The three men were next told that they were to run the gantlet to the council-house, which was about a thousand feet away. Foremost in the dreadful race ran the man who had been painted black. Upon him were concentrated the chief efforts of the savages. Many fired powder into his flesh as he passed them. Stunned, bruised, and bleeding from the assaults of his enemies, the poor man was unable to reach the goal as soon as Slover and his companion. When he did so, his body had been gashed in a dozen places with tomahawks. Here and there large holes had been burnt in the flesh. A gun wad, fired into his neck, had inflicted a painful wound, from which the blood streamed in large quantities.
Shattered as he was, through exertions nerved by despair itself, he reached the council-house. Exultant with hope, he stretched out his hand to lay hold of the door. But for him there was no rest, no mercy. While his hand was still extended in the belief that he had secured temporary safety, a dozen slimy hands jerked him back from the door, whose refuge mocked him. Again and again, he fought to tear himself loose from their grasp. But a few steps would he run, till again he was seized and hurled back.
Though growing weaker at every moment, and frantic with despair, the instinct of self-preservation still remained to him, and he sought to wrest from his tormentors a club or tomahawk. Perceiving his purpose, the savages would hold out to him their weapons, and then, as his eager fingers were about to clutch the object, would snatch it away with hideous laughter, and deal the wretch another blow. Sometimes they would allow him to run from them a considerable distance, only to make his recapture the occasion for a pretended punishment and renewed beatings.
There is a limit to human endurance. There is a point, beyond which the will, electric, exalted, sublime, can no longer sustain one. That point was reached. The captive fell to the ground. As the showers of blows were rained upon him, he no longer fought back with the ferocity of a tiger and the courage of a madman. He only feebly tried to screen his face and head with his lacerated arms. At last even this frail defense gave way. The blows of the club and the tomahawk fell upon the body of the prostrate man, and met with neither resistance nor retaliation. ow and then a sob, a gasp, a quiver was to be heard escaping from his lips. Finally, even these last, faint flutterings of life disappeared. The spirit had departed, leaving the shapeless mass, which had been its splendid home, to be tossed by cruel hands to hungry dogs.
That evening Slover, with an anguish in his heart which no pen can describe, looked on not only this scene, but also on three other black and mangled bodies. As they lay in all their mutilation, the scout could recognize in one the remains of. William Harrison, the son-in-law of Colonel Crawford. Removing his eye to the second corpse, he saw in it young William Crawford, the youthful nephew of the commander.. The third corpse was that of Major John McClelland. These three brave men had furnished a gorge of infernal revelry for the beastly savages. The heads and limbs were impaled on lofty poles in the center of the town. The trunks became food for dogs.
Harrison was one of the most noted men in the Ohio valley. He was a lawyer of polished education and lofty intellect. He had rendered distinguished services to the colonies.
The surviving companion of Slover was shortly sent away to another town. Of his fate we have no account. There is no reason to suppose that it was different from that of the brave men which we have described. That night a great council was held in the village. Slover was placed in the center of the room, and there subjected to every question which the Indian intellect could invent.
The council lasted fifteen days. In it were represented a dozen different tribes. Here in this assembly all the pride, all the exultation, all the savage joy to which the destruction of Crawford's army had given rise found expression. No rhetoric was bombastic enough for the vanity of the orators ; no congratulations were complimentary enough for the pride of the warriors.
In the midst of the council was received a message from the commandant at Detroit. Of this communication the key-note was clear to the dullest ear. It bade the Indians to take no more prisoners. The exhortation was received with a mighty uproar of applause. The council resolved to follow the advice. Henceforth they were to take no more prisoners, but kill outright every unfortunate who fell into their hands. This was not all. In the enthusiasm of the moment they determined that if any tribe not represented at the council took any captives, the others would go upon the war-path, take away the captives, and put them to death.
During these days Slover suffered more from the villainous white men in the village, who were continually instigating tile savage mind to cruelty, than from the Indians themselves. Simon Girty was there. This abominable liar almost drove the inhabitants of the place insane by telling them that he had asked Slover how he liked to live there, and that he had answered that he intended at the first opportunity to take a scalp and escape.
Another white man came to him and told him that his home had been in Virginia; that he had three brothers there, and wanted to get away. Slover was too old a scout to say any thing to the treacherous villain. This prudence, however, did not save him. The fellow went off and reported in the village that Slover had consented to go with him.
