safety, I instantly followed her advice, and went
into the weeds, where I lay in a state of the greatest anxiety, till all
was silent in the house, when I crept to the door, and there found, to
my great distress, the little cake! I knew my fate was fixed, unless I
could keep secreted till the storm was over, and accordingly crept back
to the weeds, where my little Thomas lay, took him on my back, and laid
my course for the spring as fast as my legs would carry me. Thomas was
nearly three years old, and very large and heavy. I got to the spring
early in the morning, almost overcome with fatigue, and at the same
time fearing that I might be pursued and taken, I felt my life an almost
insupportable burthen. I sat down with my child at the spring, and he
and I made a breakfast of the little cake, and water of the spring,
which I dipped and supped with the only implement which I possessed, my

In the morning after I fled, as was expected, the old King came to
our house in search of me, and to take me off; but, as I was not to
be found, he gave me up, and went to Niagara with the prisoners he had
already got into his possession.

As soon as the old King was fairly out of the way, my sister told my
brother where he could find me. He immediately set out for the spring,
and found me about noon. The first sight of him made me tremble with
the fear of death; but when he came near, so that I could discover his
countenance, tears of joy flowed down my cheeks, and I felt such a kind
of instant relief as no one can possibly experience, unless when under
the absolute sentence of death he receives an unlimited pardon. We were
both rejoiced at the event of the old King's project; and after staying
at the spring through the night, set out together for home early in the
morning. When we got to a cornfield near the town, my brother secreted
me till he could go and ascertain how my case stood; and finding that
the old King was absent, and that all was peaceable, he returned to me,
and I went home joyfully.

Not long after this, my mother went to Johnstown, on the Mohawk river,
with five prisoners, who were redeemed by Sir William Johnson, and set
at liberty.

When my son Thomas was three or four years old, I was married to an
Indian, whose name was Hiokatoo, commonly called Gardow, by whom I had
four daughters and two sons. I named my children, principally, after
my relatives, from whom I was parted, by calling my girls Jane,
Nancy, Betsey and Polly, and the boys John and Jesse. Jane died about
twenty-nine years ago, in the month of August, a little before the great
Council at Big-Tree, aged about fifteen years. My other daughters are
yet living, and have families.

       *       *       *       *       *


Peace amongst the Indians.--Celebrations.--Worship. Exercises.--Business
of the Tribes.--Former Happiness of the Indians in time of peace
extolled.--Their Morals; Fidelity; Honesty; Chastity; Temperance.
Indians called to German Flats.--Treaty with Americans.--They are sent
for by the British Commissioners, and go to Oswego.--Promises made by
those Commissioners.--Greatness of the King of England. Reward that was
paid them for joining the British. They make a Treaty.--Bounty offered
for Scalps. Return richly dressed and equipped.--In 1776 they kill a man
at Cautega to provoke the Americans. Prisoners taken at Cherry Valley,
brought to Beard's Town; redeemed, &c.--Battle at Fort Stanwix.--Indians
suffer a great loss.--Mourning at Beard's Town.--Mrs. Jemison's care of
and services rendered to Butler and Brandt.

After the conclusion of the French war, our tribe had nothing to trouble
it till the commencement of the Revolution. For twelve or fifteen years
the use of the implements of war was not known, nor the war-whoop heard,
save on days of festivity, when the achievements of former times
were commemorated in a kind of mimic warfare, in which the chiefs
and warriors displayed their prowess, and illustrated their former
adroitness, by laying the ambuscade, surprizing their enemies, and
performing many accurate manoeuvres with the tomahawk and scalping
knife; thereby preserving and handing to their children, the theory of
Indian warfare. During that period they also pertinaciously observed
the religious rites of their progenitors, by attending with the most
scrupulous exactness and a great degree of enthusiasm to the sacrifices,
at particular times, to appease the anger of the evil deity, or to
excite the commisseration and friendship of the Great Good Spirit,
whom they adored with reverence, as the author, governor, supporter and
disposer of every good thing of which they participated.

They also practised in various athletic games, such as running,
wrestling, leaping, and playing ball, with a view that their bodies
might be more supple, or rather that they might not become enervated,
and that they might be enabled to make a proper selection of Chiefs for
the councils of the nation and leaders for war.

While the Indians were thus engaged in their round of traditionary
performances, with the addition of hunting, their women attended to
agriculture, their families, and a few domestic concerns of small
consequence, and attended with but little labor.

No people can live more happy than the Indians did in times of peace,
before the introduction of spirituous liquors amongst them. Their lives
were a continual round of pleasures. Their wants were few, and easily
satisfied; and their cares were only for to-day; the bounds of their
calculations for future comfort not extending to the incalculable
uncertainties of to-morrow. If peace ever dwelt with men, it was in
former times, in the recesses from war, amongst what are now termed
barbarians. The moral character of the Indians was (if I may be allowed
the expression) uncontaminated. Their fidelity was perfect, and became
proverbial; they were strictly honest; they despised deception and
falsehood; and chastity was held in high veneration, and a violation
of it was considered sacrilege. They were temperate in their desires,
moderate in their passions, and candid and honorable in the expression
of their sentiments on every subject of importance.

Thus, at peace amongst themselves, and with the neighboring whites,
though there were none at that time very near, our Indians lived quietly
and peaceably at home, till a little before the breaking out of the
revolutionary war, when they were sent for, together with the Chiefs and
members of the Six Nations generally, by the people of the States, to go
to the German Flats, and there hold a general council, in order that the
people of the states might ascertain, in good season, who they should
esteem and treat as enemies, and who as friends, in the great war which
was then upon the point of breaking out between them and the King of

Our Indians obeyed the call, and the council was holden, at which the
pipe of peace was smoked, and a treaty made, in which the Six Nations
solemnly agreed that if a war should eventually break out, they would
not take up arms on either side; but that they would observe a strict
neutrality. With that the people of the states were satisfied, as
they had not asked their assistance, nor did not wish it. The Indians
returned to their homes well pleased that they could live on neutral
ground, surrounded by the din of war, without being engaged in it.

About a year passed off, and we, as usual, were enjoying ourselves in
the employments of peaceable times, when a messenger arrived from the
British Commissioners, requesting all the Indians of our tribe to attend
a general council which was soon to be held at Oswego. The council
convened, and being opened, the British Commissioners informed the
Chiefs that the object of calling a council of the Six Nations, was,
to engage their assistance in subduing the rebels, the people of the
states, who had risen up against the good King, their master, and were
about to rob him of a great part of his possessions and wealth, and
added that they would amply reward them for all their services.

The Chiefs then arose, and informed the Commissioners of the nature and
extent of the treaty which they had entered into with the people of the
states, the year before, and that they should not violate it by taking
up the hatchet against them.

The Commissioners continued their entreaties without success, till they
addressed their avarice, by telling our people that the people of the
states were few in number, and easily subdued; and that on the
account of their disobedience to the King, they justly merited all the
punishment that it was possible for white men and Indians to inflict
upon them; and added, that the King was rich and powerful, both in money
and subjects: That his rum was as plenty as the water in lake Ontario:
that his men were as numerous as the sands upon the lake shore:--and
that the Indians, if they would assist in the war, and persevere in
their friendship to the King, till it was closed, should never want for
money or goods. Upon this the Chiefs concluded a treaty with the British
Commissioners, in which they agreed to take up arms against the rebels,
and continue in the service of his Majesty till they were subdued, in
consideration of certain conditions which were stipulated in the treaty
to be performed by the British government and its agents.

As soon as the treaty was finished, the Commissioners made a present to
each Indian of a suit of clothes, a brass kettle, a gun and tomahawk,
a scalping knife, a quantity of powder and lead a piece of gold, and
promised a bounty on every scalp that should be brought in. Thus richly
clad and equipped, they returned home, after an absence of about two
weeks, full of the fire of war, and anxious to encounter their enemies.
Many of the kettles which the Indians received at that time are now in
use on the Genesee Flats.

Hired to commit depredations upon the whites, who had given them no
offence, they waited impatiently to commence their labor, till sometime
in the spring of 1776, when a convenient opportunity offered for them to
make an attack. At that time, a party of our Indians were at Cau-te-ga,
who shot a man that was looking after his horse, for the sole purpose,
as I was informed by my Indian brother, who was present, of commencing

In May following, our Indians were in their first battle with the
Americans; but at what place I am unable to determine. While they were
absent at that time, my daughter Nancy was born.

The same year, at Cherry Valley, our Indians took a woman and her three
daughters prisoners, and brought them on, leaving one at Canandaigua,
one at Honeoy, one at Cattaraugus, and one (the woman) at Little Beard's
Town, where I resided. The woman told me that she and her daughters
might have escaped, but that they expected the British army only, and
therefore made no effort. Her husband and sons got away. Sometime having
elapsed, they were redeemed at Fort Niagara by Col. Butler, who clothed
them well, and sent them home.

In the same expedition, Joseph Smith was taken prisoner at or near
Cherry Valley, brought to Genesee, and detained till after the
revolutionary war. He was then liberated, and the Indians made him a
present, in company with Horatio Jones, of 6000 acres of land lying in
the present town of Leicester, in the county of Livingston.

One of the girls just mentioned, was married to a British officer at
Fort Niagara, by the name of Johnson, who at the time she was taken,
took a gold ring from her finger, without any compliments or ceremonies.
When he saw her at Niagara he recognized her features, restored the ring
that he had so impolitely borrowed, and courted and married her.

Previous to the battle at Fort Stanwix, the British sent for the Indians
to come and see them whip the rebels; and, at the same time stated that
they did not wish to have them fight, but wanted to have them just sit
down smoke their pipes, and look on. Our Indians went, to a man; but
contrary to their expectation, instead of smoking and looking on, they
were obliged to fight for their lives, and in the end of the battle were
completely beaten, with a great loss in killed and wounded. Our Indians
alone had thirty-six killed, and a great number wounded. Our town
exhibited a scene of real sorrow and distress, when our warriors
returned and recounted their misfortunes, and stated the real loss they
had sustained in the engagement. The mourning was excessive, and was
expressed by the most doleful yells, shrieks, and howlings, and by
inimitable gesticulations.

During the revolution, my house was the home of Col's Butler and Brandt,
whenever they chanced to come into our neighborhood as they passed to
and from Fort Niagara, which was the seat of their military operations.
Many and many a night I have pounded samp for them from sun-set till
sun-rise, and furnished them with necessary provision and clean clothing
for their journey.


Gen. Sullivan with a large army arrives at Canandaigua.--Indians'
troubles.--Determine to stop their march.--Skirmish at Connessius
Lake.--Circumstances attending the Execution of an Oneida warrior.
Escape of an Indian Prisoner.--Lieut. Boyd and another man taken
Prisoners.--Cruelty of Boyd's Execution.--Indians retreat to the
woods.--Sullivan comes on to Genesee Flats and destroys the property
of the Indians.--Returns.--Indians return.--Mrs. Jemison goes to
Gardow.--Her Employment there.--Attention of an old Negro to her
safety, &c.--Severe Winter.--Sufferings of the Indians.--Destruction
of Game.--Indians' Expedition to the Mohawk.--Capture old John O'Bail,
&c.--Other Prisoners taken, &c.

For four or five years we sustained no loss in the war, except in the
few who had been killed in distant battles; and our tribe, because of
the remoteness of its situation, from the enemy, felt secure from an
attack. At length, in the fall of 1779, intelligence was received that
a large and powerful army of the rebels, under the command of General
Sullivan, was making rapid progress towards our settlement, burning
and destroying the huts and corn-fields; killing the cattle, hogs
and horses, and cutting down the fruit trees belonging to the Indians
throughout the country.

Our Indians immediately became alarmed, and suffered every thing but
death from fear that they should be taken by surprize, and totally
destroyed at a single blow. But in order to prevent so great a
catastrophe, they sent out a few spies who were to keep themselves at
a short distance in front of the invading army, in order to watch its
operations, and give information of its advances and success.

Sullivan arrived at Canandaigua Lake, and had finished his work of
destruction there, and it was ascertained that he was about to march to
our flats, when our Indians resolved to give him battle on the way, and
prevent, if possible, the distresses to which they knew we should be
subjected, if he should succeed in reaching our town. Accordingly they
sent all their women and children into the woods a little west of Little
Beard's Town, in order that we might make a good retreat if it should be
necessary, and then, well armed, set out to face the conquering enemy.
The place which they fixed upon for their battle ground lay between
Honeoy Creek and the head of Connessius Lake.

At length a scouting party from Sullivan's army arrived at the spot
selected, when the Indians arose from their ambush with all the
fierceness and terror that it was possible for them to exercise, and
directly put the party upon a retreat. Two Oneida Indians were all the
prisoners that were taken in that skirmish. One of them was a pilot of
Gen. Sullivan, and had been very active in the war, rendering to the
people of the states essential services. At the commencement of the
revolution he had a brother older than himself, who resolved to join the
British service, and endeavored by all the art that he was capable of
using to persuade his brother to accompany him; but his arguments proved
abortive. This went to the British, and that joined the American army.
At this critical juncture they met, one in the capacity of a conqueror,
the other in that of a prisoner; and as an Indian seldom forgets a
countenance that he has seen, they recognized each other at sight.
Envy and revenge glared in the features of the conquering savage, as he
advanced to his brother (the prisoner) in all the haughtiness of
Indian pride, heightened by a sense of power, and addressed him in the
following manner:

"Brother, you have merited death! The hatchet or the war-club shall
finish your career!--When I begged of you to follow me in the fortunes
of war, you was deaf to my cries--you spurned my entreaties!

"Brother! you have merited death and shall have your deserts! When the
rebels raised their hatchets to fight their good master, you sharpened
your knife, you brightened your rifle and led on our foes to the fields
of our fathers'--You have merited death and shall die by our hands! When
those rebels had drove us from the fields of our fathers to seek out
new homes, it was you who could dare to step forth as their pilot, and
conduct them even to the doors of our wigwams, to butcher our children
and put us to death! No crime can be greater!--But though you have
merited death and shall die on this spot, my hands shall not be stained
in the blood of a brother! _Who will strike_?"

Little Beard, who was standing by, as soon as the speech was ended,
struck the prisoner on the head with his tomahawk, and despatched him at

Little Beard then informed the other Indian prisoner that as they were
at war with the whites only, and not with the Indians, they would spare
his life, and after a while give him his liberty in an honorable manner.
The Oneida warrior, however, was jealous of Little Beard's fidelity;
and suspecting that he should soon fall by his hands, watched for a
favorable opportunity to make his escape; which he soon effected. Two
Indians were leading him, one on each side, when he made a violent
effort, threw them upon the ground, and run for his life towards where
the main body of the American army was encamped. The Indians pursued
him without success; but in their absence they fell in with a small
detachment of Sullivan's men, with whom they had a short but severe
skirmish, in which they killed a number of the enemy, took Capt. or
Lieut. William Boyd and one private, prisoners, and brought them to
Little Beard's Town, where they were soon after put to death in the most
shocking and cruel manner. Little Beard, in this, as in all other scenes
of cruelty that happened at his town, was master of ceremonies, and
principal actor. Poor Boyd was stripped of his clothing, and then tied
to a sapling, where the Indians menaced his life by throwing their
tomahawks at the tree, directly over his head, brandishing their
scalping knives around him in the most frightful manner, and
accompanying their ceremonies with terrific shouts of joy. Having
punished him sufficiently in this way, they made a small opening in his
abdomen, took out an intestine, which they tied to the sapling, and then
unbound him from the tree, and drove him round it till he had drawn out
the whole of his intestines. He was then beheaded, his head was stuck
upon a pole, and his body left on the ground unburied.

Thus ended the life of poor William Boyd, who, it was said, had every
appearance of being an active and enterprizing officer, of the first
talents. The other prisoner was (if I remember distinctly) only beheaded
and left near Boyd.

This tragedy being finished, our Indians again held a short council
on the expediency of giving Sullivan battle, if he should continue to
advance, and finally came to the conclusion that they were not strong
enough to drive him, nor to prevent his taking possession of their
fields: but that if it was possible they would escape with their own
lives, preserve their families, and leave their possessions to be
overrun by the invading army.

The women and children were then sent on still further towards Buffalo,
to a large creek that was called by the Indians Catawba, accompanied by
a part of the Indians, while the remainder secreted themselves in the
woods back of Beard's Town, to watch the movements of the army.

At that time I had three children who went with me on foot, one who rode
on horse back, and one whom I carried on my back.

Our corn was good that year; a part of which we had gathered and secured
for winter.

In one or two days after the skirmish at Connissius lake, Sullivan and
his army arrived at Genesee river, where they destroyed every article of
the food kind that they could lay their hands on. A pan of our corn they
burnt, and threw the remainder into the river. They burnt our houses,
killed what few cattle and horses they could find, destroyed our fruit
trees, and left nothing but the bare soil and timber. But the Indians
had eloped and were not to be found.

Having crossed and recrossed the river, and finished the work of
destruction, the army marched off to the east. Our Indians saw them
move off, but suspecting that it was Sullivan's intention to watch our
return, and then to take us by surprize, resolved that the main body of
our tribe should hunt where we then were, till Sullivan had gone so far
that there would be no danger of his returning to molest us.

This being agreed to, we hunted continually till the Indians concluded
that there could be no risk in our once more taking possession of our
lands. Accordingly we all returned; but what were our feelings when we
found that there was not a mouthful of any kind of sustenance left, not
even enough to keep a child one day from perishing with hunger.

The weather by this time had become cold and stormy; and as we were
destitute of houses and food too, I immediately resolved to take my
children and look out for myself, without delay. With this intention I
took two of my little ones on my back, bade the other three follow,
and the same night arrived on the Gardow flats, where I have ever since

At that time, two negroes, who had run away from their masters sometime
before, were the only inhabitants of those flats. They lived in a small
cabin and had planted and raised a large field of corn, which they had
not yet harvested. As they were in want of help to secure their crop, I
hired to them to husk corn till the whole was harvested.

I have laughed a thousand times to myself when I have thought of the
good old negro, who hired me, who fearing that I should get taken or
injured by the Indians, stood by me constantly when I was husking, with
a loaded gun in his hand, in order to keep off the enemy, and thereby
lost as much labor of his own as he received from me, by paying good
wages. I, however, was not displeased with his attention; for I knew
that I should need all the corn that I could earn, even if I should husk
the whole. I husked enough for them, to gain for myself, at every tenth
string, one hundred strings of ears, which were equal to twenty-five
bushels of shelled corn. This seasonable supply made my family
comfortable for samp and cakes through the succeeding winter, which was
the most severe that I have witnessed since my remembrance. The snow
fell about five feet deep, and remained so for a long time, and the
weather was extremely cold; so much so indeed, that almost all the game
upon which the Indians depended for subsistence, perished, and reduced
them almost to a state of starvation through that and three or four
succeeding years. When the snow melted in the spring, deer were found
dead upon the ground in vast numbers; and other animals, of every
description, perished from the cold also, and were found dead, in
multitudes. Many of our people barely escaped with their lives, and some
actually died of hunger and freezing.

