Page images

of what was going on without. He saw the dead scalped and mangled, the dying in writhing agony under the insatiate knife and tomahawk, and the savages drinking human blood from the hollow of their joined hands! Mr. Henry almost felt as if he were a victim himself, so intense were his sufferings. Soon the Indian fiends began to halloo, “ All is finished!” At this instant Henry heard some of the Indians enter the house in which he had taken shelter. The garret was separated from the room below by only a layer of single boards, and Mr. Henry heard all that was said. As soon as the Indians entered they inquired whether there were any Englishmen in the house. Mr. Langlade replied that he could not say; they might examine for themselves. He then conducted them to the garret door. As the door was locked, a moment of time was snatched by Mr. Henry to crawl into a heap of birch-bark vessels in a dark corner; and although several Indians searched around the garret, one of them coming within arm's length of the sweating prisoner, they went out satisfied that no Englishman was there.

As Mr. Henry was passing the succeeding night in this room he could think of no possible chance of escape from the country. He was out of provisions, the nearest post was Detroit, 400 miles away, and the route thither lay through the enemy's country. The next morning he heard Indian voices below informing Mr. Langlade that they had not found an Englishman named Henry anong the dead, and that they believed him to be somewhere concealed. Mrs. L., believing that the safety of the household depended on giving up the refugee to his pursuers, prevailed on her husband to lead the Indians up stairs, to the room of Mr. H. The latter was saved from instant death by one of the savages adopting him as a " brother," in the place of one lost. The Indians were all mad with liquor, however, and Mr. H. again very narrowly escaped death. An hour afterward he was taken out of the fort by an Indian indebted to him for goods, and was under the uplifted knife of the savage when he suddenly broke away from him and made back to Mr. Langlade's house, barely escaping the knife of the Indian the whole distance. The next day he, with three other prisoners, were taken in a canoe toward Lake Michigan, and at Fox Point, 18 miles distant, the Ottawas rescued the whites, through spite at the Chippewas, saying that the latter contemplated killing and eating them; but the next day they were returned to the Chippewas, as the result of some kind of agreement about the conduct of the war. He was rescued again by an old friendly Indian claiming him as a brother. The next morning he saw the dead bodies of seven whites dragged forth from the prison lodge he had just occupied. The fattest of these dead bodies was actually served up and feasted on, directly before the eyes of Mr. Henry.

Through the partiality of the Ottawas and complications of military affairs among the Indians, Mr. Henry, after severe exposures and many more thrilling escapes, was finally landed within terri. tory occupied by whites.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

For more than a year after the massacre, Michilimackinac was occupied only by wood rangers and Indians; then, after the treaty, Capt. Howard was sent with troops to take possession.


In the spring of 1763 Pontiac determined to take Detroit by an ingenious assault. He had his men file off their guns so that they would be short enough to conceal under their blanket clothing as they entered the fortification. A Canadian woman who went over to their village on the east side of the river to obtain some venison, saw them thus at work on their guns, and suspected they were preparing for an attack on the whites. She told her neighbors what she had seen, and one of them informed the commandant, Major Gladwyn, who at first slighted the advice, but before another day passed he had full knowledge of the plot. There is a legend that a beautiful Chippewa girl, well known to Gladwyn, divulged to him the scheme which the Indians had in view, namely, that the next day Pontiac would come to the fort with 60 of his chiefs, each armed with a gun cut short and hidden under his blanket; that Pontiac would demand a council, deliver a speech, offer a peace-belt of wampum, holding it in a reversed position as the signal for attack; that the chiefs, sitting upon the ground, would then spring up and fire upon the officers, and the Indians ont in the streets would next fall upon the garrison, and kill every Englishman, but sparing all the French.

Gladwyn accordingly put the place in a state of defense as well as he could, and arranged for a quiet reception of the Indians and a sudden attack upon them when he should give a signal. At 10 o'clock, May 7, according to the girl's prediction, the Indians came, entered the fort and proceeded with the programme, but with some hesitation, as they saw their plot had been discovered. Pontiac made his speech, professing friendship for the English, etc., and without giving his signal for attack, sat down, and heard Major Gladwyn's reply, who suffered him and his men to retire unmo. lested. He probably feared to take them as prisoners, as war was not actually commenced. The next day Pontiac determined to try again, but was refused entrance at the gate unless he should come in alone. He turned away in a rage, and in a few minutes some of his men commenced the peculiarly Indian work of attacking an inrocent household and murdering them, just beyond the range of British guns.. Another squad murdered an Englishman on an island at a little distance. Pontiac did not authorize these proceedings, but retired across the river and ordered preparations to be made for taking the fort by direct assault, the headquarters of the camp to be on "Bloody run” west of the river. Meanwhile the garrison was kept in readiness for any outbreak. The very next day Pontiac, having received reinforcements from the Chippewas of Saginaw Bay, commenced the attack, but was repulsed; no deaths upon either side. Gladwyn sent embassadors to arrange for peace, but Pontiac, although professing to be willing in a general way to conclude peace, would not agree to any particular proposition. A number of Canadians visited the fort and warned the commandant to evacuate, as 1,500 or more Indians would storm the place in an hour; and soon afterward a Canadian came with a summons from Pontiac, demanding Gladwyn to surrender the post at once, and promising that, in case of compliance, he and his men would be allowed to go on board their vessels unmolested, leaving their arms and effects behind. To both these advices Major Gladwyn gave a flat refusal.