There was another white man in the place. He lived two miles from the town, in a house built of squared logs, with a shingle roof. He dressed in a gorgeous uniform of gold-laced clothes. He spoke but little in the council. When he did it had a marked effect. He did not question Slover, but during all the time he seemed to be oblivious of the latter's presence in the town. He never spoke to him. This man was in the employ of the British Government. He was the counterpart of Girty and Elliott. His name was Alexander McKee.
On the morning after the close of the council Slover was sitting before the door of the cabin where he had been kept. A file of forty Indian warriors suddenly came up and surrounded the cabin. Their captain was a white man. It was George Girty, a brother of Simon. These Indians took Slover, and put a rope around his neck. They stripped him naked. His arms were bound behind him, and he was painted black from head to foot. During this operation Girty stood before him, hurling at him a storm of curses. Slover was then taken to a town five miles away. Being a stranger, the inhabitants of the place had prepared a reception for him. The emblem of their hospitality was the war club; their method of expressing it was falling upon Slover, and beating him half to death.
Two miles away was another town. It was not far from the site of what is now West Liberty, Logan County, Ohio. Only one-half of the council house had a roof. Slover noticed this. In the center of that part of the structure which had no covering was a huge post, sixteen feet in height. About four feet from the post were three large piles of firewood. Slover was taken to the post. One rope was passed around his neck, another about his waist, and a third about his feet. These were tightly bound to the post. This done, a large savage, carrying a torch, stuck it into the dry wood, which quickly leaped into flame.
At this moment a wind began to roar through the forest, swaying the trees in a frightful manner. The dust in the streets of the village was caught up and whirled along in mighty clouds. Terrific thunder-peals seemed to split asunder the sky-dome. The crowd around the stake withdrew their fascinated gaze from the dreadful drama being there enacted, and looked with apprehension at the darkening landscape and the ragged storm-line which was rapidly approaching. Huge drops of rain began to fall. With screams and pushings the crowd scrambled for the sheltered part of the council-house. Here and there an old squaw or an aged warrior stood stolidly where they were, as if to express their contempt for the others, while the floods of water which now descended drenched them to the skin.
The fire was quickly extinguished. The rain lasted about twenty minutes. When it was over, and the sun reappeared in an azure sky from which the clouds were rapidly clearing, the Indians stood still for some minutes, awe-stricken and silent.
At last the spell was broken. The crowd before so still became noisy and turbulent. A dispute arose. Some wanted to proceed with the torture, the prevailing part insisted on saving the prisoner until the next morning. Slover was untied. Even though the respite was short, his spirits rose. Making him sit down the Indians began a war dance around him.
At eleven o'clock at night Half Moon' asked Slover if he was sleepy, The captive answered "Yes." Three Indians were appointed for his guard. Taking him to a block-house, they tied his arms around the wrists and above the elbows so tightly that the cord cut deep into the flesh. To his neck was fastened a rope, the other end of which was tied to a beam in the house. It was long enough to permit him to lie down on a couch, which consisted of a board.
Slover, overcome with anxiety at the fate prepared for him, waited nervously hour after hour for his guards to go to sleep. But they too, though from different motives, were full of excited interest concerning the festivities of the morrow. Not till an hour before daybreak did they weary in their animated conversation. At that hour two of them lay down and went to sleep. The third copper-colored gentleman came over and questioned Slover as to how he would like "eating fire." The prisoner was giving up his last earthly hope for a chance to escape, when to his great joy the third Indian rolled over and began to snore.
The scout instantly set to work. Turning on his right side he managed little by little, with infinite effort and skill, to slip the cords from his left arm. At that moment his heart sank within him. One of the warriors rose and stirred the fire. Slover expected to have his bonds examined, and thought all was over. But the sleepy savage lay down and again became unconscious.
There was no time to be lost. It was within a few minutes of daybreak. The people of the village were likely to rise early in preparation for the sports of the day. Some old squaws might already be stirring in the lodges. Slover made frantic efforts to loosen the rope from his neck. He tried to gnaw it, but might as well have bitten a bar of iron as to chew the cursed buffalo hide. He tugged at it till his fingers bled. But all in vain. At last, just at daybreak, he discovered, to his joy, that it was a slip-knot. He pulled the noose apart, slipped it over his head, lightly stepped over the sleeping warriors, and left the cabin.
He sped through the town, passing a squaw and five children who were asleep under a tree, and jumped into a cornfield. Here he untied his right arm, which had swollen till it had turned black. Collecting his thoughts, he remembered to have seen some horses on his way to the cornfield. He started back, snatched up an old quilt hanging on a fence, quickly caught one of the horses by the mane, threw the rope, with which he had himself been tied, around the horse's neck for a halter, sprang astride the animal and galloped away.
His course lay to the north-east. On he dashed, without pause or a backward look. His horse was strong and swift. He had only the quilt for a saddle, and the rope halter for a bridle. He was entirely naked. As his horse plunged through the forest, the branches of the trees lacerated his bare body until he was covered with blood from head to foot. Yet of this he was unconscious. He felt not the strokes and bruises. He noticed not the torn flesh, nor the flowing blood. He only knew that he was flying, flying from fiends and flames to liberty and life; flying from torture and the stake to home and friends. Fifty miles away lay the blue Scioto. For his horse he had no mercy, but mindful of the keen and swift pursuers, who were already swarming after him, devising in their hellish hearts new and fearful vengeance, he urged the animal on, hour after hour, at its topmost speed.
At eleven o'clock in the morning he reached the Scioto. At three o'clock in the afternoon he had left the river twenty-five miles behind him. At this point his horse failed. All its splendid powers had been expended in the noble race. Seventy-five miles had been accomplished in eleven hours. It could go no further. Slover instantly sprang from the animal, and started ahead running on foot.
The sun set in the west, but still he ran. Stars came out in the blue canopy of night. It was the hour of repose for all mankind. Yet for the fugitive there was neither rest nor relief. Once he relaxed into a walk. At that moment he heard hallooing behind him. It may have been the phantom of his fevered imagination, the offspring of a brain heated with surges of boiling blood. No matter. The fugitive sprang forward as if every tree in the forest was a savage, and every wandering star-beam the glint of a rifle.
Not until daybreak did Slover resume a walk. In his hand he carried a crooked stick. Was it a weapon, a means of defense against his pursuers? No, and yes. No, because it was as worthless as a shadow as a physical weapon. Yes, because by it he carefully replaced the weeds bent by his feet, in order to hide his trail. Once he sat down.
That moment exhausted nature entered a protest. He vomited. Feeling somewhat better, he again proceeded. The high excitement of the previous day was no longer present to sustain him. He became painfully conscious of his wounds. Poisoned nettles irritated his flesh. Thorns and briers stuck in his legs. Swarms of flies hovered about the festering sores. Millions of mosquitoes feasted on him, lingering, hurrying, or pausing with their victim. Sleep was impossible. His only defense was the piece of quilt, and a handful of bushes which he carried.
On the third day about three o'clock he found some raspberries. This was the first food he had eaten since the morning before his escape. He was not hungry, but extremely weak. Yet he had strength enough to swim the Muskingum at a point where it was two hundred yards wide. On the fourth day he found two small crawfish, and ate them. The next night he came within five miles of Wheeling. During the whole time he had not slept one moment. When opposite Wheeling he saw a man on the other side of the river, and called to him. The stranger, however, was not disposed to venture over at the bidding of such a wild and suspicious looking character as Slover.
At length, by earnest persuasion, and by naming varus persons in the expedition, known to the stranger, the latter came to Slover's help. The trials of the fugitive were over. In a few days he was able to make his way home. Such were the powers of endurance and recuperation of the iron frames of the pioneers.
Such were Slover's adventures. What had become of James Paull? He, as will be remembered, had made his escape into the woods at the moment of Slover's capture. He was pursued by two Indians. Lamed by his burnt foot, every step gave him intolerable pain. In spite of this he outran his pursuers, seeing which they fired at him. Coming to a steep bank of a creek, he fearlessly leaped over, gun in hand. At this moment the savages lost sight of him, and either abandoned the chase or passed another way. In the descent of the precipice Paull had torn his burnt foot in a horrible manner. To enable him to proceed at all he was forced to tear a strip from his ragged pantaloons, and bind it around the injured member.
Paull was an experienced woodsman. To hide his trail he walked on fallen logs, traveled in circles, and, climbing trees, would crawl out to the extremity of their branches, and let himself drop. At night he slept in a hollow log. In the morning the unhappy man found his foot swollen to the size of a water bucket. He had no provisions, and was afraid to fire his gun. Nevertheless, he gathered enough wild berries to sustain life.