But to return from this digression: Having been completely routed at
Little Beard's Town, deprived of a house, and without the means of
building one in season, after I had finished my husking, and having
found from the short acquaintance which I had had with the negroes, that
they were kind and friendly, I concluded, at their request, to take up
my residence with them for a while in their cabin, till I should be able
to provide a hut for myself. I lived more comfortable than I expected to
through the winter, and the next season made a shelter for myself.

The negroes continued on my flats two or three years after this, and
then left them for a place that they expected would suit them much
better. But as that land became my own in a few years, by virtue of a
deed from the Chiefs of the Six Nations, I have lived there from that to
the present time.

My flats were cleared before I saw them; and it was the opinion of the
oldest Indians that were at Genishau, at the time that I first went
there, that all the flats on the Genesee river were improved before any
of the Indian tribes ever saw them. I well remember that soon after I
went to Little Beard's Town, the banks of Fall-Brook were washed off,
which left a large number of human bones uncovered. The Indians then
said that those were not the bones of Indians, because they had never
heard of any of their dead being buried there; but that they were the
bones of a race of men who a great many moons before, cleared that land
and lived on the flats.

The next summer after Sullivan's campaign, our Indians, highly incensed
at the whites for the treatment they had received, and the sufferings
which they had consequently endured, determined to obtain some redress
by destroying their frontier settlements. Corn Planter, otherwise called
John O'Bail, led the Indians, and an officer by the name of Johnston
commanded the British in the expedition. The force was large, and so
strongly bent upon revenge and vengeance, that seemingly nothing could
avert its march, nor prevent its depredations. After leaving Genesee
they marched directly to some of the head waters of the Susquehannah
river, and Schoharie Creek, went down that creek to the Mohawk river,
thence up that river to Fort Stanwix, and from thence came home. In
their route they burnt a number of places; destroyed all the cattle and
other property that fell in their way; killed a number of white people,
and brought home a few prisoners.

In that expedition, when they came to Fort Plain, on the Mohawk river,
Corn Planter and a party of his Indians took old John O'Bail, a white
man, and made him a prisoner. Old John O'Bail, in his younger days had
frequently passed through the Indian settlements that lay between
the Hudson and Fort Niagara, and in some of his excursions had become
enamored with a squaw, by whom he had a son that was called Corn

Corn Planter, was a chief of considerable eminence; and having been
informed of his parentage and of the place of his father's residence,
took the old man at this time, in order that he might make an
introduction leisurely, and become acquainted with a man to whom, though
a stranger, he was satisfied that he owed his existence.

After he had taken the old man, his father, he led him as a prisoner ten
or twelve miles up the river, and then stepped before him, faced about,
and addressed him in the following terms:--

"My name is John O'Bail, commonly called Corn Planter. I am your son!
you are my father! You are now my prisoner, and subject to the customs
of Indian warfare: but you shall not be harmed; you need not fear. I am
a warrior! Many are the scalps which I have taken! Many prisoners I have
tortured to death! I am your son! I am a warrior! I was anxious to see
you, and to greet you in friendship. I went to your cabin and took you
by force! But your life shall be spared. Indians love their friends and
their kindred, and treat them with kindness. If now you choose to follow
the fortune of your yellow son, and to live with our people, I will
cherish your old age with plenty of venison, and you shall live easy:
But if it is your choice to return to your fields and live with your
white children, I will send a party of my trusty young men to conduct
you back in safety. I respect you, my father; you have been friendly to
Indians, and they are your friends."

Old John chose to return. Corn Planter, as good as his word, ordered an
escort to attend him home, which they did with the greatest care.

Amongst the prisoners that were brought to Genesee, was William Newkirk,
a man by the name of Price, and two negroes.

Price lived a while with Little Beard, and afterwards with Jack Berry,
an Indian. When he left Jack Berry he went to Niagara, where he now

Newkirk was brought to Beard's Town, and lived with Little Beard and at
Fort Niagara about one year, and then enlisted under Butler, and went
with him on an expedition to the Monongahela.


Life of Ebenezer Allen, a Tory.--He comes to Gardow.--His intimacy
with a Nanticoke Squaw.--She gives him a Cap.--Her Husband's
jealousy.--Cruelty to his Wife.--Hiokatoo's Mandate.--Allen supports
her.--Her Husband is received into favor.--Allen labors.--Purchases
Goods.--Stops the Indian War.--His troubles with the Indians.--Marries
a Squaw.--Is taken and carried to Quebec.--Acquitted.--Goes to
Philadelphia.--Returns to Genesee with a Store of Goods, &c.--Goes to
Farming.--Moves to Allen's Creek.--Builds Mills at Rochester.--Drowns
a Dutchman.--Marries a white Wife.--Kills an old Man.--Gets a
Concubine.--Moves to Mt. Morris.--Marries a third Wife and gets another
Concubine.--Receives a tract of Land.--Sends his Children to other
States, &c.--Disposes of his Land.--Moves to Grand River, where he
dies.--His Cruelties.

Sometime near the close of the revolutionary war, a white man by the
name of Ebenezer Allen, left his people in the state of Pennsylvania on
the account of some disaffection towards his countrymen, and came to the
Genesee river, to reside with the Indians. He tarried at Genishau a few
days, and came up to Gardow, where I then resided.--He was, apparently,
without any business that would support him; but he soon became
acquainted with my son Thomas, with whom he hunted for a long time, and
made his home with him at my house; winter came on, and he continued his

When Allen came to my house, I had a white man living on my land,
who had a Nanticoke squaw for his wife, with whom he had lived very
peaceably; for he was a moderate man commonly, and she was a kind,
gentle, cunning creature. It so happened that he had no hay for his
cattle; so that in the winter he was obliged to drive them every day,
perhaps half a mile from his house, to let them feed on rushes, which in
those days were so numerous as to nearly cover the ground.

Allen having frequently seen the squaw in the fall, took the opportunity
when her husband was absent with his cows, daily to make her a visit;
and in return for his kindnesses she made and gave him a red cap
finished and decorated in the highest Indian style.

The husband had for some considerable length of time felt a degree of
jealousy that Allen was trespassing upon him with the consent of his
squaw; but when he saw Allen dressed in so fine an Indian cap, and found
that his dear Nanticoke had presented it to him, his doubts all left
him, and he became so violently enraged that he caught her by the hair
of her head, dragged her on the ground to my house, a distance of forty
rods, and threw her in at the door. Hiokatoo, my husband, exasperated
at the sight of so much inhumanity, hastily took down his old tomahawk,
which for awhile had lain idle, shook it over the cuckold's head, and
bade him jogo (i. e. go off.) The enraged husband, well knowing that he
should feel a blow if he waited to hear the order repeated, instantly
retreated, and went down the river to his cattle. We protected the poor
Nanticoke woman, and gave her victuals; and Allen sympathized with
her in her misfortunes till spring, when her husband came to her,
acknowledged his former errors, and that he had abused her without a
cause, promised a reformation, and she received him with every mark of
a renewal of her affection. They went home lovingly, and soon after
removed to Niagara.

The same spring, Allen commenced working my flats, and continued to
labor there till after the peace in 1783. He then went to Philadelphia
on some business that detained him but a few days, and returned with a
horse and some dry goods, which he carried to a place that is now called
Mount Morris, where he built or bought a small house.

The British and Indians on the Niagara frontier, dissatisfied with the
treaty of peace, were determined, at all hazards, to continue their
depredations upon the white settlements which lay between them and
Albany. They actually made ready, and were about setting out on an
expedition to that effect, when Allen (who by this time understood
their customs of war) took a belt of wampum, which he had fraudulently
procured, and carried it as a token of peace from the Indians to the
commander of the nearest American military post.

The Indians were soon answered by the American officer that the wampum
was cordially accepted and, that a continuance of peace was ardently
wished for. The Indians, at this, were chagrined and disappointed beyond
measure; but as they held the wampum to be a sacred thing, they dared
not to go against the import of its meaning, and immediately buried the
hatchet as it respected the people of the United State; and smoked
the pipe of peace. They, however, resolved to punish Allen for his
officiousness in meddling with their national affairs, by presenting the
sacred wampum without their knowledge, and went about devising means for
his detection. A party was accordingly despatched from Fort Niagara to
apprehend him; with orders to conduct him to that post for trial, or for
safe keeping, till such time as his fate should be determined upon in a
legal manner.

The party came on; but before it arrived at Gardow, Allen got news of
its approach, and fled for safety, leaving the horse and goods that he
had brought from Philadelphia, an easy prey to his enemies. He had not
been long absent when they arrived at Gardow, where they made diligent
search for him till they were satisfied that they could not find him,
and then seized the effects which he had left, and returned to Niagara.
My son Thomas, went with them, with Allen's horse, and carried the

Allen, on finding that his enemies had gone, came back to my house,
where he lived as before; but of his return they were soon notified at
Niagara, and Nettles (who married Priscilla Ramsay) with a small party
of Indians came on to take him. He, however, by some means found that
they were near, and gave me his box of money and trinkets to keep
safely, till he called for it, and again took to the woods.

Nettles came on determined at all events to take him before he went
back; and, in order to accomplish his design, he, with his Indians,
hunted in the day time and lay by at night at my house, and in that way
they practised for a number of days. Allen watched the motion of his
pursuers, and every night after they had gone to rest, came home and got
some food, and then returned to his retreat. It was in the fall, and the
weather was cold and rainy, so that he suffered extremely. Some nights
he sat in my chamber till nearly day-break, while his enemies were
below, and when the time arrived I assisted him to escape unnoticed.

Nettles at length abandoned the chase--went home, and Allen, all in
tatters, came in. By running in the woods his clothing had become
torn into rags, so that he was in a suffering condition, almost naked.
Hiokatoo gave him a blanket, and a piece of broadcloth for a pair of
trowsers. Allen made his trowsers himself, and then built a raft, on
which he went down the river to his own place at Mount Morris.

About that time he married a squaw, whose name was Sally.

The Niagara people finding that he was at his own house, came and took
him by surprize when he least expected them, and carried him to Niagara.
Fortunately for him, it so happened that just as they arrived at
the fort, a house took fire and his keepers all left him to save the
building, if possible. Allen had supposed his doom to be nearly sealed;
but finding himself at liberty he took to his heels, left his escort to
put out the fire, and ran to Tonnawanta. There an Indian gave him some
refreshment, and a good gun, with which he hastened on to Little Beard's
Town, where he found his squaw. Not daring to risk himself at that place
for fear of being given up, he made her but a short visit, and came
immediately to Gardow.

Just as he got to the top of the hill above the Gardow flats, he
discovered a party of British soldiers and Indians in pursuit of him;
and in fact they were so near that he was satisfied that they saw him,
and concluded that it would be impossible for him to escape. The love
of liberty, however, added to his natural swiftness, gave him sufficient
strength to make his escape to his former castle of safety. His pursuers
came immediately to my house, where they expected to have found him
secreted, and under my protection. They told me where they had seen
him but a few moments before, and that they were confident that it was
within my power to put him into their hands. As I was perfectly clear
of having had any hand in his escape, I told them plainly that I had not
seen him since he was taken to Niagara, and that I could give them no
information at all respecting him. Still unsatisfied, and doubting my
veracity, they advised my Indian brother to use his influence to draw
from me the secret of his concealment, which they had an idea that
I considered of great importance, not only to him but to myself. I
persisted in my ignorance of his situation, and finally they left me.

Although I had not seen Allen, I knew his place of security, and was
well aware that if I told them the place where he had formerly hid
himself, they would have no difficulty in making him a prisoner.

He came to my house in the night, and awoke me with the greatest
caution, fearing that some of his enemies might be watching to take him
at a time when, and in a place where it would be impossible for him to
make his escape. I got up and assured him that he was then safe; but
that his enemies would return early in the morning and search him out if
it should be possible. Having given him some victuals, which he received
thankfully, I told him to go, but to return the next night to a certain
corner of the fence near my house where he would find a quantity of meal
that I would have well prepared and deposited there for his use.

Early the next morning, Nettles and his company came in while I was
pounding the meal for Allen, and insisted upon my giving him up. I
again told them that I did not know where he was, and that I could not,
neither would I, tell them any thing about him. I well knew that Allen
considered his life in my hands; and although it was my intention not
to lie, I was fully determined to keep his situation a profound secret.
They continued their labor and examined (as they supposed) every
crevice, gully, tree and hollow log in the neighboring woods, and at
last concluded that he had left the country, and gave him up for lost,
and went home.

At that time Allen lay in a secret place in the gulph a short distance
above my flats, in a hole that he accidentally found in the rock near
the river. At night he came and got the meal at the corner of the fence
as I had directed him, and afterwards lived in the gulph two weeks.
Each night he came to the pasture and milked one of my cows, without any
other vessel in which to receive the milk than his hat, out of which he
drank it. I supplied him with meal, but fearing to build a fire he was
obliged to eat it raw and wash it down with the milk. Nettles having
left our neighborhood, and Allen considering himself safe, left his
little cave and came home. I gave him his box of money and trinkets, and
he went to his own house at Mount Morris. It was generally considered by
the Indians of our tribe, that Allen was an innocent man, and that the
Niagara people were persecuting him without a just cause. Little Beard,
then about to go to the eastward on public business, charged his Indians
not to meddle with Allen, but to let him live amongst them peaceably,
and enjoy himself with his family and property if he could. Having the
protection of the chief, he felt himself safe, and let his situation be
known to the whites from whom he suspected no harm. They, however, were
more inimical than our Indians and were easily bribed by Nettles to
assist in bringing him to justice. Nettles came on, and the whites, as
they had agreed, gave poor Allen up to him. He was bound and carried
to Niagara, where he was confined in prison through the winter. In the
spring he was taken to Montreal or Quebec for trial, and was honorably
acquitted. The crime for which he was tried was, for his having carried
the wampum to the Americans, and thereby putting too sudden a stop to
their war.

From the place of his trial he went directly to Philadelphia, and
purchased on credit, a boat load of goods which he brought by water to
Conhocton, where he left them and came to Mount Morris for assistance
to get them brought on. The Indians readily went with horses and brought
them to his house, where he disposed of his dry goods; but not daring to
let the Indians begin to drink strong liquor, for fear of the quarrels
which would naturally follow, he sent his spirits to my place and we
sold them. For his goods he received ginseng roots, principally, and a
few skins. Ginseng at that time was plenty, and commanded a high price.
We prepared the whole that he received for the market, expecting that he
would carry them to Philadelphia. In that I was disappointed; for when
he had disposed of, and got pay for all his goods, he took the ginseng
and skins to Niagara, and there sold them and came home.

Tired of dealing in goods, he planted a large field of corn on or near
his own land, attended to it faithfully, and succeeded in raising a
large crop, which he harvested, loaded into canoes and carried down
the river to the mouth of Allen's Creek, then called by the Indians
Gin-is-a-ga, where he unloaded it, built him a house, and lived with his

The next season he planted corn at that place and built a grist and saw
mill on Genesee Falls, now called Rochester.

At the time Allen built the mills, he had an old German living with him
by the name of Andrews, whom he sent in a canoe down the river with his
mill irons. Allen went down at the same time; but before they got to the
mills Allen threw the old man overboard and drowned him, as it was then
generally believed, for he was never seen or heard of afterwards.

In the course of the season in which Allen built his mills, he became
acquainted with the daughter of a white man, who was moving to Niagara.
She was handsome, and Allen soon got into her good graces, so that he
married and took her home, to be a joint partner with Sally, the squaw,
whom she had never heard of till she got home and found her in full
possession; but it was too late for her to retrace the hasty steps she
had taken, for her father had left her in the care of a tender husband
and gone on. She, however, found that she enjoyed at least an equal half
of her husband's affections, and made herself contented. Her father's
name I have forgotten, but her's was Lucy.

Allen was not contented with two wives, for in a short time after he had
married Lucy he came up to my house, where he found a young woman who
had an old husband with her. They had been on a long journey, and called
at my place to recruit and rest themselves. She filled Allen's eye,
and he accordingly fixed upon a plan to get her into his possession. He
praised his situation, enumerated his advantages, and finally persuaded
them to go home and tarry with him a few days at least, and partake of
a part of his comforts. They accepted his generous invitation and went
home with him. But they had been there but two or three days when
Allen took the old gentleman out to view his flats; and as they were
deliberately walking on the bank of the river, pushed him into the
water. The old man, almost strangled, succeeded in getting out; but his
fall and exertions had so powerful an effect upon his system that he
died in two or three days, and left his young widow to the protection
of his murderer. She lived with him about one year in a state of
concubinage and then left him.

How long Allen lived at Allen's Creek I am unable to state; but soon
after the young widow left him, he removed to his old place at Mount
Morris, and built a house, where he made Sally, his squaw, by whom he
had two daughters, a slave to Lucy, by whom he had had one son; still,
however, he considered Sally to be his wife.

After Allen came to Mt. Morris at that time, he married a girl by the
name of Morilla Gregory, whose father at the time lived on Genesee
Flats. The ceremony being over, he took her home to live in common with
his other wives; but his house was too small for his family; for Sally
and Lucy, conceiving that their lawful privileges would be abridged if
they received a partner, united their strength and whipped poor Morilla
so cruelly that he was obliged to keep her in a small Indian house a
short distance from his own, or lose her entirely. Morilla, before she
left Mt. Morris, had four children.

One of Morilla's sisters lived with Allen about a year after Morilla was
married, and then quit him.

A short time after they all got to living at Mt. Morris, Allen prevailed
upon the Chiefs to give to his Indian children, a tract of land four
miles square, where he then resided. The Chiefs gave them the land, but
he so artfully contrived the conveyance, that he could apply it to his
own use, and by alienating his right, destroy the claim of his children.

Having secured the land, in that way, to himself, he sent his two Indian
girls to Trenton, (N.J.) and his white son to Philadelphia, for the
purpose of giving each of them a respectable English education.

While his children were at school, he went to Philadelphia, and sold his
right to the land which he had begged of the Indians for his children to
Robert Morris. After that, he sent for his daughters to come home, which
they did.

Having disposed of the whole of his property on the Genesee river, he
took his two white wives and their children, together with his effects,
and removed to a Delaware town on the river De Trench, in Upper Canada.
When he left Mt. Morris, Sally, his squaw, insisted upon going with
him, and actually followed him, crying bitterly, and praying for his
protection some two or three miles, till he absolutely bade her leave
him, or he would punish her with severity.

At length, finding her case hopeless, she returned to the Indians.

