Capt James Downing - 20 Aug 1930, Evening Independent, Massillon, OH
Scouts Had Narrow Escape In County Battle With Indians to is to a of to is After the colonies had' won their independence from England, the government set upon a .plan of sending groups of scouts into the country west of the Ohio river for reconnolter work. . In reality they were spies whose principal purpose was to keep a watch on the movements of hostile Indians and intercept their attacks on the white settlements. In addition the scouts were to survey the lands by eye, noting the development of the country by the pioneer settlers, the fertile condition of the land and the abundance of game. They were men of rugged countenance who knew no fear, who loved the forests and adventure and most of all, men who were acquainted with the customs of the Indians. Start- Scouting' Trip In April, 1793, a party of five scouts, all of whom later became settlers of Stark county t set. out from their rendezvous ori the east bank of the, Ohio crossed the river neaJrY.Yellpfr' creek and followed/ up the "north"'^branch to "a point near its source. In the group were James Indians were at close range, • then took deliberate aim and sent a bullet into the nearest savage. A volley of shots from the other red men . was the answer. The bullets cut the trees and riddled the bushes but none of the scouts was injured. , Miller Draws Indians Away Hearing the . firing, Miller and Foulk, hastened to the scene, and soon came upon the Indians. Miller picked up his gun and prepared to shoot an Indian in the act of reloading a rifle when he was seen by tha ^chief who gave up a yell attracting 1 the attention of the other savages. Miller sprang behind a tree, but finding himself surrounded and realizing that the tree would protect him no longer he started to run and the Indians left Downing, Cuppy and Dillon, and. started after the fleet footed Miller. For a time they gained on the scout, the Indians getting so close that Miller recognized one of his pursuers as Tom Jill e way. After crossing the Sandy safely, the scout put every ounce of effort into his flight, running swiftly for I Downing sr., John Cuppy Isaac a mile and a half until he reached ac M .n ler> Sm rge U i H nd Thomas the highlands. Here he paused for Dillon. Dillon and Foulk when boys a moment but could 'hear no sound were captured by the Indians and in growing up with them became closely familiar with their methods of warfare and customs. Upon reaching a point near the source of Yellow Creek, the scouts headed westward toward the Sandy river, a Stark county stream. They explored, the territory for miles around and reached the head waters of the Sandy without having seen a sign of an Indian. Concluding there were none in the vicinity, they decided to hunt some g^me and replenish their rations which were practically exhausted. Up- to this time not a gun had been discharged for fear of attracting Indians. Indians Hear Shots Downing, accordingly shot a/deer and another member of the party brought down a wild turkey. A party of 18 or 20 Indians consisting of the wandering Ottaway and Wyandot i tribes, heard the shots and sensed jthe direction from which they came. Dividing their forces, they prepared to close in on both sides. Cuppy was engaged In examining his gun, when upon looking up, he sighted an Indian at some distance peering through the underbrush. He immediately spread the alarm, and fired at the savage who fled upon being discovered. Miller and Foulk gave chase, but only for a short distance, for they realized that once the savage would reach the heavier timber, he would conceal himself behind a tree and give battle. They turned back to their camp but found a party of six or eight Indians closing or see no movement of the Indians. He rested for awhile and then cautiously worked his way back to the point where his company was first [ - surprised, . hoping that here he would find the other scouts. They were gone, however, so he decided to turn back for their rendezvous along the Ohio. He travelled as long as he was able to see and at night reached Yellow Creek. Here he slept until morning, making himself a bed out of leaves under a fallen tree. Finds Companions Early the next morning he was again on his way and upon crossing the Ohio at Yellow Creek, found Downing, Cuppy and Dillon safe and unhurt, although the former's eyes were bloodshot and his fuce swollen from the exertion. It was evening of the next day before Foulk made his Appearance. He had concealed himself when the Indians attacked Miller and lingered on a hillside nearby where he could watch them for the night. Their ceremonies indicated that two of their number were killed by' Downing's bullets. The scouts were surprised, the next day to see General Anthony Wayne descending the river with his troops riding in 95 flatboats. They were on their way to Camp Washington near the present city of Cincinnati. The scouts saluted Wayne who drew to shore with a boat load of the company's best sharp-shooters. A good gunman was the pride of the from Downing, Dillon and Cuppy. Miller and Foulk, seeing themselves so greatly outnumbered concealed themselves behind trees. Each One to Himself In the meantime the other three members-of the party were busy defending their lives. Downing said to Cuppy and Dillon, "Let us stand together and defend ourselves to the last," but Dillon who knew too well the Indian methods, said "No, Every man to himself," and immediately began to run. Downing and Cuppy kept together, however, and moved along cautiously towards the forks of the Sandy. When the Indians pressed too closely, they would turn around and aim as though to shoot. The Indians would jump, crawl around and go through all sorts of motions trying to divert the aim of the scouts. The Indians gradually became bolder, however, and drew near the two men. Watching for an opportunity. Downing brought down the nearest savage with his rifle which had the effect of keeping the others at a greater distance. Fight or Die At length. Downing and Cuppy came upon Dillon who had himself and who was .. target practice. The scouts defeated the sharpshooters and won the' admiration and compliments of "Mad Apthony," who withdrew after treating them to brandy. Their encounter with the Indians was probably the most narrow escape any white man ever had from Indians on Stark county soil. WARNER BROS. BUY MASSILLON THEATER Sale of the Schine chain of theaters to Warner Bros., was contained in an announcement received here today by Carl Osborn, manager of the Lincoln theater, one of the picture houses involved in the deal, completed Tuesday ift New York. Manager Osborn was notified 'that change in ownership becomes effective next Monday. to the ground from exhaustion. Dillon pleaded for help, and Downing and Cuppy both middle aged men were too tired to continue the flight much longer. "I'll stand and fight under this thorn bush If I die," said Dillon, so Cuppy and Downing resolved to stay with him, and took positions behind trees, awaiting appearance of the savages. Downing reserved his fire until the STEAL BICYCLES Two colored youths, eight and nine > years old, were caught Tuesday aft-' ernoon riding a bicycle which they had stolen from a residence on the east side of the city. Upon questioning the boys police learned that one of the youths had two stolen scooter bikes at his home. The officers got the bikes and took them to the police station where the owners may have them upon identification. The two boys were dismissed after spending several hours In Jail. New York claims the lowest death rate for large cities—11.2 per 1,000— over a 3-year period.