The second night he crawled into a crevice in a rock, making himself a bed of leaves. The next morning he saw a deer. At that moment the pangs of hunger overcame his prudence. He shot the animal. But he had no knife; he had to cut open the skin with his gun-flint, and tear off the flesh with his fingers. This he ate raw, as a fire was not to be thought of. Continuing his journey, he crossed the Muskingum, and came upon an abandoned Indian camp. Some empty kegs were lying around. In one of them he ventured to kindle a little fire and cook some venison. When he lay down to sleep the smoke protected him from the gnats and mosquitoes.
In two days he reached the Ohio River at a point above Wheeling. Building himself a rude raft, bound together with withes of bark, he crossed the Ohio, and for the first time felt himself out of danger. In the river bottom he found a number of horses. He at once set to work, with an ingenuity of which only the most skillful pioneer is capable, to manufacture a rude halter out of the bark of trees.
This done, he attempted to capture a horse--a much more difficult task. The animals were both smart and wild. They would graze quietly, apparently without noticing his approach, until his hand had almost grasped the mane of one of their number. At that moment, with a wild snort and a lofty kick, they would turn and gallop out of his reach.
After great trouble Paull succeeded in capturing an old mare, the worst in the lot. On this animal he continued his journey, finally reaching a fort near Short creek. Here the inhabitants, alarmed by the news of the destruction of Crawford's army, had collected, in anxious expectation of an Indian invasion. Here too, he found some of the volunteers who, like himself, had escaped from the clutches of the savages. Resting for a day, he procured a horse that was a horse, and proceeded to a settlement where he had some relatives.
For some time he was detained here by his foot, of which the terrible inflammation threatened him with the loss of the member. In time, however, he made his way back to the humble home of his widowed mother, who, ignorant of her boy's fate, had nevertheless continued to watch for his return.
In after years Paull became a prominent man in Virginia. He took an active part in the Indian campaigns toward the close of the century. His descendants are numerous and of high standing. Personally he was a man of splendid physique, formed like a king, and bearing the head of a philosopher. He was generous to fault, and possessed a heart of unflinching courage. He died on the ninth day of July, 1841, at his home in Fayette County, Virginia, aged nearly eighty-one years.
Of all the men in the army the returned volunteers could tell the let of the fate of Colonel Crawford and Doctor Knight. The explanation of this is to be found in the account which follows. It will be remembered that as the army was formed in line of march in the deep darkness of the grove near Sandusky, at nine o'clock of the evening of June the 5th, waiting for the word of command to commence their perilous retreat, a furious assault was made by the enemy. This precipitated matters. The volunteers, without waiting for command, broke ranks and galloped away in the greatest confusion.
At the moment of flight Colonel Crawford missed his son, John Crawford, his son-in-law; William Harrison, and his nephew, William Crawford. Alarmed at their absence, he commenced to search for them in the darkness, and shouted aloud their names. He ran hither and thither among the trees in frantic endeavor to find the missing men. At this moment Doctor Knight came up, and declared that the young men must be ahead of them, as the grove was then nearly deserted. Crawford answered that he was positive they were not in front, and begged Knight not to leave him. The doctor promised him he would not, and joined in the anxious search.
By this time the grove was rapidly filling up with the enemy. Knight and Crawford were now joined by an old man and a lad, both on horseback. The four endeavored to make their escape, in their course overtaking the volunteers who were entangled in the cranberry marsh. They traveled fifteen or twenty yards apart, guiding themselves by the north star. The old man frequently lagged behind, and never failed when he did so to call out for the others to wait. While crossing a stream the old man made his usual halloo from the rear. He was about to be reprimanded for the act, when an Indian yell was heard not far from him. After that the old man was not heard to call again, and no more was seen of him.
At sunrise, Crawford and his companions, whose progress had been slow and circuitous, found themselves only eight miles from the battle-field. The horses of Crawford and the young man already jaded, now gave out, and had to be abandoned. At two o'clock in the afternoon the travelers fell in with Captain Biggs, who had carried Lieutenant Ashley from the field of action dangerously wounded.
On the next morning, journeying through what is now Crawford county, they found a deer which was freshly killed. The meat was joyously cut up, and bound in packs for transportation. A mile farther on they were startled by the smoke of a camp-fire. Leaving the wounded man with the lad, the others cautiously approached the fire. No one was found near it. While roasting their venison one of the volunteers came up. He was the man who had killed the deer. Hearing the others approach, he mistook them for Indians, and ran off. From that time he also was a member of the little company with Crawford.