At the great treaty at Big Tree, one of Allen's daughters claimed the
land which he had sold to Morris. The claim was examined and decided
against her in favor of Ogden, Trumbull, Rogers and others, who were the
creditors of Robert Morris. Allen yet believed that his daughter had an
indisputable right to the land in question, and got me to go with mother
Farly, a half Indian woman, to assist him by interceding with Morris for
it, and to urge the propriety of her claim. We went to Thomas Morris,
and having stated to him our business, he told us plainly that he had no
land to give away, and that as the title was good, he never would allow
Allen, nor his heirs, one foot, or words to that effect. We returned
to Allen the answer we had received, and he, conceiving all further
attempts to be useless, went home.

He died at the Delaware town, on the river De Trench, in the year
1814 or 15, and left two white widows and one squaw, with a number of
children, to lament his loss.

By his last will he gave all his property to his last wife (Morilla,)
and her children, without providing in the least for the support of
Lucy, or any of the other members of his family. Lucy, soon after his
death, went with her children down the Ohio river, to receive assistance
from her friends.

In the revolutionary war, Allen was a tory, and by that means became
acquainted with our Indians, when they were in the neighborhood of his
native place, desolating the settlements on the Susquehannah. In those
predatory battles, he joined them, and (as I have often heard the
Indians say,) for cruelty was not exceeded by any of his Indian

At one time, when he was scouting with the Indians in the Susquehannah
country, he entered a house very early in the morning, where he found a
man, his wife, and one child, in bed. The man, as he entered the door,
instantly sprang on the floor, for the purpose of defending himself and
little family; but Allen dispatched him at one blow. He then cut off his
head and threw it bleeding into the bed with the terrified woman; took
the little infant from its mother's breast, and holding it by its legs,
dashed its head against the jamb, and left the unhappy widow and mother
to mourn alone over her murdered family. It has been said by some, that
after he had killed the child, he opened the fire and buried it under
the coals and embers: But of that I am not certain. I have often heard
him speak of that transaction with a great degree of sorrow, and as the
foulest crime he had ever committed--one for which I have no doubt he


Mrs. Jemison has liberty to go to her Friends.--Chooses to stay.--Her
Reasons, &c.--Her Indian Brother makes provision for her Settlement.--He
goes to Grand River and dies.--Her Love for him, &c.--She is presented
with the Gardow Reservation.--Is troubled by Speculators.--Description
of the Soil, &c. of her Flats.--Indian notions of the ancient
Inhabitants of this Country.

Soon after the close of the revolutionary war, my Indian brother,
Kau-jises-tau-ge-au (which being interpreted signifies Black Coals,)
offered me my liberty, and told me that if it was my choice I might go
to my friends.

My son, Thomas, was anxious that I should go; and offered to go with me
and assist me on the journey, by taking care of the younger children,
and providing food as we travelled through the wilderness. But the
Chiefs of our tribe, suspecting from his appearance, actions, and a
few warlike exploits, that Thomas would be a great warrior, or a good
counsellor, refused to let him leave them on any account whatever.

To go myself, and leave him, was more than I felt able to do; for he
had been kind to me, and was one on whom I placed great dependence. The
Chiefs refusing to let him go, was one reason for my resolving to stay;
but another, more powerful, if possible, was, that I had got a large
family of Indian children, that I must take with me; and that if I
should be so fortunate as to find my relatives, they would despise them,
if not myself; and treat us as enemies; or, at least with a degree of
cold indifference, which I thought I could not endure.

Accordingly, after I had duly considered the matter, I told my brother
that it was my choice to stay and spend the remainder of my days with
my Indian friends, and live with my family as I had heretofore done. He
appeared well pleased with my resolution, and informed me, that as that
was my choice, I should have a piece of land that I could call my own,
where I could live unmolested, and have something at my decease to leave
for the benefit of my children.

In a short time he made himself ready to go to Upper Canada; but before
he left us, he told me that he would speak to some of the Chiefs at
Buffalo, to attend the great Council, which he expected would convene
in a few years at farthest, and convey to me such a tract of land as I
should select. My brother left us, as he had proposed, and soon after
died at Grand River.

Kaujisestaugeau, was an excellent man, and ever treated me with
kindness. Perhaps no one of his tribe at any time exceeded him in
natural mildness of temper, and warmth and tenderness of affection.
If he had taken my life at the time when the avarice of the old King
inclined him to procure my emancipation, it would have been done with
a pure heart and from good motives. He loved his friends; and was
generally beloved. During the time that I lived in the family with him,
he never offered the most trifling abuse; on the contrary, his whole
conduct towards me was strictly honorable. I mourned his loss as that of
a tender brother, and shall recollect him through life with emotions of
friendship and gratitude.

I lived undisturbed, without hearing a word on the subject of my land,
till the great Council was held at Big Tree, in 1797, when Farmer's
Brother, whose Indian name is Ho-na-ye-wus, sent for me to attend the
council. When I got there, he told me that my brother had spoken to him
to see that I had a piece of land reserved for my use; and that then
was the time for me to receive it.--He requested that I would choose
for myself and describe the bounds of a piece that would suit me. I
accordingly told him the place of beginning, and then went round a tract
that I judged would be sufficient for my purpose, (knowing that it would
include the Gardow Flats,) by stating certain bounds with which I was

When the Council was opened, and the business afforded a proper
opportunity, Farmer's Brother presented my claim, and rehearsed
the request of my brother. Red Jacket, whose Indian name is
Sagu-yu-what-hah, which interpreted, as Keeper-awake, opposed me or my
claim with all his influence and eloquence. Farmer's Brother insisted
upon the necessity, propriety and expediency of his proposition, and got
the land granted. The deed was made and signed, securing to me the
title to all the land I had described; under the same restrictions and
regulations that other Indian lands are subject to.

That land has ever since been known by the name of the Gardow Tract.

Red Jacket not only opposed my claim at the Council, but he withheld my
money two or three years, on the account of my lands having been granted
without his consent. Parrish and Jones at length convinced him that it
was the white people, and not the Indians who had given me the land,
and compelled him to pay over all the money which he had retained on my

My land derived its name, Gardow, from a hill that is within its limits,
which is called in the Seneca language Kau-tam. Kautam when interpreted
signifies up and down, or down and up, and is applied to a hill that you
will ascend and descend in passing it; or to a valley. It has been
said that Gardow was the name of my husband Hiokatoo, and that my land
derived its name from him; that however was a mistake, for the old man
always considered Gardow a nickname, and was uniformly offended when
called by it.

About three hundred acres of my land, when I first saw it, was open
flats, lying on the Genesee River, which it is supposed was cleared by
a race of inhabitants who preceded the first Indian settlements in this
part of the country. The Indians are confident that many parts of this
country were settled and for a number of years occupied by people of
whom their fathers never had any tradition, as they never had seen them.
Whence those people originated, and whither they went, I have never
heard one of our oldest and wisest Indians pretend to guess. When I
first came to Genishau, the bank of Fall Brook had just slid off and
exposed a large number of human bones, which the Indians said were
buried there long before their fathers ever saw the place; and that
they did not know what kind of people they were. It however was and is
believed by our people, that they were not Indians.

My flats were extremely fertile; but needed more labor than my daughters
and myself were able to perform, to produce a sufficient quantity of
grain and other necessary productions of the earth, for the consumption
of our family. The land had lain uncultivated so long that it was
thickly covered with weeds of almost every description. In order that we
might live more easy, Mr. Parrish, with the consent of the chiefs, gave
me liberty to lease or my land to white people to till on shares. I
accordingly let it out, and have continued to do so, which makes my task
less burthensome, while at the same time I am more comfortably supplied
with the means of support.


Happy situation of her Family.--Disagreement between her sons Thomas
and John.--Her Advice to them, &c.--John kills Thomas;--Her
Affliction.--Council. Decision of the Chiefs, &c.--Life of Thomas.--His
Wives, Children; &c.--Cause of his Death, &c.

I have frequently heard it asserted by white people, and can truly say
from my own experience that the time at which parents take the most
satisfaction and comfort with their families is when their children are
young, incapable of providing for their own wants, and are about the
fireside, where they can be daily observed and instructed.

Few mothers, perhaps, have had less trouble with their children during
their minority than myself. In general, my children were friendly to
each other, and it was very seldom that I knew them to have the
least difference or quarrel: so far, indeed, were they from rendering
themselves or me uncomfortable, that I considered myself happy--more so
than commonly falls to the lot of parents, especially to women.

My happiness in this respect, however, was not without alloy; for my son
Thomas, from some cause unknown to me, from the time he was a small lad,
always called his brother John, a witch, which was the cause, as they
grew towards manhood, of frequent and severe quarrels between them, and
gave me much trouble and anxiety for their safety. After Thomas and
John arrived to manhood, in addition to the former charge, John got two
wives, with whom he lived till the time of his death. Although polygamy
was tolerated in our tribe, Thomas considered it a violation of good
and wholesome rules in society, and tending directly to destroy that
friendly social intercourse and love, that ought to be the happy result
of matrimony and chastity. Consequently, he frequently reprimanded
John, by telling him that his conduct was beneath the dignity,
and inconsistent with the principles of good Indians; indecent and
unbecoming a gentleman; and, as he never could reconcile himself to it,
he was frequently, almost constantly, when they were together, talking
to him on the same subject. John always resented such reprimand, and
reproof, with a great degree of passion, though they never quarrelled,
unless Thomas was intoxicated.

In his fits of drunkenness, Thomas seemed to lose all his natural
reason, and to conduct like a wild or crazy man, without regard to
relatives, decency or propriety. At such times he often threatened to
take my life for having raised a witch, (as he called John,) and has
gone so far as to raise his tomahawk to split my head. He, however,
never struck me; but on John's account he struck Hiokatoo, and thereby
excited in John a high degree of indignation, which was extinguished
only by blood.

For a number of years their difficulties, and consequent unhappiness,
continued and rather increased, continually exciting in my breast the
most fearful apprehensions, and greatest anxiety for their safety. With
tears in my eyes, I advised them to become reconciled to each other,
and to be friendly; told them the consequences of their continuing
to cherish so much malignity and malice, that it would end in their
destruction, the disgrace of their families, and bring me down to the
grave. No one can conceive of the constant trouble that I daily endured
on their account--on the account of my two oldest sons, whom I loved
equally, and with all the feelings and affection of a tender mother,
stimulated by an anxious concern for their fate. Parents, mothers
especially, will love their children, though ever so unkind and
disobedient. Their eyes of compassion, of real sentimental affection,
will be involuntarily extended after them, in their greatest excesses
of iniquity; and those fine filaments of consanguinity, which gently
entwine themselves around the heart where filial love and parental
care is equal, will be lengthened, and enlarged to cords seemingly of
sufficient strength to reach and reclaim the wanderer. I know that such
exercises are frequently unavailing; but, notwithstanding their ultimate
failure, it still remains true, and ever will, that the love of a parent
for a disobedient child, will increase, and grow more and more ardent,
so long as a hope of its reformation is capable of stimulating a
disappointed breast.

My advice and expostulations with my sons were abortive; and year after
year their disaffection for each other increased. At length, Thomas
came to my house on the 1st day of July, 1811, in my absence, somewhat
intoxicated, where he found John, with whom he immediately commenced
a quarrel on their old subjects of difference.--John's anger became
desperate. He caught Thomas by the hair of his head, dragged him out at
the door and there killed him, by a blow which he gave him on the head
with his tomahawk!

I returned soon after, and found my son lifeless at the door, on the
spot where he was killed! No one can judge of my feelings on seeing this
mournful spectacle; and what greatly added to my distress, was the
fact that he had fallen by the murderous hand of his brother! I felt my
situation unsupportable. Having passed through various scenes of trouble
of the most cruel and trying kind, I had hoped to spend my few remaining
days in quietude, and to die in peace, surrounded by my family. This
fatal event, however, seemed to be a stream of woe poured into my cup
of afflictions, filling it even to overflowing, and blasting all my

As soon as I had recovered a little from the shock which I felt at the
sight of my departed son, and some of my neighbors had come in to
assist in taking care of the corpse, I hired Shanks, an Indian, to go to
Buffalo, and carry the sorrowful news of Thomas' death, to our friends
at that place, and request the Chiefs to hold a Council, and dispose
of John as they should think proper. Shanks set out on his errand
immediately,--and John, fearing that he should be apprehended and
punished for the crime he had committed, at the same time went off
towards Caneadea.

Thomas was decently interred in a style corresponding with his rank.

The Chiefs soon assembled in council on the trial of John, and after
having seriously examined the matter according to their laws, justified
his conduct, and acquitted him. They considered Thomas to have been the
first transgressor, and that for the abuses which he had offered, he had
merited from John the treatment that he had received.

John, on learning the decision of the council, returned to his family.

Thomas (except when intoxicated, which was not frequent,) was a kind
and tender child, willing to assist me in my labor, and to remove every
obstacle to my comfort. His natural abilities were said to be of a
superior cast, and he soared above the trifling subjects of revenge,
which are common amongst Indians, as being far beneath his attention.
In his childish and boyish days, his natural turn was to practise in the
art of war, though he despised the cruelties that the warriors
inflicted upon their subjugated enemies. He was manly in his deportment,
courageous and, active; and commanded respect. Though he appeared well
pleased with peace, he was cunning in Indian warfare, and succeeded to
admiration in the execution of his plans.

At the age of fourteen or fifteen years, he went into the war with
manly fortitude, armed with a tomahawk and scalping knife; and when he
returned, brought one white man a prisoner, whom he had taken with his
own hands, on the west branch of the Susquehannah river. It so happened,
that as he was looking out for his enemies, he discovered two men
boiling sap in the woods. He watched them unperceived, till dark when he
advanced with a noiseless step to where they were standing, caught one
of them before they were apprized of danger, and conducted him to the
camp. He was well treated while a prisoner, and redeemed at the close of
the war.

At the time Kaujisestaugeau gave me my liberty to go to my friends,
Thomas was anxious to go with me; but as I have before observed, the
Chiefs would not suffer him to leave them on the account of his courage
and skill in war: expecting that they should need his assistance. He
was a great Counsellor and a Chief when quite young; and in the last
capacity, went two or three times to Philadelphia to assist in making
treaties with the people of the states.

Thomas had four wives, by whom he had eight children. Jacob Jemison,
his second son by his last wife, who is at this time twenty-seven or
twenty-eight years of age, went to Dartmouth college, in the spring of
1816, for the purpose of receiving a good education, where it was said
that he was an industrious scholar, and made great proficiency in the
study of the different branches to which he attended. Having spent two
years at that Institution, he returned in the winter of 1818, and is now
at Buffalo; where I have understood that he contemplates commencing the
study of medicine, as a profession.

Thomas, at the time he was killed, was a few moons over fifty-two years
old, and John was forty-eight. As he was naturally good natured, and
possessed a friendly disposition, he would not have come to so untimely
an end, had it not been far his intemperance. He fell a victim to the
use of ardent spirits--a poison that will soon exterminate the Indian
tribes in this part of the country, and leave their names without a root
or branch. The thought is melancholy; but no arguments, no examples,
however persuasive or impressive, are sufficient to deter an Indian for
an hour from taking the potent draught, which he knows at the time will
derange his faculties, reduce him to a level with the beasts, or deprive
him of life!


Death of Hiokatoo.--Biography.--His Birth--Education.--Goes against the
Cherokees, &c.--Bloody Battle, &c.--His success and cruelties in
the French War.--Battle at Fort Freeland.--Capts. Dougherty and
Boon killed.--His Cruelties in the neighborhood of Cherry Valley,
&c.--Indians remove their general Encampment.--In 1782, Col. Crawford is
sent to destroy them, &c.--Is met by a Traitor,--Battle.--Crawford's
Men surprized.--Irregular Retreat.--Crawford and Doct. Night
taken.--Council.--Crawford Condemned and Burnt.--Aggravating
Circumstances.--Night is sentenced to be Burnt.--Is Painted by
Hiokatoo.--Is conducted off, &c.--His fortunate Escape.--Hiokatoo in the
French War takes Col. Canton.--His Sentence.--Is bound on a wild
Colt that runs loose three days.--Returns Alive.--Is made to run
the Gauntlet.--Gets knocked down, &c.--Is Redeemed and
sent Home.--Hiokatoo's Enmity to the Cherokees, &c.--His
Height--Strength--Speed, &c.

In the month of November 1811, my husband Hiokatoo, who had been sick
four years of the consumption, died at the advanced age of one hundred
and three years, as nearly as the time could be estimated. He was the
last that remained to me of our family connection, or rather of my old
friends with whom I was adopted, except a part of one family, which now
lives at Tonewanta.

Hiokatoo was buried decently, and had all the insignia of a veteran
warrior buried with him; consisting of a war club, tomahawk and scalping
knife, a powder-flask, flint, a piece of spunk, a small cake and a cup;
and in his best clothing.

Hiokatoo was an old man when I first saw him; but he was by no means
enervated. During the term of nearly fifty years that I lived with him,
I received, according to Indian customs, all the kindness and attention
that was my due as his wife.--Although war was his trade from his youth
till old age and decrepitude stopt his career, he uniformly treated me
with tenderness, and never offered an insult.

I have frequently heard him repeat the history of his life from his
childhood; and when he came to that part which related to his actions,
his bravery and his valor in war; when he spoke of the ambush, the
combat, the spoiling of his enemies and the sacrifice of the victims,
his nerves seemed strung with youthful ardor, the warmth of the able
warrior seemed to animate his frame, and to produce the heated gestures
which he had practised in middle age. He was a man of tender feelings
to his friends, ready and willing to assist them in distress, yet, as
a warrior, his cruelties to his enemies perhaps were unparalleled, and
will not admit a word of palliation.

Hiokatoo, was born in one of the tribes of the Six Nations that
inhabited the banks of the Susquehannah; or, rather he belonged to a
tribe of the Senecas that made, at the time of the great Indian treaty,
a part of those nations. He was own cousin to Farmer's Brother, a
Chief who has been justly celebrated for his worth. Their mothers were
sisters, and it was through the influence of Farmer's Brother, that I
became Hiokatoo's wife.

In early life, Hiokatoo showed signs of thirst for blood, by attending
only to the art of war, in the use of the tomahawk and scalping knife;
and in practising cruelties upon every thing that chanced to fall into
his hands, which was susceptible of pain. In that way he learned to
use his implements of war effectually, and at the same time blunted all
those fine feelings and tender sympathies that are naturally excited, by
hearing or seeing, a fellow being in distress. He could inflict the
most excruciating tortures upon his enemies, and prided himself upon
his fortitude, in having performed the most barbarous ceremonies and
tortures, without the least degree of pity or remorse. Thus qualified,
when very young he was initiated into scenes of carnage, by being
engaged in the wars that prevailed amongst the Indian tribes.

