Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Gibson was afraid to see Bisquittam, because he had wished to join the Tulpehokken warriors, contrary to his master's will. However, he approached him affectionately, and said, How do you, brother? I have brought a large bear skin, and make a present of it to you to sleep upon. Bisquittam received him kindly and thanked him for the donation. They both repaired to Fort McIntosh, where they abode till some time in the winter.

It was in the autumn of 1758, that General Forbes, being at Loyal Hanna, sent Captain Grant, with three hundred men and three days' provisions, to view the ground and ascertain the best route to Fort du Quesne. Grant exceeded his orders, being sanguine of success, and rashly urged his way with the expectation of taking the Fort. He was met and pursued by the French and Indians on or near the hill in Pittsburg, which bears his name to the present day. Grant killed many of the enemy, but not a few of his own men were destroyed and taken. He also became a captive and was sent to Canada. The residue of his forces retreated to Fort Ligonier. This is the purport of Gibson's statement.

The Indians, having strong suspicions that their brother intended to desert them, about the middle of October, 1758, took him to Kŭs'-kö-rá'-vīs, the western branch, which uniting with White Woman's Creek, the eastern branch, forms the Muskingum. There was his home till the begin- , ning of the ensuing April, when he found means to make

his escape.

At this place was David Brackenridge, recently taken at Loyal Hanna. Here also were two German young women, who had been captured at Mok-ki-noy, near the Juniata, long before Gibson. The name of one was Barbara. The other was called by the Indians Pum-e-ra-moo, but she was from a family by the name of Grove. It was at length determined by the inhabitants of the forest that the latter should marry one of the natives, who had been selected for her. She told Gibson that she would sooner be shot than have him for her husband, and entreated him, as did Barbara likewise, to unite with them in the attempt to run away. They proposed 'a plan, which they supposed would afford facilities for the desirable object. They were to feign themselves indisposed ; when it was expected that they

would be ordered to withdraw from the society of Indians, and to live by themselves for a season. The project succeeded according to expectation. On their making the representation, as agreed, the Indians told them to go and kindle their fire at some distance from them.

They selected for their purpose the bank of the Muskingum, just below the confluence of the two branches of the river. The night was appointed for their flight. In the mean time Gibson, returning late one evening to his master, told him that he had seen the track of his horse, which he knew by the impression of his shoes, no other horse in that quarter being shod, and that he had followed the track for some time without being able to overtake him. He then proposed to Bisquittam to go in search of the horse, and, having found him, to spend three days in hunting; to which his master acceded. It was further agreed that Bisquittam should spend some time in a meadow, a little below the fire of the two women, in digging hoppenies [i. e. groundnuts], and that Gibson should return that way with the horse and venison, and take the hoppenies and meat home. Bisquittam furnished him with a gun, a powder-horn well filled, thirteen bullets, a deer skin for making moccasins and sinews to sew them, two blankets, and two shirts, one of which was to be hung up to keep the crows from pillaging the venison.

After breakfast he started, and instead of going in pursuit of the horse, took his course leisurely to the women's camp, seven miles, where he arrived about ten o'clock in the evening, and found Brackenridge with them, according to previous arrangements. As he travelled, in the evening he discovered some of the natives, though they probably did not notice him. He saw the fire, where Bisquittam had been digging hoppenies during a 'part of the day, perhaps not more than sixty rods from the spot whence they were to attempt their departure. The utmost caution, prudence, and despatch were indispensable in the hazardous enterprise; for, should their object be discovered, nothing could save them from the stake.

It was about the full moon. The Muskingum was very high, and there were two rafts near the women's fire. They unmoored one, and it soon went down the river. They entered the other with their accoutrements, the women taking their kettle, crossed the Muskingum, and let

the raft go adrift. They travelled with all possible expeditiori during the residue of the night in a southerly direction, in order to deceive the Indians, in case they should attempt to follow them. In the morning they steered a due east

course.

On the second day they mortally wounded a bear, which, in the contest, bit the leg of Gibson, and got into a hole, whence they could not obtain him. They however killed a buck, the best part of which they carried in a kind of hopper, * made of his skin. On the third day, at night, they ventured to make a fire, roasted and feasted upon their venison. On the fourth day they shot a doe, took the saddle, reached the Ohio river above Wheeling, made a raft with the aid of their tomahawks, passed over, and entered a deep ravine, where the land above them was supposed to be more than three hundred feet in height. Here they kindled a fire, cooked and ate their meat, and spent the night.