In their journey, somewhat against the judgment of Knight and Biggs, they followed the trail of the army. Crawford and the doctor, who had loaned his horse to Ashley, proceeded on foot about two hundred yards in advance of the others. Biggs and the wounded officer were placed in the center on horses, and the two young men followed on foot. While advancing along the south bank of the Sandusky, at a point just east of the present town of Leesville, three Indians started up within twenty steps from Knight and Crawford. Knight sprang behind a tree and was about to fire. Crawford shouted to him not to do so.
While hesitating, one of the Indians, a Delaware, who had often seen Knight, ran up and took him by the hand, calling him "doctor." Biggs fired on seeing the Indians, but missed his aim. "They then told us to call these people," says Knight, "and make them come there, else they would go and kill them;" which the colonel did, but the four got off, and escaped for that time.
Crawford and Knight were at once led captive to the camp of the Delawares. This was on Friday afternoon. On Sunday evening, five Indians came into camp. They carried in their hands two small and bloody objects. It was dusk. This made it difficult to discern what they were. Crawford stooped and looked closely. Turning, deathly sick, to Dr. Knight, he said, "They are the scalps of Captain Biggs and Lieutenant Ashley."
Besides Crawford and Knight, there were other prisoners in the camp. Altogether there were eleven. The Indians soon discovered, to their joy, that Crawford was the commander of the American army-the "Big Captain." This information was immediately carried to Captain Pipe.
The startling and important news at once became the occasion for a grave council of the chiefs of the Delaware nation. All other captives might be easily disposed of by the braves in any village. Not so with the American "chief." For him there must be devised no common fate. Captain Pipe presided over the assembly which discussed the grave question. There was complete unanimity of opinion. From the great and terrible chief, who, in years gone by had been the greatest rival of the noble White Eyes, who, on the latter's death, became the most prominent man of all the Delawares, and who, by his solitary prestige and influence, had won his people from a policy of neutrality, and made them of all the Indian allies of the British the bitterest and the bloodiest, down to the youngest brave, who, by the taking of some scalp in the recent battles, had earned a warrior's privilege of admission to the council-hall--every voice pronounced in favor of DEATH BY FIRE.
The Delawares, however, were subject to the sway of the Wyandots. Among the latter the burning of prisoners was no longer practiced; or did the Delawares dare to inflict the death penalty in that manner upon so great a captive, without first obtaining permission from the Half King of the Wyandots. How could his consent be obtained? This was the question which agitated the council. At last the oldest and wisest chiefs devised a stratagem. A runner, bearing a belt of wampum, was despatched to the Half King of the Wyandots, with the following message: "Uncle! We, your nephews, salute you in a spirit of kindness, love, and respect. Uncle! We have a project in view which we ardently wish to accomplish, and can accomplish, if our uncle will not overrule us! By returning the wampum, we will have your pledged word!"
The Half King was puzzled. He questioned the messenger, but the latter, carefully trained, professed ignorance. At last the Half King, supposing the project to be some secret foray against the white settlements, returned the wampum to the bearer, with the word, "Say to my nephews, they have my pledge." Crawford's doom was fixed.
On Monday morning, the 10th of June, the prisoners were informed that they must go to Sandusky. Crawford, learning that Simon Girty who, as will be remembered, was an old friend, was at Sandusky, urged strongly to be taken to that place at once. While the other prisoners halted for the night at the deserted Wyandot town, Crawford, under two guards, was taken to Sandusky, arriving there in the night. He demanded to be at once taken to Girty's lodge. Here, sitting in the dim light of a smoldering camp-fire, he made his appeal, long and earnest, to the renegade, to save him. He offered Girty one thousand dollars to save his life.
The ruffian moodily stirred the ashes, and said nothing. At last, being urged by Crawford for an answer, he turned, and with a look which, to any other than a despairing man would have told that he was lying, promised, in a cold, indifferent tone, to do what was asked. He also told the colonel that William Harrison and young William Crawford had been captured by the Shawanese, but pardoned. The falsity of this statement we already know from what Slover had witnessed.
Knight and his nine companions, on the morning of the 11th, were met by Captain Pipe at the old Wyandot town. The latter, with his own hands, proceeded to paint the faces of all the prisoners black. While thus engaged, he told Knight in very good English, that he was to be taken to the Shawanese towns to see his friends. The ominous import of these smooth words was at once read by Knight. During the morning Colonel Crawford was also brought to this place. Pipe, who had not seen him the night before, with whom he was well acquainted, received him with pretended kindness, joked about his making a good Indian, but nevertheless painted him black.
