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Title: Famous Frontiersmen and Heroes of the Border - Their Adventurous Lives and Stirring Experiences in Pioneer Days
Author: Johnston, Charles Haven Ladd
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Famous Frontiersmen and Heroes of the Border - Their Adventurous Lives and Stirring Experiences in Pioneer Days" ***

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                          FAMOUS FRONTIERSMEN

                       AND HEROES OF THE BORDER

             │                                           │
             │           FAMOUS LEADERS SERIES           │
             │                                           │
             │                    BY                     │
             │                                           │
             │          CHARLES H. L. JOHNSTON           │
             │                                           │
             │ Each one volume, large 12mo, illustrated, │
             │                   $1.50                   │
             │                                           │
             │          FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS           │
             │           FAMOUS INDIAN CHIEFS            │
             │               FAMOUS SCOUTS               │
             │           FAMOUS PRIVATEERSMEN            │
             │            FAMOUS FRONTIERSMEN            │
             │                                           │
             │           L. C. PAGE & COMPANY            │
             │                                           │
             │      53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.      │
             │                                           │

[Illustration: DANIEL MORGAN.]

        │                                                    │
        │                 Famous Frontiersmen                │
        │                                                    │
        │              AND HEROES OF THE BORDER              │
        │                                                    │
        │        Their adventurous lives and stirring        │
        │             experiences in Pioneer days            │
        │                                                    │
        │                                                    │
        │                         By                         │
        │                                                    │
        │               CHARLES H. L. JOHNSTON               │
        │ Author of “Famous Cavalry Leaders,” “Famous Indian │
        │           Chiefs,” “Famous Scouts,” etc.           │
        │                                                    │
        │                                                    │
        │                     Illustrated                    │
        │                                                    │
        │                [Illustration: LOGO]                │
        │                                                    │
        │                                                    │
        │                 BOSTON L. C. PAGE &                │
        │                 COMPANY MDCCCCXIII                 │
        │                                                    │

                         _Copyright, 1913, by_
                         L. C. PAGE & COMPANY

                         _All rights reserved_

                   First Impression, November, 1913

                          THE COLONIAL PRESS
                 C. H. SIMONDS & CO., BOSTON, U. S. A.

                                TO THE
                              BOY SCOUTS
                             OF THE WORLD

_Thanks are due the Librarians of Congress, The Boston Public Library,
and Harvard University, for numerous courtesies extended to the Author
during the preparation of this volume._


displayed in my book “_Famous Scouts_” and requests for more tales
were made by many of you, I have collected some interesting stories of
valiant and daring adventurers, who were among the early settlers of
the wilderness. These men were real scouts and trappers, for they lived
in the wilds and had to know how to shoot a rifle; how to trap; and how
to camp in whatever place night happened to overtake them. Savage men
and wild beasts were frequently encountered, and desperate were the
fights which these fellows engaged in. Some of them lived to a happy
and prosperous old age; some perished from exposure, or by the hands of
their red enemies.

You, yourselves, are playing at scouting in cities, in villages, and
in a country which long since has been populated by the whites. These
hardy, old fellows did not play at scouting, for it was their real
existence, and they had to know the game from boyhood. Their deeds may
seem to be atrocious and bloodthirsty, but were they not surrounded by
implacable enemies who had no mercy upon them when they caught them

When I was in Harvard College our Professor of English—Dean LeBaron
Russell Briggs—used to advise us to “browse in the Library.” I
followed his advice in regard to these stories, and, after brushing
away the cobwebs from many a forgotten volume, have been able to give
you the accurate histories of several important frontiersmen and heroes
of the border. These tales are all true and are vouched for by early
historians. All that I hope is that I have served them up to you in a
manner that is interesting and is not dull. Believe me,

  Yours very affectionately,


  He stood ’neath the whispering pines, by his cabin,
  Lanky and gaunt, his face seamed and scarred,
  Knotted his hands and blackened with toiling,
  Bronzed well his face; his palms rough and hard.
  Strangely he gazed in the dim, filmy distance,
  Gazed, as the smoke from the fire curled and swayed,
  Rapt was his look, for a voice from the forest
  Spoke—and in accents disquieting—said:

  _Come! freeman! come! to the swirl of the river,
  Come! where the wild bison ranges and roams,
  Come! where the coyote and timber wolves whimper,
  Come! where the prairie dogs build their rough homes.
  Come to the hills where the blossoms are swaying,
  Come to the glades where the elk shrills his cry,
  Come—for the wild canyon echoes are saying,
  Come—only come—climb my peaks to the sky._

  A thrill shook the frame of the woodsman and trapper,
  A strange light of yearning came to his eye,
  Restless and roving by nature,—this wanderer,
  Shuddered and paled at the wild, hidden cry;
  Trembling he turned towards the hut in the shadow,
  Shaking he strode to the low, darkened door,
  Then stopped,—as sounded the voice from the meadow,
  Mutt’ring the challenge—o’er and o’er.

  _Come, will you come, where the brown ouzel nestles,
  Come, where the waterfall dashes and plays,
  Come, where the spike-horn rollicks and wrestles,
  On a carpet of moss, in the warm Autumn haze;
  The cloud banks are blowing o’er Leidy and Glenrock,
  On Wessex and Cassa the sun hides its head,
  Come, will you come, where the trout leaps in splendor,
  Come, only come, let the veldt be your bed._

  By the rough, oaken chair lay the grim, shining rifle,
  On a nail o’er the fire swung the curled powder-horn,
  With a smiling grimace he seized on these weapons,
  Wild emblems of conquest,—storm-battered and worn.
  “Stay,” whirred the loom, as it stood in the shadow,
  “Stay,” purred the cat, as it lay near the stove,
  “Stay where the woodbine and iris are trailing,
  Stay, only stay, calm this spirit to rove.”

  _But, “come” shrilled the voice on the dim, distant prairie,
  “Come, where the Cheyennes are roving and free,
  Where the beavers are damming the wild, rushing ice stream,
  Where the lean puma snarls in the shaggy, pine tree.
  Come—for the call of the wild is resounding,
  From Laramie’s peaks rolls the smoke of the fire.
  Lighted by scouts, where the herds are abounding,
  Fattened and sleek, for the red man’s desire.”_

         *       *       *       *       *

  Thus came the call, and thus trekked the plainsman,
  Westward, yet westward his grim step led on,
  By the wide, sedgy steppes, where the Platte curled and whispered,
  By the brackish salt lake, stretching gray ’neath the sun,
  Where the purple, red flowers in clusters lay glist’ning,
  Where the wild kestrel whirled o’er the precipice sheer,
  He conquered the wild, while the grizzly stood list’ning,
  And growled, as the white canvased wagons drew near.



  PREFACE                                                          vii

  THE FRONTIERSMAN                                                  ix

  ADVENTURES WITH THE INDIAN BEAR                                    1

  FAMOUS SCOUT OF THE FRONTIER                                       8


  KENTUCKY FRONTIER                                                 51

  OF KENTUCKY                                                       64

  ADVENTURES                                                        84

  ENEMY OF THE REDSKINS                                            103


  ALLEGHANIES                                                      129

  “BILL” BENT: HERO OF THE OLD SANTA FÉ TRAIL                      167


  INDIAN FIGHTER                                                   200



  OF VALIANT BORDER FIGHTERS                                       257


  WITH THE BLACKFEET                                               301



  THE SONG OF THE MOOSE                                            351

  RETROSPECT                                                       355

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  DANIEL MORGAN                                         _Frontispiece_

  JAMES HARROD                                                       8

  BATTLE OF FALLEN TIMBERS                                          19

  “BEGAN TO LUG HIM BACK TO THE FORT”                               54

  GEORGE ROGERS CLARKE                                              64

  JOHN SLOVER                                                       84

  INDIANS TORTURING A PRISONER                                      98

  AS HE WENT”                                                      108



  JIM BRIDGER                                                      200

  “BIG FOOT” WALLACE                                               225

  “UNCLE BILL” HAMILTON                                            279

  AN INDIAN BUFFALO HUNT                                           283

  A COMANCHE WARRIOR                                               330

  “LURED TO THEIR END BY THE LOW, SOOTHING CRY”                    354

  Famous Frontiersmen



DANIEL MORGAN was a famous Virginian rifleman. As a young man he
enlisted in the French and Indian War, and joined an army under Colonel
St. Clair, who, as you remember, no doubt, was so signally defeated
by Little Turtle.[1] The bravery of St. Clair sometimes amounted to
rashness. His enemies have even accused him of indiscretion. At any
rate, when camped near the head waters of the Mississippi, on the
plains of the Chippewa, he placed his men near a dense forest, in which
his redskinned enemies could easily pick off his sentinels without
exposing themselves, in the least, to danger from return fire.

For five nights his army lay in this position, and for five nights
a sentinel was posted near the gloomy borders of the forest. Alas!
Every man who had held the place was shot. This struck terror to the
hearts of the soldiers, and, when a sentinel was to be posted upon the
sixth night, no one would come forward to take the position, without
a serious protest. St. Clair knew that it was only throwing away
men’s lives to place a sentinel in such an exposed situation, so he
insisted upon no one occupying it. This pleased his followers mightily.
“Colonel,” said many, “you are a sensible man.”

Upon the evening of the sixth day, however, a rifleman from the
Virginia corps appeared before the Colonel’s tent. His name was Daniel

“Sir,” he remarked, saluting, “I feel that I can take charge of this
post. Put me there and see what I can do.”

St. Clair looked at him dubiously.

“I think that you are rather rash,” said he. “But you can have what you
desire. Go, and good luck to you, my son.”

Soon afterwards, the new guard marched up. The scout fell in behind,
shouldered his rifle, and went forward.

“I’ll return safely,” said he, as he followed the leading files. “And,
Colonel St. Clair, I will drink your health in the morning.”

The new guard marched on, arrived at the place which had been so fatal
to the sentries, and here halted. Bidding his fellow soldiers “Good
night,” the sentry brought his gun to order arms and peered about him.
The night was a dark one. Thick clouds overspread the heavens and
hardly a star was to be seen. Silence reigned, save for the beat of the
retiring footsteps of the guard. The frontiersman paced slowly up and
down, then stopped, for in the far distance came the cry of “All is

Seating himself upon a fallen tree, the soldier fell into a reverie,
but, hark! what was that? A low, rustling sound came from out the
bushes. He gazed intently towards the spot whence the noise seemed to
proceed, but he could see nothing but the impenetrable gloom of the
forest. Nearer and nearer came the strange rustling and a well-known
grunt informed him that a large bear was approaching. Slowly the animal
came on—then quietly sought the thicket to the left of his position.

At this particular moment the clouds drifted away from the face of the
moon, so that the soldier could plainly see the lumbering brute. What
was his surprise, when he viewed a deer-skin legging and two moccasined
feet sticking out from the bottom of the animal, where should have been
two furry legs. He could have shot the strange beast in a moment, but
he did not know how many other quadrupeds of a like nature might be
at hand. His fingers dropped from his rifle trigger, and, taking off
his hat and coat, he hung them to the branch of a fallen tree, then
silently crept toward the thicket. Crouching low behind some scrub
bushes, he heard the twang of a low bow-string, and an arrow, whizzing
past his head, told him that he had guessed correctly when he supposed
that other redskins were near by. A low murmur of voices came from the
bushes on the right.

The sentry gazed carefully about him. Pressing the brush aside, he
saw the form of a man, then of several more. He counted their numbers
and found that there were twelve in all, some sitting, some lying full
length upon the thickly strewn leaves of the forest. Believing that the
whizzing arrow had laid the sentinel low, and, little thinking that
there was any one within hearing, they conversed aloud about their
plans for the morrow.

“These men are few,” said one. “We will have forty warriors ready in
the evening. We will shoot an arrow into the sentry, and then will
attack the camp.”

“Ugh! Ugh!” said another. “It will be easy to overcome these palefaced
warriors. This will be done. There are but a few men who come out with
the sentry, and these we can readily take care of.”

“Ah!” said a third. “How pleasant it will be to see the palefaces
running homeward. It will be good. It will be good.”

Eagerly the sentry scanned these men. He watched them as they rose,
and saw them draw the numerous folds of their robes about them. He
trembled, as they marched off in single file through the forest, in
order to seek some distant spot, where the smoke of their fire could
not be seen by the whites, and where they would not be followed, when
the supposedly dead sentry was found by his comrades. Then, rising from
his crouching position, the frontiersman returned to his post. His hat
had an arrow in it, and his coat was pierced by two of them.

“By George,” said he, “I was lucky to escape.” Wrapping himself in his
long coat, he returned immediately to the camp, and, without delay,
demanded to speak to Colonel St. Clair.

“I have something very important to say to Colonel St. Clair,” said he,
to the guard before his tent.

When the soldier reported his request, his commanding officer ordered
that he be immediately admitted to his presence.

“You have done well,” remarked St. Clair, after hearing his story.
“Furthermore, I commission you Lieutenant of the Virginia corps, to
take the place of your unfortunate comrade, Lieutenant Phipps, who died
three nights ago. You must be ready to-morrow evening, with a picket
guard, to march to the fatal outpost, there to place your hat and coat
upon the branches, and then to lie in ambush for the intruders.”

“I shall be glad to carry out your commands,” replied the newly
appointed Lieutenant, smiling broadly.

According to order given out by Colonel St. Clair, a detachment of
forty riflemen, with Lieutenant Morgan at their head, marched from the
camp at half-past seven on the following evening. Putting up a couple
of stakes, they arranged a hat and coat upon them so as to resemble the
appearance of a soldier standing on guard, and then stole silently away
in order to hide in the bushes.

For an hour they lay quiet, intently listening for the approach of the
redskins. The night was cold and still. A full moon shed its lustrous
radiance over field and forest. Snow was upon the ground, and becoming
chilled by contact with the cold sprinkling of fleecy white, some of
the soldiers began to grumble quite audibly.

“Silence!” whispered Lieutenant Morgan. “I hear the rustling of leaves,
and it is evident that either a bear, or some red men are approaching.”

All crouched low and watched intently. Presently a large, brown bear
emerged from the thicket and passed near the ambush.

“Hist!” whispered a soldier. “Look at his feet!”

Sure enough, moccasins were sticking out below. The bear reconnoitered;
saw the sentinel standing at his post; retired into the forest
for a few paces; then rose and let fly an arrow which brought the
make-believe sentinel to the ground with a crash. The animal stood
there looking at his handiwork with interest. So impatient were the
Virginians to avenge the death of their comrades, that they could
scarcely wait until the Lieutenant gave the word to fire. Then, rising
in a body, they let drive a volley. The bear dropped instantly to the
snow-covered ground, and a number of red warriors, who had crept up
behind him, were also dispatched. Quickly loading, the frontiersmen
made a dash into the forest, again fired, and killed, or wounded,
several more of the enemy. They then marched back to camp, highly
pleased and elated at their easy victory. Ten savages had fallen before
the deadly aim of their rifles, and there was wailing and lamentation
among the women of the Chippewa nation.

But how about Lieutenant Morgan?

This doughty soldier rose to be a captain, and, at the termination of
the French and Indian campaign, returned to his home, near Winchester,
Virginia, where he lived on his farm until the breaking out of the War
of the Revolution. Then, at the head of a corps of Virginian riflemen,
he attained great fame and renown; was present at many an important
battle, and rendered signal service to the American cause. But he never
forgot the bear who walked with the feet of a man.



DANIEL BOONE—the founder of Kentucky—was revered, respected, and
admired by the early pioneers. He was, as you know, a man of much
skill in woodcraft, and was also an unexcelled rifle shot. Another
early settler of this border state was James Harrod, of whom we have
but little record, for he was a lover of solitude and his expeditions
into the wilderness were usually taken alone. Furthermore, he was the
most modest of men and never wrote or spoke of his own deeds. A little
knowledge of his adventures, however, has come down to us, and we are
sure that he was one of the bravest of the brave. To a noble courage
was added a great gentleness of manner which, in another, might almost
be called effeminacy.

[Illustration: JAMES HARROD.]

What drove this valiant soul into the wilderness of Kentucky? What
spirit moved his restless footsteps into the virgin forest? How came
he to penetrate into that “dark and bloody ground?” Who knows? His was
the restless spirit and his was the soul which loved the vast solitude
of the wildwood; for—even earlier than Daniel Boone—we know that this
sinewy frontiersman built a log cabin for himself at the present site
of Harrodsburg. When Boone went to the assistance of the surveyors of
Lord Dunmore, who were surrounded by the red men, Harrod returned to
Virginia and joined a force of whites sent to repel the Shawnees and
other savages at Point Pleasant on the Great Kanawha. He was under
General Lewis in the bloody affair, and then, having done his duty by
his white brethren, returned to Kentucky in order to make Harrodsburg
a place of refuge for the immigrants, who were beginning to turn their
steps towards the setting sun.

One day, as he sat before his cabin busily engaged in cleaning his
rifle, a man ran up to him. He was plainly excited, and was breathing
heavily, as if laboring under a severe mental strain.

“Bad news, comrade!” said he, when he had partly recovered his breath.
“Jim Bailey’s cabin has been attacked by the red men and no one is
alive to tell the tale, save his two daughters, who have been carried
away by the savages in the direction of their village. Unless a party
hurries immediately in pursuit, they will be taken to the tribe and
will be never seen again. Their fate will not be a pleasant one.”

The frontiersman jumped to his feet immediately.

“I will go at once,” said he. “You warn the other settlers and send all
that you can after me. Now, there is no time to be lost!”

Seizing his powder-horn and pouch of bullets, he was soon speeding
through the forest. He knew well where the cabin lay, and, as he burst
through the tangled woodland, saw that a terrific fight had occurred
around the little log fortress in the wilderness. Smoke still came
from the chimney. The windows were battered and broken. The door was a
splintered wreck. And, as he gazed inside, he saw the evil work of the
vindictive redskins. The tracks of the murderers were plain, for a rain
had fallen and it was evident that eight or ten had been in the party.

“Curses upon you, Shawnees!” cried Harrod, in loud tones. “You will pay
for this ere many days are o’er!”

It was near midday. The scout took one lingering glance at the wreckage
of that once peaceful home, then turned and followed the trail of the
savages. It was clear, and he saw—after an hour’s travel—that the
Indians had separated. One half had gone toward the Indian towns. One
half had sheered off toward a settlement, about fifteen miles below.
Presuming that the Indians would take the girls to the settlement by
the nearest route, he followed the first trail, and, as night came on,
was delighted to see a camp-fire before him, in the dense woodland.

With true woodsman’s cunning, the scout dropped to his knees and
cautiously wormed a way toward the glimmering embers. Peeping over a
fallen log, he saw that there were five Indians lying near the blaze.
His heart now beat tumultuously—for there, also, were the two captive
girls. They were bound with deer thongs, and, even at that distance, he
could mark the misery expressed upon their pale countenances.

It was too early for the lone woodsman to attempt to make an attack.
With the courage of a lion he intended to do this single-handed. You
think it a hazardous adventure, no doubt? Wait, and see how he fared!

Creeping to a large oak, he put his back against it and went to sleep
“with one eye open,” as the hunters call it. He slumbered peacefully
until about twelve o’clock—then rose and again wriggled towards the
fire in order to see how matters stood. All the savages were lying
down, save one, who seemed to be keeping guard over the others. But
even he was sleepy. His head nodded drowsily upon his breast.

The scout watched him intently, while his right hand grasped his
tomahawk. The savage seated himself, then got up, yawned, and lay down
by the side of his companions. Harrod saw his opportunity, and, leaning
his rifle against a tree, began to crawl towards the camp.

You can be well assured that the seasoned frontiersman made little
noise as he did so. But he was suddenly forced to stop. The Indian
sentinel arose, stretched himself, and walked towards the place where
the scout lay prostrate upon some green moss. Every nerve in the
Kentuckian was a-quiver. He was all prepared to make one desperate leap
upon the foe. But, as he was about to spring upward, the Indian turned
back and lay down.

The avenger of Jim Bailey’s family now began to crawl towards the camp.
Luck was not with him. A stick snapped beneath his left hand, and, as
it cracked like the report of a pistol, the Shawnee sentinel sprang
hastily to his feet. Looking furtively around, he stirred the fire and
squatted down beside it. Harrod, meanwhile, crouched close to the moist
earth, praying—beneath his breath—that the Indian would again lie
down. Minute after minute passed. The redskin still stirred the embers
with a long twig, and, fearing that day would break before he would
accomplish his object, the bold pioneer began to retreat towards the
tree where he had left his rifle. As he wormed his way backwards, he
saw the guard stretch himself out by the side of his companions. The
scout breathed easier.

Reaching the tree where his rifle stood, he took it up, and again began
his cautious wriggle towards the fire. This time luck was with him, for
he crept right up to the side of the sleeping savages.

Lest you think I am exaggerating this affair, I will here quote an
authentic historian. He says: “To draw his tomahawk and brain two of
the sleeping Indians was but the work of a moment, and, as he was
about to strike the third one, the handle turned in his fingers, and
the savage received the blow on the side instead of the centre of his
head. He awoke with a yell. It was his last. Grasping his weapon more
firmly, the frontiersman struck the fellow a surer blow and dropped
him lifeless to the ground. With a terrific whoop he now sprang for
his rifle just as the two other Indians rose to escape, and, firing
hastily, one of them fell to rise no more.”

The other red man scampered into the forest as fast as his sinewy legs
could carry him. The scout was after him as hard as he, too, could
go, but the savage could run like a deer and proved to be too fleet
for the trapper. Harrod stopped, and, taking careful aim, threw his
tomahawk at his enemy. So sure was his missile hurled that it lopped
off one of the Indian’s ears and cut a deep gash in his cheek. In spite
of the grievous wound the savage did not halt, but bounded away like
a Virginian deer. Harrod stood for a while, laughing at the running
brave, then slowly turned and made his way back to camp. Here he found
the two captive girls, crying bitterly. He unbound them, received
their joyous thanks, was embraced by both; and then took them upon the
trail to the settlement. Imagine the joy of the frontiersmen when they
saw them return, and, although a party had started out to track the
Indians, they had only travelled about three miles from Harrodsburg
when they met the triumphant pioneer.

“Hurrah! Hurrah for Harrod!” they shouted. “You are indeed a worthy
scout! Hurrah! Hurrah!”

The two girls were carried upon the men’s shoulders into camp, and
there were given a feast of welcome. They were embraced by the women,
hugged by the children, and were presented with a wreath of flowers
by the men. As for Harrod, his modesty forbade him taking part in the
ceremonies, and, leaving the next day upon a hunting excursion, he was
not heard or seen until a week later, when he returned with several
deer and bear skins.

Shortly after this thrilling adventure the scout went into the forest
in search of game. Not far from the settlement he spied a fat deer.
He drew a careful bead on him, and was just about to raise his rifle
for a shot when he heard the buck whistle and saw him raise his head.
He knew from this that the forest rover had scented some hidden foe,
and, sure that it was not himself that the animal smelled—as the
wind was blowing from the deer toward him—he crouched down to await
developments. He had not long to remain in this position. In a few
moments he heard the crack of a rifle and saw the noble buck leap high
into the air. He fell prone upon his side, and, as he lay quivering
in the grass, three Indians came up and began to skin him. They were
laughing and talking in loud tones.

“Ah ha,” said the scout to himself, “they are skinning my game for me.
Let them go on.”

He crouched low in the brush, and when they had about completed this
operation he rose, took careful aim, and killed the one he judged to be
the leader of the party. Believing that he was too well concealed to be
detected, he crouched behind the brush, and, turning his back, reloaded
his rifle in that position. The redskins, meanwhile, climbed into some
trees, but one of them exposed himself to the keen view of the scout.
Harrod took careful aim, and, at the discharge of his flint-lock, the
savage tumbled to the ground. The third Indian now saw where he was
concealed, and, leaping to the ground, made at him with rifle raised.
Harrod put his cap upon a stick and poked it above the brush. The
redskin fired, thinking that he was aiming at the trapper, and, as his
bullet whistled by the head of the man of the frontier, the scout knew
that the advantage was now on his side. Drawing his tomahawk, he leaped
from his hiding place, and, in a few bounds, had swung his weapon above
the head of the now terrified brave. In a second it was all over with
the red man.

The scout sat down and laughed loudly, for he had won a glorious
victory. Then he rose, gathered up the arms of his enemies, loaded
himself with deer meat, and made his way back to his cabin. He was well
satisfied with the day’s work.

This was but one of many adventures. He continued upon his solitary
hunts, and, while searching for game, often was surrounded by roving
Shawnees, so that his life was in constant danger.

A month after the first affair he was chasing some deer on Cedar
Run—a tributary of a stream now named Harrod’s Creek, in honor of
this intrepid pioneer. He had shot a fat buck and was bending over him
in order to get the choicest bit of venison, when a bullet whizzed
suddenly by his ear. A loud and triumphant yell sounded in the forest
at the same instant, and, looking up, he saw that he was confronted by
a dozen red men. His only safety was in flight.

Scout Harrod was no mean runner. Inured to hardship, and with muscles
of steel, he bounded away like one of the very deer which he had just
dispatched. The Indians were in hot pursuit. As they came on, their
leader cried, at the top of his voice:

“Come on! Here is the lone panther—Come on! Come on!”

So hotly did they push the running trapper that Harrod did not keep a
proper lookout for what was in front of him. To his dismay, he found
that he almost ran into a party of savages coming up to join the
others. What was he to do? In a moment he had made up his mind.

Dashing right up to the oncoming braves he began to yell at the top
of his lungs: “Come on, boys—here they are—Come on! Come!” He then
followed this with an exultant whoop.

The Shawnees could not see their friends,—the pursuers. They were
therefore of the opinion that this was a war party of whites, in
considerable numbers, which is just what Harrod wished them to believe.
Those in front became panic stricken, and turned without firing a shot.
Those in the rear followed, while Harrod—racing after them—struck two
to the earth with his tomahawk. One was a celebrated Shawnee chief,
called Turkey Head, who was noted for his cruelty to the unlucky
settlers who fell into his hands.

The scout kept on, plunged into a ravine, and seated himself in some
thick brush. Peeping through the leaves, he saw his pursuers go on in
full cry. Their wild yelping finally died out in the distance, and,
turning around, the famous woodsman retraced his steps towards the
settlement. He arrived there in due time, much overjoyed to have thus
safely escaped from his vindictive enemies.

This was certainly a narrow escape, but another adventure—some days
later—was about as thrilling as the last.

While at Harrodsburg he learned that a marauding expedition was about
to start for the settlements, led by a famous warrior called Turtle
Heart. He must stop it if he could, but, should he know their plans it
would be far easier to head off the wild band, which would fall upon
the log houses of the pioneers like a cloud of fire.

The scout set off alone in order to visit the Indian town, and,
reaching it about noon, secreted himself upon an eminence from which
he could watch the gathering savages. Here he lay until nightfall,
then—carefully hiding his gun—stole noiselessly into the town and
approached the council house. Worming his way up to it, he crouched
near a hole—looked through—and saw many of the chiefs in close

“We will attack in two days,” said one big, fierce-looking fellow. “The
palefaces shall not possess the land given to us by the Great Father.”

“Ugh! Ugh!” uttered several. “The palefaces must go home to the land of
the rising sun!”

This was enough for the scout, and, rising, he began to beat a retreat.
Suddenly he started back, for before him stood a giant redskin who
seized him by the shoulder. Harrod saw that he was about to give a
whoop of alarm. There was not a moment to be lost. Catching the warrior
fiercely by the throat, the pioneer stunned him by a terrific blow of
the fist. So strong was he that he broke the neck of the brave, and,
without waiting an instant, bounded forth into the darkness. A single
cry, or even the sound of a struggle, would have brought a hundred
infuriated savages to the scene. His nerve and gigantic strength had
saved him from an awful death.

Not many weeks after this affair he married a young and beautiful
girl, was given a Colonel’s commission for his many services upon the
frontier, and retired to the peace and seclusion of a small log hut
near the town which he had founded. But his charming wife could not
prevent his long and solitary excursions into the wilderness, where
were deer, bear, wild turkeys, and lurking redskins. One day he went
upon one of these hazardous trips, and from it he never returned.
Parties of friendly pioneers scoured the woods in every direction, but
he had “gone on and had left no sign.” No trace of this gallant scout
was ever found—no word of him ever came from woodsman or savage.
Whether he met his end in manly combat, or whether he was tortured at
the stake, no tongue could tell. His fate is wrapped in impenetrable
mystery, and the silence of the forest broods over the spirit of James
Harrod; frontiersman, pioneer, and hardy woodland adventurer.




WHEN “Mad Anthony” Wayne was furiously battling with Little Turtle at
Fallen Timbers, a daring adventurer was with him who was subsequently
to play a most important part in the exploration of the then
unconquered and unexplored West. Hardy, utterly fearless, and possessed
of wonderful agility,—such was Robert McLellan, one of the most noted
scouts that ever operated upon the border, and a rifleman whose aim was
both quick and marvellously true.

In the summer of 1794 the celebrated “Mad Anthony” was pushing his
way into the Indian country and was most desirous of securing a red
prisoner, so that he could learn the force and strength of his savage
opponents. Calling McLellan to him, he said:

“Bob, I wish you to take two trusty companions—Miller and Wells will
do—and leave to-night for the Shawnee country. Secure a prisoner, as
soon as possible, and return to camp with the fellow alive, for I am
extremely anxious to get information in regard to the whereabouts of
the large force of redskins which I know to be in my front.”

McLellan was delighted.

“All right, Captain,” he replied with enthusiasm. “You leave the
matter to me and I will guarantee that I and my friends will return
with the desired captive. Only give us time and we will deliver the man
of the woods, right side up and with care.”

The General laughed.

“Very good,” said he. “Go in, now, and win out.”

Next morning McLellan and his two companions started forth with
confidence and were soon far in the hostile country, where many prints
of moccasined feet warned them that the savages were in the vicinity.
One day they followed a fresh trail, and, upon peering around a
projecting clump of bushes, saw three savages sitting upon a log near
a great fire, at which they were cooking some venison. They crawled
softly towards them, and decided, in a whispered consultation, that
Wells should shoot the redskin upon the left; Miller, the one upon the
right; and that McLellan, leaving his rifle against a tree, should run
the other fellow down and capture him.

At the given signal the rifles spoke in unison, and the two redskins
who had been marked, fell prostrate to the earth; for both of the
pioneers could hit the eye of a squirrel at fifty yards. The one
in the centre leaped swiftly to his feet, and, darting through the
thicket, was soon bounding away to safety. But McLellan was after him
in a jiffy, and the redskin realized that he was running away from one
of the speediest frontiersmen in all Ohio. On, on, they rushed, but,
seeing that he was being rapidly overtaken, the savage turned in his
course, headed for the stream, and, with one furtive glance at the
oncoming man in buckskin, leaped from the high bank into the eddying

Raising his tomahawk in his right hand, the trapper made the
venturesome leap with quite as much readiness as his opponent, and
landed with a resounding splash. The water was very shallow in this
spot. To his disgust, he found himself stuck up to the waist in the
heavy mud. The redskin, too, was mired, but, brandishing a long knife
aloft, now endeavored to strike it into McLellan’s body.

He was dealing with a crafty antagonist who had parried many a
knife-thrust before, and, quick as a flash, the pioneer grabbed the
right arm of the Shawnee. In an instant his tomahawk was raised as if
to brain the red man, who cried, “Ugh! Ugh! Paleface, you too strong. I

In a moment more the other two pioneers had reached the bank, and,
leaning over the edge, pulled both savage and frontiersman out of the
mud. Each was vigorously washed. To the surprise of all, the redskin
was discovered to be a white man; the brother of Trapper Miller,
himself, who had been captured by the savages when young, and had
preferred to remain with them, although his kinsman had early left and
had returned to his own people. “Ugh! Ugh!” he muttered. “I hate all of

In spite of his protestations he was taken to the headquarters of
“Mad Anthony;” was confined to the guard-house; and was questioned
very closely in regard to the numbers of his Shawnee allies. He was
extremely moody and resisted all attempts at conciliation, even from
his brother, but at last some memory of his former relatives seemed
to return; he began to grow more amiable; and, joining the company
captained by a noted Ranger, served in the ranks of the whites against
the people of his adoption.

So much for the ability to run, which was exhibited by this celebrated
woodsman. Marvellous feats of strength and agility are also told
of McLellan. Amongst other stories, it is related that one day, in
Lexington, Kentucky, a yoke of oxen blocked the narrow street down
which he was going, so that it was impossible to pass on either side.
Instead of turning out of the way, or waiting for the team to move on,
the famous man of the frontier made a few rapid bounds, and—with a
mighty spring—cleared both of the oxen with the greatest possible ease.

Another yarn is also narrated concerning his wonderful ability to
jump, for it is said that he was excelled only by one William Kennan,
a Kentuckian, and noted scout of the border. It is currently reported,
and a historian of the period quotes two unimpeachable witnesses to
back his statement, that at a trial of strength and agility with
several other scouts, McLellan was asked if he could leap over a
covered wagon.

“I feel like a colt,” he is said to have replied, “and, if you will but
watch me, I am sure that I can clear this obstacle. Now, boys, look at

With a run, a short step, and a tremendous spring, the trapper shot
into the air, and—to the astonishment of all—lighted softly upon the
ground, on the other side of the wagon. He had leaped over an obstacle
at least eight and a half feet high, is reported by an old chronicler
of these early days, but this is hardly possible in view of the fact
that the world’s record for the high jump is but six feet nine inches.
At any rate, he had made an extraordinary performance.

In the year 1806, the famous adventurer Meriwether Clark met Robert
McLellan ascending the swift and muddy waters of the Missouri in a
canoe. Clark was returning from his long and dangerous expedition up
the Mississippi and to the Pacific coast, which he had taken with Lewis
(“the undaunted one”). Accompanying the valiant McLellan were numerous
companions; all of the same hardy stamp as their leader, and all bent
upon trading with the redskins.

“Where are you bound?” asked Clark.

“To fix up a trading post,” answered McLellan, “where I can meet the
red varmints on equal terms, trade with ’em, and get rich.”

Clark smiled dubiously.

“You’ll have a hard time,” he answered, “for the French and Spanish are
very jealous of you English. They operate mainly from St. Louis, and
are endeavoring to monopolize the entire trade of this western country.”

“Well,” answered McLellan, with some show of anger, “I intend to hold
this place against all the frog and garlic eaters in creation. Let them
try to force out Robert McLellan, an’ there’ll be as tough a fight as
any man ever looked for.”

From his former acquaintance with this trapper, Clark fully believed
that any attempt on the part of the rival traders to drive him from the
ground would certainly result in a sharp and bloody battle.

“These French and Spanish traders,” continued McLellan, “are like a dog
who has had far too much to eat, and who is determined not to allow any
of his fellows to share in the viands which he has before him. They
want it all.”

Clark could not help laughing.

“Look out for these Indians around here,” said he. “They are
treacherous devils and will betray you when you least expect it.”

“I’ll be on my guard,” McLellan replied.

The explorer now gave him valuable information in connection with the
various tribes of Indians who occupied the ground adjacent to the banks
of the river. He again warned him of their treacherous character, but
felt more at ease when he learned that his old-time friend had recently
been an Indian trader for some time upon the frontier. Parting company
at this point, the two hardy pioneers were destined never to see
each other again, for Clark turned towards the peaceful East, while
McLellan faced towards the savage frontier, where lay danger, toil, and
thrilling adventures.

Pushing up the turbid waters of the Missouri, the hardy scout soon saw
that his progress was not going to be any too easy. Suddenly hundreds
of red men crowded the steep bluffs, which jutted high above the sides
of the narrow stream, and brandished their spears and tomahawks in
the faces of the whites. There were but forty trappers, so it could
be plainly seen that it was wisest to submit to the demands of the
hostiles. A solitary chieftain—splendidly mounted—now dashed up to
the bank and held up his hand in token of a parley.

“Ugh! Ugh! Palefaces,” said he, “you cannot come further into our
country, for you will drive off all the game and we desire it for
ourselves. But, if you want to build big house for trading you can do
so down the stream.”

“I reckon they’ve got us, boys,” said McLellan. “We’ll retreat and
put up our tent lower down. I’ll guarantee that this hold-up didn’t
originate with the redskins. There’s Spanish blood behind this affair,
or else my name’s not Robert McLellan.”

The savages supposed that the whites were perfectly contented with
this enforced arrangement, and drew off, leaving a guard to watch the
traders. But McLellan was a past master in outwitting Indians and had
fooled too many in former years. No sooner had the army of savages
moved well towards their villages than he hastily loaded up his boat,
and, by pulling it very rapidly, passed the cliffs, where the red
men had held him up before. He soon reached a spot suitable for his
establishment, there built several log huts, and prepared to spend a
considerable time in peaceful trading. He also swore to have revenge
upon a Spaniard, called Manuel Lisa, as soon as he could catch him.
For he learned that this opposition trader had been the cause of his

McLellan lived here for several years in partnership with an
adventurous borderer named Crooks, who was an expert in trading with
the savages. They prospered, but soon the Sioux grew very troublesome.
One day, when the trappers were off on a hunt, the red men surrounded
the post, overpowered the trappers left behind, and began to carry
off all of the valuable stores. McLellan returned before the work
of spoliation was quite completed and burst in among the savages,
exhibiting terrific anger.

“You curs!” he shouted, “bring back everything that you have taken
away, or I’ll blow you all to pieces with my cannon!”

The Sioux well knew the ungovernable temper and desperate character of
the infuriated trapper.

“He heap angry!” said they. “We do as he say.”

They returned much that had been taken away, but much that had been
carried to the Indian village never came back, and the valorous trader
had to pocket a loss of about three thousand dollars. Heaping curses
upon the heads of the savages, the Spaniards, the Frenchmen, and all
the other “unmitigated rascals,” as he called them, the outraged trader
now fitted up his boats and started down the Missouri River to engage
in business at a place where his competitors would be more honest and

Crooks had parted company with McLellan some time before this outrage.

“I can do better for myself down stream,” he had said. “The Indians
here are too troublesome, for they are under the influence of the
rascally Spaniard, Manuel Lisa.”

What was the surprise of the disappointed frontiersman, when floating
down the Missouri on his way to St. Louis, to find his former partner
at the mouth of the Nodaway River.

“I’m delighted to see you, Crooks,” he cried, and, rounding to, he ran
his canoe upon the bank. While their men mingled together the partners
had a long conversation, and from Crooks it was learned that the
organization, with which he was now connected, was under the command
of a Mr. Hunt—one of John Jacob Astor’s partners in the American Fur

“We are bound for the mouth of the Columbia River,” said Crooks, “where
we are to meet another part of the expedition which has gone by sea. We
will be camped here until spring, so will you not join us? I am sure
that you will have better luck in trading and trapping in this new

McLellan could not withstand the temptation.

“By George,” cried he, “I’ll be with you. I’ll begin a new life and see
if I cannot have better success than here upon the Missouri.”

Throwing away all of his worldly possessions, except his trusty rifle,
the unfortunate trader joined the expedition.

“I am determined to begin the world anew,” he wrote to his brother.
“And I trust that there will be no Spanish traders in the country to
which we are going.”

His hopes were in vain, for they heard that Manuel Lisa was on the
way to impede their progress and would use every effort to pass them
by and prevent them from gaining any trade benefits with the Indians
above. Sure enough, an emissary soon appeared from the crafty Spaniard,
holding a message in his hand.

“If you wait for my party,” it ran, “we can enter this territory
together and share the trade. This will be better for all concerned.”

“Don’t give in to him,” cried McLellan, when he heard this message.
“The lying Spaniard can’t tell the truth if he tries to, and cannot be
honest if he wishes. He’ll trick you after he has made you believe that
he is your friend.”

“I believe that you’re right,” Hunt answered. “I’ll send him no
definite reply.”

So he returned a missive which did not commit him to any particular
course of procedure.

In a few days—it was the thirty-first of May—immense bodies of
savages gathered on the bluffs of the river, armed and painted for war.
They screeched their defiance and yelled like demons, so it was easy
to see that the tricky Manuel had been influencing them. Every trapper
seized his arms and stood ready for action.

“Load up the artillery!” cried Captain Hunt, for he saw that it was
dangerous both to retreat and to advance. “We will first fire off some
blank cartridges and see if we cannot scare these pesky varmints into

In a few moments smoke and flame burst from the mouths of the cannon
and the redskins beat a precipitate retreat. But soon they gathered
again and made peace signs.

“We would make big talk,” cried one painted brave. “We love our white

“Load the cannon with grape and cannister,” said McLellan to his men.
“Hunt and I will go ashore, and, if the redskins show any signs of
treachery, blaze away.”

His men smiled, as the daring trapper now approached the bank, where
the Indians welcomed him with much show of good will, for they saw that
the white men meant business. They smoked the pipe of peace together,
and, finding that the trappers were determined to advance at any cost,
the red men suddenly evinced a perfect willingness to allow them to go
on. Their hearts were warmed by the gift of several hundredweight of
corn, and—what they loved still more—a quantity of tobacco. “Ugh!
Ugh!” grunted the chiefs. “We love our white brothers.”

Seeing that the red men were now peaceful, McLellan ordered his own
followers to advance up the river, but he was soon surprised by seeing
another band of Indians, who rode along the bank of the stream but
seemed to be friendly.

“By George!” cried McLellan, “these fellows are the same ones that
robbed my store, when Crooks and I were in partnership! They mean

But the children of the plains realized that the whites were in force,
and, fearing that they might attempt to punish them for their former
actions, peacefully accepted several presents which were offered them.
Again the trappers forced their way up the swift waters, but again they
were surprised by a group of red men, who rode up the bank, and, in a
lordly and insolent manner, demanded presents similar to those which
had recently been given to their brethren. This angered the trappers,
for they appreciated the fact that the redskins wished to frighten them.

“You shall not get a single thing from us,” shouted Hunt,—a man of
great firmness. “Furthermore, if you make any more insolent demands, I
will treat you all as enemies and turn our cannon against you.”

This did not please the savages, as can be well imagined. Vowing
vengeance, and shaking their fists at the trappers, they rode off
across the prairie, while the whites were now divided into two forces;
one going up one bank, and the other taking the opposite side. Thus
they proceeded for several days, until they came to a spot where the
stream was very narrow and was filled with sand bars. A vast number of
redskins were camped upon the western bank, and Hunt was fearful that
they would soon attack. He and McLellan were in one of the boats.

“I know that they are peaceful,” said the former, “for their faces are
painted. Row to the shore!”

As they approached, the savages dropped their bows and arrows, came to
meet them joyfully, and proved to be a band of Arickaras who were at
war with the Sioux, and were thus anxious to have the white trappers
assist in fighting their battles for them. “How! How!” said they. “We
glad to see our white brothers. How! How! We wish to have sticks which
speak with the voice of thunder.”

The adventurers looked forward to rich trade with the red men but were
much surprised and angered by receiving word that the boat of Lisa—the
Spaniard—was rapidly approaching.

“That rascally fellow will ruin our work!” cried McLellan, with
considerable heat. “We must let him know, now, that we will stand no
trickery from him. If he tampers with these redskins and sets them
against me, I will let my rifle do the work of vengeance.”

The Indians, meanwhile, showed no disposition to trade, knowing that
the presence of a rival trader would ensure them better bargains. Lisa
soon arrived and was not long in discovering that he was an unwelcome
guest. McLellan had difficulty in restraining himself from wreaking a
just vengeance upon this artful “Greaser,” but fearing that he might
involve Hunt and his other friends in a quarrel, kept his own counsel.
It was, however, not for long.

Lisa agreed that he and Hunt would go to the Indian village and would
trade there, but that no advantage should be taken of one another in
the transactions with the wild riders of the plains. After a short
delay they proceeded together up the river. But the crafty Spaniard
was soon up to his old tricks and attempted to induce a certain French
Canadian, in Hunt’s employ, to leave his master.

“I will give you better wages and treatment,” said he. “Come—boy—be
one of my followers.”

This was overheard by McLellan and infuriated him. Seizing a gun, he
gave the Spaniard to understand that he had old scores to settle with
him, and that he had better get his own pistol and defend himself,
for he was soon to be shot down like a dog. “You thieving, sneaking
Greaser!” he shouted. “Now you will go to Kingdom Come in a hurry. You
should have been beneath the sod long ago.”

Fire flashed from the Spaniard’s eyes and he reached for his pistol,
but, before he could draw, the angered McLellan was seized by both
Hunt and Crooks, who took his weapon away from him and pinned him to
the ground, until he promised that he would not touch the Spaniard.
Lisa himself was careful not to again rouse the ire of the pioneer,
and, as a result, did not attempt to underbid the trade offers to the
Arickaras. Successful bartering was soon accomplished, and Hunt’s party
set about the difficult undertaking of crossing through the Rocky
Mountains and traversing the dry table-land to the Pacific coast.

You can well realize that this was a hazardous undertaking, for, not
only did the trappers have a hazy and undefined conception of the route
to follow, but there was little water in certain parts of this country,
and a great scarcity of game in others. There were sixty-two in the
adventurous band, with eighty-two pack-horses to carry luggage, guns,
and camp equipment. All were well armed and were full of determination
to succeed.

As the adventurous little body of trappers filed silently towards the
West—a few days later—the Indians collected in order to bid them
good-by. Many an old chief was seen to shake his head, as they wended
their way towards the beetling mountains, and the treacherous, though
adventurous, Lisa was heard to exclaim: “These men are fools! They
are all dead! All dead! None will ever return!” But these pessimistic
remarks did not seem to worry the followers of Hunt and McLellan. With
cheerful looks and smiling faces they kept onward towards their goal.

Soon they were in the glorious Big Horn range and were in the vicinity
of the tepees of many Indians, who were not slow in discovering their
approach. Contrary to every expectation, the red men greeted them most
hospitably, gave them dried buffalo meat, and told them how to find a
way through the rugged hills before them. These were the Cheyennes—a
war-like tribe—which had its name from the Cheyenne River. They were
soon to be driven from their hunting-grounds by the steady, westward
emigration of the whites, but were now rich in both ponies and buffalo
robes, and were much feared by the neighboring denizens of the plains:
the Crows and Ogalala Sioux.

The pioneers kept on, traded with the redskins whom they met, and
found increased dangers and difficulties in their path. It was summer,
and thousands of gnats and mosquitoes attacked both men and horses,
rendering life miserable and making it most disagreeable to proceed. I,
myself, travelled through this country in the summer of 1899, and have
never seen so many pests as here. Swarms of green-headed horse-flies
attacked our pack animals, so that they would sometimes be bloody from
their bites. Often the horses would roll upon the ground in order to
get rid of the flies, and thus would dislodge the packs, which had
taken some time to adjust. Their sting was most poisonous. Mosquitoes
were here by the millions, and we had great difficulty—even then—of
getting through the fallen timber, which sometimes extended for many
miles. These pioneers picked their way through the forests, forded the
rushing streams, ascended and descended the deep canyons, and finally
reached the headwaters of the Mad River, or Snake River, as it is
called below its junction with Henry’s Fork.

An adventurous trader named Henry had here established a trading-post,
the year before, but becoming disgusted with the Indians, who refused
to barter with him, had abandoned it. Hunt, McLellan, and their little
party, reached this spot on the eighth day of October, where they
stopped to recruit their strength. Then they engaged Indians to look
out for their horses, which they concluded to leave behind them, and
built a number of canoes with which to commit themselves to the current
of the river. They embarked, and, for a hundred miles found their
progress easy, but all at once they saw to their dismay that below
them were dangerous falls and treacherous rapids. Their journey was

It was impossible to return to Henry’s Fork, where were their horses,
and to go on meant the destruction of all their supplies. What was
there to do? To the North was the Columbia River, but an unbroken
wilderness lay between. They must cross it, trust to luck that game
would come their way, and that their rifles would not miss it when
found. There were but a few days’ provisions left, so it was decided to
divide the party into four sections: the first, under Crooks, was to
make its way up the river to Fort Henry; the second, under McLellan,
was to continue down the Snake; while the third, under McKenzie, was to
traverse the wilderness towards the Columbia. The fourth section was to
remain for a time where it was. And it was further understood that any
party which should come across assistance or supplies should return to
the main body under Hunt, which would hold the present camp until their
leader became convinced that all had failed in their efforts to reach
their destination. Let us see how they fared.

McLellan continued his way down the rushing Snake with three
companions, but, finding that it was almost impossible to make further
progress, he deflected his line of march so as to follow the detachment
under McKenzie. Their course was over a bare and arid country where
there was no game and little water. Occasionally a jack-rabbit
scampered between the clumps of sage brush, but no one seemed to have
sufficient ability with the rifle in order to bring one down. A lean
coyote would now and again be seen, and often the weird wailing of one
of these creatures would make night hideous. The jerked buffalo meat
which they carried was soon exhausted and the adventurers began to
suffer from the gnawing pains of hunger, but on they walked with grim
and steadfast determination. Weary, footsore, and nearly exhausted,
they finally came upon McKenzie and his five companions. These
fortunately had food, which they gave to the gaunt trappers, who rested
for a full day before they could go on.

McLellan was undaunted. Trained in a hundred combats with the savages
of the West, and hardened by years of exposure, he saw no cause for
despondency. Some of the trappers, however, gave way to despair. They
were among the barren drifts and extinct craters of gigantic volcanoes,
while, through the winding fissures of its canyoned walls, the furious
torrent of the Snake River dashed, foamed, and roared beneath them.
Like a snow-white ribbon it plunged onward upon its wild career, and,
in the sobbing roar of its cataracts, some of the more weak-hearted
fancied that they heard the voices of those departed, who called to
them to follow where they had gone.

It grew cold. A fierce snow-storm came upon them. As the food supply
was gone, a dozen beaver skins were cut into strips and roasted, but
this provender only sustained life for a few days. At length the
trappers became exhausted, and, crouching under the protecting ledge
of a wall of rock, shivered before their fire, and gloomily looked
forth upon the blinding snow. All was sadness and despondency. Some
contemplated death, which they thought to be inevitable, and even the
lion-hearted McLellan lost that undaunted courage which had never
before deserted him. Could it be that they were to die before they
saw the roaring waters of the Columbia? Could it be that they were
to perish before they reached the trader’s post upon the green-gray
stretch of the Pacific Ocean?

Peering into the gloom from his rocky shelter, the keen eyes of
McLellan suddenly perceived a buffalo, which, driven to the rocky wall
by the desire to get away from the blinding snow, was crouching under
the lee of a high bluff. What could be more fortunate? Taking note
of the direction of the wind, the trapper left his hiding-place and
crawled against it, until he came within thirty yards of the beast.
Carefully he wormed his way behind a jutting ledge of rock and sand,
then—taking a good sight—touched the trigger of his rifle, and the
great lumbering brute fell dead. With a wild and hilarious cheer the
old scout dashed to where he lay and cut joyful capers around him in
the snow. “Hurray! Hurray!” he cried. “Now we will have enough food to
last us for many days. Hurray! Hurray!”

Seizing upon the carcass of the beast, the old scout rolled him down
the hill towards the cavern in which his own companions were shivering.
With a wild yell he announced his triumph and this was answered by a
hoarse cry from the half-famished trappers, who rushed upon the beast,
and, but for the warning of the old frontiersman, would have gorged
themselves upon the raw flesh, so great was their hunger.

“Hold back, my friends,” cried he. “Wait but a moment and I will give
you some cooked food. Restrain yourselves, for a few seconds, and I
will see that you get enough to save your lives. Eat the raw flesh and
you will all perish.”

It was difficult to hold back the starving trappers, but soon a fire
was lighted, the choicest parts of the buffalo were broiled upon a
ramrod, and the gaunt spectres were allowed a feast. This saved their
lives. With renewed strength they again made their way towards the
Columbia, and, meeting with an occasional buffalo which they had the
good fortune to kill, at length reached the swirling river, where a
band of roving red men supplied them with a number of canoes. They also
secured sufficient jerked meat to last them until they should reach the
coast, where the trading-post of Astoria had already been established.
To that lucky shot of McLellan’s they owed their lives.

Hunt, meanwhile, had decided that the three parties had successfully
made their way to the coast, so he had started for the Columbia.
Crooks had reached Fort Henry, where he spent his time in trapping and
in trading with the redskins. As for the trappers who had left for
Astoria by sea, they had met with an adverse fate, for the savages had
induced them to enter the mouth of a small river, when they reached the
neighborhood of the trading-post, and here had surrounded and massacred
all of the voyageurs, after the vessel had been run aground. It took
Hunt over a month to arrive at the coast. Crooks eventually followed.
He met the other trappers after a separation of five months’ duration.

After frightful privations and suffering the four parties were now
safe at Astoria; a trading-post which was to create a fortune for its
founder, John Jacob Astor, a shrewd merchant of New York, who was
a dealer in furs and peltries of wild animals. But there was still
travelling to be done, for Hunt determined soon after his arrival to
send a party overland, in order to notify Astor of the loss of the
detachment which had come by sea.

Strange to relate, the lion-hearted McLellan announced that he intended
to go back with this party to St. Louis. “For,” said he, “I have not
been given a sufficient share of the profits of this company. I am
entitled to more.” His friends begged him to remain and not again to
plunge into the wilderness, where were dangers just as great as those
from which he had escaped. But he was obstinate in his purpose. “To St.
Louis I shall go,” said he, “and not all the redskins on the earth will
stop me. I have been treated most unfairly.” Thus, on the twenty-second
day of March, 1812, he turned his back upon Astoria, and set out upon
the hazardous trip towards the East. The detachment was under the
command of John Reed, clerk of the Fur Company, a man of undoubted
courage and experience in frontier warfare.

There were seventeen in this particular expedition, all men of well
tried courage and resource in wilderness adventure. Ascending the
Columbia in canoes, they reached the falls and were preparing to make
the portage when a band of redskins surrounded them and began to shoot
arrows at their ranks. The trappers crouched behind the protection of
trees and boulders, and made a stand, sending many a humming bullet
into the ranks of the savages, who suddenly ceased hostilities, and,
holding up their hands in sign of peace, came towards the white men.
Mingling with the travellers, the Indians offered to carry their
luggage around the rapids.

“The redskins only want to steal all that we’ve got,” whispered
McLellan to his men. “But we can let them carry the canoes around the
falls. Then we can get the baggage over during the night, and, when
morning dawns, we’ll be off before the varmints know what we’re up to.”

The redskins seemed to be well satisfied. They carried the canoes upon
their broad shoulders, and, as night fell, retired to their village
across the river, leaving a few upon the same side as the whites.
McLellan waited until the moon rose; then waking the others, he told
them to get their baggage around the falls as soon as they could. The
trappers worked industriously, and just as day was breaking, they
deposited the last sack of provisions at the head of the rapids. This
had been done without waking the redskins, who were upon their side of
the river.