In the year 1731, he was appointed a runner, to assist in collecting an
army to go against the Cotawpes, Cherokees and other southern Indians. A
large army was collected, and after a long and fatiguing march, met its
enemies in what was then called the "low, dark and bloody lands," near
the mouth of Red River, in what is now called the state of Kentucky.
[Footnote: Those powerful armies met near the place that is now called
Clarksville, which is situated at the fork where Red River joins the
Cumberland, a few miles above the line between Kentucky and Tennessee.]
The Cotawpes [Footnote: The Author acknowledges himself unacquainted,
from Indian history, with a nation of this name; but as 90 years have
elapsed since the date of this occurrence, it is highly probable that
such a nation did exist, and that it was absolutely exterminated at
that eventful period.] and their associates, had, by some means, been
apprized of their approach, and lay in ambush to take them at once, when
they should come within their reach, and destroy the whole army. The
northern Indians, with their usual sagacity, discovered the situation of
their enemies, rushed upon the ambuscade and massacred 1200 on the
spot. The battle continued for two days and two nights, with the utmost
severity, in which the northern Indians were victorious, and so far
succeeded in destroying the Cotawpes that they at that time ceased to be
a nation. The victors suffered an immense loss in killed; but gained the
hunting ground, which was their grand object, though the Cherokees would
not give it up in a treaty, or consent to make peace. Bows and arrows,
at that time were in general use, though a few guns were employed.

From that time he was engaged in a number of battles in which Indians
only were engaged, and that made fighting his business, till the
commencement of the French war. In those battles he took a number
of Indians prisoners, whom he killed by tying them to trees and then
setting small Indian boys to shooting at them with arrows, till death
finished the misery of the sufferers; a process that frequently took two
days for its completion!

During the French war he was in every battle that was fought on the
Susquehannah and Ohio rivers; and was so fortunate as never to have been
taken prisoner.

At Braddock's defeat he took two white prisoners, and burnt them alive
in a fire of his own kindling.

In 1777, he was in the battle at Fort Freeland, in Northumberland
county, Penn. The fort contained a great number of women and children,
and was defended only by a small garrison. The force that went against
it consisted of 100 British regulars, commanded by a Col. McDonald, and
300 Indians under Hiokatoo. After a short but bloody engagement, the
fort was surrendered; the women and children were sent under an escort
to the next fort below, and the men and boys taken off by a party
of British to the general Indian encampment. As soon as the fort had
capitulated and the firing had ceased, Hiokatoo with the help of a few
Indians tomahawked every wounded American while earnestly begging with
uplifted hands for quarters.

The massacre was but just finished when Capts. Dougherty and Boon
arrived with a reinforcement to assist the garrison. On their arriving
in sight of the fort they saw that it had surrendered, and that an
Indian was holding the flag. This so much inflamed Capt. Dougherty that
he left his command, stept forward and shot the Indian at the first
fire. Another took the flag, and had no sooner got it erected than
Dougherty dropt him as he had the first. A third presumed to hold it,
who was also shot down by Dougherty. Hiokatoo, exasperated at the sight
of such bravery, sallied out with a party of his Indians, and killed
Capts. Dougherty, Boon, and fourteen men, at the first fire. The
remainder of the two companies escaped by taking to flight, and soon
arrived at the fort which they had left but a few hours before.

In an expedition that went out against Cherry Valley and the neighboring
settlements, Captain David, a Mohawk Indian, was first, and Hiokatoo the
second in command. The force consisted of several hundred Indians,
who were determined on mischief, and the destruction of the whites. A
continued series of wantonness and barbarity characterized their career,
for they plundered and burnt every thing that came in their way, and
killed a number of persons, among whom were several infants, whom
Hiokatoo butchered or dashed upon the stones with his own hands. Besides
the instances which have been mentioned, he was in a number of parties
during the revolutionary war, where he ever acted a conspicuous part.

The Indians having removed the seat of their depredations and war to
the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and the neighboring
territories, assembled a large force at Upper Sandusky, their place
of general rendezvous, from whence they went out to the various places
which they designed to sacrifice.

Tired of the desolating scenes that were so often witnessed, and feeling
a confidence that the savages might be subdued, and an end put to their
crimes, the American government raised a regiment, consisting of 300
volunteers, for the purpose of dislodging them from their cantonment and
preventing further barbarities. Col. William Crawford and Lieut. Col.
David Williamson, men who had been thoroughly tried and approved, were
commissioned by Gen. Washington to take the command of a service that
seemed all-important to the welfare of the country. In the month of
July, 1782, well-armed and provided with a sufficient quantity
of provision, this regiment made an expeditious march through the
wilderness to Upper Sandusky, where, as had been anticipated, they found
the Indians assembled in full force at their encampment, prepared to
receive an attack.

As Col. Crawford and his brave band advanced, and when they had got
within a short distance from the town, they were met by a white man,
with a flag of truce from the Indians, who proposed to Col. Crawford
that if he would surrender himself and his men to the Indians,
their lives should be spared; but, that if they persisted in their
undertaking, and attacked the town, they should all be massacred to a

Crawford, while hearing the proposition, attentively surveyed its
bearer, and recognized in his features one of his former schoolmates and
companions, with whom he was perfectly acquainted, by the name of Simon
Gurty. Gurty, but a short time before this, had been a soldier in the
American army, in the same regiment with Crawford; but on the account
of his not having received the promotion that he expected, he became
disaffected--swore an eternal war with his countrymen, fled to the
Indians, and joined them, as a leader well qualified to conduct them
to where they could satiate their thirst for blood, upon the innocent,
unoffending and defenceless settlers.

Crawford sternly inquired of the traitor if his name was not Simon
Gurty; and being answered in the affirmative, he informed him that he
despised the offer which he had made; and that he would not surrender
his army unless he should be compelled to do so, by a superior force.

Gurty returned, and Crawford immediately commenced an engagement that
lasted till night, without the appearance of victory on either side,
when the firing ceased, and the combatants on both sides retired to take
refreshment, and to rest through the night. Crawford encamped in the
woods near half a mile from the town, where, after the centinels were
placed, and each had taken his ration, they slept on their arms, that
they might be instantly ready in case they should be attacked. The
stillness of death hovered over the little army, and sleep relieved the
whole, except the wakeful centinels who vigilantly attended to their
duty.--But what was their surprise, when they found late in the night,
that they were surrounded by the Indians on every side, except a narrow
space between them and the town? Every man was under arms, and the
officers instantly consulted each other on the best method of escaping;
for they saw that to fight, would be useless, and that to surrender,
would be death.

Crawford proposed a retreat through the ranks of the enemy in an
opposite direction from the town, as being the most sure course to take.
Lt. Col. Williamson advised to march directly through the town, where
there appeared to be no Indians, and the fires were yet burning.

There was no time or place for debates: Col. Crawford, with sixty
followers retreated on the route that he had proposed by attempting to
rush through the enemy; but they had no sooner got amongst the Indians,
than every man was killed or taken prisoner! Amongst the prisoners, were
Col. Crawford, and Doct. Night, surgeon of the regiment.

Lt. Col. Williamson, with the remainder of the regiment, together with
the wounded, set out at the same time that Crawford did, went through
the town without losing a man, and by the help of good guides arrived at
their homes in safety.

The next day after the engagement the Indians disposed of all their
prisoners to the different tribes, except Col. Crawford and Doct. Night;
but those unfortunate men were reserved for a more cruel destiny. A
council was immediately held on Sandusky plains, consisting of all the
Chiefs and warriors, ranged in their customary order, in a circular
form; and Crawford and Night were brought forward and seated in the
centre of the circle.

The council being opened, the Chiefs began to examine Crawford on
various subjects relative to the war. At length they enquired who
conducted the military operations of the American army on the Ohio and
Susquehannah rivers, during the year before; and who had led that army
against them with so much skill and so uniform success? Crawford
very honestly and without suspecting any harm from his reply promptly
answered that he was the man who had led his countrymen to victory,
who had driven the enemy from the settlements, and by that means had
procured a great degree of happiness to many of his fellow-citizens.
Upon hearing this, a Chief, who had lost a son in the year before, in
a battle where Colonel Crawford commanded, left his station in the
council, stepped to Crawford, blacked his face, and at the same time
told him that the next day he should be burnt.

The council was immediately dissolved on its hearing the sentence from
the Chief, and the prisoners were taken off the ground, and kept in
custody through the night. Crawford now viewed his fate as sealed; and
despairing of ever returning to his home or his country, only dreaded
the tediousness of death, as commonly inflicted by the savages, and
earnestly hoped that he might be despatched at a single blow.

Early the next morning, the Indians assembled at the place of execution,
and Crawford was led to the post--the goal of savage torture, to which
he was fastened. The post was a stick of timber placed firmly in the
ground, having an arm framed in at the top, and extending some six
or eight feet from it, like the arm of a sign post. A pile of wood
containing about two cords, lay a few feet from the place where he
stood, which he was informed was to be kindled into a fire that would
burn him alive, as many had been burnt on the same spot, who had been
much less deserving than himself.

Gurty stood and supposedly looked on the preparations that were making
for the funeral of one his former playmates; a hero by whose side he
had fought; of a man whose valor had won laurels which, if he could
have returned, would have been strewed upon his grave, by his grateful
countrymen. Dreading the agony that he saw he was about to feel,
Crawford used every argument which his perilous situation could suggest
to prevail upon Gurty to ransom him at any price, and deliver him (as it
was in his power,) from the savages, and their torments. Gurty heard his
prayers, and expostulations, and saw his tears with indifference,
and finally told the forsaken victim that he would not procure him a
moment's respite, nor afford him the most trifling assistance.

The Col. was then bound, stripped naked and tied by his wrists to the
arm, which extended horizontally from the post, in such a manner that
his arms were extended over his head, with his feet just standing upon
the ground. This being done, the savages placed the wood in a circle
around him at the distance of a few feet, in order that his misery might
be protracted to the greatest length, and then kindled it in a number of
places at the same time. The flames arose and the scorching heat became
almost insupportable. Again he prayed to Gurty in all the anguish of his
torment, to rescue him from the fire, or shoot him dead upon the spot.
A demoniac smile suffused the countenance of Gurty, while he calmly
replied to the dying suppliant, that he had no pity for his sufferings;
but that he was then satisfying that spirit of revenge, which for a long
time he had hoped to have an opportunity to wreak upon him. Nature
now almost exhausted from the intensity of the heat, he settled down a
little, when a squaw threw coals of fire and embers upon him, which made
him groan most piteously, while the whole camp rung with exultation.
During the execution they manifested all the exstacy of a complete
triumph. Poor Crawford soon died and was entirely consumed.

Thus ended the life of a patriot and hero, who had been an intimate with
Gen. Washington, and who shared in an eminent degree the confidence of
that great, good man, to whom, in the time of revolutionary perils, the
sons of legitimate freedom looked with a degree of faith in his mental
resources, unequalled in the history of the world.

That tragedy being ended, Doct. Night was informed that on the next
day he should be burnt in the same manner that his comrade Crawford had
been, at Lower Sandusky. Hiokatoo, who out had been a leading chief in
the battle with, and in the execution of Crawford, painted Doct. Night's
face black, and then bound and gave him up to two able bodied Indians to
conduct to the place of execution.

They set off with him immediately, and travelled till towards evening,
when they halted to encamp till morning. The afternoon had been very
rainy, and the storm still continued, which rendered it very difficult
for the Indians to kindle a fire. Night observing the difficulty under
which they labored, made them to understand by signs, that if they would
unbind him, he would assist them.--They, accordingly unbound him, and
he soon succeeded in making a fire by the application of small dry stuff
which he was at considerable trouble to procure. While the Indians were
warming themselves, the Doct. continued to gather wood to last through
the night, and in doing this, he found a club which he placed in
a situation from whence he could take it conveniently whenever an
opportunity should present itself in which he could use it effectually.
The Indians continued warming, till at length the Doct. saw that they
had placed themselves in a favorable position for the execution of his
design, when, stimulated by the love of life, he cautiously took his
club and at two blows knocked them both down. Determined to finish the
work of death which he had so well begun, he drew one of their scalping
knives, with which he beheaded and scalped them both! He then took a
rifle, tomahawk, and some ammunition, and directed his course for
home, where he arrived without having experienced any difficulty on his

The next morning, the Indians took the track of their victim and his
attendants, to go to Lower Sandusky, and there execute the sentence
which they had pronounced upon him. But what was their surprise and
disappointment, when they arrived at the place of encampment, where
they found their trusty friends scalped and decapitated, and that
their prisoner had made his escape?--Chagrined beyond measure, they
immediately separated, and went in every direction in pursuit of their
prey; but after having spent a number of days unsuccessfully, they
gave up the chase, and returned to their encampment. [Footnote: I have
understood, (from unauthenticated sources however,) that soon after
the revolutionary war, Doct. Night published a pamphlet, containing
an account of the battle at Sandusky, and of his own sufferings. My
information on this subject, was derived from a different quarter.

The subject of this narrative in giving the account of her last husband,
Hiokatoo, referred us to Mr. George Jemison, who, (as it will be
noticed) lived on her land a number of years, and who had frequently
heard the old Chief relate the story of his life; particularly that part
which related to his military career. Mr. Jemison; on being enquired of,
gave the foregoing account, partly from his own personal knowledge, and
the remainder, from the account given by Hiokatoo.

Mr. Jemison was in the battle, was personally acquainted with Col.
Crawford, and one that escaped with Lt. Col. Williamson. We have no
doubt of the truth of the statement, and have therefore inserted the
whole account, as an addition to the historical facts which are daily
coming into a state of preservation, in relation to the American


In the time of the French war, in an engagement that took place on the
Ohio river, Hiokatoo took a British Col. by the name of Simon Canton,
whom he carried to the Indian encampment. A council was held, and the
Col. was sentenced to suffer death, by being tied on a wild colt, with
his face towards its tail, and then having the colt turned loose to run
where it pleased. He was accordingly tied on, and the colt let loose,
agreeable to the sentence. The colt run two days, and then returned with
its rider yet alive. The Indians, thinking that he would never die in
that way, took him off, and made him run the gauntlet three times; but
in the last race a squaw knocked him down, and he was supposed to have
been dead. He, however, recovered, and was sold for fifty dollars to a
Frenchman, who sent him as a prisoner to Detroit. On the return of the
Frenchman to Detroit, the Col. besought him to ransom him, and give,
or set him at liberty, with so much warmth, and promised with so much
solemnity, to reward him as one of the best of benefactors, if he would
let him go, that the Frenchman took his word, and sent him home to his
family. The Col. remembered his promise, and in a short time sent his
deliverer one hundred and fifty dollars, as a reward for his generosity.

Since the commencement of the revolutionary war, Hiokatoo has been in
seventeen campaigns, four of which were in the Cherokee war. He was
so great an enemy to the Cherokees, and so fully determined upon their
subjugation, that on his march to their country, he raised his own army
for those four campaigns, and commanded it; and also superintended its
subsistence. In one of those campaigns, which continued two whole years
without intermission, he attacked his enemies on the Mobile, drove them
to the country of the Creek Nation, where he continued to harrass them,
till being tired of war, he returned to his family. He brought home
a great number of scalps, which he had taken from the enemy, and ever
seemed to possess an unconquerable will that the Cherokees might be
utterly destroyed. Towards the close of his last fighting in that
country, he took two squaws, whom he sold on his way home for money to
defray the expense of his journey.

Hiokatoo was about six feet four or five inches high, large boned, and
rather inclined to leanness. He was very stout and active, for a man of
his size, for it was said by himself and others, that he had never
found an Indian who could keep up with him on a race, or throw him at
wrestling. His eye was quick and penetrating; and his voice was of
that harsh and powerful kind, which, amongst, Indians, always commands
attention. His health had been uniformly good. He never was confined by
sickness, till he was attacked with the consumption, four years before
his death. And, although he had, from his earliest days, been inured
to almost constant fatigue, and exposure to every inclemency of the
weather, in the open air he seemed to lose the vigor of the prime of
life only by the natural decay occasioned by old age.

       *       *       *       *       *


Her Troubles Renewed.--John's Jealousy towards his brother
Jesse.--Circumstances attending the Murder of Jesse Jemison.--Her
Grief.--His Funeral--Age--Filial Kindness, &c.

Being now left a widow in my old age, to mourn the loss of a husband,
who had treated me well and with whom I had raised five children, and
having suffered the loss of an affectionate son, I fondly fostered the
hope that my melancholy vicissitudes had ended, and that the remainder
of my time would be characterized by nothing unpropitious. My children,
dutiful and kind, lived near me, and apparently nothing obstructed our

But a short time, however, elapsed after my husband's death, before my
troubles were renewed with redoubled severity.

John's hands having been once stained in the blood of a brother, it was
not strange that after his acquital, every person of his acquaintance
should shun him, from a fear of his repeating upon them the same
ceremony that he had practised upon Thomas. My son Jesse, went to Mt.
Morris, a few miles from home, on business, in the winter after the
death of his father; and it so happened that his brother John was there,
who requested Jesse to come home with him. Jesse, fearing that John
would commence a quarrel with him on the way, declined the invitation,
and tarried over night.

From that time John conceived himself despised by Jesse, and was highly
enraged at the treatment which he had received. Very little was said,
however, and it all passed off, apparently, till sometime in the month
of May, 1812, at which time Mr. Robert Whaley, who lived in the town
of Castile, within four miles of me, came to my house early on Monday
morning, to hire George Chongo, my son-in-law, and John and Jesse, to
go that day and help him slide a quantity of boards from the top of
the hill to the river, where he calculated to build a raft of them for

They all concluded to go with Mr. Whaley, and made ready as soon as
possible. But before they set out I charged them not to drink any
whiskey; for I was confident that if they did, they would surely have
a quarrel in consequence of it. They went and worked till almost night,
when a quarrel ensued between Chongo and Jesse, in consequence of the
whiskey that they had drank through the day, which terminated in a
battle, and Chongo got whipped.

When Jesse had got through with Chongo, he told Mr. Whaley that he would
go home, and directly went off. He, however, went but a few rods before
he stopped and lay down by the side of a log to wait, (as was supposed,)
for company. John, as soon as Jesse was gone, went to Mr. Whaley with
his knife in his hand and bade him jogo (i. e. be gone,) at the same
time telling him that Jesse was a bad man. Mr. Whaley, seeing that
his countenance was changed, and that he was determined upon something
desperate, was alarmed for his own safety, and turned towards home,
leaving Chongo on the ground drunk, near to where Jesse had lain, who
by this time had got up, and was advancing towards John. Mr. Whaley was
soon out of hearing of them; but some of his workmen staid till it was
dark. Jesse came up to John, and said to him, you want more whiskey, and
more fighting, and after a few words went at him, to try in the first
place to get away his knife. In this he did not succeed, and they
parted. By this time the night had come on, and it was dark. Again they
clenched and at length in their struggle they both fell. John, having
his knife in his hand, came under, and in that situation gave Jesse a
fatal stab with his knife, and repeated the blows till Jesse cried out,
brother, you have killed me, quit his hold and settled back upon the
ground. Upon hearing this, John left him and came to Thomas' widow's
house, told them that he had been fighting with their uncle, whom he had
killed, and showed them his knife.

