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Return of Settlers. Continued Alarm. Murder of Mr. Slocum. Sullivan's Expedition. Situation of Wyoming.
the Indians were killed, their settlement was broken up, and a quantity of plunder that had been taken from Wyoming was recovered. Returning to Wyoming, Colonel Hartly was called away, but left a garrison of one hundred men at Wilkesbarre Fort. Thus defended, although the season was much advanced, a few armed settlers plowed and sowed. Marauding parties of the enemy still hovered upon the mountains, and several of the whites were murdered in their fields, among whom was Jonathan Slocum, a member of the Society of Friends. The interesting story of the abduction of his little daughter, and her subsequent discovery among the Indians, will be related in the next chapter. In March, 1779, the garrison at Wilkesbarre was menaced by a party of about two hundred and fifty Indians and painted Tories, who surrounded the fort. The discharge of a field piece drove them away, but, the garrison being too feeble to attempt a pursuit, the marauders carried off much plunder, not, however, without suffering considerably in some smart skirmishes with the inhabitants. In April a re-enforcement for the garrison, under Major Powell, while marching toward Wyoming, fell into an Indian ambuscade. Six of his men were killed, but the Indians were routed. Toward the close of June, General Sullivan arrived in the valley, with his division of the army destined for the invasion of the Seneca country, the events of which have been narrated in a preceding chapter. The troops had rendezvoused at Easton, and marched to Wyoming by the way of the present turnpike. They arrived on the 23d of June, and encamped on the flats below Wilkesbarre. A large fleet of boats, that had been prepared in the lower waters of the Susquehanna, arrived, with provisions and stores, on the 24th. We have seen that Sullivan's movements were remarkably slow, and that the enemy became perfectly acquainted with his strength and his plans before he reached Tioga. The Indians, guided by the mind of Brant, tried to divert the attention of Sullivan by attacks upon his outposts." Several of these occurred, but the American force was too large to be much affected by them; and on the 31st of July the tents were struck, and the whole army, with martial music and the thunder of cannon, moved up the Susquehanna, proceeding on the east side. As the fleet of boats approached Monocasy Island and the battle-ground, the lively music of fife and drum was changed to a solemn dirge, in honor of the patriot dead. The army encamped the first night a little above Pittston, near the confluence of the Susquehanna and Lackawanna Rivers. On the 5th it arrived at Wyalusing, on the 9th at Queen Esther's Plains (Shesequin), and on the 11th reached Tioga Point. The remainder of the story of the expedition has already been told. As soon as the American army was gone, the Indians and Tories came prowling upon the borders of the valley, and, until peace was proclaimed, the settlers had not an hour of repose. “Revenge upon Wyoming,” says Stone, “seemed a cherished luxury to the infuriated savages, hovering upon her outskirts upon every side. It was a scene of war, blood, and suffering. . . . . . . In the course of this harassing warfare there were many severe skirmishes, several heroic risings of prisoners upon their Indian captors, and many hair-breadth escapes.” It would require a volume to detail them, and the reader, desirous of more minute information, is referred to the works of Chapman, Minor, and Stone. I have other and broader regions to traverse and explore, and other pages of our wondrous history to open and recite. Let us close the book for the present, and ramble a while along the banks of the Susquehanna, where the tragedy we have been considering was enacted, but where now the smiles of peace, prosperity, and repose gladden the heart of the dweller and the stranger.
* The boldness of the Indians was remarkable. Although the Americans in camp were three thousand strong, they approached within two or three miles of the tents, and committed murders. * History of Wyoming, p. 206.
Present Scenery in Wyoming. Allusion to Campbell's Poem. Visit to Kingston and Forty Fort
“I then but dream'd : thou art before me now
Nature hath made thee lovelier than the power
MIST still reposed upon the waters, and veiled the fringe of trees along the Susquehanna, when, late in the morning, I left Wilkesbarre, in company with Mr. Lord Butler, to visit the celebrities of the valley. The poetry of the bard and the solemn prose of the historian awakened thoughts and associations which invested every venerable tree and antiquated dwelling, the plains, the river, and the mountains, with all the - - - - glowing characteristics of romance. The simple beauty of nature, though changed in feature, is as attractive as of old.
“But where are they, the beings of the mind,
Waldegrave 'twere in vain
“For he would look particularly droll
In his ‘Iberian boot' and ‘Spanish plume,’
And be the wonder of each Christian soul,
But Gertrude, in her loveliness and bloom,
In court or cottage, wheresoe'er her home,
We crossed the plain to Kingston, a pretty village about half a mile westward of Wilkesbarre, and then proceeded to the site of Forty Fort, three and a half miles above, which is reached by a road diverging toward the river from the main road to the head of the valley. It stood near the river bank, at a curve in the stream. Not a single trace of it is left, the spot having been long a common, perfectly smooth, and covered with a green sward. Near the site of the fort is a venerable house, one of the few that escaped the general conflagra
The “Treaty Table” at Forty Fort. Site of the Fort. Visit to the Monument. Inscription upon it.
