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The country on the north side of Licking had been abandoned to the Indians on account of its exposed situation. The war-path to the settlements on the Kentucky River traversed this region nearly in the route now occupied by the great road from Lexington to Maysville, and had rendered any settlements insecure in this quarter.
Early in the spring, the three counties of Kentucky, agreeaably to an act of the Legislature of Virginia, had been organized into a judicial district, known as the “District of Kentucky.” The district court was invested with civil and criminal jurisdiction, as other circuit courts of Virginia.* This court held its first term at Harrodsburg; the subsequent terms were to be holden at Danville, where a log court-house and a log jail were soon afterward erected, amply sufficient for the security of criminals and debtors. From this time, Danville became a noted point for public meetings, and the great political discussions which agitated this country for five years afterward.
It was early in the winter when the whole country was electrified by the news of peace with Great Britain, and the recognition of the independence of the United States.
Wearied and impoverished by a war of nearly eight years, the American people heard with rapture the news of peace, and rejoiced in the beaming prospects before them. Those upon the sterile and sandy shores of the Atlantic desired retirement and ease upon the fertile and virgin lands which lay inviting their occupancy upon the waters of the Ohio, and where they might repose in the peaceful shades of agricultural retirement. From North Carolina, by way of Cumberland Gap, the tide of emigration was rapidly pouring into Kentucky and the present State of Tennessee, while Virginia and the states north of her were sending their colonies upon the Upper Ohio, and by way of Limestone and the Falls" into Kentucky.
As yet Kentucky was a large, isolated settlement. The region on the east, for nearly five hundred miles, through the sources of the Big Sandy and the Kenhawa, was a desolate mountain wilderness. On the west and north, the country, to a boundless extent, was in the occupancy of the native tribes. The region north of Licking, which now sustains a dense and wealthy population, was then an exposed, sparsely-populated frontier, liable to the continual incursions of marauding bands of savages.
* The court consisted of John Floyd and Samuel M‘Dowell, judges; John May, clerk ; and Walker Daniel, district attorney.-See Butler's Kentucky, p. 141, 142.
A great portion of Western Virginia was then an unsettled country, having only a few habitations on the Kenhawa, Greenbrier, Elk, and Cheat Rivers, while the country near the Ohio, from Fishing Creek to Licking River, a distance of three hundred miles, was a frontier region too much exposed to Indian incursions to afford a safe residence. In Pennsylvania, north of the Kiskeminetas, and on the Alleghany River to its source, was the heart of the Six Nations, and all the extensive region south of this border was an exposed frontier. The principal settlements of Western Virginia south of Wheeling were upon the head branches of the Monongahela, upon the East and West Forks, and upon Cheat River; also, the head branches of the Great and Little Kenhawas. All that extensive region lying between the Ohio and the west branch of the Monongahela, from thirty to fifty miles in width, had been subject to the continual incursions of the hostile Indians. Clarksburg, near the west branch, was then a frontier settlement. A small military post had been maintained for several years at the mouth of the Kenhawa, known as the “ Point;" yet the settlements east of it had been penetrated repeatedly by the war parties, which eluded the military posts on the Ohio, and cross-' ed between the Muskingum and the Kenhawa.*
Before the close of the year 1784, the settlements of Kentucky had augmented their population to nearly thirty thou-" sand souls. The people began to take a deep interest in completing the organization of civil government, and were gathering around them the elements of foreign intercourse and domestic wealth. The accumulation of personal property, as well as real estate, began to engage the energies of the recent emigrants; towns were laid off, mills and factories were erected; agriculture and trade began to develop the resources of the country; domestic stock of all kinds were introduced, and were multiplying abundantly; and all began to enjoy the comforts and luxuries of a newly-settled country.
The moral condition of the people was not neglected. Ministers of the Gospel, and religious teachers of every sect and creed, borne along on the tide of emigration, found the field
* See American Pioneer, vol. i., p. 60. VOL. II.-K
ripe for the harvest, and the laborers were not few. Societies and churches were organized by the Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists, and were subsequently attached to the mother-churches east of the mountains. Schools were estab. lished for the education of youth, and the rudiments of learning were freely dispensed among the rising generation.
The people east of the mountains, released from a long and unnatural war, and having only partially recovered from the consequent depression, after peace had been restored with the Indian tribes, sought ease and fortune in the West. The tide of emigration began to set with unprecedented rapidity from the Atlantic settlements across the mountains and down the Ohio River. The roads from Cumberland and Bedford to Pittsburgh and Brownsville were traversed by continued and successive groups of emigrant colonies, with their long lines of family wagons, followed by herds of cattle, hogs, and all kinds of stock, and the necessary appendages for agricultural life.
The mouth of Limestone Creek, the site of the present town of Maysville, had already become a frequented route from the Ohio to the older settlements on the waters of the Kentucky River, comprised in the counties of Nelson, Lincoln, and Fayette. Simon Kenton, the first explorer of this route, had returned from his “station" on the waters of Salt River, and resumed his tomahawk improvement made in 1774. In the autumn of 1784, he commenced a block house and other buildings for a settlement, three miles from Limestone and one mile from the present town of Washington, in Mason county. Early in the following spring, he received an accession of several families, and thus commenced the first permanent settlement in this exposed frontier. For several years subsequently it was known as “ Kenton's Station.” The town of Limestone soon sprung up as a noted point of debarkation for emigrants advancing to the central settlements of Kentucky.
About the same time other settlements were begun in other portions of the present county of Mason, although it was not until the year following that Simon Kenton, Arthur Fox, and William Wood laid off the town of Washington.
From this time habitations began to multiply in this quarter of the country, and Indian hostilities had apparently ceased. "Lee's Station," " Warren's Station," and “ Clark's Station" were formed about this time, and emigrants, as they advanced into the interior, began to settle upon all the northern branch. es of Licking.
* M'Donald's Sketches, p. 250, 251.
INDIAN HOSTILITIES ON THE OHIO.-PREDATORY INCURSIONS INTO
KENTUCKY, AND PARTISAN WARFARE.-A.D. 1785 to 1793. Argument.—The Shawanese resume predatory Incursions.—Indian Horse-stealing.
Object and Extent of these Depredations. The Continuance of them provokes In. vasion of the Indian Country in 1786.-Plan of Campaign under General Clark and Colonel Logan.-Colonel Logan destroys Scioto and Mad River Towns.-General Clark advances to the Wabash.-His further Operations frustrated for Want of Sup. plies.—A Mutiny ensues.--He returns inglorious to Kentucky.—His Sun sets.-Vir. ginia comes to his Relief.—The Shawanese commence active Hostilities.-Exposed Condition of Settlements in Mason County in 1787.—Colonel Todd.invades the Paint Creek Towns.-Simon Kenton as a Partisan Warrior.—Emigration in 1788.-Indians harass the Ohio Frontier of Kentucky and Western Virginia.—Depredations and Murders on the Ohio from 1788 to 1790.- Population of Kentucky in 1791.—Partisan Warfare from 1790 to 1791.-General Harmar's Efforts to suppress Indian Hostilities. -The Campaigns of 1790 and 1791 divert Hostilities from the Kentucky Frontier.Indian Hostility and partisan Warfare in Kentucky renewed in 1792-93.—Kenton makes an Incursion upon the Little Miami, and encounters Tecumseh.-Severe night Skirmish with Tecumseh in 1792.-Kenton continues his partisan Warfare in 1793.— Makes an Incursion to Paint Creek.-Intercepts and kills a marauding Party of Indians at Holt's Creek on the Ohio, and recovers a large Number of Horses.
[A.D. 1785.) NotwITHSTANDING treaties had been formed and ratified with the principal Indian tribes on the western frontier,* and the greater portion of the hostile tribes had assumed a pacific attitude, there were parties of malcontents who rejected the treaties, and continued to harass the settlements of Kentucky contiguous to the Ohio River. The first and only murder perpetrated in Kentucky by the Indians in 1785 was in the month of March, when the settlements were thrown into a state of alarm by a murder and outrage committed by a party of Shawanese malcontents upon the person and habitation of Elliott, at the mouth of Kentucky River. Elliott was killed and scalped, his houses were burned, and his family, escaping, were dispersed into the neighboring settlements.
Although incursions by marauding parties were made subsequently, it was not with the design of collecting scalps, but for the purpose of “stealing horses” from the settlements. This
See chap. ix. of this book, "Indian Relations," &c. † Butler's Kentucky, p. 140.
is one of the feats which gives distinction to the warrior, and entitles him to the character of a brave. *
The object of the savages in these incursions was not to create alarm and terror by any outrage against individuals, for this would at once have roused an armed party in pursuit; but their object was simply plunder, and to supply themselves with horses, and to deprive their late enemies of the valuable animals which had made their incursions so terrible to the Indian country. To insure success in this line of operation, it was necessary to pass unperceived through the country, leaving no certain trace of their inroad except such as might be inferred from the disappearance of the horses.
[A.D. 1786.] These depredations had annoyed the inhabitants during the autumn of 1785, and toward the close of the year they had become more frequent; and the marauders extended the field of their operations. At first a party of two or three warriors would occasionally penetrate a settlement and secretly retire with one or two horses; but at length they began to advance to the Ohio River at different points, in parties of six, ten, and twelve; and, having selected some secure and retired rendezvous near the river, they would distribute themselves in parties of one or two, penetrate far into the settlements, and supply themselves with horses, which were taken to the general rendezvous and left in charge of a keeper, while they returned to secure others. So soon as ten, fifteen, or twenty had been procured, the company secretly crossed the river with them, and made all speed for their towns.
Toward the close of the year 1786 these depredations became so frequent and annoying, that the settlements were seriously injured, being deprived of great numbers of horses, which were requisite for the agricultural necessities of the country. No man felt safe in the possession of his property; for the wily savage prowled like the wolf in the dark, alike unseen and unheard, penetrating the remotest settlements and visiting every inclosure in the dead hour of night, against which no precaution was a guarantee for the security of property.
* Mr. Wetmore says, "there is a small difference between the moral sense of the savage and the white man." "'The red man is esteemed honorable in proportion to the number of grand larcenies he may have perpetrated; and this engaging quality of horse-stealing is esteemed a virtue next to that of taking scalps. An Indian, there. fore, has a table on his war-club with two columns, in which he enters in hieroglyphics the number of transactions of each class, which are to render him illustrious."-See Wetmore's Gazetteer of Missouri, p. 299.