Next morning as soon as it was light, Thomas' and John's children came
and told me that Jesse was dead in the woods, and also informed me how
he came by his death. John soon followed them and informed me himself of
all that had taken place between him and his brother, and seemed to
be somewhat sorrowful for his conduct. You can better imagine what my
feelings were than I can describe them. My darling son, my youngest
child, him on whom I depended, was dead; and I in my old age left
destitute of a helping hand!

As soon as it was consistent for me, I got Mr. George Jemison, (of whom
I shall have occasion to speak,) to go with his sleigh to where Jesse
was, and bring him home, a distance of 3 or 4 miles. My daughter Polly
arrived at the fatal spot first: we got there soon after her; though I
went the whole distance on foot. By this time, Chongo, (who was left on
the ground drunk the night before,) had become sober and sensible of the
great misfortune which had happened to our family.

I was overcome with grief at the sight of my murdered son, and so far
lost the command of myself as to be almost frantic; and those who were
present were obliged to hold me from going near him.

On examining the body it was found that it had received eighteen wounds
so deep and large that it was believed that either of them would have
proved mortal. The corpse was carried to my house, and kept till the
Thursday following, when it was buried after the manner of burying white

Jesse was twenty-seven or eight years old when he was killed. His temper
had been uniformly very mild and friendly; and he was inclined to copy
after the white people; both in his manners and dress. Although he was
naturally temperate, he occasionally became intoxicated; but never was
quarrelsome or mischievous. With the white people he was intimate,
and learned from them their habits of industry, which he was fond of
practising, especially when my comfort demanded his labor. As I have
observed, it is the custom amongst the Indians, for the women to perform
all the labor in, and out of doors, and I had the whole to do, with the
help of my daughters, till Jesse arrived to a sufficient age to assist
us. He was disposed to labor in the cornfield, to chop my wood, milk
my cows, and attend to any kind of business that would make my task the
lighter. On the account of his having been my youngest child, and so
willing to help me, I am sensible that I loved him better than I did
either of my other children. After he began to understand my situation,
and the means of rendering it more easy, I never wanted for anything
that was in his power to bestow; but since his death, as I have had all
my labor to perform alone, I have constantly seen hard times.

Jesse shunned the company of his brothers, and the Indians generally;
and never attended their frolics; and it was supposed that this,
together with my partiality for him, were the causes which excited
in John so great a degree of envy, that nothing short of death would
satisfy it.

       *       *       *       *       *


Mrs. Jemison is informed that she has a Cousin in the Neighborhood,
by the name of George Jemison.--His Poverty.--Her Kindness.--His
Ingratitude.--Her Trouble from Land Speculation.--Her Cousin moves off.

A year or two before the death of my husband, Capt. H. Jones sent me
word that a cousin of mine was then living in Leicester, (a few miles
from Gardow,) by the name of George Jemison, and as he was very poor,
thought it advisable for me to go and see him, and take him home to live
with me on my land. My Indian friends were pleased to hear that one of
my relatives was so near, and also advised me to send for him and his
family immediately. I accordingly had him and his family moved into one
of my houses, in the month of March, 1810.

He said that he was my father's brother's son--that his father did not
leave Europe, till after the French war in America, and that when he
did come over, he settled in Pennsylvania, where he died. George had
no personal knowledge of my father; but from information, was confident
that the relationship which he claimed between himself and me, actually
existed. Although I had never before heard of my father having had but
one brother, (him who was killed at Fort Necessity,) yet I knew that
he might have had others, and, as the story of George carried with it a
probability that it was true, I received him as a kinsman, and treated
him with every degree of friendship which his situation demanded.
[Footnote: Mrs. Jemison is now confident that George Jemison is not
her cousin, and thinks that he claimed the relationship, only to gain
assistance: But the old gentleman, who is now living, is certain that
his and her father were brothers, as before stated.]

I found that he was destitute of the means of subsistence, and in debt
to the amount of seventy dollars, without the ability to pay one cent.
He had no cow, and finally, was completely poor, I paid his debts to the
amount of seventy-two dollars, and bought him a cow, for which I paid
twenty dollars, and a sow and pigs, that I paid eight dollars for. I
also paid sixteen dollars for pork that I gave him, and furnished him
with other provisions and furniture; so that his family was comfortable.
As he was destitute of a team, I furnished him with one, and also
supplied him with tools for farming. In addition to all this, I let him
have one of Thomas' cows, for two seasons.

My only object in mentioning his poverty, and the articles with which I
supplied him, is to show how ungrateful a person can be for favors, and
how soon a kind benefactor will, to all appearance, be forgotten.

Thus furnished with the necessary implements of husbandry, a good team,
and as much land as he could till, he commenced farming on my flats, and
for some time labored well. At length, however, he got an idea that if
he could become the owner of a part of my reservation, he could live
more easy, and certainly be more rich, and accordingly set himself about
laying a plan to obtain it, in the easiest manner possible.

I supported Jemison and his family eight years, and probably should
have continued to have done so to this day, had it not been for the
occurrence of the following circumstance.

When he had lived with me some six or seven years, a friend of mine told
me that as Jemison was my cousin, and very poor, I ought to give him
a piece of land that he might have something whereon to live, that
he would call his own. My friend and Jemison were then together at my
house, prepared to complete a bargain. I asked how much land he wanted?
Jemison said that he should be glad to receive his old field (as he
called it) containing about fourteen acres, and a new one that contained

I observed to them that as I was incapable of transacting business of
that nature, I would wait till Mr. Thomas Clute, (a neighbor on whom I
depended,) should return from Albany, before I should do any thing about
it. To this Jemison replied that if I waited till Mr. Clute returned,
he should not get the land at all, and appeared very anxious to have the
business closed without delay. On my part, I felt disposed to give him
some land, but knowing my ignorance of writing, feared to do it alone,
lest they might include as much land they pleased, without my knowledge.

They then read the deed which my friend had prepared before he came from
home, describing a piece of land by certain bounds that were a specified
number of chains and links from each other. Not understanding the length
of a chain or link, I described the bounds of a piece of land that I
intended Jemison should have, which they said was just the same that the
deed contained and no more. I told them that the deed must not include
a lot that was called the Steele place, and they assured me that it did
not. Upon this, putting confidence in them both, I signed the deed to
George Jemison, containing, and conveying to him as I supposed, forty
acres of land. The deed being completed they charged me never to mention
the bargain which I had then made to any person; because if I did,
they said it would spoil the contract. The whole matter was afterwards
disclosed; when it was found that that deed instead of containing only
forty acres, contained four hundred, and that one half of it actually
belonged to my friend, as it had been given to him by Jemison as a
reward for his trouble in procuring the deed, in the fraudulent manner
above mentioned.

My friend, however, by the advice of some well disposed people, awhile
afterwards gave up his claim; but Jemison held his till he sold it for a
trifle to a gentleman in the south part of Genesee county.

Sometime after the death of my son Thomas, one of his sons went to
Jemison to get the cow that I had let him have two years; but Jemison
refused to let her go, and struck the boy so violent a blow as to almost
kill him. Jemison then run to Jellis Clute, Esq. to procure a warrant to
take the boy; but Young King, an Indian Chief, went down to Squawky hill
to Esq. Clute's, and settled the affair by Jemison's agreeing never
to use that club again. Having satisfactorily found out the friendly
disposition of my cousin towards me, I got him off my premises as soon
as possible.


Another Family Affliction.--Her son John's Occupation.--He goes to
Buffalo--Returns.--Great Slide by him considered Ominous--Trouble,
&c.--He goes to Squawky Hill--Quarrels--Is murdered by two Indians.--His
Funeral--Mourners, &c.--His Disposition.--Ominous Dream.--Black Chief's
Advice, &c.--His Widows and Family.--His Age.--His Murderers flee.--Her
Advice to them.--They set out to leave their Country.--Their Uncle's
Speech to them on parting.--They return.--Jack proposes to Doctor to
kill each other.--Doctor's Speech in Reply.--Jack's Suicide.--Doctor's

Trouble seldom comes single. While George Jemison was busily engaged
in his pursuit of wealth at my expence, another event of a much more
serious nature occurred, which added greatly to my afflictions, and
consequently destroyed, at least a part of the happiness that I had
anticipated was laid up in the archives of Providence, to be dispensed
on my old age.

My son John, was a doctor, considerably celebrated amongst the Indians
of various tribes, for his skill in curing their diseases, by the
administration of roots and herbs, which he gathered in the forests, and
other places where they had been planted by the hand of nature.

In the month of April, or first of May, 1817, he was called upon to go
to Buffalo, Cattaraugus and Allegany, to cure some who were sick. He
went, and was absent about two months. When he returned, he observed
the Great Slide of the bank of Genesee river, a short distance above
my house, which had taken place during his absence; and conceiving
that circumstance to be ominous of his own death, called at his sister
Nancy's, told her that he should live but a few days, and wept bitterly
at the near approach of his dissolution. Nancy endeavored to persuade
him that his trouble was imaginary, and that he ought not to be affected
by a fancy which was visionary. Her arguments were ineffectual, and
afforded no alleviation to his mental sufferings. From his sister's, he
went to his own house, where he stayed only two nights, and then went to
Squawky Hill to procure money, with which to purchase flour for the use
of his family.

While at Squawky Hill he got into the company of two Squawky Hill
Indians, whose names were Doctor and Jack, with whom he drank freely,
and in the afternoon had a desperate quarrel, in which his opponents,
(as it was afterwards understood,) agreed to kill him. The quarrel
ended, and each appeared to be friendly. John bought some spirits, of
which they all drank, and then set out for home. John and an Allegany
Indian were on horseback, and Doctor and Jack were on foot. It was dark
when they set out. They had not proceeded far, when Doctor and Jack
commenced another quarrel with John, clenched and dragged him off his
horse, and then with a stone gave him so severe a blow on his head, that
some of his brains were discharged from the wound. The Allegany Indian,
fearing that his turn would come next, fled for safety as fast as

John recovered a little from the shock he had received, and endeavored
to get to an old hut that stood near; but they caught him, and with an
axe cut his throat, and beat out his brains, so that when he was found
the contents of his skull were lying on his arms.

Some squaws, who heard the uproar, ran to find out the cause of it; but
before they had time to offer their assistance, the murderers drove them
into a house, and threatened to take their lives if they did not stay
there, or if they made any noise.

Next morning, Esq. Clute sent me word that John was dead, and also
informed me of the means by which his life was taken. A number of
people went from Gardow to where the body lay, and Doct. Levi Brundridge
brought it up home, where the funeral was attended after the manner of
the white people. Mr. Benjamin Luther, and Mr. William Wiles, preached
a sermon, and performed the funeral services; and myself and family
followed the corpse to the grave as mourners. I had now buried my three
sons, who had been snatched from me by the hands of violence, when I
least expected it.

Although John had taken the life of his two brothers, and caused me
unspeakable trouble and grief, his death made a solemn impression upon
my mind, and seemed, in addition to my former misfortunes, enough to
bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. Yet, on a second
thought, I could not mourn for him as I had for my other sons, because I
knew that his death was just, and what he had deserved for a long time,
from the hand of justice.

John's vices were so great and so aggravated, that I have nothing to say
in his favor: yet, as a mother, I pitied him while he lived, and have
ever felt a great degree of sorrow for him, because of his bad conduct.

From his childhood, he carried something in his features indicative of
an evil disposition, that would result in the perpetration of enormities
of some kind; and it was the opinion and saying of Ebenezer Allen, that
he would be a bad man, and be guilty of some crime deserving of death.
There is no doubt but what the thoughts of murder rankled in his breast,
and disturbed his mind even in his sleep; for he dreamed that he had
killed Thomas for a trifling offence, and thereby forfeited his own
life. Alarmed at the revelation, and fearing that he might in some
unguarded moment destroy his brother, he went to the Black Chief, to
whom he told the dream, and expressed his fears that the vision would
be verified. Having related the dream, together with his feelings on the
subject, he asked for the best advice that his old friend was capable
of giving, to prevent so sad an event. The Black Chief, with his usual
promptitude, told him, that from the nature of the dream, he was fearful
that something serious would take place between him and Thomas; and
advised him by all means to govern his temper, and avoid any quarrel
which in future he might see arising, especially if Thomas was a party.
John, however, did not keep the good counsel of the Chief; for soon
after he killed Thomas, as I have related.

John left two wives with whom he had lived at the same time, and raised
nine children. His widows are now living at Caneadea with their father,
and keep their children with, and near them. His children are tolerably
white, and have got light colored hair. John died about the last day of
June, 1817, aged 54 years.

Doctor and Jack, having finished their murderous design, fled before
they could be apprehended, and lay six weeks in the woods back of
Canisteo. They then returned and sent me some wampum by Chongo, (my
son-in-law,) and Sun-ge-waw (that is Big Kettle) expecting that I would
pardon them, and suffer them to live as they had done with their
tribe. I however, would not accept their wampum, but returned it with
a request, that, rather than have them killed, they would run away and
keep out of danger.

On their receiving back the wampum, they took my advice, and prepared to
leave their country and people immediately. Their relatives accompanied
them a short distance on their journey, and when about to part, their
old uncle, the Tall Chief, addressed them in the following pathetic and
sentimental speech:

"Friends, hear my voice!--When the Great Spirit made Indians, he made
them all good, and gave them good corn-fields; good rivers, well stored
with fish; good forests, filled with game and good bows and arrows. But
very soon each wanted more than his share, and Indians quarrelled with
Indians, and some were killed, and others were wounded. Then the Great
Spirit made a very good word, and put it in every Indians breast, to
tell us when we have done good, or when we have done bad; and that word
has never told a lie.

"Friends! whenever you have stole, or got drunk, or lied, that good
word has told you that you were bad Indians, and made you afraid of good
Indians; and made you ashamed and look down.

"Friends! your crime is greater than all those:--you have killed an
Indian in a time of peace; and made the wind hear his groans, and
the earth drink his blood. You are bad Indians! Yes, you are very bad
Indians; and what can you do? If you go into the woods to live alone,
the ghost of John Jemison will follow you, crying, blood! blood! and
will give you no peace! If you go to the land of your nation, there that
ghost will attend you, and say to your relatives, see my murderers!
If you plant, it will blast your corn; if you hunt, it will scare your
game; and when you are asleep, its groans, and the sight of an avenging
tomahawk, will awake you! What can you do? Deserving of death, you
cannot live here; and to fly from your country, to leave all your
relatives, and to abandon all that you have known to be pleasant and
dear, must be keener than an arrow, more bitter than gall, more terrible
than death! And how must we feel?--Your path will be muddy; the woods
will be dark; the lightnings will glance down the trees by your side,
and you will start at every sound! peace has left you, and you must be

"Friends, hear me, and take my advice. Return with us to your homes.
Offer to the Great Spirit your best wampum, and try to be good Indians!
And, if those whom you have bereaved shall claim your lives as their
only satisfaction, surrender them cheerfully, and die like good Indians.
And--" Here Jack, highly incensed, interrupted the old man, and bade him
stop speaking or he would take his life. Affrighted at the appearance of
so much desperation, the company hastened towards home, and left Doctor
and Jack to consult their own feelings.

As soon as they were alone, Jack said to Doctor, "I had rather die here,
than leave my country and friends! Put the muzzle of your rifle into
my mouth, and I will put the muzzle of mine into yours, and at a given
signal we will discharge them, and rid ourselves at once of all the
troubles under which we now labor, and satisfy the claims which justice
holds against us."

Doctor heard the proposition, and after a moment's pause, made the
following reply:--"I am as sensible as you can be of the unhappy
situation in which we have placed ourselves. We are bad Indians. We have
forfeited our lives, and must expect in some way to atone for our crime:
but, because we are bad and miserable, shall we make ourselves worse?
If we were now innocent, and in a calm reflecting moment should kill
ourselves, that act would make us bad, and deprive us of our share of
the good hunting in the land where our fathers have gone! What would
Little Beard [Footnote: Little Bears was a Chief who died in 1806.] say
to us on our arrival at his cabin? He would say, 'Bad Indians! Cowards!
You were afraid to wait till we wanted your help! Go (Jogo) to where
snakes will lie in your path; where the panthers will starve you, by
devouring the venison; and where you will be naked and suffer with the
cold! Jogo, (go,) none but the brave and good Indians live here!' I
cannot think of performing an act that will add to my wretchedness.
It is hard enough for me to suffer here, and have good hunting
hereafter--worse to lose the whole."

Upon this, Jack withdrew his proposal. They went on about two miles, and
then turned about and came home. Guilty and uneasy, they lurked about
Squawky Hill near a fortnight, and then went to Cattaraugus, and were
gone six weeks. When they came back, Jack's wife earnestly requested
him to remove his family to Tonnewonta; but he remonstrated against her
project, and utterly declined going. His wife and family, however, tired
of the tumult by which they were surrounded, packed up their effects in
spite of what he could say, and went off.

Jack deliberated a short time upon the proper course for himself to
pursue, and finally, rather than leave his old home, he ate a large
quantity of muskrat root, and died in 10 or 12 hours. His family being
immediately notified of his death, returned to attend the burial, and is
yet living at Squawky Hill.

Nothing was ever done with Doctor, who continued to live quietly
at Squawky Hill till sometime in the year 1819, when he died of


Micah Brooks, Esq. volunteers to get the Title to her Land confirmed
to herself.--She is Naturalized.--Great Council of Chiefs, &c. in Sept.
1823.--She Disposes of her Reservation.--Reserves a Tract 2 miles long,
and 1 mile wide, &c.--The Consideration how Paid, &c.

In 1816, Micah Brooks, Esq. of Bloomfield, Ontario county, was
recommended to me (as it was said) by a Mr. Ingles, to be a man of
candor, honesty and integrity, who would by no means cheat me out of a
cent. Mr. Brooks soon after, came to my house and informed me that
he was disposed to assist me in regard to my land, by procuring a
legislative act that would invest me with full power to dispose of it
for my own benefit, and give as ample a title as could be given by any
citizen of the state. He observed that as it was then situated, it was
of but little value, because it was not in my power to dispose of it,
let my necessities be ever so great. He then proposed to take the agency
of the business upon himself, and to get the title of one half of my
reservation vested in me personally, upon the condition that, as a
reward for his services, I would give him the other half.