The whole party now started toward the Wyandot town. Crawford and Knight were kept somewhat in the rear. Presently a savage shouted back some unintelligible words. Their guards hurried them forward. They now understood what the maneuver meant. Lying by the roadside were the corpses, pale and gory, of four of their companions. They had been scalped and tomahawked.
The suspicion of Knight was confirmed as to their real destination, when, instead of proceeding to the Wyandot village, their guards struck into another trail leading to the north-west. Coming to a small creek, Crawford and Knight were removed to a little distance, while the others were seated around the foot of the tree. At the place where they halted they had found a number of squaws and Indian boys. In a moment Crawford and Knight were horrified to see these fall upon the five prisoners and tomahawk them all. A squaw cut off the head of one man and kicked it around in great glee as a football.
Saddened at this awful scene, and wrapped in the blackest gloom concerning their own fate, the two prisoners, now left alone, resumed their march. On their way they met Simon Girty but he had no word of kindness. Waiting until Knight came up, the latter went toward him reaching out his hand, but the ruffian bade him be gone, calling him a "damned rascal." Three quarters of a mile from the village of Tymochtee another halt was made. The reason of this and the awful occurrences which transpired will appear when we return to the story of the unfortunate Crawford. For the present we proceed to relate the incidents which afterwards befell Knight, "who for over two hours before leaving the place drank to the dregs, it may be premised, a cup of inexpressible horror."
After nightfall Knight was taken on to Tymochtee, where he lay bound all night. The next morning he was placed in charge of an Indian named Tutelu, who at once started with him for the Shawanese town, forty miles away. The prisoner was on foot. Behind him strode his savage guard, wielding an enormous lash, with which he urged the prisoner forward. Knight, tending to think that he was to become an Indian, asked Tutelu if they were not to live together as brothers, in one home, when they reached the town. The Indian, human as he was, was touched by the flattery, and answered "Yes." At night the captive was bound and laid down to rest, but the vigilant guard closed not his eyes. At daybreak he untied his captive.
Tutelu rose and began to replenish the fire. A swarm of mosquitoes was bothering them, and Knight asked the savage if he should make a smoke behind him. He answered "Yes." The doctor stooped and picked up the end of a small stick which had been burnt till it was but eighteen inches long. For the purpose which he contemplated it was altogether too small. Yet it was the best to be had. He then took up another little stick, taking a coal between them, and went behind the Indian. Instantly dropping the coal, he struck the savage on the head with all his force, so that he fell forward with both his hands in the fire. The Indian scrambled to his feet, badly burned, and ran off, howling in the most fearful manner. Knight followed at the top of his speed to shoot him, but in drawing back the hammer of the Indian's gun, he broke the mainspring, and was forced to abandon the chase.
Tutelu never stopped running, it is presumed, till he reached the Shawanese town. He arrived there, finding Slover, who was then still a captive. The Indian had a wound four inches long in his head. He also had another thing in his head. It was a story. With pompous manner and swelling words he related that his prisoner, the doctor, was a big, strong, tall man, that, being promised by Knight that he would not go away, he had untied him.
According to Tutelu, while he was kindling the fire, the doctor had snatched up the gun behind him and struck him; Tutelu had made a slash at Knight with his knife, cutting off his fingers and inflicting two stabs. As soon as his relation was over, Slover stepped into the group and told the Delawares that Tutelu had lied, that he knew the doctor, and he was a weak, little man. The Indians laughed heartily, and told Tutelu that they believed his whole story was false.
After abandoning his chase, Knight returned to the fire. He equipped himself for a journey home with the blanket, moccasins, gun, and ammunition of the Indian. He was not far from the spot now occupied by Kenton, Hardin county, Ohio. In his journey the only food he could find was green gooseberries. These, however, he was unable to eat on account of a wound in his jaw, which had been inflicted by an Indian out of pure malice. He tried every way possible to fix his gun, but failing, finally threw it away. His medical knowledge proved of some value to him. After his jaw got better, and he began to eat gooseberries, mandrakes, raw black birds, and terrapin, these delicacies gave him dyspepsia. Unlike most of the borderers, he was a delicate man, unused to hardships. To cure the trouble spoken of, he would gather and eat a little wild ginger. On the morning of the 4th of July he reached Fort Pitt.