But now was an uproar, for the savages across the stream learned what
was going on, and, in a few moments, came swarming to the attack. A
hundred of them rushed upon the nervy band of trappers, crying out,
“You no go on. You stay here. You no go away.”

Brandishing aloft an immense club, a red warrior rushed upon Reed and
felled him to the ground. Another ran towards McLellan, who, with rifle
in hand, stood watching the affray. As he approached, the trapper was
ready, and, although the redskin attempted to throw a buffalo robe over
his head in order to blind his vision as he made a thrust at him with
his knife, the old scout was too wary a bird to be caught napping.
Stepping quickly aside, he shot the savage dead. As the redskin rolled
over, a noise sounded from behind, and, wheeling around, he was just in
time to hit another Indian who was about to shoot him with a rifle. The
trappers now rallied to the defense of their leader. The savage who had
attacked Reed was dispatched just as he was about to brain the trapper
with his tomahawk. The rifles of the men from Astoria spoke in unison,
and terrified by the desperate courage of the rangers, the savages
dropped back. McLellan urged his followers to the charge, and, with
a wild yell, they rushed upon the redskins, who took to their heels,
leaving many of their number prostrate upon the ground.

The unfortunate Reed had lost his dispatches to Astor, for he carried
them in a bright, new, tin box which immediately attracted the
attention of the Indians. They fancied that it must be of great value,
because of the care which the leader took of it. But this put an end
to the expedition. Reluctantly and sadly the trappers returned to the
trading-post, where the wounded recovered from their injuries received
in the little skirmish with the red men.

Hunt was greatly disappointed. “Boys!” said he, “I must absolutely get
my dispatches through to Saint Louis,—Indians or no Indians. Astor
must know of the fate of his other division. I will start a second
expedition in June and Robert Stuart will be its commander. He will
take only four good men with him.”

McLellan announced that he would be a member of the party, and Crooks
also declared that he would leave Astoria, because he had become
dissatisfied with the method in which Hunt had treated him. They soon
launched their canoes in the Columbia; began to paddle up the stream,
and, before long, reached the mouth of the Walla-Walla, where they
hid their frail craft, and started across country to the Snake River.
Horses had been purchased from the red men, and with these they made
good time, although again their food supply became exhausted so that
they were forced to scrape the fur from beaver and buffalo skins and
eat the hide in order to keep from starving. Fortunately game was now
met with and this provender saved their lives.

At the place where they had last camped on Snake River they had buried
a quantity of dried meat and other food, but when they arrived there
they discovered that the redskins had found out its whereabouts, had
dug it up, and had carried it away. It was growing cold, but they
pressed forward with renewed courage, and entered a country which was
free from game, so that again they were threatened with the dangers of
starvation. Besides this, it was the land of the Crow Indians, who were
terrific thieves and who soon discovered the presence of the little
band of trappers. The sharp eyes of McLellan—well used to watching
game—were not long in discovering the presence of the Indians.

“Look out boys,” said he. “I notice some of the red varmints hovering
near by and suspect that we will be attacked before long. Look to the
priming of your rifles and have plenty of ammunition handy. Be on your

The trappers gave good heed to this warning and redoubled their guards
around the camp at nightfall. It was well that they did so, for, on the
very next day, a large band of red men rode up to their halting-place,
all fully armed with spears and arrows.

“Ugh! Ugh!” said the spokesman. “Where are my white brothers going?”

McLellan answered for the trappers that they were upon a peaceful
errand and would not molest the red men, if they in turn would do them
no harm. As he spoke, the redskins looked carefully at the men of the
frontier, and, seeing them well armed and ready for business, decided
not to attack. But they travelled with them for six whole days, quietly
stealing any little articles that they could find, and, on the evening
of the sixth day, ran off all the horses of the trappers in a mad
stampede. The white adventurers were in a desperate situation.

Stuart, the commander, now spoke vigorous words.

“We must cache everything which we cannot carry, and push on,” said he.
“Let winter overtake us in this God-forsaken country and all is lost.
On! On!”

As the men were busily engaged in digging a hole in which to bury the
supplies, one of the trappers interrupted them.

“Two of those thieving Crows are watching us,” said he, “and they will
dig everything up just as soon as we disappear.”

McLellan grew furious at this information.

“No thieving Crow will ever get anything of mine,” said he, “unless
they get my scalp first. I’ll burn everything which we leave behind,
and then let Mr. Redskin hustle for the white man’s food.”

“You’re right!” answered all. “Burn it we will!” Their stores were soon
piled up into a heap and were consumed by the flames.

They now headed for the Mad River, where they built rafts, and floated
them down these turbid waters, for several days. Then they again struck
off across country towards the East, crossing a wide plateau to the
base of the Rocky Mountains. They were in the land of the Blackfeet
Indians, who were as hostile towards the whites as were the Crows, and
who were as arrant thieves; but they kept on towards the high land,
hoping thus to elude the red men. As they proceeded into the mountains,
McLellan bitterly complained against their course and begged them to
remain upon the plateau. “For,” said he, “I’ve already had enough
mountain climbing to last me a lifetime, and I’d rather be comfortably
killed by the Indians than break my neck falling down a canyon. You
boys would rather climb mountains than fight the redskins.”

To these remarks Stuart and his companions paid no attention, but kept
on their way. McLellan was liked by all, and one trapper offered to
give him a load of jerked meat to carry, instead of the traps.

“A hunter should be able to kill his own meat without carrying any,”
said the old pioneer, who was now thoroughly angry. “Who wants to
carry a whole horse-load of dried beef on his back? As for me, I’ll go
no further with you. Fools! Good-by!” This burst of temper seemed to
relieve his mind, and, starting down the mountain, he set out alone
without once looking behind him. His companions kept on, and as they
reached the top of the eminence, gazed over the plain, where a dark
spot marked the form of the angered man of the frontier.

“Boys,” said Stuart. “There goes the last of the old pioneers of the
Kentucky border. You will never see him or his like again.”

As he said this, the eyes of many of his companions filled with tears.

Events were not to go smoothly with either McLellan or Stuart, for
the former lost his way; became so weak from lack of food that he was
unable to go further; and wandered aimlessly about. The latter also
suffered terribly from hunger, but kept on, hoping to meet with game at
every mile. His men were footsore and dejected, for they entered upon
a barren region where there was no game, and where even the coyotes
seemed to have disappeared. They became desperate, and determined to
throw themselves upon the mercy of the malicious Blackfeet, should they
come across them.

With this end in view, the voyageurs kept a sharp lookout for Indian
fires, hoping to gain food and assistance from the red men. Suddenly,
in the far distance, they saw the twinkle of a little light and knew
that some living being was near them. But it was late in the day. So
they dispatched one of their number to see who it was, while the rest
went into camp for the night. The messenger did not return.

Upon the day following, the exhausted plainsmen hastened in the
direction of the fire which they had seen the evening before, and met
their companion running towards them.

“Boys,” said he, “’Old Bob’ McLellan is lying by that fire in an
absolutely exhausted condition. He is so weak that unless some
stimulant is given him he will expire. Hurry and give him food from our
meagre supply!”

This hastened the feet of the trappers, and reaching the place where
the stubborn-minded old pioneer was lying, they discovered that he was
in a desperate plight. A cup of hot coffee, however, soon revived him,
so that he was able to struggle to his feet and join in their weary
march. His rifle was carried by one of his companions.

The little party pressed on, luckily came across a “solitary,” or bull
buffalo, which had been driven from the herd because of old age and
infirmity, and had the good fortune to kill it. Strengthened by this
repast, they stumbled forward, and, by great good chance, came upon a
band of Snake Indians, who fed them, gave them buckskin for moccasins,
and, at their departure, not only presented them with a goodly quantity
of jerked meat, but also with an old horse to carry it. Winter was
coming on. Small flurries of snow announced the advent of the season,
but they were now nearing the river Platte, where was an abundance of
game. The old scout had recovered from his exhaustion and was once
more the leader of these heroic plainsmen, who had twice been upon the
verge of starvation. Their emaciated forms had filled out; their faces
were sunburned and glowed with health; while their spirits and their
strength was as of yore.

It was well into November when the party reached the river Platte,
where were quantities of antelope and buffalo upon the grassy plains
which rolled from either bank. They had a big hunt and collected
sufficient buffalo meat to last through the winter. Then they built a
hut of logs and plastered it with mud, determined to remain here until
the warmth of spring made it possible for them to move further upon
their long journey to the settlements. The days passed pleasantly, but
one morning they were awakened by the wild screeching of a band of
savages, and rushing to the doorway of their cabin, found that they
were surrounded by fully a hundred painted braves.

“Well,” said McLellan, “I—for one—am all ready for a brush with the
redskins, whom I hate as much as I do old Lisa: the dastardly Spanish
trickster. So, my fine fellows, look to your rifles and we’ll have a
little picnic.”

“Not so fast,” Stuart interrupted. “I believe that these fellows are
peaceably disposed towards us.” And—so saying—he stepped forth from
the door, rifle in one hand, the other extended towards the Indians.
Several of them came forward, shook his hand with heartiness, and
intimated that they wished to have peace and not warfare. One of the
chiefs could speak good English.

“We are on the war-path,” said he. “We are Cheyennes and our enemies
are the Crows, who have raided one of our villages, have stolen many
ponies and much dried meat. They shall be punished.”

This was cheerful news.

“Well,” murmured Stuart, “here we are between two fires. On one side
are the Cheyennes, on the other are the Crows. As they are both upon
the war-path, we are in continual danger from each of them. If a war
party is defeated, it will doubtless wreak vengeance upon us when
returning from the fray. The only thing for us to do is to take our
chances and move towards the East.”

The situation was presented to the rest of the trappers, all of whom
were of the opinion that they should decamp. Winter was upon them and
snow was deep upon the ground, but, if they would save their lives,
they must leave at once. The raw-boned old horse was loaded up, their
packs were slung on their own shoulders, and, upon the thirteenth
day of December, the band of adventurers set off down the Platte.
Snow-storms and bitter winds assailed them, but on they struggled until
well beyond the range of the war-like savages. Here they built another
hut, passed the winter in peace, and in March, 1813, started down the
river in canoes which they had made from hollowed stumps of trees.
After an uneventful trip, they finally reached the Missouri and were
soon on their way to the frontier trading-post of St. Louis. Astor then
learned what had happened to the adventurous souls who had attempted to
reach his trading-post by sea.

The hazardous trip was over at last. “Old Bob” McLellan and his
companions had crossed the wildest portion of an unexplored continent;
had endured terrific hardship and exposure; but had brought home
an accurate description of the virgin West to the hearing of many
adventurous souls, who—thronging upon the border—were anxious and
eager to press into the unknown prairie and mountain land. Two or three
times the trappers had just escaped death by starvation. Twice they
had barely missed a massacre by the redskins. Yet their courage and
fortitude had carried them through every peril, and at last they were
among their own kind, where appreciation of their nerve and valor was
freely shown.

What of “Old Bob” McLellan, as he was affectionately called? Alas! The
sinewy plainsman had been much broken by the hardships of this arduous
journey to Astoria. Exposure and starvation had done its work upon the
frame of the hardy man of the frontier, and now he was unable to again
venture into the unknown. Purchasing a stock of goods suitable for a
trader, he opened a country store at Cape Girardeau, near St. Louis,
but the angel of death even then hovered over the soul of the stalwart
man of the plains. In a few months he quietly passed into the great

Thus peacefully ended the career of one of the last of the valorous
scouts and pioneers who had forced back the savage hordes from the
Alleghanies to the Mississippi, and who, even as old age advanced, had
plunged into an unexplored and unpeopled country, to risk both life and
limb among savage men and beasts. Red ran the blood in the veins of
this vigorous Kentuckian, and he is to be remembered as a good type of
the venturesome pioneers who explored and opened to white civilization
the vast and unknown regions of western America. The hazardous journey
to Astoria quite equalled in danger that eventful pilgrimage of Lewis
and Clark, the first white adventurers to cross the Rocky Mountains to
the Pacific. Hats off to “Old Bob” McLellan.



“MOTHER, I know that the law allows me to have all of the property
which my father left, but I do not want it. You can have your share,
and to my brothers and sisters I give the remainder. I, myself, will
move further West, into the wilderness.”

The youth who spoke was about twenty-one years of age; tall, slender,
and graceful. His face was open, frank, and expressive. As he ceased,
he waved his hand towards the West and left the room in which his
parent was sitting upon an old-fashioned horse-hair sofa. His name was
Benjamin Logan.

Although the old English law of primogeniture prevailed in Virginia at
this time, which gave the farm, horses, and farming utensils to young
Logan (upon the death of his father) he refused to accept them. Instead
of this, he nobly partitioned the estate between his mother, his three
brothers, and two sisters, and removed to the Holston River. Then he
began to farm a rough piece of ground, only part of which had been
cleared of timber.

About this time the Indians upon the Ohio frontier became very
troublesome, and Logan enlisted as a private in the army of Lord
Dunmore, Governor of Virginia. Marching into the Indian country was a
rough experience, but the youth enjoyed it, and when the red men signed
articles of peace at Chillicothe, Ohio, the stout Virginian was among
those who stood near the chiefs and saw them put their names to the
agreement. Kentucky was now fairly peaceable. So the energetic young
man moved his family to Harrodsburg, where a stockade had been erected
called Logan’s Fort.

“You must look out for the redskins,” said a comrade to him. “Although
they have signed an agreement to let us alone, my friends report that
there are many of them in the vicinity, and they are all daubed up with
paint, because they are upon the war-path.”

“I will be on my guard,” replied the young pioneer. “We must all run
to the fort if there is danger of attack.” The test was to come sooner
than he expected.

Upon a balmy day in May, when the women were milking their cows
near the gate of Fort Logan, and a few men were standing by, in
order to assist them, a small band of redskins appeared at the edge
of a thicket. _Crash_, a volley woke the stillness, and one of the
frontiersmen fell dead while two staggered behind the log breastwork,
with mortal wounds. A third—a stout fellow called Harrison—was unable
to reach the gate, and dragged himself along to the shelter of some

Within the fort, all gazed with sorrow at the wounded pioneer, who,
although in range of the Indian rifles, was so protected that the
balls could not quite reach him. Those in the fort kept up a fusillade
in the direction of the red men, making them get below cover, and thus
the battle continued; the leaden balls zipping and whizzing across the
place, where Harrison lay partially concealed. The man’s family, in the
fort, seemed to be in an agony of distress at his terrible condition.
To save him would require great nerve and heroism. There were but
fifteen men in the stockade; two were badly wounded. Should they
sacrifice any of this small number in the endeavor to rescue a man,
who, even should he be retaken, would be unable to fight in defense of
the fortification? This question confronted the beleaguered pioneers,
and it was a serious one.

At this moment young Logan stepped forward and said:

“Who will go with me to the rescue of this poor fellow?”

It was strange to see the effect of these words upon the besieged
frontiersmen. At first every one refused.

“I’m not a fast runner,” said one, “and know that they will easily
catch me on the return trip, even if I am not shot before I reach the
wounded man.”

A second—a fellow of giant build—quavered: “I am a weakly chap. I
never was no good, nohow, on liftin’. Perhaps you’d better git ernother
stouter feller than I be.”

Still a third remarked that, “he wuz plum onlucky with Injin bullets,
an’ never wuz known tew git amongst ’em in the open without havin’ one
uv ’em nick him.”

Ben Logan could not help smiling at this.

“What, are you all afraid to follow me?” said he.

At this, a trapper called John Martin stepped towards him, and said:

“I will go with you, for I can only die once and I am as ready now to
go to my Maker, as I ever will be. Come on! To the rescue!”

“You are a man after my own heart,” answered the bold pioneer, grasping
him warmly by the hand. “We will start at once.”

Throwing open the gates to the stockade, both dashed towards the
prostrate frontiersman. They had proceeded about five yards from the
fort when Harrison made an effort to rise. As he got to his hands and
knees, Martin turned and fled to the stockade.

“This is fine treatment,” mused Logan, but he kept on under a veritable
shower of bullets from the redskins. Fortune favored him; he was not
hit, and reaching the wounded frontiersman in safety, clasped him in
his arms, and began to lug him back to the fort. The deed was a noble

Bullets from the red men fairly poured around the struggling
backwoodsman, as he staggered towards the stockade of logs. His hat was
pierced by a ball; one even penetrated his hunting-shirt, but, in spite
of this, he finally reached the doorway. Hurrah! As he deposited the
body of the wounded man safely upon the ground a mighty cheer welled
from the throats of all. Hurrah! Hurrah, for Benjamin Logan!


 From an old print.


Even the Hercules who had complained of being “a weakly fellow” threw
up his hat in the air.

“Well, by Gum! Logan,” said he, “if yew ain’t th’ plum luckiest feller
I ever knowed. I believe that yew be charmed, so ez an Injun bullet
can’t hit yew. Ez fer me? Why, I would hev been struck er dozen times
in thet hazardous journey. Huzzah! says I. Here’s tew yer!”

But all danger was not yet over by any means. The red men were in
numbers, and besieged the fort with a tenacity that made matters take
a decidedly ugly look, for the few men of the garrison were not able
to put up a very stiff fire against the increasing bands of Indians.
Another danger also threatened, for the supply of ammunition became
exhausted. How was more to be obtained?

Distant, about a hundred miles, was the frontier settlement on the
Holston River, to which Logan had first moved when he left his farm in
Virginia. Here was ammunition in abundance, and also supplies of food
and clothing. Would any one have nerve enough to creep through and
relieve the beleaguered garrison? This required the greatest judgment
and unbounded courage, for the intervening country was swarming with
savages, all upon the war-path. It was a region full of deep ravines,
tangled thickets, and treacherous swampland.

Again all were asked to undertake the journey, but there were as many
excuses as before. Again Benjamin Logan stepped into the breach and
offered to bring relief. That night he clambered to the top of the
stockade, dropped softly to the ground outside, and soon his form was
lost in the shadows of the encircling forest. He passed through the
Indian lines in safety, and, by daybreak, was headed for the post at
Holston. His last words to the garrison were: “Hold fast! Hold on! I
will be sure to return within a fortnight and you will all be saved!”

For several days the garrison returned the fire of the Indians with
spirit, but, as the hours fled by, a terrible feeling of despair came
over them. Their water began to give out; their ammunition was so low
that they had to use it sparingly, and the food supply was in such a
condition that there was danger of starvation if help did not soon
arrive. Logan, meanwhile, was toiling upon his way through by-paths,
swamps and cane brakes, having deserted the beaten trail through
Cumberland Gap. Fortune favored him. He met with no prowling red men,
and, within six days, had covered the distance to the frontier post.

The intrepid pioneer now procured ammunition, food, and a company of
backwoodsmen. With these, he hastened onwards towards his beleaguered
companions, and, upon the tenth day after his departure, suddenly
appeared before the stockade. There were not twenty rounds of
ammunition left in the fortress. Gaunt and hollow cheeks were here.
Noble women upheld the fainting spirits of the men, but now, with
little hope of succor, it was with difficulty that they kept up their
fire upon the redskins, and put out the flaming brands which they kept
throwing into the stockade. A wild and exultant cheer greeted their
leader as he ran across the clearing to the door of the side wall. “At
last you have come!” they shouted. “We had given you up for dead!”

A few days later Colonel Bowman arrived, with a large body of men, at
which the Indians raised the siege and fled. But they had not gone for
good. On the contrary, they fairly swarmed over the borders of Kentucky
and their marauding parties committed some frightful outrages. There
was nothing now to be done but to defeat them in a battle and burn
their villages, if the white settlers were to have peace.

It was the year 1779. The Revolution was over. England had lost her
colonies to her own sons. Now the Colonists were beginning the great
struggle to free themselves from the curse of Indian invasion. An
expedition was therefore organized to invade the Shawnee territory
and to raze to the ground the famous town of Chillicothe. Benjamin
Logan—now Colonel Logan—was second in command. Bowman, who had come
to the rescue at Logan’s Fort, was to lead the expedition; which
was to consist of one hundred and sixty men. They advanced in the
heat of July, and marched with such precaution that they reached the
neighborhood of the Indian town without having been discovered by the

A plan for assaulting the village was now decided upon. It was very
simple, for the force was to be divided into two parts; one, under
Logan, was to march to the left: the other, under Bowman, was to march
to the right. The men were to spread out in single rank, and when the
leading files of the two columns had met, then, they were to attack.
It was dark when the backwoods soldiers began the advance. Logan’s men
quite encircled the town, but where was Bowman? All through the night
the leader of the left flank waited for the coming of the other column,
but not a man in buckskin appeared. Hour after hour passed away and the
darkness gave way to dawn. Still Bowman was strangely missing.

“Had you not better attack?” whispered one of his men. “The Shawnees
will soon be awake and will discover our whereabouts.”

“Let us wait another hour or two,” answered the courageous leader. “I
believe that the advance of Bowman’s column will soon be here.”

Logan’s men were secreted in ambush. Here they remained until an Indian
dog began to bark, arousing his master, who came out of his tepee in
order to see what was the matter. An imprudent trapper had exposed his
head above the underbrush, and the keen eyes of the redskin quickly
discerned an enemy. He raised a loud war-whoop.

As he did this, a gun went off on Bowman’s side of the village, and,
seeing that further concealment was useless, Colonel Logan cried out to
his men:

“Charge into the village, my boys. You must drive the redskins through
the town, for Colonel Bowman will surely support you.”

His buckskin-clad rangers defiled quickly into the village, and,
advancing from cabin to cabin, soon had reached a large building
in the centre. The Indians fled swiftly before them, but later,
recovering from their surprise, endeavored to turn the right flank of
the Kentuckians, whom they perceived to be in small numbers. Where was
Colonel Bowman?

The Shawnees had now seized their own rifles and were pouring in a hot
fire upon the advancing frontiersmen, who tore the heavy doors from the
Indian cabins, formed a breastwork, and protected themselves from the
whizzing balls. They were holding their own and were making progress
towards the Indian citadel, where most of the braves had collected,
when an order came from Colonel Bowman to retreat. His ranking officer
had spoken, so there was nothing for Logan to do but to obey.

As soon as the men were told that they must go to the rear, a
tumultuous scene commenced. Dispirited and disheartened by the order to
turn their backs upon the enemy, they rushed away from the tomahawks
and balls of the savages, as best they were able. The Indians were
astonished and jubilant over the turn which matters had taken and
pursued the rangers with wild and exultant yelping. The frontiersmen
scattered in every direction, dodging and twisting in order to avoid
the balls which whistled around them, and ran from cabin to cabin, in
confusion. Suddenly they collided with Bowman’s soldiers, who, because
of some panic of their commander, had stood stock still near the
spot where Logan had left them the night before. The redskins soon
surrounded them on all sides, and kept up a hot fire.

What was the matter with Bowman? He sat upon his horse like a pillar
of stone; gave no orders; and was in an apparently helpless mental
condition. His men paid no attention to him, but swarmed to the
protection of trees and stumps, took aim at the yelping red men, and
soon held them at a safe distance. When they seemed to be quieted, the
frontiersmen resumed their march. The Indians, however, came back to
the attack, but were beaten off. They followed, and made an assault
every half mile, or so. Their tenacity was due to the fact that they
expected reinforcements and hoped to annihilate the whites.

“Keep together, my brave men,” shouted Colonel Logan, at this juncture.
“Do not let these redskins stampede you, for then you will all be

The crisis was a terrible one. The retreat would become a rout, unless
the soldiers were kept together.

At this juncture Colonel Logan and a few of the boldest souls, dashed
into the brush, on horseback, and cut down some of the nearest red
men. As they performed this bold feat, the savages held back, and thus
allowed the fleeing soldiers to get away. Only nine Kentuckians were
killed, a few were wounded, and the rest escaped to the settlements.
As for Colonel Logan, his gallant conduct, when under stress and fire,
greatly increased his reputation, and at the next gathering of the
Kentucky troops he was unanimously elected to lead them against the red
men, when again they should need chastising.

The Indians remained quiescent until the summer of 1788. Then the
frontier was again attacked by marauding bands, and so destructive was
their advance that the pioneer militia had to be called out. Colonel
Logan was asked to lead the troops against the enemy.

“Boys, I shall be delighted to do so,” said he. “But this time there
must be perfect discipline and no retreating. If you break in the same
way that you did in our attack upon the Shawnee town I will not answer
for your scalps. Let us have order, or we will never succeed.”

“Lead on, Colonel,” cried many. “You have the right idea, and none of
us will go back on you.”

The advance through the wilderness was most successful. Eight towns
were burned, twenty warriors were killed, and seventy-five prisoners
were taken. The son of a chief named Moluntha was carried off as a
prisoner, and because of his brightness and promise was kept in Colonel
Logan’s family. He was called Logan, after his distinguished captor,
and grew to be a majestic-looking man, six feet in height.

As for the Colonel, he returned to his farm after this campaign fully
satisfied with his work, and determined to lead a quiet existence. This
he was well able to do, for the red men had been so signally chastised
that they no longer attempted to rob, burn, and plunder upon the
border. His namesake, however, came to an untimely end.

During one of the campaigns by General Harrison against the Maumee
Indians, Logan—the redskin—was dispatched by his superior officer
upon a scouting expedition with several companions. They met a large
force of hostile Indians and were driven in to their own camp, where
one of the white officers was heard to remark:

“Logan is a treacherous scoundrel. I believe that he will desert to
those of his own color at any moment.”

This was heard by the red man and he was stung to the quick.

“I shall prove this to be a falsehood,” said he. “I am true to my white

Next morning he started towards the enemy with some companions and
had not gone far when he found himself in an ambuscade, formed by the
famous chieftain called Winnemac. Logan had the same cool courage which
distinguished his white namesake.

“We are deserting to our enemies, the British,” said he. “We no longer
care to fight with the Americans. We are at heart your brothers.”

Chief Winnemac grunted, but kept a watchful eye upon his captives as he
carried them away. After the first day, however, he decided to return
the rifles and other arms to the prisoners. He had counted too much
upon the words of the savage, for Logan had determined upon escape.

“We will attack our captors to-night,” he whispered to his two
companions, Bright Horn and Captain Johnny. “There are seven. We will
wait until some leave and will then gain our liberty.”

As he had expected, after the camp-fires had been lighted, four of
the British sympathizers left, in order to collect fire-wood. They had
not been gone over five minutes before the three captives had fired
upon those left behind, killing all three. They reloaded, as the others
came running to the camp, fired upon them, and forced them to take
refuge behind some trees. As they stood confronting each other, one of
the most wiry and skillful crept around to the rear of the American
red men, pointed his rifle, and shot Logan in the shoulder. He fell
forward, badly wounded.

Lifting him to the back of a pony, his friends carried him to the
American camp, where he was placed upon a litter. Captain Johnny, who
had left them upon the return trip, arrived next morning, bringing
with him the scalp of Chief Winnemac. Logan lingered for a few days,
and then succumbed to his wound. “I have removed all suspicion upon my
honor,” said he. “Now I am willing to die. My two sons must be educated
by the people of Kentucky.”

Thus perished the namesake of the noble-hearted Colonel Logan, who
helped to clear Kentucky of the savage tribes, and who soon afterwards
rounded out his life of splendid activity, and died universally
lamented. To such pioneers the state owes a deep debt of gratitude.



ONE of the foremost of the pioneers: one of the noblest of men: one of
the most daring of fighters: such was George Rogers Clarke of Virginia.
Like Daniel Boone of Kentucky, Clarke was not only a brave warrior in
the rough and ready armies of the Middle West, but was also a potent
factor in the destinies of the American people.

Born in Albemarle County, Virginia, he early made his way to Kentucky.
At twenty-three we find him engaged as a surveyor in this virgin land,
and as he was a large and powerful man like George Washington, he could
easily contend with the difficulties of his profession. So inspiring,
in fact, was his appearance, that he was entrusted with the command
of the militia upon his first visit to the border. He had a soldierly
bearing and a grave and thoughtful mien.

After remaining for a time in Kentucky, this noble borderer returned
to Virginia in order to settle up his affairs. He saw that a conflict
would soon take place for the possession of the Middle West between the
Americans, the French, the English—who had a chain of forts extending
down the Mississippi from Detroit, Michigan, to Vincennes, Indiana—and
the redskins. Which party would win? That remained to be yet settled.
Clarke, of course, sided with the American pioneers who were pressing
westward from Virginia and Tennessee.


“The Indians,” said he, “are incited to burning, scalping, and
murdering our peaceful settlers upon the border, by the tongues of the
British soldiers, who, supplying them with food from their forts, are
continually egging them on to rapine and murder. Our only salvation,
as settlers, lies in organization and military training. We must equip
ourselves with arms and ammunition and must press against them before
they grow so strong that they can crush us.”

He suggested that the Kentuckians assemble in convention, and that
there they should discuss the affairs most dear to the hearts of all.
To this the people readily assented, and at this meeting chose Clarke,
himself, and a man named Jones, as delegates to the Virginia Assembly.
They were to go to the older state and were to ask for five hundred
pounds of gunpowder for purposes of defense against the redskins.

When they expressed their wants they were met with a cold reception.

“We will _lend_ you this important supply,” they were told by those in
authority. “But you must guarantee its repayment and must defray all
expenses connected with its carriage across the mountains.”

Clarke was indignant at these terms.

“This is not the treatment that brave borderers deserve,” he said.
“This should be a free offering to the men who stand as a breastwork
between you yourselves and the redskins. If you allow your outlying
posts to be swept away by the British and Indians, then the tide of
warfare will roll over your own settlements, and you will realize—too
late—the folly of your refusal.”

To this remonstrance the council replied that they could not better
their offer.

But Clarke was a fighter.

“You do not realize the dangers of your position,” he again stated to
them. “We apply to you for aid because you are nearest and dearest to
us. But—if you refuse us—we can go to New York and there obtain our
supplies. We have pushed into this country. We have settled it. We are
of your own blood. We claim it. A country which is not worth defending
is not worth claiming.”

This was the way to talk to the hard-headed Virginians. After an
earnest debate it was decided to recall Clarke and to comply with his
request. An order for five hundred pounds of powder was given to him.
It was to be delivered at Pittsburgh, subject to his demand, and for
use by the borderers of Kentucky.

“I am deeply grateful to you, my brothers,” said Clarke. “This gift
will be well used and my people will be very thankful to you for it.
God bless the noble settlers of Virginia!”

With a small force of seven men, the daring pioneer now went to Fort
Pitt for the powder, and carrying it in canoes, safely transported
it to a place called Limestone, Kentucky. Indians were thick in this
country, and all were hostile. But he came safely through the wild
places and carefully secreted the powder at various points, where it
could be found by the borderers when needed.

Daniel Boone was now an old man and was so modest that he refused to
thrust himself forward and become a leader around whom the settlers
could rally. All eyes, therefore, turned to Clarke, whose merits were
now recognized as a gallant fighter and able commander. The borderers
saw that they here had an unselfish fellow who had their own interests
in view, and who had obtained well-needed assistance for them. They
knew that, without powder, they must be swept back before the storm of
Indian invasion. The time for a leader had now come, and destiny had
sent to the Kentuckians George Rogers Clarke—the brave and the noble.

This soldier now addressed the settlers upon several occasions and
in several different places. He told them that they must assume an
aggressive attitude and must attack the Indian villages, destroy their
crops, burn their habitations, and teach them the horrors of invasion.

“We must not wait to be attacked ourselves,” said he. “We must do the
attacking. We must strike before we are struck, and must hit hard.”

The Kentuckians were stirred by these speeches of Clarke and swore to
follow him to the death.

“Lead on! Lead on!” cried they. “We will follow and will do our best to
clear the land of our red enemies.”

This pleased the leader of the borderers, for he saw that his own
spirit animated his men. He therefore wrote to the Governor of
Virginia, telling him of his plans for border warfare, and requesting
aid. Men and ammunition were sent him. An expedition was speedily
organized at Louisville—then called the Falls of the Ohio—and the
border soldiers started down the stream in boats. At the mouth of the
Tennessee River a party of hunters were met with. From them Clarke
learned that the garrisons at Kaskaskia and Kahokia were fully aware of
his coming and were quite ready to give his men a hot reception.

“The greater portion of the French,” said the guides, “prefer American
to English rule. You will find no difficulty in winning them over to
your cause.”

These men were taken along as scouts, and, creeping quietly through the
wilderness, they surrounded and captured Kaskaskia without shedding a
drop of blood. So kind were Clarke’s followers to the inhabitants that
many accompanied them on the march to Kahokia,—a town just opposite
St. Louis, Missouri. Both places were populated mainly by people of
French extraction who adhered to the cause of France in America.

Clarke was a diplomat. Some one has said that “he eked out the courage
of a lion with the cunning of a fox.” At any rate, he knew enough
to make a firm friend of the parish priest, Monsieur Gerbault, who
consented to go to Vincennes—in the absence of the British commander,
who had gone to Detroit—and induce the garrison there to embrace the
cause of the Kentuckians. He was successful. After a lengthy harangue
the fort went over to the Americans and its command was given to a
Captain Helm, one of Clarke’s Lieutenants.

Clarke had accomplished what was thought to be the impossible. Without
any difficulty whatsoever he had captured three forts and had persuaded
all the inhabitants to join his standard. But these were the French.
There were still the redskinned devils who would soon be burning,
plundering, and massacring upon the borders. Clarke needed more men. So
he promptly organized the French into militia companies with which to
garrison the captured fort, appointed French officers to command them,
and was thus able to use all of his Kentucky backwoodsmen in dealing
with the redskins.

The French and Spaniards never asked for peace from the Indians but
always harshly demanded whatever they might desire. Clarke determined
to adopt their course. This kind of diplomacy is that which usually
wins with the American Indian, for the red man could never comprehend
why the whites would offer peace if they felt at all certain that they
could accomplish their purpose by means of war. The Indians never made
treaties unless they had met with a reverse and were in the presence of
a superior enemy. When Clarke _demanded_ like a warrior it suited their
ideas much better than if he had _asked_ like a squaw.

We now come to the most extraordinary event in his career: an event
which marks him as a man of courage and capacity. When things were
going against him he managed to turn the tide in his own favor with
remarkable ability.

Braving great dangers and privations, he met the redskins in their own
villages and conferred with them. Two attempts were made upon his life,
but he escaped all harm and managed to secure a treaty of peace upon
terms which the red men had first spurned. The treaty was signed and
Clarke’s eyes looked hungrily at Detroit—the great stronghold of the
British. He had not sufficient men to take it.

Two detachments from his small army captured a British post on the
upper Wabash, garrisoned by forty men. This aroused the British to
greater activity. The Kentuckians and French were coming too near for
either pleasure or safety. Besides this, the savages had begun to waver
in their allegiance to the British flag as they saw the success of the
pioneers from across the Ohio River.

Vincennes, as you know, had gone over to the Americans, and there
was but a small force there of French militia. Two Americans were
in charge: a Captain Helm and a Mr. Henry. On the fifteenth day of
December, 1778, the English Governor of Detroit appeared before the
town with a large body of rangers and demanded its surrender. The
French militiamen immediately ran up a white flag.

Hamilton approached the fort, and as he neared it, was surprised to
find himself confronted by a cannon, behind which stood Captain Helm
with a lighted match in his hand.

“Halt!” cried Hamilton. “My foolish fellow, I demand your instant

“I’ll never surrender,” answered Helm, “until you settle upon the terms
with me.”

“You’ll be allowed to march out with all the honors of war,” said the
British Governor. “And you will be held a prisoner until exchanged. The
militia will be disarmed and paroled.”

“All right,” answered Captain Helm. “These terms suit me exactly.”

Imagine the feelings of the good, old Governor. Instead of seeing a
great body of men debouch from the fort, preceded by a brilliant staff,
out marched a few ragged militiamen headed by Captain Helm, with one
solitary private. It is said that the noble soldier could not help
laughing. At any rate, he felt so well over the affair that he did
not attempt the reduction of Kaskaskia and Kahokia—as he should have
done—but was content to send parties of his men on forays against
the settlements along the Ohio River. News was soon brought to Clarke
of the capture of Vincennes. The old war-dog was much disconcerted.
Hamilton in possession of Vincennes! It was almost past belief, yet
runners soon came to him from the frontier, who confirmed the ill
tidings. What was he to do? He had only two hundred men. Hamilton had
three or four times that number. It was the middle of winter and he
was short of all manner of supplies. The entire country was flooded.
He had a single flat-bottomed batteau. Should he wait to be attacked,
or should he attempt the seemingly impossible and endeavor to re-take
Vincennes? He answered the question by turning, one day, to his
compatriots, and saying:

“Whether I stay here or march against Hamilton—if I don’t take him, he
will take me. By Heaven, I’ll take him!”

And to this his men cried:

“Lead on! Where you go we will follow!”

Now was such a march as the world had seldom seen before. The brave
and valiant Arnold, who took his rangers through the depths of the
Maine forest to the attack on Quebec at the outbreak of the American
Revolution, was such a one as this lion-hearted pioneer. Arnold lost a
great many men: Clarke did not lose any; but the difficulties of the
journey were severe. Through the cold of winter, the chilling rain,
the mud and icy water,—the latter often three feet deep,—marched the
Kentucky rangers. They reached a miserable country called “the drowned
lands,” and for miles were waist-deep in the water. The way was full
of crevasses and mud-holes into which some of the men sank up to their
necks. Clarke was always in the front, sharing the hardships of his
followers, and outdoing them in the contempt for peril and suffering.
An occasional spot of dry ground—a few yards in extent—was a welcome
sight to the half-drowned rangers. Still they pressed onward upon their

“On, boys!” said George Rogers Clarke. “We will take this post or die
in the attempt!”

Splashing forward, the scouts and rangers soon reached the two branches
of the Wabash River. Ordinarily three miles of solid ground lay between
the two streams. Now there was a continuous sheet of water before their
eyes. The command stopped, amazed. They had come to an apparently
unsurmountable obstacle. But there were no obstacles to George Rogers

Striding to the front, and holding his rifle aloft in order to keep
the priming dry, he dashed into the stream. The rest followed with
songs and with cheers. But the chilling water soon made these cease,
for it became an irksome task to breathe. They staggered with fatigue,
but their leader never faltered, and there was not a man who would
have deserted him. On the seventeenth day of February they reached the
eastern shore of the Wabash and came to the lowlands of the Embarrass
River. It was nine miles to their goal: the fortress of Vincennes.
Every foot of the way was covered with deep water.

The situation seemed to be desperate. Clarke, however, was not the one
to despair. Taking a canoe, he made soundings to see if some path might
not be discovered through this inland sea. There seemed to be none—the
water everywhere reached to his neck. The men were alarmed. Their faces
looked blanched and pale. Was their march of untold hardships to end in
death by cold and starvation?

A surprising thing now took place. Whispering to those nearest to him
to follow his example, Clarke poured some powder into his hand, wet it
with water and blackened his face as a sign that he would succeed, or
die in the attempt. Then—uttering a loud whoop—he dashed into the
water. The frontiersmen gazed wonderingly at him. Then they broke into
song, rushed after him, and made for a ridge of high ground, which
was followed until an island was reached. Here they camped, but next
morning the ice had formed to the thickness of three-quarters of an
inch. You can well imagine what were their prospects!

But Clarke was never daunted or dismayed. Making a speech to his
half-starved and half-frozen command, he again plunged into the water.

“We must do or die!” said he. “On to Vincennes!”

With a rousing cheer his followers dashed in after him—pushed through
the broken ice—and waded ahead. The water became more and more deep.
Clarke feared, therefore, that the weaker members of the party would
be drowned. Luckily he had a few canoeists with him, and these picked
up the fainting ones and carried them to hillocks of dry land. The
strongest were sent forward with instructions to pass the word back
that the water was getting shallow, and they were told to cry “Land!
Land!” when they got near the woods.

This cheered the drooping spirits of the faint-hearted. The water
_never_ did get shallow. Woodland was certainly ahead, but when the
men reached it water was up to their shoulders and they had to hang
to the trees, bushes and logs, until rescued by the canoes. Some
gained the shore in safety, some were so exhausted when they reached
a small island that they could not climb up the bank and lay half in
and half out of the water. Luck was with them, for a canoe came down
the river in which were some Indian squaws and their children. They
were captured, and with them was some buffalo meat, tallow, corn, and
cooking utensils. Oh, lucky find! The weak were now rejuvenated by a
hearty meal.

They were upon an island of ten acres. It was truly an Eden for these
half-drowned frontiersmen. A long rest soon strengthened the weakest,
and by means of the Indian canoe, and a few batteaus which had been
brought with them, they ferried over to Warrior’s Island, within two
miles of Vincennes, and within plain view of it. Every man feasted his
eyes upon the log fortress and forgot that he had suffered.

Let me here quote from Clarke himself. He says:

“Every man forgot his troubles. It was now that we had to display our
abilities. The plain between us and the town was perfectly level. The
sunken ground was covered with water full of ducks. We observed several
men out on horseback, shooting them, and sent out many of our active,
young Frenchmen to decoy and take one prisoner,—which they did.

“We learned that the British had that evening completed the wall of the
fort, and that there were a good many Indians in town. Our situation
was now truly critical. There was no possibility of retreat in case
of defeat, and we were in full view of a town with six hundred men in
it,—troops, Indians and inhabitants.

“We were now in the very situation that I had labored to get ourselves
in. The idea of being taken prisoner was foreign to almost every man,
as they expected nothing but torture. We knew that success could be
secured only by the most daring conduct. I knew that a number of the
inhabitants wished us well: that the Grand Chief—Tobacco’s son—had
openly declared himself a friend of the Big Knives (Americans). I
therefore wrote and sent the following Placard.


 “GENTLEMEN:—Being now within two miles of your village with my army,
 determined to take the fort this night, and not being willing to
 surprise you, I take this method to request such as are true citizens
 to remain still in your houses. Those, if any there be, that are
 friends to the King, will instantly repair to the fort, join the
 ‘Hair buyer’ general, and fight like men. If any such do not go, and
 are found afterwards, they may depend on severe punishment. On the
 contrary, those who are true friends to liberty may depend on being
 well treated, and I once more request them to keep out of the streets.
 Every one I find in arms on my arrival, I shall treat as an enemy.

  “G. R. CLARKE.”

This was written by a pioneer general with two hundred half-starved,
half-frozen, and undrilled troops. Behind the walls of the fort were
twice this number of well-drilled, well-fed, well-clad men. We can but
admire his audacity and impudence. But did he fulfil his promises to
his people at home. And did he take Hamilton?

The frontiersmen were soon in motion and marched upon the town. A hill
intervened, and when he reached it, Clarke deployed his men across it
several times. When they would get over, Clarke would run them around
the base to the rear of the knoll—where they would be out of sight of
the people in the fort—and then would march them across again. In this
way he made the inmates of the fortress of Vincennes believe that he
had a much larger force than was really his. The borderers soon seized
all the positions which commanded the fort and waited until dusk before
beginning the assault. “I fear that they will know my numbers, if I
attack during daylight,” said the Kentuckian, “and this I do not want
them to know.”

As night began to draw near, the crashing of rifles awoke the echoes of
the forest and the fort was hotly assailed from every point of vantage.
The Kentuckians were able marksmen and soon silenced the cannon of the
redoubt. No sooner would a porthole be thrown open than the gunners
would be shot down as they stood. After an hour of such work the firing
ceased, and the garrison was summoned to surrender.

Hamilton was dumbfounded at the audacity of the Kentuckians. He was
also much disconcerted by the actions of one hundred of his redskin
allies, who, seeing the boldness of the frontiersmen, immediately
transferred their allegiance to them and were anxious to join in the
assault upon the post. In spite of this he refused to surrender.

A far heavier rifle fire was now opened upon the fort, so that no
defender could look out of a porthole or expose himself in any manner
whatsoever, without being shot down. An assault was determined upon.

At this juncture a couple of figures emerged from the principal gateway
of Vincennes, bearing a flag of truce. When the emissaries arrived
before Clarke, they brought word that Hamilton proposed a three days’
truce and an immediate conference. Clarke did not wish the British to
know his real numbers, so he declined the truce. But he assented to
have a talk with the English commander, some distance from the fort, at
a place where the Englishman’s eyes could not see the small numbers of
the Kentuckians.

After a long interview nothing came of the pow-wow. Hamilton asked to
march out with all the honors of war and to be allowed to depart to
Detroit, after giving the assurance that neither he nor his men would
ever again bear arms against the Americans. Clarke was afraid that the
soldiers would not keep their word and demanded a greater amount of
money and stores than the Britisher was willing to allow him.

“I have sufficient force to take the fort by storm at any time
I choose,” said Clarke. “Furthermore, I propose to capture all
the detached parties that are now in the woods and are headed for
Vincennes. Having put them out of the way, I intend to take the fort
at my leisure. I will thus—at one stroke—put an end to all of those
people that have been harassing the American frontier. In case I take
you by storm, I intend to shut my eyes and let my men do their own
pleasure, for such is the treatment that has been accorded to our own
people by the officers of the Crown.”

The conference broke up, and so terrified was a Major Hay, who
represented the English commander, that he could scarcely make his way
back to Vincennes. As he wobbled along, a party of redskins—led by
a white man painted as an Indian—was seen to approach the town. The
newcomers apparently had no knowledge that the Kentuckians were foes,
for they walked up as if they were nearing their own people.

When they had approached within a few yards of the men under Clarke,
they were fired upon and two were killed. Three others were badly
wounded. The remainder—six in all—turned in flight, but were
soon taken prisoners. They were tomahawked by the red allies of
the Kentuckians; their bodies were thrown into the river; and wild
war-whoops announced this fact to the red men in the fort. These became
enraged and frightened when they discovered that Hamilton was unable to
protect them.

Clarke only smiled, for he had hoped that they would bring on a mutiny
within the walls of Vincennes, and it is exactly what occurred. Seeing
that he was unable to hold the allegiance of his own red adherents, the
once bold Hamilton decided upon capitulation. On February twenty-fourth
a white flag was displayed over the log walls, and, after a short
parley, a truce was decided upon. The Kentuckians secured fifty
thousand dollars’ worth of military stores. Besides this they detached
the Indians from the English and took away from the Britons the entire
northeast territory, which would otherwise have been held by them
when peace was concluded. Clarke, with his two hundred raw Kentucky
riflemen, had won a notable victory.

Think of it! The long march, the terrible rivers of frozen ice, the
lack of proper food, the toilsome journey through deep forests! Then
the cheek and gall of that saucy message to Hamilton, safe in a strong
fortress with twice the number of men as those half-frozen backwoodsmen
outside! Then the daring attack, the wonderful accuracy of the rifle
fire, and the final victory! Such men were heroes. Whether your
sympathies be with Kentuckian or Britisher, you must admit it, and you
must—I own—take off your hat to Clarke: the twenty-seven year old
leader of this gallant band.

But what of the subsequent career of this wonderfully successful man?
Alas! What we know of his thereafter does not abound to his credit.
To the enthusiasm of youth he joined the daring ambition of the born
soldier: never satisfied. Always anxious to move forward and on, he
asked the Kentucky Assembly for men and agreed to capture Detroit;
to destroy the English power for all time; and to prevent further
combination of unfriendly tribes of red men. He was promised both
soldiers and ammunition, but they never came. It is said that in
disgust at his forced inaction he took to drink for relief from his
worries. He became dissipated, morbid, and a recluse.

For some time he rested in inactivity near the Falls of the Ohio, and
about the year 1780 built Fort Jefferson on the Mississippi. He then
journeyed to Richmond, Virginia, in order to appeal in person for the
necessary means for taking Detroit. His plans were thought well of and
were approved. But the measure never passed the legislature. Before it
could be put into effect he was appointed to command a body of troops
who were to check the aggressive operations of Benedict Arnold. He was
made a Brigadier-General and was authorized to collect a large force,
which was to meet at Louisville (the Falls of the Ohio) and was to fall
upon Detroit and destroy this strong citadel of British authority.

Misfortune seemed to follow upon his footsteps. The force was never
collected and the projected campaign had to be abandoned. He and his
men had several brushes with marauding bands of Ohio Indians, and in
1782 took part in the unfortunate battle of Blue Licks, in Kentucky.
Rallying a detachment of one thousand men, Clarke invaded the Indian
towns, but the savages fled from their villages and scattered, so that
there was no one to fight when the borderers entered. Fortune had
forsaken George Rogers Clarke, and, although in 1786 he led another
expedition of one thousand men against the Indians on the Wabash River,
it resulted in an absolute failure. His followers were mutinous. The
campaign had to be abandoned. The hero who could inspire a march of
two hundred miles through half-frozen forests had lost his former
magnetism. He had begun to go down hill.

Dispirited, somewhat broken in health, and faint-hearted, the bold
frontiersman sought the seclusion of his hut near the Ohio River. Here,
he was offered and accepted a commission in the French armies west of
the Mississippi, for this land was then under the lilies of France. An
expedition was about to be made against the Spaniards upon the lower
reaches of the river, but a revolution in France overturned the party
in power and destroyed all the plans of those in America. Clarke was
soon no longer Major General, and, forced to a life of inactivity,
he returned to an isolated and lonely existence in his log hut. At
forty years of age he was a prematurely old man, and in 1817 he died
at Louisville, Kentucky: a town which was growing rapidly in size and
which had been the scene of many of his early triumphs. Exposure and
neglect of the proper laws of living had done their work.

George Rogers Clarke was a remarkable man. As a youngster he was
brimful of enthusiasm, of vigor, of magnetism. He carried an expedition
through to success in the face of fearful obstacles. Had he shown
the white feather for an instant he would have met with ignominious
failure. His courage, his cheerfulness, his optimism impelled him on
to victory. Had he been able to govern his appetite for liquor he would
have been a man of splendid usefulness in his later years. His collapse
at the early age of forty is full witness to the deplorable effects of
the inability of a strong man to curb his passions. One can but look
upon his career with sadness and regret.



TWO red men paddled down the White River, far in the western portion of
the state of Virginia, one bright morning in the month of May, 1765. As
they rounded a bend in the stream, before them was a little trapper’s
son, apparently with no one with him. He was throwing pebbles into the
water and was laughing as they splashed upon the surface of the stream.

“How!” grunted one of the braves. “I like to have young paleface in
my lodge. I make him take the place of my own papoose, whom the Great
Spirit has stolen from me.”

“You can get him,” suggested the other. “Come on, let us paddle towards
the little one and capture him.”

As the redskins approached, the boy looked at them with no sign of
fear, and laughed at their solemn-looking faces. But they did not
laugh. Instead of this, the one in the bow leaped upon the shore,
seized the youngster, and carried him to the canoe, where he was bound
by deer thongs and was quickly paddled down stream. His parents looked
for him in vain that evening, and for many evenings, but their little
son never returned. Thus John Slover became a ward of the redskins.

[Illustration: JOHN SLOVER.]

The Indians were then living at Sandusky, upon the Ohio River, and
here the little white boy grew up to be a man. Adopted by the Miami
tribe, he learned to love their ways, to live the wild, roving life as
a trapper and hunter, and to be more at home in the forest than in the
houses of those of his own race. In the autumn of 1773, a treaty was
made at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, between the Miamis and the whites,
and at this place was a big gathering of the savages and frontiersmen,
with their families. Jack Slover was interested in the affair and hung
around the clusters of talkers, who were eagerly discussing the terms
of the articles of agreement.

“Hello!” came a voice, as he was near one animated group. “If this
isn’t little Jack Slover grown to be a man! Turn around, son, and see
if you don’t recognize me.”

The adopted ward of the Miamis spun about upon his heel, and there saw
a raw-boned trapper, who was gazing at him with an inquiring eye.

“I certainly do not recognize you,” he replied. “Who are you, anyway?”

The young fellow knew of his kidnapping, when a small boy, but had
never cared to go back to his own people.

The frontiersman now seized him by the shoulders. “Why, I’m your
father’s brother, Tom Slover! I saw that you were not a Miami the
minute I looked at you, and I found out that you had been captured
many years ago by the Indians. Upon closer inspection it was easy to
perceive that you were my brother’s son. My boy, we have been waiting
to find you for years. You will now come back to us, won’t you?”

Young Slover hung his head, for he was loath to part from the friends
and companions of his youth. He was on the point of refusing, but, just
then, another frontiersman approached who announced that he was his
father. The meeting between son and parent was not demonstrative; in
fact, the youth rather drew away from his own flesh and blood. Soon,
however, he became more reconciled, and, after an hour’s conversation,
agreed to accompany his kinsmen to their home in Westmoreland County,

The conference was soon over, both Indians and whites were agreed upon
the terms of the treaty, and the captured son of the pioneer went back
to his own country, where he seemed to be contentedly abiding at the
outbreak of the American Revolution. He was one of the first to enlist,
and, because of his experience in woodcraft, was made a sharpshooter.
In this branch of the service he did good work, and was honorably
discharged at the close of the struggle with the Mother Country.

Some years after the Revolutionary War—in 1782—the redskins of the
Middle West became very bold, and made frequent incursions upon the
white settlements of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Prompt
vengeance was demanded by the pioneers who had penetrated into the
wilderness and had there built their homes. An expedition was
determined upon, and Colonel William Crawford—a brave officer of the
Revolutionary War—was selected as its commander. The time and place
of rendezvous were fixed for May 20th, 1782, at a point on the western
shore of the Ohio, forty miles above Fort Pitt. There were four hundred
and fifty volunteers; among them an accomplished surgeon, Dr. Knight.

Just before the expedition got under way, Colonel Crawford approached
Slover, and said:

“My good friend, we are in need of a scout and guide upon our
expedition. You know this country like a book, so I would like to
engage you as one of our forerunners and assistants. Will you go with

The adopted ward of the Miamis was reluctant to accept.

“I have lived with these Indians whom you intend to attack,” said he.
“I have slept with them; hunted with them; have eaten with them. Surely
you would not have me turn upon all of my old friends?”

The Colonel smiled.

“Yes, but what sort of friends?” he answered. “Here they have been
murdering innocent women and children. Have been burning homes, killing
cattle and horses. They have been subjecting their prisoners to
horrible tortures. You are too much of a man not to appreciate the need
of checking these onslaughts upon our people.”

“The whites are gradually encroaching upon their lands,—the lands
which they believe that the Great Spirit has given to them,” replied
Slover, in a deliberate tone. “Can you blame them for resenting these
advances? They are children, too, of the wilderness and they fight like
the wild beasts who surround them.”

“Then you refuse to accompany us?”

