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CHIEF OF THE SHAWANOES
A TALE OF THE WAR OF 1812
-COLONEL H. R. GORDON -
Author of "Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawas," etc.
E P J -Dut t o I <%o C oxrx a jxaYm
_)1 W1e-at Twe-t y-Third ia Stree;
E. P. DUTTON & CO.
I. TWO YOUNG PIONEERS
II. A CHANGE OF SITUATION
III. A FRIEND AT COURT
IV. TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES
V. THE WORK OF A GENIUS
VI. THE HOME IN THE FOREST
VII. STIRRING WORK
VIII. IN THE SUMMER OF 1813
IX. TWO YOUNG SCOUTS
X. WITH A STREAM BETWEEN THEM
XII. THROUGH MANY PERILS
XIII. AT THE LAKE
XIV. SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT
XV. AT BAY
XVI. THROUGH ON TIME
XVII. BRILLIANT WORK .
XVIII. A STINGING REBUKE
XIX. THE TURNING OF THE TIDE
XX. BETWEEN THE LINES
XXI. "GOOD-BYE "
XXII. THE TALISMAN
TECUMSEH AND COL. JOHNSON. (Frontispiecet
CROSSING THE OHIO
GENERAL HARRISON AND TECUMSEH
ATTACK ON THE CABIN .
BEN AND THE BEAR
HARDIN, BEN AND THE CANOE .
ATTACK ON FORT STEPHENSON
LIEUTENANT BROWN AND THE SCOUTS
CHIEF OF THE SHAWANOES.
TWO YOUNG PIONEERS.
ONE balmy autumn morning, during the early
days of Ohio and Kentucky, George Hardin,
a sturdy youth, whose home lay a dozen miles to
the north, came down to the Ohio River and looked
keenly across to the opposite shore, as if he ex-
pected the appearance of some one.
Young Hardin was dressed in the usual fashion of
the frontier at that time, his costume consisting of
leggings, leather breeches, hunting shirt, and coon-
skin cap. Instead of the moccasins often worn, he
used coarse, strong shoes, and carried in his hand a
long, heavy flint-lock rifle, for, as you know, percus-
sion caps and breech-loaders were not dreamed of in
those days. Indeed, as late as the Mexican war,
many of our soldiers were armed with flint-lock
muskets. A powder-horn was slung by a string
2 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
over one shoulder, and the supply of bullets was
carried in a leather pouch.
George Hardin was a fine specimen of the rugged,
alert youth of the days of our grandparents. His
father was a famous pioneer, and had trained the
youth in woodcraft from the time he was able to
rest his ponderous gun on a log or in the crotch of
a tree and aim at a wild turkey, buffalo, deer, or
bear. At the age of sixteen, when we introduce
him to the reader, he was allowed to wander at will
through the trackless forests, sometimes being ab-
sent for three or four days without causing alarm to
Yet it may be said that danger always hung
over the head of the hunter or settler, for the In-
dians were sleepless in their watchfulness. The
blazing cabin, the sharp explosion of the rifle, the
war-whoop of the red man, and the whizz of the
deadly tomahawk were the most common sounds
that broke the solemn stillness of the vast wilderness.
On this beautiful morning young Hardin parted
the bushes in front and on the margin of the broad,
placid stream with as much care as if he expected
to see a band of Shawanoes, Wyandots, or Dela-
wares; but such was always his habit, for the first
lesson taught to him by his father was that never,
when in the woods, must he lay aside his caution,
even for a single minute.
TWO YOUNG PIONEERS.
It seemed a long time that the lad spent in scru-
tinizing the farther bank, but his manner showed
that he failed to discern that for which he was look-
ing. His clear hazel eyes roamed along the over-
hanging bushes and as far up and down stream as
his vision could reach, but no sign of living creature
met his gaze. It was as if he were the only person
within the depth of the vast solitude.
Ben 's late," he said to himself; for I know
I 'm not ahead of time, and I expected to find him
Puckering his lips, he emitted a sound like the
call of a wild turkey. It was faint, but so clear that
it easily penetrated the forest arches on the other
shore, and would have deceived any bird that
chanced to hear it. Having uttered the signal, he
stood in his pose of intense attention, listening for
the reply. For a half-minute the stillness was un-
broken, and then a sound so similar to his own that
it might have been mistaken for its echo seemed to
flutter from among the trees on the other side of
the Beautiful River and steal across to where he
stood. The tanned but handsome countenance
glowed with pleasure, and, hesitating no longer,
young Hardin stepped forward so as to be free of
and beyond the overhanging vegetation, with his
one foot on the edge of the water.
And the person on the Kentucky shore did pre-
4 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF 'THE SHA WANOES.
cisely the same. He was a lad of about the same
age as Hardin, and standing thus in full view of
each other, they waved each a hand in greeting.
Then Hardin took off his heavy cap and circled it
once about his head. The other imitated him, and
thus a full understanding was established between
But the similarity of action now ceased. Hardin
held his expectant pose, and evidently was awaiting
some movement on the part of his friend, who did
not keep him waiting. Stepping back so as to per-
mit the vegetation to close like a curtain before him,
he was absent from sight for only a few moments,
when a small canoe shot out from the undergrowth,
and guided by the single occupant, with his long
paddle, skimmed swiftly to the point where Hardin
awaited his coming.
As straight as an arrow the birchen craft sped
across the river, touching the grassy bank at the
feet of Hardin, who carefully seated himself in the
little boat, which was turned so as to face the other
way, though there was scarcely a perceptible differ-
ence between the bow and stern.
The newcomer was Ben Mayberry, a youth of
about the same age as Hardin, and his costume and
weapons were similar. His home was to the south,
and this morning had been fixed upon fully three
weeks before for a meeting between them at the
TWO YOUNG PIONEERS.
point where they now saw each other. The plan
was carried out so well that the youths, coming
from cabins separated by many miles, reached oppo-
site banks of the Ohio within the same ten minutes.
George," said the Kentuckian, suddenly ceas-
ing his paddling, I 'm afraid we 're going to have
How ?" asked the other, showing no surprise or
The Shawanoes are on the war-path."
When are they not on the war-path ? was the
reply or rather question of Hardin.
Not often-that's a fact; but they 're between
us and my home."
Hardin became more interested.
Then we must contrive to slip past them, or,
why not turn about and go home with me ?"
The young Kentuckian shook his head.
Our agreement was that we should meet here,
just as we have done, and you were to go home with
me for a visit. If you 're afraid, I '11 put you
ashore, and let you hurry back to your folks."
This remark might have caused offence, but for
the smile that accompanied it. While the lads often
jested with each other, neither could be induced to
utter a word that might rankle the feelings of his
friend. Young Hardin looked calmly into the face
of Mayberry and replied:
6 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
When I want you to put me on the Ohio shore,
I '11 let you know."
All right; I 'm at your service, but it is well
that you should understand how things are."
Did you see anything of the Shawanoes on your
way here ? "
"I passed close to one of their camp-fires-so
close that I heard the shouts which they make when
getting ready to go on the war-path."
Why did n't you steal up near enough to get a
sight at them ?"
What did you see ?"
I saw them throwing their tomahawks at marks
on the trees, whooping, dancing their war-dances,
and warming themselves up for the work they love
Does your father know anything about this ? "
It was he who warned me; a runner came to
him from the blockhouse, and advised him to bring
mother and Molly and me to the post. When
father got ready to do so, I reminded him of my
engagement with you."
What did he say to that ? "
"Mother looked sad, and little Molly coaxed me
to go with them, but father said that since I had
given my word and you would be disappointed, I
must keep my promise."
TWO YOUNG PIONEERS.
Just like him exclaimed Hardin, admiringly;
" he 's a true Kentuckian."
Your father would have said the same to you."
I guess he would; surely we 're big enough to
take care of ourselves."
This conversation had occupied but a brief while,
and, since it had established a full understanding,
young Mayberry now resumed the swaying of his
paddle, and the light canoe sped across the stream
like a swallow, but in everything he did the youth-
ful Kentuckian showed his training in woodcraft.
When two thirds of the way over, and while heading
for the precise spot which he had left to meet his
friend, he turned the craft down stream, and putting
his utmost strength in the effort drove it like an
arrow toward a point fully a fourth of a mile below.
He paddled as if his life were at stake, and there
can be no certainty that such was not the fact.
The meaning of what might seem singular was
that Mayberry feared that one or more Indians had
followed his trail to the Ohio, and were awaiting the
return of himself with his companion. His first
course indicated a direct coming back until most of
the stream was crossed, when he made the abrupt
change of direction, travelling with a speed and an
uncertainty of where he meant to land that pre-
vented any. foes being on the immediate spot to
8 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
Hardin understood this so clearly that he asked
no questions, but his gaze was fixed upon the Ken-
tucky shore, roaming back and forth in search of
the sign that might appear at any moment and
could only mean grave danger. Neither of the lads
saw anything unusual, and Mayberry ran the boat
under the exuberant limbs and so plumply against
the bank that the two tipped forward from the sud-
denness of the stop.
The moment the prow of the canoe touched land,
the two sprang out and pulled it so far up the bank
that it could not be observed by any one passing
along the river, nor would it be swept away by the
The Kentuckian took the lead, the other following
closely behind in what may be termed Indian
file," where all of a party tread in the same tracks.
They had much to say to each other, for they were
lifelong friends and had been separated for weeks,
but they hardly spoke except at long intervals, and
then in guarded undertones. /
Now, it must not be taken for granted that be-
cause the youths failed to see anything of their
enemies, while crossing the Ohio, that none of their
dusky foes saw them. Doubtless the precaution of
the couple saved them for the time, for it is a fact
that Ben Mayberry's trail had been discovered by
five Shawanoes, prowling through the woods, and
TO 3-. -m--
CROSSING THE OHIO.
IJb~ -- L~-i
TWO YOUNG PIONEERS.
they followed it with such skill and expedition that
they arrived at the river's edge only a brief while
behind him. Had he not resorted to the canoe
which belonged to himself, and had been left there
for use, they would have been upon him before he
could have taken his friend on board.
Discovering the youths, the warriors carefully hid
themselves among the undergrowth and awaited
their return. Had the Kentuckian carried out
what seemed to be his plan, the two would have
entered the trap inextricably, but by an artifice that
was as simple as ingenious they escaped the peril
for the time. When the Shawanoes reached the
spot where the boys had landed, they were gone.
But of necessity they left two things behind
them. One was the canoe that had served the
young Kentuckian so often and so well. With the
help of their knives and tomahawks it took but a
few minutes to cut and slash it beyond the possibil-
ity of ever being of account again. Indeed the
birchen fragments hardly suggested the pretty frail
structure that had once served the owner so well.
The other thing left by the youths was their trail.
No matter how extreme their care, they could not
hide the faint footprints from the keen eyes of the
Shawanoes, whose skill in tracking an enemy was so
wonderful that Simon Kenton once declared that
they could trail a bird through the air, or a swimmer
Io TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
in the water. While the ordinary, untrained gaze
would have detected nothing unusual, that quintette
of warriors, in their hideous paint and athirst for
the lives of the pale faces, saw the footprints as un-
mistakably as we should have observed them in the
The action of the Shawanoes may be considered
peculiar from the moment they left the river. In-
stead of following the trail in Indian file, one of
their number devoted his attention to keeping track
of their victims, while the others scattered to the
right and left. By doing this, the party covered an
extent of more than a hundred yards. They kept
substantially abreast of one another, watching the
guide, so that when he deviated to the right and
left, they did the same, and the relative distances
between them were preserved.
It was now nearly noon, and though the sun was
unusually strong for the season, its rays scarcely
penetrated the twilight of the woods, where it was
cool and comfortable. Since the trailers knew that
the young men would not linger in their flight, it
was necessary for their pursuers to move briskly to
overtake them. At the same time, they had seen
enough to understand that the two were no ama-
teurs in woodcraft, and that a slight inadvertence or
carelessness on their part would warn the two of
their danger and make their capture more difficult.
TWO YOUNG PIONlEERS.
It would not have been difficult for these five
Indians to shoot the youths while in their canoe,
for at one time less than half the width of the Ohio
separated them, and the shot was easy, but they
refrained, as almost any of their race will do when
he looks upon the capture of his enemy as among
the certainties. The instant death of a foe may be
desirable, but, under ordinary circumstances, the
pleasure of torturing him is too tempting to be
neglected. They looked upon the capture of the
couple as inevitable, and therefore awaited the time
when they should be fully in their power before
wreaking their hatred upon them.
The five Shawanoes had not penetrated far into
the Kentucky wilderness, when the middle man,
who was devoting his attention to trailing the lads,
made an oblique change in his course. Instead of
going directly ahead, he turned to the right. This
indicated that the youths, for some cause, had de-
viated from the straight line they had been follow-
ing. The matter was of no importance, and the
pursuers imitated them, with hardly a slackening of
The ground, which had been comparatively level,
grew more undulating. There was nothing in the
nature of mountains, nor was the surface sufficiently
rough to cause any inconvenience or delay their
advance, but they must have viewed with grim
12 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
pleasure the fact that the line of flight by the fugi-
tives, as they may be considered, led directly toward
the clearing where more than three hundred Sha-
wanoes were gathered preparatory to joining larger
bodies of their own countrymen and warriors of
other tribes, preliminary to making their raid upon
the exposed settlements along the frontier.
The pursuers had penetrated to a distance of a half-
mile from the river, when they descended a slight
declivity, where the wood was comparatively free
from undergrowth, and the guide was seen to stop
suddenly, as if he had made a discovery. Although
the forest was free from anything resembling a path-
way, and showed no signs of having been recently
passed through by any one except the two youths,
it was familiar to all of the Shawanoes. The four
instantly recognized the spot where their companion
had halted as a clear, cool spring of water. They
also ceased walking, and waited for him to resume
his advance before doing the same.
Instead of leaving the spot, the redskin looked
up, and, glancing from right to left, beckoned them
to approach. He made no sound, nor did they, as
they obeyed, the five coming together within the
following minute. In answer to their looks of in-
quiry, he pointed down at the spring. It was no
more than two or three feet in diameter, with the
water as clear as crystal. In truth, some of the
TWO YOUNG PIONEERS.
poetical Shawanoes had given it the Indian name of
"A-wa-wa," signifying liquid summer air," a title
that it well deserved.
A single glance revealed that the boys had stopped
there to quench their thirst, the imprints of their
hands and knees, as well as of their feet, showing
where they had kneeled down to quaff the refresh-
ing water. This, however, was so natural and what
was to be expected that the four who had been
called to the spot might have complained had not
their keen vision answered the question in their
minds. Upon rising, the youths had not continued
their walk in company. Instead, they separated,
one going to the right and the other to the left.
It was evident that the Shawanoes failed to under-
stand the meaning of this change from their Indian
file, and they held a brief consultation over the dis-
Another fact impressed itself upon them: the
spring was near the large, natural clearing where
the Shawanoes were gathered and engaged in their
athletic exercises preliminary to taking the war-
path. In the stillness of the woods, sounds reached
the warriors which they readily recognized as coming
from their friends.
One of the youths had taken a route that led him
toward the Shawanoe encampment, while the other
had borne to the left. Had they diverged but
14 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
slightly, still maintaining 'the same general course,
the Indians would have concluded that the two had
set out to gain a view of the stirring sight near
them, for they must have heard some of the shout-
ing and cries of the excited warriors.
The conclusion reached by the red men perhaps
was natural, being that the youths had had a quar-
rel and separated in anger. They would not be the
first white persons to do a thing like that, and the
red men had had experience themselves of the same
It took but a brief while to formulate this theory,
when the members of the little party considered the
best course to take in view of the changed con-
ditions. The decision in this case was reached as
speedily as in the other. Two of the warriors were
to follow the lad that had turned to the right, while
three trailed the other. This would guarantee the
capture of both, who had not yet had time to diverge
very far. In truth, it looked as if the young man
who had gone to the right was lurking in the neigh-
borhood of the Shawanoe encampment, and it was
the easiest thing conceivable to effect his capture.
As for the other, it might require a few minutes
longer, but he was doomed.
From the halting until the resumption of the pur-
suit could not have been more than five minutes-
certainly not sufficient to produce any effect upon
TWO YOUNG PIONEERS. 15
this rather singular flight and pursuit. Since the
paths diverged so abruptly, the two divisions of the
Shawanoes quickly passed from sight of each other,
though, because of the absence of undergrowth,
they had only to look around, even when at a con-
siderable distance, to see one another's figures flit-
ting among the trees.
And yet hardly had they vanished from mutual
view when a guarded signal from the smaller com-
pany conveyed the news to the larger that an
important discovery had been made,-a discovery
which instantly checked the three, and the next
minute caused them to hurry away to rejoin their
A CHANGE OF SITUATION.
MEANWHILE, George Hardin and Ben May-
berry were threading their way through the
Kentucky forest, watchful, alert, and on their guard
against the sinister red men, who, the youths did not
need to be told, would show them scant mercy,
should they fall into their power. The Kentuckian
was in advance, his friend keeping only a few paces
behind him, as they steadily penetrated deeper into
the wilderness, on the road to the home of the
young man, whose intention it was to visit the de-
serted dwelling, after which they would follow his
parents to the friendly blockhouse.
Suddenly the guide stopped, or rather both lads
did, for the sound that arrested their footsteps was
heard by both. It was the faintest possible rustling,
which might mean nothing or a great deal. A sec-
ond told the truth, and, turning his head, Ben met
the glance of his companion, and the two smiled,
for they had perceived the cause of their alarm. It
was so late in the season, that here and there leaves
were continually wavering downward like the fall of
A CHANGE OF SITUATION.
snowflakes, but one of them, from an oak on their
right, gave out a slightly louder rustling than usual,
as it fluttered among the limbs and impinged against
the brown carpet under their feet.
But it was precisely the sound that the moccasin
of the stealthy Shawanoe would have made, had the
warrior forgotten his caution. Nevertheless, the
boys kept their motionless position for several
minutes, before Ben whispered:
It was only a leaf."
That is all."
But we are getting close to their camp."
Why not bear to the left, Ben ? asked Hardin,
who saw no sense in running a risk that offered
them no advantage.
I '11 do so at the spring."
Hardin nodded his head to signify that the propo-
sal was agreeable, and the advance was pressed with
the same caution as before. Both were athirst, and
the spring of water was well known to them. They
could have slaked their thirst from the Ohio, which
has served that good office to untold thousands of
men and animals, but nothing was so tempting as
the cold, crystal fountain that bubbled in the forest,
and because of that, they saved their thirst until
they should reach it.
The fact that nothing of an alarming nature was
seen or heard until near the little fountain increased
I8 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
the confidence of the lads that they would make
their way to the cabin, which was their destination,
without a collision with the red men.
Well," said Ben, with a sigh of anticipated en-
joyment, as he removed his cap and drew his hand-
kerchief across his damp forehead, we are here,
and now for a good, old-fashioned drink."
Laying his cap beside him on the ground, where
he had first placed his gun, he lay down, and with
his lips against the clear surface, took a long, deep
draught, which sent life and vigor through his
young frame. Then, with another sigh of enjoy-
ment, he rose to his feet and made room for his
companion, who did the same.
That 's worth a half-dozen miles' tramp through
the woods," remarked Hardin.
I have walked more than that many a time for
a drink. Sometimes I have nursed my thirst at
home until it tormented me, and then made a bee-
line for this place, my only fear being that the
spring would give out before I got enough."
There are plenty of springs on our side of the
river, but it seems to me there is none quite so clear
and cold as this."
There is n't; if the Indians burn our cabin, I
shall urge father, when peace comes again, to put
up the house a little nearer this spot, so that we can
draw our supply from the spring. Why would n't
A CHANGE OF SITUATION.
it be a good idea," said Ben, with a sudden inspira-
tion, for us to build the house right over the
spring ? "
What good would that do you ? "
Think how handy it would be, if the Indians
besieged us; they could never cut off our supply of
water, and, if they should set fire to the building,
we should have enough to put out the flames."
There is something in that," was the thought-
ful reply of Hardin, and I wonder that more
people don't think of it- "
Sh! do you hear that ? "
No need of the question, for the sounds were too
distinct to be mistaken. The Shawanoes in the
large, natural opening seemed to have been quiet
for some time, but now their cries rang out with
startling clearness. Whoops, shouts, and excited
exclamations were uttered by a score of warriors, as
if they had leaped from the ground simultaneously
and resumed the ceremonies by which they roused
their passions to the irrestrainable point, as the
Sioux nearly a century later did through the me-
dium of their ghost-dances.
Ben," said his comrade, after this had con-
tinued for a few minutes, the best thing for us to
do is to get farther away from those people; some
of them may come out to the spring for a
20 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
Let 's have a look at them; we can steal near
enough to do so through the trees without their
seeing us; we shall have news then to take to the
George Hardin was not pleased with the proposal,
but his friend had given him a good-natured slur
earlier in the day, and he did not mean that he
should have the opportunity to repeat it. So,
against his own judgment, he replied with pretended
Not a bad idea; lead on, and I 'I1 follow, or
why not let me take the lead ? "
No need of changing places-hello! "
A sound, the nature of which neither understood,
came to them from the opposite direction. It might
have been the call of a bird, or possibly it was a
signal from one of their enemies. At any rate, it
put a new face on matters, and the youths stood a
moment, undecided what to do.
I '11 try to find out what it means," said Har-
din; wait here for me."
No need of losing the time; while you are
doing that, I '11 take a peep at the war party."
The plan was an imprudent one, which was rather
singular, proposed as it was by the Kentuckian, who
had displayed so much caution and woodcraft from
the first, but a certain chivalry was at the bottom of
it. He had observed that his comrade did not
A CHANGE OF SITUATION.
favor the plan of a closer approach to the war party,
nor indeed of lingering in the neighborhood. Ben
was convinced that the last sound which reached
them came from a prowling wolf, that was probably
on his way to the spring, when he was scared off by
sight of the boys. By sending Hardin in that direc-
tion, therefore, under a plausible excuse, he would
be removed from the greater peril into which the
Kentuckian was about to enter.
Without penetrating his purpose, Hardin accepted
the proposal, for nothing was clearer to him than
the duty of watching every point from which danger
We must understand each other," he said, as
they were about to separate; how shall we come
together again ? "
If you discover anything wrong, signal to me,
and I '11 hurry back; it won't be long, anyway, be-
fore I '11 be with you."
With this, the youths parted, without a ripple
upon their strong friendship, despite the belief of
the Shawanoes who arrived at the spring a short
time after, and discovered what had taken place.
The Kentuckian had gone but a little way when
he looked around. George Hardin was just passing
from view among the tree trunks, but he noticed
that he was not following a direct line. He had
turned to the right, as if there had been a repetition
22 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
of the sound which drew him from the spring, but
from a different point than where first heard.
It was necessary for Hardin himself to deviate
from a straight course, though not to a marked ex-
tent. Nevertheless, had they continued their re-
spective routes, they would have described two arcs
of a great circle and finally met. Before such an
eventuality could take place, Ben decided upon a
change of plan.
This is wrong," he reflected, as if suddenly
awaking to his own remissness; this is the last
place where we should part company; if one gets
into trouble, the other can't help him; I know
enough already to tell an interesting story to the
folks at the blockhouse. I 've learned that there
are several hundred Shawanoe warriors getting
ready to take the war-path, and it won't add much
to my knowledge to have a look at them, while the
chances are that they '11 nab me before I can get
away. I '11 go back to George, and we '11 leave as
quick as we know how."
Perhaps it was not singular that the musings of
young Hardin were somewhat similar in nature.
He had hardly passed beyond sight of his friend,
when a shadowy figure flitted among the trees in
front of him. A glimpse identified it as a wolf,
whose lank body darted deeper into the wood,
quickly vanishing from sight; but before it dis-
A CHANGE OF SITUATION.
appeared, Hardin, in obedience to his training,
brought his gun to his shoulder and sighted at the
animal that had dared thus to defy him. His aim
was so quick that he had but to press the trigger of
his weapon to send the bullet through the skull of
the brute, but it was as fortunate for the young
hunter as for the wolf itself that he refrained from
doing so. The report of the rifle would have
brought some of the Shawanoes to the spot before
Hardin could flee, and it was providential, we re-
peat, that his own danger impressed itself upon him
before it was too late.
He had stopped in his cautious advance, and now
peered about him.
This looks as if I were deserting Ben," he re-
flected; he has gone into danger, while I have
been going away from it; I am not treating him
He was on the point of turning to retrace his
steps, when his comrade appeared among the trees.
I agree with you that we can't get out of this
neighborhood too soon," he explained; it would
have been better had we borne more to the left and
kept away from the spring altogether."
Did you see anything of the Shawanoes ?"
No; but I heard them plainly enough; let 's be
As before, the Kentuckian took the lead, and
24 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
they pressed forward for several hundred yards,
when they entered a portion of the wood where the
undergrowth was denser, and they were forced to
pick their way with more care. Nothing had been
seen of their enemies as yet, and when they reached
a fallen tree they sat down side by side, leaning
their guns against the primitive bench, where they
were within immediate reach.
I am sure," said Hardin, that some of the In-
dians will come to the spring to drink when they are
thirsty, and the soft earth around it will reveal our
trail. I wonder whether they will attempt to follow
As he spoke, he looked back over their course, as
well as the luxuriant undergrowth would permit.
But there was no sign of life, nor could the listen-
ing ears detect any sound that could cause mis-
There 's no saying what a Shawanoe will do,
except to do all he can to injure our people; but I
think they have more important business on hand
than to lose any time in trailing us."
Would it be lost time, Ben ? "
That can't be told until it is tried; they have
mighty keen eyes, but even a Shawanoe can't tell
whether a trail like ours is five minutes or five hours
old, and it is that which makes all the difference in
A CHANGE OF SITUATION.
How far is it to your house ? "
Not more than three or four miles; a little way
ahead we shall strike the path leading from the
river, which we left or rather kept away from, so as
to get a drink from the spring; then we shall be
able to make better time."
And the blockhouse is about five miles be-
yond ? "
That 's it, as nearly as I can figure out."
Why not go straight there, instead of to your
home ? "
I would do so, if our house and the post were
not in a line, and we shall lose no time by taking a
peep at the cabin. I am curious to know whether
the Indians have paid it a visit; one look will be
enough for that."
It can't be that your folks stayed there ? "
The young Kentuckian shook his head.
"I saw them leave for the blockhouse; they
went south and I north; if nothing happened to
them," he added, in a slightly tremulous voice,
" they reached the blockhouse by the time I struck
the Ohio and before I shoved my canoe from
While this conversation was going on, the youths
were glancing to the right and left and listening for
sounds of danger. They heard none, but the sen-
tence of Ben Mayberry was unfinished, when a
26 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
remarkable thing occurred: his long, heavy rifle,
leaning against the log at his side, disappeared!
He was not looking at it just then, but it was in
his field of vision, and he became aware that it had
been whisked out of sight with the noiselessness of
the flitting of a bird's wing as it darted past his face.
It was a startling occurrence, made more so if
possible by the fact that precisely the same thing
occurred with George Hardin: both rifles had darted
behind them, as if each was attached to a string that
had been snapped by the same hand.
Strange, that with all their woodcraft and with
their keen glimpses to the right and left and rear,
they discovered nothing of the three Shawanoes
stealing upon them from behind, while two others
did the same from the front. The close under-
growth and thick array of trees favored the red men,
who, having located the youths whom they had
been trailing for several miles, completed their ad-
vance with the skill of perfect masters of woodcraft.
The two in front having secured a position which
commanded the lads, assumed the role of reserves
as may be said. That is to say, they held them-
selves ready to end the business by firing upon the
couple from their concealment in the event of any
slip preventing the success of the three creeping
forward from the opposite direction.
But the recourse was unnecessary, for, aided by
A CHANGE OF SITUATION.
the advantages of that portion of the wood, the
three drew near in absolute silence, able to shield
themselves from discovery when the youths looked
around. Hardin and Mayberry were close enough
to each other to clasp hands, had they wished to do
so, without shifting their position. Thus they sat,
when one of the crouching warriors reached forward
and snatched the weapon from beyond reach of th
owner, while his comrade did precisely the same
thing with the other.
The instant Ben checked his words he leaped to
his feet and faced the other way, Hardin being
hardly a second behind him. As they did so, they
confronted three Shawanoes, two of whom held their
rifles. They had recoiled a step, and the painted
countenances were made more hideous by the grins
which showed the gleam of the wolfish teeth be-
tween the coppery lips.
It was a woful lesson, and it looked as if the cost
was to be their lives.
Heavens! gasped Ben; we have been caught
Can't we help ourselves ? Let 's make a run
for it! "
Hopeless as was this resort, it would have been
attempted, but for an unexpected and insurmount-
able obstacle. The boys gathered their muscles for a
desperate dash through the wood, when they knew
28 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
the Shawanoes could easily run down both without
difficulty (for that tribe included some of the fleetest
runners in the world), and, if it were possible they
failed to do that, the Indians could readily shoot both
fugitives before they ran a dozen paces.
Nevertheless, as we have said, the effort would
have been made had not the youths discovered at
"hat moment two other warriors, who stepped from
behind the trees directly in front, and with their
guns held ready for use, advanced toward them.
The American Indian is not a creature of emotion,
and can hold his feelings in check under all circum-
stances, but the last two must have thought that the
situation warranted them in joining in the grinning
of their companions on the other side of the dis-
No capture could have been managed more
deftly. Ben and George would have fought to the
death had the opportunity been given, but not the
remotest chance presented itself. One moment
they felt secure, and the next, presto! they were
disarmed. The rifles, upon which they placed their
chief reliance, were as much beyond their reach as
if they lay at the bottom of the Ohio.
Some of the pioneers carried awkward, flintlock
pistols at their girdles, but the majority owned no
other weapon beside their rifles and the hunting
knife, which served them at close quarters, and was
A CHANGE OF SITUATION.
indispensable in cutting bits of wood for the camp
fire or in carving meat for their meals. The youths,
therefore, had no firearms left at command, and
neither of them was imprudent enough to draw the
weapon carried at his waist. They were prisoners
to the Shawanoes-the tribe that had done more
than any other in the West to drive back the tide
of emigration that threatened to sweep them and
their race out of existence.
With the appearance of the other party, the
youths yielded. They saw no hope left, and sub-
mitted with a grim philosophy which Simon Kenton
nor Daniel Boone could have surpassed. They had
learned from their parents and from the frontier
scouts who had spent their lives in the West, that
the worst course for them under the trying circum-
stances was to show fear or to beg for mercy.
Therefore they did neither, but, without attempt-
ing to cheer each other, when such a thing was
impossible, calmly awaited the will of their captors.
They were not kept waiting. The Shawanoe
standing nearest Ben Mayberry pointed in the direc-
tion of the clearing and said Go! As if to make
sure his command was understood, he smote the lad
on the cheek with a violence that sent him forward
several steps and nearly carried him off his feet. It
was a savage blow, and caused the youth so much
pain and such flaming anger that only by a strong
30 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
effort could he restrain himself from whipping out
his knife and leaping at his tormentor. Hardin was
equally angered by the outrage, but compressed his
lips and held his breath to prevent himself from re-
senting the act. He expected a similar blow, and,
to avert it, stepped briskly after his comrade, who,
poising himself, walked as if nothing out of the
usual order had taken place.
There was no attempt now to proceed in Indian
file. The youths kept side by side, with their cap-
tors straggling about them. One maintained his
place well in front, so as to prevent the party from
going astray. It was not far to their destination,
and a few minutes later they debouched into the
natural opening referred to, where the boys entered
upon a strange scene.
The cleared space was fully an acre in extent.
Such natural openings are not uncommon in some
portions of our country, and they were often turned
to account by the Indians for purposes already in-
timated. No squaws or children were in sight-
only full-grown warriors and bucks being present,
for this gathering was in every respect a business
A FRIEND AT COURT.
WITHIN this open space were gathered more
than two hundred of the leading warriors of
the Shawanoe tribe. All were painted in the fright-
ful manner that showed they had gone upon the
war-path. They had their rifles, their tomahawks,
and knives, and were exercising with them, as civil-
ized soldiers drill while preparing for battle.
In several places, at the sides of the clearing,
some of the warriors were throwing their tomahawks
at marks on the trunks of the trees. The skill
shown in most cases was almost incredible. Stand-
ing twenty or more paces away, a brawny buck
would draw his hand back over his shoulder, and
then make a lightning-like flirt forward. Instantly
the gleaming missile left his hand, and, turning end
over end with such swiftness as it shot through the
air that the eye could not follow its movements, it
would strike the solid wood with a thud that, had
there been no interfering noises, could have been
heard several hundred feet away. Invariably the
keen blade, made of metal (for the people had long
32 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
discarded the stone implements of their ancestors),
would sink deeply into the tree, with the handle
quivering from the forceful impact. Not once in
twenty times did the blade fail to strike squarely
and to stick fast.
The mark, as a rule, was a slight spot where the
shaggy bark had been chipped away so as to show
the white gleam of the inner surface, and the warrior
who failed to drive the edge of his tomahawk into
the centre of this bright spot-in other words, failed
to make a bull's eye "-received the contemptu-
ous grins of his companions, and felt ashamed of
himself. There were few misses, and some of the
veterans buried their hatchets again and again in
the same crevice with the unerring accuracy of a
Several spent their time in throwing their hunting
knives, much in the same manner and with the same
remarkable skill. If, through some mischance, a
Shawanoe was deprived of gun and tomahawk, and
his foe was at a considerable distance, his hunting
knife was likely to prove one of the most effective
In other portions of the plain, Indians were run-
ning races, and the exhibitions of speed under less
ominous circumstances would have been of the
highest interest to the youths who were fleet of
foot and fond of similar tests. There were groups
A FRIEND AT COURT.
talking eagerly together, several couples were wrest-
ling, and fully a dozen were engaged in leaping
contests. Like so many children freed from the
restraints of school, these warriors, generally glum
and self-controlled, gave outlet to their feelings by
shouts, cavortings, and whoops that would have
struck terror to the hearts of those who understood
the real meaning of the remarkable assemblage.
The arrival of the prisoners gave a new turn to
the excitement. Some of the warriors who were
running, changed the direction of their flight, so as
to bring them to the side of the clearing where the
five bucks appeared with their captives. A number
were standing near, and looked inquiringly at the
youths. Only those who were at the most distant
point gave them no attention, though they could
not fail to notice the arrivals.
George Hardin and Ben Mayberry did not speak
to each other. They were kept slightly apart, but
not far enough to prevent their communicating had
they been so disposed. But what could they do to
cheer each other, when both firmly believed that
their doom had been fixed from the moment of their
capture ? They exchanged glances now and then,
but their faces were pale and their hearts throbbed
painfully. Young as they were, all their lives had
been spent on the frontier, and they knew the
cruelties of which the red men were fond. The
34 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
father of Hardin had once been a fellow-prisoner
with the great scout, Simon Kenton, through whose
help he effected his escape after he had been tied
to the stake and the torch was on the point of being
applied to the pile of wood at his feet. Kenton had
sat at their fireside and told his thrilling experi-
ences with the Shawanoes, Wyandots, and other
tribes, and the history of Colonel Crawford was
familiar to all. That unfortunate commander was
not only overwhelmingly defeated by the Indians
against whom he marched, but he was made prisoner
and burned to death at the stake, amid the gibes of
Simon Girty, the renegade, and accompanied by
agonies too dreadful to be recalled. All these and
many other legends were familiar to the boys, who
held not a doubt that they were doomed to be added
to the long list of victims of the ferocious hatred
of the red men, who were rallying for a united effort
to beat back the advance of the pale faces into their
We have no wish to harrow the feelings of the
reader by describing a scene which, alas! was only
too common on the frontier within the past century.
But beyond question, the young captives would
have been subjected to a death that would make
one shudder to recall, but for a deliverance as re-
markable as it was unexpected. One of the favorite
methods of gaining entertainment from their help.
A FRIEND AT COURT.
less captives was for the Indians to make them run
the gauntlet. Little hope would either of the lads
have had of reaching the farther end of two rows of
warriors, between whom they would have to speed,
while the savages clubbed them mercilessly as they
came within reach. The most popular form of
torture, however, was to tie them to trees and build
fires about them, from which there was no possible
But none of these appalling trials awaited our
young friends. They had not stood five minutes
on the edge of the clearing, so surrounded that
flight was out of the question, when three Indians
approached from a point a hundred feet distant.
The middle one walked so fast that he left the
others behind, though they followed him, as if they
knew what was coming.
There was something in the appearance of this
Indian which showed him to be the leader and chief
of all the other chiefs and sachems. It was not in
his dress, for that was not so conspicuous as that of
many of the younger warriors, but it was in his face,
his manner, his mien. He was in the prime of life,
rather under than above the usual stature, and with
just enough inclination to corpulency to make his
figure round and attractive. He wore the usual
hunting shirt, moccasins, and leggings, with knife
and tomahawk in the girdle which spanned his
36 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
waist. His long, black hair dangled about his
shoulders, and a couple of stained eagle feathers
protruded from the crown. He carried a long,
formidable rifle in his right hand, and strode for-
ward as a king might have done, as in truth he was,
for he was Tecumseh, the greatest American Indian
that ever lived, an unsurpassable warrior, a natural
statesman, and a chivalrous foe. He ruled by the
power of his imperial genius, and no matter what
he said or did, the most daring of his race feared to
oppose by so much as a look.
Advancing straight to where the boys stood, he
fixed his bright, black eyes upon them, glancing
from one to the other, with the quick, flitting
movement of a bird that is watching the approach
of some one whose intentions it suspects without
being sure. The face of Tecumseh was not painted,
and that the wonderful Shawanoe was handsome
was admitted by his most bitter enemies. His nose
was slightly Roman, he had white and even teeth,
and the countenance was an almost perfect oval.
He would have attracted attention anywhere, for
through that dusky face glowed the soul that has
given the extraordinary man a reputation never
attained by any of his race.
Let us pause at this point to recall some facts
about Tecumseh, who has a prominent part to play
in the pages that follow. We confess to a strong
A FRIEND AT COURT.
liking for him-a liking in which we are not alone,
as is proven by the number of places in different
parts of the country named in his honor-one that
has been borne by many of our best people, as in
the case of General Sherman, one of the leaders in
the War for the Union.
Tecumseh, sometimes spelled Tecumtha, was
born about the year 1768, and was a triplet. One
of his brothers was an ordinary warrior, who has
left no record of his doings. The other was only
second to Tecumseh himself in renown. He was
Ellskwatawa, generally called The Prophet, who
claimed to be a great medicine man, and attained
considerable influence over his race, though it never
equalled that of Tecumseh, of whom The Prophet
stood in awe.
Tecumseh grew up among his people, who at that
time formed the most formidable tribe of Indians in
Ohio and Kentucky. While a boy, he was noted
for his daring, skill, and success as a hunter and
warrior. He shared with his tribe their hatred of
the white race, that had invaded the hunting-
grounds of his people, and none was more active
than he in fighting back the emigrants who threat-
ened to bring ruin and devastation to all the red
men of the country.
While a boy, he accompanied a small party of his
warriors on a raid against some exposed settlers.
38 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
The raid was successful, and, in accordance with
the principles of his adult companions, they in-
flicted several deaths by torture. Tecumseh, in-
stead of taking part in the barbarity, was horrified,
and it is a proof of the amazing influence he gained
over his race that he made every one of his com-
panions promise never to inflict torture upon any
other captives who might fall into their hands.
Such chivalry of sentiment on the part of a war-
rior is apt to weaken his power, and to cause him to
be looked upon as effeminate, or as a squaw," as
such persons were often contemptuously called. But
it was not so with Tecumseh, whose commanding
greatness grew with his years. While still a young
man, he fell into the habit of drinking the fire-water
which was readily obtained from the white traders.
He developed so great a fondness for it, that for
months he was almost continuously under its influ-
ence, and the man who would have dared at that
time to prophesy a great future for him would have
been scoffed at.
But it was in this very respect that he gave evi-
dence of his real greatness. There were no temper-
ance societies among the Indians, no cure to avail
oneself of, but the young Shawanoe chieftain saw
that he was not only rushing to ruin himself, but
was leading others thither by his example. He
straightway stopped his indulgence, and either per-
A FRIEND AT COURT.
suaded or scared scores of his people into leaving
the poison alone.
It is deadlier than their big guns," he said; it
will slay us all unless we cast it from us like a snake
that has fastened its fangs in our arm."
Tecumseh was original in his temperance work as
in everything he did. He came upon a brother
chief who was in the act of elevating a black jug to
his lips. Tecumseh did not need to catch a whiff
of the rank stuff to understand its nature. Leaping
forward, he snatched the jug from the hand of the
other, whose lips retained their pucker as he turned
angrily upon the one that had dared to interfere
with his enjoyment. Before, however, he could
make protest, Tecumseh broke the crockery over
the crown of the other chieftain, with the announce-
ment that if he ever caught him trying to indulge
again in the poison, he would substitute the butt
of his rifle for the jug, so as to make sure of crack-
ing his skull. It may be safely presumed that the
grieved Shawanoe became a true temperance man,
at any rate as long as he was within reach of Te-
All our readers are familiar with the outrages
perpetrated by the Indians along the Ohio upon
the settlements of that region, a short time after the
close of the Revolution. These became so intoler-
able that President Washington sent several expedi-
40 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF TIHE SHA WvANOES.
tions to bring the tribes to terms. Crawford, as
already stated, was defeated, and then a more im-
portant expedition was almost destroyed while
under the leadership of St. Clair, a companion-in-
arms of Washington, who had repeatedly warned
him against a surprise and ambush by the Indians.
St. Clair, despite these warnings, committed the
very blunder that proved fatal. When news reached
Washington, he gave way to a tempest of indigna-
tion that terrified every one within hearing, for the
disaster of St. Clair was without excuse.
When the great man had recovered his usual self-
control, he expressed regret for the outburst, but
added that he would send a man to the West who
would do the work that was beyond the capacity of
those that had already tried it, and he kept his
word by despatching thither the dashing, but skilled
general, Mad Anthony" Wayne. At Fallen
Timbers, in 1794, Wayne delivered a crushing de-
feat to the combined tribes, with whose leaders he
made a treaty which brought security and safety to
the frontier that lasted until the mutterings of the
War of 1812 were heard.
Among the most conspicuous leaders at Fallen
Timbers was Tecumseh, many of whose exploits
compelled the admiration of the bravest of Wayne's
forces. His heart was set upon winning that battle,
and had the others fought with the daring and skill
A FRIEND AT COURT.
of the Shawanoe chieftain, there might have been a
different story to tell, though the Kentuckians and
their comrades were heroes, every one of them.
Tecumseh did not favor the treaty of Greenville,
by which the different tribes gave up a large area of
land and bound themselves to preserve peace, but
when the compact was made, none observed it more
conscientiously than he. He took no part in the
forays against the settlers that were stealthily kept
up in some quarters, but opposed them, and led the
life of a hunter and tiller of the patch of ground
which surrounded the cabin where he made his
home with his wife and young son.
But there must have been growing within him at
that time an abiding faith in his own mission as the
leader of his people. Like Philip of Mount Hope,
and Pontiac, chief of the Ottawas, Tecumseh be-
lieved that, by a union of all the tribes, an effectual
bar could be offered to the advance of the whites
into their territory, but the Shawanoe was wiser
than the Wampanoag and the Ottawa, for he never
indulged the wild dream that such a union could be
carried to the extent of destroying every pale face
in the land (a faith which perhaps was not so wild
in the case of Philip, when there were comparatively
few white people in the country), but he was certain
that such a union could be made to compel the
Americans to act justly toward the Indians-a feat
42 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
which was never accomplished in the past, and, sad
to say, is not likely ever tb be accomplished in the
To understand that which follows, the position of
Tecumseh in this dispute must be made clear. His
contention was that no single tribe of Indians had
the right to sell any of their lands, inasmuch as it
did not belong to them as a tribe, but to all the
tribes, whose united assent must be obtained in
order to perfect the title of the white men to any
portion of the continent. The natural conclusion
of this argument was that (its truth being admitted)
very few, if any of the States, had a right to the
land they occupied. In justice, therefore, they
should give it back to the original inhabitants, the
title remaining in abeyance until such time as the
transfer could be effected upon the basis named.
This was the position taken by the Shawanoe
leader, and from which no argument or protest
could force him. It was legitimate, as following his
premises, but it was a view which could not be ac-
cepted by General William Henry Harrison, Gover-
nor of the Northwest Territory, nor by any of the
American authorities, for to accept it would have
overturned the Western country itself.
Returning from this digression, it may be added
that George Hardin and Ben Mayberry recognized
Tecumseh when they saw him approaching. In
A FRIEND AT COURT.
fact, when comparative peace reigned on the
frontier, the Shawanoe had crossed the threshold
of both their homes, and had sat at the table of
the Kentuckian, but at such times there was always
a dignity and reserve about the chief which pre-
vented anything in the nature of familiarity, and
now closed the lips of the youths from making an
appeal to him, when he halted but a few paces in
front of them.
The boys had heard of his chivalrous treatment
of prisoners, but hardly dared to hope that he would
restore them to freedom. He might prevent their
torture, but since war was impending, if it had not
actually broken out, he would probably hold them
secure until they could be exchanged, or perhaps
leave them to meet death when his own duties
caused him to withdraw his vigilance.
But they failed to give the chieftain the credit he
deserved. He knew what would befall the captives
without his active friendship, and to use a common
expression he did not intend to take any chances.
He held his place as has been described, glancing
from one to the other with that peculiar flitting
movement which was exceedingly trying to the lads,
who, fixing their own gaze upon the coppery face,
repressed all evidence of fear-a feat which it is
safe to conclude, pleased him who had no patience
with timidity in any one.
44 TECUMSEH. CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
Ben Mayberry as he afterward remarked, believed
it would help him if he should appeal to the ac-
quaintance of Tecumseh, but he was afraid to do so.
There was that in the stern, immobile face, with its
flashing eyes, which forbade so much presumption
on his part.
Turning to the warrior who held the rifle of Har-
din, Tecumseh ordered him to return it, and the
Indian complied as promptly as a child could have
done. Then the chieftain turned to the other, who,
without waiting for the order, stepped forward and
handed the weapon of Mayberry to him. This
little incident left no doubt of the friendly intention
of Tecumseh, and lifted a mountain from the hearts
of the youthful prisoners.
Hitherto the leader had spoken in Shawanoe, but
his knowledge of English enabled him to converse
as readily in one tongue as the other. Addressing
himself to Ben, he asked:
Why are you here ? "
"I was on my way home, when your warriors
made prisoner of me, and I could not help my-
Go to your home; tell your people to hurry to
the blockhouse or the settlement, for the red men
have dug up the hatchet, and some of them will
soon be here."
They have already fled to the blockhouse," re-
A FRIEND AT COURT.
plied Ben, with as much deference as if talking with
Why did you not go with them ?" sternly asked
I went to the Ohio to meet my friend who had
set out to visit me."
The black eyes were now turned upon Hardin,
who fairly trembled.
You live yonder," said Tecumseh, pointing to
the northward, or in the direction of the Ohio, and
evidently recognizing the youth; go back to your
people; you are children; you have no business to
be alone in the woods; I give you your liberty this
time, but I shall not do so again; now make haste;
let me see you no more."
And the chieftain turned his back upon them, as
if other matters required his attention, while the
youths, it need hardly be said, lost no time in taking
advantage of the offer made to them.
TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES.
THE Northwest Territory consisted of the area
west of Pennsylvania, north of the Ohio River,
and east of the Mississippi. It came under the con-
trol of the Continental Congress by reason of the
cessions made by New York in 1782, Virginia in
1784, Massachusetts in 1785, and Connecticut in
1786. It was organized by the ordinance of 1787,
among the provisions being the prohibition of sla-
very and the taking up of lands except by purchase
from the Indians, and the offering of them for sale
by the United States. Arthur St. Clair was Gov-
ernor of the Territory from 1788 to 1802, when Ohio
was admitted to the Union. In 1805 the western
portions were organized as the Territory of Indiana,
and the northern as the Territory of Michigan.
Previous to this, William Henry Harrison, after-
ward ninth President of the United States, had be-
come identified with that vast but sparsely settled
section. He was a native of Virginia, was educated
at Hampden Sidney College, but entered the army
at an early age and fought at Wayne's victory over
TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES.
the Indians in 1794. He was Secretary of the
Northwest Territory in 1798, and the following year
a delegate to Congress. He succeeded St. Clair as
Governor of Northwest Territory, holding that place
at the time of the breaking out of the War of 1812,
Governor Harrison was a close observer of events,
and foresaw the troubles that were likely to come
because of the resentment of Tecumseh and the
machinations of the British agents who were doing
their utmost to foment war between the various
tribes of the Northwest and the United States. It
was on the day succeeding the events described in
the previous chapters, that Governor, or as he is
more popularly known, General Harrison, who was
on a tour with two members of his staff, approached
the Ohio from the north, selecting the spot known
as the Shawanoe Crossing. His runners had brought
him information of the growing discontent among
the red men, and still hopeful of being able to avert
the war with its fearful consequences to the border,
he had sent a message to Tecumseh, asking him to
meet him for a talk. The chieftain replied that he
would be at the place named on the date referred
to, just after the sun had crossed the meridian.
General Harrison and his companions were mounted
on excellent horses, and by following the well-beaten
trails and primitive highways, they arrived at the
spot somewhat ahead of the appointed time. It so
48 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
happened that Tecumseh did the same, so that the
arrival of the two at opposite banks of the stream
was nearly simultaneous.
Looking across the river, Harrison discerned a
group of Indians standing near the shore, as if
awaiting the appearance of some one. Placing his
glasses to his eyes, the General, who was in uniform,
scrutinized the group for a moment, and then re-
marked with considerable satisfaction:
It 's Tecumseh and three of his warriors. He
is as prompt as ourselves."
We shall wait here for them ? was the inquir-
ing remark of Colonel Preston, one of the Governor's
It 's a matter of no importance."
I would not trust those people," added Major
Burbank, the third member of the visitors; all of
them are treacherous; we shall be safer on this side,
where we have our horses and a good line trail to
I should not trust them if Tecumseh were not
their leader," remarked General Harrison; I have
placed myself in his power more than once, as he
has done with me-ah! "
Tecumseh, stepping from his companions, was
seen to be waving a white handkerchief as a flag of
truce. Colonel Preston smiled.
I was not aware that the Shawanoes were par-
TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES.
tial to handkerchiefs; I suppose the next thing with
them will be umbrellas."
Tecumseh always carries one or two, though I
suspect that the chief use he puts them to is as
signals. Well, that means that he wishes us to cross
over to him."
Are you satisfied that it is safe to trust him ? "
was the doubting inquiry of Colonel Preston; you
know there is unusual excitement among all the
And this canoe lying against the bank to the
right looks to me as if it had been placed there to
tempt us into a trap," added the Major.
There is no cause for alarm, gentlemen," re-
plied the General, with some asperity; but I do
not wish to do violence to your superior judgment;
you can remain here, while I paddle across in the
The grim soldier walked with a certain dignity to
the spot where the little boat rested against the
bank, intending to leave his companions behind.
Their faces flushed under the rebuke, and before the
General could reach the boat, Colonel Preston was
ahead of him, with the Major at his heels. They
said nothing, but their superior was only partially
mollified and his face was stern when he seated
himself at one end of the canoe, as if still half-
minded to order them out. He held his peace,
50 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
however, and folding his arms, calmly watched the
group which he was facing, while Colonel Preston
plied the long paddle with the skill of a Shawanoe
In ninety-nine instances out of a hundred, the
protest of the two officers would have been com-
mendable, for they were placing themselves wholly
in the power of a group of men whose race is among
the most treacherous in the world. All of the
officers carried cumbersome pistols and swords with
which they could give a good account of themselves
in a hand-to-hand scrimmage, but not one had a
rifle. Like the General, the other two were in uni-
form, a fact which, as a rule, increased their danger,
since it required no very bright Indian to under-
stand the importance of picking off the leaders in
preference to the common soldiers.
Tecumseh and his companions were armed each
with gun, knife, and tomahawk. While standing
on the shore awaiting the approach of the canoe, it
was the easiest matter in the world to shoot the
three men, without giving them the first chance of
defending themselves. It would be more in accord-
ance, however, with Indian nature to await their
arrival and until the interview had continued for
some time, before falling upon them. What more
easy and natural than for Tecumseh to place a score
of his warriors in ambush with orders to open fire at
TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES.
a signal from him ? Many a time that very thing
had been done before the day of General Harrison,
and many a time has it been repeated in recent
No one could be more cutting than General Har-
rison when offended, and his aides preferred to incur
any risk of assassination at the hands of the redskins
to a second reproof from him. Accordingly, Colo-
nel Preston paddled with vigor, as if it was hard to
restrain his impatience to meet the Shawanoes and
their leader. At the same time, both he and Major
Burbank glanced stealthily at their side-arms to
make sure they were ready for use.
General Harrison retained his place at the stern
with folded arms, his thin lips compressed, and his
keen eyes fixed upon the group they were approach-
ing, while he seemed oblivious to the presence of his
aides. As the boat drew near the shore, the com-
panions of Tecumseh, evidently in obedience to his
order, withdrew beyond hearing, and seated them-
selves on the ground.
No doubt a part of his plan to throw us off our
guard," thought the Colonel and Major, though
neither gave expression to the fancy; that leaves
us within easy range when the chief signals to them
to open fire."
Colonel Preston curved the course of the boat so
as to thrust the end containing General Harrison
52 TECUMSEH. CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
first against the bank. This was done lightly, and
the Governor, who was familiar with the ways of
the woods, stepped ashore and grasped the extended
hand of the Shawanoe chieftain, whose manner in-
dicated his pleasure at meeting his old friend.
They exchanged the conventional greeting, and
then Harrison turned to his aides and said:
You will wait here until we are through."
The officers touched their fingers to their fore-
heads and bowed. Then at the invitation of Te-
cumseh, the General followed him several rods up
stream and away from the group of warriors, who
were watching proceedings. Thus the two leaders
were beyond earshot of every one. Standing for a
moment on the grassy, sloping bank of the stream,
Harrison looked at the chieftain, and with a curious
The earth is my mother, and I will rest on her
bosom," and then he seated himself.
Tecumseh caught the point of this remark and
smiled, for the incident to which it referred is his-
torical. It was at a conference between General
Harrison and a number of officers on the one hand
and Tecumseh and a party of chiefs on the other,
when the great Shawanoe, after finishing an address,
turned to seat himself, and found no chair awaiting
him. General Harrison made haste to repair the
oversight, with suitable apology, but, declining the
@ .- g.^ ," -g.". ^ .
.GR H S AN '' U S.
GENERAL HARRISON AND IECUMSEH.
TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES.
chair, Tecumseh made the remark quoted by his
visitor, and, folding his arms, seated himself on the
ground, where he remained during the conference.
Harrison was a man of deeds rather than words,
and sitting down nigh enough to touch the Sha-
"I thank you, Tecumseh, for doing as I re-
Has Tecumseh ever refused to please his
brother ? asked the chief, turning his head so as
to look into the face of the Governor.
No; Tecumseh is the greatest of his people;
he never speaks with a double tongue, and he is as
honorable an enemy as he is generous as a friend.
It would delight my heart if we could always be
It will not be the fault of Tecumseh if we are
The Governor smiled at this rather neat reply,
and, before he could frame a proper response, the
My brother has but to do that which is right to
bind Tecumseh and his people to him and his
friends by cords that can never be broken."
You say I have only to do right," remarked the
Governor, earnestly; and I make reply in the
same words: it remains only for you to do what is
54 TECUMSEH CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
Tecumseh, like all his race, possessed a quick
temper, and there was a flash of his black eyes as
he slightly shifted his position and demanded:
What has Tecumseh done that is not right ?"
I did not make myself quite clear-pardon me.
When we met before, you told me that you would
never live at peace with the white people until they
gave up the land that they occupied and secured the
consent of all the tribes to their living upon it."
Tecumseh said those words, and he says them
Reflect, my brother. There are two reasons
why my people can never take your view of the
trouble. Neither I nor the great Father at Wash-
ington can compel them to do so, if we were so
minded, for they and their fathers before them
have lived upon these lands for many, many years."
Because their fathers stole them from the In-
dians; is the wrong of a thing made right because
it is old? was the pertinent question of Tecumseh.
Harrison saw that he must take another tack.
As I view it, you do not look at the dispute in
the right way."
What is the right way ? "
I will illustrate: you and your people live upon
these hunting-grounds, where it has been the law
for a good many years that the white man shall not
take a foot of land without paying your warriors
TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES.
therefore. That has been done, but, according to
your view, we must secure the consent not only of
the Shawanoes, Wyandots, Pottawatomies, and
Delawares, but of all the tribes, like the Creeks,
Choctaws, and Iroquois, whose hunting-grounds
are hundreds of miles distant from yours."
By following that path the white man will meet
with no thorns and briars, because it is the true one
which the Great Spirit commands him to follow."
General Harrison had determined to keep his
temper, but he was impatient, for he knew the
mental ability of his companion, and could not help
believing he was wilful in his opposition.
Some of our people are living by the Great
Lakes, where the Ottawas have their homes; they
have bought their lands from them; do you insist
that those white people ought to send representa-
tives here to obtain the consent of your people be-
fore keeping their lands and dwellings ? "
Those are the words of Tecumseh."
Suppose your people took it into their heads to
Then the white people should give up the land.
All this country once belonged to the red men;
they roamed over it between the two great oceans;
the pale faces came in their ships and landed on our
shores without asking permission of those who
owned the land; instead, they shot and killed the
56 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
red men, when, if they had treated them as brothers,
the red men would have been brothers always to
The words of Tecumseh are true; the white
people who came here many moons ago did evil; I
am sorry, but what has been done cannot be helped;
I cannot act for them nor undo the evil deeds of my
But my brother can help undo the evil deeds of
I am the servant of the great Father at Wash-
ington; I must obey his will."
Must my brother obey it if it is evil ? "
I do not admit that it is evil; we are taught to
love our country, and to give up our lives in its de-
And that is the law which Tecumseh teaches
his people, but he is right, and his white brother is
General Harrison saw that it was a waste of time
to argue the question that had been argued more
than once before. Tecumseh had held for years the
views that he expressed, and no one could change
them. The General knew it when he asked for this
interview, and his words were meant to introduce
that which followed. He spoke with great impres-
It looks as if my people will soon go to war
TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES.
with the Englishmen from across the ocean; they
will come over here to fight us; they will meet on
the hunting-grounds of the red men, who must take
part with one side or the other. I hope that the
great Tecumseh and his brave warriors will fight on
the side of the Americans, and not on that of the
It rests with the Americans," was the quiet re-
We shall treat the red men right- "
My brother has refused to do so."
How can the Englishmen treat the Indians
better ? "
They will give us our land; they are a powerful
people; the red men alone cannot drive away the
Americans, but with the help of the English they
The English tried to do that when you and I
were small children, but they failed."
Because they had not the Indians to give them
help, as they will now."
The Indians did a good deal for them, but there
were fewer Americans then than there are to-day."
And so," said Tecumseh, significantly, there
must have been fewer Englishmen in the days of
which my brother speaks, for the Great Spirit does
not allow some of his children to grow while others
fade away. There are more Indians now, and,"
58 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
added the chieftain, earnestly, all of them will
fight against the Americans."
Very likely, but it will be because Tecumseh
persuades them by the might of his eloquence to do
Tecumseh will do all he can to rally the warriors
of every tribe."
Well," said General Harrison, straightening up
from his half-reclining position, as if about to bring
the interview to an end, you and I will soon be
arrayed against each other; it is idle for us to talk,
for we can never agree in our views, but, Tecum-
seh, you have not forgotten the promise you once
made me ? "
The chief looked fixedly at him.
Tecumseh never forgets or breaks a promise,
but he has made many."
I allude to your pledge that you will not allow
any of our people who may fall into your hands to
be tortured, nor use any cruelty toward our women
The chieftain had risen to his feet and drew him-
self up haughtily.
Tecumseh never tortured a prisoner nor treated
a woman with disrespect; since the setting of yon-
der sun, he has set free two children that the In-
dians were about to tie to the tree and burn to
death. The wishes of Tecumseh are known, and
TWO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES. 59
should he find that any warrior has dared to violate
them, Tecumseh will kill him! "
General Harrison impulsively extended his hand.
Would that all your people were as high-
minded as you! Tecumseh, I respect and admire
you; should it fall to my lot during the war that is
near to become a prisoner, I ask no better fate than
that you shall be my captor. Should the fortunes
of war turn against you, as they surely will, remem-
ber that the one friend who will stand by you to the
death is-myself. Good-by, my enemy and yet my
THE WORK OF A GENIUS.
THE threat which Tecumseh made to General
Harrison was no idle one. He foresaw as
clearly as the Governor that a great war was im-
pending between England and the American colo-
nies, and that of necessity it must involve his own
race. It was not unreasonable on his part to be-
lieve that the Indians would hold the balance of
power," and that whichever side secured their aid
This remarkable man had proven in previous con-
versations with General Harrison, for whom he felt
an undisguised liking, that he was familiar with the
leading facts in the history of the United States as
well as of his own people. When the Governor spoke
of the victory of the young struggling nation in its
war for independence, Tecumseh reminded him that
it took seven years to gain that victory, and that it
would not have been gained at all but for the help
of France, whose sons were as numerous and brave
as those of England. France would not come to
the help of the Americans the next time, and the
THE WORK OF A GENIUS.
Shawanoe, with some contempt of manner, ex-
pressed the belief that England would vanquish the
Americans, who were so fond of boasting of their
prowess: with the help of the Indians they could
not fail to do so, especially if all the tribes in the
West united to help the English.
Tecumseh was sagacious. The legends of King
Philip and of Pontiac had come down to him.
Philip would have succeeded, as he viewed it, had
he been able to unite the New England tribes
against the white settlers, but he failed to effect
such union, some of the most powerful remaining
outside of the confederation.
The same lack of ability to organize manifested
itself in the case of Pontiac. He brought inany of
the tribes together and captured a number of posts,
but some of his most ardent supporters fell away
from him, while still pressing the siege of Detroit.
To ensure success, therefore, Tecumseh felt he must
win all of the leading tribes.
It was only one of the many proofs of the great-
ness of this Shawanoe leader, that he first made
overtures to the Americans. He and his people
felt a natural hatred of our fathers because they
were the actual occupants of the hunting-grounds
over which the dispute occurred. Naturally, they
longed to oust them, even if the English became
their successors. And yet it would be preferable to
62 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
allow the Americans to remain and to preserve peace
with them. Governor Harrison would have been
happy to preserve such peace, but it has been shown
that the task was impossible, since the only terms
proposed by Tecumseh were inadmissible.
And now Tecumseh the Shawanoe performed a
task the equal of which has rarely or never been
seen, and which was one of the most marvellous
triumphs of genius recorded in history. He set out
to win all the Western and some of the Southern
tribes to his help in combating the Americans.
From tribe to tribe he hurried, and, calling the
chiefs together, addressed them in burning sen-
tences that were resistless. No one was able to
withstand his eloquence, which swept the most
stolid of listeners off their feet. He had to encoun-
ter not only indifference, but pronounced opposi-
tion, but he conquered in every case. It is a
historical fact that not once did he fail to carry his
listeners with him, and we repeat that the magnifi-
cent achievement has never been surpassed.
We remember a talk years ago with an aged
physician of St. Louis, who was an old friend of
Tecumseh. He said that never before nor since
had he heard so wonderful a voice. It was not
only musical, but had a peculiar resonance which
seemed to fill and vibrate through the air. He
compared it to the reverberations heard when one
THE WORK OF A GENIUS.
thrusts his head into a hogshead and shouts in his
Still more extraordinary is another fact which
rests upon good authority. Tecumseh was dissatis-
fied with the coldness of the Creeks. He won them
over, but lost patience because of the time required.
Finally he called out:
When I get back home I will stamp the ground
and it shall shake."
The superstitious Indians were awed by this
threat, which doubtless had considerable to do with
making allies of them. Having accomplished his
mission, Tecumseh set out to rejoin his own people.
The Creeks knew the time it would take him to
make the journey, and on the very day fixed for his
arrival the West was rocked by the most notable
earthquake in its history, that of 1811, the cause of
the New Madrid claims," on account of the
sunken lands, for whose owners Congress made
When the Creeks felt the ground swaying under
their feet and saw their frail lodges tumbling about
their ears, they ran outside in terror, shouting:
Tecumseh has got home! Tecumseh has got
Before starting on his journey, the chieftain com-
pleted his organization of the tribes at home. The
Prophet gave him much help in this, for he was
64 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
looked upon with great consideration and awe, on
account of his pretensions to supernatural powers.
He was left as the representative of his brother,
who forbade him to make any important movement
during his absence. The Prophet's mission was to
pass from town to town, and by his mummeries
keep the various tribes keyed to the proper pitch,
so that they would be ready to rush to battle as
to a festival," when the command was given by
But The Prophet, like many a man before and
since, made a mistake. Noting the eagerness of
the different warriors, he was certain that he had
but to sound the tocsin to overwhelm the Ameri-
cans. Continual skirmishing was going on; the In-
dians attacked exposed settlements, flatboats, and
even blockhouses, though no important movement
had taken place, when the news reached the tribes
that General Harrison, at the head of a strong force,
was marching into the country with the intention of
punishing the Indians for the many outrages they
These rumors were based upon fact. Harrison
saw that to dally longer would be accepted as evi-
dence of timidity and weakness by the savages, and
encourage them in their raids. He knew the work
Tecumseh was doing, and knew too that the only
way to checkmate him was by striking an effective
THE WORK OF A GENIUS.
blow before the Shawanoe could bring the different
tribes together into a compact organization.
Harrison had no more than fairly entered the In-
dian country on his way to the region near the
headwaters of the Wabash, when the woods seemed
literally to swarm with warriors, who appeared to
leap from the ground. They were on the alert for
an opening through which to attack him, and had
he relaxed his vigilance for a single hour his com-
mand would have suffered massacre, like the expedi-
tions of Crawford and St. Clair, twenty years or
But the advance of Harrison was similar to that
of General Wayne in 1794. He kept his scouts
out, went into camp every day before dusk, never
neglected to fortify his position, and, in short,
adopted every precaution that would occur to a
soldier who was a master of Indian warfare.
The Prophet grew uneasy over this advance. If
it continued, it was sure to bring much harm to his
people. Naturally his first attempt to turn it back
was by diplomacy, which is generally another name
for deceit and treachery. The leading chiefs who
called upon General Harrison insisted that they were
the friends of the white men-that it was evil red
men who had done the bad things that had reached
the ears of their great and good brother, and they
hoped he would not frighten their women and chil-
66 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
dren by penetrating farther into their country. But
whether he did or not, they wished him to know
that they were the friends of himself and soldiers,
and nothing could induce them to harm a hair of
The General listened to these avowals, which were
the most earnest when he was near Tippecanoe, and
gave orders for his men to sleep that night on their
arms. He knew what was likely to follow such
fervent declarations, and did not mean to be caught
Long before it was light, on that chilly morning
in November, 1811, the Indians fell upon the Amer-
ican force with irrestrainable fury. So fierce indeed
was their attack that at first the soldiers were forced
back; but they were not only under the leadership
of brave and skilled officers, but they knew the
stake for which they were fighting, and after inflict-
ing great loss upon their assailants and suffering
severely themselves, they scattered the Indians like
so much chaff in a gale.
While this battle was raging, The Prophet stood
on a hill near by, going through his incantations,
and shouting that it was impossible for his warriors
to be defeated. Even when everything got askew
and the warriors were falling like tenpins, he danced
and shrieked for them to hold their ground, for the
Great Spirit would soon give them the victory.
THE WORK OF A GENIUS.
When The Prophet had to take to flight to save his
own bacon, he must have felt some doubt about his
ability as an organizer of success.
It may be noted that it was this triumph which
made William Henry Harrison President of the
United States, some thirty years later, and gave
him a name by which he will always be remembered
by his admiring countrymen.
It will be recalled that Tecumseh was absent
when the battle of Tippecanoe took place, and but
for his absence it could not have occurred. When
he reached home, and learned how his commands
had been disregarded by his brother, his rage passed
all bounds. His first impulse was to slay him, but
he changed his mind. The Prophet was already in
disgrace among his countrymen, and was never able
fully to regain the ground he had lost. When
Tecumseh caught sight of him, he seized him by
his long hair and shook his head until it seemed as
if the miserable wretch's teeth would fly out. As
for Tecumseh himself, he saw that the irrevocable
step had been taken, and he plunged without res-
ervation into the war which was declared between
Great Britain and the colonies in the following June.
THE HOME IN THE FOREST.
GEORGE HARDIN and Ben Mayberry had
every cause to congratulate themselves and
to be thankful for their rescue from the Shawanoes,
when they were on the point of beginning prepara-
tions for subjecting their prisoners to torture.
Under Heaven they owed their lives to Tecumseh,
who, history records, interfered in more than one
It was impossible for a time for the youths to
realize the amazing change of situation. When
directed to leave by the chieftain, they did so with a
promptness that could not have been improved. It
was hard indeed to keep from breaking into a run,
and giving expression to their feelings by shouts,
but they were trained in the school of self-restraint,
and contented themselves with silently grasping
hands, as they hastened through the forest side by
side. Not until they felt themselves fairly safe did
they slacken their pace and venture to speak.
George," said the young Kentuckian, I 've
THE HOME IN THE FOREST.
sometimes had my doubts about Tecumseh being a
Why ? "
He does n't act like one; what was his reason
for setting us free ? "
I suppose it was because of pity for us."
I shall never cease to feel grateful to him, but I
wish he had n't half spoiled it by the insult he
His companion looked at him in surprise.
I don't understand you."
Don't you remember he called us children, and
told us we had no business to be abroad in the
woods when the Indians were on the war-path ? "
That was rather rough; I wonder whether he
would have befriended us if we had been half a
head taller and a few years older ? "
I think he would; Simon Kenton says Tecum-
seh acts like a white man when fighting; he might
have kept us prisoners, but so long as he was
around, he would n't have let any of his warriors
hurt us. Take him all in all, he 's a pretty good
sort of a fellow."
We must n't forget another thing; he gave us
to understand that if we did n't take his advice and
keep out of danger, he would n't befriend us again.
What do you think would happen if we fell into his
hands once more ? "
70 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
The boys were thoughtful for a few minutes as
they walked forward, and it was Ben Mayberry who
Don't forget that we have to pass by our home
to reach the blockhouse, and I am bound to have
a look at the cabin."
It can't be very far away."
We are in the path," said Ben, nodding his
head with a glance at the ground; you have been
over the trail often enough to remember it."
"I do, but this flurry with the Shawanoes has
muddled my brain; it seems like a dream to me.
I tell you, Ben, there was n't a particle of hope left
in me; I had figured it all over in my mind and
could n't catch the first glimmer. There must have
been more than two hundred warriors, all painted,
armed, and eager to fight; there are not a fifth as
many of our friends at the blockhouse, and if they
had all hurried through the woods, they could n't
have rescued us."
And if there had been five hundred of them,
they could n't have got to the place, even if they had
known what a scrape we were in, in time to help.
But what 's the use of talking or thinking about it ?"
I can't help it."
You can help talking; wait till you get home,
and then when your father begins to spin his yarns,
why you can strike in with yours."
THE HOME IN THE FOREST.
The foot-path compelled the boys to travel as they
had been doing most of the time-that is, with Ben
in advance. In many places the branches so over-
hung the trail that they were obliged to shove them
aside or duck their heads to keep the limbs from
catching them under their chins and almost lifting
them off their feet.
Although neither referred to it, there was one
misgiving in the minds of each of the lads. It had
been established that no warrior, no matter what his
tribe, dared offer indignity to a prisoner in the
presence of Tecumseh, but what was to hinder one
or two or more of them from stealing away from
the clearing, without its being noticed by the chief-
tain, and, following the couple until at a safe dis-
tance, shoot them down ? True, there might be
risk in such a deed, and the guilty ones would fare
ill if the truth ever came to the ears of the terrible
Furthermore, the experience of George and Ben
had impressed the significant truth upon them that
in those days there were perils on every hand, from
the side, and the front, as well as the rear. Ac-
cordingly, while Ben peered ahead and listened,
George continually glanced behind him, and both
exercised all the vigilance of which they were capa-
ble. Occasionally, the Kentuckian paused in his
advance, and his comrade instantly did the same,
72 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
while each listened until certain there was no cause
for alarm, when they resumed their course with the
same care as before. It would seem as if the late
mishap could not be repeated with them.
Moving forward in this cautious manner, the
young friends reached the home of Ben Mayberry.
The distinctly marked path over which they were
making their way ended in a clearing, nearly two
acres in extent, in the middle of which stood the
log cabin that had been erected by the pioneer,
James Mayberry, some three or four years before.
It was one of those substantial structures of logs,
dovetailed at the corners, and built more for
strength and comfort than for appearance. The
lower floor consisted of two rooms, while the half-
floor above was reached by means of a sloping
ladder at one corner. One of the upper rooms was
occupied as a sleeping apartment by his parents,
while the other belonged to the son, who was an
only child. The larger apartment on the lower floor
was the living-room, the smaller one adjoining being
available for sleeping quarters for visitors, of whom
there were more than would be supposed, where the
white population was so sparse. The latch-string
was always out, and no visitor ever applied at those
early homes who was not made welcome.
There was but the single door downstairs, front-
ing the path over which the lads were approaching
THE HOME IN THE FOREST.
when they first caught sight of the structure. On
either side of the door was a window, with a single
one at the rear, all so narrow that a small boy could
not have forced his body through. Instead of glass
panes, oiled paper, as in the colonial times, ad-
mitted the light. In case of attack, the occupants
could use these openings for loopholes, and there
were few pioneer homes in which they had not
served such a purpose. Twice during James May-
berry's residence in his primitive dwelling he had
beaten off a small party of Indians who sought to
catch him unawares.
A few rods from the house was another log struc-
ture, which served as a barn, and sheltered the
single cow and horse at night, or when the storm
raged. These were the only domestic animals be-
longing to the place, but a number of fowls were
scratching the soil, hunting as industriously for food
as if nothing had occurred to interrupt the usual
order of things. When the owner set out for the
blockhouse with his wife, he took the horse and
cow with him, so that the chickens were all the
signs of life that greeted the youths as they silently
emerged from the forest and paused with wondering
curiosity, uncertain whether to approach nearer
without first reconnoitring the dwelling.
The sturdy pioneer had cleared the area of land,
upon which he had planted Indian corn, potatoes,
74 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
and other garden vegetables. The fertile soil an-
swered his efforts with a bountiful crop, part of
which was stowed in the barn and a portion within
the house itself. It was so late in the season that
all of the harvest had been gathered, with the ex-
ception of several rows of corn that were left stand-
ing, though the ears had been plucked from most of
them. These were brown and dried, and it cannot be
said that they contributed any beauty to the scene.
It had been the plan of Mayberry to add contin-
ually to his area of cleared land. From most of it
the stumps had been torn away, but at the farther
end a number of the unsightly objects remained, for
he had not completed the work when compelled to
abandon it by the sudden appearance of danger. If
undisturbed, the task would be finished when he re-
turned, in time for the additional culture during the
It was hard in looking upon this scene, with
scarcely an appearance of life, to believe that any-
thing in the nature of personal danger impended.
There was no sign of disturbance, nor any evidence
that hostile visitors had been near since the depart-
ure of the youth that morning to meet his friend.
So far as could be seen, neither of the buildings had
suffered harm. In truth, the indications were that
the advance before which the husband and wife fled
had not yet been made. The Shawanoes were
THE HOME IN THE FOREST.
likely to come at any moment, but it looked as if
they had failed as yet to put in an appearance.
Such would have been the conclusion of the two
youths, who halted on the edge of the clearing,
taking care to stand far enough back among the
trees to escape being seen by any prowlers who
might be within on the watch, except for a single
discovery that was made by both at the same mo-
ment: the door of the cabin, instead of being
closed, was partly open.
It may seem strange that this should have caused
any misgiving, and, but for the son's familiarity
with the habits of his father, he would have at-
tached no importance to it, but he spoke the truth
when he said:
Father would have left the latch-string out, for
he would have to do it, so as to get in himself or
allow me to get in, but he never would have left the
You know he and your mother went away in
great haste," suggested Hardin, with little faith in
his own explanation.
He could n't have left in such haste as to forget
to latch the door."
What, then, do you make of it ?"
The Indians have been there."
But would they have gone away without de.
stroying the cabin ?"
76 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
We don't know that they have gone away-
Each instinctively sheltered himself behind the
trunk of the nearest tree, and, with their eyes fixed
on the front of the cabin, intently listened. Ben
had not heard anything to alarm him, but he ex-
pected to hear it in the course of a few minutes.
The silence, however, remained unbroken, though
very soon they observed something that deepened
their misgivings. Ben whispered:
The door moved! "
I saw it; it was drawn back a few inches; would
it do that of itself ? "
It might, for I have known it to swing when
left partly open, but I believe some one moved it
just now. I tell you, George, there are Indians in
It looks that way, and it makes our position
ticklish; is it best for us to stay here ? "
It may not be wise, but I don't know of any
safer place just now. They are not expecting us,
and are not on the watch; we are so far back among
the trees that they can't see us when they come out
Unless they come toward us."
That need make no difference, for, if they do
that, they '11 stick to the path, and these trees will
screen us. I don't want to leave this spot till I
THE HOME IN THE FOREST.
know whether any Shawanoes are in there, and if so
what they are doing."
The feeling was natural on the part of the young
Kentuckian, who was also actuated by a weak hope
that perhaps he might do something to save his
home from destruction, though how that was pos-
sible was more than he would have been able to ex-
plain had his companion asked for enlightenment.
Hardin could not refuse to bear him company,
though it was the second time that day that his
comrade had done a thing whose wisdom he con-
demned. Standing erect, therefore, with their
bodies carefully screened behind the massive tree
trunks, they scarcely removed their eyes from the
puncheon door, through which, if any enlighten-
ment appeared, it must present itself.
And while standing in this attitude of close atten-
tion, with their gaze centred on the door, a variation
of opinion suddenly arose between them.
Sh! did you see that ?" whispered Ben, ex-
See what ? asked his companion.
The head of that warrior."
I saw nothing of him, and don't think you did."
I know I did; he peeped around the edge of the
door and then drew back his head."
I had my eyes on the door, and would have
seen him had he done anything like that."
78 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
I know I saw him," was the emphatic remark of
But Hardin was not convinced. He believed that
the agitation of his friend had made his imagination
deceive him. He asked the pertinent question:
Why should a Shawanoe act that way ? If he
wanted to look out, he would look out without try-
ing to prevent any one seeing him."
You talk as if you did not believe any Indians
were in the house."
"Hold on a bit, and we shall know of a cer-
Ben was right, for within less than five minutes
he whispered more excitedly than before:
What do you say to that ? "
You are right, Ben! The Indians are there sure
WHILE the two boys were gazing upon the
partly open door, it was drawn farther in-
ward and a Shawanoe warrior in his war-paint
stepped forth. He was immediately followed by a
second and third, each holding a long rifle in his
hand, with the usual knife and tomahawk at his
The first thought of the youths was that the three
Indians had started to enter the path directly in
front of the place where the couple were hiding
themselves from view; but the leader had taken
only two or three steps, when he changed the
course he was following, and took the opposite
direction by walking alongside the cabin and across
the clearing toward the wood beyond.
The action of the red men was singular from the
first. They came out as stealthily as so many boys
in fear of being detected in mischief, and walked in
perfect silence until close to the primitive barn
which has already been referred to. There the
leader paused, and, turning his head, talked for a
80 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
minute or two with his companions. Evidently the
barn was the subject of the discussion, and doubtless
the conclusion of the boys was right: they were
considering the question of setting fire to it. If so,
they decided in the negative, for they resumed their
approach to the wood without any further turning
Let 's keep an eye on them," whispered Ben,
cautiously shifting his position and stealing in the
direction taken by the warriors, from whom he took
care to screen himself. Hardin imitated him,
though the action was dangerous for both, but be-
fore they had passed beyond sight of the front of
the cabin, Hardin exclaimed:
Gracious, Ben! They have set fire to your
The cause of this exclamation was the sight of
thick blue smoke issuing from the front door.
Sure enough! I '11 try to put it out; keep watch
and signal to me if there is any danger from them."
And before Hardin could protest, the young
Kentuckian bounded silently out from among the
trees and ran toward the front door. A few paces
enabled him to intrude the cabin between himself
and the Shawanoes, who, as a consequence, could
see nothing of him if they looked around.
George held his place until he observed his friend
disappear hurriedly through the door, when he care-
fully advanced under cover of the wood, along the
side of the clearing, intending to follow the Sha-
wanoes for a short distance, though why he should
do so or what was to be gained by such a course it
was impossible to say.
Taught to think quickly under all circumstances,
Hardin had gone but a little way when he stopped,
convinced that this was the true thing to do.
If they started a fire inside the house, they will
not leave till they are sure it is going to be burned
The good sense of this decision was proven al-
most in the moment that it took shape in the mind
of the youth. From where he stood, the three
Shawanoes were in plain sight, with their backs
toward him, as they walked in Indian file in the
direction of the wood on the farther side of the
clearing, but at the moment when they should have
disappeared, all three paused as if in obedience to a
military command and faced around. Had they
done this a brief while before, they must have de-
tected Ben Mayberry making for the front of the
They mean to make certain that the fire will do
The incendiaries would have been authorized in
believing this delay unnecessary on their part, for
the smoke now plainly showed above the sloping
82 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
roof of slabs, where it was only slightly dissolved in
the clear autumn air. Beyond question, a fire was
burning below the roof, which ought soon to burst
But the young Kentuckian was vigorously attend-
ing to business. The instant he pushed back the
door and stepped across the threshold, he saw what
had been done. The stone chimney of his home
passed above the roof on the outside of the building,
the broad hearth below occupying almost the entire
side of the lower room. The smouldering embers
left among the ashes had been raked into the middle
of the floor, some loose sticks piled on top, while
the few split-bottom chairs and stools were heaped
in turn upon them. Thus fed, the blaze was burn-
ing strongly and with increasing strength. If not
interfered with, nothing could save the building.
But Ben Mayberry's visit was for the purpose of
such interference. One kick sent the brands flying
in every direction, but as they continued blazing
there was still danger from them. Catching up one
of the partially burned stools, he used it as a broom
with which to sweep the rest into the fireplace,
where they could burn themselves out without
So far everything had gone well. The house was
saved for the time, but the same question presented
itself to him that engaged the thought of George
Hardin: would the Shawanoes leave the neighbor-
hood until assured of the thoroughness of their
However, there was nothing more for him to
do, and he therefore did the most indiscreet thing
Emerging from the front door, he began walking
rapidly across the clearing toward the spot where he
had parted from his companion, whereas, had he
continued in a straight line, so as to keep the cabin
between him and his enemies, nothing amiss could
have taken place; but he walked directly into the
field of vision of the Shawanoes, who, it will be re-
membered, had halted and were looking back to
watch the progress of the miniature conflagration.
Hardin did not observe the imprudent act of his
friend until too late, for his attention was fixed
upon the warriors. Thus it came about that the
Shawanoes, to their utter amazement, while survey-
ing the log structure saw a sturdy youth emerge
into view from behind it, and stride toward the
edge of the forest just as he must have done many
times in the past when no peril impended over his
Hardin observed him at the same moment and
Look out, Ben! The Indians see you! "
The Kentuckian glanced in the direction whence
84 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
the Shawanoes had disappeared, and observed that
the whole three, with that instant action which is a
part of their training, were coming toward him on a
loping trot. They had emitted no cry, but must
have looked upon this easy capture of the youth as
among the immediate certainties. Singular as it
may seem, they gave no evidence of having heard
the warning call of Hardin, which was so carefully
guarded that it barely caught the ears of the one for
whom it was intended.
George's expectation was that his comrade would
break into a run and join him without delay, but, to
his astonishment, he turned about and made a dash
for the front of the cabin. Instead of passing
through the door, however, he put into execution
an exploit that would have done credit to Simon
Kenton or Daniel Boone himself.
He was able to tell to a second when his enemies
would appear in front of the house, and he had
plenty of time in which to fasten the door against
them. Instead, however, of darting inside, he
stopped on the threshold, drew the latch-string
through the orifice, so that the latch could not be
lifted from without, and then pulled the door shut.
Thus the cabin was locked and both boys were on
Calculating with the coolness of a veteran the
time of the approach of the dusky trio, Ben May-
berry stepped softly around the farther corner of the
front of the building. It will be perceived that his
aim was to give the impression to the Indians that
he had entered the cabin to make a stand against
them, whereas he was elsewhere. The cleverness
of this stratagem could not have been surpassed,
and more than compensated for his mistaken wood-
craft earlier in the day.
George Hardin could hardly repress an exclama-
tion of pleasure when he comprehended what had
been done, and saw his companion slip from sight a
moment before the three trotting Shawanoes came
around the other corner of the cabin. They were
completely deceived by the inimitable trick.
But the miscreants could not be ignorant of one
fact: a Kentuckian, even if a boy, will fight, and it
was idle to waste time in summoning the youth
supposed to be inside to surrender. The action of
the warriors showed that they half-expected a shot
through one of the narrow windows, for they
dodged close to the front of the cabin and to one
side where they were out of range, the thickness of
the walls preventing a defender from deflecting his
rifle sufficiently for a good aim.
Perhaps after all the lone youth might be con-
vinced of his helplessness and induced to surrender.
It looked as if one of the warriors held that view,
for with his figure bent almost double, he sneaked
86 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
along the front of the cabin, until he stood before
the door. Then he straightened up, and, drawing
his knife, struck the handle against the heavy plank-
ing with a resounding whack that could be heard
beyond the clearing.
Howdy, brudder ? Me friend-lemme come in
-no hurt! "
This summons was repeated several times, when
the caller bent his head to listen, but it is hardly
necessary to say that he received no response. He
called to the fellow again, but soon gave it up as
useless. Then he placed his back against the heavy
door, spread his moccasins apart and pushed with
might and main. The doors of our ancestors were
not constructed to be carried easily off their hinges,
and it was impossible to perceive that the fellow
made any impression.
Then the Shawanoe spoke angrily to his com-
panions, who were grinning at his failure, and they
joined in the effort to force the door inward, but
had there been room for half a dozen more to help,
the massive structure would have withstood their
Their resources were not exhausted by any means.
The warrior who had acted the part of leader
whipped out his tomahawk, and began chopping
into the middle of the planking. This if continued
long would make an opening, though it was no
P ir c~-~-
ATTACK ON THE CABIN.
small task to effect an entrance large enough to
permit the passage of their bodies.
But the savage must have comprehended the
dangerous nature of the task he had set for himself.
The glimpse of the youthful Kentuckian showed
that he had carried a rifle in his hand, and, standing
in the middle of the large lower room, nothing would
be easier than for him to shoot the first foe that
came within range, without the slightest exposure
It therefore came about that before the self-
appointed task was half-completed, the Shawanoes
stopped for consultation. The result was the con-
clusion that they had made a mistake. Perhaps
one or more of them had participated in a former
attack upon the cabin that had been repulsed by the
owner. They agreed that the better course for
them was to wait on the outside until the youth
was driven to terms or until they could bring a
force that would leave him no choice.
It was natural for the Shawanoes to believe that
the lad had extinguished the fire, so that nothing
was to be feared from that, but they could apply
the torch from without and speedily reduce the
cabin to ashes. There were no windows at the end
of the building, and the single straight one at the
rear was ineffective against such a calamity. Abund-
ance of fuel could be collected, and since the In-
88 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
dians had long since learned the use of flint and
steel, it would be easy to fire it.
Every movement indicated that the plan outlined
had been agreed upon, for the three left the front
of the building, and, moving to the smaller struct-
ure referred to, began tearing it apart with the pur-
pose of using the timbers for the blaze that was to
lay the cabin low. The work was hardly begun
when the sharp crack of a rifle resounded from
among the trees near where the youths had parted
company, and the leading Shawanoe, with a
screech, leaped in the air, with his arms flung aloft,
and sprawled on his face with not a particle of life
left in his body.
The startling occurrence convinced the other two
that a party of whites had arrived on the scene,
and, without pausing to learn the particulars, the
Indians made a dash for the protection of the wood.
Before they could reach it, another report came
from the other side of the cabin, and a second war-
rior emitted a rasping shriek, accompanied by an
involuntary leap from the ground, but though hit
hard, he did not fall and continued his flight at the
heels of his companion, both whisking from sight
the next minute.
Ben Mayberry came into view around a corner of
the cabin, his face flushed with excitement. He
was looking for his friend, who cautiously signalled,
so as to direct him to the right spot. Immediately
after, they came together on the margin of the wood.
Gracious, George! he exclaimed, I did n't
know you were going to take a shot at them; you
aimed better than I, for I was flurried, and did n't
take enough pains. Was n't it rather risky, old
I did n't shoot that Indian," was the answer.
And, as Hardin spoke, he held the stock of his
flint-lock toward his friend, so that he could see the
powder still clasped in the pan, showing that it had
not been discharged, for he had not had sufficient
time in which to reload.
Well, well," added the astonished Kentuckian,
" who was it ? and both looked around in quest of
their unknown friend. Nothing could be seen or
heard that threw any light on the surprising occur-
He can't be far off," whispered Hardin; it
may be that he has started in pursuit of the Shaw-
He would n't do that if he were alone; there
may have been several of them."
Hardly; for if there had been, they would n't
have allowed the other two to get away."
If there is but the single person, and he is
chasing the Shawanoes, we shall hear his gun before
90 TECUMSEH, CHIEF OF THE SHA WANOES.
As if in response to the thought, the clear report
of a rifle rang through the woods at that moment,
though the direction was somewhat to the left of
the line of flight taken by the two Shawanoes-a
fact which signifies nothing, since it was not likely
that they had followed a direct course.
We shall learn who he is one of these days,"
It could n't have been your father ? "
The other shook-his head.
If it had been he, he would have shown himself
before this, and he would n't have started on a
chase after the others-what 's the matter ? "
Hardin was looking fixedly at the body of the
warrior that had fallen by the rifle of their unknown
friend. His face was turned toward them, though
he lay upon his side. Something familiar attracted
the attention of the youth, who without answering,
walked across the open space to where the inani-
mate figure lay. He bent partly down and scrutin-
ized it for a moment.
I thought so," he remarked, straightening up.
Thought what ?"
Do you remember that Shawanoe who struck
you such a fearful clip alongside the head just after
they took us prisoners ? "
Remember him! I should think I did; I feel
that blow yet,"