I sent for my son John, who on being consulted, objected to my going
into any bargain with Mr. Brooks, without the advice and consent of
Mr. Thomas Clute, who then lived on my land and near me. Mr. Clute was
accordingly called on, to whom Mr. Brooks repeated his former statement,
and added, that he would get an act passed in the Congress of the United
States, that would invest me with all the rights and immunities of a
citizen, so far as it respected my property. Mr. Clute, suspecting that
some plan was in operation that would deprive me of my possessions,
advised me to have nothing to say on the subject to Mr. Brooks, till I
had seen Esquire Clute, of Squawky Hill. Soon after this Thomas Clute
saw Esq. Clute, who informed him that the petition for my naturalization
would be presented to the Legislature of this State, instead of being
sent to Congress; and that the object would succeed to his and my
satisfaction. Mr. Clute then observed to his brother, Esq. Clute,
that as the sale of Indian lands, which had been reserved, belonged
exclusively to the United States, an act of the Legislature of New-York
could have no effect in securing to me a title to my reservation, or in
depriving me of my property. They finally agreed that I should sign
a petition to Congress, praying for my naturalization, and for the
confirmation of the title of my land to me, my heirs, &c.

Mr. Brooks came with the petition: I signed it, and it was witnessed
by Thomas Clute, and two others, and then returned to Mr. Brooks, who
presented it to the Legislature of this state at its session in the
winter of 1816-17. On the 19th of April, 1817, an act was passed for
my naturalization, and ratifying and confirming the title of my land,
agreeable to the tenor of the petition, which act Mr. Brooks presented
to me on the first day of May following.

Thomas Clute having examined the law, told me that it would probably
answer, though it was not according to the agreement made by Mr. Brooks,
and Esq. Clute and himself, for me. I then executed to Micah Brooks and
Jellis Clute, a deed of all my land lying east of the picket line on the
Gardow reservation, containing about 7000 acres.

It is proper in this place to observe, in relation to Mr. Thomas Clute,
that my son John, a few months before his death, advised me to take
him for my guardian, (as I had become old and incapable of managing my
property,) and to compensate him for his trouble by giving him a lot
of land on the west side of my reservation where he should choose it.
I accordingly took my son's advice, and Mr. Clute has ever since been
faithful and honest in all his advice and dealings with, and for, myself
and family.

In the month of August, 1817, Mr. Brooks and Esq. Clute again came to
me with a request that I would give them a lease of the land which I had
already deeded to them, together with the other part of my reservation,
excepting and reserving to myself only about 4000 acres.

At this time I informed Thomas Clute of what John had advised, and
recommended me to do, and that I had consulted my daughters on the
subject, who had approved of the measure. He readily agreed to assist
me; whereupon I told him he was entitled to a lot of land, and might
select as John had mentioned. He accordingly at that time took such a
piece as he chose, and the same has ever since been reserved for him in
all the land contracts which I have made.

On the 24th of August, 1817, I leased to Micah Brooks and Jellis Clute,
the whole of my original reservation, except 4000 acres, and Thomas
Clute's lot. Finding their title still incomplete, on account of the
United States government and Seneca Chiefs not having sanctioned my
acts, they solicited me to renew the contract, and have the conveyance
made to them in such a manner as that they should thereby be constituted
sole proprietors of the soil.

In the winter of 1822-3, I agreed with them, that if they would get the
chiefs of our nation, and a United States Commissioner of Indian Lands,
to meet in council at Moscow, Livingston county, N. Y. and there concur
in my agreement, that I would sell to them all my right and title to the
Gardow reservation, with the exception of a tract for my own benefit,
two miles long, and one mile wide, lying on the river where I should
choose it; and also reserving Thomas Clute's lot. This arrangement was
agreed upon, and the council assembled at the place appointed, on the 3d
or 4th day of September, 1823.

That council consisted of Major Carrol, who had been appointed by
the President to dispose of my lands, Judge Howell and N. Gorham, of
Canandaigua, (who acted in concert with Maj. Carrol,) Jasper Parrish,
Indian Agent, Horatio Jones, Interpreter, and a great number of Chiefs.

The bargain was assented to unanimously, and a deed given to H. B.
Gibson, Micah Brooks and Jellis Clute, of the whole Gardow tract,
excepting the last mentioned reservations, which was signed by myself
and upwards of twenty Chiefs.

The land which I now own, is bounded as follows:--Beginning at the
center of the Great Slide [Footnote: The Great Slide of the bank of
Genesee river is a curiosity worthy of the attention of the traveller.
In the month of May, 1817, a portion of land thickly covered with
timber, situated at the upper end of the Gardow flats, on the west side
of the river, all of a sudden gave way, and with a tremendous crash,
slid into the bed of the river, which it so completely filled, that the
stream formed a new passage on the east side of it, where it continues
to run, without overflowing the slide. This slide, as it now lies,
contains 22 acres, and has a considerable share of the timber that
formerly covered it, still standing erect upon it, and growing.] and
running west one mile, thence north two miles, thence east about one
mile to Genesee river, thence south on the west bank of Genesee river to
the place of beginning.

In consideration of the above sale, the purchasers have bound
themselves, their heirs, assigns, &c. to pay to me, my heirs or
successors, three hundred dollars a year forever.

Whenever the land which I have reserved, shall be sold, the income of
it is to be equally divided amongst the members of the Seneca nation,
without any reference to tribes or families.


Conclusion.--Review of her Life.--Reflections on the loss of
Liberty.--Care she took to preserve her Health.--Indians' abstemiousness
in Drinking, after the French War.--Care of their Lives, &c.--General
use of Spirits--Her natural Strength.--Purchase of her first Cow.--Means
by which she has been supplied with Food.--Suspicions of her having been
a Witch.--Her Constancy.--Number of Children.--Number Living.--Their
Residence.--Closing Reflection.

When I review my life, the privations that I have suffered, the
hardships I have endured, the vicissitudes I have passed, and the
complete revolution that I have experienced in my manner of living;
when I consider my reduction from a civilized to a savage state, and the
various steps by which that process has been effected, and that my life
has been prolonged, and my health and reason spared, it seems a miracle
that I am unable to account for, and is a tragical medley that I hope
will never be repeated.

The bare loss of liberty is but a mere trifle when compared with the
circumstances that necessarily attend, and are inseparably connected
with it. It is the recollection of what we once were, of the friends,
the home, and the pleasures that we have left or lost; the anticipation
of misery, the appearance of wretchedness, the anxiety for freedom, the
hope of release, the devising of means of escaping, and the vigilance
with which we watch our keepers, that constitute the nauseous dregs of
the bitter cup of slavery. I am sensible, however, that no one can pass
from a state of freedom to that of slavery, and in the last situation
rest perfectly contented; but as every one knows that great exertions
of the mind tend directly to debilitate the body, it will appear obvious
that we ought, when confined, to exert all our faculties to promote our
present comfort, and let future days provide their own sacrifices. In
regard to ourselves, just as we feel, we are.

For the preservation of my life to the present time I am indebted to
an excellent constitution, with which I have been blessed in as great a
degree as any other person. After I arrived to years of understanding,
the care of my own health was one of my principal studies; and by
avoiding exposures to wet and cold, by temperance in eating, abstaining
from the use of spirits, and shunning the excesses to which I was
frequently exposed, I effected my object beyond what I expected. I have
never once been sick till within a year or two, only as I have related.
Spirits and tobacco I have never used, and I have never once attended an
Indian frolic. When I was taken prisoner, and for sometime after that,
spirits was not known; and when it was first introduced, it was in small
quantities, and used only by the Indians; so that it was a long time
before the Indian women begun to even taste it.

After the French war, for a number of years, it was the practice of the
Indians of our tribe to send to Niagara and get two or three kegs of
rum, (in all six or eight gallons,) and hold a frolic as long as it
lasted. When the rum was brought to the town, all the Indians collected,
and before a drop was drank, gave all their knives, tomahawks, guns, and
other instruments of war, to one Indian, whose business it was to bury
them in a private place, keep them concealed, and remain perfectly
sober till the frolic was ended. Having thus divested themselves, they
commenced drinking, and continued their frolic till every drop was
consumed, If any of them became quarrelsome, or got to fighting, those
who were sober enough bound them upon the ground, where they were
obliged to lie till they got sober, and then were unbound. When the
fumes of the spirits had left the company, the sober Indian returned
to each the instruments with which they had entrusted him, and all went
home satisfied. A frolic of that kind was held but once a year, and
that at the time the Indians quit their hunting, and come in with their

In those frolics the women never participated. Soon after the
revolutionary war, however, spirits became common in our tribe, and
has been used indiscriminately by both sexes; though there are not so
frequent instances of intoxication amongst the squaws as amongst the

To the introduction and use or that baneful article, which has made such
devastation in our tribes, and threatens the extinction of our people,
(the Indians,) I can with the greatest propriety impute the whole of my
misfortune in losing my three sons. But as I have before observed, not
even the love of life will restrain an Indian from sipping the poison
that he knows will destroy him. The voice of nature, the rebukes of
reason, the advice of parents, the expostulations of friends, and the
numerous instances of sudden death, are all insufficient to reclaim
an Indian, who has once experienced the exhilarating and inebriating
effects of spirits, from seeking his grave in the bottom of his bottle!

My strength has been great for a woman of my size, otherwise I must long
ago have died under the burdens which I was obliged to carry. I learned
to carry loads on my back, in a strap placed across my forehead, soon
after my captivity; and continue to carry in the same way. Upwards of
thirty years ago, with the help of my young children, I backed all the
boards that were used about my house from Allen's mill at the outlet
of Silver Lake, a distance of five miles. I have planted, hoed, and
harvested corn every season but one since I was taken prisoner. Even
this present fall (1823) I have husked my corn and backed it into the

The first cow that I ever owned, I bought of a squaw sometime after the
revolution. It had been stolen from the enemy. I had owned it but a few
days when it fell into a hole, and almost died before we could get it
out. After this, the squaw wanted to be recanted, but as I would not
give up the cow, I gave her money enough to make, when added to the sum
which I paid her at first, thirty-five dollars. Cows were plenty on the
Ohio, when I lived there, and of good quality.

For provisions I have never suffered since I came upon the flats; nor
have I ever been in debt to any other hands than my own for the plenty
that I have shared.

My vices, that have been suspected, have been but few. It was believed
for a long time, by some of our people, that I was a great witch; but
they were unable to prove my guilt, and consequently I escaped the
certain doom of those who are convicted of that crime, which, by
Indians, is considered as heinous as murder. Some of my children had
light brown hair, and tolerable fair skin, which used to make some say
that I stole them; yet as I was ever conscious of my own constancy,
I never thought that any one really believed that I was guilty of

I have been the mother of eight children; three of whom are now living,
and I have at this time thirty-nine grand children, and fourteen
great-grand children, all living in the neighborhood of Genesee River,
and at Buffalo.

I live in my own house, and on my own land with my youngest daughter,
Polly, who is married to George Chongo, and has three children.

My daughter Nancy, who is married to Billy Green, lives about 80 rods
south of my house, and has seven children.

My other, daughter, Betsey, is married to John Green, has seven
children, and resides 80 rods north of my house.

Thus situated in the midst of my children, I expect I shall soon leave
the world, and make room for the rising generation. I feel the weight
of years with which I am loaded, and am sensible of my daily failure in
seeing, hearing and strength; but my only anxiety is for my family. If
my family will live happily, and I can be exempted from trouble while I
have to stay, I feel as though I could lay down in peace a life that has
been checked in almost every hour, with troubles of a deeper dye, than
are commonly experienced by mortals.


An account of the destruction of a part of the British Army, by the
Indians, at a place called the Devil's Hole, on the Niagara River, in
the year 1763.

It is to be regretted that an event of so tragical a nature as the
following, should have escaped the pens of American Historians, and
have been suffered to slide down the current of time, to the verge
of oblivion, without having been snatched almost from the vortex
of forgetfulness, and placed on the faithful page, as a memorial of
premeditated cruelties, which, in former times, were practised upon the
white people, by the North American Savages.

Modern History, perhaps, cannot furnish a parallel so atrocious in
design and execution, as the one before us, and it may be questioned,
even if the history of ancient times, when men fought hand to hand, and
disgraced their nature by inventing engines of torture, can more than
produce its equal.

It will be observed in the preceding narrative, that the affair at
the Devil's Hole is said to have happened in November, 1759. That Mrs.
Jemison arrived at Genesee about that time, is rendered certain from a
number of circumstances; and that a battle was fought on the Niagara in
Nov. 1759, in which two prisoners and some oxen were taken, and brought
to Genesee, as she has stated, is altogether probable. But it is equally
certain that the event which is the subject of this article, did not
take place till the year 1763.

In the time of the French war, the neighborhood of Forts Niagara and
Sclusser, (or Schlosser, as it was formerly written,) on the Niagara
river, was a general battle-ground, and for this reason, Mrs. Jemison's
memory ought not to be charged with treachery, for not having been able
to distinguish accurately, after the lapse of sixty years, between the
circumstances of one engagement and those of another. She resided on
the Genesee at the time when the warriors of that tribe marched off to
assist in laying the ambush at the Devil's Hole; and no one will doubt
her having heard them rehearse the story of the event of that nefarious
campaign, after they returned.

Chronology and history concur in stating that Fort Niagara was taken
from the French, by the British, and that Gen. Prideaux was killed on
the 25th of July, 1759.

Having obtained from Mrs. Jemison a kind of introduction to the story, I
concluded that if it yet remained possible to procure a correct account
of the circumstances which led to and attended that transaction,
it would be highly gratifying to the American public, I accordingly
directed a letter to Mr. Linus S. Everett, of Buffalo, whose ministerial
labor, I well knew, frequently called him to Lewiston, requesting him to
furnish me with a particular account of the destruction of the British,
at the time and place before mentioned. He obligingly complied with my
request, and gave me the result of his inquiries on that subject, in the
following letter:--

Copy of a letter from Mr. Linus S. Everett, dated Fort Sclusser, 29th
December, 1823.

_Respected and dear friend_,

I hasten, with much pleasure, to comply with your request, in regard to
the affair at the Devil's Hole. I have often wondered that no authentic
account has ever been given of that bloody and tragical scene.

I have made all the inquiries that appear to be of any use, and proceed
to give you the result.

At this place, (Fort Sclusser,) an old gentleman now resides, to whom
I am indebted for the best account of the affair that can be easily
obtained. His name is Jesse Ware--his age about 74. Although he was not
a resident of this part of the country at the time of the event, yet
from his intimate acquaintance with one of the survivors, he is able to
give much information, which otherwise could not be obtained.

The account that he gives is as follows:--In July, 1759, the British,
under Sir William Johnston, took possession of Forts Niagara and
Sclusser, which had before been in the hands of the French. At this
time, the Seneca Indians, (which were a numerous and powerful nation,)
were hostile to the British, and warmly allied to the French. These
two posts, (viz.) Niagara and Sclusser, were of great importance to the
British, on the account of affording the means of communication with the
posts above, or on the upper lakes. In 1760, a contract was made between
Sir William Johnston and a Mr. Stedman, to construct a portage road from
Queenston landing to Fort Sclusser, a distance of eight miles, in order
to facilitate the transportation of provision, ammunition, &c. from
one place to the other. In conformity to this agreement, on the 20th of
June, 1763, Stedman had completed his road, and appeared at Queenston
Landing, (now Lewiston,) with twenty-five portage wagons, and one
hundred horses and oxen, to transport to Fort Sclusser the king's

At this time Sir William Johnston was suspicious of the intentions of
the Senecas; for after the surrender of the forts by the French, they
had appeared uneasy and hostile. In order to prevent the teams, drivers
and goods, receiving injury, he detached 300 troops to guard them
across the portage. The teams, under this escort, started from Queenston
landing--Stedman, who had the charge of the whole, was on horse back,
and rode between the troops and teams; all the troops being in front.
On a small hill near the Devil's Hole, at that time, was a redoubt
of twelve men, which served as a kind of guard on ordinary occasions,
against the depredations of the savages. "On the arrival of the troops
and teams at the Devil's Hole," says a manuscript in the hands of my
informant, "the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the Seneca Indians,
sallied from the adjoining woods, by thousands, (where they had been
concealed for some time before, for that nefarious purpose,) and falling
upon the troops, teams and drivers, and the guard of twelve men before
mentioned, they killed all the men but three on the spot, or by driving
them, together with the teams, down the precipice, which was about
seventy or eighty feet! The Indians seized Stedman's horse by the
bridle, while he was on him, designing, no doubt, to make his sufferings
more lasting than that of his companions: but while the bloody scene was
acting, the attention of the Indian who held the horse of Stedman being
arrested, he cut the reins of his bridle--clapped spurs to his horse,
and rode over the dead and dying, into the adjacent woods, without
receiving injury from the enemy's firing. Thus he escaped; and besides
him two others--one a drummer, who fell among the trees, was caught by
his drum strap, and escaped unhurt; the other, one who fell down the
precipice and broke his thigh, but crawled to the landing or garrison
down the river." The following September, the Indians gave Stedman a
piece of land, as a reward for his bravery.

With sentiments of respect, I remain, sir, your sincere friend, L. S.

_Mr. J. E. Seaver_.

       *       *       *       *       *

A particular account of General Sullivan's Expedition against the
Indians, in the western part of the State of New-York, in 1779.

It has been thought expedient to publish in this volume, the following
account of Gen. Sullivan's expedition, in addition to the facts related
by Mrs. Jemison, of the barbarities which were perpetrated upon Lieut.
Boyd, and two others, who were taken, and who formed a part of his army,
etc. A detailed account of this expedition has never been in the
hands of the public; and as it is now produced from a source deserving
implicit credit, it is presumed that it will be received with

John Salmon, Esq. to whom we are happy to acknowledge our indebtedness
for the subjoined account, is an old gentleman of respectability and
good standing in society; and is at this time a resident in the town of
Groveland, Livingston county, New-York. He was a hero in the American
war for independence; fought in the battles of his country under the
celebrated Morgan; survived the blast of British oppression; and now, in
the decline of life, sits under his own well earned vine and fig-tree,
near the grave of his unfortunate countrymen, who fell gloriously, while
fighting the ruthless savages, under the command of the gallant Boyd.

In the autumn after the battle at Monmouth, (1778,) Morgan's riflemen,
to which corps I belonged, marched to Schoharie, in this state of
New-York, and there went into winter quarters. The company to which I
was attached, was commanded by Capt. Michael Simpson; and Thomas Boyd,
of Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, was our Lieutenant.

In the following spring, our corps, together with the whole body of
troops under the command of Gen. Clinton, to the amount of about 1500,
embarked in boats at Schenectady, and ascended the Mohawk as far as
German Flats. Thence we took a direction to Otsego lake, descended the
Susquehanna, and without any remarkable occurrence, arrived at Tioga
Point, where our troops united with an army of 1500 men under the
command of Gen. Sullivan, who had marched through a part of New-Jersey,
and had reached that place by the way of Wyoming, some days before us.

That part of the army under Gen. Sullivan, had, on their arrival at
Tioga Point, found the Indians in some force there, with whom they had
had some unimportant skirmishes before our arrival. Upon the junction
of these two bodies of troops, Gen. Sullivan assumed the command of the
whole, and proceeded up the Tioga. When within a few miles of the place
now called Newtown, we were met by a body of Indians, and a number of
troops well known in those times by the name of Butler's Rangers, who
had thrown up, hastily, a breastwork of logs, trees, &c. They were,
however, easily driven from their works, with considerable loss on their
part, and without any injury to our troops. The enemy fled with so
much precipitation, that they left behind them some stores and camp
equippage. They retreated but a short distance before they made a stand,
and built another breastwork of considerable length, in the woods, near
a small opening. Sullivan was soon apprized of their situation, divided
his army, and attempted to surround, by sending one half to the right
and the other to the left, with directions to meet on the opposite
side of the enemies. In order to prevent their retreating, he directed
bomb-shells to be thrown over them, which was done: but on the shells
bursting, the Indians suspected that a powerful army had opened a heavy
fire upon them on that side, and fled with the utmost precipitation
through one wing of the surrounding army. A great number of the enemy
were killed, and our army suffered considerably.

The Indians having, in this manner, escaped, they went up the river to
a place called the Narrows, where they were attacked by our men, who
killed them in great numbers, so that the sides of the rocks next the
river appeared as though blood had been poured on them by pailfulls. The
Indians threw their dead into the river, and escaped the best way they

From Newtown our army went directly to the head of the Seneca lake;
thence down that lake to its mouth, where we found the Indian village at
that place evacuated, except by a single inhabitant--a male child about
seven or eight years of age, who was found asleep in one of the Indian
huts. Its fate I have never ascertained. It was taken into the care of
an officer of the army, who, on account of ill health, was not on duty,
and who took the child with him, as I have since understood, to his
residence on or near the North river.

From the mouth of Seneca lake we proceeded, without the occurrence of
any thing of importance, by the outlets of the Canandaigua, Honeoye, and
Hemlock lakes, to the head of Connissius lake, where the army encamped
on the ground that is now called Henderson's Flats.

Soon after the army had encamped, at the dusk of the evening, a party of
twenty-one men, under the command of Lieut. Boyd, was detached from the
rifle corps, and sent out for the purpose of reconnoitering the ground
near the Genesee river, at a place now called Williamsburg, at a
distance from the camp of about seven miles, under the guidance of
a faithful Indian pilot. That place was then the site of an Indian
village, and it was apprehended that the Indians and Rangers might be
there or in that vicinity in considerable force.

On the arrival of the party at Williamsburg, they found that the Indian
village had been recently deserted, as the fires in the huts were still
burning. The night was so far spent when they got to their place of
destination, that Lieutenant Boyd, considering the fatigue of his men,
concluded to remain during the night near the village, and to send two
men messengers with a report to the camp in the morning. Accordingly,
a little before daybreak, he despatched two men to the main body of the
army, with information that the enemy had not been discovered.

After day-light, Lieut. Boyd cautiously crept from the place of his
concealment, and upon getting a view of the village, discovered two
Indians hovering about the settlement: one of whom was immediately shot
and scalped by one of the riflemen, whose name was Murphy. Supposing
that if there were Indians in that vicinity, or near the village, they
would be instantly alarmed by this occurrence, Lieut. Boyd thought it
most prudent to retire, and make the best of his way to the general
encampment of our army. They accordingly set out and retraced the steps
which they had taken the day before, till they were intercepted by the

On their arriving within about one mile and a half of the main army,
they were surprized by the sudden appearance of a body of Indians, to
the amount of five hundred, under the command of the celebrated Brandt,
and the same number of Rangers, commanded by the infamous Butler, who
had secreted themselves in a ravine of considerable extent, which lay
across the track that Lieut. Boyd had pursued.

Upon discovering the enemy, and knowing that the only chance for
escape was by breaking through their line, (one of the most desperate
enterprizes ever undertaken,) Lieut. Boyd, after a few words of
encouragement, led his men to the attempt. As extraordinary as it may
seem, the first onset, though unsuccessful, was made without the loss of
a man on the part of the heroic band, though several of the enemy were
killed. Two attempts more were made, which were equally unsuccessful,
and in which the whole party fell, except Lieut. Boyd, and eight others.
Lieut. Boyd and a soldier by the name of Parker, were taken prisoners on
the spot, a part of the remainder fled, and a part fell on the ground,
apparently dead, and were overlooked by the Indians, who were too much
engaged in pursuing the fugitives to notice those who fell.

When Lieut. Boyd found himself a prisoner, he solicited an interview
with Brandt, whom he well knew commanded the Indians. This Chief, who
was at that moment near, immediately presented himself, when Lieut.
Boyd, by one of those appeals which are known only by those who have
been initiated and instructed in certain mysteries, and which never fail
to bring succor to a "distressed brother," addressed him as the only
source from which he could expect a respite from cruel punishment or
death. The appeal was recognized, and Brandt immediately, and in the
strongest language, assured him that his life should be spared.

Lieut. Boyd, and his fellow-prisoner, Parker, were immediately conducted
by a party of the Indians to the Indian village called Beard's Town, on
the west side of Genesee river, in what is now called Leicester. After
their arrival at Beard's Town, Brandt, their generous preserver, being
called on service which required a few hours absence, left them in the
care of the British Col. Butler, of the Rangers; who, as soon as Brandt
had left them, commenced an interrogation, to obtain from the prisoners
a statement of the number, situation and intentions of the army
under Gen. Sullivan; and threatened them, in case they hesitated or
prevaricated in their answers, to deliver them up immediately to
be massacred by the Indians, who, in Brandt's absence, and with the
encouragement of their more savage commander, Butler, were ready to
commit the greatest cruelties. Relying, probably, on the promises which
Brandt had made them, and which he undoubtedly meant to fulfil, they
refused to give Butler the desired information. Butler, upon this,
hastened to put his threat into execution. They were delivered to some
of their most ferocious enemies, who, after having put them to very
severe torture, killed them by severing their heads from their bodies.

The main army, immediately after hearing of the situation of Lieut.
Boyd's detachment, moved on towards Genesee river, and finding the
bodies of those who were slain in Boyd's heroic attempt to penetrate
through the enemy's line, buried them in what is now the town of
Groveland, where the grave is to be seen at this day.

Upon their arrival at the Genesee river, they crossed over, scoured the
country for some distance on the river, burnt the Indian villages on
the Genesee flats, and destroyed all their corn and other means of

The bodies of Lieut. Boyd and Parker were found and buried near the bank
of Beard's creek, under a bunch of wild plum-trees, on the road, as it
now runs, from Moscow to Geneseo. I was one of those who committed to
the earth the remains of my friend and companion in arms, the gallant

Immediately after these events the army commenced its march back, by the
same route that it came, to Tioga Point; thence down the Susquehanna to
Wyoming; and thence across the country to Morristown, New-Jersey, where
we went into winter quarters.

Gen. Sullivan's bravery is unimpeachable. He was unacquainted, however,
with fighting the Indians, and made use of the best means to keep them
at such a distance that they could not be brought into an engagement. It
was his practice, morning and evening, to have cannon fired in or near
the camp, by which the Indians were notified of their speed in marching,
and of his situation, and were enabled to make a seasonable retreat.

The foregoing account, according to the best of my recollection is
strictly correct.


Groveland, January 24, 1824.

Esq. Salmon was formerly from Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, and
was first Serjeant in Capt. Simpson's and Lieut. Boyd's company.

Tradition of the Origin of the Seneca Nation.--Their Preservation
from utter extinction.--The Means by which the People who preceded the
Senecas were destroyed--and the Cause of the different Indian Languages.

The tradition of the Seneca Indians, in regard to their origin, as
we are assured by Capt. Horatio Jones, who was a prisoner five years
amongst them, and for many years since has been an interpreter, and
agent for the payment of their annuities, is that they broke out of the
earth from a large mountain at the head of Canandaigua Lake, and that
mountain they still venerate as the place of their birth; thence they
derive their name, "Ge-nun-de-wah," [Footnote: This by some is spoken
Ge-nun-de-wah-gauh.] or Great Hill, and are called "The Great Hill
People," which is the true definition of the word Seneca.

The great hill at the head of Canandaigua lake, from whence they sprung,
is called Genundewah, and has for a long time past been the place where
the Indians of that nation have met in council, to hold great talks, and
to offer up prayers to the Great Spirit, on account of its having been
their birth place; and also in consequence of the destruction of a
serpent at that place, in ancient time, in a most miraculous manner,
which threatened the destruction of the whole of the Senecas, and barely
spared enough to commence replenishing the earth.

The Indians say, says Capt. Jones, that the fort on the big hill, or
Genundewah, near the head of Canandaigua lake, was surrounded by a
monstrous serpent, whose head and tail came together at the gate. A long
time it lay there, confounding the people with its breath. At length
they attempted to make their escape, some with their hommany-blocks, and
others with different implements of household furniture; and in marching
out of the fort walked down the throat of the serpent. Two orphan
children, who had escaped this general destruction by being left some
time before on the outside of the fort, were informed by an oracle of
the means by which they could get rid of their formidable enemy--which
was, to take a small bow and a poisoned arrow, made of a kind of willow,
and with that shoot the serpent under its scales. This they did, and
the arrow proved effectual; for on its penetrating the skin, the serpent
became sick, and extending itself rolled down the hill, destroying all
the timber that was in its way, disgorging itself and breaking wind
greatly as it went. At every motion, a human head was discharged, and
rolled down the hill into the lake, where they lie at this day, in a
petrified state, having the hardness and appearance of stones.

To this day the Indians visit that sacred place, to mourn the loss
of their friends, and to celebrate some rites that are peculiar to
themselves. To the knowledge of white people there has been no timber
on the great hill since it was first discovered by them, though it lay
apparently in a state of nature for a great number of years, without
cultivation. Stones in the shape of Indians' heads may be seen lying
in the lake in great plenty, which are said to be the same that were
deposited there at the death of the serpent.

The Senecas have a tradition, that previous to, and for some time after,
their origin at Genundewah, this country, especially about the lakes,
was thickly inhabited by a race of civil, enterprizing and industrious
people, who were totally destroyed by the great serpent, that afterwards
surrounded the great hill fort, with the assistance of others of the
same species; and that they (the Senecas) went into possession of the
improvements that were left.

In those days the Indians throughout the whole country, as the Senecas
say, spoke one language; but having become considerably numerous, the
before mentioned great serpent, by an unknown influence, confounded
their language, so that they could not understand each other; which was
the cause of their division into nations, as the Mohawks, Oneidas, &c.
At that time, however, the Senecas retained their original language,
and continued to occupy their mother hill, on which they fortified
themselves against their enemies, and lived peaceably, till having
offended the serpent, [Footnote: The pagans of the Senecas believe that
all the little snakes were made of the blood of the great serpent, after
it rolled into the lake.] they were cut off as before stated.

       *       *       *       *       *


Perhaps no people are more exact observers of religious duties than
those Indians among the Senecas, who are denominated pagans, in
contradistinction from those, who, having renounced some of their
former superstitious notions, have obtained the name of Christians. The
traditionary faith of their fathers, having been orally transmitted to
them from time immemorial, is implicitly believed, scrupulously adhered
to, and rigidly practised. They are agreed in their sentiments--are
all of one order, and have individual and public good, especially among
themselves, for the great motive which excites them to attend to those
moral virtues that are directed and explained by all their rules, and in
all their ceremonies.

Many years have elapsed since the introduction of Christian Missionaries
among them, whom they have heard, and very generally understand the
purport of the message they were sent to deliver. They say that it is
highly probable that Jesus Christ came into the world in old times,
to establish a religion that would promote the happiness of the white
people, on the other side of the great water, (meaning the sea,) and
that he died for the sins of his people, as the missionaries have
informed them: But, they say that Jesus Christ had nothing to do
with them, and that the Christian religion was not designed for their
benefit; but rather, should they embrace it, they are confident it would
make them worse, and consequently do them an injury. They say, also,
that the Great Good Spirit gave them their religion; and that it is
better adapted to their circumstances, situation and habits, and to
the promotion of their present comfort and ultimate happiness, than any
system that ever has or can be devised. They, however, believe, that
the Christian religion is better calculated for the good of white people
than theirs is; and wonder that those who have embraced it, do not
attend more strictly to its precepts, and feel more engaged for its
support and diffusion among themselves. At the present time, they are
opposed to preachers or schoolmasters being sent or coming among them;
and appear determined by all means to adhere to their ancient customs.

They believe in a Great Good Spirit, (whom they call in the Seneca
language Nau-wan-e-u,) as the Creator of the world, and of every good
thing--that he made men, and all inoffensive animals; that he supplies
men with all the comforts of life; and that he is particularly partial
to the Indians, whom they say are his peculiar people. They also believe
that he is pleased in giving them (the Indians) good gifts; and that he
is highly gratified with their good conduct--that he abhors their vices,
and that he is willing to punish them for their bad conduct, not only
in this world, but in a future state of existence. His residence,
they suppose, lies at a great distance from them, in a country that is
perfectly pleasant, where plenty abounds, even to profusion. That there
the soil is completely fertile, and the seasons so mild that the corn
never fails to be good--that the deer, elk, buffalo, turkies, and other
useful animals, are numerous, and that the forests are well calculated
to facilitate their hunting them with success--that the streams are
pure, and abound with fish: and that nothing is wanting, to render
fruition complete. Over this territory they say Nauwaneu presides as an
all-powerful king; and that without counsel he admits to his pleasures
all whom he considers to be worthy of enjoying so great a state of

To this being they address prayers, offer sacrifices, give thanks for
favors, and perform many acts of devotion and reverence.

They likewise believe that Nauwaneu has a brother that is less powerful
than himself, and who is opposed to him, and to every one that is or
wishes to be good: that this bad Spirit made all evil things, snakes,
wolves, catamounts, and all other poisonous or noxious animals and
beasts of prey, except the bear, which, on the account of the excellence
of its meat for food, and skin for clothing, they say was made by
Nauwaneu. Besides all this they say he makes and sends them their
diseases, bad weather and bad crops, and that he makes and supports
witches. He owns a large country adjoining that of his brother, with
whom he is continually at variance. His fields are unproductive; thick
clouds intercept the rays of the sun, and consequently destructive
frosts are frequent; game is very scarce, and not easily taken; ravenous
beasts are numerous; reptiles of every poisoned tooth lie in the path
of the traveller; streams are muddy, and hunger, nakedness and general
misery, are severely felt by those who unfortunately become his tenants.
He takes pleasure in afflicting the Indians here, and after their death
receives all those into his dreary dominions, who in their life time
have been so vile as to be rejected by Nauwaneu, under whose eye they
are continued in an uncomfortable state forever. To this source of
evil they offer some oblations to abate his vengeance, and render
him propitious. They, however, believe him to be, in a degree, under
subjection to his brother, and incapable of executing his plans only by
his high permission.

Public religious duties are attended to in the celebration of particular
festivals and sacrifices, which are observed with circumspection and
attended with decorum.

In each year they have five feasts, or stated times for assembling in
their tribes, and giving thanks to Nauwaneu, for the blessings which
they have received from his kind and liberal and provident hand; and
also to converse upon the best means of meriting a continuance of
his favors. The first of these feasts is immediately after they have
finished sugaring, at which time they give thanks for the favorable
weather and great quantity of sap they have had, and for the sugar that
they have been allowed to make for the benefit of their families. At
this, as at all the succeeding feasts, the Chiefs arise singly, and
address the audience in a kind of exhortation, in which they express
their own thankfulness, urge the necessity and propriety of general
gratitude, and point out the course which ought to be pursued by each
individual, in order that Nauwaneu may continue to bless them, and that
the evil spirit may be defeated.

On these occasions the Chiefs describe a perfectly straight line, half
an inch wide, and perhaps ten miles long, which they direct their people
to travel upon by placing one foot before the other, with the heel of
one foot to the toe of the other, and so on till they arrive at the end.
The meaning of which is, that they must not turn aside to the right hand
or to the left into the paths of vice, but keep straight ahead in the
way of well doing, that will lead them to the paradise of Nauwaneu.

The second feast is after planting; when they render thanks for
the pleasantness of the season--for the good time they have had for
preparing their ground and planting their corn; and are instructed by
their Chiefs, by what means to merit a good harvest.

When the green corn becomes fit for use, they hold their third, or green
corn feast. Their fourth is celebrated after corn harvest; and the fifth
at the close of their year, and is always celebrated at the time of the
old moon in the last of January or first of February. This last deserves
a particular description.

The Indians having returned, from hunting, and having brought in all the
venison and skins that they have taken, a committee is appointed,
says Mrs. Jemison, consisting of from ten to twenty active men, to
superintend the festivities of the great sacrifice and thanksgiving that
is to be immediately celebrated. This being done, preparations are
made at the council-house, or place of meeting, for the reception and
accommodation of the whole tribe; and then the ceremonies are commenced,
and the whole is conducted with a great degree of order and harmony,
under the direction of the committee.

Two white dogs, [Footnote: This was the practice in former times; but at
present I am informed that only one dog is sacrificed.] without spot or
blemish, are selected (if such can be found, and if not, two that have
the fewest spots) from those belonging to the tribe, and killed near the
door of the council-house, by being strangled. A wound on the animal or
an effusion of blood, would spoil the victim, and render the sacrifice
useless. The dogs are then painted red on their faces, edges of their
ears, and on various parts of their bodies, and are curiously decorated
with ribbons of different colors, and fine feathers, which are tied and
fastened on in such a manner as to make the most elegant appearance.
They are then hung on a post near the door of the council-house, at the
height of twenty feet from the ground.

This being done, the frolic is commenced by those who are present, while
the committee run through the tribe or town, and hurry the people to
assemble, by knocking on their houses. At this time the committee are
naked, (wearing only a breech-clout,) and each carries a paddle, with
which he takes up ashes and scatters them about the house in every
direction. In the course of the ceremonies, all the fire is extinguished
in every hut throughout the tribe, and new fire, struck from the flint
on each hearth, is kindled, after having removed the whole of the ashes,
old coals, &c. Having done this, and discharged one or two guns, they go
on, and in this manner they proceed till they have visited every house
in the tribe. This finishes the business of the first day.

On the second day the committee dance, go through the town with
bear-skin on their legs, and at every time they start they fire a gun.
They also beg through the tribe, each carrying a basket in which to
receive whatever may be bestowed. The alms consist of Indian tobacco,
and other articles that are used for incense at the sacrifice.
Each manager at this time carries a dried tortoise or turtle shell,
containing a few beans, which he frequently rubs on the walls of the
houses, both inside and out. This kind of manoeuvering by the committee
continues two or three days, during which time the people at the
council-house recreate themselves by dancing.

On the fourth or fifth day the committee make false faces of husks, in
which they run about, making a frightful but ludicrous appearance.
In this dress, (still wearing the bear-skin,) they run to the
council-house, smearing themselves with dirt, and bedaub every one who
refuses to contribute something towards filling the baskets of incense,
which they continue to carry, soliciting alms. During all this time they
collect the evil spirit, or drive it off entirely, for the present, and
also concentrate within themselves all the sins of their tribe, however
numerous or heinous.

On the eighth or ninth day, the committee having received all the sin,
as before observed, into their own bodies, they take down the dogs, and
after having transfused the whole of it into one of their own number,
he, by a peculiar slight of hand, or kind of magic, works it all out of
himself into the dogs. The dogs, thus loaded with all the sins of the
people, are placed upon a pile of wood that is directly set on fire.
Here they are burnt, together with the sins with which they were loaded,
surrounded by the multitude, who throw incense of tobacco or the like
into the fire, the scent of which they say, goes up to Nauwaneu, to whom
it is pleasant and acceptable.

This feast continues nine days, [Footnote: At present, as I have been
informed, this feast is not commonly held more than from five to seven
days. In former times, and till within a few years, nine days were
particularly observed.] and during that time the Chiefs review the
national affairs of the year past; agree upon the best plan to be
pursued through the next year, and attend to all internal regulations.

On the last day, the whole company partake of an elegant dinner,
consisting of meat, corn and beans, boiled together in large kettles,
and stirred till the whole is completely mixed and soft. This mess is
devoured without much ceremony--some eat with a spoon, by dipping out of
the kettles; others serve themselves in small dippers; some in one way,
and some in another, till the whole is consumed. After this they perform
the war dance, the peace dance, and smoke the pipe of peace; and then,
free from iniquity, each repairs to his place of abode, prepared to
commence the business of a new year. In this feast, temperance is
observed, and commonly, order prevails in a greater degree than would
naturally be expected.

They are fond of the company of spectators who are disposed to be
decent, and treat them politely in their way; but having been frequently
imposed upon by the whites, they treat them generally with indifference.

       *       *       *       *       *


Of these, two only will be noticed. The war dance is said to have
originated about the time that the Six Nations, or Northern Indians,
commenced the old war with the Cherokees and other Southern Indian
Nations, about one hundred years ago.

When a tribe, or number of tribes of the Six Nations, had assembled for
the purpose of going to battle with their enemies, the Chiefs sung
this song, and accompanied the music with dancing, and gestures that
corresponded with the sentiments expressed, as a kind of stimulant to
increase their courage, and anxiety to march forward to the place of

Those days having passed away, the Indians at this day sing the 'war
song,' to commemorate the achievements of their fathers, and as a kind
of amusement. When they perform it, they arm themselves with a war-club,
tomahawk and knife, and commence singing with firm voice, and a stern,
resolute countenance: but before they get through they exhibit in their
features and actions the most shocking appearance of anger, fury and
vengeance, that can be imagined: No exhibition of the kind can be more
terrifying to a stranger.

The song requires a number of repetitions in the tune, and has a chorus
that is sung at the end of each verse. I have not presumed to arrange it
in metre; but the following is the substance: "We are assembled in the
habiliments of war, and will go in quest of our enemies. We will march
to their land and spoil their possessions. We will take their women and
children, and lead them into captivity. The warriors shall fall by our
war-clubs--we will give them no quarter. Our tomahawks we will dip in
their brains! with our scalping knives we will scalp them." At each
period comes on the chorus, which consists of one monosyllable only,
that is sounded a number of times, and articulated like a faint, stifled
groan. This word is "eh," and signifies "we will," or "we will go," or
"we will do." While singing, they perform the ceremony of killing and
scalping, with a great degree of dexterity.

The peace dance is performed to a tune without words, by both sexes. The
Indians stand erect in one place, and strike the floor with the heel
and toes of one foot, and then of the other, (the heels and toes all the
while nearly level,) without changing their position in the least. The
squaws at the same time perform it by keeping the feet close together,
and without raising them from the ground, move a short distance to the
right, and then to the left, by first moving their toes and then their
heels. This dance is beautiful, and is generally attended with decency.

       *       *       *       *       *


Their government is an oligarchy of a mixed nature; and is administered
by Chiefs, a part of whose offices are hereditary, and a part elective.
The nation is divided into tribes, and each tribe commonly has
two Chiefs. One of these inherits his office from his father. He
superintends all civil affairs in the tribe; attends the national
council, of which he is a member; assents to all conveyances of land,
and is consulted on every subject of importance. The other is elected
by the tribe, and can be removed at the pleasure of his constituents
for malconduct. He also is a member of the national council: but his
principal business is to superintend the military concerns of his tribe,
and in war to lead his warriors to battle. He acts in concert with the
other Chief, and their word is implicitly relied on, as the law by which
they must be governed. That which they prohibit, is not meddled with.
The Indian laws are few, and easily expounded. Their business of a
public nature is transacted in council, where every decision is final.
They meet in general council once a year, and sometimes oftener. The
administration of their government is not attended with expense. They
have no national revenue, and consequently have no taxes.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Six Nations in the state of New-York are located upon several
reservations, from the Oneida Lake to the Cattaraugus and Allegany

A part of those nations live on the Sandusky, in the state of Ohio,
viz--380 Cayugas, 300 Senecas, 64 Mohawks, 64 Oneidas, and 80 Onondagas.
The bulk of the Mohawks are on Grand River, Upper Canada, together with
some Senecas, Tuscaroras, Cayugas, Oneidas, and Onondagas.

In the state of New-York there are 5000, and in the state of Ohio
688, as we are assured by Capt. Horatio Jones, agent for paying their
annuities, making in the whole, in both states, 5688.

       *       *       *       *       *


When an Indian sees a squaw whom he fancies, he sends a present to her
mother or parents, who on receiving it consult with his parents, his
friends, and each other, on the propriety and expediency of the proposed
connexion. If it is not agreeable, the present is returned; but if it
is, the lover is informed of his good fortune, and immediately goes to
live with her, or takes her to a hut of his own preparing.

Polygamy is practised in a few instances, and is not prohibited.

Divorces are frequent. If a difficulty of importance arises between a
married couple, they agree to separate. They divide their property and
children; the squaw takes the girls, the Indian the boys, and both are
at liberty to marry again.

They have no marriage ceremony, nor form of divorcement, other than what
has been mentioned.

       *       *       *       *       *


In their families, parents are very mild, and the mother superintends
the children. The word of the Indian father, however, is law, and must
be obeyed by the whole that are under his authority.

One thing respecting the Indian women is worthy of attention, and
perhaps of imitation, although it is now a days considered beneath the
dignity of the ladies, especially those who are the most refined; and
that is, they are under a becoming subjection to their husbands. It is
a rule, inculcated in all the Indian tribes, and practised throughout
their generations, that a squaw shall not walk before her Indian, nor
pretend to take the lead in his business. And for this reason we never
can see a party on the march to or from hunting and the like, in which
the squaws are not directly in the rear of their partners.

       *       *       *       *       *


The deceased having been laid out in his best clothing, is put into a
coffin of boards or bark, and with him is deposited, in every instance,
a small cup and a cake. Generally two or three candles are also put into
the coffin, and in a few instances, at the burial of a great man, all
his implements of war are buried by the side of the body. The coffin is
then closed and carried to the grave. On its being let down, the person
who takes the lead of the solemn transaction, or a Chief, addresses the
dead in a short speech, in which he charges him not to be troubled about
himself in his new situation, nor on his journey, and not to trouble his
friends, wife or children, whom he has left. Tells him that if he meets
with strangers on his way, he must inform them what tribe he belongs
to, who his relatives are, the situation in which he left them, and that
having done this, he must keep on till he arrives at the good fields in
the country of Nauwaneu. That when he arrives there he will see all his
ancestors and personal friends that have gone before him; who, together
with all the Chiefs of celebrity, will receive him joyfully, and furnish
him with every article of perpetual happiness.

The grave is now filled and left till evening, when some of the nearest
relatives of the dead build a fire at the head of it, near which they
set till morning. In this way they continue to practise nine successive
nights, when, believing that their departed friend has arrived at the
end of his journey, they discontinue their attention. During this time
the relatives of the dead are not allowed to dance.

Formerly, frolics were held, after the expiration of nine days, for
the dead, at which all the squaws got drunk, and those were the
only occasions on which they were intoxicated: but lately those are
discontinued, and squaws feel no delicacy in getting inebriated.

       *       *       *       *       *


As ignorance is the parent of credulity, it is not a thing to be
wondered at that the Indians should possess it in a great degree, and
even suffer themselves to be dictated and governed by it in many of the
most important transactions of their lives.

They place great confidence in dreams, attach some sign to every
uncommon circumstance, and believe in charms, spirits, and many
supernatural things that never existed, only in minds enslaved to
ignorance and tradition: but in no instance is their credulity so
conspicuous, as in their unalterable belief in witches.

They believe there are many of these, and that next to the author of
evil, they are the greatest scourge to their people. The term witch, by
them, is used both in the masculine and feminine gender, and denotes a
person to whom the evil deity has delegated power to inflict diseases,
cause death, blast corn, bring bad weather, and in short to cause
almost any calamity to which they are liable. With this impression, and
believing that it is their actual duty to destroy, as far as lies in
their power, every source of unhappiness, it has been a custom among
them from time immemorial, to destroy every one that they could convict
of so heinous a crime; and in fact there is no reprieve from the

Mrs. Jemison informed us that more or less who had been charged with
being witches, had been executed in almost every year since she has
lived on the Genesee. Many, on being suspected, made their escape:
while others, before they were aware of being implicated, have been
apprehended and brought to trial. She says that a number of years ago,
an Indian chased a squaw, near Beard's Town, and caught her; but on
the account of her great strength she got away. The Indian, vexed and
disappointed, went home, and the next day reported that he saw her
have fire in her mouth, and that she was a witch. Upon this she was
apprehended and killed immediately. She was Big-tree's cousin, Mrs.
Jemison says she was present at the execution. She also saw one other
killed and thrown into the river.

Col. Jeremiah Smith, of Leicester, near Beard's Town, saw an Indian
killed by his five brothers, who struck him on the head with their
tomahawks at one time. He was charged with being a witch, because of his
having been fortunate enough, when on a hunting party, to kill a number
of deer, while his comrades failed of taking any.

Col. Smith also saw a squaw, who had been convicted of being a witch,
killed by having small green whips burnt till they were red hot, but
not quite coaled, and thrust down her throat. From such trifling causes
thousands have lost their lives, and notwithstanding the means that
are used for their reformation, the pagans will not suffer "a witch to

       *       *       *       *       *


It is well known that the squaws have all the labor of the field to
perform, and almost every other kind of hard service, which, in civil
society, is performed by the men. In order to expedite their business,
and at the same time enjoy each other's company, they all work together
in one field, or at whatever job they may have on hand. In the spring
they choose an old active squaw to be their driver and overseer when at
labor, for the ensuing year. She accepts the honor, and they consider
themselves bound to obey her.

When the time for planting arrives, and the soil is prepared, the squaws
are assembled in the morning, and conducted into a field, where each
plants one row. They then go into the next field, plant once across,
and so on till they have gone through the tribe. If any remains to
be planted, they again commence where they did at first, (in the same
field,) and so keep on till the whole is finished. By this rule they
perform their labor of every kind, and every jealousy of one having done
more or less than another, is effectually avoided.

Each squaw cuts her own wood; but it is all brought to the house under
the direction of the overseer--each bringing one back load.

       *       *       *       *       *


This is done by moons and winters: a moon is a month, and the time from
the end of one winter to that of another, a year.

From sunset till sunrise, they say that the sun is asleep. In the old of
the moon, when it does not shine in the night, they say it is dead. They
rejoice greatly at the sight of the new moon.

In order to commemorate great events, and preserve the chronology of
them, the war Chief in each tribe keeps a war post. This post is a
peeled stick of timber, 10 or 12 feet high, that is erected in the town.
For a campaign they make, or rather the Chief makes, a perpendicular
red mark, about three inches long and half an inch wide; on the opposite
side from this, for a scalp, they make a red cross, thus, +; on another
side, for a prisoner taken, they make a red cross in this manner, X',
with a head or dot, and by placing such significant hireoglyphics in
so conspicuous a situation, they are enabled to ascertain with great
certainty the time and circumstances of past events.

Hiokatoo had a war-post, on which was recorded his military exploits,
and other things that he tho't worth preserving.

       *       *       *       *       *


Hiokatoo used to say that when he was a young man, there lived in the
same tribe with him an old Indian warrior, who was a great counsellor,
by the name of Buck-in-je-hil-lish. Buckinjehillish having, with
great fatigue, attended the council when it was deliberating upon war,
declared that none but the ignorant made war, but that the wise men
and the warriors had to do the fighting. This speech exasperated his
countrymen to such a degree that he was apprehended and tried for being
a witch, on the account of his having lived to so advanced an age; and
because he could not show some reason why he had not died before, he was
sentenced to be tomahawked by a boy on the spot, which was accordingly

In the last war, (1814,) an Indian who had been on fatigue, called at
a commissary's and begged some bread. He was sent for a pail of water
before he received it, and while he was absent an officer told the
commissary to put a piece of money into the bread, and observe the
event. He did so. The Indian took the bread and went off: but on the
next day having ate his bread and found the money, he came to the
commissary and gave him the same, as the officer had anticipated.

Little Beard, a celebrated Indian Chief, having arrived to a very
advanced age, died at his town on the Genesee river about the first of
June, 1806, and was buried after the manner of burying chiefs. In his
life time he had been quite arbitrary, and had made some enemies whom he
hated, probably, and was not loved by them. The grave, however, deprives
envy of its malignity, and revenge of its keenness.

Little Beard had been dead but a few days when the great eclipse of the
sun took place, on the sixteenth of June, which excited in the Indians
a great degree of astonishment; for as they were ignorant of astronomy,
they were totally unqualified to account for so extraordinary a
phenomenon. The crisis was alarming, and something effectual must be
done, without delay, to remove, if possible, the cause of such coldness
and darkness, which it was expected would increase. They accordingly ran
together in the three towns near the Genesee river, and after a short
consultation agreed that Little Beard, on the account of some old grudge
which he yet cherished towards them, had placed himself between them and
the sun, in order that their corn might not grow, and so reduce them to
a state of starvation. Having thus found the cause, the next thing was
to remove it, which could only be done the use of powder and ball.
Upon this, every gun and rifle was loaded, and a firing commenced, that
continued without cessation till the old fellow left his seat, and the
obscurity was entirely removed, to the great joy of the ingenious and
fortunate Indians.

In the month of February, 1824, Corn Planter, a learned pagan Chief
at Tonnewonta, died of common sickness. He had received a liberal
education, and was held in high estimation in his town and tribe, by
both parties; but the pagans more particularly mourned his loss deeply,
and seemed entirely unreconciled. They imputed his death to witchcraft,
and charged an Indian by the name of Prompit, with the crime.

Mr. Prompit is a Christian Indian, of the Tuscarora nation, who has
lived at Tonnewonta a number of years, where he has built a saw-mill
himself, which he owns, and is considered a decent, respectable man.

About two weeks after the death of Corn Planter, Mr. Prompit happened in
company where the author was present, and immediately begun to converse
upon that subject. He said that the old fashioned Indians called him a
witch--believed that he had killed Corn Planter, and had said that
they would kill him. But, said he, all good people know that I am not a
witch, and that I am clear of the charge. Likely enough they will kill
me; but if they do, my hands are clean, my conscience is clear, and I
shall go up to God. I will not run nor hide from them, and they may kill
me if they choose to--I am innocent. When Jesus Christ's enemies, said
he, wanted to kill him, he did not run away from them, but let them kill
him; and why should I run away from my enemies?

How the affair will terminate, we are unable to decide.

       *       *       *       *       *


From Mount Morris the banks of the Genesee are from two to four hundred
feet in height, with narrow flats on one side of the river or the other,
till you arrive at the tract called Gardow, or Cross Hills. Here you
come to Mrs. Jemison's flats, which are two miles and a quarter long,
and from eighty to one hundred and twenty rods wide, lying mostly on the
west side of the river.

Near the upper end of these flats is the Great Slide. Directly above
this, the banks (still retaining their before mentioned height) approach
so near each other as to admit of but thirty acres of flat on one side
of the river only, and above this the perpendicular rock comes down to
the water.

From Gardow you ascend the river five miles to the lower falls, which
are ninety-three feet perpendicular. These falls are twenty rods wide,
and have the greatest channel on the east side. From Wolf creek to these
falls the banks are covered with elegant white and Norway pine.

Above the lower falls the banks for about two miles are of perpendicular
rock, and retain their height of between two and four hundred feet.
Having travelled this distance you reach the middle falls, which are an
uninterrupted sheet of water fifteen rods wide, and one hundred and ten
feet in perpendicular height. This natural curiosity is not exceeded
by any thing of the kind in the western country, except the cataract at

From the middle falls the banks gradually rise, till you ascend the
river half a mile, when you come to the upper falls, which are somewhat
rolling, 66 feet, in the shape of a harrow. Above this the banks are
of moderate height. The timber from the lower to the upper falls is
principally pine. Just above the middle falls a saw-mill was erected
this season (1823) by Messrs. Ziba Hurd and Alva Palmer.


In November, 1822, Capt. Stephen Rolph and Mr. Alva Palmer drove a deer
into Genesee river, a short distance above the middle falls, where the
banks were so steep and the current so impetuous, that it could not
regain the shore, and consequently was precipitated over the falls, one
hundred and ten feet, into the gulph below. The hunters ran along the
bank below the falls, to watch the fate of the animal, expecting it
would be dashed in pieces. But to their great astonishment it came up
alive, and by swimming across a small eddy, reached the bank almost
under the falls; and as it stood in that situation, Capt. Ralph, who was
on the top of the bank, shot it. This being done, the next thing to be
considered was, how to get their prize. The rock being perpendicular,
upwards of one hundred feet, would not admit of their climbing down to
it, and there was no way, apparently, for them to get at it, short of
going down the river two miles, to the lower falls, and then by creeping
between the water and the precipice, they might possibly reach their
game. This process would be too tedious. At length Mr. Palmer proposed
to Capt. Rolph and Mr. Heman Merwin, who had joined them, that if they
would make a windlas and fasten it to a couple of saplings that stood
near, and then procure some ropes, he would be let down and get the
deer. The apparatus was prepared; the rope was tied round Palmer's body,
and he was let down. On arriving at the bottom he unloosed himself,
fastened the rope round the deer, which they drew up, and then threw
down the rope, in which he fastened himself, and was drawn up, without
having sustained any injury. From the top to the bottom of the rock,
where he was let down, was exactly one hundred and twenty feet.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison" ***

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