History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Volume II, Page 535 An Escape from Brant.-- Capt. Henry Eckler, of Warren, Herkimer county, was out with his friend, David Harmore, in the summer of 1781, in the vicinity of Fort Herkimer, and unexpectedly fell in with Brant and a party of his warriors. The chief, who was well acquainted with Capt. E., addressed him by name and asked him if he would surrender himself his prisoner. "Not by a d---sight, as long as I have legs to run!" And suiting the action to the word, he turned and fled at the top of his speed, and his companion with him. The surprise took place near a piece of woods, into which the fugitives ran, fired on and pursued by a band of yelling savages. Eckler had proceeded but a little distance in the woods, when he found it would be impossible for him to run far with the speed requisite for his escape by flight; and passing over a knoll which hid him from the observation of his pursuers, he entered, head first, a cavity at the root of a wind-fallen tree. He found its depth insufficient, however, to conceal his whole person, and like a young partridge, that, with its head concealed, feels secure, if it remains still, he resolved to keep silence and trust to Providence for the issue. The party pursuing soon arrived upon the knoll, and halted almost over him to catch another glimpse of his retiring form. But they looked in vain; and while they stood there, and he heard their conversation, he expected every moment would be his last, as he was sure if his foes looked down they could not fail to see at least one half his person. He thought, as he afterwards told his friends, that had Brant, who also came upon the bank above him while he was thus concealed, but listened, he must have heard his heart beat, as it felt in his breast like the thumping of a hammer. Supposing Eckler had fled an opposite direction, his pursuers overlooked his place of concealment, and expressing to each other their surprise at this sudden exit, and declaring that a spirit had helped him escape, they withdrew, when he backed out of his hiding place, and regained the fort in safety. His comrade also effected his escape uninjured, although he had a long and strong race for liberty. Dr. Z. W. Bingham, corroborated by Isaac Maxfield.
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