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A Daring Deed

A Daring Deed image
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ít was a sultry morninfi in the month of August, 1782. Freshly green woods waved aroundthe little scttlement of Bryant Station, pitched in the far western wilderness near the shining Keotucky river. The previous nummer a party of settlers Trom Lexington had built their cabina at this place, and aurrounded theun by a feneo of' logs, called a stockade. A deop, narrow ditcb was dug, and large, long logs wcre ilanted in it upright and close together, when the eoil was filled in around them. Sueh a fence, or palisade, was usually jileen or twenty feet high, and an efficiënt 'ortificatiqn against an encmy who had no aunon with which to destroy it. It was milt with crooks or angles, called bastions, and was pierced with uiany loop holes, hrough wuich those inside oould discharge heir rifles at a foc outside. Ingre8s and egresa were afforded by a icavy gate of logs, swinging on hugc woodcn hiuges, which, when closed, was as strong as any part of the walls. There were about fifty families living within Bryant Stockade, one hundred and if'ty souls in all. The men were principally 'armers, and their beautiful f'arma Iay without the fort, covered at this time with soro, pota toes and flax ri pening for the ïarvest. Oq those green, growing crops, tho settlers were depending for their winter'ssupwrt, and they guarded tneru with watch'ul eye. There were labor and care in it, br daily the husbandman wqrked in the ield with his truaty rifle beside liira, and ïight and day a guard stood scntinel in the ittle watch-tower on the walls to prevent an Indian surprise. It was a pcrilous time on tha frontier, [ncited by English agents, the western savages were waging a fierco war against the encroaching whites. The red men were carrying dovastatation f;ir and near, burnng cabins and hamleta, and putting their prisoners to death with cmel tortures. Aptly was Kentucky termed tho dark and jloody ground. Upon this particular morning, there was inusual stir within the stockade. All night ong the men and wqmen had been ïuouldng bulleta, and raaking preparations for an early march to Ilay's Stockade, near whieh iiey had just heard Captain Iloldcr had jcen defeated by the savages. At sunrisc tho whole garrison stood on the par(lo ;round, all armed eqoipped, and their Linpsacks holding ibod for four daya. Tho women and childron were out sayng good-bye. Captain Keynolds had issued lis last orders, and the gatc was about to c opened for their departure, when suddenly every tace paled, and tho littlo chillren began to cry with i'ear at the sound of horrible war cries froui Indian throats. There was i rush to the picketinj,', and hrough port-holes tho settlers saw on the lillside, among tbe standing corn, forty or if'ty uavages brandishing their tomahawks, iring guns and uttering fearful whoops. "Jjet's out and at them," cried one of ,he young nien. " Wc out number and can eat them in open fight." lnstantly thirty of the pioneers rushed to the gate ; there hey were staved by some ot' the eider men. Vcrsed in baokwoods life, they know Inliana too well to thus venture their lives by eaving the fort. "Go not out for your livea," aaid Capain Keynolds, an expericneed frontiersman. " Yonder band of yelling ia only a decoy party to draw uu out where Bome larger ooncealed force would destroy u.." So none left the stockadü at that time, mt afterwards, whon it waa quite certain hat a larger body of savages woro gathcred n the surroundiug woods, tho sottlers determined to sond somc one to Lezington to wam the people there and to obtain ansistance. Two of tlie garrison vqlunteered to unake the danerous mission. There were ïorscH in tho ibrt,and mounting two of the swiftcst tho brave men darted out of the open gate and rodo as faxt as thcy could down the Lcxington road. Everybody in the stockade looked to seo hem fall, shot down by Indian bullot, but he conocalcd enemy remainod perfectly luict, thus showing that they countcd on heir presence bcing unBuspected, and wero tino numerous enough not to fear auy rein'orcements that might bo eent from nei;h)oring stations. The Indians among the oorn wero not in ight of the gato or the road, and they still eontinucd to inake their horrible DOÍM& "Yollawayl" cxclaimcd an old Indian fighter. " We ain't fools enough to go ou and loso our soalps, and the durned imps ought to know it." The garrison now held a counsel to oon Hider what was best to do. Thy weru but a handful beside the enoniy, and knew not what their savage foemeii would attempt It was determinedto keep constant watch on every sido of the fort, but in no other way to show auy suspioion of the ambus cade in (he woods. Tho sun mounted uighor and bigher in the heaveus, and its heatgrew ferveut. The mea oa gaard bogan to wcaiy, uJ what waR worse thcy began to be very thirsty The parrison was confronted by a dilemma of an alarniing nature. There was no water htstae the stoekadc. Thelast drop had been used during tho night in preparing for the üiajch sosuddenly mterrnptcd. Tho spring withio the en olosure had given out weeks bufóte, am through the long, hot suiuracr the garrison had depended tbr their supply on a spring souiü lou or a dozen rods away from the sDckado, and near the bnshea where tho sayases WON supposed to be concoalod. There was no knowing how long the siego might continue. It might hold oui for several weeks, but even if it continuet twenty-four hours thero worc fcars that the piuucoi-ü would perisii from a roñe foe than blood-thirsty .savages. Soniething must bo dono, and that imtnediately. A long discussion took place. Severa wero proposcd, but none proved fuasible. 