In the morning, with much difficulty they ascended the steep eminence, and set their faces for Fort du Quesne, keeping on the ridge not far, in general, from the Ohio. They saw the fresh tracks of Indians, when opposite to Fort McIntosh, but were not molested, and probably were not seen by them.

On the fifteenth day after leaving the Muskingum, in the evening, they arrived in safety on the banks of the Monongahela, directly opposite to the Fort, and called for a boat. The people were suspicious of some Indian plot, having once before been grossly and treacherously deceived. The captives were directed to state their number, their names, whence they had been taken, with other circumstances, for the satisfaction of the garrison, before their wishes could be gratified.

Brackenridge told them that he was taken at Loyal Hanna, where he drove a wagon numbered 39. Some of the soldiers knew the statement to be correct. Gibson informed them that he was captured near Robinson's Fort, and that Israel Gibson was his brother. Some present were acquainted with the latter. The females represented that they were from Mokkinoy, and that there were but four of

the party.

* In the dialect of our huntersa hoppus.

Upon this, two boats with fifteen men well armed, crossed the Monongahela. Their orders were, in case there should appear to be more than four, to fire upon them. On approaching the western shore, the boatmen directed the captives to stand back upon the rising ground, and to come forward, one at a time, as they should be called. In this way they were all soon received and carried to Fort du Quesne, where their joy was such as may be better conceived than described. It was not long before they were all restored, like persons from the dead, to the arms of their relatives and friends.

Gibson went to Lancaster county, where he spent two years with his uncle, William M'Clelland, and married a daughter of the widow Elizabeth White. He then repaired to his late mother's plantation in Shearman's valley, two miles from Robinson's Fort. He withdrew, after having wrought upon that place two years, in consequence of hearing that the Indians were intending to come and take him again into captivity, and lived in Lancaster county during the Revolutionary war. At the age of fifty-three years, he removed to Plum Creek, on the Alleghany, and thence to Pokkety.

Western Pennsylvania being free from all fears of Indian depredations, after Wayne's treaty, he settled, on the 17th of April, 1797, in Wayne township, Crawford county, seven miles below Meadville, on the eastern bank of French Creek, his plantation comprising a part of Bald Hill, which, with the bottom land opposite, was called by the Indians Kish-ako-quil-la, from a chief, who had lived in the valley, of that name, in the vicinity of the Juniata.

From tradition it appears that there was an aboriginal town of considerable magnitude at this place, particularly on the fertile bottom on the western side of the Creek. Captain Samuel Brady, long a majormissabib to the natives of the forest, far and near, is said, on one occasion to have taken forty scalps at this village. Another tradition represents that Washington spent a night at this Kishakoquilla, when on his way to Le Beuf, now Waterford, with despatches from Governor Dinwiddie. Tomahawks, axes and other tools, made of iron, are still occasionally found here in ploughing, which, no doubt, were obtained by the tawny pre-occupants of this region from the French, traces of

[ocr errors]

whose establishments have been discovered in many places in Crawford and other adjoining counties.

In conclusion, it might be remarked that Mr. Gibson had no inclination to spend his days with the Indians, although in general, with a few painful exceptions, he was treated kindly by them. They were very urgent that he should form a matrimonial alliance with some daughter of the forest, for which, however, he had no desire. On one occasion, while at Kuskoravis, a certain squaw conceiving the purpose to take him for her husband, made some tender advances. He was not only coy but peremptory in refusing her hand. His brother and master, Bisquittam, was extremely angry with him for refusing to take a wife from the tribe, and in this case caused him to be severely whipped with a hickory rod.

P.S. David Brackenridge, a native of Scotland, was born near Campbleton Loch, and, when about twelve years of age, came to America, and lived with a relative near Fogg's Manor meeting-house, in Chester county. He was about twenty-one years of age, when taken by the Indians. His friends supposed him to be dead, and appointed some one to administer on his estate. The day for selling his effects at auction having been duly advertised, they were all sold ; and on the same day, before the purchasers had withdrawn, he arrived, to their no small astonishment, and all rejoiced to surrender to the rightful owner whatever they had bought.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »