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The Cherrry Valley Massacre

The Cherrry Valley Massacre image
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Maj. Douglass Campbell, in his address at the recent unvoiling of the Oherry Valley (KT. Y.) Monument, thus describeB the maspacre it commemorates, which took place Nov. 11, 1778 : " Col. Alden and Lieut. Col. Stacia, with a small gnard, lodged at the house of Mr. Wells, which stood on a little eminence just below the village. The place had formerly belonged to Mr. Lindesay, and is now ownec! and occupied by Mr. Phelon. Some of the other oificers aleo lodged in private houses. The enemy, learning these f acts f rom the scouts whom they had eaptured, disposed their forcé so that a party should surround tho residence of each officer, while the maiu body attacked the fort. " Even the elementa combined against the hapless settlement. The night before snow had fallen to the depth of several inches; in the morning it turned to sleet, and the air was dark and heavy. The people, trusting to the assurances of Col. Alden, were resting quietly at home, unconscious of approaching danger. One man only was abroad. He lived several miles below the fort, and was coming to town on horseback. When a short distance from the house of Mr. Wells he was fired upon and wounded by the Indiana. Putting his horse to full speed he turned out oi' his way to inform the Colonel of their approach, and then haatened to alarm the fort. Still Alden was incredulous ; he thought it was a party of stragglers, and sent out orders to cali in the guard. Before his orders could be obeyed the Indians were upon him. The advance was formed mainly of the Sénecas, the most untamed and bloodthirsty of the Six Nations. Now, at length the Colonel realized the danger, and fled down the I hill toward the fort. Behind him followed a fleet-footed savage with uplifted tomahawk. Several times Alden turned and snapped a pistol at his awift purauer, but in the damp air ttie treacherous weapon f ailed him. At last the fort waa nearly gained, its doors stood open for his reception, when the Indian's tomahawk, hurled with unerring aim, cleft bis skull. As he feil the aavage rushed upon him, knife in hand, and, under the very muskets of the soldiers, tore off hia bleeding scalp. "Meantime, at the house of Mr. Wella, a dreadf ui scène had been enacted. When the savages rushed in, the father of the family was engaged in his devotions, but a Tory slew him while he knelt at prayer. With him perished his wife and mother, three children, his brother and sister, and three domestics. One daughter, endeared to all by every Ohristian grace, escaped from the house and sought safety behind a pile of wood. She was pursued by an Indian, who, as he approached, wiped and sheathed his bloody knife and drew his tomahawk. Having some knowledge of the Indian language, she begged piteously for life, and a Tory, who had formerly been a servant of her father, interceded for her, j claiming to be her brother. With one hand the savage pushed aside the Tory, and with the other smote her to the earth. Of the whole family, but one es caped the carnage. He was a youDg boy who waa absent in Schenectady at school. Thus his life was spared. He grew to manhood, and, aettling in New York, made the name of John Wells famous as the Joremost lawyer of his time. Looking down upon the desolation of his homestead, he might have said with Logan, ' There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature.' Like Logan, however, he was fltted alone to represent a race. " Another party of Indians ed the house of Mr. Dunlop, the venerable clergyman whose ministrations tho colony had f olio wed f rom its eradle. Through the intercession of a Mohawk chief the old man's life was spared, but only that he might witness the fiendish murder and mutilation of his wife and the destruction of his little flock. Carried away prisoner, he was aoon released, but within a year went down to his grave braken with age and sorrow. " One other incident and I have done with these sickening details. I teil them that you may know what border warfare meant in Tryon county; that you may know what our fathers meant when they said they were ' resolved to die.' A Mr. Mitchell was absent from his house when the Indians came. Finding return impossible, he fled to the woods for safety. When the fienda had departed he approached his home, and there a fearful aight awaited him. He saw before him the bodiea of hia wife and four ! children. Extinguishing a lire which j had been kindled to destroy the houae, he bent over his little ones, hoping that life might still remain. in one, a girl of 10 or 12 years of age, a spark seemed j yet to flicker; he raised her up, brought her to the door, and with beating heart was watching over her return to life when another party of the enemy appeared. He had hardly time to hide himself behind a log fence near by, when they approached the house. From his hiding-place he beheld an infamous Tory named Newbury bury hia hitchet into the skull of the little girl. The next day the desolate father, all alone, bore tho five corpses to the church-yard, and with the soldiers' aid buried tbem iu a common grave. I am glad to say that the following year Newbury was arrested in the Mohawk valley as a spy, convicted on the testimony of Mr. Mitchell, and hanged as a common malefactor. "The victima of the massacre numberod about forty-eight in all, sixteen of whom were Continental soldiers, tho rest were mostly women and children."


Old News
Michigan Argus