Questions & Answers
How will this anthology be published?
Publication will be done either through a traditional publishing house or independently. Any books resulting from this project will be released for sale in paperback and eBook formats.
How did you get my contact information?
Initial contact information was acquired by researching publicly available information online. Additional contacts have developed from project inquiries. No contact information is provided to third party entities. All requests declining further contact will be honored.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) chapters have done work on Patriot biographies. Isn’t this the same work?
No. While some information complied for this project may be biographical in nature, the intent is not to duplicate what has already been done. Also, work done through DAR and SAR chapters may not include all potential stories. There is no intent on using proprietary data or other organization owned information.
Who owns the published work(s)?
Any book(s) developed for this project will be protected by acquiring a copyright from the U.S. Copyright Office. The publisher owns the copyright(s) attached to the publication(s). Material will only be published by written or electronic documentation assenting you allow the story to be published. This does not preclude you from doing something else with your story. [NOTE: If the material has been published under valid copyright within the past 75 years it may not be available for publication within this project.]
What type of information is needed?
I’m looking to present a personal portrayal of these ancestors. Who were they? What did they do? Where are they from? The collection of certain types of data will be useful in analyzing people. Were they Asian, African-American, Hispanic, Caucasian? What state was their service performed for? What is the state or country of their birth? What is their heritage, Irish, English, French, Bermudan, Algerian, German? Are they Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Jewish, Amish, Mennonite? What is their profession?
These types of data allow evaluation in myriad ways regarding the presentation of material.
Do I have to provide all of the information being sought?
No. Any details are useful. Seeking the above types of data now is more efficient than trying to collect it later. The level of detail is at the discretion of the submitter.
What is the focus of the project?
Many people designated as a Patriot by DAR or SAR do not have known burial locations. I want to bring the stories of these Patriots to life.
Do I have to be a member of DAR or SAR to submit a story?
No. Membership in any organization is not required. This project is open to anyone nationally or internationally who has a Patriot ancestor.
When do I need to submit a story?
Material can be submitted at any time.
How long does my story need to be?
There is no minimum or maximum length for submissions. The content is what’s important.
How will I know if my story is accepted?
I expect all stories would be published. The primary limiting factor is the level of detail regarding the Patriot. I will be working directly with all submitters. If the number of submissions is too numerous, I will bring in additional reviewers. A professional editor will be hired. It is possible that submitters will interact with another reviewer or an editor.
What is the timeline for the project?
Collection of stories is already underway. Depending on the number of stories submitted, this project could result in more than one book. It can take up to 12 months to develop a book before it is released.
Is this a DAR or SAR project?
Though I am a SAR member, this project is not currently affiliated with either DAR or SAR Headquarters. This project is not sanctioned or supported by either entity. Depending upon how this effort evolves, collaboration with DAR or SAR or other entities may occur in the future.
Where do the proceeds go?
Until I have an understanding of the full extent of this project and if it can be accomplished, I can’t estimate a cost. Developing and publishing a book takes several thousand dollars. Once those costs are recouped, I would like to see a portion of the proceeds go to Revolutionary War entities. One thought is to establish a Searching for Patriots fund that might provide financial support towards locating the lost Patriots burial sites.
Additional comments or questions can be sent to me at email@example.com. I am also available to participate in remote meetings.
The working title of this project is Searching for Patriots. It has come about as a result of my search for ancestors with no known burial locations. Though my primary focus is on collecting family stories for those ancestors with unknown burial locations, I will accept any family story of our Patriot ancestors. I happen to be fortunate in that an ancestor provided a story to a publication in the early 1800s, which is provided below.
Stories don’t have to be as extensive as my example. I’m sure many folks have scraps of paper or personal letters describing their Patriot ancestor. It will be a wonderful experience to bring them together and into publication.
As of this posting, the project is not a formal collaboration with the National DAR or SAR organizations, which is not to say it can’t or won’t be. Knowing we individuals are keepers of our family history, I thought it best to start with individuals.
Until I receive submissions, the full extent of this effort is unknowable. Working with 100 submissions is vastly different than 1,000. I have book design, editing, and graphics professionals to work with on the development of any book(s) resulting from this project.
One of the interesting elements of this project is the data behind the person. Race, country of origin, state/country of birth, profession, religion, cultural affiliation, state(s) of service, and Patriotic service. These data points allow submissions to be analyzed in different ways. How many are first-generation American born? How many left their country to come to America only to turn around and fight for its independence? How many were African-American, Hispanic, or Asian? How many were doctors, merchants, sailors, or farmers? How many came from which countries?
Data examples from my ancestors.
- John Reynolds, Sr. Born in Ireland. His father (Episcopalian) was from England and his mother (Protestant) from Wales. State of Patriot service is in Maryland. Took the Oath of Allegiance and was a Committee Member to appraise horses and wagons. Died in Maryland. Profession – farmer. Race – Caucasian
- Elizabeth Mckee Reynolds (spouse of John Sr.) was born in Pennsylvania. No known Patriotic service. Died in Maryland. Profession – homemaker. Race – Caucasian
- John Reynolds, Jr. was born in Hagerstown, Washington County, MD. Patriotic service is in Maryland as active duty in the 7th Maryland Regiment. Died on the Ohio River upriver of Marietta, Ohio. Profession – farmer. Race – Caucasian
- Margaret Francis Smith’s (spouse of John, Jr.) father, James was born in Scotland. Patriotic service is for Maryland [Captive in Ohio Territory] as a Prisoner of War. She was born and died in Maryland. Profession – homemaker. Race – Caucasian
- Major William Baird: was born and died in Hagerstown, Washington County, MD. Patriotic service is a Member of Provincial Congress and Member of Council of Safety. Maryland. Profession – ? Race – Caucasian
NOTE: I am providing the information below for example purposes. The final design and layout of stories will be determined during the development phase.
There was a story handed down through the generations within my family that alleged the capture of Margaret Reynolds and her seven children after an Indian attack on the Ohio River that resulted in her husband Captain John Reynolds, Jr. being killed. The attack occurred in March 1779 upriver of Marietta, Ohio. The copy I had was not an original and I always questioned its veracity. I recently found a site that held a copy of the Western Christian Advocate (1835). I reached out to the College of William and Mary library staff. They were quick to respond to my request and provide a copy of the original.
Another element of the mystery and concern with the degree of truth was a claim that General George Washington gave Margaret and the children a passport to return home after they escaped captivity. Acting upon a suggestion, I reached out to the Mount Vernon staff who were able to quickly locate information available at the founders.archives.gov website. This information was exactly what I was looking for.
Captain John Reynolds, Jr. was born to John Reynolds, Sr. and his wife Elizabeth McKee in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1746. John Jr. married Margaret Francis Smith in 1764. Margaret was born in Hagerstown in 1748. In 1785 she married Major William Baird. Both John Sr. and John Jr were farmers.
John Jr. entered service at the Flying Camp in June 1776. He was Captain of the 1st Maryland Battalion of the Flying Camp and then Captain of the 7th Maryland. The 7th Maryland Regiment was authorized on September 16, 1776, for service with the Continental Army and assigned on December 27, 1776, to the Main Continental Army. On May 22, 1777, it was assigned to the 1st Maryland Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army. His regiment was at Fort Schuyler, Valley Forge, the Battle of White Plains, and High Hills of Santee. He resigned from the 7th Maryland Dec. 28, 1777 just after the Christmas attack on the Hessians located at Trenton, New Jersey.
Having been pushed into the Ohio River after his death in an Indian attack, the body of Captain John Reynolds, Jr. will never be found. To date, the burial locations for his wife Margaret, her second husband William Baird, and John’s parents John Sr. and Elizabeth remain unknown.
The captivity story has been minimally edited to present it as it was originally published as a four-part series. The story is told by John and Margaret’s daughter Elizabeth, who is noted as Betsy in the General Washington document. As well, General Washington’s papers were minimally edited to preserve originality.
The subject of this narrative, Elizabeth Wolfkill, is a resident of this place, in her 64th year. She was captured by the Indians, when nine years of age. It cannot, therefore, be expected, that a connected chain of all the events of her captivity can be given. The lapse of so many years, must necessarily have swept from her memory many interesting circumstances. This, together with the limited abilities of the writer, will account for some incoherencies that the reader will meet with in perusing the narrative. I believe it is a settled rule amongst charitable readers, to pardon more readily the blunders of those who make no pretensions to authorship. As the writer feels himself entitled to the benefit of this rule, he hopes his claim will be regarded; and more especially, as he asks it in a time of need.
Wm H. Raper. Urbana, Champaign co., O., April 2, 1835.
Another Indian Captivity
The flattering accounts given of the newly discovered regions of Kentucky, early attracted the attention of men of enterprising genius. Amongst these, we find Capt. John Reynolds, of Washington county, Maryland – a veteran of the revolution. Having disposed of a handsome property, of which he was possessed, and having given the parting hand to aged parents and numerous friends, he set out with his wife and seven children to accomplish the object of his enterprise. He passed the succeeding winter in the Redstone Country; and in March following, set out for Kentucky, in two boats; one containing his family, Mrs. Harden and two children, Mrs. Malott and five children, whose husbands obtained for them a passage on board the Captain’s boat, thinking them safer there than on their own boats, in which they themselves remained. The Captain’s other boat contained his stock of horses and cattle, under the care of men in his employ. In addition to the above named persons, there were on board Capt. Reynolds’ boat, Capt. Daniel Stull, Robert Dowler, Ralph Naylor, a stranger whose name is not recollected, a woman whom they called Scotch Sally, and a colored servant girl of Mrs. R’s.
It was now March, 1779, when the whole party left Redstone for Kentucky. Nothing important transpired, until they came to the head of what still retains the name of the Long Reach, some 40 or 50 miles below Wheeling, Virginia. Here Captain R. landed his family boat in order gratify the children, but soon discovered fresh signs of Indians; whereupon they immediately reembarked, and rowed for the stream. By a natural inclination of the current, they were carried near to the northern shore. The wily savages calculating, no doubt, on such an event, had placed themselves near this, to them, advantageous spot, and no sooner had the fated boat reached within gunshot of them, than from their concealment, they poured a storm of rifle balls upon the unsuspecting crew. The stranger was killed. Capt. R. was at this time asleep, with his head on his wife’s lap. Being awakened by the fire of the Indians, he grasped his faithful rifle; but on arising to his feet, he was shot dead. His poor widowed wife stood almost petrified by her murdered husband, whilst a shower of balls was whizzing around her defenseless person. She continued in this posture, seemingly unconscious of her danger, until Mr. Naylor called to her to sit down, or she would be instantly killed. She complied, and perceived a shot had gone through her bonnet. Mr. Naylor gave a good account of one of the savages who exposed himself, and threw down the empty gun by the dead body of Capt. R., and took up the Captain’s loaded gun, in hope of making the Indians believe that it was Capt. R. who had killed the Indian; which the Indians so much scrupled afterwards, that they were upon the point of putting Naylor to death, under suspicion of his being the author of their companion’s death. The savages kept up a most tremendous fire upon the boat, with shrieks and yells, enough to “turn the cheek of darkness pale”, the boat still floating near the shore, its inmates unable to force it farther in the stream. All hope of escape was now gone, and the enemy were gaining advantage of them every moment. Mr. Naylor called to Mrs. Reynolds to know what was to be done; she being the owner of the boat now, her husband having fallen; remarking at the same time, the possibility of some of their lives being spared, in case they surrendered. She told him to do as he might judge best. On that, he presented himself to the Indians, and said, ‘We surrender.” With that they fired on him. He, seeing their design, threw himself down in the boat, and so escaped unhurt. As soon as the firing ceased, he sprang out upon a corn crib which was in the boat, and a second time exclaimed, “We surrender.” Whereupon, an Indian stepped out from behind a tree, and said to Naylor, clapping his hand to his breast, “Come, me good man Delaware.” Upon which, all the savages probably to the number of 25, came down to the water; some swam into the boat, and towed her to shore, and were soon in possession of her whole cargo, and 19 prisoners, three of the party having been killed – two already named, and a child of Mrs. Harden’s. The other boats made their escape being farther in the stream. I should mention, however, that a Mr. Dowler, brother to the one already taken, was killed on board of the horse boat. The Indians soon had the dead scalped, and the plunder packed up; some on their own backs, and some on that of the white men. The Indians appeared to be in haste to remove the prisoners from the river immediately. Whether they were apprehensive of danger from Colonels Campbell and Logan, is uncertain; for these men, together with some ten or twelve others, were on the Ohio river at this time; who, on passing down shortly after the capture of the boat, discovered it floating near the shore; and on entering it, found the dead bodies, and recognized Capt. Reynolds amongst the slain. It was from these gentlemen, it is presumed, that the friends of the unfortunate boat’s crew learned the particulars of their fate. The only obsequies these men could afford the dead, was to throw them into the great Ohio, the grave of many others. The savages obtained much booty on this occasion. Capt. Reynolds’ whole fortune, except a few horses and cattle, was in the boat. Much of this cargo was dry goods, which the Indians could readily carry. The party was Delawares, Mingoes, and Wyandots. Their leaders were Captains Peter and Leatherlip. The former a Delaware, the latter a Wyandot. Leatherlip was put to death many years afterwards, by the machinations of Tecumseh, on account of his influence amongst his tribe, whom Tecumseh was striving to draw off to the British interest, at the commencement of the last war. Leatherlip was opposed to the measure; having, as he said, “laid down the hatchet at Greenville, never more to resume it.” Tecumseh made use the influence of a very distinguished chief of the same nation, by the name of Scutash, to remove Leatherlip out of his way. He was accused of being a witch, was tried and executed, according to the superstition of those people. What Peter’s Indian name was. is uncertain.
Having loaded themselves as heavily as they could bear, each prisoner carrying as much as he could, also, they took up the line of march, leaving a party behind to follow on the trail, for the purpose of giving notice of a pursuit, if any should be discovered. Their way led them along the meanderings of a deep ravine, that terminated on a high point of level land. Here they encamped about sunset. After securing the men, by pinioning them, they made a fire for each company, and seated them by their respective firesides. This done, they prepared for a drunken frolic, being furnished from the means of the captured boat. The male prisoners were told, if they attempted to make their escape, the women and children should pay the forfeit. The men were entreated by the women, not to attempt to leave them exposed to the merciless savages, and were assured by the generous hearted Stull and Naylor, that they scorned to make such a sacrifice of humanity, but would rather die themselves than be guilty of such a perfidious action. These sentiments would seem to contradict the common opinion, that “self-preservation is the first law of nature;” and they held fast their integrity to the last. Preparation being completed, the Indians all joined in the carousal, except two, who remained sober. Although the guns, tomahawks, and knives, were all removed, the drunken wretches fought and wounded each other considerably. This scene continued all night; and in the morning, when all were sober, they dressed each other’s wound with the utmost harmony and good feeling; attributing all to the “fire water;” and not to any want of good feeling entertained for their companions. All things being adjusted for their march, a tall young warrior, dressed in a suit of Capt. Reynold’s regimentals, with the Captain’s watch in his pocket, received the war-pole, with the scalps attached to one end, and carried it erect in front of the whole party. In this order, they proceeded on their way for the Moravian Delaware towns, on the Muskingum river, above the present site of Zanesville. Their way led over high hills, and deep ravines, logs, undergrowth, and brush. Poor little children, they were all compelled to walk that were in any wise able, often falling down, lacerating, and bruising their exposed limbs, without a word of consolation from their mothers, who dared not so much as to drop one consoling sentence. Hungry, and almost worn out from fatigue, they reached the Moravian towns in something less than a week. Here they were permitted to rest for two nights and a day, receiving no little kindness from those christian squaws who were the inhabitants of the village Granadenhutten. Here, at Salem and Shonbourn, the Moravian missionaries had settled, with a number of christian Delawares from Pennsylvania. These poor innocent people, or a part of them, were afterwards murdered in cool blood, by the whites, under the command of Col. Williamson. The causes that led to this horrible massacre were briefly as follows: Their principal town lay near the great war-path that led from some of the principal Indian towns, to western Virginia and Pennsylvania. Here the hostile savages would stop for refreshment; and on leaving the place, they would leave some of the spoils taken from the white families whom they had murdered, as a recompense for what they had received of the Moravians. These people knowing the danger to which a discovery of these articles would expose them, would frequently decline receiving them; upon which their visitors would charge them with an attachment to the whites, that was inimical to them; and would often threaten them with death or banishment. The intimidated Moravians would say no more, and take what they were pleased to impose upon them. White men, also, visited the town occasionally, when in pursuit of their enemies. The Moravians treated them with the same hospitality they were accustomed to show to the Indians. The whites, upon finding property belonging to their neighbors in the hands of these people, would charge them with being accomplices in the death of those whites whose property they had. The Moravians would give the above explanation, and avow their innocence. Matters went on in this way for a time, until the fatal day came when ninety-six of them fell under the merciless tomahawk of the whites. This massacre took place in 1782. It was March, 1779, that our band of prisoners reached this place, and encamped a short distance from the town. The christian squaws manifested much concern for the prisoners, giving all the condolence in their power. They brought hommony and milk with them for the starving captives, on which they were permitted to regale themselves as bountifully as they thought proper. This was a delightful repast, especially to the children. Hommony is made of Indian corn shelled off the cob, and boiled in lye until the hull comes off – then the process of rinsing, separating the hull from the grain by dowsing it in cold water, as related by Spencer. The Moravian squaws, above alluded to, told Mrs. Reynolds that they were in constant danger of their lives; living, as they termed it, “between two fires;” the jealous white man on one side, and the suspicious pagan Indian on the other, weeping most bitterly at the same time. Here, as we have said, the party remained one day and two nights, for the purpose for recruiting their fatigued prisoners – a mercy not always bestowed by an Indian on his captive.
On the second day, all things being in readiness, they proceeded on their way to Upper Sandusky. Their route was down the Muskingum river. This course they chose in order to avoid the war parties; lest by too frequently running the gauntlet, they might lose some of their prisoners. This barbarous custom was put in practice as follows: Two lines were formed, consisting of all the Indians who chose to fall in ranks. A space of say six feet was left between them, in order to give sufficient room for the prisoner to pass. Being placed at one end of the procession, the prisoner was required to run to the other, or to a given point, generally a council house; which, when once gained, was sacred to the security of the prisoner, for the time being. Notwithstanding the precaution to avoid a war party, our captives had not proceeded far before they met one, who simultaneously prepared for a gauntlet race. All the prisoners were under a legal necessity of obedience to run, which they all commenced immediately; except Elizabeth, the special subject of this narrative. Meanwhile, all the savages, provided with whips, clubs, ramrods, and tomahawk handles, commenced beating them from the commencement of the race until they gained the sanctuary; which, on this occasion, was the brink of a creek. Some of the party were severely beaten, especially Mrs. Reynolds, who received a blow on the head by one of the unfeeling savages, which broke her comb, and drove one of the teeth into her head, from which she suffered extremely for three or four weeks. We said Elizabeth escaped. It was on this wise. When the Indians commenced beating those that started first, she being small, slipped aside and hid herself behind a tree, unobserved by the savages. The prisoners all having gained the sanctuary, and their enemies having ceased to beat them, she ran to her mother without being molested. At this place they encamped all night, and in the morning the stream was frozen over. But no obstacle of the kind could plead in favor of helpless women and children; mountains, hills, swamps, and rivers, forming no barrier, or even the ice itself, to their journey. The ice was broken, and the whole party crossed it, and proceed on their way towards the Sandusky towns. The next obstacle that presented itself, was a stream of water too deep to wade. This was Wills creek, a branch of the Muskingum. It would not do to force a crossing; for all of the children, and perhaps the women, too, would have been drowned. The difficulty was, however, soon obviated by cutting down a large tree, that reached across the stream, affording a kind of foot-bridge, on which the whole party crossed. In removing to this state many years after, Mrs. Wolfkill thought she knew the stream upon coming to it. She enquired of a distant relation of Capt. Stull’s, if there was not a large old stump on the margin of the creek, in the vicinity, that bore the marks of Indian hatchets. She was answered by the lady, that the very stump was near at hand, and that she had been told it was cut down for the purpose above named. I mention this as a singular instance of memory.
After crossing Wills creek, the party proceeded to an Indian village not far from where the town of Zanesville stands. There, as the custom was, they were obliged to run another gauntlet. Capt. Stull came near losing his life on this occasion. He run the whole race with Mrs. Reynolds’ little son on his shoulder. How the child escaped unhurt is a singular circumstance, for he was literally covered with blood which ran from the Captain’s head. Poor Stull never recovered from this abuse, though he lived to return to his friends, and lived many years afterwards. He was ever after subject to a partial derangement at times. Here our little captive was not quite so fortunate as on the other occasion, for she had not only to run, but to take her full share of the flogging process; and she would doubtless have suffered much more, has she not been assisted by her elder sister, who urged her on with more rapidity than she could have proceeded with alone. From this place to Upper Sandusky, the party came very near starving to death. Their stock of provision was so far exhausted, that the grown persons were entirely without food for more than two days, and the small children allowanced to but one spoonful of gruel made of parched corn. Elizabeth was seen frequently to fall to the ground through weakness. Her mother could afford her no assistance, being herself almost exhausted with hunger and fatigue. On seeing her child unable to get along, she feared the merciless Indians would dispatch her with the tomahawk, and leave her poor little remains in the wilderness, to be devoured by the beasts of prey. Turning away from the horrible spectacle that presented itself to her imagination, she resigned herself into the hands of an all-gracious Providence, expecting every moment would be her last. She feared to awaken any more suspicion in the already suspicious Indians, lest they might suppose her unable to go further, and so dispatch her. But looking over her shoulder she had the unspeakable pleasure of seeing her rise again, by the assistance of her ever faithful little sister.
“Sweet fraternal care!
That twining bound two souls in one.”
Unknown to the prisoner, the Indians had sent on a part of their company to Upper Sandusky, to procure provision and return. This was effected in time sufficient to save the whole party from starvation. To each person was meted out one pint of parched corn meal, mixed with cold water, and sweetened with sugar. Being refreshed with this timely assistance, they moved on slowly, until they came near to Sandusky, when a party of the Indians broke off from their companions without ceremony, taking with them one of Mrs. Malott’s little daughters, her name was Blanchy, and Mrs. Reynolds’ son John was also taken. Mrs. Malott seeing her daughter taken from her, in company with Mrs. R’s son, conceived that it would be best for little John that one of his sisters should accompany him, which would answer the double purpose of accommodation on both sides. She accordingly suggested the plan to one of the Indians and urged the propriety of her advice with so much vehemence, that the old savage growing somewhat irritated at the white squaw for her impertinence, gave her to understand that he differed with her opinion, by the well known sign of the uplifted tomahawk. On seeing this, the disappointed mother held her peace and retired. Poor mothers, they were not allowed even the privilege of taking an affectionate farewell of their children, much less were they consulted as to how they should be disposed of. The main party still moving on, soon came to Upper Sandusky; where there is at this time a flourishing mission, of between two and three hundred Wyandot church members, and a school for the instruction of Indian children in English literature. Here they met with Moses Mucklewain, who had been taken a prisoner from Redstone. He made his escape from captivity subsequently , and reached his friends in safety. He remarked to a man one day at Sandusky, that he had been in the woods praying for Mrs. R and her children, and hoped God would hear his prayers, and effect their release from captivity; but he hoped God would forgive him, if he could not feel the same heart for to pray for that brawny dame that carried the great log on her shoulder. So true it is that those who appear more able to support under hardships, have less sympathy felt for them than those that are weaker. This generous man jeopardized his life, by stealing two strings of corn from the Indians, and giving them to the prisoners. (A string of corn is some thirty or forty ears tied together by a fragment of the husk, and thus thrown over a pole to dry in its milky state. It is excellent when boiled, for by such a process it becomes almost, if not quite, equal to the roasting ear.) After remaining at Sandusky a few days, for the purpose of resting, and to gratify squaws and pappooses with the sight of so many white prisoners, such a sight being new to them, they left for the Delaware sugar camps. These sugar camps were situated on Mill creek, a branch of the Scioto river, in Logan county, of this state and east of Bellefountain 18 miles distant. The season of making sugar was almost over, but many of the Indian families of the party were at this place, together with some of the warriors. Shortly after leaving Sandusky, another party of the savages separated from their companions, and took with them Mrs. Harden and her child, and Mrs. Dowler and the colored girl. The main party reached the sugar camps after two days’ travel. On coming near the place, the war party conducting the prisoners raised the war shout, which was responded to by those at the camp. Another gauntlet was immediately set on foot, and all the prisoners compelled to run as formerly. Here Mrs. Malott was severely beaten by one of the Indians, with a bridle, striking her with the bits on the head. She received a very severe wound. The children suffered much on this occasion. The Indian boys and girls indulged their savage passions to an immoderate degree on these helpless little creatures; but fortunately for Elizabeth and her faithful sister, who had her hand here, as elsewhere, they were relieved by one of the Indians who had been at the taking of them. He met them and took their hands; whereupon, they were suffered to pass without being further molested. The Indian conducted them to the council house, and delivered them to their mother. Here they were permitted to remain for two weeks – residing in the council house. There was great rejoicing on the occasion; dances were kept up every night – the men first, and then the squaws. In the daytime the Indian women would take two of the white women with them, and go in quest of hoppennys (a small wild potatoe), on which they subsisted principally during their stay at the place.
The time now came for a more painful separation than had hitherto been experienced by Mrs. Reynolds. She greatly desired the privilege of keeping her daughters, though she might be separated from her sons. One of them was already gone, she knew not where. This, as we have already stated, was John – since Major Reynolds, of Hagerstown, Maryland; a very worthy gentleman, who lived respectable and died recently, lamented by all who knew him, as I have been informed. He died in the faith and hope of the gospel of the Son of God. We have said Mrs. R. desired greatly the privilege of retaining her daughters; but she was not consulted in this matter by her captors; for she and her children were treated with as little respect to their wishes and feelings, as if they had been a herd of dumb animals, in these respects. At the end of two weeks the war party started for Fort Detroit, with the exception of the old Delaware chief, taking with them all the prisoners, except Scotch Sally, Elizabeth and William Reynolds, then in his third year. This was all unexpected; not an intimation had been given to Mrs. R. that she was to part thus with her helpless orphans. She had not even the privilege of giving them a parting word, or an affectionate embrace. A squaw took Elizabeth by the hand, and hauled her off abruptly, the other two following. These latter were taken to the Delaware towns, and Mrs. Reynolds and the rest of her children and party to Detroit. These Delaware towns were situated on the Scioto river, about 10 miles from Columbus, where the present town of Delaware, seat of Justice for Delaware county, stands. This was an eminent Delaware town, of old standing. The Scioto bottom was extensive, and exceedingly fertile, where they raised their corn. The head chief of this town was called Peter by the prisoners, but who he was as to character, we are unable to determine. Scotch Sally and little William were retained by the chief as his property; but he gave Elizabeth to his wife’s sister, who was married to an Indian of good disposition, and they had no children. The place of Elizabeth’s residence was not far from the chief’s dwelling, where she occasionally enjoyed the pleasure of seeing her little brother. Beside Sally, the chief had a Mrs. Cowen, who had been taken from Kentucky. It was the business of these two females to raise the corn, and to attend to all the drudgery of every kind. Here they also found Peter Malott, one of Mrs. Malott’s sons before named. The season for planting corn arrived, and all the women, red and white, repaired to their respective with hoes and corn. No plow had broken the sod – this was to be done by the women with their hoes. The men leave all this kind of labor to be performed by the females. I have seen the squaws amongst the Taway’s, hoeing corn under the broiling sun of July, while the men were lounging under the shade of a tree, or bathing in the water at their ease. There was an old squaw at the Delaware town, who not having help sufficient of her own to plant her corn, made an entertainment, or party as it might have been denominated, and invited her neighbors to participate in her bounty. Each squaw took her hoe, bowl, and spoon, and repaired to the old lady’s tent. The bowls and spoons were deposited in the wigwam, and the whole party, except the proprietor, repaired to the fields to plant the old woman’s corn. This done, they returned to her wigwam again, and were soon seated on the ground in regular order. The hospitable matron had prepared a sumptuous feast, consisting of blew corn boiled very soft, retaining the broth and corn in the same mess. Each visitant had her bowl filled with this excellent beverage, on which she feasted in utter silence, as to past, present, or future events. This constituted the whole fare. A plain dish this – one single dish as the venerable Clark would have termed it, and all that was “needful.” It was the best she could afford, and much better than they had in general. After the party had satisfied their appetites, they arose without ceremony and returned to their respective homes. Elizabeth was a guest at this feast, and was treated by the old squaw and the rest of the ladies present, with equal respect to that shown the rest of the company. Shortly after this, their last year’s stock of corn failed, being consumed, and the whole town were obliged to subsist on boiled herbage. The Indian and his wife with whom Elizabeth lived, took her, and went some distance from the town, in order to hunt, but only killed one turkey. The Indian then obtained the company of a young man, his nephew, and set out with him, his wife, and Elizabeth, for the purpose of finding a better hunting ground. They crossed large tracts of open country, and traveled two or three days, when they arrived at the hunting ground. They encamped on the bank of a small but deep stream. This, every circumstance considered, must have been the Little Miami, near Patterson’s mills, in Clarke county. Next morning the Indian and his nephew went out to hunt, and came in the same evening with two deer. This produced great joy, especially for our half starved little captive, who was permitted to eat as bountifully as she desired. After digging an oblong pit in the ground, and filling it with green wood, which was reduced to a bed of coals, they laid sticks across the place, and on this placed their venison, sliced so thin as to dry it in a few hours. This process is termed jirking; and the meat when thus dried, is called jirk. The Indians had fine success in hunting, for in about two weeks they were provided with as much as their horses could carry. During their stay at this place, Elizabeth received much kind treatment from her mistress, who began to look upon her with something like maternal affection. Fortunately, however, for the little girl, this affection was not consummated by maturity, or it would have been as fatal to her liberty, as the appetite of a wolf would have been to the life of a lamb. By some abuse received by running the gauntlet, and neglect on the part of her captors, our little prisoner’s head became so exceedingly sore that it had almost deprived her of life. But the squaw on perceiving the condition of the child’s head, took bear’s oil and greased her head, combing it with a fine tooth comb. The worms had got under the scalp, and the squaw made a strong lye of ashes, and washed the sore part until she had destroyed the worms, and caused the decayed flesh to slough off. She then took her to the river and caused her to immerse her head under the water, rubbing it herself at the same time. She then applied the bear’s oil and comb, and by this process cured her in a few weeks. The party returned from their successful hunt to the Delaware town, and Elizabeth had the privilege of seeing her little brother again. The little fellow had not forgot his situation. He knew he was a captive, and away from his mother and friends. He had not become reconciled to the savages, or their mode of life; and would express his discontent by the usual sign. The old squaw in place of using the rod, stripped off his clothes, ran to the river, and dowsed him in head and heels – then ran back and dressed him again. It is unnecessary to say, the correction was successful for the present, producing the double effect of quietness and good health. About this time, a great war party had returned from Kentucky, part of whom passed through the town, bringing with them a white woman whom they had captured. This woman had the opportunity of seeing Elizabeth, and conversing with her alone. She inquired after her name, relations, and place of nativity, etc., to which she gave the necessary answers, and said, “If ever you should get away from the Indians, do send word to my uncles, Joseph Reynolds and Robert Smith, of Washington county; and let them know that I and little brother William are here, for they will take us from the Indians. And if you should hear of father (it seems she believed it possible for her father to have recovered from his wound after they left him, and be yet alive), O, tell him where we are!” We forebear offering any comment here. These touching recollections are past description. We leave the reader to fancy for himself her state of mind during this conversation with her fellow captive.
A new kind of employment now demanded the attention of Elizabeth. The corn was now in roasting ears, and the birds and dogs began to make fearful work of it. A scaffold twenty feet high was constructed. Four long poles were placed deeply in the ground, and lashed together so as to make them firm. A platform was constructed thereon, which was reached by a notched pole, one end being placed on the ground, and the other reclined on the platform. On this she ascended. Here she was to remain from daylight to dark, and to halloo and make all the noise in her power to scare fowls and vermin away. After the birds had gone to roost, she was permitted to go home to the town. On one occasion she left the observatory to gather crab apples, which grew in great abundance on the banks of the river and very near to the corn field. She ate too many. Their acrid qualities gave her great pain in the stomach. How natural for a child in distress to call for its mother; and this she did, in hope that her mother might possibly be near her, and come to her relief. Little indeed did she know that a wilderness of two hundred miles separated them. One day the squaw came to her in a very fine humor, bringing the comb and bear’s oil, and dressed her hair. She appeared to manifest an unusual degree of affection for her. Before she left her, she told her by signs and otherwise, that two white men had been at the town that day, and that she had learned that her mother was at Detroit, with most of her brothers and sisters; and that she and her husband, Leatherlip, his wife, and Peter Malott, would go to Detroit so soon as the corn was gathered, and that she should see her mother. This was the first ray of hope that had shone upon her cheerless captivity. The squaw left her to feast her imagination on the prospect of seeing her mother, and the possibility of regaining her liberty.
Who these men were she could not tell, but she really supposed they had made some agreement with the Indians to take her to her mother. This was even so. Mrs. Reynolds had prevailed upon Maj. Dupoister, the commander of His Majesty’s forces at Detroit, to send out men with rum to the several towns, and try to gather up her children; and this was the cause of these white men visiting this Delaware town. Late in the afternoon, Elizabeth’s master came into the field and fired off his gun – then came to her and told her that the Indians were drunk, and her mistress with them, and that she must stay there until the drunken folic was over; that if she came home she might lose her life, or receive great abuse. This man it appears was temperate, and did not allow himself to get intoxicated. She obeyed, and did not leave the field for two nights and a day, living on corn which she roasted by a fire that she had near her station. Order being restored, by the “fire water’s” being exhausted, Elizabeth was permitted to go home at nights as usual. Nothing of importance transpired until the corn was ripe and gathered in; after that, according to the statement of the old squaw, Leatherlip and his wife took Peter Malott, and Elizabeth’s master and mistress took her, and set out for Detroit, a distance of two hundred miles. Sometimes she was permitted to ride behind her master, but had to walk most of the way. During their journey a great storm overtook them. The rain fell in such torrents that all their fires were put out, and the only covering afforded to our captive was a small blanket. Wrapped in this she lay until morning, and on attempting to rise found herself almost unable to do so, her limbs were swelled, her joints stiffened, and her body in a state of general disorder. She was taken on the horse, and carried to the river Ruche, four miles south of Detroit. They remained here two nights and a day, and then went to the town, for the purpose of trading with Mr. Baubee, the Indian interpreter and keeper of the public store. With this gentleman they left their prisoner, until it became necessary to take her to the council house for redemption. Mr. Baubee had a little daughter about Elizabeth’s age, who became exceedingly attached to her, and used every means in her power to awaken the sympathy of her mother for her little favorite. She finally prevailed so far as to obtain for her a suit of her own clothes, with which she immediately invested her. How important it is that parents should pay particular attention to those early dawnings of philanthropy in their children, and give it that kind of encouragement that will make it form a distinguishing trait in their character in after life. If there is any one virtue that assimilates a human being more to the likeness of God than another, surely it must be genuine philanthropy. It gave Catharine (for that was her name) no small degree of pleasure to see that she had been the means of contributing to the comfort of her new acquaintance. A virtuous action always gives pleasure to its author. Maj. Dupoister, the commander at Fort Detroit succeeded in purchasing Elizabeth from the Indians, or rather he paid them the stipulated price for a captive, which was one hundred dollars – and this was also the price of a scalp. Mrs. Reynolds was now in possession of four of her children. She had three sons still with the savages; but shortly after the redemption of this one, a Mr. Robinson of Upper Sandusky, having purchased John, next of age to Elizabeth, brought him to Detroit, through motives of humanity, and delivered him to his mother. Poor little William, only three years old, was still with the murderers of his father; and what his destiny was, remained a secret to his mother. Elizabeth left him at the Delaware town, about the 10th of October. It was now December, and getting very cold. Painful indeed must have been the reflection, that a cold northern winter had arrived, and the helpless little boy was still in the woods with a race of being who possessed but little more feelings of humanity towards a prisoner than an ostrich does for her young. Pallid with want, and shivering with cold, sitting half naked in the filthy corner of a smokey wigwam, and in all probability doomed to fall a victim on the first occasion of a drunken frolic. These, and many more gloomy reflections, disturbed the hours of a mother’s repose. She had seen Joseph, her eldest son, whom his masters had brought to see his mother, and whose residence was opposite Detroit, on the Canadian side of the river, but William she had not seen, and hope seemed to have almost failed her of regaining him. Sometime in December, say the 16th, Elizabeth was going for water, and her way led by the council house door. An officer who was standing in the door, and seeing her pass by, called to her, and said, “Little girl, come here, and you may see your little brother.” She understood him to have spoken of William; and throwing down her vessel, she ran into the council house; and there, to her unspeakable joy, sat the little fellow, looking like a little Delaware pappoos. Said the officer, “Don’t speak to him, and let us see if he will know you.” She approached him, and said the officer, “Do you know that little girl?” He looked up, for he was sitting on the earthen floor, and after beholding her steadfastly for a few moments, he exclaimed, “It is my Betsy.” Elizabeth seemed to have forgotten for a moment that she was lame – ran like Rhoda of old, to where her mother was, to communicate the joyful tidings. “O, mother, William is come! William’s come!” Starting from her seat, and electrified with joy, the transported mother exclaimed, “And is my poor little son alive? And is he indeed here?” Away she flew to the council house. Said one, “See if he will know you.” Then asked him, “Do you know that woman?” He fixed his eyes upon her for a moment – seemed to be making an effort to recollect the countenance he beheld. Then changed his features to a cheerful smile, and cried out, “It is my mamma.” Nature’s pure and inimitable eloquence, and a masters stroke it was – “It is my mamma.” He was immediately redeemed, and restored to the arms of his mother. Mrs. Reynolds was living in the fort at that time, in a house assigned to her; but having formed an acquaintance with a Mrs. Buoye, a French lady, who lived three miles up the river from the fort, and whose husband, Mr. Buoye, was a gentleman of feeling, and seemed to take a deep interest in Mrs. Reynolds’ situation, she obtained of him a house to live in near his residence, or rather it being a part of his own residence. Here she removed her family, and set her plans to work to obtain Joseph. His master was a celebrated chief Baubee, a Wyandot, and an old man. He had adopted Joseph as his son, and heir to the chiefship so soon as he should be removed by death. He was even then look upon as no ordinary personage. They had already bored his nose, and ornamented it with a silver jewel. His hair was shorn, and ornamented with silver broaches; but he pleaded so stoutly for his ears, they were permitted for the present unmetamorphosed. His extra dress, was a long robe of fine blue cloth, richly set with jewels of various sizes and colors. These insignia went to show plainly that his master had no idea of parting with him. The following summer gave the disappointed mother to understand that his release was impossible, unless it could be effected by stratagem. This she resolved upon if an opportunity should present itself, for his master and family were gone on a long journey, she knew not where, and had taken Joseph with them. He was gone nine months, and had, as he afterwards stated, visited many places of interest. No sooner had he returned, that his mother set every scheme to work which it was in her power to command, in order to regain him. At last a favorable one to all appearance presented itself. We have noticed already, that the established residence of old Baubee, Joseph’s adopted father, was opposite Detroit, on the Canada side of the river. The male Indians were all from home, and Joseph was left in charge of the squaws. In the middle of the river, and near to where he resided, was an island on which old Capt. Ruddle lived. He had been taken by the Indians, together with his family, from Kentucky. To this man’s house Mrs. Reynolds repaired; and having found two prisoners, white men, in whom she thought she could confide, agreed with them to aid her in getting her son. This done, she went over to the town under pretext of seeing him. A privilege which the Indians never denied her when he was within her reach; indeed they took him over the river to see his mother on more than one occasion. The squaws received her on this visit without any apparent suspicion of her real design. After she had been there probably half an hour, she requested Joseph to go to the river and bring her a drink of water. He was permitted to go with all apparent freedom on the part of the squaws. But after he had gone, she expressed some uneasiness lest he might fall into the river and get drowned. The squaws took great pains to make her sensible that he was a good swimmer, and that there were no grounds for her fears. She still persisted in her apprehensions that he might get drowned, and finally went after him. He was returning with the water when she met him; and returning slowly to the house, she had time sufficient to communicate to him her plan to rescue him, which was briefly as follows: There was a skirt of woods a few hundred yards from the town, in which the before mentioned two white men were to secret themselves; and at dark, or a little before dark, Joseph was to go there, and so soon as he should hear a voice calling “Joseph,” he should, without answering, run to the place, and he would find two men that would convey him to her on the island. This interview did not appear to have given rise to any suspicion in the minds of the squaws; but the prospect of soon being released from a painful captivity, and of being speedily delivered from the power and society of the murderers of his beloved father, betrayed Joseph into a boyish freak that had like to have defeated the whole enterprise; for on returning to the house, he skipped about like a top; and ascending a little post that stood near where the women were sitting, he exclaimed, “To-night and then.” His mother frowned and bid him come down immediately. This quietus set all right, and Mrs. Reynolds took her departure. Night came on, and Joseph repaired to the place appointed by his mother, and waited until it was quite dark, and no voice was heard. He became discouraged, and turned himself to go back, when he distinctly heard some one call “Joseph.” He flew to the place from whence the voice proceeded, and found the two men. They immediately conveyed him to Capt. Riddle’s, on Hog island, where his mother received him, and forthwith proceeded across the Detroit river, and up said river nine miles, to a Mrs. Cassady’s, whose husband was then at Quebec in irons, for having aided prisoners in making their escape. To this secure hiding place she conveyed him. Having previously formed an acquaintance with this lady, she committed to her care her son, and took her departure for Mrs. Buoye’s house, six miles down the river, where she had left her other children.
