Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

wing; and he knowing more about the prayerbook than a gun, and gunning was very awkward, I had to load for him, and usually loaded the shot-guns very heavily. His eyesight not being the best, and wishing to get from under the timber, he concluded that he would walk out on the ice and take a stand. At length a flock came over him and he began to take aim, but could not get his bead until they were straight above him, which causing him to lean back rather far, when he fired the old gun kicked, and the old man's heels were in an instant upon a parallel with his head, both being at least four feet from the ice, until he came down in the hardest fall I ever saw a man get. But it was not that of Lucifer. He lay and grunted awhile and scrambled up, took his head into his hands, and leaving the gun went staggering out, and not a goose had he quite killed. I was sorry for the old man, but then I couldn't help laughing

I hunted by short excursions through this winter, at the close of which I had killed swans and geese enough to yield a sufficient quantity of feathers to make a large bed, which I sold to James Douglass for the handsome sum of one

specie dollar per pound; and this was not the only fruits of my labor and fine sport, but a clear receipt for my board and washing, as good hunters never had bills of this kind to adjust in this age of the country.

CHAPTER VI.

1

THE bleak winter had been chased away by a lovely spring, which passed so mildly into the summer that one would think there was no good reason for a division in the two seasons of the year, save that one was the time for sowing and the other growing; one was the time for budding, and the other for blooming and maturing; but the brightest seasons are sometimes fraught with the gloomiest and bitterest disasters, and thus it might be said of the summer of 1792; for with all its beauty, it brought with it innumerable hosts of Indians; nor had they been long arrived, before they began to commit the most atrocious depredations.

They came with thirst for our blood, and first satiated it by murdering a Mr. Ziglar, while he was out quietly and honestly toiling in his little patch for bread with

which to feed a hungry family. The people about the station heard the report of a gun, and saw that the poor man had fallen. They watched their chance, and ran out to bring the lifeless body in. In this they succeeded, but not without risking their own lives, for when they had picked up the body, where the savages had so rudely laid it down, and started back with it, the Indians fired

upon them at every advance toward the fort. The savages now ran off, but their devilish deeds had scarcely yet begun. When night came darkening on, they returned and set fire to the station and house and environed all. It was evident that a desperate scene must follow, and not only between the hardy men of the fort and the yelling host whose polluted hands were already stained with the innocent blood of Ziglar, but they had made us stake the odds. The women and helpless children were in the fort, and had to share our fate. The struggle came, and, alas, in the hour of need two of our men, forgetful of their duty to the common cause, and to the weaker sex with their babes, began to take care of themselves by crawling out into the gutter and then leaping off, but while one Black made his escape unhurt, the other was tomahawked to death. After seeing the forces thus weakened by the cowardice of the strongest men, it became evident that discretion in the balance was the better part of valor, and that decision must be immediate. Rather than be butchered and burned to death, it was in a moment determined to stake all upon a single hazard, and plunge into the storm which howled without.

At this crisis, Roger Gibson cried out to the women and children to follow him, and bursting the door open, rushed fearlessly out, firing upon the enemy as he went. Mrs. Ziglar, with her infant in her arms, followed and escaped; but while a number of others were killed, the kind-hearted Miss Nelly Wilson and her sister were taken pris

The station was left in ashes, and the bones of some of its inmates in cinders. The Indians, being encouraged by the success of this dreadful night's work, determined to destroy the whole settlement. They sent the Misses Wilson, with their hearts panting like that of a captured bird, to the nation; where they remained for a long time with the Indians, until at length some traders procured their freedom, and they were

oners.

« AnteriorContinuar »