Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883

Volume II, Page 164

A Novel Adventure. (Facts from Miner's narrative, first published in 1839, and found in Day's Pennsylvania, and in Peck's Wyoming.) One of the romantic incidents growing out of this invasion, was the capture of Frances Slocum, aged five years. She was taken to an Indian home, where she was given the Indian name, Ma-con-a-qua--the "Indian Queen of the Miami," --there reared and remained. Her mother died with the vision of the child on an Indian's shoulder, passing into the bushes. Her brothers grew up and made journeys and inquiries in Canada and elsewhere, without finding her. A traveler accidentally stopping at her wigwam discovered her; and in 1839 two brother and a sister made a journey to her home among the Miami Indians, in Peru, Ohio, nine miles from the nearest white settlement. "I shall know her, said the Wyoming sister, because her brother hammered off the nail of her forefinger in a blacksmith shop, when she was four years old." They entered the cabin sought, and found a woman, who was only to be distinguished by the hair and skin from a squaw. Through an interpreter they conversed with her. She stated where she was born, and the order of the family. "How did you lose your fingernail?" asked her older sister. "My brother pounded it off in the shop." This was indeed the Slocum child. She did not remember her given name, but when asked if it was Frances, she replied in Indian: "Yes Francee, Francee!" It was the first time she had heard it pronounced in almost 60 years. A scene of tears and compassion now followed, in which the Indian sister sat unmoved. She seemed contented with her lot, and in her buckskin garments and ignorance found her bliss. When Mr. Slocum was relating this story to Mr. Miner, the latter inquired if she could speak any English?" "Not a word," he replied, "nor had she any idea of her age." "Was she entirely ignorant?" Mr. M. again inquired. "Why, sir?" said he, "she didn't know when Sunday came. In her dress and manners she was entirely Indian, and no persuasion could induce her to return to the Susquehanna valley. She lived at first with the Delawares, and married one of that nation; and at his death, she married a Miami chief. She could remember seeing her brother and sister running towards the fort when she was captures. She had two daughters, both of whom were married and living in Indian glory, and in that semi-barbarous state the once child prisoner, little Frances Slocum, was left by her intelligent friends. O, what strange vicissitudes that war brought about, of tragedy and romance. She died March 9, 1847, at the age of 72.

An Incident Attending the destruction of Wyoming.-- Some settlers who remained at Wyoming after its general destruction, could hardly have subsisted for two weeks as they did, had not come witty settler, as the Indians were approaching a depository of food, exclaimed, "Small pox! Small pox!" The Indians taking it as a hint to warn them against an infected spot, avoided it then and afterward, and thus the poor settlers were left subsistence at the supposed pock house.-- Peck's His. of Wyoming, page 170.

A Naval Anecdote.-- This incident reminds one of the anecdote published some years ago of a shrewd Yankee privateer, who was pursued by a British frigate. Finding his foe gaining upon him the skipper suddenly lowered sails, got out a boat for sounding, and made every appearance of trying to claw off, as the enemy supposed, from concealed rocks. The ruse was a success, the frigate at once tacked about to avoid foundering at sea, and left Jonathan to drift upon the rocks; but as soon as he found John Bull had turned his back upon him, the witty Yankee raised sails and dashed on in safety through 50 fathoms of water to his own chosen place of anchorage . An old newspaper report.

American Insignia. --In the early part of the Revolution the regular American forces, or as frequently called the State troops, all wore white stocks, and until the French alliance, in honor of which event a black band was drawn through the center. The officers wore a black cockade, and in honor of French cooperation a white center was added. Capt. Eber Williams.

Dr. Thatcher in his Military Journal, under date of July 20, 1780, says: "The Commander-in-Chief has recommended to the officers of our army to wear cockades of black and white, intermingled, as a symbol of friendship of our French allies, who wear white cockades." This was on the arrival in Rhode Island of the land and naval forces sent by the King of French to act with us against Great Britain.

Anecdote of General Putnam, and Punctuality of Washington. A Toast.--Gen. Washington was remarkably punctual in his business, and one engagement was not allowed to infringe upon another. Consequently, when he gave suppers or evening entertainments in camp he did not scruple to give his guests a gentle hint when he wished them to retire. It was often done by adapting as a toast the two French words, "bonne repos," which in his using, signified, time to disperse, or good rest to you! and instantly his guests would depart.

