Monday, December 16, 2013

Olden, Historical Sketches and Early Reminiscences of Hamilton County, Ohio, incl Burkhardt attack

(Transcribed for Fair Use only.)
Pages 22, 48-49, 74, & 77-92 below.
  • Olden, J. G. Historical Sketches and Early Reminiscences of Hamilton County, Ohio : Including a Brief History of the Early Churches and of the Settlement of the Millcreek Valley. Cincinnati, Ohio: H. Watkins printer, 1882. 294 pages.

"22 Antiquities. 

...nal grooves and ridges; several copper articles, curiously wrought, all of which have been fully described by Mr. Sargent, Judge Turner, and Doctor Drake. Besides these relics Thomas Ashe discovered a number of human remains, or rather skeletons, "far advanced in a state of decay;" some enclosed in rude stone coffins, but more often blended with the earth. These bones were generally surrounded by ashes and charcoal. 
   On the Great Miami river, a short distance above its confluence with the Ohio, there was traced extensive and complicated embankments, the base of the walls were formed with stone thrown rudely together, and the upper portion of earth. 
   On the east bank of the Little Miami river, a short distance above and opposite Round Bottom, there were extensive walls of earth, similarly constructed to those already described. Also near Milford were ancient works of like character, still more elaborate and extensive. And on the east bank of the Great Miami, at the site where Dunlap's station and block house was located, were traces of ancient works, supposed to have been of a military character. On the west side of the Little Miami river, near Redbank station, in Columbia township, has recently been discovered what appears to be an ancient burying ground, and near it the ruins of an extensive fortification.

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bia; a number of others were killed or captured during the fall and winter of 1789-90. 
   At this period, finding all efforts to negotiate a permanent peace in vain, the government, with a view of chastising the Indians for these depredations and murders, sent General Josiah Harmar, with a force of regulars and militia, amounting in all to 1453, with instructions to lay waste the enemies' towns, and destroy his crops and stores. The failure of this expedition, with its sad details, are well-known matters of history. While, to some extent, General Harmar did destroy crops and stores and lay waste the country, his first flush of success was soon turned into disaster. Instead of concentrating against the enemy, he divided his forces, and gave them battle with detachments of his army, and was defeated in each engagement with heavy loss. He returned to Fort Washington with the remnant of his command, dismayed and clouded with unsuccess. 
   Although new settlements were being established at this time, and the older ones strengthened and made more secure, the Indians, flushed with their victory, became still more audacious, and many depredations and murders were committed all over the country. Abraham Covalt and Joseph Hinkle were killed on the Little Miami river; Joseph Cutler, near Cincinnati; James Cunningham, John Sloan, and Abner Hunt, near Dunlap's Station, on the Great

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Miami river; Benjamin Van Cleve, at Cincinnati; young William Fuller, captured on the Big Miami river, and many other murders and aggressions were committed soon after Harmar's expedition. Dunlap's Station, too, was attacked wilh great daring and determination, and though the enemy was unsuccessful, it produced great alarm throughout the settlements. 
   It must not be supposed, however, that the Indians were the sole aggressors, and were alone guilty of such atrocities. There were many instances where the white man committed upon his red neighbor offences of equal enormity, with this difference, however, he never tortured, but dispatched his enemy at once, and he took no prisoners. 
   The Indians alleged that the white settlers were responsible for the hostility between the races in the Miami country, having been the first aggressors, and to some extent the truth of this is confirmed by investigation. 
   The Red Man has left no record of his complaints. The story of the wrongs committed upon his race have passed with him into the spirit land, except in the few instances where truth has forced its way into history. Had the Indian character been better understood, and a policy of justice in accordance with his customs and laws, been adopted by the white settlers, recognizing his equal right to the soil, he possi-

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of danger all the families belonging to the settlement fled to the station-house. The lower story afforded protection to the women and children, while the men carried on their defense in the upper. These stations, therefore, were rudely constructed military works, that served and protected these frontiersmen through gloomy years of protracted war
   At the time these stations were established in the interior, it would have been certain death for a single family to have lived alone, or at any considerable distance away from the block-houses. Even with this protection, depredations were common, and murders so frequent in the Miami valley, that the people of Kentucky gave it the name of "the slaughter-house." 
   Covalt's Station. 
   It is quite difficult, if not impossible, at this day, to determine with certainty which among several of the stations that were established in the interior of the Symrnes' purchase takes precedence as to time of construction. That distinction has been claimed for Dunlap's, Covalt's, Gerard's, Clemens', and Ludlow's. Without engaging in the controversy, or claiming any special information upon the question, the writer, from all accounts he has thus far obtained, is disposed to place Covalt's station first in chronological order.

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and, after a desperate resistance, dispatched with the the tomahawk. 
   Abraham Covalt, Sr., was killed in the spring of 1702.* He had been out in company with Richard Fletcher and Levi Buckingham, and when near the point where the railroad bridge now is at Milford, they were attacked by Indians, and Capt Covalt was killed, but the other two made their escape. 
   Clemens' station. 
   A Mr. Clemens built a station also at Round Bottom, about a half mile below Covalt's, but the writer is unable to fix the time. 
   Gerard's station. 
   John Gerard and Joseph Martin established a settlement on the west side of the Little Miami, about two miles from the mouth of that river, but, like that of Clemens', it is difficult to fix the date of its construction. Lemuel Welsh, John Bridges, and Thomas Smallev belonged to the settlement. 
   Dunlap's station. 
   Dunlap's station was established, as before related, during the early part of the year 1790. It was located on the east side of the Great Miami river, eight miles below where the town of Hamilton now is, in a great curve or bend that the river makes westward at that point. Within this curve is a

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large body of bottom land, containing perhaps a thousand acres, and it was on the south side of this tract that the settlement was made. Among those who formed the station were John, David, and William Crum, John Young, David and Isaac Gibson, Thomas Larrison, Martin Burkhardt, Michael Lutz and Nicholas his son, Samuel Carswell, Michael Hahn and three sons, James Barrett, and a Mr. Birkit, the greater portion of whom had families.* 
   Soon after the settlement was formed, the Indians became quite troublesome. Scarcely a month passed that some strolling band did not visit the settlement, seeking opportunity to plunder or commit some other outrage. 
   Within a few months after the station was built, David Gibson, a young unmarried man, was captured, while out hunting, about a mile south of the settlement. He remained live years in captivity, during which time he married a white woman that had been taken by the Indians in Pennsylvania ten years before his own capture. He and his wile, on being released by the terms of the Treaty of Greene* 

* Dunlap, tho proprietor, left the station during the fall of 1790. Failing to procure title to the lands on which he had laid out the town of Colerain, he was led into trouble with the settlers who had made payments on their lots, and this caused him to abandon his enterprise and leave the neighborhood.

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ville, settled for a time in Butler county, Ohio, but afterwards moved to Indiana. 
   A short time after the capture of Gibson, John Crum, a lad of thirteen, was taken while out in the woods gathering grapes. He had left his hat at the foot of the tree he had climbed to obtain the grapes, and the Indians seeing it came up and ordered him down. 
   Soon after this Thomas Larrison and David Crum were chased into tho station at the peril of their lives. 
   So frequent were these visits and so perilous had the situation of the settlers become, that General Harmar, then in command at Fort Washington, on being applied to, sent a detachment of thirteen soldiers, under the command of Lieutenant Kingsbury, to protect the station. 
   It was but a few days after the arrival of this little squad of soldiers, that the Garrison was besieged by a body of Indians, variously estimated at from two to five hundred. 
   Several accounts or statements have been given of this attack, all more or less conflicting. And while the writer does not pretend to reconcile the differences, or determine with certainty which of the statements is correct, he has selected from all the accounts such particulars as appear to him the most consistent with undisputed facts, and are the better corroborated. 

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   Mr. Chas. Cist, in his "Cincinnati in 1850," has given, under the head of " Early Annals," the state- ments of William Wiseman and Samuel Hahn, both of whom were engaged in the defense of the station. Wiseman was a soldier under Kingsbury, and Hahn, a boy of fourteen years, the son of Michael Hahn, one of the settlers. They both allege, in their interview with Mr. Cist, which took place some fifty years after the event, that the attack was made on Monday, the 7th day of February, 1791, and other- wise substantially agree in their statements. 
   Col. John S. Wallace,* who was also one of the defenders of the little fort, and came there under circumstances well calculated to impress the event firmly upon his memory, has fixed the date of the attack on the 10th day of January, 1791, and differs in other details from the statements of Wiseman and Hahn. 
   Thomas Irwin's account, given in " Cist's Advertiser, of March 21, 1848," fixes the time between the 1st and the 9th day of January. And John Reily's statement, as given in "McBride's Pioneer Biography," vol. I, page 17, gives the 10th day of January, 1791, as the true date. Both Irwin and 
* Col. Wallace, soon after this event, settled a tract of land, in section 27, in Sycamore township, what is now known as the Cooper farm, north of Reading, where he resided for many years, and was a very prominent citizen of the county.

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Reily were with the party that went out from Columbia and Cincinnati to the relief of the station the day following the siecre. 
   On the Saturday before, and as a prelude to the assault on Dunlap, an attack was made on a party of men that were exploring in the bottom lands, on the opposite side of the river, and a short distance above the station. The company consisted of John Sloan, Col. John S. Wallace, Abner Hunt, and James Cunningham. They had encamped the night previous near where the town of Venice, in Butler county, now is. The next morning, after breakfasting on roast venison, they mounted their horses and set out to further explore the country. They had gone but a few hundred yards from the place of their encampment when they received a volley from a body of Indians concealed in the woods. It appears that all were on horse-back except Wallace, who was traveling on foot. Cunningham was instantly killed; Sloan was shot through the body, but succeeded in keeping his saddle and made his escape; Hunt's horse became frightened at the firing and threw him, and before he could recover he was taken prisoner; Wallace, whose life depended upon his fleetness, put forth his greatest speed through the woods in the direction of the river, followed closely by two Indians. Twice he was fired upon, but without effect. Just at the moment of the first shot his leggins, that had

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become untied, tripped him and he fell to the ground. The Indians, supposing him to have been hit, raised their "Wah hoo," making sure of his scalp. But, in this they were disappointed, for he hastily tied his leggins and resumed his flight. The race was a desperate one, and continued for near two miles, and with such speed that Wallace overtook Hunt's horse that was following Sloan, which he caught and mounted. The two men were then near the river, which they crossed and proceeded on their course towards Cincinnati. But Sloan, becoming faint from loss of blood, they determined to go to Dunlap's station, it being the nearest point that promised safety. Sloan, on the advise of Wallace, staunched his bleeding wound by thrusting a part of his shirt into the bullet hole. 
   On arriving at the station, Sloan was very weak and faint, and Lieutenant Kingsbury gave up his own bed to the wounded man, who, notwithstanding he had all the care and attention the women of the station could bestow during the entire night, closed his suffering next morning in death. 
   On the morning of the 9th of January, being Sunday, a party, among whom was John S. Wallace, went out to rcconnoiter. They found and burried the body of Cunningham, but neither heard nor saw anything of the Indians. 
   On the following morning, Monday, January 10th,

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a little before daylight, the Garrison was alarmed by the cry of Indians from the sentinels. The enemy no doubt intended to surprise and take the station by a sudden charge, but finding they were discovered, after firing one round, in which a soldier in the garrison, named McVickers, was wounded, they requested a parley. The unfortunate Hunt, that had been taken prisoner the Saturday before, was mounted upon a log with his hands bound behind him, while an Indian, or, as some say, the notorious renegade, Simon Girty, lay securely behind the log holding him by a rope.
   In this manner Hunt was compelled to demand the surrender of the little fort, Girty, it is said, directing his speech. He appealed in the most earnest terms for the surrender of the Garrison, saying, that there were five hundred warriors under the chief, Blue Jacket, and Simon Girty and his brother George were also present; that in case of surrender life and property would be held sacred, and his (Hunt's) own life spared, otherwise he would suffer death by torture in presence of the garrison, and every soul belonging to the station be put to the hatchet.
   To this Kingsbury replied, that he had sufficient force to hold the fort until re-enforcements arrived, which would be soon, as he had dispatched a messenger to Judge Symmes, who would come to his relief, with the whole force of the settlements on the

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Ohio. Girty, who could not be thus imposed upon, said it was a lie, for he knew Judge Symmes was then in New Jersey; that they had five hundred warriors surrounding the station, and would soon be joined by three hundred more, and if there was not an immediate surrender, a general massacre would follow, and the station be burned.
   The inflexible Kingsbury replied in the most positive terms, saying, if there were five hundred devils instead of Indians surrounding the garrison he would not surrender, and immediately he leaped from his position into the fort, at which moment the savages fired upon him, and a ball cut away the white plum he wore in his hat.
   The enemy then renewed the attack, and the siege was continued during the entire day and night. The Indians fired from behind trees, stumps, logs, or whatever protection offered, while Kingsbury ordered his men to withhold their fire until a good mark was presented, and to take good aim. During the evening the ammunition in the garrison gave out, at least the lead ran short, and without hesitation the women belonging to the settlement brought forth their pewter plates and spoons and ran them into bullets.
   It is said that the only food or refreshments pertaken of by the men during the siege, which continued for about twenty-six hours, was a few


handsful of parched corn, handed around by Rebecca Crum, Sarah and Salome Hahn, and Miss Birket
   About ten o'clock in the evening the enemy began hurling fire brands from their bows on to the roofs of the cabins, with a view of firing the station. This they kept up till after midnight, but without effect. Fortunately, it had rained a day or two before, and afterwards turned suddenly cold, which left an icy sleet upon the buildings, and upon this a few inches of snow had fallen. This, no doubt, saved the little garrison from conflagration. 
   About twelve o'clock at night the Indians began to execute upon their prisoner, the unfortunate Hunt, the terrible vengeance they had threatened in the morning. They stripped the wretched man of all his clothing, pinnioned his outstretched limbs over a log, and began the torture by beating his body with sticks, pricking him with knives, and goading him with fire brands They kindled a fire to near to him as to roast his flesh, and placed brands of fire upon his naked body, that keeping him in the most excruciating agony. His screams and pitious moans were heard by the inmates of the station until the approach of day, when death came to his relief and closed the inhuman and heartrending scene. 
   At daylight the enemy redoubled his efforts, and kept up an almost continuous fire until about nine o'clock, when he raised the siege and rapidly retreated. 


   In the evening, during the siege, Lieutenant Kingsbury desired to send a dispatch to General Harmar, then in command at Fort Washington, informing him of his perilous situation, and, if possible obtain from him relief. He asked for some one who would volunteer to pass the lines and hear the dispatch. While all accounts agree that some one did pass the lines to execute this service, there is much dispute, nevertheless, as to the person who performed that duty, as well as to the time when, and the manner in which, it was done. Wiseman, in his statement, claims that he bore the dispatch alone; that he crossed the river between seven and ten o'clock in the morning, under a general fire from the enemy; that he waded the river and reached Cincinnati about four o'clock in the afternoon, and on the following day (Tuesday) accompanied the relief party to the station, which they reached about two o'clock, P. M., to find the Indians had raised the siege two hours before. He is positive in his statement that no one accompanied him, and that he performed the service alone. Hahn, in his statement, confirms Wiseman in this as in most other particulars. 
   But, notwithstanding the positive assurance of Wiseman and Hahn, the truth of their statements has been called in question. In fact, in many particulars they are in direct conflict with the account 


given by Col. John S. Wallace, and others who corroborate him, and which is generally conceded to be correct, The account given by Wallace is in substance as follows: 
   About ten o'clock in the evening, during the battle, John S. Wallace volunteered to pass the enemy's fines and proceed to Fort Washington, to procure aid from, General Harmer, but finding the place so closely invested by the Indians, he was forced to give up the attempt. About three o'clock the following morning, however, he made another effort, which proved more successful. William Wiseman, one of the soldiers, a young man just twenty-one, and a native of St. Mary's county, Maryland, volunteered to accompany Mr. Wallace. This time the river side of the fort was chosen as affording the best means of eluding the vigilance of the enemy. The night was fortunately very dark. They passed silently down the bank, and, assisted by Michael Hahn and his son, launched a canoe in the water, and the two quietly paddled to the opposite shore undiscovered. They then proceeded down the west bank for several miles, where they waded the stream, near the present town of New Baltimore, and, taking a direct course through the woods, proceeded on their way to Cincinnati. A little after daylight they met a party of about one hundred soldiers and citizen volunteers from Columbia and Cincinnati, under 


the command of Capt. Alexander Truman, of the regular army, on their way to relieve the garrison. The volunteers from Columbia were commanded by Lieutenant Luke Foster, and those from Cincinnati were under Lieutenant Scott Traverse. The news of the attack on Dunlap had been carried to Fort Washington the day previous by a party of men who were out on a hunting excursion. They heard the firing when it began in the morning, and, rightly divining its cause, hastened to Fort Washington and gave the alarm.
   The names of these hunters have never been given, except that a Mr. Cox, who resided at Ludlow's station, has been mentioned as one of the number. 
   Wallace and Wiseman joined this relief party and returned with it to the station, where they arrived about eleven o'clock, only to find that the Indians had retired two hours before. 
   The little garrison sustained no loss or injury except the wounding of McVickers, before related. It was supposed that the enemy suffered considerable loss. Two only were left upon the field however. But, as the Indians made it a point of honor to carry off their dead, it was thought that at least fifteen of their number were slain, besides many more wounded. Benjamin Stites, Jr., relates a scene that he witnessed the day after the battle, on visiting the station, 

Early White Settlements. 89

which illustrates man's proneness to retrograde and return to barbarous habits. The two bodies that were left upon the battle field were taken by the whites, the heads severed from the bodies and placed upon poles, and thus carried as trophies of war through Cincinnati and into Fort Washington.
   While it has required many centuries to elevate man to his present standard of civilization, is it not surprising that a few short lessons in the accustomed cruelties of savage warfare should dispel all his refined sensibilities, and hurl him back at once into barbarism?
   We are accustomed to speak of the Indian, his cruelties to prisoners, and his mutilations of the dead, in contradistinction to the more refined habits of civilized man. But it is well-known that the custom of scalping a fallen enemy was, if not universal, at least a common practice among the white settlers also. And when we read of the tortures of the inquisition, the burnings, the crucifixions, and other inhuman cruelties inflicted by the enlightened of the earth, and all done for opinion's sake, and in the name of religion and Christianity, we turn away to blush at our boasted civilization, and wonder at this anomalous creature man, whose tender sympathies now go out to the unfortunate and distressed, administering to the sick, feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked, and

90.  Early White Settlements.

now wreaking upon his fellow man the most cruel and fiendish tortures; or, in gloating triumph, holding up the bleeding scalp or the mutilated head of a fallen foe to a vicious and admiring crowd.
   The number of Indians engaged in the attack on Dunlap has generally been estimated at five hundred. But this, beyond doubt, is a great exaggeration, and had its origin in the boastful statements of Simon Girty.

   Dunlap was among the weakest of the stations then established in the Miami country. On the south it was protected by the river, at all other points it was much exposed. The garrison consisted of a square inclosure, containing about one acre of ground. The one-story cabins, of which there were eight or ten, formed in part the stockade or inclosure, the roofs shedding outward, and the eaves so low that a man could almost leap upon them from the ground. The spaces between the houses were filled up with very imperfect picket fences. One of the cabins was constructed with port-holes, otherwise differing but little from the rest, and bore the name of a block-house; another contained a hand-mill for grinding corn, the chinks or apertures between the logs being left open. This building they called the mill. For some distance around the station the land had been cleared and cultivated, but the stumps were still standing, and at the time of the arrival

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of Kingsbury there were many trees yet scattered over the clearing, which that officer had caused to be cut down, but before time was allowed for hauling and burning the trunks and brush the attack was made by the Indians. These logs and brush afforded even better shelter to the assailants than the trees would have done had they been left standing. Is it probable, therefore, that twenty-five men (for that was the entire force of the station) could have maintained themselves in that weak and exposed position, besieged as they were for twenty-six hours or more by a force, as it is said, of five hundred Indian warriors, led on by the intrepid Simon Girty,* who, whatever else may be said of him, possessed daring and bravery unquestioned. Besides, mid-winter was not the season for extensive military operations; and had there been such an expedition fitted out it would have been known among all the north-western tribes, and afterwards spoken of by them as an important and disastrous event; for it must be remembered that five hundred warriors was about one-fourth of all their combined forces, and that such numbers could not have been mustered for so paltry an object as the capturing of the little station at Colerain. All these things considered make it

* It is not probable that either Blue Jacket or George Girty were in this engagement. The only evidence of their being present was the boasting of that braggadocio, Simon Girty.

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appear more probable that the number engaged in the assault was less than one hundred, and that it was a party fitted out for the purpose of hunting and plunder, and the attack on Dunlap merely incidental.
For many months after this attack there was quiet and peace about the station, as the Indians gave no further trouble to the settlers. But, after St. Clairs defeat, they again made their appearance and renewed their depredations.
On the 25th day of April, 1792, Michael Lutz, Martin Burkhardt, and Michael Hahn were attacked by a band of Indians. Lutz was killed by the first fire; Hahn, being shot through the body, endeavored to make his escape, but, before reaching the station, a second fire brought him to the earth, and he was killed and scalped; Burkhardt was shot through the shoulder, and, in the effort to escape, jumped into the river and was drowned.
August 14, 1792, John McNamara, Isaac Gibson, Jr., Samuel Carswell, and James Barrett were bringing up a hand-mill on the river in a canoe. They had arrived at the riffle, a short distance below the station, when they were fired on by Indians concealed on the bank. McNamara was killed, Gibson was wounded in the knee, Carswell in the shoulder, and Barrett escaped injury."