“No, not so. Upon thinking over the matter, I believe that it is
impossible for the two races to live side by side, unless one race is
supreme. That the whites will overrun the country is only too evident.
I will go with you, for I certainly do not approve of the manner in
which they have conducted their warfare, and I believe that they must
be punished.”

The march was soon commenced, but, in a few days, some of the
volunteers broke ranks and started for their homes. It was impossible
to hold them. Further signs of insubordination were soon in evidence,
some of the men demanding that they be sent back to their cabins,
declaring that their horses were jaded and that their provisions were
almost exhausted. Not long afterwards two skulking Indians were seen
spying upon the advance. They were fired upon, but escaped. It was now
evident that all secrecy was out of the question. The men grew mutinous
and were so unruly that the officers requested them to continue for
only one day longer, and then if no Indians were found they were to
return. This was being discussed when one of the advance pickets dashed
in, crying out: “The Indians are ahead of us about a mile. They are
drawn up in the timber and are waiting for us!”

At this news a loud whoop came from the lusty throats of the
frontiersmen, and they discontinued their complaints. Priming their
rifles and fingering their powder-horns, they pressed forward to the
attack, while their leader, Crawford, who had fine military judgment,
saw that the enemy had seized a position of great strength, from which
they must be driven at once. He therefore urged on his men to the

As the order came, the pioneers dismounted and rushed boldly upon the
redskins in front and upon the flanks, hunting them from the woods,
across an open field, and into some dense forest-land in the rear. Here
the savages were heavily reinforced, and Crawford’s Rangers were almost
driven from the timber by the wily braves, who were now fighting from
every bush, stump, hillock and tree. The battle waged with great fury
until dark, when the savages withdrew, and the trappers slept upon the
ground, ready to resume the affair in the morning.

As daylight appeared the battle was renewed at long range, neither side
being anxious for a hand-to-hand engagement. It was plainly evident
that the Indians were constantly being reinforced. Their whooping and
yelling grew more and more derisive, and they began to extend their
lines so as to flank the men of the frontier. For this reason, the
officers decided upon a retreat.

Slover, the scout, was far over to the right, watching some horses, and
no news of the intended movement was brought to him. Soon the uproar
of retreat came to his ears and warned him of his danger. He therefore
selected the finest horse among those under his charge, mounted it,
and fled after his comrades, who became rapidly disorganized. The red
men fired a volley in the direction of the frontiersmen, at which one
of the Crawford Rangers shouted: “The enemy have found out our design!
Save yourselves! Save yourselves!”

Panic now became general, and so great was the disorder that it
was plainly heard in the lines of the Indians, among whom was the
famous renegade, Simon Girty. “Out, men,” he cried, “and pick up the
stragglers, for these Americans have whipped themselves!”

Those who had been wounded were dropped at the beginning of the rout
and were speedily dispatched by the tomahawks of the savages. The
rest fled in whatever way they could, without semblance of order or
discipline, and, as they ran helter-skelter through the forest, were
pursued by the exultant redskins with wild and blood-curdling whooping.
Slover galloped along with some difficulty, as the ground was very
rough, and soon found further obstructions in his path, for a wide bog
lay before him, which extended for a great distance in either direction.

Some of the fugitives were unable to get across the bog on foot, but
Slover and a few others were able to cross on their horses. As they
fled on through the darkness of night, behind them echoed the horrid
yells of the savages, the rifle shots of the whites, and the shrieks of
the wounded. Six fugitives joined the fleeing scout, two of whom had
lost their rifles, and, as the Indians were pressing them furiously,
they headed for the settlement of Detroit, hoping to elude the red
men as they went. They ran into another portion of the swamp a few
hours later, and halted there for a slight repast of cold pork and corn
bread—of which they had a small supply in their haversacks.

As they were seated upon some stumps, and were munching their repast,
they were startled by an Indian whoop very close at hand.

“We are discovered,” whispered Slover. “Hide yourselves, my men, in the
tall grass.”

Not many moments afterwards, a band of Shawnees passed by, laughing and
talking among themselves, apparently with no idea that the pioneers
were near. They were well satisfied with the signal defeat which they
had administered to Crawford and his men; had many scalps and much
plunder. When they were gone, Slover and his companions continued on
their way, entering upon a sea of waving grass, which made it evident
that any skulking red men would soon discover their whereabouts.

Silently they plodded across the prairie, but suddenly the man in
advance called their attention to the fact that some moving objects
were approaching.

“Lie low, boys!” he shouted. “I think that a crowd of redskins are just
in front of us.”

He was right, and, as they hid in the tall grass, a troop of Indians
passed by, moving rapidly and noisily along. Fortunately the red men
did not discover their trail, and with great shouting and singing had
soon walked out of hearing. The trappers arose, continued their flight,
and kept a sharp lookout for enemies. They were soon to meet with more
children of the forest.

Two of the fugitives now became very lame and were unable to keep up
with the rest of the party. One had a bad attack of rheumatism; so bad,
in fact, that he fell way behind the rest and did not come up, although
they whistled, called, and strove to attract his attention in every
possible way, in spite of the danger of being discovered by lurking
redskins. They finally went on without him, and gave him up for lost.
He at length reached Wheeling in safety, having passed through many
dangers and hairbreadth escapes from capture by roving Indians.

Slover and his friend were hurrying towards the settlements, and
naturally left a well-defined trail behind them. This was followed for
several days by a band of Shawnees, who finally decided that the whites
would be easy to capture and decided to ambush them.

This they did, and, as the frontiersmen were quietly passing between
some high bluffs, a volley rang out from either side and two of their
number fell dead. The rest sprang immediately to the shelter of trees,
where Slover took aim at one of the Indians who could be seen raising
his hand.

“Do not fire,” said he, in excellent English. “If you surrender to us,
you will be well treated. We will take you to our houses and will allow
you to leave, in a short time, for your own people.”

Slover and two of the frontiersmen gave themselves up immediately, but
a young fellow named John Paul refused to do so, and, rushing to the
rear, managed to get away. The redskins peppered the air with bullets,
but none hit the fugitive and he got safely beyond range. After a long
and arduous trip through the wilderness, he at length reached the
frontier settlement at Wheeling, West Virginia.

As John Slover and his companions were being taken along by the
Indians, one of them recognized him as the young paleface who had been
brought up by the Miamis.

“You no good, Mannuchcothe,” said he. “You fight against your own
brothers. You kill your own people. Ugh! Ugh! We fix you for this.”

John Slover began to think that perhaps what the savages had promised
was not to take place, and when once they came in sight of their town,
their whole demeanor changed. They began to howl and cry out:

“You are some of those who wish to drive us from our country. Death to
you! Death to you!”

The squaws, warriors, and children came running to meet the captives
and began to whip and beat them. Then they took the oldest of the
frontiersmen and blackened his face with charred sticks.

“Are they going to burn me, Slover?” the poor fellow gasped.

“Do not answer, Mannuchcothe!” shouted the Indians. “Do not answer! We
will not hurt him! We will adopt him!”

The red men now took the prisoners to Waughcotomoco, another of their
towns, about two miles off, but sent a runner in advance to announce
their coming. As the captives came in sight of it they saw hundreds
of Indians in a double line, ready to make them run the gauntlet. This
they did, and although Slover got through safely, the frontiersman
whose face had been blackened, was knocked down, kicked, beaten, and
shot full of arrows. He reached the council chamber, where he thought
that he would be safe, and, although he seized one of the posts with
both hands, he was torn away from it and was soon dispatched with a

Slover, meanwhile, was left alone, but he had no cheerful thoughts, for
before him lay the bodies of Harold, the son of Crawford, the American
leader; of a Colonel Harrison; and of several other prominent soldiers
of the American army. They had all been killed during the retreat. His
remaining companion was led away to another town and was never again
heard of; while the gallant scout, himself, was now confronted by a
young Miami buck, who said in the Indian language:

“Mannuchcothe, you must come before a council and must explain to the
old men why you deserted our tribe. Mannuchcothe, it will go ill with

The sharpshooter did not worry, for he did not believe that his old
friends would go back on him. In this he was correct, for there seemed
to be no great amount of malice towards the ex-Miami, until the
appearance of a white renegade—James Girty—the brother of the famous
Simon. This scoundrel made an impassioned speech, in which he said:

“My Indian brethren, this white captive should suffer death. For not
only has he deserted you for your enemies—the palefaces—but when I
asked him how he would like to live with you again, he told me that he
would care to remain only long enough to take a scalp and then escape.
He is your enemy at heart and has even now been fighting against you.
Death, and torture before death, would not be too severe for him.”

The scout was outraged and angered by these remarks.

“What you say is not true,” he replied. “I have never in my life made
the statement that I would only remain long enough with my red brethren
to take a scalp and then escape. I entered this war with reluctance,
and I had not fired a shot up to the time that I was captured by my
old companions. I am a friend of the Miamis and always will be their

To these remarks the red men grunted an assent and allowed him to
move, unbound, around the village. He was assigned to a lodge with an
old squaw, who became very much attached to him, and, not many days
afterwards, came to him and said:—

“That James Girty is influencing my brothers against you. If you have
a chance to escape, you must do so, for I fear that they intend to put
you out of the way.”

Not long afterwards a council of Shawnee, Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa,
Miami, and Mingo braves decided that Slover had been untrue to their
race, and that he must suffer punishment and death. Two warriors
appeared before his wigwam in order to carry him away, but the old
squaw covered him with her blanket and said that he should not go.
When the two bucks endeavored to enter, she threw a pot of boiling
water at them.

This was too much for the warriors, who retreated before the scalding
fluid, but they soon returned with James Girty and forty Indians, who
overpowered the fighting squaw. Slover was seized, bound, and his body
was painted black. This was a sign that he was to be tortured and
eventually killed.

Five miles from Waughcotomoco was another Indian town, to which the
scout was marched. A vast number of red men greeted his coming with
fierce cheering, and formed in two lines in order to make him run the
gauntlet. As he raced between them, they struck him with clubs, with
spears, and with their hands. In spite of this he was not badly hurt
and could walk without assistance to another small town, two miles
further on, where—in an unfinished council house—he was fastened to
a stake. Brush was piled around his feet and this was lighted for his
torture. “I will meet death like a brave man,” said Slover to himself.
Then, turning to the Indians, he cried out: “You shall rue the day that
ever you put an end to John Slover. My white brothers will avenge me a

An Indian orator arose, and, with a fierce and vindictive speech,
sought to fan the flame of the red men’s passions to the highest pitch.

“How! How!” cried many voices.” It is well that the white man should
die. How! How!”

Slover glowered upon the yelling mob as the crackling flames began to
creep nearer to his feet. But now an unexpected interposition of nature
occurred, which was greatly in the victim’s favor.

A high wind arose; dense, black clouds covered the sky; the growling of
thunder drowned the words of the orator and the yelling of his hearers.
A sheet of rain burst upon the fire at the stake, extinguishing it
completely, and Slover saw the Indians scatter to the cover of their
wigwams, where they called out to him:

“We will burn you to-morrow. The Great Spirit has helped you, but he
cannot save you.”

The shower lasted for over an hour, and when it had concluded the red
men gathered around the stake, where they beat and kicked their captive
until eleven o’clock at night. Then a brave called Half Moon asked him
if he did not want to go to sleep.

“I am exhausted,” replied the scout. “If you intend to kill me
to-morrow, loosen my bonds and let me rest.”

Half Moon untied the strands which bound the weakened frontiersman,
carried him to a log hut, and there bound him to a pole in the centre,
with deer thongs which cut tightly into his flesh. A rope was placed
about his neck and was tied to a rafter of the house. Three guards were
placed to watch him, and, as Half Moon departed, he said:

“Get a good sleep, paleface. You will need it, for to-morrow you will
eat fire. This is what comes to you for fighting against your own

The scout had not yet lost all hope of making his escape, and
carefully considered the possibility of getting away. Two of his guards
were soon asleep; the third (an aged brave) smoked a long, clay pipe
and told him that he had seen many palefaces tortured at the stake.
“Some weep like squaws,” said he. “Others bear it like men. You have
once been a redskin and should be able to stand the fire without
crying. You should come through without a bit of trouble.”

On and on he thus rambled until he became worn out—his head dropped
upon his breast—and he began to snore loudly. As the noise of his
heavy breathing came to the ears of the scout, he began to work
vigorously at his bonds. By wriggling, tugging, and pulling, at last
his hands were free. He reached for the thong about his neck and began
to chew it with his teeth.

As he turned and twisted in an endeavor to free himself from this
remaining bond, day began to break and the pale light of dawn flooded
the cabin. The talkative old Indian awoke; yawned; stretched; and
looked around at the captive; but Slover clasped his hands behind his
back as if they were still tied, and stood perfectly still. The red man
turned over upon his side and again composed himself in sleep. It was
now or never with the captured frontiersman.


Again seizing upon the rope, Slover gave it a few strong jerks, and,
biting it with his jaws for a second time, suddenly parted it. With his
heart bumping against his side like a trip-hammer, he stole noiselessly
from the lodge. Not an Indian was stirring, and, darting toward a corn
field, he narrowly missed stepping upon a squaw with her two children,
who were asleep beneath a tree. He crept through the growing stalks,
and upon the other side saw quite a number of ponies. Taking the rope
from his arm, he made a slip-noose of it; selected a fine, young horse;
threw it over his head; mounted, and rode away like mad. His life
depended upon his exertions.

As he dashed off, he heard a door open in an Indian lodge and knew
that the red men were astir. They would soon discover his absence. He
would be followed by all of the swiftest and hardest-riding men of the
encampment. No wonder that he dug his heels into the flanks of his pony
and urged him to do his very best.

At ten o’clock he reached the Scioto River,—now much swollen by the
recent thunder shower. But his horse was winded and he had to stop in
order to give him both water and breath, for he was blowing from his
exertions. He plunged into the stream, crossed it, and continued his
flight at the fastest pace which his horse was able to make. Finally
the faithful animal began to pant and stagger. He was done for.

As the Indian pony fell upon his side, Slover leaped to the ground and
heard a wild yelping behind him in the forest. He thus knew that the
Indians were hot upon his trail. The horse had carried him seventy
miles at a fast pace, which is extraordinary. But the animal was now
lying prostrate, with the glaze of death showing in his eye. He had run
a good race.

The scout bounded forward, loping through the underbrush, timber, and
tall grass, and leaving as little trail as he could. But his exertions
were wearing heavily upon him, and, about ten o’clock that night, he
fell exhausted to the ground. He lay in a stupor for two hours.

When he was again able to move, a full moon cast its silvery light
over the dense woodland, where he had fallen, and no sound broke the
stillness of the night save the weird call of a whippoorwill. The
redskins could easily have captured him had they been close upon his
track, but his care in leaving little trace of his flight had thrown
them from the pursuit. Breathing more easily, he again continued his
race for life, and, as day came, abandoned his trail for a low, rough
ridge, where was little grass or soft earth. On, on, he continued,
occasionally stopping to listen at the sounds of the forest, but,
except for the occasional call of a bird, no voice came to his
expectant hearing. The red men had lost heart and had returned to their

As evening came, the frontiersman reached the banks of one of the
creeks which empty into the Muskingum, and again sank exhausted to
the earth. The mosquitoes swarmed upon him, biting him unmercifully,
and as his hunting suit (which the red men had allowed him to put on
when tied) was torn to tatters by the nettles and briars, they had
a splendid opportunity to get at his bare flesh. Some wild berries
furnished him with much-needed food,—the first he had eaten since
his escape,—and, if we are to believe his word for it, he says that
he was so terrified with fear, that he had forgotten to feel hungry
during his flight. “I was fairly peeled from head to foot by briars and
mosquitoes,” he has written. “And I was now so hungry that I fell upon
two crawfish which I found behind a rock in the Muskingum, and ate them

The scout was now refreshed, and plunging into the Muskingum, swam to
the other shore. Two days later he reached the Ohio River, opposite
Wheeling, West Virginia, and seeing a man in a skiff who was apparently
fishing, called out to him in a loud voice:

“Hallo! Hallo! Comrade! I’m a fugitive from the Indians and was one of
Crawford’s men. Come! Take me over to the settlement!”

The fellow did not seem anxious to hasten to his relief, for he was
afraid that Slover was one of the white renegades who had joined the
redskins and was anxious to trap him. After a long harangue he finally
rowed to the place where the tattered scout was standing. The refugee
fairly hugged him for joy, and, in a few minutes, was again safe in the
settlement, where he was greeted with warm and affectionate regard by
the other men of the frontier, who had received many stragglers from
the ill-fated expedition under Colonel Crawford.

The escape of John Slover was one of the narrowest of which there is
any record in the annals of war upon the frontier. No wonder that for
many years the story of this famous affair was the favorite topic of
conversation, when the after-dinner pipes were lighted, and the men of
the forest would sit before the glowing embers, there to tell tales
concerning the heroism and courage of the gallant settlers of the wild
and undeveloped West. Truly the adventures which befell John Slover
were the most thrilling of them all.



“BOYS, watch your mother and grandfather for a few hours, because I am
going out fishing. There is no danger of attack from redskins, for none
have been seen for six months. If, however, any one comes to our cabin
with news of prowling bands, shoot off your rifles three times. This
will warn me of any danger to you, and I will hasten home.”

So spoke John Wetzel, whose cabin was upon the far western Virginian
frontier, and, turning from his two little boys, he plunged into the
wilderness. This was the last that he ever saw of his wife and her aged
father. He had not been three days in the forest before his cabin was

Stealing carefully through the brush, a marauding band of savages
suddenly made a sortie upon the isolated house of logs. There was not
time to warn the inmates of the stealthy approach before the tomahawk
and scalping-knife were at work. In an hour’s time all of the inmates
had been dispatched, except Lewis Wetzel and his little brother,
Martin, both of whom were carried off into captivity. Lewis was about
thirteen years of age and Martin was eleven.

“We will soon escape,” whispered the older youth. “Wait until evening
arrives and then I will show you how to creep away from these horrible

Lewis had been severely wounded by an arrow, but he stoically bore the
pain, and trudged behind his captors with no show of ill humor. The
Indian prisoner who lagged, or who made a cry of distress, would be
speedily dispatched by the savages, and this he knew. The other boy
went bravely ahead and said nothing.

Through the wilderness walked the red men, and on the night of the
second day they camped twenty miles beyond the Ohio River.

“Ugh!” spoke a brave. “These children cannot escape us now. We will not
bind them with thongs this evening, but will allow them to go free.”

The savages had underestimated the daring courage which was in the
heart of Lewis Wetzel. No sooner were the red men fast asleep, when,
touching his brother with his hand, Lewis warned him to keep absolutely
silent and to follow him away into the darkness. They were barefoot.

“It is impossible for us to escape without moccasins,” said Lewis,
after they had gone some distance. “This ground is full of stones, and
our feet will be ruined. You wait here for me and I will return to
the camp and get a pair for each of us, and then we can easily travel
through the wilderness.”

The brave boy not only secured the moccasins but also returned with
a gun and some ammunition. Then on they plunged through the forest.
Just as the first streaks of dawn began to light up the gloomy depths,
behind them echoed the shouts of their enemies, the red men.

“Walk backward upon your trail, brother,” said Lewis Wetzel. “Then turn
to the right and secrete yourself in the dense undergrowth. These red
men will soon catch up to us and we must be thoroughly hidden.”

This advice was followed, and it was well, for the boys had lain in
the covert but a few minutes when their captors came bounding past.
They were yelling to each other and were furious with anger at having
lost their prisoners. The two Wetzels waited until they were out of
sight. When the yelping had ceased they crept from their hiding-place
and ran away to the right. In a few hours they heard the Indians again
returning, and, secreting themselves in some underbrush, saw some
savages dash by on ponies. They were not the same red men whom they had
first seen, but these, also, could not find them. When the redskins
were well beyond hearing, the terrified children ran to the river,
fastened two logs together, and succeeded in crossing it. Not long
afterwards they reached the house of a frontiersman and knew that they
were safe. When they told him their story, he showed great surprise.

“Bully for you, boys!” cried the man of the clearing. “You, Lewis,
showed particular courage and daring. You are a credit to your poor
father, who is, I hear, terribly overcome by this butchery of the
redskins. I trust that you will both live long and useful lives upon
the border.”

“Thank you!” cried the boys. “We will do our best, anyway, to avenge
the terrible injury which the red men have inflicted upon our family.”

Thus early was implanted in the breasts of the two Wetzels an
implacable hatred for the savages.

It is said that Lewis was the strongest and most active of all of the
youths upon the western borderland of Virginia, and by long practice
had gained the ability to load his rifle while running at full speed.
This was an immense advantage to him in his numerous affrays with the
red men.

Not long after the terrible defeat of Colonel Crawford, in which John
Slover was a participant, a pioneer named Thomas Mills arrived at
Wheeling, West Virginia, where Lewis Wetzel was temporarily residing.

“I have left my good horse at Indian Spring, some five miles away,”
said he. “The country was so rough that I could not ride him here,
for some redskins were upon my trail. Wetzel, I wish that you would
accompany me to where he is, for I want to be able to hold my own with
the savages, should we meet any of them.”

“Mills, I’m your man,” said Wetzel. So, upon the day following, they
were on their way towards the spring.

When they arrived at the place where Mills had left his horse, they
found the animal tied to a bush.

“That looks mighty suspicious,” whispered Wetzel to his companion,
“because I understand that you left him untied. Do not go near the
animal until I circle around him and see if any savages are in our

The pioneer, however, neglected to heed this sage counsel and proceeded
to untie the pony. As he reached down towards the bridle-rein, the head
of an Indian appeared from behind a rock.

“Mills! Mills! Take to a tree!” yelled the scout. “There’s a redskin
drawin’ er bead on yer!”

The warning was unheeded. The frontiersman continued to work on the
bridle-reins; then a sharp crack was heard, and the red man fell back,
shot through the forehead by Wetzel. At the same moment a series of
quick reports came from the brush, and Mills sank to the ground,
pierced by a half dozen bullets.

Wetzel started away on the run, for a number of top-knots rose from the
bushes. Their owners hastened after him, but were uncautious enough to
drop their own guns so that they could run all the faster. Knowing that
he had discharged his piece, they expected to soon overtake him, tie
his hands behind his back, and remove him to their own camp, to run the
gauntlet and be tortured. They had counted without their host.

The lithe and sinewy trapper raced onward, exerting his utmost speed,
and, finding that he could not get away from his pursuers, turned about
and fired upon the nearest red man. The art of loading upon the run,
which he had learned, was of tremendous assistance to him, for he was
thus able to place a bullet in his adversary’s chest, which stretched
him upon the ground. Again he started forward, loading as he ran, and,
turning a second time, was about to fire, when his nearest pursuer
seized the muzzle of his rifle.

“Hah! Paleface! I have you!” cried the red man, for he had often been
to the settlements and had learned how to speak excellent English.

“Not yet,” answered the trapper, and he grappled with his antagonist.
They were very evenly matched. By the greatest exertion, the white
man succeeded in wresting the redskin’s hold from his rifle, and in
shooting him dead. It was a short struggle, but during it two Indians
gained upon the man of the frontier, so that they were very close
indeed. He now turned and ran as fast as he was able—loading as he

The Indians were whooping wildly, but they had knowledge of his skill
in loading on the run. When he turned again in order to fire, they
took hasty departure to the shelter of some large trees. He kept on
going—the red men still after him. But he was a crafty fellow, as the
following will show:

Having reached a clearing in the forest, he purposely stumbled and
fell, as if exhausted by his race for life. The redskins thought that
they now had him. They bounded forward with exultant shouts, but as
they came nearer, the bold trapper rolled upon his side, raised his
rifle, and brought one of them to the earth before he could get behind
a tree. The second Indian turned and fled as fast as he was able,
howling out in loud tones:

“No catch dat feller. No catch him at all. He gun always loaded. He
devil with the shooting stick.”


At this the crafty trapper rose to his feet with a loud guffaw.

“These redskins have yet to learn a trick or two,” said he, chuckling.
“They should remember that some trappers can load their rifles when on
the run. My fine fellows—Au revoir!”

So saying, he started upon his way to the settlements, lighting a
corn-cob pipe on the way, and still chuckling softly to himself.

Not long after this affair, the father of the two Wetzel boys was
returning from a hunting excursion into the Ohio wilderness. With him
were his sons Martin and Lewis. The latter had just shot a brown bear,
and carried the skin with him in the bottom of the canoe. As they were
gliding down the river, a band of Shawnees suddenly appeared upon the

“Come ashore, palefaces!” said one. “It is not good for you to go down
the river!”

“Paddle to the other side of the stream,” whispered the older Wetzel.
“Hasten, boys, or their bullets will reach us.”

Quickly they turned towards the opposite bank, but a volley of lead
pursued them. They kept on doggedly. A missile struck the old pioneer,
inflicting a mortal wound.

“Lie down, Martin!” cried he. “They will get you also, if you do not do

Then the heroic old man paddled forward, his life-blood ebbing at every
stroke. Volley after volley zipped around the frail barque. Again and
again the frontiersman was struck, so that when well beyond range of
the Indian rifles he fell fainting to the bottom of the canoe. That
evening he expired.

Standing over the body of their parent, both Wetzels took a solemn oath
to avenge his untimely end.

“From now on,” said Lewis,” I will use every endeavor to slaughter the
red men. They have killed my dear father. Death shall be upon their own
heads. Death and no quarter.”

Not a week had elapsed after the sudden end of this staunch man of the
frontier, when news was brought into Wheeling that the Indians were
again upon the war-path. A scout came running into the settlement,

“The Shawnees and Wyandots are approaching. They have slaughtered one
man, and are burning, killing and scalping. Every able-bodied settler
is needed to drive them away.”

Immediately all turned out with rifle and powder-horn in order to
repel the invaders. But before they started, a purse of one hundred
dollars was made up, to go to the first individual who should take an
Indian scalp. The trail of the marauders was soon struck; was followed
for several miles; and was found to be very fresh. Then the advance
scouts returned with the information that a large body of the enemy was
encamped a few miles ahead.

“They are too many to be attacked,” said the soldiers of the advance.
“We must go back to Wheeling, or they will surround and annihilate us.”

They set off upon the return, but they noticed, as they did so, that
Lewis Wetzel did not move.

“Are you not going to accompany us?” asked some of the trappers.

The frontiersman scowled.

“I set out to hunt Indians and thought that this had also been your
purpose,” said he. “My object in hunting Indians is to kill them, and
now that we have treed our game I do not intend to run off without a
shot. As for you, I consider you to be a band of cowards.”

“It is too bad about you,” said they. “As for ourselves, we intend to
return home.”

Wetzel gazed after them with an amused smile, then stooped and examined
his arms, for he was a man of caution.

“I will get a scalp of my own,” said he. “Perhaps more. These fellows
will see that I mean what I say.”

There were plenty of Indian signs, but he could find no large bands of
the red men; instead, he stumbled upon a camp with only two braves in

“There must be more in the encampment,” thought he. “I will creep away;
will come back this evening; and will then have an opportunity to get
what I am after.”

Turning again into the forest, he was soon out of hearing, and, by
great good fortune, came across a red deer, which he killed. He had a
fine feast. As night fell he hastened towards the Indian camp, crept
close to it, and found only one red man, instead of a dozen or more,
as he had expected. He waited until the redskin was fast asleep and
then made good his boast. As he started upon the back trail for the
settlement, a fresh scalp hung at his girdle.

Owing to his great strength and agility, he reached Wheeling just one
day behind his companions, instead of three. They were delighted to see

“My boy,” cried they, “you have certainly made good and are entitled to
the greatest possible credit. Bully for you!”

The trapper in fact was more than a match for many redskins, as the
following will show:

Not long after his return to Wheeling he went out into the forest in
order to get some venison to dry and salt for winter use. He saw no
game, but suddenly stumbled upon a camp of four Shawnees, who were
busily engaged in tanning some deer hides. They did not see or hear
him, so he determined to return at nightfall and single-handed to
attack the party of braves. This he did.

First, resting his rifle against a tree so that it would be close at
hand for any emergency, he drew his tomahawk, uttered a wild yell, and
dashed in among the savages, cutting down one of them in a moment. Two
more fell beneath his unerring weapon. The fourth darted off into the
woodland with Wetzel close upon his heels. He was a good runner and got
safely away, while the man of the frontier returned for the scalp-locks
of the three. He was back at Wheeling before two days were over.

“What luck did you have, Lewis?” asked a companion.

“Not much,” answered the man-of-the-woods. “I treed four of th’ pesky
varmints. But one slick-ez-lightnin’ feller got away. He had er close

At Marietta, Ohio, was a frontier fortification where a number of
troops were stationed to protect the settlements from Shawnee invasion.
Here General Harmer summoned several tribes to meet him in conference,
and here Lewis Wetzel and a scout called Dickerson ambushed themselves
near the Indian encampment with the intention of killing the first
warrior who might pass. Wetzel, you see, was a vindictive fellow and
did not even fight in the open.

The two assassins had not long to wait, for a redskin soon came by on
the gallop without show or sign of fear, because a flag of truce had
been delivered to the whites but a short time before. As he passed,
both men fired, and, although the warrior reeled in his saddle, he
clung to the mane of his horse with a tenacious grip and rode on into
the fort. Here he dropped exhausted to the ground, and, before dying,
cried out:

“My white brothers, I demand vengeance upon these hidden men who have
driven me to the Great Spirit. You who have true hearts, see that I get
what I desire, and my soul will then rest in peace.”

When news of this was brought to General Harmer, he said, with much

“Justice shall be done to this poor redskin. I hear from some of my men
that Lewis Wetzel was responsible for this affair. Captain Kingsbury
will therefore take his company and scour the woods for the rascal. Let
him be brought to me, dead or alive.”

Wetzel, meanwhile, had returned to his home in the Mingo Bottom
settlement and was engaged in a shooting match for a turkey. When the
soldiers arrived, and the frontiersmen learned what they were after,
they gathered around their comrade with the remark that:

“Whoever touches Lewis Wetzel will have tew fight th’ hull gang uv us.”

Captain Kingsbury therefore withdrew, but Lewis Wetzel was not careful
to keep beyond the clutch of his arm. Some time afterwards he paddled
down the river to an island opposite Harmer’s Fort in order to spend
the night with a friend, and news of his presence was brought to the
soldiers within the stockade. A company of men was soon headed for the
island: the frontiersman was surrounded at midnight; was thrown into
the guard-house, heavily ironed, and was not only deprived of open air,
but also of exercise. He quickly sickened and grew pale. When told that
he would shortly be hung, he sent for General Harmer, and said:

“General, I am not ashamed of my deed, for ever since the day that
my people were brutally slain by the children of the forest, I have
considered it perfectly justifiable for me to do unto them what they
have done unto me. If you will grant me one request, it is that you
allow me to go loose among the savages armed only with a tomahawk. Then
I will have one chance in a thousand to escape, but I will take that

The General shook his head.

“The scaffold is the proper death for you,” he replied. “As an
officer of the law I must see that you receive the fit punishment for
your crimes. But, as I see that you are growing pale under strict
confinement, I hereby order that the irons be taken from your legs.
Your handcuffs must remain.”

The trapper bowed his head, but as soon as the General had gone and
he was allowed to move in the open air, he frisked about like a young
colt. A number of soldiers guarded him closely, but as he walked and
jumped around in front of them, he continually experimented with his
handcuffs, in the endeavor to wrest his arms from their grip. Gradually
he edged farther and farther from the guard. Finally he had moved to
a position from which he felt that he could safely get away. With one
mighty bound he had turned and was off into the forest. Volley after
volley came from the soldiers, but he escaped untouched.

Wetzel knew well the woodland in which he found himself, and hastening
to a dense thicket pushed through a close tangle of briars to a fallen
tree. He wedged himself beneath this, and none too soon, for within a
very few moments a number of Indians and soldiers approached. Twice
some redskins sat upon the very tree beneath which he was crouching,
and he heard one say:

“Ah, but the white dog would make good running through the ranks of
our red brothers. We must stick our knives into him when we find him.”

At last darkness came. The trapper heard his pursuers returning, so
he crept stealthily from his hiding-place and made for the river.
He reached it in an hour, and by the light of the half moon, saw a
frontiersman fishing from a canoe. He was afraid to call to him, for
the woods were full of Indians, so he attracted his attention by
beating upon the water with a stick. The fellow saw him; picked him up,
and paddled him to the other shore, where his handcuffs were cut from
his wrists. Next day he stood among his own friends.

Not long after this remarkable escape the trapper was at a fort on
Wheeling Creek from which a number of pioneers had mysteriously

“They have been killed by the redskins,” said one of the backwoodsmen,
who resided there. “How, where, and when, no one seems to know; but,
my friend, there have been mysterious calls of turkeys in the woods.
Turkeys, mark you, my friend,—wild turkeys!”

Wetzel pricked up his ears. He remembered that each of the men who had
been killed had heard turkey calls near the fort: had gone out to shoot
one for supper: and had never returned. The turkey calls had all come
from one direction and here was a high hill covered with boulders. A
small cave-like depression could be seen from the camp. Putting two
and two together, he decided that Mr. Redskin had produced the call of
Mr. Turkey and that it was Mr. Redskin’s unerring aim that had put an
end to the lives of so many good frontiersmen. “I shall soon stop the
twaddle of the fascinating tongue of Mr. Gobbler,” said the scout to

Setting out one morning, before day had broken, he soon drew near a
hill, on the top of which was a small cave. It was an excellent spot in
which to hide one’s self, and, placing himself in ambush, he watched it
narrowly. At sunrise he saw the tufted head of a Shawnee appear in the
narrow opening, and the “gobble, gobble, gobble” of a turkey, sounded
from the throat of the savage. The trapper bent low and watched the
performance, for it was an exact imitation of the male bird. “Gobble,
gobble, gobble,” echoed again from the gloom of the cave, and, “crack”
sounded the rifle of the bold pioneer. A wail of anguish arose from the
cavern’s mouth. Then all was still. The Shawnee gobbler had gone to the
Happy Hunting Grounds.

Well pleased with himself, Wetzel started back to the fort with the
scalp-lock of the enterprising brave, and, as he neared the stockade,
met a soldier hastening towards him.

“Did you hear that turkey call?” said the enthusiastic sportsman. “I’m
going out to get him, sure.”

The scout pointed to his girdle.

“There is Mr. Gobbler,” said he. “He was the kind of a bird that shoots
a rifle. My boy, you should thank your lucky stars that I saw him

Not long after this event the frontiersman made a journey to the
Kanawha River with John Madison, brother of James Madison, at one time
President of the United States. They were busy surveying some land, and
one day came to a hunter’s cabin, which appeared to be deserted.

“No one is here,” said Madison. “Let us take some of this jerked
venison and also a pailful of this coffee. I do not believe that the
camp will be again visited, and we may as well have the food, as to let
the wood-mice eat it.”

“All right,” answered the trapper, and, without more ado, they
appropriated what they wished, and continued upon their journey.

Early the next day, as they were crossing a small valley, many shots
rang out, and wild war-whoops sounded from every side. Cries of “You
give back our venison!” were heard above the din, and Madison reeled
in his saddle, falling head-long to the ground. Wetzel did not wait to
see what had happened to him, but, digging his heels into his horse’s
flanks, dashed off into the brush.

Now was a furious chase. Although well mounted, the scout soon saw that
the red men also had good ponies, and he feared that they would catch
him. Over the mountain paths they flew, for hour after hour. At last
they neared a broad river, and leaping his horse into it, the scout
swam to the other side. The red men had not the courage to follow where
he had led, and thus he made good his escape.

The pioneer had a generous heart in spite of his vindictiveness to all
savages, and not long afterwards had an opportunity to display his good
feeling towards the weak and distressed. Going with a friend one day
to pay a visit to a frontier house belonging to the Bryans, they found
indications that the Indians had just been there, for the home was
burned to the ground. Tracks in the moist earth led into the forest,
and besides those of the redskins were the print of a woman’s feet.

“Miss Betsy Bryan has been carried off, I fear,” said Wetzel
sorrowfully, pointing to the footprints. “We must rescue her even if it
costs us our lives. Comrade, let us hasten to the chase.”

His companion nodded, and, without more ado, the two men of the
frontier followed the well-marked trail of the savages. Towards evening
they crossed the Ohio River. Not far from the bank was a camp-fire,
and, going towards it with great caution, they saw the girl seated near
the flames. A white renegade and three Indians were her companions.

“Lie down, comrade,” whispered Wetzel to his friend. “I will tell you
when to rouse yourself, for we cannot attack until these redskins are

His companion obeyed, and waking him about two o’clock in the early
morning, the scout told him to fire at one of the red men and then to
rush into the camp in order to protect the captive. “I, myself, will
attend to the renegade,” said he.

Both frontiersmen fired at about the same time. The renegade was done
for, as was one Indian, also. The two remaining savages took to their
heels. Wetzel was after them in a jiffy, but, as they soon hid in the
brush, he fired his rifle off, thinking that they might pursue him
if they believed that his weapon were empty. He was not mistaken. The
savages rushed from their hiding-places, gave close chase, and gained
rapidly upon the running plainsman. They began to yelp wildly, as they
thought that they had him cornered, but they did not know that this was
the famous trapper who could load while on the run.

Turning about, Wetzel now shot the nearest red man, but the other kept
on after him like a flash. The scout loaded while darting forward, as
usual, then wheeling quickly, he dispatched this second assailant. His
wonderful ability to load when at full speed had made it thus possible
for him to thoroughly avenge the assault upon the frontier settlement
and the capture of the inoffensive girl. Taking the scalp-locks of the
two fallen braves and tying them to his girdle, he was soon back at the
camp, where he was tearfully greeted by the rescued maiden. In a short
time they were at home in the settlement.

Wetzel continued his life of hardship and adventure after this; made a
journey south, where he was imprisoned at New Orleans, and, in 1803,
joined Lewis and Clark in their expedition up the Missouri River.
He left them after two months, and spent about two years near the
headwaters of the Yellowstone, engaged in trapping and in hunting. From
now on, until his death in 1818, he was a trapper and fur trader; his
hatred for the redskins remaining unabated until his demise. He was
camping near Natchez, Mississippi, when this occurred.

A braver man never lived than this famous scout, who could load while
on the run, and who had probably experienced more hairbreadth escapes
than most of the pioneers. His one great failing was his dislike for
the red men and desire to put them out of the way, but, after one
considers the distressing circumstances attending the death of the
members of his family, when he was a mere youth, one can pardon this
bloodthirstiness. There was much good in Lewis Wetzel; the valorous
frontiersman of the early days of the settlement of the United States.



WHEN Lewis and Clark were on their way to the Pacific coast they had
with them two trappers, one of whom was to meet with extraordinary
adventures. These were Samuel Colter and Lemuel Potts—both sturdy sons
of the West—who obtained permission from the leaders of the expedition
to remain near the headwaters of the Missouri River, in order to hunt
and to trap. They intended to overtake the main body, after a short
time, and hoped to obtain enough beaver skins to net them a good sum
of money upon their return to civilization. You probably remember that
Lewis had trouble with the Blackfeet, when near the Missouri, one of
whom he had to kill because he began to run off the horses. For this
reason these two trappers knew that they would have to use extreme
caution or else they would fall into the clutches of some of these
savages. The vengeance of an Indian is always swift and sure.

Knowing that the redskins were all about them, the trappers decided
upon the following plan: they would lie hidden during the day, would
set their traps late in the evening, and would visit them in order to
remove the game in the gray of the early morning. Success met their
efforts, and, before long, they had a goodly quantity of skins. No
Indians were seen, although Indian sign was abundant, and they knew
that there were plenty of Blackfeet in the vicinity.

One morning, while paddling up a winding stream where numerous traps
were set, to their keen ears came the sound of heavy tramping.

“Those are redskins,” whispered Colter. “Let’s decamp at once, and get
back to our starting-place.”

But Potts thought differently.

“Those are buffalo,” said he. “Wait until we round the corner and you
will find out that I am right.”

Just then they swirled around the bend in the stream, and to their
dismay, found both banks fairly swarming with Blackfeet. Escape was
impossible, and, although cold shivers began to run up and down his
spine, Colter ran the bow of the canoe towards the bank.

The red men began to whoop loudly, as they saw them approach, and
called to them to come ashore. This they did, and, as they stepped
upon the bank, a burly savage jumped forward and snatched the rifle
which Potts carried, from his hand. Colter was a man of great physical
strength and courage, who was not afraid of twenty savages. He wrested
the weapon away from the redskin, handed it back to Potts, and
confronted the startled braves with a face filled with determination
and fire. Potts jumped into his canoe, pushed out into the stream, and
started to paddle away, in spite of the commands of Colter, who cried
to him to come back and take him with him.

Suddenly an arrow whizzed from the bank and Potts cried out, “I’m
wounded, Colter. I cannot come to your assistance.”

In spite of this, he raised his rifle, fired, and killed the redskin
who had shot him. A wild yelping now arose from the other savages, and,
before five minutes had passed, the body of Potts fell into the water,
riddled with hundreds of arrows.

Colter stood upon the bank, unarmed and alone. The Blackfeet swarmed
around him; stripped him of his clothes and then held a pow-wow, while
they determined what they should do with him.

“Let’s skin him alive!” said one.

“No, whip him to death!” suggested another.

“Burn him at the stake!” shouted a great many.

The wrangling thus continued, until it was decided to let him run a
race for his life. He was to get away if he could, but, if he could
not, he was to be burned at the stake. All seemed to be much pleased at
this decision.

A chief now approached the captive and said: “Paleface, you run fast,

“No, no, chief,” answered the trapper, “I am very poor runner, I slow
as the tortoise.”

This was an untruth, for Colter was one of the swiftest foot racers
upon the border, but his reply was hailed with loud shouts. Led upon a
sandy plain by the chief, he was followed by six hundred armed red men,
who gave him a start of three hundred yards, and then told him to go.

As Colter dashed away, a fierce whoop arose from all the red men and
they started in pursuit with continued yelping. In a few moments they
saw that it would take their swiftest runners to overhaul the white
man, for he sped along like a greyhound. They had, however, a great
advantage over him, for his feet were naked, and there were prickly
plants, sand bars, and sharp stones upon the plain. Their feet, on the
other hand, were protected by stout deer-skin moccasins.

On, on, sped the gallant scout, although his feet were cruelly
lacerated by the stones and shrubs. On, on, he went, while the shouting
of the red men died away, as they perceived that he was out-distancing
them. None caught up to him, in fact, he drew rapidly away from the
very swiftest of them all.

After a run of three miles Colter glanced back over his shoulder and
saw that one of his pursuers was holding his own with him. He had
headed towards the Jefferson Fork of the Missouri River, and knew that
if he once reached the water he could doubtless hide himself. The
pursuing red man had a spear in his hand, and, so fleet was he, that he
was soon within a hundred yards of the trapper.

“If I do not stop this Indian,” said Colter to himself, “it is all over
with me.”

Straining every muscle in order to get away, Colter suddenly felt the
blood gushing from his nose, and knew that a slight hemorrhage had been
occasioned by his efforts. He was but a mile from the river, and, again
looking back, saw the Indian within twenty yards of him. Escape was now
impossible. Turning swiftly around,—he stood absolutely still and
opened his arms.

The red man was astounded at this unexpected action, and, in
endeavoring to check his headway, fell to the ground. The lance,
meanwhile, flew from his hand and stuck into the earth a considerable
distance from him, where it broke off. Luck was with the half-winded
man of the plains, who now turned about, seized the broken spear-head,
and darted swiftly to the side of the prostrate red man.

The trapper aimed the sharp lance at the Indian, and drove it into him
with such force that he was pinned to the earth. A deep groan came from
the helpless brave, as the backwoodsman again turned to run towards
the river, although he was now exhausted by loss of blood and by the
terrible race for life. His pursuers were still far behind, and he
reached Jefferson’s Fork so far ahead of them that they could not see
him. One spring—he had leaped into the water—and was swimming towards
a little island about a hundred yards from the bank.

Upon the edge of this had lodged a clump of sticks and floating
brush. Colter made for it and dove beneath the tangled mass; emerging
somewhere in its centre, with his head between two giant logs.
Breathing with great difficulty, and faint from his exhausting run, he
waited with throbbing heart for the red men to arrive. This they did
very shortly.

They had stopped beside the body of their comrade and found that he
was in his death-agony. Infuriated by this, and with terrific yells,
they again set out in pursuit of Colter, who heard their vindictive
screeching as they reached the bank. Some of them swam out to the
island and punched about in the drift with their spears. As they did
so, the trapper drew down in the water so that only his nose was
exposed. He remained thus for about half an hour, when the redskins
gave up their search and returned to the body of the fallen chieftain.
Colter feared that they might set fire to the drift, but this idea
did not seem to have entered the minds of the Blackfeet, who began a
hideous wailing as they gathered around their leader. Carrying him upon
their shoulders, they started back to their camp, and gradually their
wild lamentations died away in the shadows of the forest.

The trapper was in a desperate predicament, for he was without either
clothes or rifle. His feet had been lacerated by the stones and plants
so that he could walk only with difficulty, and his body was chilled by
his long immersion in the cold waters of the river. Certainly there was
no brilliant prospect before him, for he was miles from any settlement.
Would you not think that he would have become absolutely disheartened
and would have given up in despair?

Not so with this bold follower of Lewis and Clark. After a day’s rest
and a meal of berries, grass and stalks from a shrub known as the sheep
sorrel, he started for Lisa’s Fort on the Yellowstone, a distance of a
week’s hard journey. Fortune favored this man of iron. Toads, frogs,
and insects became his food, and with clothing of bark and reeds he
finally reached the hospitable shelter of Manuel Lisa’s trading
station. He was scarcely recognizable.

Colter had suffered untold agony from thirst, from hunger and from
cold. The evenings are chilly in this country—even in summer—and,
although he made a fire by rubbing two dry sticks together, he shivered
all through the night. The wild sheep sorrel had given him most needed
nourishment, while the body of a dead rabbit, which he fortunately
stumbled upon, had brought sufficient strength to carry him to the
Fort. No wonder that the trappers there gave three rousing cheers for
this frontier hero.

In ten days after his arrival at the group of log huts, Samuel Colter
was again fit for service, but Lewis and Clark were already far away
upon their transcontinental journey. He remained at the Fort, had
several brushes with the Blackfeet, and eventually found his way back
to the settlements, where he was much admired for his nerve and courage
in eluding the wild denizens of the plains near the headwaters of
the Missouri. Certainly he had good reason to be proud of his escape
from the bloodthirsty hands of the Blackfoot warriors. Three cheers
for brave Sam Colter! He well deserves to be remembered as a Marathon
runner who ran a more thrilling race than the tame affairs of the
present day, where no band of savages, who are thirsting for one’s
gore, pursue the struggling athletes.



IN 1781 was born in Frederick County, Maryland, a pioneer who was
truly entitled to the name of “The Mighty Hunter.” The son of one of
General Braddock’s soldiers, who had settled in this beautiful country,
Meshack Browning lived his life in the wild fastnesses of the then
uncleared mountains of the Blue Ridge, and, at the close of a long and
eventful career as a huntsman and trapper, could say with pride that
he had killed from eighteen hundred to two thousand deer; from three
to four hundred beaver; about fifty panthers; and scores of wolves and
wildcats. He was the hero of every man’s conversation in this mountain
republic. All looked up to the hardy pioneer, and, after his long and
eventful life was brought to a close, when well beyond eighty years of
age, no one was more cordially missed than this sturdy old man of the

Young Meshack’s father died when he was an infant of but two weeks
of age, leaving his mother desperately poor, with one daughter named
Dorcas, and three sons. It was a hard struggle to bring them up, but
by working in the garden, by raising plenty of vegetables, and by
spinning, saving and knitting, the good lady managed to scrape along
somehow or other. Little Meshack had to learn how to use the rifle at
an early age, for by this means only was it possible to supply the
larder with fresh meat. Wild turkeys were abundant; deer, wildcats,
wolves and bear roamed all through the rugged hills round about their
home. Thus he quickly became expert in the use of the flint-lock.

The hunting season usually began in October, and during this month the
task was commenced of laying in the winter’s provisions. Some days
little Meshack would go out with a kindly uncle who had joined the
family and would hunt for deer. On other days he would chase after
bees, and as he and his uncle were most successful in this kind of
hunting, they would often spend more time in searching for honey than
in seeking venison. It would not be long before the table would be well
supplied with both deer steaks and honey. The high, fresh grass which
surrounded the log cabin would cause their cows to give a quantity of
milk, from which little Meshack’s aunt, who was an industrious woman,
made plenty of butter; and frequently a fat turkey would be added
to the store. Thus life was simple, easy, and healthful in the wild
fastnesses of the Blue Ridge.

Things went on well enough until word came to the pioneers that General
St. Clair’s army had been defeated and cut to pieces by the redskins
under Little Turtle, which you no doubt remember. This was frightful
news, and little Meshack’s mother was very much afraid.

“What if the Indians fall upon us here,” said she. “We could not
protect ourselves against these terrible red men. Let us move further
back into the country where there are more white people. We can thus
combine for our own defense.”

Meshack’s uncle thought about the same way, so, packing up their few
belongings, the little family hurried to a place called the “Blooming
Rose,” where there were thirty or forty other families. This was in
1792—long, long ago, it seems—and yet I, myself, have known old
fellows of these mountains who appeared to be well conversant with the
terrible battles of St. Clair, “Mad Anthony” Wayne, and the redskins
under Little Turtle. These many struggles had been often narrated to
them by their parents; most of whom had taken part in those stirring

Not long after coming to this settlement, the youthful Meshack had his
first adventure with a bear. While milking a cow one day, he heard a
great deal of noise at the house, and inquiring what it all meant, was
told by one of the girls who lived there that a bear had just gone
by. Running to the front portico he there found that four or five
gentlemen, who had come to visit the owner of the house (bringing with
them their bird-guns, and several little dogs), had gone in pursuit
of the beast. The dogs were so small that two of them would have made
about a mouthful for Brother Bruin.

The owner of the house, Mr. Caldwell, was a successful bear hunter
and had two fine dogs which were well trained to fight these animals.
Meshack called them, took the old man’s gun, and ran in the direction
of the noise, until he overtook the party of huntsmen, who had halted
just as the bear reached a clump of woods. The little dogs would not
leave their master, for they seemed to be afraid that the bear would
tear them to pieces. But as soon as Mr. Caldwell’s animals scented
the bear, off they went, heads down and tails up. Meshack followed on

On, on, coursed the dogs: on, on, went Meshack. Hastening towards the
sounds of the fray, the young hunter saw both bear and dogs turning
somersaults down a very steep hill. Over and over they rolled, Meshack
after them as hard as he could tilt, and the way that the fur flew was
most interesting. The fight became desperate, and the bear found that
his hindquarters were suffering severely; so severely, in fact, that
he determined to climb a large tree. When halfway up to the lowest
branches, he saw Meshack come puffing and blowing down the hill. This
frightened him and he attempted to descend to the ground.

As he crawled slowly towards the sod, Meshack let drive and sent a
small rifle ball through the middle of his body. The bear plunged to
the earth, making two or three somersaults as he did so, but finding
the dogs too ferocious for him, he immediately ascended a large oak
tree. The oak being forked and very high, he went up to the first
branch, and, lying down on it, refused to move. By this time the
gentlemen who owned the little dogs had come up, and as many of them
had never seen a bear before, they began to consult among themselves
about what was to be done. Meshack had no more balls for his little
rifle and they had nothing but small shot.

After a lengthy discussion it was agreed to try and see what a load of
shot would do for Mr. Bruin. Meshack agreed that it was impossible to
kill the bear with that and told the other huntsmen to let the beast
alone until he fetched some more balls, or else secured some one else
to come and shoot him.

“Stand back and keep your counsel to yourself,” cried one of the men.
“We know how to handle this rascally bear. Let us finish him off!”

Taking aim at the animal’s head, one of them again fired, but this only
made the bear snort, scratch his face, and climb up the tree as far as
he could go. Here he seated himself upon another fork, and, although
repeatedly shot at, would not budge.

The bear hunters were feeling very much discouraged. After a long
parley they decided to send for a certain pioneer called John Martin,
who could shoot a squirrel off the highest tree in the woods. A scout
was dispatched for him, and, at about nine in the evening, he returned
with the famous marksman, who brought a rifle shooting an ounce ball.
After the trapper had had full time to recover his breath, which
climbing the high hill had rendered rather short, he placed himself
in a good position and let drive. Mr. Bear remained in his place
unscathed. Several more shots were fired by the old fellow, but Bruin
simply hugged the limb in apparent comfort.

“Here, boys,” cried one, “is a Mr. Morris—a Revolutionary officer—who
has killed many an English soldier. Let him have a crack at this
elusive mark!”

“Yes! Yes!” called several. “Give some one else a chance.”

The new marksman cleaned and loaded his gun, took careful aim, and off
went the musket. The bear snorted, groaned, and made a great fuss,
but remained in its place. Another load was prepared and the Captain
again tried his luck, when the bear, apparently provoked by such ill
treatment, rose from his resting-place and started for the group. But
upon arriving at the lowest fork of the tree, and seeing so many men
and dogs, his courage failed him, and he again lay down. Mr. Martin
tried two or three more shots without any result. Bruin seemed to be
made of cast iron.

“Let me have a shot at him,” said Meshack, at this juncture. “I believe
that I can kill the old boy.”

“Stand out of the way!” cried the Revolutionary soldier. “I am sure
that I can finish him off, and I’ll knock you out if you interfere with

It was getting dark by now, and Bruin was still unkilled. It soon was
so dark that Mr. Martin could not see the powder in the pan. The gun
missed fire.

“Here, Mr. Martin,” cried young Browning. “Give me your gun, and I will
finish this confounded rascal.”

The old frontiersman passed him the piece.

“Take it,” said he, “and good riddance.”

Meshack felt for the powder in the pan and found it empty, but having
some in a horn, he placed it carefully in the proper vent and was
ready to try his luck. There were fourteen men now around the tree.

The young pioneer could only see the bear by getting him between
himself and the sky, but he took the best aim that he could, and fired.
Pow! Down came the bear this time with a thud; and, with a wild yelping
and barking, the dogs made for him. A shout of horror arose from the
bystanders as they all took to the trees, while over and over, down
the steep hill, rolled the bear and the dogs, until they fell into a
hole, where they stopped. A terrible snarling, yelping and growling now

The last shot had so disabled the bear that he lay upon his back
defending himself valiantly as the dogs made for him. Meshack had now
nothing to shoot him with, so he went in search of a club, and pulling
a dry pole out by the roots, broke it off short, and went into the fray.