Sadly let us turn back to the scene where Crawford was halted on the afternoon of the 11th of June, three-quarters of a mile from Tymochtee. When he arrived he found a large fire burning. As it was a hot summer day his suspicions were at once aroused. A hundred Indians were lying about on the ground. The picture, if transferred to canvas, would be one of utter inactivity and laziness.
As the approaching party suddenly appeared in sight, an electric shock would not have more quickly and completely transformed the scene of idleness to one of intense activity and animation. A dozen warriors ran forward and seized Crawford. They tore his clothes from him with eager hands. He was made to sit down on the ground. Surrounded by a howling mob, he at once became the object of showers of dirt, stones, and sticks. While some were engaged in this sport, others quickly fixed in the ground a large stake, some fifteen feet long, which had been previously prepared. Others still ran quickly to and fro, piling up around the stake great heaps of light, dry hickory wood, which had also been split and prepared for the occasion. The wood was arranged loosely, with large apertures, through which the draft might more quickly carry the sputtering blaze.
Crawford had taken in the entire scene at a glance. He called to Girty, who was in the crowd, and asked if he was to be burnt. The brute, who had not made the least exertion to save his old friend, yelled back, "of course." The wretched man was seized and his hands bound behind him. A rope was fastened to the stake, and the other end passed around his body. It was long enough to permit him to walk around the stake several times.
It was four o'clock. The afternoon sun was already casting somber shades through the forest. Over head patches of the azure sky, as calm and peaceful as eternity, could be seen by the doomed man. From the top of a lofty tree a little bird caroled forth its woodland song, happy, innocent, and free. But in the dark assemblage beneath the trees every malignant countenance was lit up by the wild insanity, the everlasting unrest, of sin, of wickedness, of hell.
Willing hands applied a torch to the heaps of wood. The crackling flames leaped quickly through the open spaces. As the wood began to kindle, Captain Pipe arose, and addressed the crowd briefly, but earnestly, in his own dark language, making all the while the most terrible gestures at the heroic man, who stood calmly at the stake confronting his doom. As the speaker finished, an unearthly yell burst from the hoarse throats of his auditors. Heedless of the small flames which were already shooting upward through the wood, they leaped within the circle, and fell upon the unfortunate Crawford.
A hundred yards away stood Doctor Knight, an unwilling spectator, filled with an anguish which it is impossible to conceive. The throng about Crawford was so dense for the time being that his friend could not tell what was being done. He could only see uplifted bands rising and falling above the heads of the crowd, and hear its angry roar. In a moment the throng fell back. Knight could then see that they had cut off Craw-ford's ears, and beaten him black and blue.
Though compelled by the circle of flames which now leaped up and walled in the unfortunate man, to remain at a little distance, the tormentors were by no means through. Warriors shot burning blasts of powder into his quivering flesh. Indian boys snatched blazing hickory poles, and held them against his body. As, wild with pain, he ran around and around the stake, to avoid one party of tormentors, he was confronted at every point by others, with burning fagots and redhot irons. The squaws threw quantities of burning coals against him, which, falling on the ground at his feet, left him a path of fire to tread.
In the extremity of his agony, a scream from the maddened man rang out through the forest, "Girty! Girty! shoot me through the heart! Quick!! For God's sake, do not refuse me!" And it is on record that to this appeal the monster made answer with a laugh. Crawford turned then in his supplications from man to God. Leaning against the stake, enduring all the torments which malice could invent, with manly fortitude and heroic calmness, in low, earnest tones he poured out his supplications to the Almighty.
How long the awful scene continued, we do not know. Dr. Knight says two hours. But this is, probably, much too long. That the time should have seemed to him almost endless, is not surprising. At last nature seemed to be able to endure no more. Crawford fainted, and fell on his stomach. An old hag, with the countenance of a devil, threw a quantity of coals and ashes on the back of the prostrate man. With a deep groan, he again arose, probably in a delirium, and began to walk slowly around the stake. He was as black as coal from head to foot, save where the burnt flesh had broken off, from which spots ran reddened rivulets.
The end came at last. Tradition says that the spirit of the dying man took its flight just as the western sun threw its setting beams across the landscape.
Such was THE DOOM OF CRAWFORD. Far and wide through the settlements or the white man spread a melancholy gloom as the story passed from lip to lip. Heart-rending was the anguish in a lonely cabin upon the banks of the Youghiogheny, where the widow wept without hope.
Retyped and reformatted by Ray and Kathy Leigh