« AnteriorContinuar »
Captain John Smith's Description, &c.
for us now in these ages, than we are to plant that yet unplanted, for the after livers; had the seed of Abraham, our Saviour Christ, and his Apostles, exposed themselves to no more dangers to teach the gospel and the will of God than we;-even we ourselves had at this present been as salvage and as miserable as the most barbarous salvage yet uncivilized. The Hebrews and Lacedæmonians, the Goths, the Grecians, the Romans, and the rest, what was it they would not undertake to enlarge their territories, enrich their subjects, resist their enemies? Those that were the founders of those great monarchies and their virtues, were no silvered, idle, golden Pharisees, but industrious, iron-steeled publicans. They regarded more provisions and necessaries for their people than jewels, riches, ease, or delight for themselves. Riches were their servants, not their masters. They ruled (as fathers, not as tyrants,) their people as children, not as slaves. There was no disaster could discourage them, and let none think they encountered not with all manner of encumbrances. And what have ever been the works of the greatest princes of the earth, but planting of countries and civilizing barbarous and inhumane nations to civility and humanity? whose eternal actions fill our histories. Lastly, the Portugals and Spaniards, whose ever-living actions before our eyes, will testify with them our idleness and ingratitude to all posterities, and the neglect of our duties in our piety and religion we owe our God, our King, and country, and our want of charity to those poor salvages, whose country we challenge, use and possess, except we be but made to use and mar what our forefathers made, or but only tell what they did, or esteem ourselves too good to take the like pains. Was it virtue in them to provide that doth maintain us and baseness for us to do the like for others? Surely Then seeing we are not born for ourselves, but each to help other, and our abilities are much alike at the hour of our birth and the minute of our death; seeing our good deeds or our bad, by faith in Christ's merits, is all we have to carry our souls to heaven or hell; seeing honor is our lives' ambition, and our ambition after death to have an honorable memory of our life; and seeing by no means we would be abated of the dignities and glories of our predecessors, let us imitate their virtues to be worthily their suc
AN ACCOUNT OF THE CAPTIVITY OF HUGH GIBSON AMONG THE DELAWARE INDIANS OF THE BIG BEAVER AND THE MUSKINGUM, FROM THE LATTER PART OF JULY 1756, To THE BEGINNING OF APRIL, 1759.
To the Rev. Abiel Holmes, D.D., LL.D., Corresponding Secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Vicinity of Pittsburg, 27th February, 1834.
REV. AND DEAR SIR,
Very numerous were the instances of alarm, terror, captivity, extreme suffering, and murder in its most appalling forms, among the early settlers of the interior parts of Pennsylvania; of which, however, little is at present known, except from vague and obscure tradition. Full accounts of these, if it were possible to collect them, would swell a volume to no ordinary size, and of most painful interest
To rescue from oblivion some notices of the captivity of the late HUGH GIBSON, I spent a day and a night with this venerable man, in February, 1826, while his mental powers were unusually bright, for one at the age of eighty-five years. It was very gratifying to him to have it in his power, before the close of his pilgrimage, to give, as he did in detail with great minuteness, a narrative of that part of his life which he had spent with the Indians. I took a brief memorandum of the facts, as he related them; and then making a transcript, in extenso, in a plain style, of what I had written, carefully read it to Mr. Gibson, in order that, if requisite, any corrections might be introduced. But, as it was found to be fully to his mind, none were suggested.
I will only add, that Mr. Gibson departed this life on the 30th day of the following July,-five months after my last interview with him. Your friend and brother, TIMOTHY Alden.
HUGH GIBSON, an account of whose trials and sufferings among the Indians is now, for the first time, submitted to the public, was the eldest son of David Gibson and his wife, originally Mary M'Clelland. His parents lived at the Six Miles' Cross, near Stewart's Town, in the north of Ireland, till about the year 1740, when they crossed the Atlantic and settled on a plantation of their purchase in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, two miles and a half below Peach
Bottom Ferry, on the Susquehannah; where the subject of this Narrative was born in February, 1741.
Mr. Gibson at the age of five years was deprived of his father. His mother, in her widowed state, removed to a place in the vicinity of Robinson's Fort, nearly twenty miles from Carlisle, and at length, in consequence of danger apprehended, with others, in 1756, resided in the Fort. On a certain morning in the latter part of July, he and his mother, with Elizabeth Henry, went out in search of their cattle. They were unexpectedly beset by a party of Indians. His mother was shot at some distance from him, and Sarah Wilson, who had joined her, was tomahawked.
Mr. Gibson heard the gun, which had proved instantly fatal to his mother, and was immediately after pursued by three Indians, from whom he attempted to escape; but soon finding it impossible to outrun them, stopped, and entreated them not to take his life. One of them had already aimed his rifle at him, but the powder merely flashing in the pan, the contents of the deadly weapon were not discharged. He was taken by one of the Indians, who was a son of King Beaver, and was afterwards presented by him to Bisquittam, another Delaware chief, and an uncle of the captor. Elizabeth Henry was also captured at the same time. The party of Indians, to whom the three above-mentioned belonged, consisting of about twenty, had killed a number of hogs two or three miles off, and, having breakfasted upon the swine's flesh, took their two young captives through the trackless desert over the mountains, to Kittanning on the Alleghany river, now the site of the pleasant village of Armstrong.
From this place Gibson and two Indians rode to Fort du Quesne, standing near the extremity of the point of land formed by the junction of the Alleghany and the Monongahela, about sixty miles from Kittanning. Here he was first introduced to the before-named Bisquittam. Elizabeth Henry was conducted to some distant region, and her fellow captive never saw her again.
Bisquittam was one of seven brethren, all high in authority among the Delawares of the West. One of these had been killed by the Cherokees, and Gibson was adopted, according to aboriginal usage, to supply his place in the royal family (to use the phraseology of the narrator), and of course ever after, while residing with his savage associates, bore
Whis name, which was Mun-hut'-tă-kis-wil-lux-is-sõh'-pon,a compound long enough for the cognomen of an eastern prince, yet of somewhat an uncourtly signification, as it is, literally interpreted-Big-rope-gut-hominy.
At the first interview, Bisquittam, addressing himself to Gibson, said, "I am your brother," and, pointing to one after another in the company, added, "This is your brother, that is your brother, this is your cousin, that is your cousin, and all these are your friends." He then painted his adopted 'brother and told him that the Indians would take him to the river, wash away all his white blood, and make him an Indian. They accordingly took him to the river, plunged him into the water, thoroughly washed him from head to foot, and conducted him back to his master and brother. He was then furnished, in Indian style, with a breech-cloth, leggins, capo, porcupine moccasins, and a shirt. After this ceremony he returned with his new friends to Kittanning. He was at the Middle Kittaning at the time the Upper Kittaning was destroyed by Colonel Armstrong, and heard the deadly firing. As the Indians were about to pass over to the east side of the river and to the scene of carnage, Gibson asked Bisquittam what he should do. He said, "Go to the squaws, and keep with them ;" which he did. At that encounter, well known in Indian warfare, Armstrong lost forty men, and the enemy but fourteen, as reported by the Indians. Captain Jacobs, a noted warrior in those days of terror, killed, while under the covert of the house in which he was posted (his squaw assisting him in loading his guns), no less than fourteen, and refused to surrender, though repeatedly urged. At length some of Armstrong's men threatened to burn the house over his head. He replied, that' they might if they would; he could eat fire." He and his wife were burnt with the house. In the contest Jacobs had received seven balls before he was brought upon his knees. At this time, besides Jacobs, his brother and another great warrior were among the slain. The Indians told Gibson that they had rather have lost a hundred of their men than those three chiefs.
Gibson was now compelled to witness a painful specimen of savage barbarity-the torturing and burning of an inoffensive female, who had fallen into the hands of the merciless foe. The wife of Alexander M'Allister, who had been taken
at Tuscarora valley, was the unhappy victim. The same Indian who had killed Gibson's mother, tied her to a sapling, where she was long made to writhe in the flames. He knew the Indian to have been the murderer of his mother, from her scalp, which hung as a trophy from his belt. Before these unfeeling wretches had satisfied themselves with the slow but excruciating tortures they caused this woman to endure, a heavy thunder-gust with a torrent of rain came on, which greatly incommoded the Indians. Mrs. M'Allister most earnestly prayed for deliverance, but cruel are the tender mercies of the poor unenlightened savages. They however, sooner no doubt than they intended, when they saw that their fire must be shortly extinguished, shot her, and threw her remains upon the embers.
They told Gibson that they had brought him to behold this sight, on purpose to show him how they would deal with him, in case he should ever attempt to run away.
Soon after these events, he went with his companions to Fort du Quesne, where he remained a number of days, and ascertained that the French and Indians daily drew fifteen hundred rations.
His next remove was to Kuskuskin [Hog-Town] on the Mahoning, a considerable distance above its confluence with the Big Beaver, where he stayed till the following spring. At this place his life was, for a period, in great jeopardy. He had inadvertently said that he had heard that the white people were coming against the Indians. Bisquittam's brother, by name Mi-us'-kil-lă-mize, was at the place, and his squaw had heard Gibson state the rumor he had heard. She had conceived a violent prejudice against him, and was determined that he should be burnt. A little white girl, about twelve years old, who had been taken in Tuscarora valley, was instructed by the enraged squaw to tell Bisquittam, on his return from Shenango, whither he had gone to tarry a little while, that Gibson said, that he hoped the white men would come against the Indians, and that he wished to run away-adding that, if she did not say all this to Bisquittam, she should be burnt. The little girl told Gibson what a lesson she had received from the squaw. He told the young captive to say no such thing, but to say that he loved Bisquittam, his brothers, cousins, and friends, and that he had no intention to run away.