Creeping behind the bear, as he was reaching after the dogs in front,
he struck him on the head between the ears, while down he went, the
dogs attacking his hindquarters, meanwhile, and holding on to him
tightly. The tough, old fellow uttered one despairing growl, then
rolled over, stone dead. His end had come.

Meshack kept absolutely still, and, as he crouched near the bear, the
back-track party began to come up. All had descended from their trees
when they saw the bear rolling down the hill.

“Where is Browning?” asked one.

“Goodness only knows,” answered another.

“I expect that the young fool has run on the bear and has been killed
by him.”

“Hello, Browning! Hello!” cried many.

Young Meshack would not answer.

“It’s no use to call,” said one of the tree climbers. “He’s as dead as
a door nail.”

Still Meshack would not answer, because he wanted to hear what they
would all say.

“Hello! Browning!” was repeated.

“What do you want?” at length cried the young pioneer.

“Where is the bear?”

“Here he is.”

“What is he doing?”

“He is dead.”

“Well, I reckon that isn’t true, because you couldn’t kill him without
a gun or a tomahawk, and you haven’t got either of them.”

“I beat him to death with a club.”

“By George! you are fool enough to do anything. We don’t believe you.”

So saying, they gingerly began to come nearer and nearer, until they
were at the edge of the hole where the bear lay dead. They would come
no closer until young Meshack took the bear by the foot and shook it in
the air.

“By Jingo! he is dead!” said one. “Bully for you, my boy.”

The young pioneer now held up the club with which he had dispatched
the bear, and each took it and struck the dead beast on the head in
order to say that he had helped to kill the long-lived animal, but no
one congratulated Meshack. In fact, several let it be known that they
themselves had killed the tough, old fellow.

The question now arose as to how Bruin was to be carried home. Some
were for getting two oxen and a cart, but young Browning suggested
that they carry him on a pole. This they did, and staggering and
tumbling onward, the animal was gradually towed towards the house of
Mr. Caldwell. The bear was laid in the kitchen, where the owner of the
house came to view him and to taunt the back-trackers and the climbers
for their cowardice. When closely examined, it was seen that Captain
Morris’s two shots had struck him, one passing through his ear, the
other breaking two of his tusks, without doing any serious injury. No
ball from Martin’s numerous fusillades had touched him at all.

“Your shot killed the bear, Browning,” said he, turning to Meshack. “If
the bear’s backbone had not been weakened by the last shot he would
have undoubtedly killed many, if not all of them. As for these fellows
who climbed the trees, it was a most cowardly trick, and the same thing
would have occurred had they been in a fight with the redskins.”

This was very galling to the back-trackers, and they envied and abused
young Meshack whenever they had an opportunity. When the bear was cut
up they even did not wish to give Meshack a share of it, but Mr.
Caldwell insisted that he should have his just proportion of the game.

“I have no use for the meat, sir,” said the youthful pioneer. “But if
you will give me the skin, I shall be glad to have it.”

Mr. Caldwell immediately took up the hide and presented it to him.

“It is justly yours,” said he, “for my dogs treed him, and you killed
him. You have a right to the skin, because it has always been a rule
among hunters that the first blood drawn takes the skin, be it bear or

Thus ended the young trapper’s first bear fight. It raised his
reputation as a fearless boy, and made him admired and respected by all
the stout backwoodsmen of the Blue Ridge. Frequently, thereafter, when
he would be seated in the kitchen with the other children, they would
induce him to tell the whole tale and would ridicule the back-track
huntsmen for their cowardly conduct. One of them, Miss Nancy Lee, said
to him one evening:

“Browning, I always thought that you were a great coward, but I do
not think so now. And I heard father tell a strange man the other day
that if he had you in an Indian fight he knew that you would attack
the redskins as fearlessly as you did that bear. Meshack, I have often
wished that I had been born a boy, then I would be some day a man
and would be able to kill or drive away the red rascals who followed
General St. Clair, so that they would never again come back to murder
the whites. If you had seen as much of their work as I have, you would
feel as vindictively towards them as I, myself, do. Let me tell you a
story about them:


 Used by permission of John D. Morris & Co., publishers of the Lodge
 History of Nations.


“Some years ago, before General St. Clair lost so many men in a great
fight with the Indians, father and mother were compelled to leave this
place, and we all went up to the Fort at Wheeling, West Virginia. The
neighbors were forced to vacate their farms, also, and go into the
stockade. My father and three or four of his friends used to go out to
hunt for game sometimes, and a few pioneers always stood guard while
they were away. Others worked at planting and harvesting corn and at
chopping wood. There was ever the danger of an onrush by the redskins.

“At length news came to us that the Indians were in the neighborhood.
The Fort was put in the best possible condition for defense, and we
awaited their approach. But no attack came. Several days passed by, no
sound came from the depths of the forest and it was supposed that the
savages had given up the assault. But such was not the case.

“One day two Indians made their appearance on the high hill above the
town, across the river, and opposite the Fort. They fired their rifles
at the stockade and then went slowly away, slapping their hands behind
them in token of derision and contempt for the frontiersmen within the
log enclosure.

“Many of the pioneers were outraged by such an insult, for they were
hot-tempered fellows. Several began to run after the savages, and
they would have all gone had not the commanding officer stood in the
gateway and stopped them. Twenty-four of the boldest and most dashing
ran up the steep hill after the Indians, who kept on retreating as if
with no intention to offer battle. When the whites reached the summit,
they suddenly found themselves surrounded. Crack! Crack! sounded many
a rifle, and bullets began to whizz by on every side. They gazed about
them in dismay. Fully four hundred painted redskins were on three sides
of them. Their only hope was to turn and make a break for the Fort.

“The redskins, meanwhile, had moved to their rear, and, as the
frontiersmen approached, put up a stern resistance to their assault.
Many fell. Some escaped unhurt and dashed madly for their haven of
refuge, pursued by the red men with wild, vindictive yelping. My father
was one of the last to get through the lines, and, as he ran for his
life, with a close friend of his before him, he saw his companion fall
to the ground. As he passed him, the wounded man cried out, ‘John,
don’t leave me to be scalped,’ but my father ran on, as he knew that he
could do nothing for him. A moment more and he saw a white renegade,
who had gone to live with the Indians some years before. The fellow
was close to him and carried a spear, mounted on a handle like that
of a pitchfork. He was at my father’s heels when they arrived at a
narrow defile in the hill next to the Fort. A large tree was lying on
the ground and another small one was standing very near it. Something
tripped up my father’s feet, and in he fell, between the two trees.
As he went down, the white renegade made a furious lunge at him. The
spear, however, glanced off the log, turned its point upward, and stuck
so fast in the standing tree that the white savage could not withdraw
it before my father leaped to his feet, escaped unhurt, and reached the
Fort in safety.

“The poor fellow who had called out to him for help had had his thigh
broken; but he crawled upon his hands and knees to a hollow log, in
which he hid himself until dark, and then wriggled to the Fort. A short
time later a frontiersman came in with his arm broken, but the rest all
fell before the rifles, arrows and tomahawks of the redskins.

“Thus perished twenty-one of the best and bravest men in West Virginia.
Their death was a great loss to the frontier settlements, as also to
the strength of the Fort, which, in a few days, was hotly besieged
by these same red men. Their success had made them bold. Having
intercepted a boat loaded with cannonballs, destined for the use of the
garrison, the savages procured a hollow tree, bound it round with as
many chains as they could, drove wedges underneath the chains in order
to tighten them as much as possible; loaded it like a cannon, and, at
a favorable moment, let go a most tremendous broadside. Whang! The
whole thing exploded with a resounding boom, killing several, wounding
others, and frightening the rest half out of their wits.

“They did not remain frightened, however, and soon renewed their attack
upon the Fort. Near by was a log house belonging to Colonel Lane and
the assault was mainly directed against this place, but the redskins
were driven off. The powder became very scarce in the house, so it was
proposed that some men should run to the log barricade for a supply.
Among the volunteers for this dangerous task was a sister of Colonel
Lane, who said that she, herself, would go. It was objected to, and the
young men insisted on going themselves. But she was firm in her purpose
and replied that the loss of a woman would be felt less than the loss
of a man. Pinning up her dress, so that her feet would have fair play,
she started upon her dangerous mission.

“The Indians were perfectly astonished at this sight and did not fire
a single shot at her. Thus she reached the Fort in safety, secured
plenty of powder, which she tied to a belt around her waist, and off
she bounded again for the house. The red men were not so lenient this
time. Suspecting some mischief, they fired a volley of balls after her,
all of which missed the fleeing woman, so that she reached the house
in safety, with plenty of powder with which to withstand the future
attacks of the savages.

“The Indians were now discouraged. Capturing a fat cow, they roasted
her hind quarters, had a feast, and kept up a fusillade on the stockade
while they ate the tender meat. When the repast was over, they all
marched away in profound silence. As they disappeared, a settler at one
of the port-holes drew a bead upon the last savage, but a random shot
from somewhere in the forest dropped him like a stone. A wild war-whoop
echoed from the sombre woodland and the Indians had vanished.”

Thus ended the story of the attack. It was a thrilling tale, and Nancy
concluded with the remark:

“I think, Browning, that if the Indians were to commence hostilities
again, while you were living with us, you would fight for our family,
wouldn’t you?”

“Indeed,” replied the young bear hunter, “no Indian would ever put
hands upon you while life and strength was left in my body sufficient
to save you from their accursed hands.”

And he meant what he said.

Not long afterwards the young frontiersman was married, and desiring
some bear meat for the winter supply, started into the forest in order
to secure a quantity of this article. He knew where there was a swamp
of black haws (trees of which bears are very fond) and so he walked
rapidly for the bottom where these grew. When in sight of the place, he
went around it in order to let his dogs have wind of the thicket. He
had two excellent hounds with him, the older of which was sent into the
swamp in order to raise the game. In he went, and he was scarcely out
of sight before a loud snapping, howling, and yelping came to the ears
of the eager huntsman.

The young dog was crouching at the heels of the trapper, but now he
dashed into the thicket, also. Soon there was hard fighting going on.
Meshack, himself, ran as fast as he could in the direction of the
battle. When he came up with the dogs, the bear had taken to a tree,
just out of their reach. He was a big, brown fellow; very sleek and
shiny. As he heard the trapper rushing through the bushes he let go
his hold, dropped to the ground, and was in an immediate battle with
the dogs. Browning ran the muzzle of his gun against him and fired,
but the bullet struck too far back to seriously injure Brother Bruin.
As the musket went off, the dogs closed in and the fight became most
desperate. The bear was giving them more than they could stand.

Meshack had dropped the gun in the weeds, and had no means of
protecting his pets except by means of a large knife in his belt. It
was now or never, for the bear had one of them on the ground and was
biting him severely. In a few moments it would be all over with him.
Therefore the trapper ran up to Brother Bruin and made a lunge at
his side. The knife struck him far back, and did not cause a mortal
wound. Still on he fought, though the blow released the dog, who arose
and attacked the bear again with renewed energy, just as the beast
attempted to crawl beneath a log which was raised from the ground.
The young dog caught him by the nose as he went under, while the
other seized him by his right hind leg. Both held fast, while Meshack
ran upon him with his knife and dealt him two or three severe blows.
Growling, snuffing, and breathing hard, the tough old Bruin rolled over

This was one of many such adventures. There were also encounters with
wildcats, panthers, wolves, and other denizens of the woods. With deer,
also, there were many strange happenings, as the following will prove:

In February, 1800, the trapper and another young man, called Louis
Van Sickle, went into the woods in order to catch a young deer, which
Browning intended to raise as a pet. The Virginia red deer will become
tame in two or three days, and even the oldest bucks will prove quite
docile after a few weeks’ confinement. Several had been so tamed by
the trapper that they would come to him, put their nose in his pocket,
would take apples or moss out of it; would eat this food, and would
then search in his pockets for more.

The snow was about four feet deep as the two trappers went into the
laurel swamps where the deer took winter refuge. As they drew near the
edge of the swamp, they discovered many paths made by the animals as
they came out of the thicket in order to browse upon the small bushes
and on the moss upon the fallen timber. They struck off, down one of
the paths, and soon saw seven large deer running and jumping up and
down in the deep snow. They pursued as best they could, for they had
snow-shoes on underneath their moccasins, and soon Meshack was far
ahead of Van Sickle, who was unable to travel over the snow with any

When the trapper reached the hindmost deer, the foremost ones, being
tired out, had stopped to take breath. The last one attempted to pass
by those in front and leaped into the deep snow, where he stuck fast.
Meshack caught hold of him with the intention of tying him, but he was
too fat and strong and fought viciously. They were struggling together,
when Louis came up with a long clasp-knife and cut the throat of the
buck. With the knife in his pocket, Meshack now ran after the others,
and soon overtook them as they were crossing a small branch, with steep
banks upon either side. A large tree, which had fallen over the stream,
lay a short distance from the ground, where many leaves had drifted
under it. One of the bucks, being hard pushed and greatly frightened,
darted among the leaves, and thus escaped the eyes of the trapper, who
had his attention upon the deer in front. Meshack passed by, pursued
the others for some distance, caught a large buck, which he attempted
to tie, but he fought him desperately, and was so strong that he could
not handle him.

While engaged with this buck he heard Louis crying out from behind:

“Hello! Browning! Come to my assistance! Come quickly!”

Meshack left the buck and ran to the relief of his friend, thinking, as
he did so, that he had probably fallen among the stones and had broken
his leg, for the ground was rocky and full of holes. As he ran towards
him, he said to himself: “If he has broken a leg, I will first take my
ropes and will tie him to a tree, then I will pull it out straight, set
the bone, and will tear up some clothes and wrap them around the limb,
scrape a place clear of snow, build a good fire, and leave him here
while I go for a horse and sled on which to carry him home.”

He was to be agreeably disappointed. As he came in sight of his friend,
he observed him lying upon his back with his knees drawn up towards
his face, and his large, wide snow-shoes turned up to the sun. Before
him stood one of the largest bucks, with his tail spread, his hair
bristled up, and his eyes glowing fire. He was carefully watching the
prostrate trapper, and every time that he moved the buck would spring
upon him and would beat him over the head and face with his feet until
he became quiet again. The irate deer would wait until Louis would make
another move, then he would again jump upon him.

This was the same buck that had hidden underneath the log when Meshack
had passed by. The animal had recovered his breath, and, as Van Sickle
approached, sprang upon him suddenly. Striking the astonished trapper
with his fore feet, he threw him backwards in the deep snow, and every
time that the scout would attempt to arise, the deer would attack and
strike at him until he would lie still.

How often the buck had repeated this chastisement before Meshack came
in sight is difficult to say. When the trapper saw his companion lying
motionless, and hallooing vociferously for help, he could not suppress
a loud laugh. Van Sickle made several attempts to rise, but in vain;
for the buck gave him a sound beating at every move. The prostrate
woodsman was furious with rage. He cried out loudly:

“You intend to let me freeze here in the snow, Browning? That is death,
anyway, and I am going to get out of this fix, or else lose my life in
the attempt. Can’t you drive this cursed buck away?”

As he ceased speaking, he made another move, and, as the buck sprang
upon him again with his fore feet, he reached up, passed one arm around
the animal’s neck, and then the other. Drawing the deer close to
him, he vigorously endeavored to upset his valiant opponent. Meshack
continued his laughter, for it was certainly a novel wrestling match,
and the buck seemed to have the trapper at his mercy. He determined to
let his friend fight it out to the bitter end, without any assistance
on his part.

The buck seemed to be weakening after fifteen minutes of struggling,
and Louis now raised his legs and threw them over the animal’s back.
The snow-shoes were somewhat in the way, but he withdrew his right hand
from the deer’s neck, and, as he lay beneath him, began to strike him
in the ribs with his closed fist.

“It’s now your turn, you rascal,” he called out. “You have had your
innings, and it is now my opportunity. How do you like this—and
this—and this?”

Every time that he punched the buck the deer would grunt and endeavor
to strike him with his fore feet.

Meshack had stopped laughing by now, and walking up to the fighting
trapper, said:

“Let go of the buck, Louis, and I will finish him with my

“No! No!” replied the woodsman. “I have a good hold on him now, and I
refuse to let go until either he or I lose our lives.”

He continued to strike heavy blows upon the buck’s side, as Meshack
seized the animal by the ear. Now determined to end the affair, he
quickly dispatched him with his hunting-knife, and, as he dropped to
the snow, the prostrate trapper drew himself to his feet with a loud
shout of satisfaction and delight.

“Meshack,” said he, “you have saved my life! If you had not come, I
do not believe that I would have whipped this fellow, for he was the
toughest customer that I ever tackled in my entire woodland experience.”

Van Sickle was so upset by the beating which the buck had given him
that he would never hunt any more unless Browning went in advance, and
if a bush rattled, would jump back in deadly fear that another buck was
coming after him. He was severely injured, having many black and blue
lumps upon his head, and one very black eye. Two or three days later,
he exhibited a long war-club, which he had made to defend himself
with, as well as to attack the fighting bucks. It was eight feet in
length, with a large knot upon the upper end, and was a deadly means of
defense. He would never venture to the woods again unless Meshack went
along, and, as the trapper would not go with him, he had no opportunity
of trying his murderous instrument.

Shortly after this strange and novel battle in the woods, Meshack was
asked by his wife to bring home some young turkeys for supper. Telling
her that he could soon do this, he called his dog, Watch, and was off
into the woodland. His faithful hound had been lame for more than a
month from the bite of the last bear which he had tackled, and was
still very stiff. He frisked about his master in spite of this, and
seemed to be all ready for anything that might turn up.

It was not long before the trapper saw three or four old turkeys with
perhaps thirty or forty young ones. He sent Watch after them, in order
to drive them towards him, but they flew into some low, white oak
trees. When Meshack walked fast, as if he were going past them, they
would sit still as they could for him to pass on. After taking twelve
or fifteen steps the trapper would shoot off their heads. He thus kept
on, until he had shot off the tops of nine young turkeys. This was
sufficient for the larder, and whistling to his dog, he turned about
for home.

Watch, however, seemed to be very much excited, and kept whining and
sniffing, as if some species of game were near.

“What is it, my boy?” asked his master.

For answer the dog bounded away towards a large mass of rocks. Here he
began to bark vociferously, so that the trapper felt sure that a bear
was concealed near by.

“Fetch him out, boy! Fetch him out!” he cried.

Down went the dog, and into a crevice in the rocks, while Meshack
raced to the other side. To his astonishment no bear came forth, but
a huge panther bounded into the open, and, jumping from rock to rock,
was soon out of sight. The dog followed along the rocks as best he
could, and both quarry and pursuer were soon lost to view. After a few
moments, however, the dog opened again, and seemed to be coming back
on the other side of the stones and laurel bushes, which here grew in

Meshack turned to follow the dog. When he had gone a few steps he heard
something moving, and wheeling about, saw the panther creeping close
upon him. As he went behind some rocks Meshack levelled his rifle. When
he came out the trapper fired, directing the ball, as near as he could,
to the heart of the ferocious beast. The gun cracked. The panther
sprang into the air, snapping at the place where the ball struck him.
Then, turning towards the trapper, he came on, put his paws on a small,
fallen tree, and looked his adversary full in the face.

Meshack drew his hunting-knife, and, as the panther made a lunge
at him, struck at him again and again. The sharp claws ripped the
hunting-shirt of the bold pioneer and gashed his arms, but the fierce
thrusts of the hardened woodsman soon made the beast cease his attack.
He crawled into a leaning tree, where he sat for a moment glaring at
the man in buckskin, and then came to the ground. In spite of the fact
that he was bleeding profusely, he soon disappeared into a rocky cavern.

The bold trapper has written:

“I was really glad of it, for I found myself so nervous that I could
scarcely load my rifle, and, when the panther was looking at me, I was
determined that if he made an attempt to come near me, I would seek
safety in flight. He would have been obliged to ascend a steep hill,
and, as I had at least five steps the start of him, I do not think that
he could have caught me. If any man would run at all, I think this
would have been as good a cause as any he could have wished for. I
know, furthermore, that I would not have been distanced in the race.”

In the meantime Watch returned.

“Heigh on, Watch!” cried the trapper. “Go seek him out! Go seek him

The dog was off in a jiffy, and descended to a large mass of rocks
where he could be heard worrying the panther. The growling, snarling,
and yelping soon ceased, so Meshack hastened towards the sound. He saw
a den before him evidently in use for many years, and in the opening
lay the beast, stone dead. Watch was licking his chops, as much as to
say, “Now, what do you think of me, old boy? Didn’t I do a good day’s
work, eh?”

Meshack was delighted, for the panther was evidently an old stager.
He was of tremendous size. Many a dead deer had been found in this
particular part of the forest in years past, so it was evident that the
beast had ranged the woods for a long time. After his death no more
half-eaten deer were seen in the woods by the hunters and backwoodsmen,
so it was plainly evident that the mighty panther had been the cause of
all this loss. Certainly the trapper had had a dangerous encounter, and
had had a narrow escape from severe injuries.

Meshack had heard of a great den of bears on Meadow Mountain, called
the Big Gap, and on April 4th, 1803, he started out to hunt them with
a friend called Hugh. They were not long in reaching the ground where
the bears had denned, or “holed,” as the hunters called it. “It was,”
says the trapper, “the greatest place for bear holes I ever saw in my
life. I really believe that at least twenty had laid in one acre of
rock. They had all left their holes when we arrived, in order to go
out after acorns, except an old female and her younglings, which were
located in a deep place in the rocks.”

The dogs soon found this family of bears and attacked them, although
the old one fought with great fury, while her cubs ran for their lives.
As they passed by, Meshack shot at one and killed it, although Hugh
missed the one at which he fired. The old bear had left her hole,
meanwhile, and endeavored to follow after her young, but the dogs
worried her to such an extent that she did not get out of sight of the
hole before she was shot dead at the first fire. Two of the young ones

The two trappers continued their hunt, and in the evening of the same
day fell in with another old female and two young bears. The dogs ran
them all up the same tree, but the laurel was so thick that as soon as
they shot the old one the young ones ran safely away, while the dogs
were worrying the mother. The dogs soon finished the parent bear, and,
setting off after the two young cubs, drew so close that they put up a
tree. Running after them, the trappers were not long in dispatching the
two fugitives. Thus, with two old bears, and three cubs, the huntsmen
felt that they had done a good day’s work. With great difficulty the
booty was carried home by means of two horses, and enough meat was
thus secured to last for the entire winter. Besides this, the hides of
the young cubs made an excellent carpet for the cabin of the pioneers.

Soon afterwards Meshack purchased some cattle, and, as there were
scores of wolves about, on the same night that he took his stock to his
home he missed one yearling, which he found had been killed by a wolf.
This made him very angry.

“Mr. Wolf shall pay me for my calf,” said he, “and with interest.”

Taking a shoulder of the calf, he laid it in a steel trap and placed
the bait in a running branch of water, taking care to hide it very
securely. On the third morning after putting out this snare he went to
the spot and found that the trap had disappeared.

Rain had fallen during the night and every trace of the wolf’s
footprints was destroyed. Nothing daunted, Meshack returned home,
called to both of his dogs, and endeavored to lay them on the trail.
But they could not scent it on account of the great rain.

The trapper knew that the wolf would go to the nearest laurel swamp,
to do which he had to cross a creek. Into this the pioneer waded and
walked down it for some distance. Finally he saw where the trap had
struck the bank as the wolf was crossing the stream. Wading back to the
dogs, he carried them to the other shore, and harked them on the track
of the wolf. At first the trail was very indistinct, but as they went
forward it became fresher and fresher.

In about half an hour the dogs began to give tongue and soon were hot
on the scent of the wary old fellow, who could not run very far because
the trap was fast to his hind legs. Finally there was a terrible
hullabaloo, and, running to the sound of the noise, Meshack saw that
the wolf had taken to a hollow tree. His head was sticking out, and
every time a dog approached, he bit at him and howled dismally.

The dogs were not afraid of the beast, and kept springing at him. Every
time a dog would come near enough the animal would snap viciously at
him, and, if possible, would sink every tooth in that part of his body
which he could reach. He was a terrible fellow,—black and shaggy.
Meshack encouraged his pets to do all in their power, crying:

“Hark on, boys! Lay on to him! Fetch the old varmint! Bite the old
calf-killer. Hit him, boys! Hit him!”

Finally the strongest dog took a deep hold on one of the wolf’s ears,
while the other seized the remaining one. The wolf came out of the tree
in a second, but the now energetic attackers threw him to the ground.
Again and again he endeavored to recover his feet, but they pulled him
over and over. They were all growing exhausted.

At this moment Meshack seized a club and took part in the battle. Again
and again he beat the old fellow over the head. Again and again the
dogs rolled him about. At length the fierce and ferocious beast gave a
great, despairing kick, and it was all over.

The trapper was delighted. Taking off the scalp and hide, he returned
to his cabin, and subsequently sold both for nine dollars,—the price
of two calves.

“My good wife,” said he, “I told you that I would make Mr. Wolf pay me
well, with interest, for his incursions upon my cattle. I have done it.”

And his wife answered:

“Meshack, you are a man of your word—God bless you!”

One other adventure of this famous trapper of the Alleghanies is
interesting, for he had another startling experience. This time he was
accompanied by his good friend, Hugh, who was often his companion in
bear and wolf hunting.

Deciding to go after bear at the Big Gap, Hugh and Meshack went into
camp within three miles of some rocks where many of these animals had
previously been seen in abundance. They arrived at the hunting-grounds
quite early, having one of their best dogs along, a fellow who could
handle almost any bear, whatever his size. The animal grew very lively
when near some rocks, and soon ran into a hole, where his yelping was
intermingled with loud growls, showing that some large animal was
inside. Again and again the trappers called to their faithful hound,
but he would not come out. There were three holes out of which Mr. Bear
might come bounding forth at any moment.

Meshack had given Hugh a bayonet, fixed on a handle like a pitchfork,
with directions to run it through the bear if he rushed by him. He,
himself, guarded the hole at which the animal was most likely to
appear. The dog was making a terrific noise, as he struggled with the
infuriated beast. The fight continued for half an hour, at the end of
which time Meshack espied a part of the bear, when peering through a
small crack in the rock. Putting his musket to the opening he fired.
With a roar and rush the wounded beast dashed into the open.

“Run your bayonet through him, Hugh!” yelled the trapper. “Run your
bayonet through him before he gets away!”

But Hugh was too timid to make the attempt. The enraged animal passed
him with an evil snarl, and as he scampered to a tree Meshack vainly
endeavored to ram another ball home in his rifle. The animal climbed
slowly up to a limb and lay there growling evilly.

“Now is your chance, Meshack!” shouted Hugh. “Get after him! Give him a
dose of lead!”

The trapper approached in order to secure a bead upon his victim, and,
standing beneath the tree, was just raising his rifle so as to take
good aim, when, with a mighty rush, Bruin came at him, through the air.
It was an unexpected attack, and quite out of the ordinary, so you can
well imagine what must the feelings of the trapper have been, as the
bear whirled above his head. Stepping aside, he fired at the brown mass
just as it reached the ground.

The fighting beast made a savage stroke at the trapper’s legs with his
right paw, but Meshack was too quick for him and jumped swiftly aside.
Again and again the monster endeavored to get a blow in upon the
pioneer, but each time the trapper dodged. Just then his dog appeared,
seized Bruin by the hind leg, causing the old fellow to turn about,
and snap at his antagonist. This gave the trapper a chance to load,
and, quickly ramming home another ball, he pointed his flint-lock at the
struggling beast, pulled the trigger, and planted a bullet in his body
near the heart. With a savage growl of despair the bear dropped to the
ground, where the faithful dog soon terminated his career.

“Hugh, where were you all this time?” asked the smiling Meshack.

His companion approached; much abashed at the small part he had taken
in the fray.

“R-e-ally,” said he, “I feared that my weapon was not sufficiently
strong in order to dispatch this monster. It might have bent, you know.
Then, where would I have been?”

Meshack laughed loudly.

“Well, I reckon, you would have been bent, too,” said he. “For this
fellow was surely a scrapper. Here, help me swing him on a pole and we
will take him home for the winter’s supply of food.”

This they did, and Bruin increased very materially the slender larder
for the winter months, when snow covered the trackless forests and it
was impossible to hunt, to fish, or to secure venison or bear-meat in
the deep and sombre woodland.

The early settlers, you see, being but few in numbers, had a hard time
to maintain themselves; if they had not been extremely economical
they could not have lived in the wilderness at all. They fashioned
their own clothes, they raised flax and wool, which the women spun and
wove into linen and linsey for the men; and made flannel for their own
wear. If any man wished to hire help there would be an understanding
beforehand as to what the wages were to be paid in. Sometimes pork,
beef, honey, or corn was used as a substitute for money. Sometimes a
calf, pig, deer-skin, bear-skin, coon-skin, or a wolf’s scalp would
suffice. The settlers all lived in cabins, and fed their children on
bread, meat, butter, honey, and milk. Coffee and tea were almost out of
the question. A few of the older ladies, who had been raised in other
parts of the country, alone could use these staples of diet. Meat was
plentiful, for, if the farmers could keep the wild animals away from
their hogs, the nuts and acorns would make them very fat. Pork, beef,
bear-meat, and venison were easily obtained. Wild meat was not thought
very much of, because it was most plentiful at all times.

Politics were little understood among the men in buckskin. Most of them
were Federalists. An election was usually held on the first Monday in
October, when all the settlers would gather at the polling booths,
arrayed in hunting-shirt and moccasins, almost every one of them with
a big knife stuck in his belt. A stranger would have thought this
some military party going to war, and, if a quarrel occurred, the two
contestants would rip off both coat and shirt, and fight until one or
the other acknowledged that he was the beaten individual. Then their
friends would take the bleeding combatants to the nearest stream and
give them both a good washing. This would usually end the quarrel. The
people were generous to strangers travelling through the country, and
if a wayfarer lost his path a hunter would pilot him five, six, or even
ten miles, until he was out of danger of being lost. They would refuse
all compensation for their services.

In such a community Meshack Browning continued his life, and, in spite
of numerous hairbreadth escapes from wounded bears and panthers,
successfully escaped from any serious injuries, and he did not kill
merely for the sake of killing. Honest and warm sentiments stirred his
bosom, as the following story will show.

One day he was following a large buck, which ran into a crevice in some
high rocks and there lay down. The trapper hurried after him, and,
mounting a large boulder, eagerly searched for a view of the cunning
animal. He stood on the rock and looked about him with the utmost care,
but could see nothing of the buck, until casting his eyes down at the
base of the rock directly below where he stood, there lay the fine
fellow contentedly chewing his cud, apparently considering himself
perfectly secure. He was watching the ground in front, not thinking
that an enemy could approach on the side which the rocks so completely
covered. Let me here quote the old trapper:

“The rock being fully twenty feet high, I was obliged to shoot nearly
straight down, but when I saw what a complete advantage I had,
it greatly marred my pleasure to think that such a noble animal,
possessing all the beauty bestowed by a pair of fine, large horns, a
well formed body, and tapering limbs; whose life had been innocently
spent (never having committed an injury against either man or beast)
should be thus sacrified. My desire of killing him was so weakened,
that I really had thought of letting him escape the death that was
then hanging over him, but again it occurred to me that he was one of
the creatures placed here for the use of man, that, if I let him go,
probably the next hunter who caught him in his power would surely kill
him, and that it would be as well for me to take him as to let any
other person have him.

“So, taking a good aim, I fired at this monarch of the forest, when
the poor fellow gave a few jumps, and fell dead. I declare the death
of that deer gave me more real pain than pleasure. He was a large, old
fellow, his head and his face being quite gray with age. I took his
skin and returned to my cabin, having the river to wade and at least a
mile to travel before I could reach home. The winter being then near, I
believe that the death of this buck ended the fall hunt.”

The seasoned trapper was not always accustomed to shoot bears.
Sometimes he would trap them in large log traps, hewn out of the forest
timber by means of the axe. To entice the animals into this box, he
used to roast the leg of a deer, and, while the meat was cooking, he
would rub honey over it, so that it would smell very strongly of the
latter. Then he would cut off pieces of this sweetened meat, would tie
them beneath his moccasins, would walk through the grounds which the
bears frequented and would return to the trap. Every bear which smelled
his tracks would follow the trail to the trap and would get caught in

Shooting wolves was also varied by trapping wolves, and for this he
used to take a carcass of a cow or a horse, and lay it in a small
stream of water. Then he would go off some distance, so that the wolf
could not see where, and would cut bushes. He would stick the ends in
the mud so thickly that the wolf could get at the meat only in one
place, which was left open and clear. The carcass was so laid that the
wolf could eat at either side.

A wolf will never jump over the bait, but will hunt the stream for
a place to cross, in order to go around the other side, and eat.
Therefore, the wise trapper would leave a passage for the animal to
cross the water, and would set bushes about so thickly that they could
not get through in any other place. The stream would then be widened
where the wolves would pass, so that they could not step over it, and a
flat stone be placed in the centre with green moss laid on top, so that
it would look as if it had never been moved. Then meat would be cut
into small pieces, and strewn on both sides of these crossing-places,
both above and below the carcass.

When a gang of wolves would come to the meat the larger ones would
drive the smaller ones off. These would run about seeking food, and,
soon finding the small pieces strewn about the crossing-places, they
would run across, stepping upon the moss-covered stone as they did
so. Every time they returned they would be sure to go over the place,
setting their feet precisely in the same position on the stone.

The trapper would carefully watch the marks of the presence of the
wolves. When he found that they made tracks on the stone by wearing
away the moss with their feet he would remove the stone and put a steel
trap in its place, covering it over with green moss just as he had
covered the stone. When the animals came back, in order to seek food,
they would cross as before, place their feet in the trap, and would be
securely caught. The old ones, being at the meat when a young one would
be caught in the trap, would not be afraid to return,—as there was
nothing to scare them. After a while, however, all would become afraid
of the crossing-places. Then wise Meshack would place his trap in the
mud where they would stand to eat the meat. But after one was caught
in this place, all would desert, and trapping would be over with this
particular gang of wolves.

After capturing them in this manner for several years they became so
cunning that they would not touch any bait which was offered them. The
trapper therefore adopted another plan, which was as follows:

He found that they would pick up any fragments of old bones that lay
upon the ground, but if they lay in water, or close to it, they would
not touch them. He therefore saved all the large bones from the table,
particularly the joint ends of beef bones. He would beat them to
pieces, mount his horse, so that his tracks would not be scented, and
would scatter the stuff over a considerable area of land. Around this
space he would then stick some bushes; so that the wolves, in order to
get at the mess, would have to pass through an opening in the brush.

The wolves would soon find the bones and eat them up. Then they would
be given a second meal. But, meanwhile, a trap would be placed at the
opening of the bushes and would be stuck in a hole of its own size. All
the extra dirt would be carried away. The trap would be pressed down an
inch below the surface. Old leaves would then be laid over it, and it
would also be covered with an inch of buckwheat bran, which would keep
the wolves from smelling the iron. Then the skillful trapper would take
some of the grass, which grew around the spot, and lay it carefully
over the trap, so that no eye would discern the difference between that
particular place and the surrounding earth. When this was done early in
the morning, or before a shower of rain which would destroy all smell,
a wolf would be always caught as he came up in search of the little
bones. The pioneer was most successful in this method of defeating the
cunning of the shy and treacherous animals, who were so destructive to
the live stock of the settlers that a considerable sum was paid for
their scalps.

That the wolves were fearless the following story will bear full

A friend of the trapper’s called Mr. Calmes, was travelling from
Virginia to Kentucky with a number of others, at a time when the
Indians were very troublesome. In passing through the wilderness they
saw so many trails of the red men that they were afraid to keep a fire
burning at night for fear that the prowling savages might see their
light and attack them by surprise. They would therefore let their wood
burn until their supper was cooked, then they would smother the embers
and lie down in the dark.

One night they heard an animal moving around them, and seizing their
guns, made ready to shoot it. But the animal, whatever it was, made off
in the woodland. By its tracks they could see that it was a huge wolf.
After the excitement had subsided they all lay down again to sleep,
and one of them so stretched himself upon the ground that his head was
exposed outside of the camp. When he was asleep the wolf returned,
and, creeping upon him stealthily, bit him so severely about the head
that he died before daybreak, without speaking a word to his anxious
companions. Mr. Calmes often said that had this ferocious animal found
a man in the woods by himself, and if it was at a time when he was
particularly hungry, he would have fallen upon him and would have
killed him at once. He wound up this grewsome yarn with the sage advice
to the trapper to kill all the wolves that he could.

“Browning,” said he, “your hunting is really a great service to this
country, for, if you come upon one of these sneaking wolves, you must
spare no pain to kill him. There is no knowing how many cattle, sheep,
and hogs you will thus save to the inhabitants. I was going to tell you
to be prepared for them, but I know that you understand the rascals and
will take care of yourself. Whatever you do, do not let one of these
bad fellows escape if you can help it.”

Meshack Browning did not do so. His long and active life was one of
constant battling with the wild animals of the Blue Ridge, and at the
close of his career all could justly say that nowhere had a more famous
huntsman ever lived in the eastern portion of the then half-settled
United States. Now little game is to be found where once deer, wolves,
bears, and wild cats were plentiful, and, although sturdy and honest
men still reside in the Alleghanies, seldom does one meet with a
character like this bluff old trapper and pioneer.




WHAT one of the plainsmen did not know “Bill” Bent; “Bill,” the
fellow who had battled so often with the Comanches, Kiowas, and other
Indians that they called him “The Red Panther:” “Bill,” who had killed
innumerable braves in open conflict; and “Bill” who had often just
escaped the scalping-knife by a mere hair’s breadth? The old fellow was
a true plains’ hero, and after you have heard some of the stories about
his escapades with the redskins I’ll warrant that you will agree that
he was a marvellously lucky scout.

In 1829 the brother of this fellow—Charles Bent—was upon an
expedition to the mountains near Santa Fé, New Mexico. With him were
numerous others, well armed and well mounted. It was lucky that this
was the case, for every day a cloud of Comanches and Kiowas hung upon
the flanks of the moving line of trappers and kept up a continuous and
rapid fire. Every night the trappers slept upon their arms, certain
that an assault would come before the dawn. Bill Bent was several miles
away—at a little frontier post—and, hearing of the peril of his
brother and his friends, determined to ride to the rescue.

Old Bill rode a large black mule with split ears, which showed that he
had once been owned by a Comanche brave. The Comanches soon sighted
him, and about fifty of them made after him at full tilt. Arrows and
bullets whistled about the head of the gallant scout, but he paid no
more attention to these missiles than if they were flies. Occasionally
he would turn in his saddle and drop some too eager buck whose zeal
had outstripped discretion, and who had galloped within easy range of
Bill’s deadly Hawken rifle.

“Here he comes, boys!” shouted one of the band of plainsmen. “A brave
fellow is after us, sure.”

Bent came dashing up and reached two plainsmen called Coates and
Waldo, who fired at the pursuing redskins, bringing down three of
the foremost. Seeing this, the other Comanches retreated and left
the little band to plod on alone. A force of one hundred and twenty
Mexicans joined the party shortly afterwards, in order to be protected
by them against the overwhelming numbers of the redskins.

The frontiersmen kept on their way across the lava dust and sage brush,
but the Indians—although drawing off at a distance—still pursued.
A famous scout called Ewing Young was travelling about twenty miles
off, and from a fleeing Mexican heard that his brother trappers were
sorely pressed. This particular scout was one of the bravest and most
generous of men. As a trapper, hunter, and Indian fighter, he had few
superiors. He had learned from a friendly redskin that the mountain
canyon towards which the scouts were journeying was occupied by two
thousand warriors, who lay in ambush waiting to entrap and annihilate
the whites. Gathering forty trusty men-of-the-plains around him he rode
to warn the fleeing plainsmen of their danger.

“By George, boys, there they are!”

One of the advance trappers spoke thus, as—from a summit of a high
hill—he saw below him the vast horde of redskins surrounding and
following the retreating scouts with whom Bill Bent was associated. The
redskins set up a wild whooping as soon as they viewed the oncoming
whites. “Crack! crack!” the rifles began to spit and spatter at the
advancing plainsmen.

The scouts were courageous, but the odds were too great even for such
valor as theirs. Swarms of Indians enveloped them, shouting:

“Ki yi! ki yi! The palefaces will soon all be dead!”

At this juncture young Kit Carson first showed the material that he was
made of. Riding out in front, he swung himself under his horse,—and
shooting at a redskin from below its neck, brought him to the ground.

“Bully for you, Kit!” shouted Scout Young. “But these infernal redskins
are too thick for me. I must break loose and retreat to Tavo.”

This the plainsman speedily did, and, although pursued for some
distance, finally got safely away. At Tavo a crowd of trappers were
assembled for their yearly rendezvous. Ninety-five of them joined
Young, crying: “To the rescue of Bill Bent! To the fore! We’ll clean up
all the Comanches in the state!”

“Hurrah, boys!” shouted Young. “That’s the kind of talk I like to hear.
We’ll get right after them.”

The Indians, meanwhile, still pursued Bill Bent and his party.

The trappers under Young were not long in riding to the rescue of their
comrades. As they came in sight the redskins gave whoops of disgust,
for they saw that they were outnumbered and outclassed.

“Back to the woods!” shouted young Kit Carson, as he galloped his steed
in the direction of the braves. “Back to the plains, for we’ll get you

As the party came on, Bill Bent’s followers set up a wild whooping.
“We’re saved!” cried several. “Old Scout Young, we knew, would not let
us be annihilated.”

The Indians now became dispirited. Seeing the reinforcements coming up
in battle array they quickly retired, chanting a death song, for they
had lost fully fifty men in killed and wounded.

Bill Bent’s followers were now free, and Bill, himself, was overjoyed
to have saved his scalp. But he soon came near losing it again.

In the winter of 1830-1831, the tried and seasoned trapper, together
with Robert Isaacs and a comrade whose name is unknown, made his
way to Arizona, on a trapping expedition. For a time they met with
fair success and saw nothing of the redskins. But one day they were
surrounded by a body of Mescalero Apaches, who were the fiercest of
the savage tribes upon the frontier. The Indians were one hundred and
fifty strong. There were but three trappers. What chance had they, you
ask. They had no hope of freedom, but, as Bill Bent expressed it: “We
will sell our lives as dearly as possible and we will make as many
redskins go under as we can before we, ourselves, will give up!”

The trappers threw up a rude stone breastwork when first surrounded.
They were working hard on this, when, with terrific whoops, the Apaches
were after them on the charge.

“Go easy, boys!” shouted Bill Bent. “Make every shot count!”

Two of the trappers fired as he spoke and two of the chiefs fell to
the sod. Before they could get out of range the third man shot off his
rifle, and another one of the braves dropped to the ground. The Apaches
were not disconcerted and again returned to the charge, but they were
met by the deadly fire of the reloaded rifles and the pistols of the
trappers, also.

“Ugh! Ugh!” said they, “we’ve had enough! We must go back!”

Conducting the siege now at long range, the Apaches kept up a desultory
fire for two days. Then they retired in disgust, for they could not
dislodge the trappers.

“Hurrah!” cried Bill Bent, as he saw them going away. “Boys, we can now
get some water!”

The scouts, in fact, were nearly dead with thirst, but they soon found
a spring and refreshed themselves. Leaving Arizona soon afterwards,
they avoided any further trouble with the terrible Apaches, who,
remembering the drubbing which they had received, were glad to allow
them to retreat unmolested.

The old Santa Fé trail in New Mexico was much used by emigrants at this
time and was well watched by the redskins. Should a train be slightly
guarded it would be unsafe for men, women and children, for the Indians
would make short work of them. This deterred all except the boldest
spirits from venturing where was certain peril and probable death. But
among the heroes who were still willing to encounter the fearful odds
of Indian combat were to be found Bill Bent, his brother Charles, the
Waldos, and a few others whom no danger ever daunted, and who saw a
splendid field for trade in this country. In 1839 a party of these men
applied to Andrew Jackson, who had just taken his seat as President.
They asked for a military escort to accompany them to the Arkansas
River, which—at that time—formed the boundary between Mexico and the
United States.

This request was speedily granted, and Major Bennett Riley was
detailed, with two hundred men, to meet the emigrants at Fort
Leavenworth and to accompany them to the Arkansas River. The traders
met at Round Grove, Missouri, where Charles Bent was chosen Captain and
where Bill Bent also joined. With thirty-six wagons, fully freighted
with valuable goods, they set out for Santa Fé, New Mexico.

In due time they reached the Arkansas River at Chateau’s Island, and
here the traders bade farewell to the gallant Major and his brave
soldiers. Plunging into the shallow waters of the stream they were
soon on Mexican soil. But their troubles now commenced. The dry sand
engulfed their wagon wheels almost to the hubs, stalling the teams, and
utterly preventing an orderly march.

“Close up! Close up!” Bill Bent kept shouting.

But in spite of these orders, the wagons were soon strung over a half a
mile of road. Advance and rear detachments had been thrown out to guard
against surprise, but either through the negligence of the videttes, or
from the completeness with which the Indians had concealed themselves,
they had only gone nine miles when the savages seemed to spring out of
the very bowels of the earth. Their rifles spat a deadly fire.

“My stars, look at the redskins!” cried Bill Bent. “They’re after us,
for sure, this time!”

The surprise had been complete, but Charles Bent—mounted upon a large,
black horse—with his long, dark hair floating upon the wind, dashed
up and down the line, forming his men. Every ravine swarmed with the
redskins, and, although they yelled fiercely, above their loud calls
could be heard the voice of Charles Bent.

“Close up, men! Close up!” he kept shouting. “It’s our only chance! And
keep cool! Keep cool!”

Two of the men had been lagging in the rear of the train, and, at the
first fire, one fell dead, while the other—with fifty Indians in
pursuit—dashed for the wagons. Escape seemed to be impossible, but
Bent saw the situation at a glance and charged towards the advancing
savages with twenty scouts. The Indians drew off at this show of force,
and the fleeing trapper was thus able to join his comrades.

_Crash! Crash!_ sounded the rifles, and the battle continued to rage
with fury. Nothing but Bent’s coolness and the desperate bravery of
his men prevented a charge by the red men, who numbered at least a
thousand. Luckily a small, brass cannon was in the train—the first
that ever crossed the Arkansas—and, as it spat its fire, the Comanches

The trappers now dug rifle-pits, but Bent soon saw that without water
his men would be unable to hold their own.

“Who will creep through the hostile redskins and go after Major Riley
and his men?” he asked. “Unless we get his aid we will have to give in
to these frightfully bloodthirsty savages!”

“I will go! I will go!” came from the throats of many. In fact all
seemed to wish to undertake the hazardous journey.

Captain Bent could not help laughing. Nine were finally selected for
the trip. They knew that their only salvation lay in their rifles, for
their mules were so worn down by fatigue that flight was out of the

They rode out expecting to have a tough time of it, but the redskins
allowed them to pass through their lines without firing a single shot
at them. Spurring on their broken-down beasts they hastened towards
the Arkansas River, where they still hoped to find Major Riley with his

The Major was surely there. He saw them coming away off on the plains,
and, striking his tents, was all prepared to meet them when they

“Gentlemen,” said he, when he heard their story, “it is a breach of
national etiquette for me to cross the boundary line into Mexico—a
friendly power—but blood is thicker than water, and I cannot see my
countrymen suffer. I will be with you as soon as my troops can pack up.”

The soldiers were soon on their way. So rapid and silent was the
approach of the force that they even penetrated between the pickets of
the traders and their camp before they were discovered. Cheer after
cheer welled from the throats of the beleaguered plainsmen, as they
approached. The savages heard them, and, seeing that they now would
have to assume the defensive, quietly slipped away.

“Ow! Ow!” said one brave. “We get those palefaces yet.”

Much overjoyed, Bent and his traders again started on their journey,
turning their course from Santa Fé, which point they at first intended
to reach, to Taos, some eighty miles further to the North. By this
détour they not only avoided many canyons, in which were sure to
be lurking savages, but were also able to obtain a military escort
of Mexicans. A General Viscarro—with a goodly number of Mexican
rancheros—accompanied them. But there was still to be trouble.

They reached the rippling courses of the river Cimarron. There a party
of savages approached the Mexicans, who rode on in front. One of them
bore an arrow tied transversely across a spear, it being the symbol of
the cross. Viscarro was a Catholic, and, honoring this novel flag with
true devotion, he was spoken to by one of the braves.

“If the Americans will move aside to some distance,” said he, “we will
lay down our arms and will surrender.”

Viscarro smiled.

“Certainly, red brother,” said he.

The Americans retired beyond a ridge, and no sooner were they out of
the way than the treacherous savages poured a destructive fire into the
Mexican ranks. Many men and officers were wounded. But luckily the two
Bents heard the firing, and suspecting treachery, gathered a number of
mounted soldiers and went to the relief of the men who lived south of
the Rio Grande.

Now was a desperate affair. Bent and his men burst upon the savages
with fierce cries and delivered a deadly volley right in their faces.
Their rifles were then discarded, and, having next emptied their
pistols, they followed up the attack with tomahawks and clubbed rifles.
Soon the Comanches were in full flight and the field was strewn thickly
with their dead and wounded.

A gallant action was performed by a Pueblo (or Village) Indian. He was
near the Mexican General, Viscarro, and understanding the language of
the hostiles, heard one of the latter exclaim in his native tongue:
“Now for the General!” As he spoke he aimed a bullet at the body of
the Mexican commander. The Indian threw himself in front of him—at
this juncture—and fell to the ground; as noble a hero as the lists of
chivalry tell of. Viscarro was much affected by this show of devotion.

Thanks to Bill Bent and his brother Charles, the caravan had been saved
from the hostiles. It was well. From this time on nothing exciting
occurred and the Americans and Mexicans reached their respective
homes in safety, meeting with no more serious annoyance than the
nightly serenade of coyotes. The disheartened Comanches had given
up their attempt to crush out the travel along the Arkansas trail,
and fortunately for the white traders entered into no more military
combinations,—preferring the safer and more natural warfare of the
small, predatory bands. They could then move quickly and could cut off
small unguarded bodies of men.

Bill Bent had done well. Now he did even better, for a fort was named
after him. This was situated on the Arkansas River; was first called
Fort William, and was the property of Lieutenant Vrain and himself.
Built in 1833, here the celebrated Kit Carson was the post hunter from
1834 to 1842. Could the walls of the old fort speak, they would tell
many tales of thrilling battles with the red men.

On one occasion it was besieged by many thousands of plains Indians.
All of the tribes had determined to lay aside their mutual dislike for
one another for once, and to league together for the extermination
of the “palefaces.” They saw that the white traders would soon have
all of this country and they did not like the idea. Bill Bent was
approaching the fort with a wagon-train about this time. Knowing that
two or three hundred raw recruits of the United States garrison formed
its only defense, he hastened rapidly to its relief. On his way he met
several deserters, who (in the night) had scaled the walls of what they
regarded to be a place of doom, and stealing cautiously through the
savage lines, had fled with all speed towards the rising sun,—for they
knew that help was there.

Bill Bent was somewhat alarmed at this. When he arrived in sight of the
fort he saw that it was menaced by a great and awful danger. There were
thousands of hostile Indians dancing their war and scalp dances around
it, and endeavoring to work themselves up to the proper frenzy in order
to make the attack. Bent’s blood began to boil.

“Here!” he cried to one of his best men, “you take charge of the train!
I have to move forward!”

His hat came off as he rode on, but he galloped straight at the fort.
His long hair—meanwhile—trailed out behind like a banner from its
staff. It was a trophy which any of the savages would have been very
proud to wear in his belt.

The Indians were too surprised to fire at him. As he dashed along, he
uttered a fierce war-whoop, and fired his revolver at a savage who was
unwise enough to approach. Behind him came thundering his friend and
ally,—Yellow Bear. He was a great Apache chief, but a friend of the
whites and their staunch supporter. Strung out in the rear were a few
Apache braves, who would have cheerfully sacrificed their lives for
either Bent or Yellow Bear.

Bill Bent reached the fort in safety. So did Yellow Bear and his
braves. The wagon-train came steadily on, its men marching alongside,
fully armed. It, too, reached the doorway of the fort without a mishap.
Here the pioneers found Bent getting everything in proper shape to give
a warm reception to the braves, who from their actions were apparently
ready for the assault. They were met with a hot reception.

Now an unforeseen event occurred.

Upon the morning after Bent’s arrival the lookout beheld a slight cloud
of dust far to the Eastward. After a while, a few black specks could be
seen. They came nearer and were seen to be Indian videttes with their
ponies on a dead run.

The videttes dashed into the Indian encampment, said a few hasty words
to some of the chiefs, and then consternation seemed to take possession
of the redskins. The squaws began at once to take down the lodges.
The travois poles were slung with the tents and equipment. Soon the
entire Indian camp was in full retreat. Amidst the yelping of the dogs,
squalling of the babies, the rattle of pots and kettles piled up on the
travois, and the insulting yells of the warriors, the savage host of
besiegers crossed the Arkansas River and disappeared from view.

“Why, now,” said Bill Bent. “Boys! Seems they’re afraid of us!”

But the mystery was soon explained. Late on the evening of the next
day those in the fort beheld the approach of a regiment of United
States cavalry, which had been sent to its relief. The redskins had an
admirable picket system. By means of this their pony express had told
them of the approach of the cavalry, and, fearing that vengeance might
be taken upon them for their hostile attitude and war-like threats,
they prudently decamped.

Bill Bent had many another adventure upon the plains which was as
thrilling as this. He was known for his courage and was never badly
wounded, although he took a thousand chances. Sad to relate, he married
a Cheyenne wife, and his children—suffering from this taint of redskin
blood—never attained the prominence upon the plains which their fond
parent had held. At last the good old fellow passed to the Happy
Hunting Grounds. He had indeed seen the wild and woolly West in its
palmiest days. Good-by to old Bill, hardy frontiersman and scout, whose
reputation was spotless! Good-by and good luck, Bill Bent!



“YOU will do, boy, I will need you!”

The man who spoke—a grizzled old plainsman—nodded to a strong-looking
young Scotchman who was standing before him, rifle in hand, and
motioned to him to take a position among a number of trappers who stood
near by. The fellow who thus spoke was John Ashley (a famous trader and
explorer) who had just organized the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. As he
was in need of vigorous young men his heart naturally warmed towards
the stalwart youth before him, who was yearning for adventure in the
Far West.

This athletic frontiersman was none other than Thomas Eddie, who was
now twenty-four years of age, and whose aim with the rifle was steady
and sure. Born on August 29th, 1799, he had naturally drifted to the
plains, where he was as quick to volunteer upon a dangerous mission
as were “Old Bill” Williams, Bill Gordon, or any of the other valiant
pioneers. He was a fellow of iron will, and the older members of this
expedition soon found that the canny young Scot would do and dare as
much as any of them. As ready and willing to go to the relief of a
stricken comrade as the most experienced man on the plains, he had
not an enemy on the border, except among the redskins, whose hand was
against every white man. As wiry as steel, as keen as a sword blade:
such was the youthful Thomas Eddie, soon to be the hero of many a
startling adventure.

The trappers under Ashley made their way up the waters of the Missouri
in keel-boats. The muddy current of the turbid stream raged furiously
against them, but by vigorous rowing they managed to thread their way
among the numerous snags and sand-bars. At length they reached the
vicinity of an Arickara village, filled with several hundred savages,
and here they intended to trade, before passing up the Yellowstone
River, where was splendid trapping. They rowed on with confidence,
little suspecting that the redskins were in a terrible state of
agitation and anger against all of the white men of the West. In fact,
not many weeks before, an adventurous trapper, who had been travelling
near by, had caught the son of the head chief of this nation, as he
was stealing his horse. He had shot him down as he was in the act
of throwing his leg over his mount. The Arickaras had soon heard of
this, and, in spite of the fact that the white man had been perfectly
justified in killing the horse-thief, determined to avenge the death of
their comrade.

Ashley and his companions did not know of this adventure. Therefore
they rowed onward with confidence, and soon sighted the tepees of the
red men on the right bank of the stream.

“There they are!” cried Eddie, who was in the bow of one of the boats.
“We will have good trade, for I know that they are greatly in need of
arms and of ammunition.”

“Look out for them!” spoke a fellow named Rose, in one of the other
vessels. “From certain signs I know that the red vermin mean mischief.”

This fellow was a Kentuckian who, for some misdemeanor, had been
outlawed in his own state and had then lived among the Crow Indians,
who had made him a chief. Ashley did not like him and believed him to
be a villain. Eddie, however, knew that he spoke with keen knowledge of
the redskins. He, therefore, turned around and cried loudly:

“Ashley, look out for the Indians! They mean mischief!”

To this, the head of the expedition paid not the slightest attention.
Instead, he pushed forward, anchored his boat close in shore, near a
long strip of small cottonwood trees, and pulled out his pipe, smoking
it complacently.

“Be ready for an ambush,” said Rose, “I know that the Arickaras are in
an ugly mood.”

“Oh, pshaw!” answered Ashley. “The red men are over anxious to trade.
It has been ten years since they have been on the war-path against the
whites and I know that they will treat us well. Why, man, these Indians
love me like a brother.”

Rose frowned.

“I have lived among these redskins for many moons,” said he. “And I
know them like a book. Look out. They mean trouble!”

Ashley again pooh-poohed the idea, and rowed to the bank, where he
deposited his articles of trade upon several gaudy blankets. The
Arickaras crowded around him, crying:

“Oh, palefaced brother, you have brought us fine things. Oh, good
brother! Oh, kind brother!”

They showed feverish anxiety to obtain guns and ammunition, saying
that they were soon going against their old enemies, the Sioux. The
trade went on, many of the trappers coming ashore in order to better
bargain with the redskins; a few, however, remaining in the boats.
Ashley seemed to be well satisfied with the manner in which everything
was going. He suspected nothing until one of his men came to him and
whispered in his ear:

“Three of our trappers have secretly disappeared, and I fear that they
have been murdered.”

The leader of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company was at last alarmed.
He made preparations for defense and gathered his men about him in
a hollow square. But the Indians, finding that they no longer could
conceal their enmity, now set up a loud whooping and yelling. A shot
was fired. Another and another followed in quick succession, and the
cottonwood thickets swarmed with the savages, who poured a rain of
bullets at the trappers upon the bank and upon those in the boats.

“Drop to the ground, boys!” shouted Ashley, “and we will fight for our

A desperate encounter ensued. Although surrounded in the rear, the
trappers fought their way to the bank, jumped into the river, and
attempted to swim to their boats. Many were drowned, others were killed
by bullets as they splashed towards their craft, but the majority
clambered aboard in safety.

“Cut the ropes,” shouted Ashley, “and get away from here as quickly as
you are able!”

Under a terrific fire the boats began to slowly drift down the river.
Oars were soon run out and the trappers were well beyond range of the
murderous Arickara rifles. Of one hundred and forty-nine men they
had lost sixty killed and drowned, and scarcely one of them did not
bear marks of bullet or arrow wounds. It had been a desperate affair.
Had the confident Ashley but listened to the sage advice of the Crow
renegade there would have been no such slaughter. Thus ended the famous
stampede of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, on the ninth day of March,

But how about the stalwart young Eddie? This lucky plainsman escaped
with only one arrow wound in his forearm. He was heroic in the defense
of the boats, and, taking charge of one of them, managed to get her
safely to Council Bluffs, where the Fur Company retreated in good
order. Poor, old trappers! They had met with a warmer reception than
they had bargained for!

As luck would have it, a Colonel Leavenworth was then at Council Bluffs
with a detachment of United States troopers. Ashley soon told him his
story, and wound up his sad tale with the request that he help him to
chastise the savages.

“That I will do right willingly,” answered the gallant soldier. “White
Bear, with his band of Sioux warriors, will go with me, I know. He says
that he is just itching for a little brush with the Arickaras. He will
be of great assistance to us.”

Eddie joined the detachment as it departed, and, marching speedily
towards the village, the soldiers and allied Sioux found the Arickaras
abandoning it. A sharp skirmish took place; the soldiers and trappers
fell upon the rear guard, and, routing it speedily, dashed among the
tepees, which were set on fire and quickly consumed. The Arickaras
fled across the prairie. As the skirmish was in progress White Bear,
the Sioux leader, was the hero of a desperate affair, which made him
always well known among the whites, and greatly respected by all of the
valiant men of the frontier.

While the fight was at its hottest this Sioux chieftain singled out a
giant Arickara warrior, rushed upon him, tomahawk in hand, and cried

“If you are a man, halt and struggle with me. We will see which is the

The Arickara had a bow in his hand, and, turning upon the Bear, sent a
shower of arrows whistling around him. One of them pierced his thigh,
but the Sioux stopped and pulled the missile from the wound. Then, with
tomahawk upraised, he charged upon his enemy.

The Arickara chief had discharged his last arrow, and, seeing that it
was too late to fly, wheeled and faced his antagonist. He was a large
and powerful man, but the Sioux warrior was more agile. Uttering a
loud and discordant yell, White Bear rushed at his foe. All the other
combatants stopped for a moment, in order to view this strange and
startling contest.

The sun gleamed upon the tomahawks of the two braves as they danced
around each other. Again and again each endeavored to strike a blow,
but, by skillful dodging, the weapon was evaded, and the warriors
continued to prance about in a circle. Suddenly the Sioux bent over and
struck the Arickara warrior a fierce stroke upon the knee; so fierce,
indeed, that he nearly severed his leg from his body. White Bear leaped
forward, dodged sideways, and evaded the descending tomahawk of the
Arickara chieftain. The latter tottered and then fell to the ground.

Before he could recover, the Sioux had dealt a death-blow, and, amidst
the wild yelling and screeching of the spectators, deftly scalped his
enemy, holding the top-knot aloft, and himself uttering the wild yelp
of triumph. “Um-Yah! Um-Yah! Uh-Yah!”

The Arickaras were dispersed and well punished for their attack upon
Ashley and his men. The troops returned in triumph to Council Bluffs,
and Eddie was congratulated by the head trapper for his part in the

“But now, my boy,” said the veteran plainsman, “I want you to go up the
Yellowstone, cross the mountains, and, with fourteen others, bring back
a whole lot of peltries.”

“I’m your man,” said Eddie. “I’m off as soon as you say the word.”

The fourteen trappers moved to the Yellowstone, where they hunted and
trapped with great success, until winter. Then they made their way to
the village of some friendly Crows. They were treated with kindness and
hospitality, and had great good luck in procuring beaver peltries. When
spring came they travelled towards the Rocky Mountains, after making
appropriate speeches of friendship to their hosts, and giving them many

In the mountains their old enemies—the Blackfeet—were very
mischievous. They often stole their traps, attempted to stampede their
ponies, and fired at them from ambush. Nearly every night the alarm
would sound: “Indians! Indians! Look to your horses!” And, during the
day, the Blackfoot sentinels could be seen upon the skyline, perched
upon the summit of some high hill. They would signal to their friends
in the valleys below and tell them of the progress of the trappers.
The pioneers were repeatedly ambushed, but they marched valiantly on,
fighting as they went. At last they left the mountains, pressed onward
towards the Pacific slope, and, almost perishing from hunger, were
rescued by some trappers of the Hudson Bay Company, who took them to
their post on the Columbia River. They spent the winter in this place.

When spring approached, the pioneers again set out for the Yellowstone.
As they approached the Bear River, an Indian runner came bounding down
the trail. He was of the Snake tribe and held up his right hand in
token of friendship.

“I come from the people of the great chief, Pim,” said he. “The Great
Spirit has taken our beloved ruler to the land of the hereafter. It is
requested by his people that our white brothers read over him their
medicine book (the Bible) and sing one of their songs. Then lay our
great chief to rest upon the banks of the Bear River. Here he can ever
hear the wonderful music of the stream, and here his spirit can make
the beaver plenty for our white brothers.”

It was a strange request.

“Boys,” said Thomas Eddie, “we will do as our red brother wishes. We
will bury our good friend Pim in a Christian manner, for he was always
kindly disposed to all the trappers and pioneers who came in contact
with him.”

Turning back upon their trail, the trappers travelled forty miles
to the camp of the Snakes. In relays of four, they carried the dead
chieftain slowly and tenderly to the banks of the roaring Bear River,
and there laid him to rest, reading over him the burial service and
singing a hymn. A volley was fired over the open grave, then, turning
sadly towards the mountains, the men in buckskin left the red men to
perform their own last rites over the dead chieftain.

As they neared the hills, the pugnacious Blackfeet again began
to harass them. Every day they made an attack, but as they were
principally armed with arrows they did little damage. A few had rifles,
but they rarely used them. When the trappers had been fighting with
these fellows, the year before, numbers of them had fallen beneath the
steady aim of the whites, but not a single trapper had been killed or
even dangerously wounded. This shows you what poor marksmen the Indians

Not long afterwards the little band of adventurers was passing through
a narrow and lonely valley. As they reached a passageway through high
and precipitous cliffs, a shot rang out, and a wild Indian yell told
them the Blackfeet were again on their trail.

“We’re ambushed, boys!” cried Eddie. “Take to cover and ward off these
skulkers, for from the sound of their fire it is apparent that they
have plenty of guns and ammunition.”

He had scarcely spoken when he uttered a sharp cry of pain, for a rifle
ball struck him in the thigh and penetrated well into his flesh. It was
cut out by a trapper called Will Sublette, with a beaver knife, but our
hero was in a serious condition for some time thereafter. Fortunately
the members of the party were near water, so they threw up a rough
barricade, by means of digging with their hunting-knives, and adding
brush and tree trunks to the fortification. Several were unable to
proceed, five had been killed, and twenty were severely wounded.

The Blackfeet could be easily seen as they circled about, some on foot,
some on their ponies. They continuously yelped, howled like coyotes,
and kept up a fusillade against the earth and brush fortification.
Fortune favored the trappers, however, as there was an abundance of
beaver in the stream which ran through the valley and these were easily
captured. Trout were also plentiful and the wanderers managed to put
up a fortification behind which they could catch the speckled beauties
without molestation by the painted and bloodthirsty Blackfeet. The
wounded made a rapid recovery, and in ten days were able to travel.

“Now, boys,” said Eddie, at this time, “it is important that we get
away. Let us take our old clothes, stuff them with grass in order to
deceive the red men, and light our camp-fires as usual. The Blackfeet
will see the dark bodies near the flames and will not suspect that we
have gotten away. We will move off towards the North, but you must make
no noise.”

The trappers were eager to be off. That night they lighted their
fires, placed the dummy figures so that they could be readily seen,
and crept away from their little fortification. The Blackfeet did not
suspect this departure, and, although it was a hazardous march over a
rough path, allowed the men under Eddie to get safely away. By forced
marches, and travelling over a crooked trail, the pioneers at length
reached the Yellowstone. But their troubles were not yet at an end.

Trapper Eddie had left camp one day in order to look for game, and was
returning to the place where the horses were tethered, when he saw a
small band of Crow Indians who were endeavoring to drive off the stock.
Firing at the leader of the expedition he knocked him to the ground.
One of the braves jumped to the earth, lifted the dead chieftain upon
his horse, and rode off with him. Eddie’s comrades heard the shooting
and galloped to meet their leader.

Eddie knew the valley well. It doubled almost upon itself, making a
horse-shoe curve, and he was aware that should he ascend the mountain
on the right he would be able to head off the redskins.

“Boys!” cried he. “Follow me over that mountain. We will meet the red
men, recapture our bronchos, and pay them well for their dastardly
attempt to run off our steeds.”

His men gave a cheer, and, putting spurs to their horses, galloped up
the steep slope of the mountain. Sure enough, as they reached the top,
there were the redskins just below them. Uttering a wild cowboy yell,
the trappers dashed to the assault.

A narrow pass in the mountains lay before them and for this the
Indians hastened, yelping fiercely as they went. The trappers were as
experienced men at shooting on horseback as Buffalo Bill, and they
soon dropped most of the Crows as they vainly endeavored to escape.
The fellow who was carrying the leader was badly wounded, and as he
endeavored to ride his heavily burdened horse across a stream, which
flowed through the valley, the animal stumbled and fell, throwing both
the live and the dead man into the water. The trappers were close upon
them as they went down, but what became of the dead chieftain and his
attendant was never known. They disappeared from view. Whether the
live Crow was killed by the fall, or was stunned and perished in the
swift current, is still a question. Perhaps he made his way back to
his own tribe. At any rate, a careful search failed to discover the
whereabouts of either of them.

“By George!” cried “Old Bill” Williams, who was one of Eddie’s party,
“I reckon that the dead one has carried the live fellow to Heaven with

The horses were soon retaken, and with smiles of satisfaction upon
their faces the trappers returned to their camp on the Yellowstone.
Here, seated around the blazing camp-fire, they again fought over
their battles, compared notes of the country, made rude maps of their
routes, with the various rivers, mountains, and plains; and those who
had seen the waters of the Great Salt Lake told their comrades of this
vast inland sea, whose waters were bitterly salt, and into whose depths
nothing could sink because of the great buoyancy of the waves.

There was an abundance of game in the Yellowstone country. The fourteen
scouts spent the entire season, and part of the next, in trapping for
mink, beaver, otter, and bear. They set their beaver traps in all
the suitable streams between the head of the Missouri River and the
upper waters of the Platte, meeting with great success. Indians were
plentiful, but seemed to leave them alone, for they had undoubtedly
heard of the summary vengeance which the trappers had taken upon the
thieving Crows.

“Boys,” said Eddie, one day, “we are about all through with our
ammunition and I would like to send seven of our number to Santa Fé,
New Mexico, in order to get a supply. Who will be willing to undertake
the trip?”

“I will,” came from the throats of many, and it was plainly evident
that there would be little difficulty in getting volunteers for this
hazardous duty.

Seven were chosen for the journey—seven of the strongest and most
hardy—but the seven were never seen again. Cheerfully they set out
across the sandy plains of Colorado. When they were just about to
disappear from view, they turned and waved their hands to those left

“So long, boys,” cried one. “We will meet again in a few months.”

But they never met again. From the time that they disappeared upon the
horizon all trace of them was lost. Perhaps they fell before the arrows
and bullets of the Sioux, Kiowa, Apache, Comanche, Navajo, or other
red men. Perhaps the lounging and lazy Spanish banditti captured them
and carried them across the Mexican line. At any rate, their fate is
enveloped in impenetrable mystery.

Eddie and his companions waited for many months for some sign of their
comrades. At length they gave up hopes of their return, and leaving
a note to direct them where to go should they ever come back, made
their way to the Yellowstone. Hostile red men hovered about them and
endeavored to cut off their ponies, but these were dispersed in several
smart skirmishes. Finally they reached a camp some forty miles above
Boulder, Colorado, where Eddie and Bill Gordon had a rather serious
encounter with some Arapahoes, when returning from an antelope hunt.

“By gracious!” cried Bill, the trapper, as he saw the redskins
swooping down upon them. “I believe that we are about to lose our
scalps, Eddie. ‘_Never say die_,’ must be our motto.”

“Let’s break for that canyon,” answered the lion-hearted Eddie. “If we
get into those rocks the yelping redskins can shoot all they want to
but they can’t hurt us. We’ll crawl over there by the water so that
they cannot starve us out. We have food enough to last us for some

Crack! Crack! sounded the rifles of the red men, and both Eddie and
Gordon were struck. Nothing daunted, they ran to the shelter of the
ravine, where they returned the fire with so much accuracy that two of
the redskins fell to the ground. The Indians numbered about twelve,
but only five were detached to follow the two scouts, while the rest
rode away, carrying the two dead men with them. As they went in the
direction of the camp of the plainsmen Eddie feared that they would
surprise his comrades and would annihilate them.

“Gordon,” said he, “you must remain here, while I run back to camp and
warn our companions of the approach of these murderers. You have only
five to deal with, and I know that you can handle them.”

Eddie ran swiftly up the canyon, and then, back-tracking, hid
himself behind a huge boulder. The redskins saw him and made after
his retreating form with great speed, but failed to see him in his
hiding-place. They were soon out of sight.

The scout darted down the canyon as rapidly as possible and dashed
out upon the open prairie as hard as he could go. Before him was an
Arapaho who was watching the Indian ponies. He was mounted upon a
buckskin pinto and was armed with a rifle, tomahawk, and knife. As
Eddie approached, he raised his rifle. The scout did likewise and both
fired at about the same moment.

The trapper was struck in the shoulder, but the injury was not severe,
while his own ball passed through the red man’s thigh, breaking the
leg of the horse upon which he was riding. This brought him to the
earth and pinned the warrior beneath him, but the savage frantically
struggled to escape, and, as the white man approached, drew his knife.
His tomahawk had dropped some distance away as he fell.

Now was a thrilling encounter. Notwithstanding the pain in his wound
and his weakness from loss of blood, the Indian made a desperate fight.
He hoped, no doubt, that the shots which both he and his antagonist had
fired would bring his companions to his assistance. No such luck was in
store for him. Eddie was a small and wiry man, while the Arapaho was
a veritable giant in stature. The scout was armed with a tomahawk and
endeavored to get in a thrust, but with ill success, for the redskin
parried his every attempt. Just as Eddie had succeeded in making a
sweeping blow, which, had it reached the red man, would have cut him
down, the savage caught his arm, and the tomahawk flew from his grasp.
The Indian’s knife was in his left hand and the scout made a desperate
lunge in order to seize it.

It was a hazardous moment for Thomas Eddie. As he struggled for the
possession of the coveted knife he saw four Arapahoes emerge from the
mouth of the canyon and dash towards them. It was touch and go with the
famous man of the frontier. The savage made a thrust at this moment.
Eddie caught the blade in his right hand, but the knife cut him through
and through, inflicting a desperate and gaping wound. In spite of the
pain it caused him, the trapper held on. With his other hand he seized
the Arapaho by the throat and pushed him to the earth.

A new complication arose. A shot rang out from the mouth of the canyon
and the foremost Indian fell to the ground. The other three halted and
faced the new enemy, while the big fellow with whom he was struggling
turned his head for a moment, in order to see who was approaching.
On the short moment hung his life, for Eddie wrested the long knife
from him, and, as he looked around, buried the blade in his side.
The Arapaho fell to the ground, with a long, gasping cry. The three
savages, who were approaching, were now about fifty yards away and they
fired upon the victorious scout, but did not hit him. Instead of this
they wounded another one of their horses.

Hurrah for Eddie! He had certainly done well, and was in the same class
with Adam Poe, who, if you remember, had such a desperate battle with
Big Foot, the celebrated Shawnee warrior and athlete.[2] The nervy
fellow was not to be caught napping. Dashing to the nearest pony, he
set off at full speed for the mouth of the canyon, circling as he did
so, in order to avoid the three savages. To his surprise, he met Bill
Gordon, who told him that from the top of a low mountain he had seen
the Arapahoes engaged in a battle with a band of Crows, way off upon
the plain, and that therefore he had returned to his assistance, as he
knew that their companions in camp would not be molested.

“Well, let’s finish up these Arapahoes,” cried Eddie. “And punish them
for their interference with honest men. Are you with me, Bill?”

Old Bill uttered a wild yell.

“Of course I’m with you, son,” said he. “Lay on! Lay on!”

Spurring their mustangs, the two scouts dashed madly after the fleeing
redskins. They caught up with them, and by excellent shooting succeeded
in killing them all. At once they returned to their own camp with the
arms and ponies of the savages, and, upon narrating their adventures to
the other scouts, it was decided to move as rapidly as possible from
such a dangerous locality. Turning towards the turbid waters of the
Yellowstone, they soon reached this wonderful stream, where no other
bands of Indians molested them. Their battles were over.

Upon their return to the settlement at Council Bluffs all welcomed them
uproariously, for many thought that the nervy fellows had perished in
the wilderness. Their furs and peltries netted them a snug figure;
so snug, in fact, that plainsman Eddie purchased a tavern of his own
called the Green Tree. Here he dispensed a lavish hospitality and here
he brought his bride in 1833. She was a Miss Clarke, a reigning belle
of St. Louis, and, although the mother of eleven sturdy children (five
boys and six girls) always remained a woman of remarkable beauty. Many
were the tales which the trapper used to tell his children of his early
experiences on the plains, and, although the frost of old age gradually
touched his auburn hair with snow, the fire and imagination of youth
always kept the spirit of the old pioneer as fresh as when, as a young
man, he made that dangerous trip to the wild region of the West as a
member of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Thus in peace and comfort
passed the declining years of the last of the trappers of the Great



IN the lower corner of the mighty state of Wyoming is a town named
after one of the most noted of the trappers of the West—Jim
Bridger—who not only fought Indians but also traded and trapped in
many an unexplored portion of the once unknown regions near the Rocky
Mountains. Fort Bridger—a strong stockade near by—received its name
from this famous plainsman, who hailed from Illinois, and who was not
only of humble, but also of somewhat unrespectable parentage. Young Jim
ran away, when quite young, in order to escape the hard usage which was
his lot at home. On the border he soon made his mark, for he was not
only a great rifle shot but also a man of unusual strength and agility.

One day the scout was in a block-house, with a number of other
frontiersmen who had recently been attacked by a band of Blackfoot
warriors. These were encamped at no great distance, and a truce had
been declared whereby neither side should molest the other. Jim Bridger
wandered into the camp of the red men, and walked down the main street,
looking, with an interested eye, at their tepees, their squaws, and
the little papooses.


 Courtesy of the Century Company.


“Ugh! Ugh!” grunted some young bucks. “Paleface he look like pig. Ugh!
Ugh! He no fight. He run away.”

Bridger grew crimson, but said nothing.

“Paleface waddle like duck,” continued one of the Blackfeet. “Paleface
have nose like black dog.”

This was too much for the usually calm and collected Jim Bridger.
Spinning upon his heel he rushed up to the nearest redskin, hit him a
blow between the eyes and sent him reeling to the ground. Immediately
the whole camp was in an uproar. The trapper was surrounded by a
yelling, screeching mob of savages—was made a prisoner—and was
carried, struggling, to a lodge upon the outskirts of the village. Then
the Indians gathered in a dense throng in order to decide upon the fate
of their captive.

There was much discussion as to what was to be done with the scout.
Some were for a light punishment, as the trappers in the block-house
were numerous, and their rifles were accurate shooters when held by the
steady hands of the frontiersmen. “No! No!” shouted many others. “He
should be carried to the mountains and there tortured. He has struck
one of our braves. The paleface must suffer death!”

Three older chiefs listened to all of this wild talk and then gave
their decision.

“The Paleface shall suffer death and torture! Let some of the young men
go to his lodge and bring him to us.”

With a wild whoop, a number of the youthful warriors rushed to the
tepee in which they had shoved the trapper, stoutly bound with deer
thongs. As they threw open the flap which hung over the doorway
surprise and dismay marked their features, for the bird had flown.
All were chagrined and angered at the loss of their quarry. Whooping
savagely, they dashed back to their companions, many of whom favored
an immediate attack upon the block-house; but the counsel of the older
chiefs prevailed.

“The paleface warriors have sticks which shoot very straight,” said
they. “We must go away, or they may attack us.”

Packing up their goods, and loading their travois, they fled to the

But how had the daring plainsman escaped? Hush! It was a dusky-hued
maiden who had set him free, and love will always find a way.

Jim Bridger, in fact, had met a young Indian girl in the village who
had returned the sudden affection of the young trapper with much
interest. With sadness and dismay she watched his capture, and, when
she saw him thrown into the lodge, at first she determined to run to
the block-house in order to notify his comrades of his predicament. She
knew that they would then demand his release, but, fearing an attack
in which some of her relatives would be killed and her lover would be
doubtless assassinated, she decided to say nothing to the trappers.
Instead, she determined to set him free by her own hand. While the
savages wrangled over what was to be his fate she determined to creep
to his tent, cut the deer thongs, and point out the way to freedom.

Two sentinels watched the lodge where Jim Bridger lay, and, as the
Indian maid approached, one of them moved towards her. She stooped
almost to the earth, darted behind a neighboring tepee, and crept
stealthily towards the rear of the tent. As luck would have it,
there was no sentinel at this point, and she cut a long slit in the
buffalo-skin curtain. Bridger was lying upon a robe endeavoring to snap
his bonds, and as he saw her uttered an exclamation of surprise. At
this, the girl clapped one hand over his mouth. With the other she cut
the raw-hide thongs, and beckoned to him to follow her.

The scout wormed his way out of the side of the tent, crept upon all
fours to a safe distance, then rose and faced the Indian maiden.

“Dearest,” said he, “you have saved my life, and Jim Bridger never
forgets the kindness of such a one as you. You shall be my wife.”

The Blackfoot maiden blushed, and answered that whether there was peace
or war between her people and his, she would meet him in a certain
grove of pine trees, at the base of a distant mountain peak, after
two full moons. She counselled him how to avoid the sentinels, how to
elude any pursuers by darting through a certain canyon, and then, as
he pressed her to his heart, their lips met. A moment more and she had
torn herself away, and had vanished down the steep cliffs upon which
they had clambered.

The scout did not tell his comrades how he had escaped, for he feared
that they would laugh at him. And as the days passed by his brother
trappers noticed that he was cutting notches in a stick in order to
mark the time elapsing before some important event. At length the stick
was almost filled with little triangular marks, and Bridger, saddling
his horse, led another by a long lariat, and set off for a certain
towering peak in the mountains. His companions little guessed what was
his real destination. Five days elapsed before they again laid eyes
upon him, but all were startled and much surprised to see him ride into
the camp, one brilliant morning, with a dusky, Indian maiden by his
side. A broad smile was upon his face, while the bride looked radiantly
happy. As they rode up, the joyous trappers gave three times three for
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Bridger.

From now on the pioneer had an adventurous career, and, although away
from his home for months at a time, was always devoted to his Blackfoot
bride, although he often had passages at arms with her kinsmen. Not
long after his marriage he was in the Medicine Bow Mountains, with
a party of trappers, when they were surrounded by hundreds of the
Blackfeet. Crying to them to surrender, the savage warriors circled
about upon their ponies, screeching like so many devils, for they were
sure that they had the white men cornered. It looked dark for the
adventurous trappers.

“We must fight desperately, men,” cried out the gallant Jim. “And must
make our way towards the mountains near the Yellowstone. There we can
stand these pesky varmints off from behind the boulders. But now we
must break through their circle. Are you all ready? Then—come on.”

The trappers cheered as Bridger led a charge against the wild riders of
the plains, who scattered before the resolute attack. By alternately
fighting and retreating, the frontiersmen gradually made their way
towards the distant hills, and—although a few were badly wounded—at
length they reached the protection of some giant boulders which
afforded them excellent protection against the bullets and arrows
of the red men. Seeing that it was now impossible to get them, the
savages fired a parting volley and retired. The last shot proved to
be an unlucky one for Jim Bridger’s best friend—a man named Milton
Sublette—as a ball from an Indian rifle struck him in the ankle and
tore through both flesh and bone.

Stanching the flow of blood as best they could, the trappers carried
their wounded companion away with them upon a Mackinaw blanket, slung
between two of the pack-animals. His leg was amputated with the aid of
a beaver knife hacked into a saw, and in spite of the fact that they
possessed no chloroform, ether, or other anesthetic, the patient bore
everything with stoical indifference. His life was saved, and—strange
as it may seem—upon his arrival at Saint Louis he submitted to a
second operation in order to obtain a better-looking stump, and was
back again in his old haunts within six months: trapping, fishing, and
travelling with as much joy in living as before. Such was the spirit
and energy of these old men of the mountains.

Bridger was later engaged in piloting emigrant trains across the
prairie, in the vicinity of the Republican River, where Sandy Forsyth
had his great battle with Roman Nose some years later. With him was
a scout called Jim Beckwith, who has left the following account of a
tight, little brush which was indulged in by two bands of Sioux and
Pawnee warriors, just after the trappers had driven away a force of
about fifty Pawnees who had attempted to run off their horses.

“I seen that the Pawnees would soon be after us again,” said the
gallant Beckwith, “and I knowed that the Sioux would do the same thing.
So I saw that we’d have about a thousand redskins after us, and we
wouldn’t be a taste for them. I seen that this wouldn’t do, so I says
to Jim Bridger, says I, ‘Jim, what are we goin’ ter do?’ ‘Give it
up,’ said Jim, says he, ‘Fight till the reds down us, I reckon, and
then turn up our toes like men.’ All this time—bless your soul—them
pilgrims what we wuz a-guidin’, wuz in the wagons cryin’. It wuz awful.

“Wall, I jest made up my mind, sir, that I didn’t intend tew give my
heart tew no Injun jest then, so I callates about whar th’ two parties
of red devils would meet. When we got thar, we drove over a raise in
th’ plain and jes’ waited fur ’em. In about two hours I seen th’ dust
raisin’ in th’ East in er gret, big cloud. ‘Them’s Pawnees,’ says I,
‘by th’ tarnal prophet.’ Then I looked intew th’ West, and thar th’
dust wuz raisin’, too. ‘Them’s Sioux,’ says I, ‘an’ th’ Devil take
’em. I hev seen pleasanter sights.’ Wall, after waitin’ some time th’
Injuns seen each other, an’ of all th’ cussed yellin’ you ever heard,
it wuz thar. I jes’ laid back an’ laughed, while Bridger done some tall
chucklin’ too, when them two bands got together. It was lively times,
yew bet.

“Th’ Injuns didn’t have many guns in them days, but you kin jest rest
assured that they used their arrers fur what wuz in ’em. Thar they went
circlin’ aroun’ each other, bendin’ under their hosses’ necks, an’
lettin’ th’ arrers fly. At one time th’ air wuz near so full uv arrers
thet it made a cloud, shettin’ out th’ sun. Their ponies got stuck full
uv ’em. Their dogs wuz full uv ’em, an’ every Injun in th’ gang had er
lot uv ’em stickin’ inter him. I seed a big, fat feller ridin’ off with
two uv ’em stickin’ into th’ seat uv his buckskins, an’ it reminded me
so uv er big pincushion, thet I near died uv laughin’. Then they begun
tew run. They run this way, an’ they run that, and—by Gravy—I believe
thet some uv them Injuns be still runnin’ from one another. By Gum,
they wuz so busy fightin’ each other, thet they left us plum alone.”

This was certainly a laughable incident, but a bit later occurred
another episode which was not quite so amusing for the daring and
adventurous Jim Bridger.

About six months after the fight upon the Republican, with five
companions, the trapper was travelling near the Platte River. The
plainsmen were in search of buffalo and had seen a fair sized herd
when a band of Sioux Indians appeared upon one of the rolling bluffs.
The trappers sought cover, for they expected an attack, and they were
not far from being wrong, for the red men immediately made after them;
circled about them upon their ponies, and fired their rifles at long

“Dig a trench with your knives,” shouted Bridger. “These fellows are
out for our blood and they are going to come pretty near getting us.
Move over near that water hole so that they can’t make us die of
thirst, and we’ll see who can last the longest.”

Scrambling to their knees, the plainsmen quickly threw up a barricade
near the water hole, and, hobbling their ponies behind them, began to
take careful aim at the Sioux—one of whom was soon sent to the Happy
Hunting Grounds. This enraged the remainder, and wild, blood-curdling
yells echoed across the prairie as they drew nearer, hoping to make a
rush and annihilate the five white trappers.

“Get ready, boys!” again shouted Bridger. “They’re going to rush us!”

All prepared for the advance by laying out additional ammunition and
placing long hunting-knives near at hand. In a few moments the Sioux
came on, whipping their ponies to their utmost speed, and yelping madly.

A ringing volley knocked over four of the leaders, but still on
they came. Another shot sent a fifth chieftain to the Great Beyond,
and, as the trappers reloaded, the Sioux seemed to lose heart. They
swerved aside from the breastwork, offering excellent targets to the
plainsmen, and, with a dull thud, still another red warrior fell from
his galloping pinto. Two of the trappers, meanwhile, were wounded by
bullets, while an arrow stuck into the coat sleeve of Jim Bridger,

Now retiring beyond range, the redskins kept up a perpetual fusillade
with rifles and with arrows. The trappers held their fire, threw up
still higher entrenchments, and waited for the next onslaught, but this
did not come. Instead, the Sioux lighted the long, dry prairie grass,
and a sheet of flame and smoke curled surely and steadily towards the
band of plainsmen, for the wind was blowing directly upon them. What
were they to do now?

Necessity is the mother of invention. Quick as a flash, Jim Bridger
leaped across the embankment, touched the grass off immediately in
front of them, and burnt off quite a small alley-way before the roaring
crackling flames came to their place of refuge. The force of the flames
thus spent itself before the embankment was reached, and the wily
savages renewed their whooping and yelling. Again they charged, but
again they were driven off; while night closed over both besieger and
besieged, bringing a lull to the unequal battle.

Next day the fight was renewed, and all five of the trappers were
wounded. Towards evening it was decided that one of the party should
creep through the lines and bring aid from a camp of fifty trappers,
who were some miles down the river. The choice fell upon Jim Bridger,
and it found him ready to undertake the hazardous expedition. At
twelve o’clock he crawled over the side of the little fortification and
wormed his way towards the fringe of red warriors who lay about them in
a circle.

The scout kept on as quietly as he could and crawled for fully two
hundred yards before he saw, or heard, anything of the redskins. Then
he got to his feet (as he considered himself through their lines) and
prepared to run. But before him was an Indian pony, its master sound
asleep by its side. The horse had been feeding in a deep ravine,
and—suddenly scenting the trapper—gave a snort which roused its
master. The Sioux warrior gazed stupidly at the frontiersman.

But Bridger did not take long to make up his mind what to do. He dashed
towards the Indian, intending to strangle him before he could give the
alarm. The redskin uttered a loud whoop, and his companions immediately
ran in his direction. The scout realized that nothing was now to be
gained by silence, and, pulling out his pistol, shot the red man dead.
Then, leaping upon his mustang, he urged him upon the gallop. The Sioux
were all around him on their pintos, but he had the good fortune to be
upon one of their fastest horses, which seemed to outdistance any of
the pursuers.

It was a hot chase. The red men fired again and again at the fleeing
trapper but they could not hit him. His mustang leaped over the deep
crevasses, dodged badger and prairie-dog holes, and brought him safely
to the camp of his companions by two o’clock in the afternoon. The
Sioux had given up the chase, and, little suspecting that other
trappers were camped near by, had returned to the siege of the four,
hoping now to make one sudden rush and gain their scalps. Their blood
was up, for twenty-five of their number had fallen before the accurate
fire of the besieged.

“Come at once!” cried the panting Bridger, as he reached the camp of
the plainsmen. “If you do not hurry, my four companions will all be
massacred by the red men. To horse! To horse!”

It did not take the trappers long to catch their ponies and jump into
their saddles.

“Show us where your friends are!” cried they, “and we’ll fix th’
redskins before another sun.”

Bridger turned and piloted the band of plainsmen back to the place
where he had left his beleaguered companions. They went on the run,
but, making a wide détour in order to gain the sand-hills in the rear
of the besiegers, waited until morning. Then they heard rifle shots in
the distance and knew that the battle was on again.

Creeping towards the sound of firing, they soon saw the Sioux preparing
for a final charge upon the valorous four, and opened upon them. They
had clustered together for a rush, and this weltering volley fairly
took the heart out of those of small courage. Many fell dead,—the rest
made all haste to get out of range,—while the four trappers in the
embankment came running towards their deliverers like wild men. With
yells of joy they hugged the burly form of Jim Bridger, to whose nerve
and courage they owed their lives.

The scout and plainsman soon moved from the upper waters of the
Missouri—after the fur trade had ceased to be prosperous—and founded
a trading post in the southwestern part of the State of Wyoming—named
Fort Bridger. Here he dealt in skins, furs, and peltries, accumulating
a large amount of property, as the Fort was a stopping-place for all
the emigrant trains bound for Salt Lake City and for California. He
remained true to his Blackfoot wife, and several half-breed children
made life merry in the long, low log-hut which the scout had erected as
his abode. The famous plainsman lived to a ripe, old age—like most of
the early trappers—and was ever ready to tell of his battle with the
Sioux, when he rescued his four companions from their clutches. This
was the most thrilling of all his many adventures upon the frontier.



“I HATE every Indian that I ever saw and would just as lief take a shot
at one as eat!”

So spoke a raw-boned trapper, with a tangled mat of brown hair hanging
across his shoulders, and, as he said this, he gazed vindictively
toward some Indian warriors who were riding slowly past the wagon-train
with which the plainsman was travelling. His comrades looked at him and
laughed, for this was the favorite theme of Bill Williams, familiarly
known as “Old Bill,” although this was a term of endearment and not
because of his years, for he was as young as any of them.

The Indians rode on, and from their own glances, which they threw at
the gaunt and ungainly trapper, it was plainly evident that they fully
reciprocated the feeling which the plainsman held for them. “Ugh! He
one bad man!” a gaudy warrior was heard to remark.

“Old Bill” Williams was born in Tennessee, his father being one of the
Virginian pioneers who crossed the Blue Ridge and settled in the state
when it was swarming with Indians,—all eager to have the land for
themselves alone—and not willing to allow the whites to get possession
of it without a severe struggle. His son grew up in surroundings
of savagery and warfare. He took part in many of the Ohio campaigns
against the red men in that state, and was invariably used as a scout,
for his knowledge of woodcraft was excellent. After the red men were
partially subdued, he moved further west to the Rockies, where his
scouting habits still clung to him. He would often be absent for many
weeks upon his solitary expeditions, and would as frequently return
with scalps as with the furs of wild animals.

The Crows and the Blackfeet were continually at war with each other,
with the advantage upon the side of the latter, for the Crows were more
cowardly than their war-like enemies. They had the advantage, however,
of having a white renegade to lead them. His name was Rose: formerly
one of the land pirates who lived near and upon the treacherous waters
of the Mississippi. This desperate man taught the redskins how to
fight like the whites and continually advised them in their councils
of war, so that they often defeated the Blackfeet in their sanguinary

One day “Old Bill” Williams was off on a scout with Bill Gordon, and,
becoming separated from him, was endeavoring to reach camp by water, so
as to leave no trail for the eye of some lurking Blackfoot warrior. He
was therefore floating down stream on a log. As he reached a shallow
part of the creek the muddied water and footprints upon the bank showed
where a big grizzly had just gone by.

“By Gravy,” said the scout to himself, “here’s the chance to make a
hundred dollars from that old fellow’s hide. I’m after him.”

Wading to the shore, he started off through the brush, and followed
Bruin with his head down, for the bushes kept slapping him in the eyes.
As he was thus proceeding, he suddenly debouched from the brush into a
cleared space. Before him was no grizzly, but a band of ten Blackfoot
warriors. They stopped in amazement, and so did Williams, who said in
loud tones: “Gee-hos-i-phat!”

The Indians, on the other hand, set up a loud yelping, and, seeing them
preparing to fire, “Old Bill” raised his trusty flint-lock, pulled the
trigger, and knocked over a big, fine-looking savage who had on the
war-bonnet of a chieftain. Not stopping to make closer acquaintance,
the wiry Bill then dashed into a neighboring canyon. As he glanced over
his shoulder he saw that only four of the Blackfeet were coming after

The scout raced along for about a quarter of a mile; then, seeing that
the redskins were far behind, stopped in order to load his rifle. He
had just rammed home a ball when the Blackfeet began to draw near, so
he dropped behind the stump of a moss-grown tree and waited for them
to come on. They approached quite hurriedly, gazing at the ground
for tracks, and eagerly pointing out the traces of the trapper’s
footprints. When they came within good range “Old Bill” pressed the
trigger and a Blackfoot brave fell to the earth, shot through the heart.

“I reckon that this will stop ’em fer er minute er two,” said the man
of the plains as he continued his flight up the canyon. He raced ahead
for about a half a mile, then halted again in order to load his gun.

The Indians were soon upon him, but they had learned caution, and
spread out on either side of him, in order to get in his rear. “Old
Bill” was not to be caught napping, and ran like a deer still further
up the divide. He was much swifter of foot than the red men, and soon
left them far behind. The scout sat down upon a fallen tree trunk, and
said to himself:

“Now, I’ll back track like a grizzly, and will get another shot at
these painted hyenas.”

Suiting the action to the words, he put on a furious burst of speed for
about a half a mile, then doubled back for about two hundred yards. To
the right was some fallen timber, and into this the trapper skipped
like a molly cotton-tail. “Ah ha!” said he. “I think this will get ’em!”

In a few moments the red warriors hastened by on the run: one of them
about a hundred yards astern of the rest. As he came opposite the
hiding-place of the scout, “Old Bill” leaped into view, and knocking
him down with a well directed bullet, seized his victim’s gun just as
another started to come back to where he was standing. This one was
dispatched by the Blackfoot rifle, and “Old Bill” had the satisfaction
of seeing the fourth (and last) savage run up the canyon in terror,

“The Great Spirit is with him! The Great Spirit is with him!”

As he disappeared a broad smile came to the face of the trapper, while
he wiped the beads of perspiration from his brow.

“By Crickets!” said he. “A tight squeeze, Bill. A tight squeeze!”

I regret to state that the old fellow _scalped_ the dead redskins, for
he was apparently as much of an Indian as were his enemies. He also
took the precaution to plunge into a mountain stream which gurgled
and rushed down a side of the canyon. He followed the water until he
reached the mouth of the canyon, then, as he heard voices, dashed into
a crevasse in the rocks. A number of Blackfeet soon went by.

“Where has the old wolf gone?” he heard one of them ask. “He runs like
a rabbit.”

“You are right,” said another, “but he has an eye like a hawk, and can
hold the shooting-stick without flinching. Go carefully! Go carefully!
He may be hidden near by!”

They went on up the canyon, and not long afterwards a wailing and
screeching came from their direction, showing that they had discovered
their dead.

“This is no place for me,” mused the old scout. “I must get away

Darting up a neighboring gully, he had just stowed himself away in a
fissure of the rocky wall when he heard the Blackfeet returning. They
were carrying their dead companions and were wailing dismally. “Old
Bill” knew that there would be small chance for him should he fall
into their clutches. The cold shivers ran up and down his spine as he
contemplated such a happening.

For two days the trapper remained in the canyon. He was afraid to
venture forth, because the Blackfeet were undoubtedly near by, and he
knew that, once they again saw him, it would be all up with “Old Bill.”
He had a tough, dried piece of buffalo meat with him, which kept up his
strength, although he suffered terribly from thirst during the day, for
he was afraid to venture to the stream until nightfall. Far off, in the
valley, he could hear the death chant of the red men.

Three days passed and “Old Bill” was feeling faint from lack of food.
Climbing the wall of the canyon, behind his place of refuge, he saw the
Blackfeet far below him in the valley. They were moving camp. Hurrah!
Their tepee poles were coming down and they were walking away. They
gradually faded from view. Again Hurrah! The old scout was smiling now.

Luck was still with him, for he shot an antelope soon afterwards,
cooked the stringy meat and felt stronger. Then he rolled a stout log
loose from some fallen timber, pushed it into the river and paddled
down stream upon this flimsy boat.

“I reckon I’ll dodge the redskins, now,” he said to himself. “A feller
walkin’ leaves too good er trail.”

No savage eye detected him in his journey upon this log, and, about a
week later, he arrived, smiling, at a frontier trading post. “Old Bill”
was royally welcomed by his brother trappers, who slapped him on the
back, drank his health, not once, but twenty times, and gave him a new
rifle which they had just captured from some half-breeds.

“Old Bill” took this with good humor, for it was all in the day’s
work of a scout upon the frontier. In a week he left upon another
excursion into the wilds, and alone, for he was like a “solitary,” or
buffalo bull, who roams the prairie away from the rest of the herd. He
preferred to be without associates in his work. “Two men,” said he,
“leave a broader trail than one, and there are many Indians in the
country. Two men make more noise. I go alone.”

“He was a great hunter,” said an old Indian. “He was a great
trapper—took many beaver—and a great warrior, for his belt was full
of scalps. But he have no friend: no squaw. Always by himself. He like
the eagle in the heavens, or the panther in the mountains. He one
strange man.”

Yes, “Old Bill” was a strange man, but he lived his life upon the
frontier for many years without a mishap, although his body bore
the marks of many an encounter. Silent and taciturn, those who were
associated with him knew only of his deeds by the fresh scalps at his
girdle, the notches upon the stock of his gun, and the scars upon the
exposed portion of his body. His traps yielded him a small living, and
with this he seemed to be content.

The trapper lived to be an old man. Although in innumerable skirmishes
and hand-to-hand encounters with the Blackfeet, Crows, Sioux, and
other wild riders of the plains, he came off scot free until he met a
band of Blackfeet when trapping near the headwaters of the Missouri
River. Here he was surrounded by twenty or thirty braves, but, by
skillfully climbing his pony down the shelving sides of a canyon, made
his escape. They found his tracks, however, and followed him like a
pack of hounds after a fox.

“Old Bill” still was lithe and active, although sixty years, and
more, of age. Again and again he hid himself, and, with two or three
shots, laid out as many of the advancing redskins. He was fortunate
in being able to keep away from the vindictive warriors for four full
days, although wounded twice: an arrow point in his thigh and a bullet
through the fleshy part of his leg. Finally, he reached a series of
canyons near the Yellowstone, where numerous streams made it possible
for him to leave little trace of his trail, and great boulders of rock
hid his retreating form. The red men here gave up the chase, for their
quarry defied both fatigue and wounds.

“The Great Spirit is still with the Lone Wolf,” said they. “We will let
him go, for here he can kill many of us before we can reach him.”

It was November. A bleak wind blew gusts of snow across the sandy plain
as the red warriors retreated. “Old Bill” continued on his way into
the advancing storm. The white flakes now covered the earth. A bitter
wind assailed him, and great piles of drifting snow whirled and eddied
about his gaunt and emaciated form. Dismounting under the side of a
projecting cliff, he made a fire by means of rubbing two dried sticks
together, ate some _biltong_, which he fortunately had stowed away in a
saddle-bag, and lay down to rest. His poor, shivering pony cropped the
dry bunches of grass in silent misery.

Two weeks later a party of trappers were crossing the stream near the
place where the old fellow had lain down, and saw a pony nibbling the
bark from a cottonwood tree. He was gaunt, famished, and his ribs were
fairly sticking through his flesh. They rode up to him and were much
distressed to see the form of a man lying beneath the white mantle of
newly fallen snow. They brushed this away and found “Old Bill;” his
grizzled head bent forward upon his breast, and his clothing stained
with the wounds which had sapped his very life-blood. He had gone to
the Great Beyond.

With tears in their eyes the trappers hollowed out a grave for the lone
refugee. Here they buried him, and finding his faithful steed unwilling
to leave the place where he had carried his master, shot the emaciated
animal. They placed both in the same grave, and over their forms
erected a huge pile of stones, not only to mark the last resting-place
of “Old Bill,” but also to keep the wolves and coyotes from digging up
the remains.

Thus, in a wild canyon perished the aged solitary, and in the peace and
quiet of that wilderness in which he loved to wander, hovers the spirit
of the lonely man of the plains. His last resting-place well suited
the career of “Old Bill:” trapper, scout, and fearless adventurer
among the savage men, wild beasts, and inhospitable wastes of the then
unpeopled West.



ABOUT the year 1839, a Waco Indian chieftain lived in the State of
Texas, whose feet were of such giant proportions that he was called
“Big Foot.” He was a bold and daring fellow. Often, when darkness hid
his movement, he would sneak into the frontier town of Austin, would
kill whom he could, and would carry off horses and other property. In
vain the settlers tried to dispatch him, for he was a veritable scourge
to the settlements.

The fellow was a physical giant, being six feet seven inches in height,
of muscular build, and weighing about three hundred pounds. His tracks
measured fourteen inches, from heel to toe, so you can readily see
that the name that was applied to him was not ill chosen. Often these
footprints would be seen in the sandy soil, after he had committed one
of his thieving expeditions, and the settlers used to cry out:

“Good-by to our horses! Old ‘Big Foot’ is around again. Good-by!”

One evening the big Indian came into Austin, and, after prowling around
for a time, committed some theft upon the property of a settler named
Gravis. He then went to the cabin occupied by a huge, lanky ranger
called Wallace. Next morning Gravis trailed the Indian to the doorstep
of the pioneer, and, without trying to trace it any further, aroused
the owner of the cabin.

“See here, Wallace,” said he, “you’ve been stealing from my place and I
intend to get even with you. No one has as big feet as you have around
here, and I have found your tracks leading from my hut to your very

The accused man grew angry and prepared to whip the other.

“Look here,” said Gravis, at this juncture, “if you prove to me that
these are not your footprints you can go clear and I will apologize.”

He stepped aside, as he spoke, and Wallace immediately went to the
Indian’s track. He placed his foot in it, exclaiming:

“By Gravy, Gravis, this is old ‘Big Foot,’ the Injin’s, track. Can’t
you see that it’s mor’n two inches longer than my own!”

The first speaker bent over the marks with an exclamation of

“You’re right,” said he. “Wallace, old man, I beg your pardon.” And,
shaking him warmly by the hand, he walked away.

While this was going on, a man named Fox came to the doorway of
Wallace’s hut. He had been spending the night there, for he was a
business partner of the frontiersman. As his friend turned towards the
cabin, he cried out gleefully:

[Illustration: “BIG FOOT” WALLACE.]

“Well, well, old scout. When ‘Big Foot’—the Indian—is not around we
will all call _you_ ‘Big Foot.’ Ha! Ha! That’s a good one, I swan. ‘Big
Foot’ you’ll be from henceforth.”

And that is the way that William Alexander Anderson Wallace came to be
called “Big Foot” Wallace.

Born in Lexington, Virginia, in 1817, this intrepid frontiersman came
of good, old Scottish stock, and stock that was of fighting spirit, for
two of his uncles were killed in the battle of Guilford Court House.
The Wallaces were all of powerful build, and the hero of our sketch
was six feet two inches in height (in his moccasins) and weighed two
hundred and forty pounds. He had long arms, large hands, and thick,
curly, black hair. One of his uncles was nearly seven feet tall and his
brother was six feet five inches in height.

As a young fellow, “Big Foot” Wallace had little of the excitement
which was to come to him in later years. When about twenty years of
age war commenced between the American colonists and Mexicans for the
possession of Texas. Many young men went from Virginia to assist the
Texans in driving out the soldiers under Santa Anna, among them Samuel
Wallace, the older brother of William with the big feet. Samuel was
killed in the massacre of Colonel Fannin’s men at Goliad, which has
been described in “Famous Scouts,” and with him were also dispatched
three cousins of our hero. When the news of this affair reached
Lexington, Virginia, great was the grief among the relatives of these
brave and valiant frontiersmen, and William was much upset by it.

“I am going to Texas,” he cried out. “And I intend to spend my life in
killing Mexicans. Those men who could massacre my brother after he had
surrendered and had been disarmed, can expect no quarter from me. I
intend to have revenge!”

He had splendid opportunities in later years to make good this threat.

Taking ship from New Orleans to Galveston, William soon set foot on
Texan soil. The war was over. Santa Anna had been defeated and captured
the year before, at the famous battle of San Jacinto, and Texas was
now an independent republic. So the young ranger drifted to Colorado,
where he was soon surrounded by a large party of Indians and was
captured. They carried him to their camp, but he only remained there a
week, before he slipped away, eluded his pursuers, and got back to the
settlement of San Antonio. His restless spirit could not be confined
to the streets of a city and he soon went far to the southwest, where
he camped and hunted along the Medina River. Finally he built a cabin
there and lived the life of a lone huntsman and trapper in a region
which was infested by Indians, horse-thieves, and fugitives from

“Big Foot” Wallace had not been long in the country before he realized
that something had to be done in order to keep law and order in
this unsettled land. Besides the numerous raids of hostile bands of
Indians—who roamed at will from New Mexico to the coast region of
Texas—desperadoes and gamblers swarmed around all the border towns,
and more particularly around San Antonio. No one was safe who opposed
these wild fellows, and it was almost impossible to keep horses. The
thieves would even dig through the adobe walls of the stables in order
to steal them. A strong hand was needed to awe these desperate men and
keep the Indians in check. There was one man in western Texas at this
time who was quite equal to the emergency. His name was “Captain” Jack

The Governor of Texas sent for him.

“I hereby commission you to raise a company of Rangers,” said he to the
gallant Captain Jack. “You will make San Antonio your headquarters and
you must hold both Indians and horse-thieves in check. You can follow
the redskins anywhere that you wish, and, if necessary, you can shoot
any horse-thief upon the spot.”

“Big Foot” Wallace soon heard of the Rangers, and applied for admission
at once. He was accepted, for he was strong, fearless, a good rider,
and an excellent shot. Captain Hays was very particular as to the kind
of men that he enlisted, and that is why he had the best set of Indian
fighters that Texas ever produced. Each man had to have a good horse,
valued at one hundred dollars, and also a rifle of the best make.
The desperadoes and horse-thieves soon began to disappear from the
neighborhood of San Antonio.