On the morning after Joseph was missing, there was no little confusion amongst the squaws. Very early in the forenoon of the same day, they came to Mr. Buoye’s house, and exclaimed bitterly against Mrs. Reynolds for having stolen Joseph, and made many threats about what would do to her and her children, if Joseph was not forthcoming very soon.
Elizabeth perceived from what was said, and the general appearance of the agitated squaws, that Joseph was missing, exclaimed in a way of triumph, Hah, mother has got Jo.” Mr. Buoye shook his head at her, and caused her to be quiet. The angry squaws searched the houses and every part of the premises that might afford a hiding place for Joseph, but could not find him. They then laid hold of the other children of Mrs. Reynolds, but the heroic little fellows fought and screamed so lustily, that their kidnappers were obliged to let them go; and so they went off scolding prodigiously. They had scarcely got out of sight when Mrs. Reynolds came home and learned what had passed. She perceived that MR. Buoye’s house would not remain a safe residence for her and her children any longer. She immediately gathered up all and started for the fort. But fearing discovery she separated them, and place three under the care of a friend, and conveyed the other to a Mr. Williams’ house inside the fort. The afternoon of the same day, Baubee, Joseph’s master, and other Indians, came to the town, and on learning that Joseph had made his escape, and that his mother had been the cause, they proceeded early next morning across the river to the fort, and demanded of Major Dupoister a surrender of the boy, and at the same time threatened his mother and all her children. The Major told them that he knew nothing of the boy, and that he would punish his mother for her temerity. The savages ransacked the town and fort. At last they went to Mr. Williams’ house, where Elizabeth and two of the younger children were; but providentially for them, the espied them before they reached the house, and of their own accord crawled under the porch floor. The youngest of them was not more than three years old; but a consciousness of danger made them keep as quiet as mice when the cat is about the barn. The Indians inquired of Mrs. Reynolds and her children, and set about searching the house. A girl who lived with Mrs. Williams, took an opportunity when the Indians were in the house, to conduct the children from their concealment to a warehouse close at hand, and put them into it and locked them up, and put the key into her pocket and disappeared. The Indians disappointed in the search, went off to Major Dupoister again, and renewed their complaints. They went up the river, and hunted the boy in all the people’s houses on both sides, but without success. The trusty Mrs. Cassady had so concealed him that all search was fruitless; and the sagacious mother, so soon as the Indians backs were turned, conducted the other three children to the warehouse and lodged them all safely in it. The commanding officer sent for her, and inquired of her if she had any knowledge of the means or persons by whom her son had been taken from the Indians. She replied that she had taken him herself. He remarked that it was a daring act for a woman. “Yes,” said she, “but what would not a mother do to free her child from Indian captivity?” He remarked, “Very true but I must threaten you to the Indians, and if you should hear of it, you must no be concerned. There may be ill designing persons who will try to render you unhappy, but rest assured I will aid you all I can. But what do you intend on doing?” said he. She replied that she had now got her all her children, and wished to get to her people in the state of Maryland as soon as she could. He told that a ship would sail in a few days for Montreal, and he would put on board provisions for her and her children, and she might depart. She returned to her concealment, and managed so as to have Joseph brought to her in Mr. Williams’ warehouse. In a few days the ship was ready to sail, and all she had was conveyed on board after night, for fear of the Indians, and early next morning she set sail with Mrs. Reynolds, her seven children and ten others. The reader may wish to know how she supported herself and children so long a time. He shall be informed. On the journey from the painful place of her capture to Detroit, she had been deprived of all her best apparel. An old blanket cappeau was given to her to wear that would scarcely hold together. When a rent would be made in it by the brush or otherwise, she would close it by using a thorn or wooden pin. In this condition she came to Fort Detroit. On the afternoon of the same day she came to Detroit, she was visited by some fine looking ladies. They appeared to commiserate her situation, and offered to take one of her little girls to be a nurse; but the unbroken spirit of this magnanimously brave woman, for such she must have been, and that in an eminent degree, could not yield to this proposal, and she signified her dissent. The visiting ladies took their leave politely, and left her with other views as to the character of the unfortunate widow, and next morning sent mourning apparel of a very rich quality, sufficient to last her a year. Mrs. Reynolds was a first rate hand with the needle, and had as much use for it as she had time to employ. She obtained two dollars for every shirt she made, and in this independent way she clothed herself and children. As a prisoner of war, she and her children drew from the British government eight rations per day, and this kept them in food.
There was a transaction that took place at the time that Mrs. Reynolds was in Detroit, that will afford an illustration of the character of this republican matron of those revolutionary times. A captain in his Majesty’s service, by the name of Reynolds, had a great desire to be introduced to Mrs. R., supposing, as he said, they might be related to each other, as he had been born in Maryland, and finally obtained the desired introduction. After some conversation, he remarked to her the possibility of their being related on her husband’s side. She inquired of him where he was brought up. He said in Maryland. She then asked him how he came there. He remarked that as soon as the war broke out, he left the states and entered the service of the king of England. On which she remarked she had no inclination to trace out their relationship farther, for she did not wish her children to claim kin with a tory. And so the conversation ended.
We shall now return to the thread of our narrative. The Indians conceived that the ship contained the object of their search, and set out in their canoes in order to pursue them. The indefatigable pursuers did not give up the chase until they found on coming to Niagara, the ship had left. Although the Indians were in canoes, and were under the necessity of coasting the whole lake round to the falls of Niagara, the ship was only twelve hours before them. Our captives on reaching Montreal, were received by the commanding general of the place, and had apartments assigned them, and provisions drawn from the public store. Shortly after our prisoners arrived in Montreal, Mrs. Reynolds waited on the General-in-chief of his Majesty’s troops at that station, and took with her a Dutch lady, who was also a prisoner, to be her interpreter, as the General and most of the officers were German. Though Mrs. R. could understand, yet she could not speak the German. When she arrived at the house, she was led to a room, and told that the General was there. She was invited in, and found their honors playing cards. She told her business, and received assurances that so soon as a permit and passport could be obtained from Quebec, she should be sent to the United States. She departed and awaited his Excellency’s pleasure.
