Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Escape of John Rother and his Niece from an Indian

Vol II, Page 359. Among the German families living comfortably in the Geisenberg settlement at this period, three or four miles southerly from Fort Plain, was that of John Rother, or Roth, as in English.*

*Other families in the locality were those of Myers, Casler, Olendorf, Copeman, Schneider, Brookman, Reaner, Sitz, Bellinger, Conterman, Kesler, Zoller, House, Pickard.

He owned the grist mill in that locality, and Daniel Olendorf was his miller. His landed estate subsequently went into possession of the Hall family. As was the case with most of his neighbors, Rother kept a large watch dog; which, as the enemy approached his house, August 2, 1780, set up a furious barking. Discovering the Indians, he sprang to his house and, seizing his gun, fled toward Fort Plank, situated between Geisenberg and Dutch Town, more than a mile from his dwelling. He was followed by a niece, who was a member of his family. His wife was concealed in a field of growing flax. As the Indians came near the dwelling they were furiously set upon by the dog, which they stopped to shoot; the gun alarming several neighbors. The Indians lost no time in plundering and burning the dwelling; the first they fired in that neighborhood.

Rother and niece, in their flight, were pursued by a single Indian, tomahawk in hand, who was intent on their death or captivity. The young lady could not keep up with her uncle, and as she fell in his rear and saw her foe gaining upon her, she shouted, "Uncle, the Indian!" He would then halt, raise his gun, and the warrior would stop or fall back, enabling her to pass him, when he would again set forward. Although Rother's gun was loaded, yet he did not dare to fire on the Indian, lest if he missed him, two more scalps would go to Canada. Thus was the exciting race continued, the ominous shout, "Uncle, the Indian!" being repeated half a score of time, until, as they neared the fort, the Indian was fired upon by its inmates, when he sullenly retired into the forest. Had Rother's gun been in the hands of a Stoner or a Foster, the Indian would have paid dearly for his temerity; and it still seems a wonder, when the rascal stayed his pursuit, that he had not fired at him. Rother lived, a respected citizen, to old age, and is still remembered by aged people of his neighborhood, as a social and combinable old man. His wife the Doctress, as she was called, dispensed her prescriptions for a long period; as she lived to be over 100 years old. John Rother, Jr., a son of this old couple, was a justice of the peace after the war.

From Dr. G. A. Lintner, who had the story from Rother's lips.

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