11' the men went out in any number, it was ourtain that they would ba shot down, and a rush made for the fort. What eould bc dono? "I will go out alone," said the oomniandor, at last "The r:dkins will not fire upon a single man, and I oan bring water mío tig h to save ua from doath by thiret." " Nay, that shall not bc," cried a dozen voiocs. " Take Rny of us, but don't go yourwilf, captain. The risk is to great, and we ca Dimt pare you. " " Wliy noed a lu-.ia go at all?" asked a landing by. " Lot the women go after üie water, an they always have done l'robably we oould go to the spring and return in Hafety. The Indiana surély will not fbrfeit thoir hope of tokina tlie stockade by surprise just for the nko' of killinir a few wnineii." Captain Keynold's bronze (ace grew paiOt It wüs liis (nuchter who spoke - a brave young thing, whose lover was one of thone héroes who had ruked thoir livcs to go to Lexington. ", thou art too forward," answerod tho cominandcr stcrnly. " When the men lose their courage then the woruen can go and risk their livcs." Others opposed the bold project. Thoae bravo men had no heart to sce their wives and daughten shot down by skulking savages. They could venture their own lives, but they could not permit the women and girls to rush upon destruotion. Jíut the idea of Debomh Reynolds was populur Witli Kur owu ;ux. 'i'la oidor wn. mea spoke irj favor of it, and so niany and Buch good rcason.s were urged in support of tbc undertaking, that Captain Reynolds aud the men at hstasented to the plan. In order that there .should be no partiality, evcry woman io the stockadc, able to carry a pail of water, was to engagc in the terrible task. It was also deeided that they should not rush out in a crowd, but should file along in twoa and tliroes, as naturally as possible, so as to excite no suspieion among thu Indiund. In order to run tho laster, if they had need, the women took olF their shoes or moccasins, and went barefootcd. The strongest of them carried two paila, but a largo number took only onc. Beforc the gato was ojiencd, tho minister knelt and prayed, aud they all knelt ; strong, rough men, and pale, feir women. When they arose there were tears in the eyes of the bronzed frontiersruen, and the faces of the women were paler than ever, but they lookcd very brave and solcmn. Then there were hand-shakings and hurried farewclls said, for none knew whether they would ovor meet again. Captain Reynolds kissed his wife and daughter, aud with a broken voiee said : "Look out for motber, Debby. She is not as spry as you are. Tako good care of her and may God save you all." One by one, two by two, they began to sKp through tbc gateway and start for the spring. Two of the strongest pioneer:! stood by tho gato to close it if a rush was made. The rest of the men were gathered along the stockade at the port-holes, each with a loaded rifle near him, beside the one he held in his hands, ready to fire on the savages if they offered to attack the women. Some of the latter could not help glancing timidly toward tho tall woods and thick underbrush, but most of them walked carelcssly as if they suspected nothing, though their pale faees and swiftly beating bearts told of the fear and suspense they were in. Youüg Deborah Reynolds was the bravccst of" them all, she whom tho captain had sked to fjuard her mother. As they stepped out oí' the gate, the heroic girl placed ierself buforo her oldcr companion. " Don't do so Dobby," said the uiother, " walk behiud ino, then if the Indiana firo they will liavo to kill mo before they eau hit you." "No, I told fatlier 1 would look out for you, and for his and thochildren's sake you will let mo," replied Deborah. " l should not be niitjucd halleo uiuoh as you." And ao the brave young woman kept between her mother and the savages, both going and coming from tho spring. A glinipse of red lega in the shrubbery and the gunt of a tomahawk when a sunbeam slione upon it, did not servo to make her more assured, but in a few minuten tlu y wore all back in tho stockado, aud not a shot had been iired. Homo of the buckets were not very full it is truc, but tho poor women did their best, and it was a heroio deed. In all history wo know of no more daring deed than the women of Bryant Station performed on the borders of the western wilderness almost a hundred years ago. The Indians kept hid until night, when nearly a thousand of them attacked the stockade, hoping to surprise it. But tuey found the garrison ready for them, and they were met so resolutoly and vigorously, that they had to l'all back, leaving many dead and wounded. The next day a surrender of the fort was demandcd, but a spirited refusal was returned, and as the savages had already eiperienced the ileteruiined resistaneo of the whites, they molested them no further,and stolc away through the lor But the socona night, a strong body of settlers from Lexington and adjacent settlements arrived at the stockado, conducted )y the two bravo men who rode away the )revious morning for sucocr. Bryant Staion was savcd. The little stockado fort is now a largo and lourishing town in the midst of a populoua and highly civilized región. Many years ïavo passed since the last Indian lelt the spot, but the visitor thcro will be told tho story of the heroism of the Bryant Stution women, and on the outskirts of the townho will be shown a ruiued cellar, above which stood the house wherc brav Deborah teynolds and her brave husband lived for nany years, and whoro they died more than brty years ago. A mau in passion rides a horse that runs nway with him.