In the numerous affrays which now took place “Big Foot” Wallace had
a prominent part. Several battles were fought with the Indians. In
1842 the Mexicans made a sudden descent from Mexico and captured San
Antonio. At the quarters used by the Texan Rangers they found a pair of
pantaloons belonging to “Big Foot” Wallace, and this they appropriated
as their own.

“By the eternal prophet,” shouted the scout, when he heard of the
theft. “I will sure get even with the Greasers for this, and I will
kill a Señor and get another pair of breeches, or bust.”

Not long afterwards Jack Hays and his men rode near the town and gave
the Mexicans such “a dare” that their whole force of cavalry and
infantry came out to chase them. There were four hundred Mexicans and
but a small squad of Rangers, yet the Texans kept up a stiff firing
and retreated slowly across the plains. During the battle, “Big Foot”
Wallace was continually upon the lookout to kill a big Mexican and get
another pair of trousers to replace his own. He had not long to wait.

The Mexicans soon charged, and in the mix-up that ensued one daring
fellow approached Wallace, and pointing his carbine at him, cried out:
“Take that, you accursed cow-thief!” Whereupon he discharged his piece
in his face. The large ounce ball from the clumsy musket just grazed
the nose of the scout and nearly blinded him with smoke. “Big Foot”
fired his own piece, but missed. As this occurred, another Ranger cried
out: “My, my, what awful bad shooting,” and—aiming his rifle—quickly
sent a ball through the Mexican’s body. The man from the south of the
Rio Grande fell against a mesquite tree and soon died.

“Big Foot” breathed more easily, and during the next charge heard one
of his companions call out:

“’Big Foot,’ yonder is a Mexican who has on a pair of pants large
enough to fit you. Go get ’em, boy! Go get ’em!”

The Mexican in question was assisting some of the wounded back to the
rear. Wallace kept his eye on him and said:

“If I can get him, I will. But th’ critter moves about so fast that I
can’t draw a bead on him.”

As he spoke, he attracted the attention of General Caldwell, who
commanded some infantrymen who had come to the assistance of the
Rangers. The dress of the giant Texan, his massive frame, and his
actions, were sufficient to mark him as a man born to leadership.

“What command do you hold, sir?” inquired Caldwell, as he rode up to
the fighting Ranger.

“None,” answered “Big Foot,” saluting. “I am one of Jack Hays’ Rangers
and I want that fellow’s breeches over there, as the Greasers have
stolen mine from me.” He pointed, as he spoke, to his intended victim.

The general laughed and rode on, determined to advance “Big Foot”
to a Lieutenancy, if the opportunity presented itself. The Ranger,
meanwhile, crept nearer to the fellow with the big pantaloons, and
before many moments laid him low by a well directed shot. Making a dash
for the fallen man, he seized him by the shoulders, dragged him into
the American lines, and soon was wearing a new pair of yellow trousers.

“Hurrah for ‘Big Foot,’” shouted his companions. “He has, at last, made
good his threat of vengeance. Hurrah for ‘Big Foot!’”

The Mexicans were defeated, driven from San Antonio, and were followed
by Captain Jack Hays and his Rangers as far as the Hondo River, where
the rear guard was attacked by a detachment under “Big Foot,” and some
cannon were captured. The mule which the leader was riding was slightly
wounded, but this was the only mishap to the Americans. The Mexicans
withdrew in safety to their own territory.

The blood of the Texans was now up. “Revenge for the taking of San
Antonio!” was heard on every side. “Vengeance upon the Mexicans!

Thus, in retaliation for the invasion of Texas under Wall, an
expedition started for Mexico in 1843, commanded by General Somervell.
Captain Jack Hays was there with his Rangers, but the expedition went
to pieces on the Rio Grande and most of the men came back, among
them Captain Jack and many of his followers. Five captains, however,
determined to go on, in the invasion of Mexico,—that is, if they
could get men enough. Three hundred Texans immediately decided to
fight: among this number, “Big Foot” Wallace and several other Rangers.
Electing a certain Captain Fisher to the chief command, they crossed
the Rio Grande and encamped opposite the town of Mier. Its streets were
soon to run red with blood.

The chief man of a Mexican town is called an alcade, and, on the
following morning, the Americans marched into the town and told the
alcade that he must furnish them with provisions and with clothing.

“Yes, yes, Señors,” said the Mexican official, bowing. “To-morrow the
articles will be delivered to you, two miles below your camp.”

But the Texans did not believe in taking any chances. They brought the
alcade along with them when they went back to their camp, so as to be
sure that the provisions would really be delivered. They waited two
full days and no goods were to be seen. They grew anxious and soon
their spies made them more so, for these reported that General Ampudia
had arrived in Mier with a large force of Mexican troops.

“We will proceed to the town and give them battle!” cried out the Texan

By four o’clock in the afternoon the Americans had all crossed and were
on their way to the little Mexican post. The spies were in front and
first met the Mexicans as they sallied out from Mier. But the Rangers
knew how to shoot and Ampudia retreated before the Texan bullets.
At dark the Mexicans again entered their stronghold and barricaded

The Texans had their fighting blood up, and, in spite of the darkness,
advanced to Alcantra Creek, east of the little town, where they halted
for some time. The stream ran rapidly, so that it was difficult to find
a crossing, but at last they all got over. As they scrambled up the
bank, they were met by a hot fire, and the Mexican cavalry advanced
against them. Five of the Rangers were cut off and captured. Others
made narrow escapes, for the Mexicans now came in close enough for hand
to hand fighting, and surrounded many of the more daring. Several of
the invaders were compelled to abandon their horses and make a run for
it across fences and ditches. A Ranger called Sam Walker was caught by
a powerful Mexican and was held down, while others tied him. One man
named McMullins was seized by the legs as he was getting over a fence,
but his boots pulled off and he made his escape. This was fortunate.

“Big Foot” Wallace was not among those first over the creek, and
advanced with the main body, which now came on, driving the Mexicans
into the town. The troops soon entered Mier and passed down a street
leading to the public square, where the Mexicans had planted cannon.
While advancing rapidly, they were repeatedly fired upon, and a Ranger
named Jones was killed. As he fell, he lurched against “Big Foot”
Wallace, who had felt the wind from the bullet that laid him low. The
Texans pressed on and soon arrived at a point near the cannon, where
they received a charge of grape-shot, which made them seek shelter
behind some buildings. It was now dark. It was also Christmas evening,
but there were no peaceful revels in Mier that winter’s day.

The Texans had but one way to advance: by opening a passageway through
the buildings so that they could get in the rear of the deadly cannon.
They worked all night in digging a hole through the adobe walls.
When daylight came, they were within fifty yards of the death-dealing

“Big Foot” Wallace was among those in the very forefront of battle.
While engaged in tunnelling through the building he discovered a
Mexican baby which had been abandoned during the hasty retreat of the
occupants of the house upon the approach of the Texans. It set up a
terrific squalling when the Americans approached it, so “Big Foot”
carefully took it up, and, advancing to a wall enclosing a yard,
climbed up and dropped it over. At the same time, he shouted out in

“Come and get the muchacho. Quick!”

He soon heard a woman’s voice and supposed that the poor infant was
being taken care of.

Daylight dawned upon a scene of great activity. Port-holes had been
opened in the various rooms into which the men had clambered, and the
deadly crack of the rifles was soon heard, as the Texans began to fire
at the artillerymen. The cannon were quickly silenced, for it was death
for a Mexican to venture near them. Three attempts were made by the
“Greasers” to storm and carry the Texan position, but each failed with
fearful loss. The Mexicans, in fact, came on so thickly packed together
that it was impossible to miss them. The bravest of all were the town
guards, who wore black hats with white bands around them. They were
nearly all killed.

The Texans were fighting gamely and the Mexicans were soon forced
to abandon all of their artillery. Ropes were thrown around these
instruments of war, from the corners of buildings, and the men from
the South succeeded in dragging some of them away. “Big Foot” Wallace
was doing a great deal of shooting. He says that he loaded and fired
his rifle fifteen times, always waited for a good chance, and had a
bead upon a Mexican every time that he pulled the trigger.

During the battle bugles sounded constantly, and it was reported that
the Mexicans were being largely reinforced. The Texans, however,
were undismayed at this report, and continued to load and fire their
rifles with such deadly effect that great confusion prevailed among
their foes, who continually uttered cries of rage and pain, amidst a
constant blast of bugles. They occupied the house tops, where they kept
their bodies well hid, and fired from the gutters and from behind the
chimneys. The American leader, himself, was severely wounded, while
many of the gallant Texans lay bleeding in the narrow streets of the
quaint, little Mexican town.

A small guard had been left by the Rangers upon the other side of the
creek. Just after daylight, upon the twenty-sixth of December, these
attacked about sixty of the Mexican cavalry and routed them, but,
seeing a large reinforcement approaching, they desperately endeavored
to join their comrades in the little town. Out of the nine men who made
this desperate charge, two succeeded; four were killed; and three were

The fortune of war was apparently going badly with the Mexicans, but
a sudden turn of events placed victory in their very hands. Captain
Cameron had fortified himself and his men in the rear of a building
occupied by Fisher and his support, where he had been exposed to a
fearful fire. Upon the morning after Christmas day he entered the room
occupied by his superior officer.

“Send me reinforcements,” he said, “for the bugles are blowing the
charge and I am afraid that I will be annihilated.”

“I have no reinforcements,” Fisher replied. “You will have to fight on
as you are.”

As he ceased speaking a white flag was seen approaching from the
Mexican lines. With it was a Doctor Sinnickson—a Texan who had been
recently captured by the Mexican troops. He had been ordered to tell
the Rangers that there were one thousand seven hundred Mexican troops
in the city, and that three hundred more were approaching from Monterey.

“Ampudia says that it will be useless for you to resist,” said the
Doctor. “If you surrender, you will be treated like prisoners of war.
If you resist, no quarter will be given!”

The Texan leader looked gloomily before him. He was on foreign soil.
He was hemmed in on every side by his enemies. His men were nearly
all worn out. The streets of Mier had run red with Mexican blood; and
there was no chance to win. He was in favor of an honorable surrender.
But some thought that they could make a sally from their barricaded
position, and, by keeping together, could fight their way out of town
and to the borders of the Rio Grande. These gathered around Cameron
and begged him to take command; to make a rush; and to fight a way out.
Great confusion prevailed. Some began to leave their positions and give
their guns up to their enemies. Every few moments barricades would be
torn away and men would march out and surrender.

Cameron held on to his position until many had given themselves up.
Then he saw that all hope was gone, and therefore turned to his men.

“Boys,” said he, “it is useless for us to continue the fight any
longer. They are all gone except ourselves.”

His followers stood for a few moments watching the crowds of Mexicans,
who were making a great demonstration. Their cavalry was charging up
and down the streets, while many were carrying away the guns of the
Texans who were collected upon the plaza. The citizens of the town were
cheering for victory.

“I’ll never give up,” said “Big Foot” Wallace. “My relatives were
massacred after they had surrendered at Goliad, and that is what the
Mexicans will do to us.”

But Cameron wished to save the lives of his men and so took the lead.
As he marched towards the Mexican line, his soldiers followed. When
they emerged from their position into the street they were met by a
strong detachment of Mexicans. The painful work of surrendering their
arms now commenced. “Big Foot” Wallace was the last man to give up his
gun, his knife, and his pistol.

The bloody battle of Mier was over. The Mexican loss had been heavy.
With two thousand in the field, five hundred had been killed. The
Texans had two hundred and sixty in the town, sixteen of whom were
killed and thirty of whom were wounded. The Mexicans lost forty
artillerymen. The bodies of the slain Texans were dragged through
the streets by the cavalry, and were followed by crowds of yelling
townsfolk. Four rows of dead Mexicans were laid out upon the plaza,
where the priests said mass among them. It had been a fierce little

Now the troubles of the Texan Rangers really commenced. The wounded
were left at the blood-bespattered Mier in charge of the good Doctor
Sinnickson, while the able-bodied Americans were marched towards
Mexico City, in charge of General Ampudia. Everywhere they were met
by jubilant Mexicans, who made grand demonstrations as they passed
through the towns, blowing bugles, hallooing, and charging around upon
their horses. The Texans were so starved that they became thin and
haggard, while their shoes were worn completely through. The Mexican
women pitied the half-fed Americans, some of whom were mere boys.
At Monterrey they came in with provisions and fed them. “Big Foot”
Wallace—still wearing the trousers which he had captured—was thin but
game. “Just give me a chance to escape,” he muttered to a companion.”
Then,—watch me go!”

Finally the Texans were placed in prison at the Hacienda Salado. Their
numbers were increased by a few ranchers who had been captured in
other raids. All were anxious to make the attempt to escape, and a plan
was set on foot to rush the guards at sunrise on the eleventh day of
February, 1843. At Monterrey a similar plot had been hatched, but one
of the Texan officers had disclosed it to the Mexicans, so the attempt
had not been made.

All was soon ready for the struggle for freedom. Captain Cameron
gave the signal by throwing up his hat, and two scouts named Lyons
and Brennan led the charge upon the guards. The Mexicans were taken
completely by surprise, were disarmed at the door of the prison, and
saw the Texans dash into the outer court of the building where about
one hundred and fifty infantrymen were guarding the arms and boxes of
cartridges. The Texans numbered two hundred.

The frontiersmen rushed immediately upon the regular soldiers, who
levelled their muskets at them and fired in their very faces. The
Texans were not armed, but they pressed onward, received the fire, and
closed in upon the yellow-skinned custodians of the jail. It was too
bold a dash for the Mexicans. They surrendered or fled after the first
fire, but the Texans had other soldiers to face.

A second company of infantry was stationed at the gate and a force
of cavalry was outside. The gallant Texans did not hesitate for an
instant. The desperate fellows rushed upon them, and a terrible fight
ensued. Most of them had secured guns by now, and, when the second
hand-to-hand fight took place, they were better prepared to force
their way. “Big Foot” Wallace did not have a gun, so he rushed at a
Mexican who had discharged his piece, and tried to disarm him. The
fellow had a bayonet upon the end of his musket. He made a vicious
thrust at the gaunt and lanky man from Texas.

“Big Foot” seized the bayonet with his bare hands, and a hard struggle
took place for the possession of it. As they bent to and fro, an
unarmed prisoner came up behind, and, seizing the gun in the centre,
wrested it from the Mexican. The soldier fell upon his knees, held up
his hands, and called out loudly: “Señors, have mercy! Have mercy!”

“You can go,” shouted “Big Foot” Wallace.

The fight was now raging fiercely and the scout went into the thick
of it, brandishing the musket which he had just captured, and doing
awful execution with the bayonet. The Texans were getting nearer and
nearer to the gate which opened upon the streets of the town. The
Mexicans were uttering screams and yells of terror and surprise. The
Rangers were among them with clubbed guns and were delivering blows
to the right and left. The cavalry became terror-stricken and fled.
The infantrymen at the gate began to throw down their arms and try to

One Mexican lieutenant showed extraordinary bravery. His name was
Barragan,—a son of the commander of the Mexican force. Backing against
a wall, he brandished his sword aloft, and refused to surrender except
to an officer. Six Texans surrounded him and thrust bayonets at his
breast, but he kept his arm in motion and successfully parried every
thrust. His sabre was moved about with such rapidity that it could
hardly be seen.

At this time “Big Foot” Wallace came up. “Here,” cried a Texan, “you
shoot this fellow, ‘Big Foot.’ He deserves death.”

But the lanky Texan shook his head. “No,” said he. “This man deserves
better treatment, for he is a brave soldier. I refuse to shoot him.”

“Let me see your Captain,” cried the Mexican. “To him I will surrender
my sword.”

Captain Cameron came up at once and the blade was turned over to him.
With a proud look the Mexican stepped back and folded his arms.

“You are a brave man,” said Cameron. “You must be our prisoner, but you
will not be injured.”

The Texans were now masters of the situation. They dictated terms to
their enemies, one of which was that the wounded should be well taken
care of. Meanwhile they prepared for instant flight, for they knew that
a large force would soon be on their trail. Some of the Mexicans had
tied their horses near by, and these were at once seized.

By ten o’clock in the morning the Texans were all mounted and set out
for the Rio Grande. It was touch and go with them. The chances for
their getting away were very slight, for they did not know the country.

“Big Foot” Wallace had secured a fine dun-colored mule which had
belonged to a Mexican officer. The other Texans had good mounts, and
by midnight were fifty miles from the scene of their battle. A short
halt was made and the horses were fed. The men slept two hours, and,
early in the morning, left the main road so as to go around the city of
Saltillo. They soon abandoned the road for the mountains. This was a
fatal mistake, for it was a barren waste with no water and no food.

For six days the gallant Texans pressed onward. They were soon
perishing with thirst and starvation. So hungry were they that horses
were killed and eaten. The Texans drank the blood of their mounts,
and, leaving the remains of their slaughtered beasts for the coyotes
and buzzards, they plunged into the arid, brown mountains in a vain
endeavor to reach the Rio Grande. Many were on foot. Some became
delirious and wandered away to die in lonely ravines. The party became
badly scattered. “Big Foot” Wallace dried some mule meat in the sun and
carried it along in a haversack. The frontiersmen toiled onward in the
direction of the Rio Grande, but the Mexican cavalry was hot upon their

Finally the yellow-skinned soldiers of the country began to come up
with the half-dead Texans and to capture them. The majority of the
invaders formed a hollow square and refused to surrender unless they
could do so as prisoners of war. They were hollow-cheeked, sunken-eyed
and half alive, yet they cried out that they would fight unless granted
an honorable surrender. The Mexicans were well mounted and well fed.
They had the Rangers at their mercy, yet they granted them what they
asked for. Of one hundred and ninety-three Texans who had made their
escape, five died of thirst and starvation, four got through to Texas,
and three were never heard of again.

The Texans were tied together with ropes and were marched in a single
line to Saltillo. When they were brought into the city an order was
received from Santa Anna to have them shot. The Mexican officer in
charge of the prisoners refused to comply, and said that he would
resign his commission before he would do so. The British consul also
interfered, so the poor Texans were allowed to go on to Salado, where
they had had their fierce battle for freedom. They were placed in
irons. As they reached the town an order came from Santa Anna to have
every tenth man shot.

When the prisoners arrived at the jail from which they had so
gloriously escaped, some Mexicans were seen digging a ditch. “Big Foot”
Wallace nudged a companion. “That ditch is for us!” said he. He was
quite right.

The Mexican officers now decided to let the prisoners draw lots in
order to see who should, and who should not be, shot. A large jar was
filled with beans: as many beans as Texans. White and black beans were
there. The white ones meant life; the black,—death. There were nine
white beans to one black.

The Texans were now marched out from their jail and were formed in a
long line. An officer soon approached with the jar in his hand, in
which were one hundred and fifty-nine white beans and seventeen black
ones. The poor Texans were to pass through a fearful ordeal, but they
were all gamblers with life, so they took it philosophically. Soldiers
will rush to almost certain death in the excitement of battle, but to
stand and decide one’s fate by the drawing of a bean is worse than
charging upon a spitting cannon.

The Mexican officers were very anxious to kill Captain Cameron,
the gallant leader of the gaunt and half-starved Texans. They were
therefore in great hopes that he would draw a black bean, and, for
this reason, placed black beans on top, within the jar. He was also
requested to draw first.

But one of the captives—a fellow named “Bill” Wilson—saw the trick,
and, as Cameron placed his hand in the jar, the Ranger called out: “Dip
deep, Captain! Dip deep!”

Cameron followed his advice, ran his fingers to the bottom, and pulled
out a white bean. A look of satisfaction passed over the faces of
the Texans, for they all loved the brave and unselfish Captain. The
Mexicans scowled as the drawing went rapidly on.

All “dipped deep” and it was thus some time before a black bean was
pulled forth. The Texans knew that some of them would be compelled to
draw the black beans, but they grinned with delight as friend after
friend extracted a white bean from the fateful jar. Most of the scouts
showed the utmost coolness. One noted gambler from Austin, Texas,
stepped up to the jar with a smile, saying: “Boys, this is the largest
stake that I ever played for!” When he drew out his hand a black bean
was between thumb and forefinger. Without changing the smile on his
face, he muttered: “Just my luck! Good-by to dear, old Texas!”

One young fellow, almost a boy, drew a black bean, and giving one
appealing look at his comrades, cried out:

“Boys, avenge my death on these hounds!”

As the drawing progressed, some of the petty Mexican officers did all
in their power to annoy the prisoners. When one would draw a black bean
they would express great sorrow, and would say: “Cheer up! Better luck
next time!” although they knew that this was the last chance which the
poor fellow would ever have.

One witty Texan cried out, when his time came to draw:

“Boys, I had rather draw for a Spanish horse and lose him!” He drew a
white bean.

The time approached for “Big Foot” Wallace to have his turn, for the
men drew in alphabetical order, and W was well down upon the list. The
boys were “dipping deep” and nearly all of the white beans had been
dipped out. As “Big Foot” reached into the jar there were about an
equal number of black beans and white. His hand was so large that he
had difficulty in squeezing it down to the beans.

The wily Ranger was under the impression that the black beans were a
little larger than the white ones, so he scooped up two against the
side of the vessel, and, getting them between his fingers, felt them
with great care. The Mexicans were watching him very closely. “Hurry
up!” cried one. “If you pull out two beans and one of them is a black
one, you will have to take the black.”

“Big Foot” paid no attention to this remark. Life was now at stake. He
deliberately felt the beans for some time and one seemed to be larger
than the other. He let it go, drew out his hand, and breathed easier.
He had drawn out a white bean. The next two men drew black.

The black beans had now all been extracted, and the last three Texans
did not draw. An officer turned up the jar and three white beans fell
to the ground. The condemned men were then placed in a row and the
firing squad was detailed and counted off.

The irons were now taken from the unfortunate Texans and they were led
away to execution, bidding their more fortunate companions good-by, as
they moved off. Tears were running down the cheeks of the emaciated
Texans as they bade their comrades a last adieu. A man named Whaling
asked not to be blindfolded, saying that he wished to look the man
in the face that shot him, and show them how a Texan could die. His
request was refused.

The bold and intrepid Texan Rangers were now ready for execution. All
were blindfolded, a sharp order rang out, and the crash of muskets woke
the echoes of the high adobe walls of the quaint, rambling prison.
Without a sound the condemned Texans fell to the ground, all of them
dead save one. This man—a fellow named Shepherd—was wounded in the
shoulder, although a Mexican musket was within a few feet of him when
it had been fired. He feigned death, so that he was able to crawl off
and escape to the mountains after the Mexicans had gone away. But the
men of the south discovered that one of their victims had disappeared
when they came to remove the bodies to the ditch which had been
prepared for them. Scouts were sent out in every direction to hunt for
the missing corpse. In ten days the Ranger was retaken and was shot.

The survivors—in irons—were started on foot for the City of Mexico.
They were half starved. They were derided, hooted at, and beaten by the
populace. “Big Foot” Wallace suffered terribly, for the shackles were
too small and cut deep into the flesh. His arms became badly swollen.

When the poor prisoners arrived at San Louis Potosi, the Governor’s
wife came to look at the half-fed men and particularly noted the
condition of Wallace. Her sympathies were at once aroused and she
ordered the chains to be taken off. The officer who commanded the
Mexican troops refused to do so, saying that only the Governor had
authority to give such an order.

“I am the Governor’s wife,” replied the woman. “I command you—in his
name—to take off these terrible bands.”

To this the soldier consented. Sending for a blacksmith, he had the
shackles removed. The Governor’s wife bathed the swollen arms of “Big
Foot” Wallace with her own hands.

“You should be President of Mexico,” said the half-dead Ranger.

The prisoners were marched onward and soon arrived at an Indian village
about eighteen miles from the City of Mexico. Here an order came from
Santa Anna to shoot Captain Ewing Cameron. He had drawn a white bean,
but the Mexican leader did not respect his former decision. The order
was kept a secret from the balance of the prisoners out of fear that
they would make a demonstration. That night Cameron was put in a room
alone, with a separate guard. The rest of the prisoners suspected some
treachery and were fearful of the fate of their brave leader.

Next morning, when they were all marched out, each Texan filled his
shirt full of rocks, determined to die for their captain if need be.

“Why are you getting those rocks?” asked the guards.

“It is for ballast,” replied “Big Foot” Wallace. “We want to walk

The Mexican soldiers made no attempt to take the stones away. They were
probably afraid to do so, as they saw a desperate look upon the faces
of the Rangers. As they marched on, the prisoners frequently inquired
about Cameron and wanted to know if he were going to be shot.

“No! No!” replied the Mexicans. “Go on! Your Captain will soon be with

Somewhat reassured, the Rangers went forward, but, when they were about
a mile from the town, they heard a platoon of soldiers fire their
muskets in their rear. Some one cried out: “Brave Cameron has been
massacred, boys! A finer man never breathed!”

It was only too true. The patriotic Texan had met his death
unflinchingly,—a victim of the treachery of the wily Santa Anna.

Texas was then an independent Republic, for it had not yet been
admitted into the Union. The United States had nothing to do with
protecting the citizens of Texas, and the young Republic did not have
forces enough to invade Mexico with an army, so as to rescue these
unfortunate men. The British consul, however, had a good deal to say
about the killing of Cameron, and had a personal interview with Santa
Anna regarding it. He severely condemned this cruel procedure.

The Rangers were now closely confined in a miserable dungeon. Many
went insane and died. Twenty-four succeeded in digging their way out,
underneath the wall. Four scaled over the high enclosure and made their
way back to Texas in safety. “Big Foot” Wallace, himself, had a fit
of temporary insanity, but he recovered and managed to live through
the months of terrible imprisonment. The Texans were so badly fed that
they caught the rats which ran across the dungeon floor and ate them.
Meanwhile Santa Anna’s wife was continually pleading with her husband
to liberate the miserable men. The stern dictator was greatly attached
to her, and would grant almost anything that she asked.

Friends of the Texans were using their best endeavors to have the
prisoners released. Through the influence of his father and Governor
McDowell of Virginia, “Big Foot” Wallace was finally set free. Upon the
fifth day of August, 1844, he and four others were allowed to go, after
an imprisonment of twenty-two months. Upon the same day the good wife
of Santa Anna died,—regretted and beloved by every Texan who had worn
the chains of Mexico. Soon afterwards an order came to set free the
remainder of the Texans, for Santa Anna had promised his wife—on her
death-bed—that he would release them. To his honor be it said that he
kept his promise.

The intrepid “Big Foot” was, of course, delighted with his freedom.
Taking ship at Vera Cruz, he soon reached New Orleans, and from there
found his way back to his old cabin upon the Medina River. Many
settlers had taken up ranches near by, so he was no longer alone. Still
the Indians were very thick, and there were frequent brushes with the
wild riders of the plains.

One day—near Fort Inge—the pioneer discovered the track of the famous
Big Foot Indian, where he and six followers had crossed the road. The
old fellow’s footprint was fourteen inches in length, and, as he had
seen it several times before, the plainsman knew that there was trouble
in the wind. When he reached the fort, he found a friend of his named

“That Big Foot redskin is around,” said he. “This means horse stealing.
If the old cuss does get your stock, just let me know and I will join
you in a little Injun round-up.”

“All right,” Westfall replied. “If I need you, I will let you know.”

As Wallace expected, in three or four days a Ranger came after him with
the information that all of Westfall’s horses had been stolen and that
he was needed—very badly needed—to assist in their recapture. The
Indians had ridden up the Nueces Canyon to its source, and then had
crossed over to the headwaters of the South Llano, where they had gone
into camp in a dense cedar grove. They thought that they had captured
all of the white men’s horses, and so would not be followed. As they
had shot a small bear, they proceeded to cook it over a glowing fire.

But the redskins did not remember that the white settlers had some very
good mules, which they had not captured. On these the Texans followed
the Indian trail, and soon located the redskin encampment by the smoke
from the fire. Westfall rested, but did not cook anything. He was
waiting for morning, before making the attack.

As day dawned, the plainsman crept towards the Indian camp; accompanied
by a youth named Preston Polly. The other men—four in number—were
told to come on when they heard his gun. At first the two whites
descended into the bed of a gorge to a point opposite the camp of the
famous Big Foot Indian. When nearing the smoke from the fire, a trail
was discovered, which led down the hill to a pool of water fed by two
deep springs. Below the pool was some rank, coarse grass. Westfall and
the boy halted in this.

Suddenly, as he peered beneath some bushes, Westfall saw an Indian
coming towards the pool of water. He was mounted upon a pie-bald pony,
and was a tall, well-formed brave. The plainsman lay still, scarcely
daring to breathe. Silently he cocked his rifle and kept his eyes upon
the savage.

In a few moments the Indian came into full view. The heart of the
plainsman beat quickly, for before him was the terrible Big Foot: his
face all daubed up with vermilion paint, and eagle feathers in his
scalp-lock. Motioning to the boy to remain absolutely quiet, Westfall
slowly raised his rifle. At this moment the horse discovered the
ambushed marksman and snorted. Big Foot turned quickly in order to see
what was the matter and was for a moment stationary. Bang! The burly
chieftain—the scourge and terror of the border—pitched forward upon
his face. He had been shot clean through the heart.

True to their orders to approach when they heard the discharge of a
rifle, the other men came up quickly, on the run. They charged up the
hill, past the body of the dead chief, and into the camp of the red
men. The Indians had gone, but the stolen horses were all in camp,
except those ridden away by the redskins. The pioneers ate a good
portion of the bear meat, which was fat, juicy, and well roasted.

When they examined the big chief, they found that he was indeed the
giant of a man, for he was seven feet tall and weighed about three
hundred pounds. His hand clutched the bridle-reins so firmly that his
pony was unable to pull away from him. His hair was fully a yard in
length and he had strong arms and legs. Upon his right knee was the
mark of a bullet where he had been wounded some years before. The white
men took his moccasins in order to prove that it was the real Big
Foot; rounded up their horses; and were soon travelling back to their
ranches. The great chief was buried without ceremony.

“Big Foot” Wallace was shortly afterwards commissioned by the Governor
of Texas to raise a company of Rangers for frontier defense. He was
made Captain and appointed his friend Westfall a Lieutenant. They were
soon to see plenty of stiff fighting.

The hardest battle which they engaged in was on Todos Santos (All
Saints) Creek, at a place called the Black Hills, sixteen miles from
the town of Cotulla. Eighty redskins were near this spot, and had
camped near a waterhole, which the whites wished to get to, as they had
been three days without water. The plainsmen had come through prickly
pear and cat-claw bushes only to find the Indians in their path. A stiff
fight ensued. The Rangers circled around the savages for over an hour,
and, after they had wounded a good many, charged the remainder. There
was hand-to-hand fighting, but the red men were finally driven away,
leaving twenty-two of their number dead upon the ground, among whom was
their chief. “Big Foot” Wallace had dispatched him with a rifle, which
had been presented to him by Colonel James Bowie, from whom the bowie
knife took its name.

The redoubtable Wallace was one of the first to enlist in the Mexican
War of 1846, and served under the famous Texan Jack Hays. The war,
as you know, was brought on by a dispute over the boundary-line
between Mexico and the United States, and, as many of the Rangers
had old scores to settle with the Mexicans, they did good service in
the campaign which ended in the capture of the City of Mexico. “Big
Foot” Wallace was a second Lieutenant and acquitted himself nobly,
particularly in the storming of Monterey, where he captured the very
officer who had held the fatal bean-pot when the Texans were drawing
for their lives at Solado. To his credit be it said that he let the
fellow go.

The famous plainsman never married, although he was once engaged to
a belle of Austin, Texas. He was taken ill, shortly after pledging
his troth, and had the misfortune to lose all of his hair. As soon as
he was able to travel, he left town and hid himself in a cave in the
mountains. Here he resided until his hair grew out again. Meanwhile his
sweetheart had grown tired of waiting for him and had married another
man. As she turned out to be a terrible scold, he was lucky.

The old scout was the proud possessor of four dogs—half-bred
specimens—which he prized very highly. He called them Rock, Ring,
Speck and Blas, and was particularly fond of Rock, who was so well
trained that he could follow an Indian by his scent. Wallace could
always tell by the dog’s actions when Indians were around, and, when
night came, would feel perfectly secure when his pets were on guard
near by. The faithful animals would lie near him and would make no
noise unless some wild man, or still wilder animal, approached.

One morning Rock gave unmistakable signs that Indians were near by, so
the scout took his gun in order to watch for the redskins. As none put
in an appearance, he told his dogs to “go on and find.” They rushed
forward, yelping, and he soon heard them baying loudly. Coming to the
spot, he saw an Indian down in a gully with the dogs around him. They
were endeavoring to bite him, but he kept them from seizing him by
throwing his blanket over their heads. Wallace raised his gun to fire,
but, seeing that the poor redskin was afraid, he lowered his piece.
Then, calling his pets to his side, he made signs to the Indian to come
towards him.

When the redskin approached, “Big Foot” saw that he was unarmed, save
for a small knife which he held in his right hand. This was broken in

“I have been a captive among the Comanches,” said the red man. “I
have had nothing to kill game with and am nearly starved. Pray give
me something to eat, Señor. I broke my knife while trying to open a

The old scout’s heart was touched by the sad spectacle before him. He
took pity on the poor savage, and, leading him to his cabin, there gave
him all that he could eat. He then turned him over to the Indian agent
at San Antonio. This shows that, although keen in pursuing hostile
redskins, the famous Ranger could be also kind and gentle to the

The fame of “Big Foot” Wallace was great among the pioneers of Texas;
so great, in fact, that when he appeared at the Dallas fair in 1898,
hundreds crowded around him in order to take his hand and talk with the
famous scout. All had heard of the giant plainsman and wanted to see
him. Shortly after Christmas, of this year, he caught a heavy cold,
and died on the seventh of January, 1899, in his eighty-third year. To
the very end his eyesight was so keen that he had no need of glasses,
and he was apparently hale and hearty up to the last. Thus peacefully
closed the career of one of the most adventurous men who ever hunted,
fished, and fought the red men and Mexicans upon the wide plains of

Although buried in Medina County, where he had built his first log
cabin, shortly after his death, a bill was passed in the legislature,
so that his remains were taken up and were deposited in the State
cemetery at Austin. This was a city which he had helped to build. He
had also assisted in the construction of the first well which had been
sunk there. He had been among those who had killed the last herd of
buffalo on the plains near by.

Here—in the peace of the rolling plain—lies the last of the Great
Captains of those gallant Rangers of the Texan prairie. His spirit
slumbers where the coyote and Indian once followed the dun-colored
herds of buffalo, and where—in the blue azure of the cloudless
sky—the wheeling vulture watched the canvas-covered wagons of the
emigrant trains, which brought a people who were to construct great and
populous cities, where was then only dust and desolation.



IT was the year 1840. Texas was still a wild country, but the white
settlers were pressing forward to farm and to raise cattle and
horses. The redskins did not like it. The Comanches were particularly
troublesome: they had been severely chastised by General Burleson and a
Colonel John H. More, so they had sworn to revenge themselves upon the
white-skinned invaders. With a large body of painted warriors they made
a raid upon the defenseless settlers of Texas. They sacked and burned
the town of Linnville, partly destroyed Victoria, and commenced their
retreat back to the mountains with a great deal of plunder. There were
six hundred warriors and many squaws in the party of invasion.

In going down from the mountains the Indians had kept between the
rivers, where there were no settlements, and consequently they were
not discovered until a short time before the attack upon Linnville.
Runners were immediately sent to the various settlements, and men began
to cut across the country in small squads from the valleys of the
Colorado, the Guadalupe, and San Marcos. All of them were excited and
eager for revenge, none more so than General Burleson, who—at the head
of a large company—was just starting for the scene of action. When
about one hundred and fifty men had arrived—among them settlers from
Guadalupe and San Marcos—they started for the Indians.

Among those who came riding to the defense of the Texan frontier was a
splendid looking, young fellow, who was the perfect picture of manly
vigor. Clad in blue shirt, buckskin chaparejos (large trousers slipping
over those usually worn) and high-heeled boots, the youthful Texan was
a noble example of health and agility. A broad sombrero was upon his
head, while a cartridge-belt hung about his supple waist. His name was
John Coffee Hays; better known as Jack Hays: the Ranger.

This celebrated scout and Indian fighter had been named after General
Coffee, who commanded a brigade in the army of General Jackson, at the
battle of New Orleans. He had been born in Wilson County, Tennessee, in
1818, but had come to Texas in 1837, when but nineteen years of age.
A surveyor by profession, he had taken up a residence at San Antonio,
where he was employed to measure lands upon the frontier. His life in
the open had given him a hardy constitution, and no one could endure
more hardships or privations than he. His talent as a commander and
director of rough-and-ready fighters early developed, and he was soon
among the leaders of the borderers in Southwest Texas.

With a wild hurrah, which spelled REVENGE, in large letters, the
Texans started after the Indians, and, after travelling for nine
miles upon their broad trail, caught up with them near a winding
stream called Plum Creek. Two redskins had been left by the invaders
as spies. They were upon a ridge and sat quietly upon their horses,
watching the approach of the white men, until the Texans were almost
within gun-shot. Both of these Indians had on tall hats which they had
obtained at the looting of Linnville. You can well imagine how comical
they looked, for a black, stovepipe hat hardly becomes a wild rider
of the plains. With his thick, long hair it never quite fits, and it
certainly gives the red man a most grotesque appearance.

One of the Texan Rangers had a long-range gun. Dismounting, he cried

“Boys! Just watch me make the redskins hump!”

At the crack of his rifle, the Indians wheeled their horses in order
to run away. As they did so, both lost their plug hats. They moved
swiftly to their comrades, warning them of the approach of the Rangers,
who spread out in a fan-shaped line, and kept on after the retreating

Now began a hot fight. The redskins were well armed and made a good
showing, but nothing could withstand the terrible fire of the Texan
rifles. After an hour of rapid shooting the Rangers charged with a
wild, ear-splitting whoop. Jack Hays was well up in front of the line
as they did so. The Indians broke and galloped away in a disorganized

Many of the redskins had on fine coats and boots which they had stolen
during the raid. Some of them even carried umbrellas. Their spare
horses and mules were packed with stolen goods, and these were driven
ahead by the squaws, while the warriors fought the battle. After about
a mile of fighting, the Comanches rallied in large force and a sharp
contest ensued. But they could not stand the accurate rifle-fire from
the Texans, and again fled in a scattered mass.

The pursuit continued in hot haste, for some high mountains were in
front, and the Rangers knew that if the red men once reached them it
would be quite possible for them to get away. Many of the pack-animals
now gave out, were abandoned, and fell into the hands of the Texans.
A boggy branch was in the path of the retreating braves. Several of
the Indian ponies stuck fast in the mire: all of the pack-animals
which had not yet been captured, became hard aground in the mud. The
hindmost Indians used some of the poor, bogged animals as pontoons, and
passed over the marsh by jumping from body to body. The Texans saw the
predicament which the redskins were in and ran around the branch to the
other side, where they cut off some of the Indians who were on foot,
and killed them. The rest got away to the foot of the mountains, where
the pursuit ended.

The Rangers collected at the spot where the fight had been most severe
and where most of the Indians had been dispatched. Here they camped
for the night. Some of the Texans had been wounded, but none had been
killed. Thus the battle of Plum Creek came to a glorious end.

Jack Hays had certainly distinguished himself in this affair. He
distinguished himself still more in 1842, when San Antonio was captured
by the Mexicans. Shortly after the battle of Plum Creek, Jack had been
commissioned by General Houston to raise a force for protection of the
frontier. He had no difficulty in doing this and was soon in command of
several hundred Texan Rangers. They were wild fellows; ready for any
emergency that might arise.

The Mexicans had about fifteen hundred men in San Antonio. They were
commanded by a General Wall. Jack Hays and his Rangers rode up near
the town and “dared” the Mexicans to come out and fight. This they
were quite willing to do, and soon marched from the adobe huts of San
Antonio, crossed a creek in order to face the Texans, planted cannon,
and the battle commenced. The Rangers acted upon the defensive, dodged
the limbs of the pecan trees which the whistling bullets began to cut
off, and prepared to meet the Mexicans when they should charge.

General Wall, the Mexican leader, thought to rout the Texans with his
artillery fire, but, as he failed to do this, he made preparations to
charge them. Cavalry was dispatched across the creek in order to cut
off retreat upon this side, and a band of Cherokee Indians were posted
upon a branch below. The Mexicans believed that they would have an easy
time of it, but they little thought with what kind of men they had to
deal. Before them were expert riflemen: all keen shots and frontier
fighters. They made a good account of themselves.

The bugles sounded the charge and the Mexicans came on in fine style.
They were massed together densely, and, for a time, it looked as if the
Rangers would be annihilated by mere force of numbers. But the Texans
lay down behind the creek bank, and poured such a volley of death and
destruction into the ranks of the oncoming foe that their formation
was broken up and they retreated in confusion and disorder to their
batteries, posted upon elevated ground. A company of their cavalry
also charged, but the horses would not come on before the sheet of
lead which the Rangers pumped into them. Many lost their riders and
ran among the infantrymen, knocking them down as they galloped wildly
about. The Rangers cheered loudly, and Captain Jack Hays grinned from
ear to ear.

As the Mexicans gathered behind their cannon, about fifty Texans, under
Captain Nicholas Dawson, came up on the right flank. They heard the
sound of firing and hurried towards it, only to find that they had run
into Wall’s entire army. The Mexicans surrounded them immediately, and
poured a destructive fire into their ranks. What could fifty do against
one thousand? Two Texans made their escape. About twelve were captured.
The rest fell before the bullets of the invaders. Dawson, himself, was
one of the last to go down.

After this, the Mexicans seemed to think that they had had sufficient
fighting. They retired towards San Antonio, followed by the exultant
Texans. Captain Jack Hays with his Rangers fought the rear-guard near
Hondo, but the pursuit was soon abandoned and the frontiersmen returned
to their homes. They had lost less than one hundred in killed and

The Rangers retreated to a place called Somervell, and, not long
afterwards, were ordered out to look for Indians, which were then
pretty thick in the neighborhood, and were doing considerable damage.
There were between thirty and forty men in this expedition, some of
whom had just returned from Mexico, where they had participated in the
battle of Mier. They moved off towards the northwest, struck the Medina
River, and kept on up the stream towards the place where now stands the
town of Bandera. Here they made camp, and next morning turned north
towards the Bandera Pass, which they entered at about ten o’clock in
the morning.

The Comanches were waiting for them. They had discovered the approach
of the Rangers as they came through the open country, and laid an
ambush for them in the Pass. The famous Bandera Pass is some five
hundred yards in length by one hundred and twenty-five in breadth. The
red men were concealed among the rocks and gullies on both sides of
the gorge, and they allowed Captain Jack Hays with his Texan Rangers
to get about one-third of the way through before they commenced firing
from both sides at once. The Rangers were riding three abreast, and,
when this fusillade commenced, were thrown into momentary confusion,
because of the frightened and wounded horses, which endeavored to wheel
and run back.

“Steady, boys, steady!” exclaimed Captain Jack Hays. “Get down from
your horses and tie them to the brush. We can whip these infernal
redskins if you will only keep cool.”

The Comanches greatly outnumbered the Rangers. They were armed with
rifles and with bows and arrows. Many came down the Pass and rode up
to close quarters with the Rangers. Pistols were freely used and many
hand-to-hand conflicts took place. The Comanche chief was struck down
by a ball from the rifle of “Kit” Ackland, who, himself, was wounded
a moment later. It was a furious affair,—one of the most desperate
Indian battles of the frontier.

One of the scouts—a fellow named Galbreath—was wounded by an arrow
which struck him above the pistol-belt, on the left side. It penetrated
as far as the hip bone. The hardy frontiersman made no complaint, but
drew the missile out at once, loaded his gun, and continued to fight on
as if nothing had happened. No one knew that he had been wounded until
the worst part of the battle was over.

The Indians fought with great fury, but they soon saw that they could
not drive the Rangers back, and so withdrew to the north end of the
Pass. Here they buried their dead chieftain; killed all of their
crippled horses, and held a scalp dance over the remains of their
fallen comrades. Five Rangers had been killed and six had been wounded.
The men under Jack Hays retreated to the south end of the Pass, where
they buried those who had met their end, and attended to the wounded.
Next morning they jogged along to San Antonio. The Indians did not

The battle of Bandera Pass had taught the red men that the Rangers were
not to be trifled with. Captain Jack was continually on the lookout
for them, and soon had another experience which he had no occasion to
forget. It happened about a year after the famous battle at the Pass.

Fourteen Rangers—under Captain Jack—went upon a scout up the
Neuces Canyon, with the expectation of meeting the Indians, who were
then upon the war-path. After a long trip to the head of the river,
without seeing any fresh Indian sign, Hays turned back down the canyon
and camped. Next day the little party travelled onward, and—about
noon—some one discovered a bee tree.

“Hold on, Captain!” said a Ranger. “Just wait a minute and I’ll chop
all the honey out of that tree-top.”

“All right,” replied Hays. “Sail in and let’s see what you can do. Pull
your bridles off, men. Let your ropes down and allow your horses to
graze. We will rest here awhile and get some honey.”

The Ranger secured a small axe that was in the luggage on a pack-mule,
and ascended the tree, for the purpose of chopping into the honey
without cutting down this stout piece of timber.

About this time a large band of Comanches were coming down the canyon
on a raid, and, seeing the trail of the Rangers, they followed it. The
fellow in the tree had a good view of the valley, and, to his startled
vision appeared a great body of redskins.

“Jerusalem, the Golden, Captain!” he sang out. “Yonder come a thousand
Indians! Jerusalem!”

The Comanches were riding rapidly down the trail and made a good deal
of dust. Hays sprang to his feet, as quick as a cat, and sang out his
orders promptly, and to the point.

“Come out of that tree, there! Men, put on your bridles! Take up your
ropes! Be ready for them! Be ready for them!”

All sprang to their horses, and were soon prepared to meet the onrush
of the red men.

The Rangers were armed with Colt’s five-shooters, besides their rifles
and a brace of holster single-shot pistols. Thus each man could fire
nine shots. The Indians had never before come in conflict with scouts
armed with the five-shooter, and they rode on exultingly, for they
greatly outnumbered the whites. Jack Hays never ran from Indians, and
had never yet been defeated by them.

The Comanches came forward, yelling loudly. They thought that it would
be an easy matter to ride over the small squad of white men, who were
drawn up around the old bee tree. Some of the scouts began to raise
their guns, but Captain Jack cried out:

“Now, boys, do not shoot too quickly. Let the redskins come closer. Hit
something when you do shoot. Stand your ground. We can whip them when
we shoot. There is no doubt about that.”

The redskins thundered down upon the Rangers. When they were quite
close, Captain Jack called:

“Fire, and let every shot tell!”

A sheet of flame burst from the rifles of the scouts, and so many
ponies went down that the redskins divided to the right and left,
discharging their arrows as they swept by.

At this moment Captain Jack sprang into his saddle.

“After them, men,” he cried. “Give them no chance to turn on us! Crowd
them! Powder-burn them!”

Never was a band of redskins more surprised; for they expected the
Rangers to remain near the tree, and upon the defensive. With a wild
whoop, the followers of Jack Hays galloped after the running braves,
keeping up a perfect fusillade with their pistols. The Comanches were
thunderstruck at this turn of affairs. Some tried in vain to turn their
horses and make a stand, but such was the wild confusion of running
horses, popping pistols, and yelling Rangers, that they abandoned the
idea of a rally, and sought safety in furious flight. In endeavoring
to dodge the terrible five-shooters, some dropped their bows and round
shields. Some kept off the Rangers by thrusting at them with their long

The Indians ran for three miles before they could get away. The Rangers
now rode back, well satisfied with the day’s work, and were surprised
to see the result of their charge. The ground was fairly black with
dead redskins. Many years afterwards a friendly Delaware Indian,
called “Bob,” met the Comanche chieftain who led his warriors in this

“Who did you battle with upon this occasion?” he asked.

“Ugh! Jack Hays and his Rangers,” gloomily replied the Comanche chief,
shaking his head. “I never want to fight him again. Ugh! Ugh! His
soldiers had a shot for every finger on their hands. I lost half of all
my warriors. Ugh! Me never fight with him again.”

The Rangers soon afterwards had another tough little scrimmage with
the Comanches. Fifteen of the Rangers were together at this time and
they met an almost equal number of Indians, who were discovered at the
foot of the mountains near the Frio River. The Indians were riding very
tired horses, and the scouts thus gained upon them rapidly. The red
men kept under cover, as much as possible, riding in ravines which had
brushes and prickly pears around them, wherever they could do so.

Captain Jack and his men arrived at a little dried-up creek called Ci
Bolo (buffalo creek) where they came close to the Indians, who were
travelling in a ravine which hid them from view. The Rangers heard
their leggings scraping against the brush, so, for some distance, they
rode parallel with the savages, waiting for a chance to make a charge.
The redskins could be heard talking to each other.

Suddenly the Comanches left the ravine and rode out in open view, not
more than thirty yards away. They apparently were not aware of the
presence of the scouts until a sharp crack warned them of their danger.
At the first discharge, a redskin fell from his horse. The others
attempted to run back to cover, yelling and shooting at the Rangers as
they did so. But the scouts were too speedy for them and cut them off.
One, however, seemed determined to get into the ravine. He disappeared
into a thicket, at the edge of the gully, but a Ranger called Tom
Galbraith dismounted, and, running to the edge of the thicket after the
Indian had reached it, fired, and killed him.

The rest of the savages endeavored to make their escape across the open
country, which was filled with scattered bunches of the prickly pear,
cactus, and cat-claw bushes. Some were on mules, and others on jaded
horses. The Rangers rode hard after them and fired with deadly effect.
The Indians had no guns—only bows and arrows—so they did but little

As the chase continued, one young Ranger called Stoke Holmes, who rode
a fast little pony, singled out an Indian and cried out:

“Watch me, Boys! I’m going to rope him!”

While he was running along and was swinging his lariat, the pony
attempted to jump a large bunch of prickly pears. He reared so high
that his rider lost his seat in the saddle and fell backwards into the
terrible cactus. Some of his comrades saw the mishap. They quickly shot
the redskin and then came rapidly to his rescue, as he was unable to
get up. The valiant scout was in a sad plight. His body had thousands
of pear thorns in it, and his clothing was pinned to him on all sides.
He was in agonies of pain. Pulling him away from the grip of the
cactus, the Rangers stripped off all of his clothing, extracted all of
the large thorns, and endeavored to pull out the small ones. But this
was an impossibility, as there were thousands of small needle-like
prickers in his flesh. With a sharp knife the Ranger shaved them close
to the skin so that his clothing would not irritate his body by rubbing
against them. The bold young fellow was hardly able to ride for several
days thereafter. As for the rest of the redskins,—only three escaped.

Not many months later Captain Hays and his men were close upon a band
of Indians, who had been located by his scouts in a bunch of cedars.
The Rangers had not eaten all day, because they had been hot in pursuit.

“Dismount, men,” cried the captain. “Stay here a few minutes and
partake of the cold bread and beef in your saddle-bags. But, boys, by
no means raise any smoke, or the redskins will surely see it, and will
know that the Rangers are upon their trail.”

“You’re right, Captain!” cried many. “We are half famished.”

Captain Hays always had a few Mexicans with him, as they were good
guides and trailers, but, upon this occasion, they lighted their
cigarettes after eating and dropped the hot ashes into a pile of
leaves. Smoke was soon curling above the tree-tops.

“Curse it, boys!” cried Captain Hays. “Did I not tell you not to set
fire to anything. Put that out, immediately!”

Some of the Rangers began to stamp upon the glowing fire. Hays was so
angry that he struck the Mexicans with his quirt.

“Mount! Mount!” cried he. “We must go quickly after the redskins, as I
fear that they have seen the tell-tale fire and have decamped.”

A furious run was now made for the tepees of the hostiles, which were a
mile away. It was as the knowing Captain had anticipated. The Indians
saw the smoke and knew that the Rangers were on their trail. They had
fled, leaving many things in their camp, which were seized by the
troopers. The Comanches had gotten safely away.

In 1844 Captain Hays and his men had a hard fight,—one of his hardest,
in fact. It was near the Pedernales River. Upon this occasion he had
gone out with fourteen men, about eighty miles northwest from San
Antonio, for the purpose of finding out the position of the redskins
and the probable location of their camp.

As the river came in view, about fifteen Indians were discovered. They
soon saw the Rangers. Riding towards them, they shook their clenched
fists and seemed to be desirous of having a fight. As the Rangers rode
forward they retreated and endeavored to lead them towards a ridge
which was covered with thick underbrush.

“Oh, no,” said Captain Hays, “I am too well acquainted with your wiles
to move on. I know that you have an ambush laid for me and my men.”

It was hard to keep the Rangers from advancing to the attack.

“Go around the redskins to the second ridge,” cried the knowing
Captain. “We can thus get the Indians in the rear.”

The Rangers were posted upon a long hillock, separated from the Indian
position by a deep ravine. They were not here long before the redskins
discovered who was before them, and, as they knew Captain Jack full
well, decided to give up trying to catch him by stratagem. They now
showed themselves to the number of seventy-five and cried out, in
pigeon English:

“Come on, white men! Ugh! Come on! We get your scalps soon!”

“I’ll meet you right away!” answered Captain Hays.

He started down the hill immediately, followed by his entire command.
He moved slowly, and, when the bottom of the ravine had been reached,
turned—raced ahead at full speed—and came up in the rear of the
Indians. While they had their eyes glued to the front, eagerly awaiting
the advance from that direction, they were charged in the rear by the
Rangers. The first fire threw them into instant confusion.

Yells, war-whoops, and shrill screams rent the air. The redskins
scattered like quail, but, seeing the superiority of their own force,
soon rallied.

“Draw your five-shooters, men,” cried the Captain of the Rangers. “We
must meet the charge of the Comanches as we have always met them.”

The redskins were surrounding the Texans, so the Rangers were formed in
a circle, fronting outwards. They were still mounted on their horses,
and, for several minutes maintained that position without firing a
shot. The Indians came on, yelping, and were soon near enough to throw
their lances at the Texan frontiersmen.


A spitting volley came from the five-shooters of the scouts and many
a red man fell to the sod. Again a volley rang out and the Comanches
ceased to advance, for the fire of the Rangers was fearfully accurate.
The redskins fell back, but they were not defeated, and—in a few
moments—again came on to the attack. The fight continued for an hour.
Twice the Rangers charged and retreated to their first position.
Their loads were now exhausted. The Comanche chief was rallying his
henchmen for one more assault. Twenty-five of his painted warriors were
prostrate upon the prairie.

The situation was critical for the Rangers, as many were badly wounded.
Several had been killed.

