Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

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

Captivity of Little Evau Myers

Vol II, Page 360. August 13, 1851, I visited at her residence in Columbia, the widow of Lawrence Shoemaker, who was then living with Moses Eysaman, a son of her first husband, Jacob Eysaman. She was a daughter of Joseph Myers, who resided about four miles southwest of Fort Plain,and was, at our interview 76 years old. At the invasion of the enemy, August 2, 1780, Myers resided near the Geisenberg; his family consisting of himself, wife, and three children aged three, five and seven years. Evau, the only girl, was then five. Her youngest brother had been kicked on the head by a horse, Myers, who had lost a leg, had gone to Fort Plank on the fatal day to make cartridges, a military duty he could perform. A good part of a mile from Myers, resided Mrs. John Rother, whose skill in the healing art gave her the name of Doctress. * Mrs. Myers desired the two oldest children to go to the Doctress and get some salve for the youngest child's head. The oldest boy said he would carry his brother to her on his back, and let her apply the salve, and Evau went along for the company.

*Indeed she gained quite a celebrity. Geo. Countryman assured me that a soldier named Godfrey Young, wounded in a delicate manner,w as given up by a physician, and was cured by this woman. While another soldier, named Sharks, with a gunshot would in the arm, which a doctor wanted to amputate, she also cared for and saved the arm. She had a garden in which she raised many herbs used in her practice.

When nearly half way there and in sight of Rother's house they heard a gun fired, and on looking, saw Indians about the house. They turned to run home, but the Indians had discovered them, and soon several had overtaken them. One tried to pull off the little boy from the back of the other, but they held fast to each other and cried; and in the next instant another Indian ran a bayonet through them, pinning both bodies to the ground in the death struggle. The oldest was quickly scalped, she was snatched up in the arms of another, and away they ran. Several of the party were soon at the house, of Myers; but fortunately when the children left the house his wife went to pull flax, and hearing the fun at Rother's and divining its import, she laid down tin the flax and escaped notice. Evan did not cry, on which account she supposed she escaped the tomahawk. The house was plundered and burned, and she with other prisoners was soon on the way to Canada, and too young to travel with the party, she was borne on the back of an Indian, most of the way in the long and tiresome journey. She spoke German when captured, was taken among the Indians and forgot her German; but she was so young they finally delivered her at Montreal for a bounty. Here, in turn, she soon forgot her Indian and learned to speak English. She must have been a bright child, for I found her a very intelligent old lay at our interview. Peggy Sharrar, who was also made a prisoner near Myer's, she saw above Herkimer, going to Canada, but of her fate I am not informed.

At an Indian village, an Indian took her in his arms and whipped her; a squaw then set her down to run the gauntlet; in doing which she was put on a horse, and an Indian led it through the lines. She was thumped off several times and he put her on again; she was hurt some, but did not dare cry. She saw the Indians drying scalps on the journey, and at its end her cheeks were painted and she was given an Indian dress. Evau was so young and required so much care, that the Indians grew tired of her, and took her to an English garrison, and received a bounty for her capture. She was a long time in Canada before it was known whose child she was, as she had unfortunately forgotten her own name; * but Peter Olendorf, who was captured at the same invasion, readily guessed her parentage, when she said her father had one wooden leg, and lived not far from a fort. Mrs. Bartlett Pickard, having a nursing child, was captured in the vicinity of Myers', who with other female prisoners, were liberated by Brant and returned home. She told the enemy that little Evau was her daughter, but the pretense did not avail. Mrs. Pickard arrived at Fort Plank three days after her capture almost famished, and then Mrs. Myers first learned the fate of her daughter. Mrs. Pletts, made a prisoner on the same day, in Freysbush, came back when Evau did, taking a motherly care of her, for which she and her parents were ever grateful

*This was not an uncommon occurrence in the war. One of Col. Campbells children of the same age, was in the same predicament when he was delivered to his mother--Campbells' Annals, p. 182.

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