tion, and close by is the residence of one of Mrs. Myers's family, in whose possession I found the treaty table, pictured in the last chapter. The venerable owner was not there, but I afterward saw her at the house of her son, near Kingston. A cottage and its garden occupy the bank of the river where the trembling families at Forty Fort stood and listened to the noise of the battle; and from that point is a charming river view, bounded on the northwest by the lofty range of the Shawnee Mountains, through which the Susquehanna makes its way into the valley. From Forty Fort we rode up to the monument, which is situated in a field a few rods east of the main road, near the pleasant little village of Troy, five and a half miles from Wilkesbarre. It is constructed of hewn blocks of granite, quarried in the neighborhood, is sixty two and a half feet in height, and stands upon the spot where the dead were buried in the autumn succeeding the battle." On two marble tablets are engraved the names of those who fell, so far as could be ascertained, and also of those who were in the battle and survived. Another marble tablet contains an inscription, written by Edward Mallory, Esq.” This monument, like many others proposed to be erected to the memory of Revolutionary men or events, was tardily conceived and more tardily executed. It remained unfinished nearly forty years after the first movements were made toward raising money for the purpose. As early as 1809, Mr. Minor, the historian of the valley, wrote several essays intended to awaken public attention to the duty of erecting a monument, and in 1810 Charles F. Wells, Esq., wrote a stirring ode, concluding with the patriotic interrogation, Wyoming Monument.
“O, when shall rise, with chisel'd head,
* Professor Silliman visited many of the Revolutionary grounds about twenty years ago. In his Journal, vol. xviii., p. 310, in describing his visit to Wyoming, he says that a Mr. Perrin, one of those who assisted in the burial of the dead, went over the ground with him, and assured him that, owing to the intense heat and dryness of the air, the bodies were shriveled, dry, and quite inoffensive.
* The following is the inscription upon the monument:
Near this spot was fought,
Efforts to erect the wyoming Monument. Success of the Ladies. Incidents of the Battle. The Inman Family.
These appeals caused meetings to be held and resolutions to be adopted, but little more substantial was done until 1839, when a committee from Wyoming repaired to Hartford, to solicit pecuniary aid from the Legislature of Connecticut. The committee set forth the claims of the Wyoming people upon Connecticut, in consideration of past allegiance and services. A report was made, proposing a grant of three thousand dollars, but no further action was taken during that session. In 1841 another petition was presented, and so ably was the matter conducted that the lower branch of the Legislature voted the appropriation asked for, by a large majority. The Senate did not concur, and another failure was the consequence. The ladies of Wyoming, doubtless feeling the truth of Dr. Clarke's assertion, that “in all benevolent or patriotic enterprises the services of one woman are equal to those of seven men and a half,” resolved that the monument should be erected. They formed a “Luzerne Monumental Association,” solicited donations, held fairs, and by their energy obtained the necessary funds and erected a monument, commemorative alike of patriotic deeds and of female influence. There is a world of philosophy (which solicitors of subscriptions would do well to observe) in the saying of Judge Halliburton's clock peddler, “The straight road to the pockets of the men is through the hearts of the women.” From the monument northward to the site of Wintermoot's Fort, a mile and a half, the road passes over the battle-ground; but tillage has so changed the whole scene, that nothing remains as token or landmark of the fight, except the ancient river bank, and the tangled morass toward the mountains, through which the Indians made their way and fell upon Col. onel Denison's rear. The place was pointed out to me, upon the road side, where, tradition says, one of the Wyoming men, somewhat intoxicated, lagged behind and fell asleep, when the little band marched to the attack of the invaders. When the retreat became general, and Colonel Zebulon Butler saw no other means of safety but flight, he put spurs to his horse. A swift-footed settler, hotly pursued by savages, caught the tail of Colonel Butler's horse as he passed by, and, with the tenacity of the witch that fastened upon the tail of Tam O'Shanter's mare, held on until he was far beyond danger. As they passed the spot where the inebriate had just awaked, perfectly sober, the man at the tail shouted to him to shoot the pursuing savage. He did so, and the Indian fell dead in the road. Near the same spot Rufus Bennet was pursued by an Indian. Both had discharged their pieces, and the savage was chasing with tomahawk and spear. Richard Inman, one of five brothers who were in the battle, shot the Indian with his rifle, who fell dead within a few feet of his intended victim." Passing over the battle-ground, we visited the site of Wintermoot's Fort, a view of which is given on page 351, and, going down on the ancient bank of the Susquehanna, we came to Queen Esther's Rock, noticed and described on page 357. There is a scow ferry near, by which we crossed to the eastern side of the river, along whose margin, skirted with lofty trees, we had a delightful ride to the ravine opposite Monocasy Island. Here the road departs from the river bank, and passes among fertile intervales between that point and Wilkesbarre. The wheat harvests were garnered, but the corn-fields and orchards were laden with the treas
* The most active ladies in the association were descendants of those who suffered at the time of the invasion. The names of the officers of the society are as follows: Mrs. Chester Butler, President; Mrs. G M. Hollenback and Mrs. E. Carey, Vice-presidents; Mrs. J. Butler, Mrs. Nicholson, Mrs. Hollenback, Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Conyngham, Mrs. Beaumont, Mrs. Drake, Mrs. Bennet, Mrs. Carey, Erecutive Committee; Miss Emily Cist, Treasurer; Miss Gertrude Butler, Secretary; Mrs. Donley, Mrs. L. Butler, Corresponding Committee.
* The Inman family were terrible sufferers. Five brothers went to the field of battle. Two others (for the father had seven sons) would have gone forth, but they had no arms. Two were killed on the field, two escaped without injury, and the fifth, plunging into the waters under some willows on the river shore while heated by the exertions of the battle and the flight, took such a cold that in a few weeks he was in his grave. The remainder of the family fled with the rest of the settlement. In the fall they ventured to return, and put in some winter grain. A surviving son, a lad of nineteen years, while in the field, heard, as he supposed, some wild turkeys in the woods. He went after them, shots were heard, but the boy never came back. In the spring his body was found. He had been murdered and scalped by the Indians. Thus four sons of Elijah Inman perished within a few months. One of the sons, Colonel Edward Inman, is still living, I believe, upon a fine farm a few miles below Wilkesbarre.
Residence and Grave of Colonel Zebulon Butler. Mr. Slocum and his Family History. Abduction of his Sister.
ures of the season, their abundance betokening the extreme fertility of the soil. We passed the homestead of Colonel Butler, near which,
“On the margin of yon orchard hill,
Near the entrance to the village we came to the cemetery where repose many of the patriot dead of Wyoming. There rest the remains of Colonel Butler and his wife. The rude slab that first marked the bed of the hero had been removed, and in its place a meat white marble stone is laid, bearing the following inscription: “In memory of Colonel ZEBuLoN BUTLER, of the Revolutionary army, who died July 28th, 1795, in the 64th year of his age; and also in memory of Mrs. Phoebe H. Butler, his wife, who died January 19th, 1837, in the 82d year of her age.” It was late in the day when I reached my lodgings, and, wearied by the rambles of the morning, resolved to pass the remainder of the afternoon with the Hazleton Travelers. Their conversation was exclusively of those who acted and suffered at the time of the massacre, and I listened with intense interest to the recitals of the “knowing one.” I would gladly give the details here, if my space would allow, for they furnish one of the most interesting of those chapters in our Revolutionary history, showing the terrible cost at which our liberties were purchased. Mr. Minor has made the record, and to it the reader is referred. I passed the evening with the venerable Joseph Slocum, whose family was among the sus. serers in the Wyoming Valley. He related to me all the particulars of the capture and final discovery of his sister Frances, and other incidents connected with the sufferings of his family. His father was a Quaker, and was distinguished for his kindness to the Indians. He remained unharmed at the time of the invasion, and, while the torch was applied to the dwellings of others, his was left untouched. But his son Giles was in the battle. This doubtless excited the ire of the Indians, and they resolved on vengeance. Late in autumn they were seen prowling about the house, which was situated about one hundred rods from the Wilkesbarre Fort. A neighbor named Kingsley had been made a prisoner, and his wife and two sons had a welcome home in Mr. Slocum's family. One morning the November 2. two boys were grinding a knife near the house, when a rifle-shot and a shriek 1778. brought Mrs. Slocum to the door. An Indian was scalping the eldest boy, a lad of fifteen, with the knife he had been grinding. The savage then went into the house, and caught up a little son of Mrs. Slocum. “See " exclaimed the frightened mother, “he can do thee no good; he is lame.” The Indian released the boy, took up her little daughter Frances, aged five years, gently in his arms, and, seizing the younger Kingsley, hastened to the mountains. Two Indians who were with him carried off a black girl, about seventeen years old. Mr. Slocum's little daughter, aged nine years, caught up her brother Joseph (my informant), two and a half years old, and fled in safety to the fort, where an alarm was given, but the savages were beyond successful pursuit. About six weeks afterward Mr. Slocum and his father-in-law, Ira Trip, were shot and scalped by some Indians while foddering cattle near the house. Again the savages escaped with their horrid trophies. Mrs. Slocum, bereft of father, husband, and child, and stripped of all possessions but the house that sheltered her, could not leave the valley, for nine helpless children were yet in her household. She trusted in the God of Elijah, and, if she was not fed by the ravens, she was spared by the vultures. She mourned not for the dead, for they were at rest; but little Frances, her lost darling, where was she The lamp of hope kept on burning, but years rolled by, and no tidings of the little one came. When peace returned, and friendly intercourse with Canada was established, two of the little captive's brothers started in search of her. They traversed the wilderness to Niagara, offering rewards for her discovery, but all in vain. They returned to Wyoming, convinced that the child was dead. But the mother's heart was still the shrine of hope,