Captain Hays, who was in the centre of the circle, now saw that their
only chance was to kill the Indian chief.

“Have any of you men a loaded rifle?” he asked.

“I have,” answered a scout called Gillespie.

“Then dismount, my boy,” said the Ranger Captain, “and make sure work
of that chief.”

Gillespie was a brave man. He had been badly wounded by an Indian spear
which had gone clean through his body. He was hardly able to sit his
horse, but, slipping to the ground, took careful aim and fired. As his
rifle cracked, the chief fell head-long from his horse.

It is a strange thing, but Indians always lose heart when their leader
is slain. Wailing loudly, the Comanches now left the field, pursued by
a portion of the Texans. They carried their chieftain safely away, in
spite of the fact that they were pressed very closely by the Rangers.
Thirty Indians lay dead upon the battle-ground, while only two of the
Texan frontiersmen had been killed. Five, however, were badly wounded;
chief among whom was Gillespie, who had really ended the fight.

Captain Hays and his men went back to San Antonio well satisfied with
the day’s work. A month later he had another desperate encounter with
the Comanches.

With twenty of his men the gallant Ranger was on a scout near the
“Enchanted Rock.” This was a depression in a hill, which was conical in
shape, and was doubtless the crater of an extinct volcano. A dozen or
more men could hide in this place and put up a stout defense against a
great number of enemies, as the ascent was steep and rugged. Not far
from the bottom of this curious hillock the Rangers were attacked by a
large force of Comanches.

When the first shot was fired, Captain Hays was some distance from his
men, looking about in order to see whether or not he could discover the
whereabouts of the Indians. As he turned to run towards the “Enchanted
Rock,” he was cut off and was closely pursued by a number of red

The nervy Captain Jack dashed madly up the side of the hill and
entrenched himself in the extinct crater. He was determined to make the
best fight that he could, and to “sell out” as dearly as possible. The
redskins arrived upon the summit shortly after he had entrenched, and,
after surrounding the famous Captain of Rangers, set up a most hideous

“There, Captain Jack,” said one. “Ugh! We get Big Smoky Stick this
time. Ugh! We get scalp this time! Ugh! Ugh!”

But Captain Jack was game. Each time that the muzzle of his rifle would
appear over the rim of the crater the warriors would dodge backwards,
knowing that to face his unerring aim was sure death.

The Indians grew bolder and made a charge. Hays fired his rifle,
killing a redskin at the discharge,—then shot his five-shooter at the
yelping braves. Each bullet found a victim, so the redskins withdrew,
which gave the gallant Captain a chance to reload. Again they came on,
but again they were met with the same cool bravery. Howling dismally,
they again drew away and made ready for another attack.

Suddenly wild cheering sounded from below the Ranger Captain. Shots
came thick and fast. Wild yells arose. His comrades were coming to his

The Rangers had heard the rifle-fire upon the top of the hill and knew
that their Captain was surrounded. So they were fighting their way up
to him, in spite of the odds. Soon they came cheering and yelling to
the edge of the crater, itself, to be greeted by the cool remark:

“Boys, I’m sure glad to see you! I was nearly all in!”

When the Comanches saw that the Big Chief had been rescued they
retreated down the steep sides of the “Enchanted Rock.” They met their
comrades, who had been badly cut up, and, deciding that the Rangers
were too good for them, withdrew. Wild cheers welled from the crater of
“Enchanted Rock,” and loud were the hurrahs for Texas Jack, the gallant
and intrepid Ranger.

The war with Mexico found Captain Jack Hays ready and willing to
march against the hated “Greasers.” He and his famous Rangers fought
in nearly all of the desperate battles of the campaign. Many of his
faithful friends and companions fell before the leaden missiles of the
foe. But Captain Jack had a charmed life: he came through unscathed,
returned to his beloved Texas, and then moved to California, where he
was elected Sheriff of San Francisco County. He was very efficient as
an officer and left an excellent record behind him.

In 1860 he had his last Indian fight. The Piute Indians in the state
of Nevada declared war upon the whites, in that year, and committed
many depredations. They massacred Major Ormsby and his men and spread
terror broadcast. At this time there were rich mines in Virginia City,
and among the many men who were employed there was an old Texan Ranger,
Captain Edward Storey, a man of great personal courage. He was also
very popular among the people.

“This Indian fighting has to stop, immediately,” said the old fellow,
his fighting blood again boiling.

At once a company was raised, called the Virginia Rifles. Colonel Jack
Hays heard of it, and immediately came over from California in order
to enlist. With him were several other bold spirits who were eager for
the excitement of a brush with the redskins. They marched to Pyramid
Lake, not far from the present town of Reno, and there met the exultant
braves,—about one thousand strong. They were flushed with their recent
victory over Major Ormsby and his men, and thought that they could
easily defeat the whites.

In this they were mistaken. The red men were in the hills and had
the advantage of position, but the scouts attacked with vigor and a
fierce battle ensued. Colonel Jack Hays was in the thick of the fight
and conducted himself in a manner quite worthy of his name and fame.
A complete victory was won by the Virginia Rangers, but at a fearful
loss. Among those slain was brave Captain Storey, whose body was
rolled up in a blanket and conveyed to Virginia City on the back of a
pack-horse. Colonel Hays rode with the remains of his old friend of the
wild days on the Texan plains, then returned to California.

Here the famous Indian fighter died in 1883. In his later years
he became very wealthy and owned a beautiful home near Piedmont,
California. He never lived in Texas again, but occasionally went there,
in order to visit old friends and relatives. He was buried with a
simple ceremony, and thus ended the career of one of the most deadly
shots and courageous men who ever rode a mustang upon the plains of the
West. His spirit still lives in the hearts of the Texans.


 From “My Sixty Years on the Plains”—Courtesy of the Forest and Stream
 Publishing Co.




THE mountaineers were pushing, adventurous and fearless men who
thought nothing of laying down their lives in the service of a friend.
They usually carried very little with them. A few ponies transported
their meagre supplies, and, with only enough provisions to last them
a few days, they often set out to journey through a vast wilderness.
Naturally they were very self-reliant. With only a gun or two they
took desperate risks in a country filled with their red enemies. They
overcame every difficulty with a dash and courage that is amazing.
“Uncle Bill” Hamilton was a typical example of one of these men.

From the time that he was twenty years of age this famous old fellow
spent his life on the plains. He became a sign-talker and was able to
converse with all the Indian tribes which were met with. Sign-talking
will soon be a lost art, but in the old days all of the red men used
the same signs, although they spoke different languages. He was also a
trapper, trader, and pathfinder. He blazed many a trail which was to
lead the frontiersmen to rich agricultural regions. He set an example
of courage and perseverance that will leave a bright memory in the
hearts of all.

In the spring of 1842, when twenty years of age, young Bill was living
in St. Louis, Missouri; but chills and fever were gradually undermining
his constitution, so his doctor ordered a change of climate.
Consequently his father made arrangements with a party of hunters
and trappers, who were in St. Louis for a few days, to let his son
accompany them on their next trip, which would last a year. The party
consisted of eight “free” traders, with “Bill” Williams and a man named
Perkins, as leaders. These two scouts had had fifteen years’ experience
on the plains among Indians, and had a wide reputation for fearless
courage and daring exploits.

The trappers soon reached Independence, Missouri,—where they sold
their wagons and rigged up a complete pack outfit, as the expedition
would go through a country in which wagons could not travel. Young Bill
Hamilton still had on city clothes, and when the old fur traders saw
this, they began to laugh and poke fun at him.

“What be you going to do with that city cuss in th’ mountains?” said
one. “Why, he’ll lose himself in a hour’s time and walk down the throat
of some grizzly bear.”

Young Bill did not like this remark at all, and hurrying to a frontier
store he traded his “store clothes” for two suits of the finest
buckskin. When he appeared in camp with these fine togs on one of the
mountaineers said:

“Williams, that boy o’ yourn will make a fine old pioneer and
mountaineer, if he catches on at this rate.”

The youthful plainsman heard it and smiled, for he had felt very badly

The party pushed onward and reached Salt Creek. Camp had just been made
when a small herd of buffalo appeared in the distance and made directly
for the little band. Williams gave orders to corral all the stock, for
he feared that this was the game of some plains Indians, and he was
not far from being correct. The stock had barely been secured when the
buffalo thundered by, followed by thirty painted Kiowa warriors. They
were wild and savage.

The trappers had placed their packs in a triangle, and crouched
behind them. This made an excellent breastwork. Each man was armed
with a rifle, two pistols, a tomahawk, and a large knife, called a
“tooth-picker.” Two of the men had bows and arrows with which they were

The redskins rode up insolently; examined the outfit, and demanded pay
for passing through their country.

“You can neither touch our traps nor will we give you pay for riding
through your country,” said Williams. “This is Pawnee country and you
are Kiowas.”

The Indians seemed to be ill pleased and looked vindictively at the
sturdy men of the plains. The leader was given some tobacco. He was not
a chief, but a young brave with two feathers stuck in his scalp-lock.
After receiving this gift the savages withdrew, saying: “Ugh! Ugh! We
come again!”

The trapper kept close watch during the night, expecting that the
Indians would attempt to steal some of the stock and attack the camp.
But nothing occurred. Many outfits have come to grief by putting
confidence in the red man, who always covets the belongings of the
paleface. Old and experienced mountain men like these left nothing to

Pretty soon the trappers reached the camp of some Cheyennes and there
unpacked their goods in order to trade. Young Bill accompanied the
chief’s son, Swift Runner, through the village, who introduced him to
all the leading men.

“There will be a large hunting party starting out to-morrow after
buffalo,” said he, “and if you wish to go along I will furnish you with
a good hunting horse.”

“I shall be delighted to go,” cried young Bill, so next morning found
him riding across the prairie with about fifty Indians and twenty

After travelling for nearly ten miles the scouts discovered a herd and
reported its location to the hunting chief. This leader was thoroughly
acquainted with the topography of the country and led the redskins upon
a long détour, so as to get on the leeward side of the herd. As soon
as a favorable position had been reached the Indians stripped to their
breech-clouts and advanced, leading their running horses as they did


The chief now divided the hunters into two divisions, in order to get
the buffalo into a small area. They rode to within a quarter of a mile
of the herd and then the word was given to “Sail in!”

In an instant the wild array of naked Indians started for the herd,
sending forth yell after yell, and riding like demons in their
eagerness to bring down the first buffalo. For this is quite a feat and
is commented upon by the whole village.

Swift Runner, himself, had the fastest horse in the party and brought
down the first buffalo, much to the chagrin of many a young brave—who
coveted the honor—for it would bring him smiles from his lady love.
Young Bill’s pony loped along with willingness, and Swift Runner
pointed out a fat cow for him to dispose of. In a few jumps he was
alongside of the great lumbering brute, and fired into her side. As
luck would have it, he broke her back and she dropped to the sod. Swift
Runner yelled hilariously at this success, but it was a very careless
shot, and, had he missed, the cow might have made things ugly for him.

There was a great yelling and shooting upon every hand and several
riderless ponies were mixed in with the buffalo. Many prairie-dog
holes were the cause of this, for when the ponies stepped into them
their riders were, of course, thrown over their heads. Ponies are
usually sure-footed beasts, but when in a chase like this, where over a
thousand buffalo are tearing over the prairie and kicking up a big lot
of dust, it makes it impossible for the animals to see the holes.

Young Bill brought down four of the huge brown bison and received great
praise from the Indians for his skill. They used arrows in their
killing and shot behind the shoulder, bringing the buffalo to his
knees. Another arrow would be sent deep enough to penetrate the lungs
of the beast and it would then be soon over with him.

For three-quarters of a mile the prairie was dotted with the dead
buffalo. They were soon butchered; the ponies were packed with three
hundred pounds of the choicest meat, and the caravan started for home.
Several Indians who had been thrown limped quite badly, but no one was
seriously injured. At sundown the village was reached, a feast was
prepared, and all joined in the affair with the greatest good will and
friendship. Young Bill was warmly congratulated upon his success, and
this was well, for if a white man fails to acquit himself creditably
with the redskins it casts a reflection upon all the whites.

The Indians made pemmican and “dupuyer” from the buffalo. The first
is manufactured in the following manner: the choicest portions of the
buffalo meat are selected, sliced, and cut into flakes. They are then
dried. All of the marrow, from the centre of the bones, is put into
one pile with the sweetest of the tallow. These ingredients are mixed
together and stirred around in a pot which is hung over a slow fire.
The combination is then cooled. Some red men put berries into the
mixture, which harden and give a sweetish taste. The mountaineers and
trappers—when sugar was scarce—always made their pemmican in this
manner. The Indian squaws pulverized the meat by beating it upon a flat
rock, and then placed it in skinbags for future use. It is estimated
that one pound of pemmican is equal to about five pounds of beef.

A fat substance which lies along the buffalo’s backbone, next to the
hide, is known as “dupuyer.” It is about as thick as the hand of a
trapper and runs from the shoulder-blade to the last rib. In breadth it
measures between seven to eleven inches. The Indians and mountaineers
would strip away this substance—dip it in hot grease for thirty
seconds—and then hang it to the inside poles of a lodge. A fire would
be lighted beneath it and it would be allowed to dry and smoke for
ten or twelve hours. “Dupuyer” was considered to be a great delicacy,
for it was very nourishing. Besides this it was tender and sweet. The
trappers loved this food and would pay a dollar a pound for it, while
the Indians always took dried meat and “dupuyer” along with them upon
their expeditions.

When Williams and his party moved on, Swift Runner presented young Bill
with a pony which he had ridden in the hunt, and the squaws gave him a
half a dozen pairs of beautifully embroidered moccasins.

A few days later the party reached the South Platte River and there
found a Sioux village. Big Thunder was the chief, and he requested the
trappers to camp there, as his people wanted to trade with them. The
Sioux were then a friendly tribe and treated the white men in a cordial

Just before dawn—upon the day following—a wild yelping awoke
the entire village. The warriors ran out only to find that the
Pawnees—the mortal enemies of the Sioux—had run off about one
hundred head of ponies which had been turned out to graze only a short
distance from camp. Among this number were two mules and three ponies
belonging to the white men.

As soon as this news was received there was a great yelling and
shouting, while fifty young warriors hastened to saddle their best
ponies. Young Bill Hamilton was with them, and, under the leadership
of Young Thunder, they started after the redskins. The trail of the
fugitives was soon struck and followed at a brisk gallop, and, after
going about eight miles, it was evident that the Pawnees were but a
short distance in advance. Passing over a divide, a cloud of dust could
be plainly seen about two miles in advance.

The Pawnees rode hard, but they were soon in view. There were twelve
in the party. As Young Thunder gave a war-whoop, the ponies bounded
forward and carried their owners towards the fugitives as if shot out
of the mouth of a cannon. The Pawnees heard the chief’s yell, and,
leaving the herd of stolen stock, made for a neighboring cottonwood
grove. While Bill Hamilton rode onward, a bullet whistled by his ear.
The savages fired several more shots but their lead all went wide of
its mark.

“Don’t you intend to charge the grove and endeavor to capture the
Pawnee warriors?” said Bill to the Sioux chief.

Young Thunder smiled and shook his head.

“No, no,” he answered. “’Nough to get back our ponies.”

The young scout thought that the Indians were not such terrible
fighters as some writers would have them appear, and this impression
never changed, although he occasionally met a few that knew no fear.

Two of the Pawnee braves had been killed in this little skirmish, and
the warriors rode back to their village carrying the fresh scalps
tied on the end of long sticks. The whole village turned out to greet
them, yelling like furies. Pandemonium reigned all night, but when old
trapper Williams heard that young Bill had ridden in so close to the
timber, he said:

“I shall have to keep you at home next time, if I expect to return you
to your parents. You are a young fool to approach close to timber where
hostile Indians are concealed.”

“Three of our ponies were in the bunch of captured horses,” answered
the young scout. “I did not wish to return without them. As for the
Sioux, I consider them a lot of cowards.”

The Pawnees had not acted with good judgment in trying to drive off
fully one hundred head of horses, so near daylight. For they should
have known that the Sioux warriors would be after them, mounted upon
their best war-ponies.

The trappers soon bade good-by to their kind hosts and continued on
towards the Little Wind River, crossing a rugged and romantic country,
where lofty, sky-piercing peaks ascended into the banks of drifting
clouds. To the northwest were the Wind River Mountains; to the eastward
was the Big Horn Range,—the home of the buffalo, elk, antelope, deer,
and grizzly bear. It was a hunter’s paradise, where many different
tribes of Indians met on their annual hunt, and often battled for the
right to the soil. Hostile war-parties were even now quite numerous
in the mountains. At Little Wind River, Evans and Russell picked up a
moccasin, showing that the redskins were quite near.

Beaver and otter seemed to be plentiful, so the men set their traps.
At night they slept with arms at their sides, ready for instant
action, and a close guard was stationed beyond camp, as it was almost
certain that the Indians would discover them and would run off with
their stock. This was the most dangerous country on the plains and was
constantly invaded by war-parties of Blackfeet, Bloods, Piegans, and
Crows. All had to be constantly upon the alert to avoid losing their
horses and their scalps.

About four o’clock one morning two rifle reports brought every man to
his feet. Yell after yell sounded from the darkness, and shot after
shot came whistling into the camp. In an instant the trappers were up
and about—their rifles replying to this fusillade. Evans and Russell
(two of the most experienced scouts) killed a couple of the Indians
with their first shots, for dawn was just coming, and two black bodies
were seen to leap into the air and then roll down a hill upon which
they had been crouching. The savages were shooting arrows and old
Hudson Bay flintlocks which made a big flash when discharged. As the
scouts aimed at these flaming jets, they must have done considerable
damage, for the Indians fell back. They continued to send shots into
camp until day dawned.

“Let’s charge the critters!” shouted young Bill Hamilton.

“Not on your life, boy!” shouted trapper Williams. “It’s most dangerous
to run into such a number of unknown redskins at night.”

So the young man desisted.

Just before daylight the Indians attempted to recover their slain
comrades, by crawling up to them in the grass. The scouts, however,
were up to such tactics and added one more to keep company with two of
the red men already sent to the Happy Hunting Grounds. At this, the
redskins gave a yell of deep despair. Then they filed slowly away,
sending a few parting shots at the trappers, just to show that they
were still in good fighting order.

Five of the trappers’ ponies had been badly wounded, and Williams was
so enraged at the injury which had been done that he was determined
to punish the Indians still further. Leaving two men in camp, he
ordered the rest to follow him on the fresh trail of the early morning
marauders, which led up a small stream. The scouts galloped eagerly
forward, and, coming to a rise, were soon within plain view of the
red men, who were hurrying along, trying to get two of their wounded
comrades to the protection of a grove.

“Dash on to the right!” shouted Williams. “Head the redskins off from
that bunch of trees!”

The red men saw in a moment that they would be cut off from the grove,
and they made for a patch of willows and stunted box-elders just below
them. There were eleven of them in all and the trappers certainly had
them cornered.

It was about a hundred yards to the Indians, and a scout named Dockett
tried a shot at them. The red men returned fire, wounding him in the
thigh. There were a quantity of boulders near by, and Williams ordered
his men to roll them up to the brow of the hill, in order to form
breastworks. Four of the trappers were left behind this, while Williams
told Noble and young Bill Hamilton to follow him to the grove without
letting the Indians notice that they had decamped.

In the grove the trappers concealed themselves, and the wisdom of their
move was quite clear. The Indians realized that they would all be shot
down if they remained in their present position, for the men behind the
brow of the hill now had their range. Six of them made a dash for the
cluster of trees.

When the scurrying red men were within one hundred yards of the timber,
Williams gave orders to shoot. The trappers took careful aim, and, at
the flash of their rifles, three of the red men fell face down. The
other three gave a yell of despair and ran up the hill. The trappers
dashed after them, and the Indians became panic-stricken when they saw
the mounted white men debouch from the thick woodland.

Williams raced onward, dashed right at the Indians, and, although shot
at, managed to bring both of the redskins to the ground. Now all three
had been slain, and the revenge which the trappers had wished for had
been fully satisfied. The redskins were Blackfeet, the most thieving
class of wild riders of the plains.

There were still five Indians in the willows. Many men would have let
them go. But not so with Williams. He was considered the hardest man on
the plains to down in a fight with the Indians, for he was never known
to quit when once started. It was to be a battle to the bitter end.

“There are five Indians down there who shot at and insulted us,” said
he. “They shall have what they would have given us had they been
successful in their attack.” Here he turned to young Hamilton. “Boy,”
said he, “never let an Indian escape who has once attacked you! I want
you to go with me. We will walk to the gulch and approach from below.”

But the trappers held their leader in too high estimation to allow him
to thus recklessly expose himself.

“Your orders are going to be disobeyed for once in your life,” said
they. “We cannot afford to lose you.”

Williams smiled.

“Evans and I will undertake the job,” cried scout Russell. “You cover
us with your fire.”

In a second—and before Williams could answer—they bounded into the
gulch below. Both were quick of foot and had been in so many desperate
battles that they understood the danger of approaching prostrate
redskins; for a wounded Indian is an uncertain animal.

The rest of the scouts kept up a steady fire until Evans and Russell
were seen to be close to the willows. Then they ceased, as the two
scouts bounded forward, yelling like Indians. The other trappers also
rushed down, and although one of the braves had his arrow in his
bow—all ready to shoot—he never pulled it. In a very short time it
was all over.

The Indians had now been annihilated, and among their effects were
found two fine bridles, ammunition, knives, and other articles
belonging to trappers. It was evident that some small body of white
traders had been surprised by these Blackfeet and put out of the way
forever. So ended this stiff little skirmish.

The trappers now kept on their way, set many beaver traps, caught a
great many of these animals; and traded with several bands of friendly
redskins. The men were all fine shots and often received praise from
people for their expertness in fire-arms, but no more than they
merited, for an American mountaineer had no equal on the globe. It was
necessary that the trappers should be very expert, for they carried
their lives in their hands, and were liable to come in contact with
roving war-parties at any moment. To be taken prisoner meant torture
and death, and it was therefore impossible for an Indian to capture
either a scout or a trapper. They knew what would follow.

Young Hamilton thoroughly enjoyed the life and soon became one of the
most proficient talkers in sign language on the plains. The trappers
reached Fort Bridger, where were many Shoshones, who asked the youthful
scout many questions by signs, all of which he answered correctly. This
astonished even the older trappers, many of whom thought that he had
been raised by some tribe.

Williams now left the men of the plains in order to go to Santa Fé on
business, but promised to be back in the spring and organize a new
party for a two-year expedition. Before he left he took young Hamilton
aside and gave him advice in many matters. He looked upon him as a son,
and few fathers ever gave their children better counsel. The trappers
decided to trap near Salt Lake, and the Bear and Malade Rivers, during
the fall.

When they had proceeded for some distance they were met by a party of
Indians, who spoke the Shoshone tongue, and who informed them that they
had to pay for going through their country. Perkins—who was now leader
of the trappers—tried to make peace with them, but without success. He
made the Indians keep away, but they continued to make signs, meaning
“dogs,”—which the white men well understood. The trappers held their
rifles ready for any emergency.

Perkins cautioned his men to have patience, and, filling his pipe,
offered it to the chief, who refused it with contempt, saying: “Big
chief never smokes with white dogs.”

The head trapper’s patience was now almost exhausted and he told the
chief in plain language to “get out.” His men prepared for action, as
he spoke, so the redskins mounted their ponies and departed towards the
South. As they rode off, they cast all kinds of insults at the white
men, both with signs and in spoken language. It was certain that they
would soon follow the trappers and then there would be a big fight.

That night every precaution was taken to guard against a surprise.
Two guards were put on duty, to be relieved at midnight, and a well
fortified position was chosen for camp. Perkins said that it was
customary for the Utahs to attack just before daylight, for this is the
time that the redskins expect to find the whites fast asleep. This is
what occurred in the present instance.

A little before daylight two or three wolf howls were heard by the
guards, who immediately notified Perkins. Soon all the men were up,
their packs being placed in a semi-circle as a breastwork. Twenty of
the best horses were saddled and tied in a thicket, to protect them
from Indian bullets and arrows. Defeat meant death, so the trappers
looked stolidly before them, fully prepared for the worst, if it were
to come.

The first wolf howls were soon followed by others, coming from nearer
points and in a semi-circle. Indians are experts in imitating the cries
of owls, wolves and coyotes. So adept are they in the art that it is
difficult to distinguish them from the calls of real birds and beasts.
Few trappers can successfully imitate these animals, although many
endeavor to do so.

It was not long before the attack commenced. Just as day began to
dawn the wolf howls ceased and the trappers knew that the crisis was
at hand. The Indians had crept to within one hundred yards of camp
before they gave the war-whoop. Then they came on—fully one hundred
strong—yelping wildly. The trappers were all ready with their rifles
and pistols. Three were armed with double-barrelled shot-guns, loaded
with half-ounce balls and fine buck-shot.

The Indians raced to within fifty yards before a single trapper
fired,—then all began to shoot. The redskins halted. At this the
plainsmen began with their six-shooters, one in each hand, for—as a
result of long continued practice—they could shoot equally well with
either arm. These mountaineers had to be experts in the use of both
rifle and pistol, for inability to fire with accuracy meant instant
death upon many an occasion.

The red men were much surprised to receive so many shots from but
twenty men. They became panic-stricken, for they had not supposed
that the trappers possessed two pistols each—twelve shots apiece
after their rifles had been discharged. They had expected to rush
right over the breastworks, before the rifles could be reloaded. They
retreated—assisting many of their wounded. An arrow went through young
Bill Hamilton’s cap.

The redskins had received a repulse which they had not expected, and
retreated to their villages, taking their dead and wounded with them.
The chief, Old Bear, had been slain, as well as many of their bravest
warriors. This tribe had frequently robbed small parties of trappers,
killing them many times and always treating them with great cruelty.
After this fight they usually gave well-organized bodies of trappers
the “go by.”

The plainsmen finished their work without being further molested, and
then moved on to Bear River. In the spring, trapper Williams returned
from Santa Fé, and made a proposition to the men that he should form
a company of forty-three and make a two-years’ trip. This was agreed
upon, and the expedition soon started, on the 25th of March, 1843.
The trappers were divided into four parties, which collected furs in
common; that is, each man had an equal share in all furs caught by his
own party. For mutual protection they always pitched their tents and
lodges together.

They soon passed through the country inhabited by the Bannock Indians.
These were troublesome and had many a brush with the stout men of the
plains. But the trappers came through every escapade without much
loss. The region in which they soon found themselves was rich with
beaver and otter; large quantities of which were caught. It was a
grandly beautiful country—a paradise for all kinds of game. Bear were
particularly plentiful, and many a grizzly and cinnamon fell before the
accurate aim of the men in buckskin.

“Young Bill” Hamilton could not be called “Young Bill” any more,
because he was a seasoned trapper, and his many experiences with wild
men and wild beasts had made it possible for him to hold his own with
the most experienced men of the party. The trappers made a wide détour,
first going far North, then travelling South to the Carson River in
Nevada, where they lost one of their best and most skilled men,—a
fellow named Crawford. They were in the Pah Ute country and could tell
very readily that the Indians were most unfriendly. In spite of this
they set their beaver traps, for they saw that these animals were thick.

As Crawford did not return to camp one evening it was decided to make
a search for him. Dockett, who was an outside trapper (or one who had
his traps furthest from camp), had seen the missing man setting his
traps at a bend in the river, at some distance away. To this point the
trappers hurried, and, scouting in some cottonwood groves, in order to
make sure that there was no ambush, they went in and soon discovered
where one of their number had been at work. Indian tracks were thick
near by.

They saw where a horse had stood, and, going to a thick bunch of
willows, found the ground saturated with blood. The Indians had lain
hidden in this willow patch, knowing that the trapper would come in
the morning to look after his traps. They had thrown Crawford into
the river, which was four feet deep. He could be easily seen and was
soon pulled to dry land. Crawford was a handsome Texan, six feet tall,
brave, kind, generous, and well-educated. Five of his traps were found,
and four dead beaver. The Indians had stolen what was left, including
his rifle, two pistols, and a horse. The trappers were soon back in
camp with the body of their comrade, and, when the men saw Crawford, it
was plain that death would be the penalty to any of the redskins who
had waylaid him. A grave was dug—the trapper was laid to rest in his
blankets—and no monument was placed above to mark the spot, for fear
that some wandering redskin would dig up the remains of this fearless
man of the plains.

The Pah Utes were soon to be encountered, for at two in the afternoon
the pickets signalled: “Indians coming on horseback.” The stock was
corralled and the scouts stood ready for action. The pickets now rode
in and reported sixty Indians, who made their appearance upon a ridge,
about three hundred yards from camp.

“Come out and fight! Come out and fight!” yelled the redskins.

Crawford’s death had cut the scouts down to thirty-eight, but that did
not worry these hardy souls. It was impossible to keep the men back,
so eager were they to avenge the death of their comrade. Leaving three
trappers to take care of camp, the others mounted and started away in
the direction of the Indians.

When the redskins saw them coming they gave yell after yell, thinking,
no doubt, that this would paralyze the white men with fear. Then they
divided and charged from two sides. The trappers let them get to within
one hundred yards, when they halted and brought their rifles into play.
Dropping these upon the ground, they charged with pistols in hand.
Fully twenty-five Indians fell before their accurate shots. This
bewildered the savages, and, before they could recover, the scouts were
in their midst.

One tall redskin was mounted on Crawford’s horse. He tried to get away,
but delayed entirely too long. He was caught, knocked prostrate to
the ground, and the horse, rifle, and pistols of the dead scout were
recovered. Forty-three ponies were captured. Very few of the Pah Utes
made their escape. Poor Crawford, you see, was thus revenged in full.

Two horses which the trappers rode were killed. A few of the scouts
received arrow wounds, but none were serious. The secret of the
frontiersmen’s success was in making every shot count in the first
volley. This bewildered the Indians, and, before they could collect
their thoughts, the plainsmen were among them. The scouts were an
effective body, and were as well drilled in the use of both rifle
and pistol as the soldiers of any nation. Their horses, too, were
trained to stand fire and to be quick in evolutions. The war-whoops
and yells of the Indians simply made them prick up their ears and look

After this affair the little party received little molestation from
the red men. At a council it was decided to move, as it was not known
how many warriors these Indians could muster, and it was not safe for
one or two men to go any distance from camp after furs. The hardy
adventurers travelled to the Laramie River, where twenty-five of them
determined to go back to St. Louis and to take their furs with them.
The original thirteen all returned to the Far West; Williams going to
Santa Fé, accompanied by Perkins and six others. It was a sad parting
for all, particularly for Bill Hamilton, who had grown to love his
comrades like brothers.

Bill was now a seasoned trapper, and the rest of his career on the
plains was marked by many hazardous adventures with the redskins. He
went to California, during the gold excitement, was in the famous Modoc
war of 1856, where he belonged to the “Buckskin Rangers,” and was
employed as a scout in the uprising of the Sioux in 1876, which was so
disastrous to General Custer and his command. He was among those who
followed Crazy Horse to his end, and finally resigned from the service
of the Government to resume the free and independent life of a trapper.
At eighty-two years of age he was living a peaceful and contented
life at Columbus, Montana, where—as he says in his biography—“I am
thankful that I can still enjoy and appreciate the wonderful beauties
of nature.”

A true plainsman, a great shot, a nervy fighter,—such was “Uncle Bill”
Hamilton. At the present time there is no wild and adventurous West
to create such characters as this, for bad Indians have passed away



NO more famous plainsman ever lived upon the Wyoming prairies than
Uncle Job Witherspoon: a veteran of many an Indian battle: of several
tussles with grizzly bears; and of frequent brushes with desperadoes
and bad men who had taken to the hills in order to escape jail. Born
about 1830, the old fellow was still hale and hearty in the year 1898,
when he was piloting a number of young men through the intricacies of
the Rocky Mountains; a region which he had lived in for many years.

“Well, youngsters,” said the veteran trapper to the party of young
fellows who were upon an amateur hunting excursion, “when you’ve toted
traps and peltries, and fit Injuns as long as I have, you’ll sartainly
have considerable more experience than you have now.”

The old fellow was sitting with his back against a tree trunk, near
the Grosventre River, and before him, in a semi-circle, lay five young
men. All looked up at him eagerly, for they were in a country which had
once been peopled by hostile redskins. It was now safe, for the savage
tribesmen were upon reservations. Still, the air of romance lay over
the beautiful land and added a zest to their expedition, which would
have been absent had they been in a more unhistoric country.

“Ha! Ha! boys!” continued Uncle Job. “You think that you’ll have a
mighty nice time out on the trapping grounds, and I ain’t going to
say as how you won’t. But, take my word for it, ye’ll wish yourselves
back in th’ settlements many a time afore you’ll get there. What with
fighting and hiding from Injuns and them pesky grizzlies, and livin’
sometimes fer weeks together on nothin’ but pine cones an’ such trash
as luck happened to throw in my way to keep body an’ soul together, my
time used to be anything but ’specially agreeable, until I got used to
it. Then I found it barely endurable. It’s a hard life, anyway, boys!”

“My, my, Uncle Job,” said one of the youngsters, “why, then, do you go
back to the plains?”

The trapper laughed.

“Well, there, boys, yer have me, anyhow,” he answered. “Ter be right
down honest with yer, _I likes it_. It’s a fact, as sure as dry prairie
grass will burn, and I wouldn’t live a whole month in Saint Lewy (St.
Louis) fer all th’ money there if I could not be allowed to spend th’
balance of my time in th’ mountain country. I’m used to it, youngsters,
and city air is rank poison to me; besides, I’d spoil fer th’ want
of a fight with some of th’ red varmints of Blackfeet, Pawnees, and
Poncas; for, my boys, that’s the best part of the life on th’ plains.
And now,” continued the old trapper, “I’ll tell yer about a fight, and
a long battle it was, too, which I had with a party of them cowardly
Black feet over on the Sweet-water River. It was something over twenty
years ago, and one fall when I was trapping on the headwaters of the

The boys drew closer and gazed at the old fellow with wide open eyes.

“We had about a dozen greenhorns at our post, just like yourselves. We
were only a few months from the settlements and these fellows hadn’t
yet got toughened to the kind of a life we had to lead. Some of ’em was
about dyin’ with th’ ager, and we hadn’t a dose of medicine, or even a
blessed drop of spirits to save ’em with. So, as I knew every inch of
th’ country from th’ Pacific to Saint Lewy, I was ordered by th’ head
trader of th’ post to go to Fort Laramie and bring back a supply of
calomel, Queen Anne powders, an’ sich truck fer our sick men.”

“You had your nerve with you,” interrupted one of the boys.

“Always had plenty of that,” continued Uncle Job. “The distance was
about six hundred miles over the mountains. We had come to the western
side of the range the spring before, by way of the Sweet-water Valley
Pass, and I concluded to take that route again toward Laramie.

“Wall, things went well with me for some time. After I got over the
main ridge I kept along the south side of th’ Wind River Mountain and
stopped one day on th’ Green River, in order to make me a new pair of
moccasins. The rough travelling over th’ hills had worn mine out and
left me barefoot. While I was stitching away at my shoes I remembered a
_cache_ (a supply of provisions hidden or stowed away until it should
be convenient to remove them) which a party of us had made the spring
before about a day’s travel out of my regular route. It was on the
North Branch of the Sweet-water River. We had started from the head of
the Platte on our way to the Columbia, with a small drove of pack-mules
loaded with provisions for the new post, and when on the South Branch
one of th’ creeturs give out and we had to _cache_ the cargo. It was a
package of jerked venison and a sack of flour, with a small bag of rice
for th’ sick, when we had ’em, and a five gallon keg of hard cider. It
is a common practice with us trappers to _cache_ our provisions when we
know they will be safe for some future journey that way.

“Wall, as I worked at my moccasins, all at once I got to be mighty
thirsty, and a vision of that five gallon keg of delicious cider began
to come into my head. Says I to myself, says I: ‘Job, wouldn’t you like
to have a little taste of that sweet beverage, ’specially when nobody
at the post would be either any wiser or any poorer for it?’ I reckoned
that I would. So I finished sewing up my buckskin, an’ started next
morning, bright an’ early, for the _cache_. Now, as I told yew all, it
was one day’s journey from my route, and it would take me another day
to put me on the right course again. That, you know, would use up two
days that I certainly ought to give to my sick comrades at the post.
But I argued this way to myself: ‘Now, I’m pesky thirsty fer a drink
of that sweet cider. I’m actually feelin’ bad fer th’ want uv it. If I
gratify my natural longing I’ll certainly feel better arter it, and I
can then tread out so much faster that I shall more’n make up for th’
lost time.’ And that’s the way that I reconciled it to my conscience.

“Wall, I reached the South Branch in th’ middle of the afternoon, and
going down the stream a little ways from where I struck it, I found the
cave where we had _cached_ our provisions. It was a pretty large one,
too. I crawled into the narrow mouth of it and drew my rifle in arter
me; and, as soon as my eyes got kinder used tew th’ dim light, right up
there in the corner I found everything all right. There was that jolly
little red keg of cider, and it seemed to actually laugh all over at
the sight of an old friend. And well it might, for it had been shut up
there in the dark for more’n six months with nothing but the flour, the
rice, and the dried meat to keep it company.

“I pulled out my sharp-pointed bowie knife and tapped the head of th’
cider barrel in no time. But just as I raised the little fellow to get
a taste of him I heard the tramping of horses’ feet outside, and the
howlin’ of twenty or thirty infernal Blackfeet. Gee Whillikins! I had
ter drop th’ keg before a bit of th’ amber liquid had wet my thirsty
lips. Well was it that I did so, for in that moment the entrance of
the place was darkened by a rascally Injun who had been fool enough to
follow me. Boys! I was plum skeered!

“What was I to do? I raised my rifle and fired at Mr. Redskin, who
dropped dead upon the ground, uttering a wild war-whoop as he fell.
His comrades crept into the mouth of the cave, seized him by the
feet, and gave a terrible yell when they found that he’d been wiped
out of existence. While they were tugging away at the old fellow I
busied myself in reloading my rifle in order to get ready for the next
visitor. Although th’ pesky redskins kept up a terrible hullabaloo they
didn’t attempt to crawl into the cave any more.

“Thinks I, ‘Now’s your time, old boy, if you ever hope to have any
refreshment.’ So, raising the little cask of cider, I took a good,
long, glorious drink. I tell you, boys, that was delicious, for my
throat was all parched and dry from alkali dust. It braced me right up
and I’d hardly had it down my throat when I felt that I was a host in
myself and could handle, single-handed, all of the Blackfeet west of
the Mississippi.

“Arter a few moments three or four rifles were cautiously poked into
the hole, and were fired at random into the cave toward me. I ducked
to one side, and let ’em peg away. They were only using up their
ammunition, an’ th’ sooner they got rid of that the better it was for

“Next they sent a shower of arrows through the opening, but with no
better effect than with their bullets. In the meanwhile I had found a
little hole through the rocks just large enough for the barrel of my
gun, and, watching a good chance, when the varmints were thick about
the mouth, I took good aim and popped away at them. By the Jumping
Jingoes! boys, but I sent half an ounce of lead through the bodies
of no less than three of them at once. At this th’ Injuns fell back,
yelling vengeance, an’ I took another refreshing pull at th’ cider.
‘For,’ says I to myself, ‘Job, now it’s _your_ treat, and here’s to as
good luck the next shot.’ But th’ varmints didn’t try th’ shooting game
any more, as they found that this was a game which I could play as well
as they, themselves. Boys! I held all the trump cards! They kept losing
their hands, while I continued to hold my own.

“Arter they had been quiet fer a considerable time I poked my head out
of the cave and peeped down the stream, where I could see the cowardly
wolves gathering armsful of dry sticks and grass, which I at once knew
that they intended to bring up to the cavern and smoke me out. I hadn’t
thought of this before, and, thinks I, the rascals have got me now,
sure. I can fight Injuns so long as my ammunition holds out, but when
it comes to a fire and smoke I ain’t a match nohow for them fellers,
shut up as I be in these here limestone rocks.

“Presently th’ savages came back again to th’ mouth of th’ cave in such
a direction that I couldn’t bring old Kill-Deer to bear upon ’em, and
piling up their combustibles they set fire to ’em. The wind happened
to be blowing directly into th’ cave, and, in a few moments, a nasty
smudge began to suffocate me. I had to crawl farther and farther into
the place as the smoke followed me; and I could hear the Injuns pilin’
on the grass and wood all the time. They found that they couldn’t get
me out by any other means, and were now endeavorin’ to choke me to
death by their horrid smoke. Fortunately, as I shrank away from it, I
saw a little streak of daylight ahead of me. It was a crevice in the
rock through which the rays of the setting sun were streaming, as much
as to say: ‘Be of good heart, Job; they cannot smoke you out as long as
you choose to breathe through this nice little air hole.’

“I ran to the crevice, and laid down, breathing the pure air, and
laughing at the redskins, who were yelling and dancing for joy at
the cute trick they thought that they were playing upon me. Luck was
certainly with me, boys, for through the crevice that admitted the
light and the air I discovered a nice little stream trickling away,
while a tiny pool of fresh water had formed upon the floor of the
cavern. Now, thought I, if I only had the provisions with me, I could
last until the Injuns got tired and had to go away. So, holding my
breath, I crawled back again into the smoke, and catching hold of the
little keg of cider in one hand, and a package of jerked meat in the
other, I went back to my breathing-hole and had a comfortable supper.
The red fiends outside were screeching and yelling like mad men.

“Arter I had satisfied my hunger, and had taken another pull at the
delicious apple juice, I laid down for a nap, for I knew that the
Injuns wouldn’t trouble me while they kept up their smoke.

“Wall, boys, I tell you that I had a pretty good night’s rest,
considerin’ that I had tew keep one eye open. In the morning, after the
smoke had settled, I sat quietly at the side of the opening, expectin’
Mr. Injun to creep through arter my scalp. They thought that I had
given up the ghost, and were all ready to make a speedy end of me. But
they had reckoned without their host, for no sooner did a Blackfoot
show his head than pop! a little slug of lead from Mister Kill-Deer
made him remember that I was still breathing.

“Them Injuns, I reckon, thought that they had holed Old Nick himself,
for they was plum surprised when they heard the bark of my trusty old
rifle. When they saw another of their number fall, they even forgot
to yell. They found that smoke couldn’t kill the old man, and so they
tried another plan. Their game was to starve me out. But here, boys, I
held the trump cards again. The fact was, they hadn’t the least idea
that the cave had been used as a _cache_; and when they saw me take to
it they thought that I had discovered them and was hiding away from
them there. The old boys didn’t realize that I had a store of good
things piled up and ready for use.

“I could understand their gibberish well enough to learn that they had
determined to stand guard over me until I should be forced to yield to
starvation, at least. But I had fully two months’ provisions in the
cave and that would hold out for some time. I determined, therefore, to
pass the time as agreeably as possible.

“I could hear that parties of Injuns rode away from the place every
morning, and others came to take their place. They stood guard over me
by turns. At length, after four days, when they supposed that I was
about starved out to such a degree that I was no longer dangerous to
approach, a redskin poked his head into the opening and began to crawl
cautiously into the cave. I was waiting for the fellow.

“Boys! I made a spring like a panther. It was his life or mine, and my
long knife did the work. Presently another followed, and him I served
as I had the first one. Arter about a half an hour another Injun put
his head down into the hole and called to his comrades. At this moment,
I levelled my rifle at him and let him have it. That morning, my
friends, I had wiped out three more of my persecutors.

“They did not trouble me any for some days. I think it must have been
nigh onter a week, when, making sure that I was dead from starvation,
another attempt was made to enter the cavern. I kept at a distance
until two of them had come in, when I sprang upon them, and with old
Kill-Deer and my knife, made a finish of them also.

“Boys, th’ Injuns was now plum skeered. They were sure that they had
none but the Evil One to deal with. In fact I blackened my face and
looked out of the cave at one fellow who had ventured near. He gave
an awful cry and ran away, howling. About an hour afterwards, filling
the air with their yells of disappointed vengeance, the whole outfit
mounted their mustangs, and I could hear them riding away down the
banks of the river.

“’O-o-o-e-e! O-o-o-e-e!’ they wailed; and, boys, I sure did do some
tall chuckling.

“Arter a while I felt sure that the coast was clear of th’ red vermin.
So I ventured into th’ open air, and, mounting upon the top of a river
bank, I could see them spurring away across the prairie as if the Evil
Spirit were arter them. Boys! I had been pent up in that dark hole for
more than three weeks, as near as I could guess; so the strong light of
the sun nearly blinded me at first. Arter a while I got used to it. I
tell you what, boys! if this green earth and th’ blue skies ever looked
beautiful to my eyes, they did on that blessed morning when I crept
outen that living grave, for yer must remember that there wuz dead
Blackfeet all around me.”

“But, Uncle Job,” interrupted one of his hearers. “How did your sick
men at the post get along without the medicine?”

The old trapper looked sad.

“Poorly! Poorly!” said he. “Two of them had died before I returned.
They waited for ten days for me to come back, and, finding that I
didn’t, they sent another man to Fort Laramie for the medicine. The
others were saved.

“Arter an absence of about a month I reached the post again. As I
didn’t want to acknowledge that I had turned out of my way merely for
the sake of a taste of some excellent cider while my comrades were
suffering for the want of what I had been sent for, I said nothing
about it, beyond the fact that I had been a prisoner among the Injuns
and had managed to make my escape arter a hard fight.

“Some months arterwards, when a party of us were trappin’ out on th’
Medicine Bow Range, we concluded that we would make a visit to our
_cache_. We rode long and hard to reach there. Finally we came in sight
of the cave, and I recognized the place where I had had a desperate
battle for my life. We entered the cavern and found it just as I had
left it, with the exception that the dead Blackfeet warriors had been
removed. The sack of flour and bag of rice were just as the other party
had _cached_ them, and—not greatly to my surprise—the gallant little
cask of cider had disappeared. The dried venison had also vanished.”

The old trapper smiled benignly upon his listeners. “The fact is,
boys,” said he, “although I had a pretty onlikely time of it with
them cussed Blackfeet I felt so awful ashamed of th’ hull affair that
I didn’t let on a single word about it. Th’ truth is, I wuz plum
angry with myself fer gettin’ caught in that ar cave simply because I
hankered after some sparkling cider.”

At this all the boys burst into loud laughter, and the old trapper
retired to the fire in order to broil some antelope steaks for supper.

“Fellers, he’s the real thing,” said one. “Too bad that those good days
aren’t with us now, for then, we, too, might have some adventures of
our own.”

But the old times of roving Blackfeet, and desperate battles for life
and for liberty, had long passed away.



ONE day a young fellow was hunting deer near Pinto Creek, twelve miles
from Fort Clark in Texas. His name was Henry Shane, and, although
a German by birth, he had early emigrated to the Lone Star State,
where he had joined the United States army and had fought in the more
important battles of the Mexican War. Deer were plentiful, and it was
not long before he had killed a fat buck. Laying his gun down upon the
ground, the youthful hunter took out his long knife and prepared to
skin the game.

Suddenly the sharp crack of a twig made him look up. He shrank back
with a cry, for before him were six large and gaudily painted redskins.
One had seized his rifle, another pointed a gun at his breast. It was
useless to run.

“How! How! I surrender!” said the young Texan. “You no hurt me.”

“Ugh! Ugh!” grunted one of the foremost red men—evidently a chief. “We
want you, paleface.”

The Indians now seized the unfortunate ranchman, tied his arms
behind his back, and—after whipping him severely with a pair of
rope-hobbles, which they used to confine their ponies—rode off with

“Oh, my,” thought poor Henry Shane, “they’ll fix me now, sure. I’m
afraid that it’s all up with me!”

The redskins moved off quickly towards the northwest, and had not gone
very far before they were joined by nine more Indians, making fifteen
in all. They travelled all that day and part of the night. Then they
stopped to rest and eat. Here they again rained blows upon the back of
poor Henry, but for what reason he was at a loss to know, as he had
done nothing to warrant such treatment. For dinner they presented him
with a small piece of burned deer meat with the hair still on it. The
prisoner made a pretty poor meal of such provender.

The braves took a good rest, and did not break camp until dawn. Then
they bundled up their goods and were off. They travelled rapidly until
about nine o’clock in the morning, when they again made a halt near a
crystal spring. They had hurried along, for they feared pursuit, and in
this they were quite right, for some Mexican herders had heard Shane’s
gun when he killed the deer. As he did not return, later, they went in
search of him, finding the slain deer and a fresh Indian trail. “He
is either killed or captured,” they thought. “Probably the latter, as
we cannot find his body.” News was at once carried to the fort, and a
squad of soldiers was ordered to follow the Indians. They were guided
by an excellent Mexican called “Old Roka,” who had lived with the
savages for many years and knew their methods of fighting.

The Indians were camped near a cedar-brake, and the blue-coats rode
up, just as they had finished breakfast. “Old Roka” led the soldiers
into their very midst, before they knew it. Even young Henry Shane did
not suspect the presence of the troops until they were right among the
redskins. The latter picked up their own rifles and other arms. For a
few moments they had a lively fight with the blue-coats. Bullets and
arrows were flying thick and fast, when young Henry decided to skip
into the neighboring cane-brake. He knew that it was a custom of the
Indians to kill their captives, when they were attacked, so he decided
to get away before they could harm him.

As Henry dashed away, an Indian fired an arrow after him, which went
through his arm and remained fixed there. This did not stop the young
pioneer. He raced onward, and breaking off the handle of the arrow,
pulled it out,—then stopped and listened. The fight was still going
on, the Indians were yelling and the carbines in the hands of the
soldiers still continued to pop. Some of the Indians seemed to be
endeavoring to make their escape into the cane-brake, so the terrified
Henry continued his flight, determined to make his way back to the
fort, without waiting for the soldiers.

As young Shane made off, he saw four redskins fall before the bullets
of the troops. He pressed forward and came to a wide creek which it
was impossible to cross. He followed it all day and, when night came,
climbed into a tree to spend the evening. A mountain lion began to
screech and call near by and this kept him awake for some time. Finally
he fell into deep slumber.

When daylight came, the fleeing pioneer dropped down from his perch
and continued towards the fort. This he eventually reached. He had
been forty-eight hours without food, except for the little piece of
burnt meat which the savages had given him. He was very weak, and
was welcomed like a long lost brother. The soldiers had completely
annihilated the redskins, and, after the fight, had looked everywhere
for the young pioneer. As they could not find him they had given him
up for lost and had returned to the fort. When they saw the lost
frontiersman, they gave three long cheers for the “young cuss who got
away. Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!”

Not long after this exciting affair Henry Shane settled upon a broad
creek, called Chicon Creek, which ran near the Anna Catchi Mountains.
A few settlers were near him and the Indians were quite numerous. They
were also very hostile to the whites, and the young pioneer soon had a
very serious affair with them.

One day he was riding by the San Miguel ranch, which was an old-time
Mexican ranch with a rock wall around it and an entrance through a
gate. When he arrived at this place he could see no one stirring. The
gate was open, so he dismounted and went in. He saw no signs of life. A
little dog barked at him,—that was all.

Upon a smooth piece of sheet-iron, which lay near two rocks, were
several cakes of bread. They had been turned and were burned upon the
under side. As the fire still gleamed beneath them, the pioneer was
sure that something was wrong. He could see no one,—so continued upon
his way.

His horse trotted slowly along, and Henry soon crossed a creek where he
found a dead Mexican. It was evident that the “Greaser” had been killed
by Indians, for his body was full of arrows, and near by was his horse,
lying motionless upon the ground. The Mexican had been endeavoring to
get to the ranch when the Indians caught up with him. They first killed
his horse and then killed him.

Shane rode onward. As he came upon the top of a ridge he saw a broncho
tied some distance off. He knew enough about Indians to keep well away
from the animal. So—riding around him—he continued upon his journey.
He soon saw the wisdom of his move, for as he rode onward he beheld an
Indian crouching near his pony. Soon five others came into view and
started after him at a hard gallop.

The plainsman pushed rapidly along and came to a ranch where there was
a crowd of excited Mexicans, some of whom were from the place where the
dead Mexican had been employed. The murdered vaquero, they said, had
been away from the ranch when it was attacked. The Indians had headed
him off and had killed him, after he had made a run to get inside the
walls of the adobe house.

“We outnumber the infernal redskins,” cried Henry. “Come on, boys,
let’s go back and clean ’em up!”

“We’re with you!” cried the others, and, quickly mounting their
mustangs, they were soon started towards the place where the Indians
had last been seen. As they rode over a small hillock, the murderous
redskins could be sighted far below on the plain. They were intent upon
setting fire to the ranch buildings and did not notice the approach of
Shane and his companions.

“Spread out, boys!” cried the now excited plainsman. “Spread out and
try to surround the red devils!”

The Mexicans and Texan vaqueros followed his lead, and, circling about
the red men, soon closed in upon them from three sides. Rifles began to
ring out, and, with a wild yelping, the Indians started to retreat. As
they did so, Henry Shane waved his sombrero in the air, and all raced
after the red men, on the dead gallop.

Now was a beautiful running fight. The Indians could not aim at all
well, from the backs of their ponies. Their bullets went very wide.
The whites, on the other hand, shot two of the Indian mustangs; and,
although their owners fell to the ground, both swung themselves to the
backs of other ponies and safely rode off, hanging to the waists of
the riders. Finally they all got away in a deep canyon, and ambuscaded
themselves so well behind rocks and boulders that the plainsmen decided
to withdraw. The Indians had not hit a single white man.

Soon after this event Henry Shane purchased some sheep and took them up
on the Foris River to graze. He lived in a tent, with one companion.
They pitched their canvas behind a brush fence.

One night Henry was sitting with his back to this fence, boiling some
coffee, with no thought that any redskins were within twenty miles of
him. But at this very moment several were prowling around his camp and
had noticed the position which he was in. One of them—bolder than the
rest—slipped up to the opposite side of the fence with the intention
of poking his gun through the brush and shooting the pioneer in the
back. As he shoved the muzzle of his gun through the dry twigs, he made
so much noise that the plainsman heard him. Turning to his Mexican
herder, Felipe Flores, he cried out:

“Felipe! What is that noise?”

“It is a rat,” replied Felipe. “I saw one running through the brush.”

As he ceased speaking the Indian attempted to shoot, but his gun
snapped and hung fire. The frontiersman heard the noise and jumped to
his feet. When he did so, the gun went off, as the Indian attempted to
jerk it back through the brush, and the ball passed through Shane’s
hat. The Indian ran away, before the startled sheepman could seize a
rifle and shoot in return.

