(Fair use. Draft)
"...freeze solid. However great their victory, the natives faced considerable hardship that winter.
The natives of Kegonga and Chillicothe had been obliged to feast the visiting warriors who had aided them in battle. Harmer had burned 20,000 bushels of their corn, and vegetables. He had also destroyed much of their winter clothing when he burned the Shawnee and Miami villages.
The village people were very grateful to have Tecumseh - their best hunter, back again. He spent most of that winter of 1790 hunting tirelessly. Not only was he providing food for them, but also furs needed for warm clothing. Tecumseh was a very generous but determined leader; he often chided his companions to give their kills to the elderly and to the women and children as he did. Those who refused could expect a sharp upbraiding.
Blue Jacket made many long, cold trips to Detroit, the British stronghold, in order to secure flour, corn, clothing, and ammunition. This ammunition enabled all of the warriors to fan out and hunt as they usually did in winter; however, people were still starving. In desperation, Blue Jacket decided to raid a new settlement called Dunlap's Station, located in the area of Colerain, Ohio, hoping to seize their food supplies, and also to keep the Shemanese from spreading farther into Ohio.
In January, Blue Jacket and Simon Girty and 200 warriors headed south to raid this fortified community which was about 25 miles north of Cincinnati. He had asked Tecumseh to go, but Tecumseh felt that he was needed more for hunting at this time.
On the way there Blue Jacket and his party apprehended a settler named Abner Hunt, who was traveling between Symmes township and Colerain.
Blue Jacket held a knife to the frightened man's throat and asked, "How many men are there in Dunlap's Station?"
"I don't know," replied Hunt, his eyes wide with fear.
"Come on, man", said Girty, "I'm going to cut off your thumb if you don't do better than that!"
Abner Hunt went pale with fear. He had heard of the bloodthirsty Simon Girty before. "I-I think there are seventy-five settlers, sir, a-and a garrison of thirteen regulars, commanded by Lt. Jacob Kingsbury."
"That's better," said Girty. "I think we can handle that, don't you Blue Jacket?"
Later that day, Blue Jacket and his war party began firing at the blockhouse. He told Kingsbury that unless he surrendered, they would kill all the settlers, including Abner Hunt whom they were holding. Kingsbury yelled back that he would fight to the last man. Blue Jacket replied that Hunt would die a slow and painful death right in front of them unless they surrendered. Kingsbury still said no.
There upon the frozen ground, in front of the fort, Hunt was stripped, tied down, and tortured.
Hot coals were put in slits made into his skin. The forters listened in agony to his screams which went on throughout the night along with the taunts of the warriors. Fortunately, Hunt died soon after that.
Blue Jacket and Girty probably would have won, but nature turned against them by dropping the temperature to well below zero. The severe weather and a report from their scouts that ninety-six regulars were on their way to Dunlap's Station from Fort Washington (Cincinnati) was enough to send the warriors on their way.
When Tecumseh heard about this siege from Blue Jacket, he shook his head in consternation. "You are a mighty war chief, Blue Jacket. It's too bad that the weather kept you from winning."
'Yes, we must do everything possible to save our homeland and our people!" He glared into the fire.
Lowawluwaysika, who was squatting nearby, said, "When I was out hunting with Sauwaseekau recently, we found a new blockhouse going up on the Muskingham River."
Blue Jacket sighed, "In the dead of winter and right after our major victory. There is no stopping them!"
Lowawluwaysika handed a paper to Tecumseh, "I took this paper from the stakes around the building.
The building and stakes are not finished yet"
"Thank you, Lowawluwaysika", Tecumseh said, then he read aloud, "Welcome to Big Bottom Blockhouse. This is a development of the Ohio Land Company. General Rufus Putnam, and Arthur St. Clair have set the price of this land for $ 1.00 an acre.
We have bought a tract of 1.5 million acres of prime river-bank land. Come join us!"
Tecumseh glowered at the handbill in silence for a few minutes. "This makes me sick! Accursed be the race that steals our land and tramples the graves of our dead!"
"Hi-Yip, Yip, Yip! Down with the Shemanese!" cried the others in reply.
"Bluejacket, can my warriors and I take this one?"
Blue Jacket smiled, "I will let you lead the war party, but let me give you a few extra men."
Tecumseh stood so still that he barely seemed to breath. The forty warriors in his charge included Sauwaseekau, Black Turkey, Wasegoboah, Sinnanatha, Kumskaka, plus some visiting Ottawas and Kickapoos The warriors had been hiding on the wooded rise above the big bottom blockhouse since before dawn. They quietly listened to the sounds of the settlers coming out for morning chores. They listened to the bells and moos of the cows as they went out to pasture. They watches as the women came out to do the wash and the men started working on the blockhouse.
It was then that Tecumseh raised the war whoop and the howling mass of warriors attacked. The surprised pioneers dropped their tasks and ran, while a few men went for their guns. Tecumseh and his party fell upon them so suddenly that not a shot was fired in their defense. Of the twenty-one whites, fourteen were killed, four were captured and three escaped. After raiding the buildings for food supplies, guns, and ammunition, the warriors torched the entire settlement and watched in satisfaction as it burned to the ground.
"What shall we do with these prisoners, my brother?" asked Sauwaseekau.
Tecumseh glanced around at the captives, bound by prisoner ties around their necks to different warriors. "We will take them back to the village. Now that they are prisoners, I will not suffer them to be tortured."
Black Turkey set up a howl. "This is my prisoner and I am going to burn him!"
"No!" replied Tecumseh, giving Black Turkey a dangerous look. "I am in charge here and there will be no torture. Please round up the cows and horses, men. We are going home."
The triumphant warriors started home through the frozen forest.
A cold wind blew, taunting them. Winter was not quite over as Tecumseh, Blue Jacket and their warriors waited patiently in the brush, covered over by their buffalo robes.
They waited for another flatboat to come down the river. From their hiding places, they could hear the gurgling of the Scioto River where it flowed into the mighty Ohio.
Since the ice had broken, torrents of settlers had been floating down the Ohio, and hijacking flatboats had become a Shawnee specialty. Over 20,000 people had come down river in the years between 1785 and 1790. Naturally the native peoples in the area were frantic to stop the horde of new settlers who were anxious to grab Native American lands. The plunder from these attacks was also very welcome to the Shawnee and Miami villages along the Maumee River. For since Harmer's defeat last fall, there had been much hunger among the villages.
Tecumseh shifted his position to ease stiff muscles and whispered to War Chief Blue Jacket, "Harmer's defeat has not stopped the white flood."
Blue Jacket shook his head, "No. The main duty of the soldiers at Fort Washington is to keep the settlers on the south side of the river, but it is not working."
Tecumseh sighed, "So, we just have to keep punishing them."
"Yes, but I have heard rumors of a bigger threat. I heard from a passing Miami that a monumental army against which our people cannot stand is being formed to come against us."
At this, Tecumseh frowned. "How little they know of our fighting ability! I am sure that we will be equal to the new army. Who will lead it?" he asked.
"General Arthur St. Clair. After we finish with this batch of spring-river traffic, I would like you to take a party of scouts along to Fort Pitt and Fort Washington to find out all you can about this new army."
Tecumseh's eyes flashed in anticipation,
"I will be delighted to learn all I can for you.
I will send reports back to you regularly."
(Cont. Page 57)
AUGUST 1995 INDIAN ARTIFACT MAGAZINE 5