A short time before the arrival of the prisoners at Montreal, seven American officers made their escape, who had been detained prisoners of war. The house in which they were placed was surrounded by pickets. They were allowed to exercise themselves in the daytime in the yard. At a given signal, they all made a leap, scaled the pickets, and succeeded in making their escape to the woods. They crossed the river and were making their way for the states. They separated, and three of them, viz: Capt. Stokely, Capt. White, and Lieut. Ravencraft, were overtaken by the Indians, and taken back to Montreal and put in irons. The other four escaped to Saratoga. Capt. Stokely was an acquaintance of Mrs. Reynolds, who, on learning he was in the city, obtained a pass, and in company with others, visited him in his prison. This was in October. He informed her that for the want of a compass they had got lost in the wilderness, or they would have made their escape, and that they contemplated making another trial if they could get a pocket compass. The enterprising Mrs. R. told him that she would provide for that. After buying a few little articles, she made as though she was about leaving, but stopped short and looked at the compasses for a moment, and exclaimed, “O, Mrs. Stergus, look yonder at those beautiful snuff-boxes.” “No madam,” said the owner, “they are not snuff-boxes.” But she insisted they were snuff-boxes. The man smiled at the supposed ignorance of the backwoods lady, and handed them down and explained their use. Said Mrs. R., “O. Mrs. Stergus, what a pretty toy this would make for my little Thomas,” and bought it, as the outwitted Briton thought, for a very foolish purpose. Said Mrs. Stergus, “You shall get William one also – that you shall. You shall not make fish of one, and flesh of the other,” or words to that effect. “Well,” said she, “if the gentleman will sell another we will take it,” and so she bought it. She also procured a tinder-box by her ingenious management, and contrived to convey them in safety to her imprisoned countryman. On the very night they had set apart for making their escape, the news of peace arrived.
The passport from Quebec had now arrived, and Mrs. R., with her children, and nineteen others, set sail for the United States. At Chimney Point they were all searched for letters. Mrs. R. had one concealed in a little silk pad, tied up in the hair of her head. This letter escaped. It was from Capt. Philips, who had bee taken by the Indians, and detained a prisoner of war at Montreal. His friends had never hear of him since he had been taken, and this letter was written to his wife, who received it at the hand of Mrs. Reynolds. The ship in which the prisoners sailed, landed them at East Bay, in Vermont, where they were given up to their own countrymen. From thence they proceeded to Saratoga, and by the way of Albany, to New York. Above the city, on the East river, they met with Gen. Washington, who gave them a passport, which was to serve as a kind of provision return, until they should have gotten int the neighborhood of their friends. They sailed to Philadelphia, and from thence Mrs. R. hired a wagon, and proceeded on to Washington county, where her father-in-law resided, together with many relations and friends, none of whom had heard of her release from captivity, until a little boy slept on the porch of old Mr. Reynolds’ house, and on being asked whose little son he was, replied, “Capt. John Reynolds’.” The astonished family looked down the road a few rods, and to their surprise and unspeakable joy, there came the long lost family, every soul, not one missing. The aged grandfather could scarcely believe his own dim eyes, until he received into his enfeebled arms his long lost daughter, and her entire family, except his own dear John. This meeting opened afresh those wounds that had been inflicted by the fall of Capt. Reynolds, and the subsequent capture of his family. But the manifestations of that sovereign and all-gracious Power by whom they had been preserved, by whom they had been returned in safety to their friends, was well calculated to bind up their bleeding hearts.
Of all the families that have been taken prisoners by the northwestern Indians, this is the first of whom we have read, that got home without the loss of any; and to the good management of Mrs. R. may this be attributed in part, as a mean under Providence. But who cannot see that this was the Lord’s doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Mrs. R. has long since gone to the abodes of the just, and most of her family have died in peace. Elizabeth Wolfkill still lives, an esteemed christian, and the subject of a most singular providence.
[The bolded names are those of Margaret Reynolds and the seven children.]
To George Washington from William Lord Stirling Alexander, 14 September 1782
Albany Septr 14: 1782.
I had the honor of writeing your Excly the 7th Instant by the post; since which nothing material has occur’d. the frontiers to the Northward as well as Westward as yet Continue in peace.
Yesterday arrived here from Canada one man and 22 Weomen and Children taken about two years ago on the Ohio and frontiers of pensilvania and Virginia by the Indians among whom they remained till last Spring, and left Montreal the 23d August. they say that two days before they left that place, Sir John Johnson arrived there from Hallifax, and was the next day to proceed up the St Lawrence to the Indian Country and that large quantities of Blankets and other Indian Goods, Arms and Amunition were prepareing to go with him. with these people Came a Certain Capt. Sherwood of Col: Grahams Regiment of New York Levies, he is on his parole to return when Called for, his residence is in the Nine partners in Dutchess County. the other 23. I shall send by the first Sloop to New Windsor in their way to Philadelph[ia] with a line to the Secretary at War, where they may be farther examined if thought necessary.
From this movement of Sir John’s and other Circumstances, I am apprehensive that the Enemy mean to make themselves Strong on the western lakes, and to Streighten our frontier on that Side as much as possible; and this they can effectually do, while they have access to Lake Ontario and of Course to all the Great Lakes above it. the only way I know of to Cut of that access effectually, is to possess a good respectable post at Oswegatie or La Gallete, it is Scituated at the head of the rapid[s] of the River St Lawrence, and has a deep navigation into Lake Ontario, and about fifty miles S.W. from the point where the Lat: 45º Strikes the St Lawrance. the approach to it from Montreal either by land or Water is difficult and only in small boats; it can be easily Supported from Oswego in Vessels of any Size. I enclose your Excellency the information of Wm Mullen and a list of the persons arrived from Canada. with great Respect and Regard I am your Excellency’s Most Obt Humble Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Albany Sept. 13th 1782
A List of Prisoners Names Return’d from Canada to this place
Adriel Sherwood Capt. Colo. Grahams Regt N. York Levies—on parole to return when Called for.
Inhabitants of Virginia and Pensylvania
c.14 September 1782
William McMullen one of the Prisoners whose names are enclos’d—says he left Detroit the 7th of June last, that part of the 8th & 47th Regiments were there very busily employed in constructing works—They were building a large sod Fort in which they mount 22 pieces of Cannon, which they call Fort le [Neiuf]—they are likewise building a large magazine and Barracks—that they could find no water within half a mile of the Fort, they were oblidgd to bring the whole for their use from that distance—the 20th of June he came to Montreal, which place he left the 22d of August, he does not know the number of Troops at that place—he saw none but Germans—the Quebec Fleet arriv’d the 20th of June—36 Sail of merchantmen and Transports, one Frigate of 36 Guns [oversat] coming up the River entirely lost, she was loaded with dry goods, he saw three of the people who were on board her—no talk of any Troops having arriv’d at Quebec—one of the women says she was at Niagara when Major Ross’s party return’d last Fall—not more than one third she imagines ever reach’d that place, some came in two weeks sooner than others, all frozen and in a most deplorable situation.