The frontiersman had certainly had a narrow escape, and he determined
in future to be more careful. Next morning he rode to a neighboring
ranch and discovered that the Indians had been there and had carried
off twenty-five horses. The ranchers were anxious to get back their
stock, so a force was immediately raised to pursue the thieving
redskins. They rode out—thirteen in all—and soon overtook the Indians
upon the west branch of the river Neuces. The redskins were in camp,
but saw the white men as they came up a mountain, and moved off in a
great hurry. With a wild shout, the plainsmen, vaqueros, and Mexicans
started to gallop after the red men, who crowded through a gap in the
mountains and ran away, carrying the captured horses with them. But
their pursuers gained rapidly, and pressed the Indians so close that
they dropped seven head of the Adams horses. These were quickly seized
by the whites, who followed up the fleeing redskins until their own
mounts were exhausted.

“Reckon we’ll have to give up,” said Henry Shane. “Boys, there’s some
good beef stewing at the Indian camp. Let’s go back and get some!”

All turned towards the deserted Indian encampment, and, when they
arrived there, found some shields and head-dresses which the Indians
had left in their flight. They then camped for the night.

Next morning Henry Shane was anxious to get back home, as the scout
was practically over. Saddling up his broncho, he started out over the
plain accompanied by a Mexican named Leal, who was the “boss” of a
neighboring ranch. They travelled on together for about two miles, when
suddenly and very unexpectedly they met a band of Indians in the road
driving a bunch of horses before them. When these saw the two ranchmen
they turned their bronchos away from the road, and kept on, without
molesting the whites.

“Well,” said Shane to his companion, “we should go back and tell the
other men that here is a chance to fight Indians.”

“No,” answered Leal. “I’m going home. But you can do as you wish.”

Shane bade the “boss” good-by and started for the place which he had
just left. The plainsmen were still in camp at the bluff, but they had
their horses saddled and were preparing to mount just as the excited
Henry rode up.

“Boys!” he cried, “I’ve just met a band of Indians with some stolen
horses. You come along with me and we’ll get these fellows, sure.”

“Lead on!” cried his men. “Lead on!”

They were anxious for a fight.

The ranchers were soon galloping forward, and it was not long before
they had overtaken the Indians, who quickly started off, waving their
blankets at the captured horses in order to stampede them. Firing
commenced, and Shane had a piece shot from the horn of his saddle.
Two of the Indians were killed, but their horses carried them into
the brush. Finally the redskins made a stand upon the top of a round
mountain, but as soon as the whites charged them they ran. They left
three saddled pintos behind them.

The plainsmen made a rapid pursuit, and soon captured thirty horses and
seven mules. The red men seemed to give up all hope of ever defeating
the whites, and scurried off like so many rabbits. They dodged behind
boulders and sage-brush. So quickly did their ponies get away that
they were soon out of sight. Henry Shane and his companions were well
satisfied with the day’s work and gave up the pursuit, for their own
mounts were badly winded.

Life upon the frontier of Texas in those days was certainly exciting
for any one engaged in the sheep or cattle business. In spite of
the continued danger from redskins, Henry Shane did not give up his
interest in sheep. One of his brothers—named Constance—lived with him
and helped to herd the flock, although he kept continually upon his
guard and was never without his rifle. He, himself, was soon to have a
narrow escape from death.

One morning Constance was about two hundred yards from the house
carefully watching a number of sheep. He was sitting near the bank of a
creek, when he heard horses’ hoofs knocking the rocks under the bluff.
He stepped up to the edge of the bank and looked over, expecting to see
some cattlemen from a neighboring ranch. To his surprise and dismay he
saw nine Indians, with the chief in the lead. They were riding up the
bank in an old cow trail.

Young Constance was too startled to move. He stood there trembling, and
allowed the redskins to come right up to him. The chief had a heavy
quirt in his hand, with which he struck Shane a stinging blow over the
head and knocked him down. He then dismounted and stripped him. The red
men now gathered around their captive, making a great screeching and

Henry Shane saw the Indians collected in a group, and, seizing his
rifle, went to a corner of a fence to watch them. He could not see his
brother, and was all prepared to fire, should the redskins make a move
in his own direction. The Indians saw him standing there, and, shooting
Constance with an arrow, they rode away, yelping derisively.

Henry followed the redskins in order to see which course they took, and
then came back to camp, still unaware that anything had happened to his
brother. The Indians had apparently determined to withdraw entirely,
which was fortunate for the lone sheep herder. Constance finally
crawled to his feet and came back to the camp, declaring that there
were eight bucks and one squaw in the party and that the squaw had shot
him. He was grievously wounded,—so grievously that every one who saw
him said that he would die. But he fooled them all and became perfectly
well again,—much to the joy of Henry, who loved him dearly.

Exciting adventures were still in store for the daring Henry Shane,
who continued to herd his sheep in this border country, in spite of
the fact that the cruel redskins were all around him. Not long after
the wounding of Constance, Henry went up the river, which ran near his
ranch, and entered the ranch-yard of a sheepman called Joe Brown, who
owned a sheep vat and a furnace. The ranch was then vacant, as Mr.
Brown had moved to Uvalde and had told Shane that he could use his vat
and furnace for dipping sheep. It was Henry’s intention to start a fire
in the furnace for the purpose of boiling tobacco, which was used in
dipping the sheep, to cure them of a disease called “the scab,” or to
prevent them from catching this dread complaint.

A Mexican named Bernaldo was with the sheepman, and rode forward in
order to get some horses which were in a small pasture not far distant.
He soon came back upon the dead run, whipping his horse furiously with
his hat.

“Hello, there! What’s the trouble?” shouted Shane.

The Mexican was so excited that he passed on without seeing or hearing
the plainsman, although he was not far from him as he raced recklessly
by. He was certainly well frightened at something.

Shane was not armed. This was unusual, as he seldom left the house
without a gun, because of the possibility of an Indian attack. Hearing
a great commotion in the pasture, where the horses were, he walked up
to the fence only to see—to his dismay—that there were seven Indians
in the field after the horses. They saw him at once and three of them
left the enclosure in order to give him chase.

The plainsman was in a tight position, but his courage did not desert
him at this crucial moment. As luck would have it, he carried a long
stick in his hand, which he had used in order to punch the fire in the
furnace. He turned and ran, but the Indians were upon the backs of
their ponies and soon came very close to him. He pointed his stick at
them, as if about to shoot. Every redskin dodged and swung himself upon
the off side of his horse. “Ugh! Ugh! He have shooting-stick!” cried

This gave the courageous frontiersman another opportunity to run, and
he made off as fast as his legs would carry him. A man named Patterson
had a ranch near by and to this sheltering abode the plainsman now bent
his footsteps. The Indians were hot on his trail and soon caught up
with him, but he again pointed his stick at them. They dodged, and this
gave him a second start, so that he reached the ranch-yard and jumped
over the fence into the cow-pen. Uttering loud and vociferous cries,
the Indians shot some arrows at him, and then turned back in order
to secure the horses from the pasture. This they did and were soon
galloping away with them.

The pioneer climbed out of the cow-pen, ran up to the ranch house, and
called to the owner, who happened to be there:

“Come on, Patterson. If you will assist me, we will get back the

“I’m your man,” Patterson replied. “Here’s a rifle of mine. I will take
a six-shooter.”

“All right,” said Shane. “We’ll see if we cannot do something to these
crafty fellows. Come on!”

The two ranchmen soon met the Indians coming down the road, driving the
horses before them. The valiant two stepped to one side in order to
ambush the red thieves, Shane hiding behind a large cactus plant. As
the foremost Indian came near, Shane took good aim at him, and pulled
the trigger of his rifle. But it refused to go off. The Indians heard
the noise and galloped away with their captured horses, while the two
ranchmen made after them. They, themselves, were ambushed and had to
ride hard in order to get away from the redskins, who were reinforced
by a considerable band. After their retreat the plainsmen again
followed with additional numbers, but the Indians were well ahead, and
the pursuit had to be abandoned.

In 1872 Mr. Shane decided to make a sheep camp about two and a half
miles from where he lived, so drove down there in a wagon one morning,
in order to pitch a tent and fix things for the comfort of his Mexican
herder, who was off with a band of sheep. The camp was beneath the fork
of a live-oak tree. The frontiersman left his wagon about a dozen yards
from where he was at work, and started to put a small board between the
forks of the live-oak, to serve as a shelf. Two guns were in his wagon.

While thus occupied, he suddenly heard a wild war-whoop, and found
that he had been attacked by the Indians. A redskin came up behind the
wagon, on horseback, and shot at the ranchman with a six-shooter, the
ball striking the right-hand fork of the tree and knocking the bark
into his face and eyes. The pioneer turned, in order to get his guns
out of his wagon, and faced the levelled revolver of the savage. He
kept cool—in spite of this danger—and, as he walked to the wagon,
received two more shots from the Indian. As the redskin was behind
the conveyance, his shots went high, passing over the head of the
frontiersman, who soon reached his wagon and looked for his guns. The
Comanche saw what the white man was after, and, when he perceived that
his shots had failed to take effect, he wheeled his horse and ran
away. Shane seized a rifle and fired at him, killing his horse when he
did so. As the pinto rolled upon the ground eight more Indians showed
themselves and began to charge the lone white man. The gun which he had
just discharged was a Mississippi yager, and he had no more balls for

But the frontiersman had another weapon: a new, single-shot Ballard
rifle, and he only had two cartridges for it; one in the gun and one in
his pocket. In leaving home that morning he had left his belt behind,
which was full of cartridges for the Ballard. He was in a close place,
but he had—as you know—been in close places before, and he was
determined to make the best fight that he could. He resolved not to
waste a shot. Using his wagon as a breastwork he awaited the onset of
the Indians, and when they came nearer he raised his gun and aimed at
them. The redskins dodged behind the prickly pear and mesquite bushes,
from which they opened fire, hitting the wagon and the ground around it

Now occurred a lively battle. The frontiersman had tied a fat mule
about one hundred feet from the wagon, where he could eat grass. A
daring redskin concluded to risk his chances and get the animal, so,
leaving the cover of the mesquite bushes, he advanced across open
ground in order to steal the unsuspecting beast. When Shane saw the
Indian coming with his knife ready to sever the rope which held the
mule, he determined to risk a crack at him. He was an excellent shot,
and he knew that he could kill the Indian if he did not dodge too
quickly. Taking a quick but accurate aim, he fired. The Comanche brave
jumped high in the air, and then fell in a sheep trail and lay there.
The other Indians set up a terrible howling when they saw that their
companion had been killed, and several of them ran quickly, seized
him by the hair and dragged him out of sight behind the prickly pear
bushes. The pioneer still crouched low and waited for the Comanches to
come on, but, dreading to expose themselves to such marksmanship, the
Indians did not again show themselves.

Certainly things looked bad for Henry Shane, but help was at hand. The
Mexican attendant heard the fight, and from the number of shots that
were fired supposed that his employer had been killed. He ran to the
ranch in order to inform Mrs. Shane of this fact. The lady sent four
Mexicans out to see if they could not assist her husband. When they
neared the scene of action the Indians decamped, leaving their dead
comrade behind. The ranchers buried the Comanche brave where he had
fallen in the sheep trail.

When the lucky sheepman returned to his ranch from the scene of this
thrilling little battle he found that a strange happening had come to
pass. The Mexican sheep-herder who had rushed home to warn his wife
that the Indians had surrounded him, was found to be in a serious
condition, through overexertion in carrying the news of Henry’s
supposed death. The poor fellow was in great pain, and, although he was
placed in a wagon and was carried to San Antonio, where he could see
the best physicians, he died soon afterwards.

As for the gallant Shane, he continued to have exciting adventures with
the redskins, and, not long after the lucky escape which I have just
narrated, had another brush with the roving Comanches. He had made a
sheep camp three miles from his house, at a place called Long Hollow,
and had his Mexican herder with him. This was the faithful Felipe

Early one morning Shane heard rocks rattling in the hollow below the
camp, so he and Flores went out a short distance in front in order to
investigate the matter. Felipe went slightly in advance, and to Shane’s
questioning as to what he saw, replied:

“It is Mr. Dilliard, whom we have been expecting to help us hunt for
some lost sheep.”

Shane kept on, but suddenly started back in dismay. Ten Comanches were
coming for him upon the dead run.

In an instant the sheepman turned and hastened to the tent in order
to seize his rifle. The Indians were right after him, and crowded
Felipe so closely that he ran backward towards the fire. As a
Comanche endeavored to thrust a lance into his body he fell into the
flames. When this occurred the Indians opened fire upon Henry Shane,
endeavoring to hit him before he could get his gun. Several balls
struck the tent, but the Ranger was unscathed.

[Illustration: A COMANCHE WARRIOR.]

Now the plainsman seized his rifle, and, wheeling around, fired at his
enemies. They retreated at once and dashed into the thick brush. As
they scampered away, two Indians on the same horse were seen to ride
behind a thick bunch of prickly pears, only one of whom came out upon
the other side.

“That second redskin is still behind the pears,” said Flores. “He
is waiting there in order to shoot any one who may come out to look

“I think that I’ll stir him up a bit,” said Shane, and, aiming at the
bunch of pears, he let drive. Sure enough, he routed an Indian, who ran
off, screeching loudly. When the spot was afterwards examined a bullet
hole was seen in the pears. The redskin had had a narrow escape.

This was not Henry’s last adventure with the redskins by any means,
for, about a month later he went down the river, less than a mile from
his ranch, to a place called the “Indian Crossing.” There were two
Mexicans with him, who had a wagon and a pair of mules. Their intention
was to saw cypress logs in order to make boards and shingles for a new
ranch house.

The plainsmen finished their work of loading logs and were soon ready
to return home. One of the Mexicans, called Antonio, had a gun which
had been resighted. He wished to have Shane try it, and therefore
called out:

“Come here, Señor, and try my rifle. It can shoot well I know, but I
would like to have your opinion of it. There is a tree which will make
a good mark.”

“I’m agreeable,” replied Henry, taking up the gun. He fired two shots
at the tree. When he had finished, the Mexican went over to see where
he had hit the bark.

Over forty Indians were crossing the ford of the river near by at about
this moment. They heard the rifle shots, and, learning from a scout
that three white men were there, determined to surround and capture
them. So they spread out like a fan in order to completely annihilate
the little party. Half of the redskins came up on the bluff upon the
east side, opposite Shane and his two Mexicans; the balance went to the
old crossing above, so as to come around the frontiersmen upon the west
side and thus cut off their retreat in both directions. Henry Shane was
now in another tight box. Let us see how he fared.

A sudden rattling of rocks warned the pioneer and his companion that
some one was near by. His friend (the Mexican) mounted a stump, so that
he could see the crossing, and said:

“There are soldiers coming up the river.”

As he jumped down, Henry, himself, climbed up on the stump in order to
have a look.

“Soldiers!” he cried. “Why, man, those are Indians!”

He immediately seized his rifle and stood prepared for action.

Antonio, as you know, had gone to look at the bullet marks upon a tree.
When the Indians came down the bank of the river they encountered
this Mexican and opened fire upon him. Antonio attempted to run back
to Shane, but, as he started forward, he was struck by a bullet, and
fell into some high weeds. The Indians closed in upon the other two
sheepmen, uttering wild cries of delight, for they felt that they had
them, and they bore no love for Henry Shane. They were armed with
Spencer carbines and commenced a rapid fire upon the bold frontiersman
and his companion.

The bullets began to rain in from both sides of the creek, as Shane
took shelter behind a huge cypress log and commenced the unequal
battle. He was now in the tightest place that he had ever been in in
his life, but he kept cool, and only fired at long intervals, and with
careful aim. The redskins were uncertain as to the force they were
attacking and were afraid to come down into the bed of the river and to
fight at close quarters. The second Mexican crawled into a tree-top, so
that only his feet were visible. He was of no assistance to the gallant

After shooting away for some time, the Indians decided to send a
warrior on horseback below (where Shane was crouching), in order to see
if all were killed, or if there were any still left. The frontiersman
was on the alert, and, as the redskin approached, he caught the first
motion of the reeds as he slipped through. The rest of the red men had
ceased firing and were all under cover.

There was a moment of breathless anxiety. Shane held a large revolver
in his hand, as he lay close to the ground, watching around the end of
the log, as the fellow came in view. At once he aimed at the redskin’s
breast and pulled the trigger. The Comanche reeled and fell to one side
of his horse, clutching the mane of the animal as it ran up a bluff.
The other redskins now rose from the grass and endeavored to stop the
startled beast; but he kept running around in a circle, for some time,
with the Indian still hanging to his mane. At last he was captured, and
a loud wailing cry told the frontiersman that the shot which he had
fired had done its deadly work.

The Indians now held a council of war. They could be easily seen by
Shane, where he lay. Apparently they had had sufficient fighting, for
they mounted and rode off. As they disappeared from view, the happy
frontiersman mounted a stump and counted forty warriors. How many he
had killed besides this last one he could not tell. He took no time to
investigate the matter and prepared to leave at once.

The sides of the log, behind which he had lain, were perforated with
bullets. One bullet hole was in his boot leg, one was in his hat, two
were in his shirt, three were in the wagon bed, and one of the mules
was badly wounded. In spite of this, the animal was able to draw the
wagon home with him, in which was placed the wounded Antonio. The other
Mexican had crawled from his hiding-place after the fight was over. He
was certainly not made of the same stern stuff as was Henry Shane.

The bold rancher and frontiersman had had a narrow escape, but he had a
still narrower escape, some time later. It was upon a winter’s day, and
he had gone out to a place called “Griner’s Bottom” in order to listen
to turkeys as they flew up to roost, for he wished to kill some of them
for dinner on Christmas Eve. He found the place, and had not been there
long before he heard the sound of horses’ feet. Looking around, he
saw five Indians riding towards him. They seemed to be unaware of his

There was no time for anything but quick action. Henry hugged the
live-oak tree, against which he had been leaning. As he did so, the
Indians came jogging along on both sides of him: two on one side—three
on the other. It was rapidly getting dark, so they did not see the
lone frontiersman. Luckily they did not look back after they had gone
past. Had they done so, they would have seen Henry pressing himself
flat against the tree trunk, grasping his muzzle-loading shotgun very
tightly and trying to keep his teeth from chattering. Sometimes this
antiquated gun missed fire. Oh, fortunate Ranger! The redskins were
soon trotting onward in the darkness.

This was not the last adventure which the daring Henry had with the
savages by any means, but it was the most exciting. He lived for many
years upon his ranch in Uvalde County; prospered, and became one of the
solid citizens of the state. Truly his was an adventurous soul. It was
to such men as these, who dared to take any chance and assume any risk,
that the West owes its settlement, its civilization, and upbuilding.

All honor, then, to Henry Shane,—the Texan pioneer for whom the Indian
had no terrors. He passed through so many hairbreadth escapes that one
would think him often thankful that he was alive. Hail to this stout
German who helped to make history upon the Mexican frontier!



[_This is the story of a young frontiersman, whom I knew, myself_]

       *       *       *       *       *

JACKSON’S HOLE, Wyoming, was named after one Jackson, a pioneer,
explorer, ranchman, and horseman. Jackson’s Hole was also the home of
horse thieves who, gathering up their captured steeds, would run them
into this peaceful valley to feed them on the rich, natural hay until
they could be driven out at a different angle and sold to some one who
knew nothing of their former ownership. Jackson’s Hole was also the
home of desperadoes who had fled from justice. Jackson’s Hole was the
place that I was going to in the summer of 1899.

“Goin’ to Jackson’s Hole, be yer?” said a fellow in a big sombrero, on
the train to Idaho Falls. “Young man, you’ll never get out alive. Young
man, it’s a desperate place.”

He winked at me, shook his finger in my face, and dropped back into the
seat from which he had arisen. “Young man,” he continued, “the Injuns
will get you, sure. Young man, look out!”

I confess that I felt somewhat disconcerted.

“I’ll take care of my scalp,” said I.

Here the companion of my friend in the sombrero spoke. This one had
a red handkerchief knotted about his tawny neck, and wore a corduroy

“Yes, son,” said he, “haven’t you heard about the Injuns in Jackson’s
Hole two years ago? They stampeded th’ settlers, ran off a lot of
stock, murdered an’ burned, until rounded up by the U. S. Cavalry.
Reckon there be some more loose in thar now. An’ panthers! Why, boy,
they’re as thick as peas in a pod. An’ dangerous, too, by gravy!”

The first speaker guffawed.

“’Tain’t nawthin’ to th’ grizzlies,” said he. “They be monstrous
pestiferous. Why, they pull you from your horse they be so unafraid of

I squirmed uneasily in my seat, for I saw that they knew me to be a

“Boy, you’ll be eaten alive an’ scalped to boot,” continued the fellow
in the sombrero. “The good Lord have mercy on your soul.”

“Amen!” echoed his companion.

And I wriggled again, for I saw that they knew me to be an Easterner,
and were having fun in their own way.

At any rate, I was bound for Jackson’s Hole and would get there somehow
or other in spite of horse thieves, “Injuns” and grizzly bears.

We met at Idaho Falls. When I say we, I mean our party, for we were
surveyors, bent upon exploration of Uncle Sam’s possessions, and upon
making an accurate map of the somewhat unknown country near Jackson’s
Hole. We knew that it was a great land for game and fish and that it
was the home of monster bands of elk, but we also knew that it had an
unsavory reputation as the haunt for “bad” men of the hills. As I had
come up on the train, certain placards in the stations showed that
these same “bad” men were still around and had been operating at the
expense of the Express Companies.

The placards read:

 “$40,000 REWARD

 For the Capture, Dead or Alive, of the Men who robbed the Union
 Pacific Express near Rawlins, Wyoming, on the Evening of June 4th.”

Then followed an inaccurate description of those who had been seen
to enter the mail car, seize the box containing valuable mail and
expressage, and decamp across the prairie with their plunder on their
ponies’ backs.

At Pocatello, Idaho, I looked from the window and saw beneath me a
light-haired, blue-eyed Swede. He was standing there nonchalantly,
dressed in a corduroy suit, blue handkerchief knotted about his neck,
and wide sombrero.

“That’s the sheriff,” said a man at my elbow.

“Where’s he bound?” I asked.

“Into the hills after the train robbers,” he answered. “He has a
_possé_ with him and they ought to be able to capture a few of the
bandits who held up the Union Pacific Express.”

The train rolled on, but I always remembered that sturdy little figure,
standing carelessly on the platform, in corduroys. In a week he had
been ambushed, with his entire _possé_, and two had escaped out of the
eleven. The little sheriff was buried in the hills.

To get into Jackson’s Hole was then a rather difficult affair, for it
meant a long journey by pack-train from either Market Lake or Idaho
Falls. But the surveyor and the sons of the pioneer, whom he engaged to
pilot him, were not adverse to pushing into a wild country. It took a
week to outfit the party, secure the necessary horses, engage the men,
and whip the fractious range-animals into some kind of submission for
carrying saddles, pack equipment, and heavy bags of food and tenting.
Then, in a cloud of alkali dust, and with a crowd of Blackfeet children
gazing open-mouthed at the curious caravan, we were off for the blue
hills which lay to the northeast.

The plains of Idaho are not only arid and parched, but they are covered
with sage-brush, which emits a strong, pungent odor that is delicious.
The alkali dust arises in clouds, and chokes one, as one proceeds,
but that is not the only difficulty, for—strange as it may seem—the
mosquito breeds by the millions in the irrigating ditches, and had it
not been for the thick gauntlet gloves and netting attached to our
sombreros, we would have been fairly eaten alive by the black swarms
which followed us in clouds.

Every now and again—afar off on the prairie—we would see a whirling
cloud of moving alkali dust.

“Wild horses running to water,” said one of the cowboys. “That’s the
way they always go, on the dead gallop.”

Occasionally we came near enough to see some of them and they were
lean, gaunt and rangy creatures, which had escaped from the ranches,
had run off to the prairie and had found pleasure in the free and
untrammelled life of the plains. They would snort, as we approached,
throw their heads high in the air, and then—turning around—would be
off like the wind.

As we rode along, hot, dusty, and thirsty, I heard about Jerry Lane.

“This here Lane,” said Jack (a lean, little cowboy) “is a Noo Yorker.
He came out here three years ago, sayin’ that life was too tame for him
back East, an’ he wanted to be right in the Rocky Mountains, where the
wolves, bears, and antelope could be seen, just th’ same as in th’ time
of Kit Carson an’ Bill Bent. Some says that he’s a millionaire. Some
says that he isn’t. Leastways he has about all th’ money one needs in
this here country, an’ they tell me his cabin in th’ Rockies is full of
th’ best kind of rifles, of steel traps, books, an’ all that’s nice.”


This sentence stuck in my mind and I knew—in a moment—what kind of a
youth was Jerry Lane. He had the same spirit as the old explorers. He
possessed the imagination of a Lewis or a Clarke; a Champlain, or a
La Salle. To him the spirit of the wilderness was all absorbing, and,
shaking off the trammels of civilization, he loved to live out his
days amidst the towering mountains, which, even then, stretched before
us, jutting high from the sage-brush plateau. I immediately felt a
sympathetic interest for Jerry Lane.

To cross into the valley of Jackson’s Hole requires one’s utmost
exertions, for one must climb up the Teton Pass in order to get over
the mountains which surround this paradise of fish and game. For a man
and a horse to pass up and across is easy work, but we were unfortunate
enough to have a wagon with us. As we neared the bottom of the trail,
which led almost perpendicularly up in the air, we saw a broken vehicle
of a pioneer.

“The Top of Teton Pass, or Bust,” some one had written on a board and
placed upon the battered spokes.

It had “Busted.”

Now climbing, pushing, blowing, we yoked four horses to our wagon and
gradually worked it to the summit of the Pass. It was July, but snow
was on the ridges, and the air was like Labrador as it swept across the
hemlock-covered mountains. When once on top of the Pass, what a view!
We gazed down into a peaceful little vale with log houses and thatched
roofs, fields of green grass with stacks of yellow hay, and bluish gray
rivers curving gracefully across the plain. Hereford cattle, with their
brown bodies and white faces, grazed contentedly upon the wide sweep
of natural grass, and the barking of dogs sounded indistinctly from the
barnyard of a new-made home.

Down we pushed into the valley, then onward, across the Snake River
at Moeners’ Ferry, and then to the Buffalo Fork of the Grosventre.
Antelope began to appear upon the plain and danced about us like yellow
and white rubber balls. Two of the cowboys dismounted and fired at
them, resting their rifles upon their knees. They could not duplicate
the marksmanship of Kit Carson or Buffalo Bill. Not an antelope was
even wounded.

We camped in a beautiful spot near the Grosventre River, and, just as
we were lighting the fire for supper, a cry went up from some one:

“Elk! Elk!”

I was busy pouring some coffee, and, looking up, saw a cowboy pointing
to a high bank opposite our camp. Sure enough, there stood a noble bull
elk, his spreading antlers standing out on either side, giving him a
calm and majestic appearance. He was gazing curiously at the animated
scene below.

Why is it that the average man’s first instinct when he sees a wild
animal is to kill it? I was satisfied with watching this magnificent
child of the forest, but not so with the rest of the party. Three of
them ran immediately to get their rifles and a fusillade of bullets
soon whistled in the direction of the big elk. He turned, galloped off
into the timber, and left the cowboys to bemoan their lack of ability
with the shooting-iron.

“By gracious,” said one, “I can’t hit a barn door at fifty yards!”

The elk was but one of the many which ranged the Jackson Hole country
and whose deep trails could be seen on every hand. Their bleaching
antlers, which they had shed, were also upon many a hill, and
frequently we would pass a rancher’s cabin, where a fence would have
been constructed of the white twisted horns of the old bulls. I knew
that we would soon see a quantity of elk, and we did.

Not many evenings later, as we were again boiling our coffee for
dinner, the most unearthly scream that I have ever heard echoed from
the canyon just to our right. It was answered by another, and—if I can
make you believe it—the sound was as if a woman were being strangled.

“Mountain lion screeching,” said Jack, with a grim smile. “Awful noise,
ain’t it?”

I confessed that it was.

“Makes me always feel skeery. Kind uv makes th’ gooseflesh creep up my
back. Heard ’em a thousand times but always frightens me.”

The cowboy drew closer to the fire and I noticed that he was shivering.

The mountain lion is a great coward and is afraid to attack a human
being. Unless cornered and extremely hungry, he will not fight. He
has—in spite of this—the most unearthly scream, which would make
one believe that he was one of the fiercest and most bloodthirsty of
beasts. Welling up upon the clear night air—in the very heart of the
wilderness—it is enough to freeze one’s blood to hear their wailings.
It takes strong nerves to listen to their gruesome noise without

I heard the lions again about a week later, when I and a cowboy called
Jim, were making our way up the side of a beautiful little tributary to
the Grosventre. We were following a deep-rutted elk trail which led up
the edge of a mountain to and from their summer feeding grounds, upon
one of the higher plateaus. There was a log cabin nestling at the foot
of the opposite hill—used by one of the game wardens—and, in the rear
of this, a deep bank of hemlocks clothed the side of the cliff. Here
the lions were concealed, and, seeing us riding in the open, shrieked
out their defiance at the trespassers upon their demesne.

Although a startling and nerve-racking sound, we kept upon our way, and
I confess that I looked to the shells in my rifle—fearing that one
of the screechers might consider us excellent bait for their dinner.
Soon we had advanced far up the canyon and then the lions ceased their

We were now in the heart of gameland. The tracks of bear were
extraordinarily thick, and every now and again we would come to fresh
sign, not an hour old. Once I reached a stream through which a big
grizzly must have just passed, for the water was still muddy, and the
print of his feet could easily be seen in the soft bank. In spite of
their apparent numbers we could not even catch a glimpse of one of
them, and, although I was constantly hoping to meet with a specimen
of these monsters of the glen, I was never to catch even a fleeting
glimpse of one.

Not so with the rest of the party. Not a week later one of the cowboys
rode into camp with a wild yelping, and there—behind him—were two
of his companions, lugging in the body of a brown bear. He was a
little fellow and his fur was all rubbed away in places, where he had
scratched himself against the rocks. In spite of this he was good
eating and his haunches were enjoyed by most of the party. Personally,
I did not care for the meat and preferred canned tongue.

The elk trails were most abundant, and I knew that we would soon see
these brown deer, for we gradually moved up to the summit of the
Rockies, where were vast plateaus covered with millions of beautiful
flowers. These the noble animals lived upon in summer and slept among
them too, for I would often find round holes in the grass, where some
of them had bedded down a short time before. One evening two of the
horse-wranglers returned to camp with the haunch of a cow elk, and
stated—with much glee—that they had run upon a band of six, coming
through some fallen timber. Two had fallen before their rifles, and,
after cutting off enough for the use of our camp, they had placed the
bodies in a position that could be easily approached, at a later date,
when bear would undoubtedly be feeding upon the venison.

A week later we had a glorious view of a large herd of elk.

While traversing a high belt of timber my companion—a
surveyor—called out to me to hurry over and see something on the other
extremity of the ridge, upon which he had just taken his position.
When I reached his side I saw that he was looking in the direction of
a high plateau, upon which fully a thousand elk were feeding. No bulls
seemed to be there—they were all cows and calves—and were grazing
like a herd of cattle. The little calves were butting at each other and
frisking about in great glee, while their fond mammas watched them with
loving and tender glances of affection. It was a beautiful and moving

My companion had a field-glass, and we stood watching the changing
mass of elk for at least an hour. They apparently had no knowledge of
our presence, for the wind was blowing from them to us, so that no
strange “scent of the trespassing man” came to their keen nostrils.
There—in that beautiful mountain pasture—the baby elk were growing to
maturity,—while far below in the valley the settlers were gathering
the natural hay which usually fed them, for the use of their own cattle
during the long and cruel winter. There would be much suffering and
distress among the band, when they had left these mountain meadows for
the valley.

A week later we met the trapper and plainsman: Jerry Lane. I had
already come upon his cabin and had stopped there for luncheon, leaving
a neat piece of paper on the door to the effect that,—

“Pardner, we used your tin plates, spoons, knives, and one can of
potted tongue.”

High up in the hills the little log hut was situated near a stream of
icy water. It was about sixteen by twenty feet, the floor covered with
bear and wolf skins, and four rifles in the rack. Great steel traps
hung upon the walls outside, and antelope hides were tacked against it.
There were good books within: stories of hunting and adventure,—and
upon the floor—were numerous copies of the Sunday _New York Journal_.
Jerry Lane had lived well upon the summit of the Rockies.

I will never forget the view of the young trapper which came to me that
morning. All around were the towering Rockies: an occasional fleck
of snow upon the brown surface of the high cliffs; a gushing stream
over on the right; the sage-brush plateau stretched away on every
side, brown, bare, parched. A puff of dust first appeared in the far
distance, then two figures rode up on horseback. They drew nearer and
nearer. In front was the youthful personification of Buffalo Bill. It
was Jerry Lane.

He was riding a magnificent half-bred animal—a roan. His bridle and
saddle, as I remember—were silver mounted. A big pair of Mexican spurs
were on his heels. With a close-fitting suit of tawny buckskin, a wide
sombrero, cartridge-belt around the waist, and a long rifle hung neatly
under the left leg he was a perfect picture of a plainsman,—such a
picture as one sees in dime novels.

Behind him was an evil-looking customer, dressed in a slovenly manner,
and scowling beneath a rather battered-in slouch hat. His horse,
too, had nowhere near the breeding of the other. He frowned as he
approached: the other smiled.

“Hello!” said Jerry Lane. “Dusty, isn’t it?”

“You bet,” said I. “Where you bound?”



“No, just taking life easy.”

That was all the conversation that we had. He waved his hat to me,
touched the spurs to his horse’s flanks, and was soon off down the
divide. For a long time I stood and gazed after the lithe figure:
young, beautiful, brimming over with health and exuberance,—the man
who had found New York too tame for his hot blood. Could you blame him?

Three days later a cow-puncher rode into our camp, threw his saddle on
the ground, hobbled his pony, and drew near the mess table.

“Too bad about Jerry, warn’t it?” said he, as he seated himself.

“Why, what’s the matter with him?” I asked.



“Yes, got into a row over the Montana line. They say it was accidental.
Some one dropped his six-shooter on the floor. It exploded. No more
Jerry Lane.”

       *       *       *       *       *

That night I walked out to a lonely rock and gazed at the brilliant
stars. It was the true West, after all, the West that I had always read
about but had never seen until now. I thought of the sandy-haired,
blue-eyed sheriff who had gone to the Great Beyond. I thought of poor
Jerry Lane: that lithe, active figure in buckskins; that devil-may-care
manner; that fresh, pink-cheeked face. Yes, the West still held her
tragedies, and the low wail of a coyote far off on the plain sounded
ominously dreary, while the hand of death lay over the great wild
wastes of the rolling, sagebrush-covered prairie.


  _This the song which the trapper heard,_
    _Heard in the gloom of the forest dark,_
  _Heard while the embers snapped and snarled,_
    _To the growl and glare of the glimmering spark._
  _Heard while the lucivee cried from the pines,_
    _And the ribboned splash of a startled loon,_
  _Crystalled the rim of the lake, as it lay_
    _Soft in the gleam of the hunter’s moon._
            _This is the song of the moose._

  Near the amber drip of the torrent’s rip,
    Where the lean wolf howls at the blinding spray,
  Where the sleeted pine is riven and rent,
    By stress and strain of the mist-bank gray;
  We struggled and fed through the reedling’s bed,
    Where the sheldrake croons to her fledglings brown,
  And the otter mewed to its hungry brood,
    As the osprey peered from the hemlock’s crown.

  Our moosling day was a rapturous play,
    We browsed where the partridge drummed a song,
  Where the brown bear hid in the tamarack,
    Where the days were short and the nights were long.
  We roamed ’neath the arch of the drowsy larch,
    Where the beaver bred in the inky pool,
  We splashed in the foam of the cataract,
    In the frothing spume and the ripples cool.

  We hid ’neath the pine of the Serpentine,
    As the red fox barked to his sleek-fed mate;
  We ate of the birch of the Restigouche,
    Where the goldfinch whisper and undulate.
  Oh, bright were the days, with surcease of care,
    As we fed and grew from our clumsy birth;
  While the woods were green with a shimmering sheen,
    And the sun shone hot on the moss-grown earth.

  Then came the prod from the fleet-flying squad,
    As the gray goose sped to the Chesapeake;
  The leaves grew sere at the slow, dying year,
    And the salmon raced from their spawning creek.
  Our mothers fled from our marsh-sunken bed,
    We browsed no more on the soft lilies’ pad;
  From the distant blue came the caribou,
    Rank upon rank—and their temper was bad.

  Their eyes were bad, as they fought for our feed,
    When the air grew chill in the Northern blast,
  And the white flakes fell from the sodden sky,
    On the sleeted lakes, soon frozen hard fast.
  Pure white was the cowl of the arctic owl,
    And soft was his voice from the cedar deep;
  As we ploughed our yard ’neath the mountain’s guard,
    And marked our birch for the long winter’s keep.

  Now, sharp came the clang, as the wood-axe rang,
    “’Tis man,” said our kin, “you must wander afar
  From the sound of his voice and reach of his arm,
    For his song is death and his hand is war.”
  The blue wisps curled from the lone logger’s hut,
    Far down in the depths of the silent wood;
  And shouts came loud from the boisterous crowd,
    As they sapped the strength of the forest’s blood.

  We were taught to fend, with a lunge and bend,
    The spring of the lynx, with his snarling yelp;
  We were shown to ride, with a single stride,
    The charge of the wolf and his whining whelp.
  We saw how to strip the birch with our lip,
    And to trample the shoots with our fore-leg weight;
  We learned how to tell a foe by the smell,
    That law in the wood was the law of hate.

  Another year, and the wide ridge was clear,
    As the snow grew less, and the day grew long;
  With a start of the sap we swung from our trap,
    While the chickadee whispered his mating song;
  And the robin came, with feathers of flame,
    To carol a psalm from the budding spray,
  While the chewink’s flute, like a minstrel’s lute,
    Trilled clear in the balm of the softening day.

  Oh, that life was good in the opening wood,
    As our brothers’ horns turned velvet to bone,
  We wandered at will over hummock and hill,
    ’Till we found out—alas—we were never alone.
  Man found us there, in our deep, forest lair,
    And plunge as we would in the thicket’s gloom,
  We ran on his track and the sign of his pack,
    As he close hunted us down to our doom.

  There, oft in the dark, we trembled to hark
    To his muffled call, by bank of the pond,
  And to those who lacked in spirit of fear,
    It was death to inquire, and death to respond.
  Oft have we trod on the ranks of the slain,
    As prostrate they lay near some crystal stream
  Lured to their end by the low, soothing cry,
    Mocking the mate of a love-longing dream.

  To the whispering rest of the trackless West,
    We travel to live where the range-land is clear,
  Where wolf and bear keep their sheltering lair,
    Where silence is deep and man is not near.
  Few—few are there left from merciless war,
    Waged on our ranks, now broken and gone,
  Yet, struggle we must ’gainst slaughtering lust,
    Our end is in view—race-driven, forlorn.

  _This is the song which the trapper heard,_
    _Heard in the gloom of the forest dark,_
  _Heard of an ancient and vanishing race,_
    _By the growl and glare of the glimmering spark._
  _Heard of the mannish blood-lust and greed,_
    _Of the withering waste in the rifle’s path,_
  _Song of the steel-clad bullet’s speed,_
    _This is the song of the moose._



  NO longer moves the wagon train through clouds of rolling dust,
  No longer speaks the musket, foul caked with yellow rust,
  Wild days have passed; the yelping brave has vanished in the mists
      of time,
  Wild fights are o’er, the valiant scout has ceased to cheer the firing
  The brutish bison herds are gone—the lean coyote sneaks here and there,
  Where once the pronghorn fed in peace, and shyly roamed the grizzly
  The elk are dead—the puma, too, no longer shrieks his wailing cry,
  Where trapper’s fires are blazing clear, and sharply light the
      dark’ning sky.
  From out the past, pale forms arise, the shapes of those who fought and
  On treeless plains of alkali, and bravely found a gory bed.
  The ghostly shapes go riding past; scout, voyageur, and priest,
  Chief, warrior, and squaw, who gathered at the trader’s feast.
  No more their laughter echoes loud, no more their voices rise and fall,
  By bed of stream, ’neath aspen’s bough, where clumsy Indian children
  The chatter of the dance is hushed; the yells of warrior bands are gone,
  As—gathering for the dance of death—they held high revelry ’till dawn.
  We gaze upon the written page, we marvel that such tales are truth,
  Of fighting fierce, of wrangling rude, of scalp-dance and the cries of
  Then thankfully we tread the paths, which voyageur and trapper bold
  Were wont to tread in olden times, when passions fierce were
  Yes—blood was shed—yes—men were brave, who conquered and who won the
  Now there is love where once was strife—the scouts have reached their
      Heavenly rest.


                        BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE



_Each 1 vol., large 12mo, cloth, illustrated, per vol.. $1.50_


Being three “Little Colonel” stories in the Cosy Corner Series, “The
Little Colonel,” “Two Little Knights of Kentucky,” and “The Giant
Scissors,” in a single volume.

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_These 12 volumes, boxed as a set, $18.00._

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Special Holiday Editions

Each one volume, cloth decorative, small quarto, $1.25 New plates,
handsomely illustrated with eight full-page drawings in color, and many
marginal sketches.







  Each one volume, tall 16mo, cloth decorative   $0.50
  Paper boards                                     .35

There has been a constant demand for publication in separate form of
these six stories which were originally included in six of the “Little
Colonel” books.


New illustrated edition, uniform with the Little Colonel Books, 1 vol.,
large 12mo, cloth decorative              $1.50

A story of the time of Christ, which is one of the author’s best-known


  Uniform in size with the Little Colonel Series   $1.50
  Bound in white kid (morocco) and gold             3.00

Cover design and decorations by Peter Verberg.

Published in response to many inquiries from readers of the Little
Colonel books as to where they could obtain a “Good Times Book” such as
Betty kept.


Large quarto, boards              $1.50

A series of “Little Colonel” dolls. There are many of them and each
has several changes of costume, so that the happy group can be
appropriately clad for the rehearsal of any scene or incident in the


With a frontispiece by Ernest Fosbery.

Large 16mo, cloth, gilt top        $1.00

“‘Asa Holmes; or, At the Cross-Roads’ is the most delightful, most
sympathetic and wholesome book that has been published in a long
while.”—_Boston Times_.


With an introduction by Bliss Carman, and a frontispiece by E. H.

Cloth decorative $1.25

“Mrs. Johnston’s ... are of the character that cause the mind to grow
gravely meditative, the eyes to shine with tender mist, and the heart
strings to stir to strange, sweet music of human sympathy.”—_Los
Angeles Graphic_.


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A story of a party of typical American lads, courageous, alert, and
athletic, who spend a summer camping on an island off the Maine coast.


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This book is a continuation of the adventures of “The Rival Campers” on
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“As interesting ashore as when afloat.”—_The Interior_.


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“The book’s heroine Blue Bonnet has the very finest kind of wholesome,
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BLUE BONNET’S RANCH PARTY A Sequel to “A Texas Blue Bonnet.” By

Square 12mo, illustrated $1.50

The new story begins where the first volume leaves off and takes
Blue Bonnet and the “We Are Seven Club” to the ranch in Texas. The
tables are completely turned: Blue Bonnet is here in her natural
element, while her friends from Woodford have to learn the customs and
traditions of another world.


Square 12mo, illustrated $1.50

This is a book that will gladden the hearts of many girl readers
because of its charming air of comradeship and reality. It is a very
interesting group of girls who live on Friendly Terrace and their good
times and other times are graphically related by the author, who shows
a sympathetic knowledge of girl character.


A Sequel to “The Girls of Friendly Terrace.” By HARRIET LUMMIS SMITH.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

Readers who made the acquaintance of Peggy Raymond and her bevy of girl
chums in “The Girls of Friendly Terrace” will be glad to continue the
acquaintance of these attractive young folks.

Several new characters are introduced, and one at least will prove a
not unworthy rival of the favorites among the Terrace girls.



_Each, library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50_


“Miss Breitenbach is to be congratulated on having written such an
appealing book for girls, and the girls are to be congratulated on
having the privilege of reading it.”—_The Detroit Free Press_.


“The characters are strongly drawn with a life-like realism, the
incidents are well and progressively sequenced, and the action is so
well timed that the interest never slackens.”—_Boston Ideas_.


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated       $1.50

Any girl of any age who is fond of outdoor life will appreciate this
fascinating tale of Genevieve Hartley’s summer vacation house-party on
a Texas ranch. Genevieve and her friends are real girls, the kind that
one would like to have in one’s own home, and there are a couple of
manly boys introduced.

“Beautiful Joe.”

By MARSHALL SAUNDERS, author of “Beautiful Joe.”

One vol., library 12mo, cloth illustrated               $1.50

“This book revives the spirit of ‘Beautiful Joe’ capitally. It is
fairly riotous with fun, and is about as unusual as anything in the
animal book line that has seen the light.”—_Philadelphia Item_.


_One vol., 12mo, fully illustrated, cloth decorative    $1.50_

“It is one of those exquisitely simple and truthful books that win
and charm the reader, and I did not put it down until I had finished
it—honest! And I am sure that every one, young or old, who reads will
be proud and happy to make the acquaintance of the delicious waif.

“I cannot think of any better book for children than this. I commend it
unreservedly.”—_Cyrus T. Brady_.


One vol., 12mo, fully illustrated, cloth decorative        $1.50

’Tilda Jane is the same original, delightful girl, and as fond of her
animal pets as ever.

“There is so much to this story that it is almost a novel—in fact it
is better than many novels, although written for only young people.
Compared with much of to-day’s juveniles it is quite a superior
book.”—_Chicago Tribune_.

Joe’s Paradise,” “’Tilda Jane,” etc.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative. Illustrated by E. B. Barry    $1.50

Here we have the haps and mishaps, the trials and triumphs, of a
delightful New England family.

“’Tilda Jane’s Orphans,” etc.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated                 $1.50

This is a delightful little story of animal life, written in this
author’s best vein, dealing especially with Pussy Black-Face, a little
Beacon Street (Boston) kitten, who is the narrator.



_Each, large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated. $1.50_


Biographical sketches, with anecdotes and reminiscenses, of the heroes
of history who were leaders of cavalry.

“More of such books should be written, books that acquaint young
readers with historical personages in a pleasant informal way.”—_N. Y.


In this book Mr. Johnston gives interesting sketches of the Indian
braves who have figured with prominence in the history of our own land.


In this volume Mr. Johnston tells interesting stories about the famous
sailors of fortune.


“It is the kind of a book that will have a great fascination for
boys and young men and while it entertains them it will also present
valuable information in regard to those who have left their impress
upon the history of the country.—_The New London Day_.


This book is devoted to a description of the adventurous lives and
stirring experiences of many pioneer heroes who were prominently
identified with the opening of the great west.



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Real buccaneers who overran the Spanish main, and adventurers who
figured prominently in the sack of Panama, all enter into the life
of Ralph Somerby, a young English lad, on his way to the colony in
Jamaica. After a year of wandering and adventure he covers the route of
the present Panama Canal.



One vol., library 12mo, illustrated $1.50

A thoroughly enjoyable tale of a little girl and her comrade father,
written in a delightful vein of sympathetic comprehension of the
child’s point of view.

“The characters are strongly drawn with a life-like realism, the
incidents are well and progressively sequenced, and the action is so
well timed that the interest never slackens.”—_Boston Ideas._



One vol., library 12mo, illustrated $1.50

In the new book, the author tells how Nancy becomes in fact “the
doctor’s assistant,” and continues to shed happiness around her.



One vol., library 12mo, illustrated $1.50

In Nancy Porter, Miss Taggart has created one of the most lovable child
characters in recent years. In the new story she is the same bright and
cheerful little maid.



One vol., library 12mo, illustrated $1.50

Already as the “doctor’s partner” Nancy Porter has won the affection of
her readers, and in the same lovable manner she continues in the new
book to press the keynotes of optimism and good-will.



12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.25

The atmosphere of army life on the plains breathes on every page of
this delightful tale. The boy is the son of a captain of U. S. cavalry
stationed at a frontier post in the days when our regulars earned the
gratitude of a nation.



12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

“Singularly enough one of the best books of the year for boys is
written by a woman and deals with life at West Point. The presentment
of life in the famous military academy whence so many heroes have
graduated is realistic and enjoyable.”—_New York Sun_.


By WILLIAM J. HOPKINS. With fifty illustrations by Ada Clendenin

Large 12mo, decorative cover $1.50

“An amusing, original book, written for the benefit of very small
children. It should be one of the most popular of the year’s books for
reading to small children.”—_Buffalo Express_.



Large 12mo, decorative cover, fully illustrated $1.50

Mr. Hopkins’s first essay at bedtime stories met with such approval
that this second book of “Sandman” tales was issued for scores of eager
children. Life on the farm, and out-of-doors, is portrayed in his
inimitable manner.


By WILLIAM J. HOPKINS, author of “The Sandman: His Farm Stories,” etc.

Large 12mo, decorative cover, fully illustrated $1.50

“Children call for these stories over and over again.”—_Chicago
Evening Post_.



Large 12mo, decorative cover, fully illustrated $1.50

Each year adds to the popularity of this unique series of stories to be
read to the little ones at bed time and at other times.



_Each, 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated_ $1.25


Boys will follow with ever increasing interest the fortunes of Bob and
Sandy Armstrong in their hunting and trapping expeditions, and in their
adventures with the Indians.


In this story are introduced all of the principal characters of the
first volume, and Bob and Sandy learn much of life in the open from the
French trappers and coureurs du bois.


Telling of how the Armstrong family decides to move farther west after
an awful flood on the Ohio, and how they travelled to the great “Father
of Waters” and settled on its banks, and of how the pioneer boys had
many adventures both with wild animals and with the crafty Indians.

       *       *       *       *       *



One vol., cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

A fine story of North American Indians. The story begins when Hawk is a
papoose and follows him until he is finally made chief of his tribe.



Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

In this book Mr. Stevenson takes up a new branch of railroading,
namely, the work of the “Shops.”


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

Mr. Stevenson’s hero is a manly lad of sixteen, who is given a chance
as a section-hand on a big Western railroad, and whose experiences are
as real as they are thrilling.


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

“A better book for boys has never left an American
press.”—_Springfield Union_.


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

“Nothing better in the way of a book of adventure for boys.”—_Boston


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

Jack is a fine example of the American high-school boy.


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

“It is exactly the sort of book to give a boy interested in
athletics.”—_Chicago Tribune_.


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

Full of just the kind of fun, sports and adventure to excite the
healthy minded youngster to emulation.


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

On the sporting side, this book takes up football, wrestling, and


Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated $1.50

This book is typical of the American college boys’ life and is a lively



Small quarto, cloth decorative, illustrated and decorated in colors by
Adelaide Everhart $1.00

Gabriel was a loving, patient, little French lad, who assisted the
monks in the long ago days, when all the books were written and
illuminated by hand, in the monasteries.

“No works in juvenile fiction contain so many of the elements that
stir the hearts of children and grown-ups as well as do the stories so
admirably told by this author.”—_Louisville Daily Courier_.



Cloth, 12mo, illustrated by Diantha H. Marlowe $1.25

“The story should be one of the influences in the life of every child
to whom good stories can be made to appeal.”—_Public Ledger_.



Cloth, 12mo, illustrated by John Goss $1.25

“This touching and pleasing story is told with a wealth of interest
coupled with enlivening descriptions of the country where its scenes
are laid and of the people thereof.”—_Wilmington Every Evening_.



Cloth, 12mo, illustrated $1.50

“This is a most delightful, well-written, heart-stirring, happy ending
story, which will gladden the heart of many a reader.”—_Scranton

ALYS IN HAPPYLAND. A Sequel to “Alys-All Alone.” By UNA MACDONALD.

Cloth, 12mo, illustrated $1.50

“The book is written with that taste and charm that prepare younger
readers for the appreciation of good literature when they are
older.”—_Chicago Tribune_.

THE Little Cousin Series (trade mark)

Each volume illustrated with six or more full page plates in tint.
Cloth, 12mo, with decorative cover, per volume, 60 cents



  Our Little African Cousin
  Our Little Alaskan Cousin
  Our Little Arabian Cousin
  Our Little Argentine Cousin
  Our Little Armenian Cousin
  Our Little Australian Cousin
  Our Little Austrian Cousin
  Our Little Belgian Cousin
  Our Little Bohemian Cousin
  Our Little Brazilian Cousin
  Our Little Bulgarian Cousin
  Our Little Canadian Cousin
  Our Little Chinese Cousin
  Our Little Cuban Cousin
  Our Little Danish Cousin
  Our Little Dutch Cousin
  Our Little Egyptian Cousin
  Our Little English Cousin
  Our Little Eskimo Cousin
  Our Little French Cousin
  Our Little German Cousin
  Our Little Grecian Cousin
  Our Little Hawaiian Cousin
  Our Little Hindu Cousin
  Our Little Hungarian Cousin
  Our Little Indian Cousin
  Our Little Irish Cousin
  Our Little Italian Cousin
  Our Little Japanese Cousin
  Our Little Jewish Cousin
  Our Little Korean Cousin
  Our Little Malayan (Brown) Cousin
  Our Little Mexican Cousin
  Our Little Norwegian Cousin
  Our Little Panama Cousin
  Our Little Persian Cousin
  Our Little Philippine Cousin
  Our Little Polish Cousin
  Our Little Porto Rican Cousin
  Our Little Portuguese Cousin
  Our Little Russian Cousin
  Our Little Scotch Cousin
  Our Little Servian Cousin
  Our Little Siamese Cousin
  Our Little Spanish Cousin
  Our Little Swedish Cousin
  Our Little Swiss Cousin
  Our Little Turkish Cousin


The publishers have concluded that a companion series to “The Little
Cousin Series,” giving the every-day child life of _ancient times_ will
meet with approval, and like the other series will be welcomed by the
children as well as by their elders. The volumes of this new series are
accurate both historically and in the description of every-day life of
the time, as well as interesting to the child.

Small 12mo, cloth, illustrated 60c







_Each, one volume, cloth decorated, illustrated. $1.25_


“An original idea cleverly carried out. The volumes afford the best
kind of entertainment; and the little girl heroine of them all will
find friends in the girls of every part of the country. No juveniles
can be commended more heartily.”—_St. Louis Globe-Democrat_.


[1] See “Famous Indian Chiefs.”

[2] See “Famous Scouts.”

                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

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