Only three weeks' provisions were within the fort, and the garrison was in a deplorable condition. A few Canadians, however, from across the river, sent some provisions occasionally, by night. Had it not been for this timely assistance, the garrison would doubtless have had to abandon the fort. The Indians themselves soon began to suffer from hunger, as they had not prepared for a long siege; but Pontiac, after some maraudings upon the French settlers had been made, issued “promises to pay" on birch bark, with which he pacified the residents. He subsequently redeemned all these notes. About the end of July Capt. Dalzell arrived from Niagara with re-enforcements and provisions, and persuaded Gladwyn to undertake an aggressive movement against Pontiac. Dalzell was detailed for the purpose of attacking the camp at Parent's creek, a mile and a half away, but being delayed a day, Pontiac learned of his movements and prepared his men to contest his march. On the next morning, July 31, before day-break, Dalzell went out with 250 men, but was repulsed with a loss of 59 killed and wounded, while the Indians lost less than half that number. Parent's creek was afterward known as “Bloody run

Shortly afterward, the schooner “Gladwyn," on its return from Niagara with ammunition and provisions, anchored about nine miles below Detroit for the night, when in the darkness about 300 Indians in canoes came quietly upon the vessel and very nearly succeeded in taking it. Slaughter proceeded vigorously until the mate gave orders to his men to blow up the schooner, when the Indians, understanding the design, fled precipitately, plunging into the water and swimming ashore. This desperate command saved the crew, and the schooner succeeded in reaching the post with the much needed supply of provisions.

By this time, September, most of the tribes around Detroit were disposed to sue for peace. A truce being obtained, Gladwyn laid in provisions for the winter, while Pontiac retired with his chiefs to the Maumee country, only to prepare for a resumption of war the next spring. He or his allies the next season carried on a petty warfare until in August, when the garrison, now worn out and reduced, were relieved by fresh troops, Major Bradstreet commanding. Pontiac retired to the Maumee again, still to stir up hate against the British. Meanwhile the Indians near Detroit,

[ocr errors]

scarcely comprehending what they were doing, were induced by Bradstreet to declare themselves subjects of Great Britain. An embassy sent to Pontiac induced him also to cease belligerent operations against the British.

In 1769 the great chief and warrior, Pontiac, was killed in Illinois by a Kaskaskia Indian, for a barrel of whisky offered by an Englishman named Williamson.

The British at Detroit now changed their policy somewhat, and endeavored to conciliate the Indians, paying them for land and encouraging French settlements in the vicinity. This encouragement was exhibited, in part, in showing some partiality to French

At this time the fur trade was considerably revived, the principal point of shipment being the Grand Portage of Lake Superior. The charter boundaries of the two companies, the Hudson's Bay and the Northwest, not having been very well defined, the employes of the respective companies often came into conflict. Lord Selkirk, the head of the former company, ended the difficulty by uniting the stock of both companies. An attempt was also made to mine and ship copper, but the project was found too expensive.



By this important struggle the territory of the present State of Michigan was but little affected, the posts of Detroit and Mackinaw being the principal points whence the British operated among the Indians to prejudice them against the “Americans," going so far as to pay a reward for scalps, which the savages of course hesitated not to take from defenseless inhabitants. The expeditions made by the Indians for this purpose were even supported sometimes by the regular troops and local militia. One of these joint expeditions, commanded by Capt. Byrd, set out from Detroit to attack Louisville, Ky. It proceeded in boats as far as it could ascend the Maumee, and thence crossed to the Ohio river, on which stream Ruddle's Station was situated, which surrendered at once, without fighting, under the promise of being protected from the Indians; but this promise was broken and all the prisoners massacred.

Another expedition, under Gov. Hamilton, the commandant at Detroit, started out in 1778, and appeared at Vincennes, Ind., with a force of 30 regulars, 50 French volunteers and about 400 Indians. At this fort the garrison consisted only of Capt. Helm and one soldier, named Henry. Seeing the troops at a distance, they loaded a cannon, which they placed in the open gateway; and Capt. Helm stood by the cannon with a lighted match. When Hamilton with his army approached within hailing distance, Helm called out with a loud voice, " Halt!” This show of resistance made Hamilton stop and demand a surrender of the garrison. “No man,” exclaimed Helm, with an oath, " enters here until I know the terms." Hamilton replied, “You shall have the honors of war." Helin thereupon

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »