James and Ann Gillham - Indian Story

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James and Ann Gillham - Indian Story - "THE A CHAPTER FROM "FATHSP nLAKK— THE STORY OP...
"THE A CHAPTER FROM "FATHSP nLAKK— THE STORY OP THE GILHAM FAMILY CONTINUED. For the Alton Courier. BY AN OLD P10SEEB. picv. John Clark, ^rill be remembered by all our old scttlen in Missouri and Illinois, for his inoffensive manners, his simple-hearted piety, his ability as a Christian Minister, bis self-sacrificing spirit, and his affectionate intercourse with « nil classes. From tho Mem'mac settlements in Missouri, through the counties of Monroe, St. Clair, Madison, Jersey and Greene, to the frontier settlement, then near White Hal), he traveled on foot as a voluntary Missionary. A memoir of his life is now in press and will soon be issued by the publishing house of Shcl* don, Lamport, &. Co., Nassau street New York. This chapter commences with his departure from Kentucky in May, 1797, for the Illinois country.] AN OLD PIONEEJl. October, 25th, 1854. CHAPTEK -T. And now we find the Pioneer Preacher trudging along the obscure pathway that guided him from Lincoln county in n westerly direction towards the Green river districts, He made appointments and preached in all the principal settlements as he journeyed, and . was treated kindly and hospitably by all'classes of people. It was in the Green river country he became acquainted with JAIIES GiLLMAir, who was then preparing to remove his family and nettle in the Illinois country, anrl wanted three or four able-bodied mcn^tf accompany him, and work the b»al doirw tl»o Ohio and up the Mississippi. Mr. Clark had started from Lincoln county, with the intention of passing through the wilderness on foot, but he .had now a good opportunity of proceeding in a keel-boat, or French pirogue by water. They fitted out at the Ked-Cornlw, on [he Ohio. While pursuing their journey of several hundred miles, Mr. Clark, in accordance with a long cherished wish,had n line opportunity to leani much of the Indian'character and habits from this family. Mrs. Gilham and three children bad becnredecm- ed from a lone and distressing captivity but two years before, and the story of her privations, sufferings, and wonderful preservation, as told to Mr. Clark, while sitting around their camp-fire at night, deserves a place in thin narrative. Mr. James Gillham was a native of South Carolina, where he married hi* wife Ann, and commenced the battle of life as a frontier farmer.— Ho rcroovcu-hiH young family 1" Kentucky and pitched his. station in the Green river country, then the vrealt-rn frontier of lhai district. Here he purchased a claim to a tract of land, and cleared a farm, cheered with the hopeful anticipations of a happy and peaceful life; but like many others he and bis wife were doomed to disappointment. They had three sons and one daughter livinc, between the ages of four and twelve. It was in the month of June, 1790, that he was ploughing in his cornfield, noun- distance from his house, from which he was hiJden by a skirt of timber; while his eldest son Isaac, was cleaning Ihe hill* from weeds with a hoc. At the same time several "braves" of the Kickapoo tribe of Indians from the Illinois country, were iurkinp in the woods near the house, where Mrs. Gillham, the two little uo.vs, Samuel and Clem- rat, and the little daughter were nhcltrml, wholly unsusfiici**«fWTf-such visitors. The Intlians, finding the door open,rushed in ; some seized the woman and gagged her to prevent alarm; olliors seized the children who couid make no resistance. Mrs. Giilham was so alarmed thai sli* 1 1<»I her sensrs. and could not recollect anything distinctly, until aroused by the voiceufSamur!—"Mamma, we're all prisoners." This excited her feelings, and she looked around lo sec whrlhei- the other children were alivr. Indians never walk abreast us while people do.— One I<'a'3solTon the trail and Ihe oUiers follow in single file, and are sonvlinics half mile apart- Onr stout bold warrior went forward as the guide and another kept many yards, behind as a spy, cautiouslv watching to sqc if they ware followed. They kept in the thick' forest and canebrakes, out of tin- way of all Ihe settlements, lest thcv should be discovered. Mrs. Gillham and her children were in great distress. Tt.cv were hurried forward by their savage masters, whoso ITcrce looks and threatening gestures alarmed them exceedingly. The 111- dians had ripped open their fcjthcr beds, turned out llir feathers, and converted the ticking into sacks, whirh they had filled with such articles of clothing as they could conveniently carry from the cabin, but were ill too much haste to by off with their captives lo Iny in provisions. They were used to periods of starvation, and could go three or four days and her little ones er and ^children were gone! The "signs" were too plain to leave any doubt on the mind I'f the husband and father of their late! They were Indian captives unless «ome were killed. The' first natural impression was, that in attempting to flee, they were, butchered by these monsters of the woods. Isaac began tocry and coll loudly for his mother, until he was peremptorily told by his lather to hold his tongue and make no noise, as some of the Indiansmight be concealed watching for him sad his son. Ho knew the character and habits of these cunning sons of the forest, and stealthily examined in every direction for further signs. He soon fell on., their trail, aa they left the clearing and entered the woods, and saw in one or two places the tracks of his wife nnd Ihe little ones. He now felt encouraged, for he knew that Indians moiegcncrally kill persons on their first attack, and that when they take possession of women and children, they take them to their towns, that they may adopt them in the place of those they have lost, and train them up in Indian ways, and thus increase the number and strength of the tribe. White children, who arc thus trained np by Indians, make the smartest and often the most fcroriou. s res. The country where Mr. Gilhani resided was very thinly settled, and it was not until the next day he could raise a party strong enough to pur- .•ithout fond ; hut the mother suffered to an extent beyond the conception of our readers. But human na- lure ran endure much in extreme cases. Tbe feet of Ihe children soon Itecamc sore and torn with briers; ami the poor woman tore her clothes to obtain rags to wrap around their feet. The savages, as they tliouslit, treated them kindly, thcv woald have done to their own chil- md Mrs. Gillham and the children had jUSt » <lrcn, liecn familiar with the privations of a frontier life; hut they always had enough of plain, coarse food to eat—now they were starving. The Indians had with them a morenl of jerked venison, which they gave the children, but for themselves nnd thc'niflbring mother there was not n particle of food to eat. One day they encamped in an oh•cure place, and sent out two of their best hunters, who crept stealthily through the thick brush and cane, and returned towards night with one poor Raccoon. Mrs. Gillham afterwards told her friends lhat the night of that half-starved 'coon was more gratification to her at that time, than any amount of wealth could havo afforded. She was in great distress lest her children should perish with hunger, or the Indians kill them.— They dared not hunt near the settlements, lest thev should be discovered. The coon was dressed by singing on" Ihc hair over n blazo of fire, and after throwing away the contents of the intestines, the animal was chopped in pieces, nno boiled in n kettle, with the head, bones, skin and entrails, and made into a kind of souj). When done, and partially cooled, the children, mother and Indians sat around the kettle and with horn spoons, and sharpened sticks for forks obtained a poor nnd scanty relief from starvation. They approached the Ohio river with caution, lest white people might be passing in boats.— They camped in tho woods near the present site of Hawcsville, and raatlc tUrcc mftn of Ary logc. with slender poles lashed across with thongs of elm bark, nnd placed them near the river, that they might push them in and cross over before they became soaked in water and heavy. The wily Indians were too cunning !o cross by daylight, lest they would be Jiscoverd, and Mrs. Gilham was exceedingly terrificil'at the danger of crossing by night. However, (hey nil got over .afcly. The warriors considered it a great achievement to capture a white vromajn anil three children in Kentucky, and elude all pursuit, and reach their own villages, on Salt Creek in the Illinois Muntry, without being discovered and they exercised all their cunning and sagacity to accomplish this daring feat. When they reached the wilderness north-west of the Ohio river, they were in the Indian coun try, and proceeded slowly. They hunted with such success in the country between the Ohio and White river, that they had plenty of provisions. Thev kept to the right of the settlements near Vinccnncs, and along the valley of White river, and crossed the Wabash below Tcne Haute, and proceeded through the present comities of Clark, Coles and Macon to their towns in Logan county. (On the sectional map of Illinois, the reader may see the creek that beam their name, and enters Salt Creek from the north, some three or four miles west of Postvillc. The Kickapoos had several little vBlagcs in that part of the country, on the waters of Sangamon river, but the village where Mrs. Gilham and her family were carried, was at the locality first pointed out) Here tbe Indians held a season of feasting and frolicing with their friends for their successful enterprise. And here we must leave Mrs. Gnham Md her children, distributed aa they were among different Indian lamUies, und suffering ill tho hardships of Indian caplinu, until the war wa» over and peace made in 1785. We will now retnm to the father nnd «on in Kentucky. They continued their libor in the «,mrleld until dinner time, when the horse was anil they returneil to'the boose. There i in confusion. The- feathers from scattered overthe yard; therooth- sue them witU any prospect of success. He and his neighbor, followed the trail for some distance hut Indians, where they expect pursuit, are very cunning and skillful in concealing their tracks and throwing their pursuers in the wrong direc lion. Where a large number ore together, they divide into small parties, and make as many sep- arata trails as they can. They will step will singular cautions so as to leave no marke, thcy-will wander in opposite directions and make tlieir'trails cross each other. When they come 1. a stream of water they will wade a long distann in tho water, and frequently in a contrary direc lion to that of their journey : and unless their pursuers understand all their tricks, they will no fail in deceiving them- Mr. OTIbam and In friends understood their strategy but could no find their trail after they once lost it. It is prob able they struck the Ohio river some distance froi the crossing place of the Indians. "\"o one who has not experienced the same af fliction can fully realize the distress of poor M. Gilham, when, after a long search he was oblige to yield to the advice of his neighbors, turn bad and leave his wife and children in savage hands But hope did not desert him. He knew the. must bo alive, and he hoped the time was not fa distant when he might hear from them. He sold his farm in Kentucky, put Isaac in th family and charge of a friend; fully determine to reclaim his lost family, or perish in the cfl'or He visited Fort Vincent, (now Vinccncs) an Kaskaskia, and enlisted the French traders, wh held personal intercourse with tin Indian tribe of the North-west, lo make inquiries, and rcdcei them if they could be found. He visited GencrT St. Clair, at Fort Washington, (now Cincinnat who was Governor of the North-wcf tern Territo ry, and who had just returned from the lllino countiy. He learned that the Indians, stimula ted by British traders and agents in the KOI were meditating hostilities. Anthony Garnelin an intelligent French trader, had been sent ou by Major Hamlramick, with instructions fro Gov. St. Clair, on an • sploring mission M !' Indians, along the Wabash and Mauuiec, learn their designs, and he had ju.t returnc with abundant evidence "f lin-ir hostile intc: lions. General Harirmr had commenced his unfortunate campaign, and the prospect was dark and discouraging. ham to penetrate the Indian country, and go from .ribc to tribe until he found his family, but Gov. St. Clair, and all others acquainted with the state of things in the North-west, dissuaded him from such a hopclcs* attempt. Aftera lapse of five years of doubt, trial and disappointment, he learned from some French traders that they were alive, and among the Kickapoos inlllinois. At the treaty of Greenville, the chiefs of the Indian tribes promised to give up all American captives, but a French trader hod made arrangements for ransoming! them ; the goods having been furnished by. an Irish trader at Cahokia, by the name of Atchcrsou. With two Frenchmen for interpreters, and guides, Mr. Gilham vtAcd the Indian towns oh Salt Crcrk, and found bio wife and children olive, but the youngest, Clcm- cnl, could not speak a word of English, and it was some time before he knew, and would own his father. Mr. Gilham hod become enamored with the Illinois country, and after he had gathered his family together in Kentucky, resolved to remove them' to the delightful prairies he had visited, and died aljout 1812. As an honorable testimonial of the hardships and sufferings of her captivity, Mrs. Ann Gilham, then a widow, in 1815, received from the national Government, ono hundred and sixty acres of choice land in the County of Madison, where the family settled. A large number of the Gilham connection followed this pioneer to Illinois, where their dependents arc still living. Mr. Clark and the Gilham family met with no difficulty on their voyage. They floated down the. Ohio with the current, aided by the oars and calptng knife of the linages. The Trench udtunothcr fort nn.thc same spot afltrnards, nd 'called it Massacre, or as they taught the mericon pioneers to call it MaAsac. _ Early in the same season that Mr. Clark came ith the .Gilham family a colony, of one hundred and twenty-sii emigrants ac'rouriiom the south ranch of the Potomac in Virginia, for Illinois. f Redstone, on the Monongahela (now Browns- illc) they fitted out several flat-boats, on which, •ith'their .horses and wagons, they floated down K current'to Pittsburgh, and thence down the Ihfo to Massac, where thcv landed arid went cios4.thc country 10 the settlement of Ihe New Jcsign. That season, and especially after they •ft the Ohio was unusually rainy and hot. The treams overflowed their banks, and covered the alllWalor bottom lands on their borders; and j low grounds in the woods and prairies were -overed'with water. ; They were twenty-one lys traveling through this wilderness, the dis- _nce of about one hundred miles, and much 7through dreary forests. Tho old settlers had so long harrassed with Indian warfare, that he farming .business'had been neglected, their atllo were few m number, iread andjorn were : arce. their log. cabins usually contained each single room for all domestic purposes; and hough hospitality to strangers is a universal rait in the frontier characier, it was entirely of the power of the inhabitants to provide accommodation* for these -new comers," who ived in a deplorably famishing and sickly con- ditiSn. They did all they could; a single cabin frequently contained four and . five families. Many families had arrived from'the same country earlier in ihc season, and had prcoccapancy. Their riflcsVould provide veni-son from the woods, jut the weather tliul followed die severe rains midsummer was so unusually hot and sultry their meat spoiled before they could pack it tho hunting grounds; and Ihey were destitute salt to preserve cud season iL Medical aid could bo procured only from a great distance, and very seldom. Under such circumstances no riccd be surprised that of the colony who Virginia in the spring, only one-half of number were alive in autumn ! A riJge in western part of the settlement, near the bluffs, was covered with the newly formed graves! They were swept off by a putrid fever, unusually malignant, and which, in some instances, did its work in a few hours ! The old settlers were us healthy as usual. No disease like ever appeared in the country before or Mr. Clark had good health, and found enough among these suffering families in nursing. instructing and praying soling the dying. ith the sick, and The settlement of New Design had commenced by the American families about dozen year Its situation was on elevated piatejiu. about thirty miles north of Kaskaskia, and from ten to twelve miles from Mississinjii river, and from three to six east of the American bottom, nn<! the contiguous lilufl's. Along the wide alluvial tract, or bottom, there were American families from Prairie du Kocllu'r t" the vicinity of Cahokia. TO LE CONTINUED. WEEKLY COURIER, _^ v ^^_^.s^>j**r«->^^w^^>'~^^w«^/vs^ ALTON, ILL., THURSDAY., NOV. , It >vas the intention of Mr. Gil- FOR STATE TREASURER: JOHN MOORE, OF McLEAN COUNTY. FOR CONGRESS—VINTH DIST: LYBXAH TRUHBULL, OF MADISON COUNTY. FOR REPRESENTATIVE. HENRY S. BAKER, GEORGE T. ALLEN, OF MAU1NE- FOK SHERIFF. ORREN MEEKER, OF ED'tTARDSVT' ' E. " — OUIl 10.ATFOBM. Baltimore Plalloriu—1934. " Kaolvcd. That the Demt«:r:itic party will all atlcialite at renewing, in OiDgrecs or oat of it, agitation of the Elav.TV qui'iriyn, under •hape or color it may Ve made." Jndje Doujla* on IIio Missouri Compromise. [The Mi^r.ari CoinpromUe had] " a-j origin to thr.t of the Constitution of tbe United State.", conceived in the same spirit o[ fraternal affection, calculated to remove forever the danger v.'liichj-ceraod to threaten, at some distant day, to sever the bond of union. All the evidences of public opiniun that day, seemed to indicate that this compromise become canonized in the hearts cf the American pic as a sacred thing, which no ruthless hand «vcr be reckless enough to tii?turb." President Pierce on Slavery Acilatiou. "That this reposo is to suffer u" shoe 1 .; during official term, if I have power to avoid it, tlm?e placed me here may be assured." setting poles, but to stem the strong current of the Mississippi, they used the cordellc and Betting poles; and occasionally crept ulon? the shore by " bush whacking/' Mr. Clark maoc* a capital hand on the uoat, and cheerfully engaged in the labor and toil of the voyage. His ciporicnM in sea-faring business made him an acquisition to the company, and laid the foundation for friendship in this family and with all of the name, until death parted them. Many of the Gilham connection became Methodist in Illinois, but father Clark was the motl welcome guest who entered their houses. When night came on they tied their boat to a tree, at the shore, made a fire, and camped in the woods, where they provided then- two meals for the day. They moved up the strong and turbid current of the Mississippi, at the rate of twelve miles each day. Indians occasionally hailed them from the shore, but they were friendly, nnd only desired to barter venison and peltries, for whisky, tobacco, com-menl, knives and trinkets. When the company reached Kaskaskia, Mr. GlLHiil sold his boat to some French rayagcura and made his first location in the American bottom, about twenty-five or thirty miles above the town. Both be and his family were hospitably raCT*«l, by tl»«. •nulcrs. .for they knew their trials and the history of their captivity. Mr. Clark soon found religious friends, and was ready to preach the gospel on these remote frontier. The Indians of the north-west had been so severely chastised by " Mad Anthony," (as the soldiers called General Wayne) that they were glad to make peace; nnd now after many years of distress, and the massacre of many families in the Illinois country, the people had opportunity to cultivate their little farms, and provide the necessaries to enable them to live comfortably. Explorers now traveled, from .tho older settlements to this frontier country, and even caravans of moving families went down the Ohio in flat-boats, with their horses, cattle, provisions and clothing, to a place called Maiiae by the French, from whence they followed a trail through the wilderness with their wagons, or pack horses, to Kaskaskia and to the settlements of New Do- sign, and the American bottom, thirty miles fur- I'KOL'LAMATfOX. It becomes a free and enlightened public, on propriatfl anipniper times, to investigate the of the past, and to offer up their heart-felt acknowledgment for Ihc manifold blessings conferred them by an all wise Providence, who.-c uaya arc Ending cut. Therefore, I, J<-cl A. Maltsson, Governcr ot Stale of Illinois, would recommend and advise the people of this State set apart from all labor business tho SOtli day of yovcmhcr ncit, ns .1 of Thanksgiving and 1'rajcr. In testimony vucreuC* I litive hereunto set hand and caused the great sea! of Stalo jiCUcl. Done at the city of Springfield, SOth day of October, i. n., 1S51. By the Governor. J. A. JIATTE-ON. At-EXANDEn Sruixn, Secretary of Stale. ther. Mossac was a contracted form of speech for massacrc, in the French mode of abbreviating proper names. It was on the Ohio, near where tho town of Metropolis is now situated, which U the neat of justice for Masssc county. Its names is a memento of n fearful calamity in the early part of the last century. The French established a mission and trading post on the right hank of the Ohio, then called the Orcalachc.— The Southern Indians then hostile to these Europeans, laid a etratagem to' obtain possession of the fort. A number of them appeared in the day time on the sand bar, .near , the opposite shore, each covered with the skin of- ft bear, and. walking on all Ionic. They had disguised themselves so completely, and played pantomime so successfully with each other, .that the French people ?did not doubt they were really wild bears from the forests, who came there to drink. "A party crossed. the river in pursuit of the bears, while the rest left the fort, >nd stood t pn tho bank to see the sport. -They, did not dis- cora : lhe deception untfl they found /themselves cut off from returnmg^imth^ the fortf They were-'soon massacreo" by" tie' : tom«%f?k,:ii;a THE ELECT10K. On Tuesday next, and before another number of the Alton Courier will be issued, election, the most impertant which has occurred for many year.--, will have taken in our State, the results of which will a most important influence, notilonly the political parties of Illinois, but of whole Union. At no previous election to few issues presented for the consideration of the public, while at the same time the excitement uovar WIMJ (jroator. 0" the more to be dreaded. But a few months ago, the country pence. The Nor.h and tbo South, tho and tbe West were united in the most cordial nnd friendly feelings of nationality, not a single cloud appeared upon the sky cause the slightest apprehension of the future. The subject of slavery, the only question which could disturb this peaceful repose, had been settled, by tbe measures of 1S50, and tbe two great political pal ties of the countrv had adopted settlement, and solemnly declared it a finality, and deprecated in tho strongest terms, attempts at renewing the slavery either in or out of Congress, under nny pretence whatever. ' At this settlement of this vexed men of nli political parties wero glad, tho Union seemed ns secure and as any true patriot could desire. But last session of Congress all previous Compromises were thrown aside, nnd this difficult and vexed question again made subject of angry recrimination nnd fierce debate. The slave States, who made tbe souri Compromise, not satisfied with fugitive slave law, conceded to them North, determined upon an effort to prostitute free territory to slavery. Tho Missouri Compromise, honored by. all parties, by the Slave States themselves, stood way. A-'Whig from Kentucky into Congress a measure for its repeal. Washington 'Unionat'once denounced measureias ^firebrand thrown into Congress to distract, divide and defeat tho ocratip' party.' 'The Whigs ef the Congress were, ojpose^ toil and it that some other means -mnitie .devised the South to accomplish their darling project. ,, Hdwlhey'accompiished it is now tion of ihe history, of tie 'conntiy, ; Douglas; whose business it ires to• •> !T:;K-'- ' .JE-: i.-grrK.MTi-': ;

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  1. Alton Weekly Telegraph,
  2. 02 Nov 1854, Thu,
  3. Page 2

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  • James and Ann Gillham - Indian Story

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