Gen. Putnam, who was a good specimen of New England candor and integrity in his eventful life, gave an evening party in the Revolution to his fellow officers, and after the cloth was removed and the glasses were filled he gave the first toast. Having several times heard Washington propose the same sentiment, and supposing it must be a good one, said he, "Gentlemen, I give you bonne repose! placing much stress on the first word. The party instantly arose from the table to separate, no less surprised than the giver of the toast was to see them. "Wha--wha--what the devil does this mean, gentlemen? Cuth it, what are you going off for!" interrogated the excited and astonished host. One of the guests explained the meaning of the French words, when the brave old Put., with a curse on French toasts in general and one in particular, begged of his guests again to be seated, and the glass soon when jocosely around. Isaac Hall Tiffany.

Offenders, how Punished in the American Army.-- The punishment of small offenses in the Revolution, among the soldiery of the line, was often determined by an umpire of three of their fellows; who heard the charges and testimony, pro and con, and then awarded such punishment as the crimes, in their judgment, merited. Sometimes a fine was imposed, and that individual who was base enough to twit the offender of his transgression after he had manfully paid his fine, was deemed guilty of an offense doubly flagrant, and to his was meted a two-fold punishment. "Cobbing" was often inflicted in the camp for petty offenses. The cob was a flat piece of board with a handle, resembling in shape a battledoor, and was often perforated with auger holes. It was used in punishing crimes characterized by meanness and low cunning, and was inflicted upon the bare breech. At times and hide-whip, and at others the cat-of-nine-tails, wound confidingly around the naked body of an offender. Elisha Back, of Canajoharie, in 1846.

Anecdote of a Linch-pin--Soldiers sometimes had a pleasurable hour in the Revolution, and not unfrequently indulged in sport at the expense of some country vender of eatables. After the battle of Monmouth, a division of the American army crossed the Hudson at King's Ferry and marched to Providence, R. I. Between Guilford and New Haven, Ct., they halted for some time to pick whortleberries, a leisure moment that must have been gratifying to wearied soldiers. In the fall of the year, to break the monotony of camp life, they often took occasion, as opportunity presented, to fill their pockets with apples at some cider-press and their gullets with cider, at the expense of some neighboring farmer, whose good nature was severely tested. On day in the fall of 1778, a countryman, with a wagon box full of apples, as fair as those that had tempted Eve when a horticulturist, entered Providence to peddle them among the soldiery. While a crowd was gathered around the wagon, a wagon drew a linch-pin from it, and, pretending he had found it, offered to sell the greary iron to the huckster, saying it was worth but little to him and he would take a dozen apples for it. A bargain was soon struck, and the evidence of supposed good luck was carefully laid away in the wagon. The apple vender soon after started for another part of the camp, but at the end of two or three rods off came a wheel and down pitched the wagon, sending the applies all over the ground. The surprised soldiers, with mouths full of sympathy and fruit, ran to help the old man pick up those on the ground, taking care to place as many in their pockets as in the wagon. With the wheel again on and "that same pin" again in, the apple dealer, having first become assured that the other wheels were all fastened on and given the by-standers a look that implied an increase of wisdom, hurried his nag to a distant spot, where, to a new set of customers, he soon sold out. -- Capt. Eben Williams.

A Successful Ruse.--Capt. Garret Putman, who formerly lived near Fort Hunter, was out on a scout, as believed, in 1778, when he held some office, at a military post of Tryon county. He had by accident become separated from a little squad of friends, when on ascending a hill he came suddenly upon a scouting party of the enemy. He saw in a moment his danger, thought of a timely expedient and instantly put it in practice. Turning round as if addressing a large party, he shouted at the top of his voice: "Here they are! run up my brave fellows, quick now, and we'll make them all prisoners!" The foemen, supposing they were immediately to be overpowered, took to their heels in double quick time; leaving the honest Dutchman alone in his glory. As may be supposed, he lost no time in regaining his own station.--Everet Yates, of Fultonville.

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