Saturday, April 28, 2012

Eluding Tecumseh

From Pioneer Collections, Volume 4, by the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan (recollections of Aura P. Stewart of St. Clair County, Michigan):

After a visit of two weeks my father [Harvey Stewart] returned to Michigan and at the proper time went up to the Thames and himself his brother and five hired men entered the harvest field [at the Ransom farm in Canada] and were progressing finely in securing the grain [for the distillery].

 At this time Tecumseh was with a band of his Indian warriors stationed a few miles above where my father was at work with his men. Previous to this, war had broken out between England and the United States and my father had consulted Esquire Jacobs about his remaining in Canada long enough to secure his grain and settle some other business matters and was informed that he could and as his office was civil and military he would protect him.

But some envious and loyal person had informed Tecumseh that seven Americans were at work in a field some distance below and urged their capture. Tecumseh's feelings being hostile to all Americans, he sent sixteen of his band all mounted on horses to take my father and his men prisoners, but fortunately a friend of my father's on learning that Tecumseh was about to send a band of his warriors mounted his horse and ran him to the field where my father was at work and gave timely notice.

 The messenger told my father that he must leave the field instantly or he would be a prisoner within ten minutes. My father expressed a wish to go to the other side of the field to get his coat as it contained his pocket book papers and all of his money, but his friend insisted that it would not be safe to do so, and he and his men rushed to the river, jumped into a canoe, and rowed down as fast as possible for about a mile when my father jumped on shore at his boarding house to get his clothes.

He had just entered the house when the band of Indians came up. On seeing them the lady of the house requested my father to jump down cellar which he thought not safe to do if the house was searched. He jumped through the window and entered the harvest field where her husband was at work and went to work with the other men. The Indians were told that there were seven men in the field and when they saw the six men in the canoe they hesitated, giving them time to cross the river and enter the woods.

They found lodgings that night at a French house near the mouth of the Thames and the next day took the road leading to the river St Clair and crossing over at Harsen's island hired a friendly Indian to take them across... .

See this post also taken from the Recollections of Aura P. Stewart.

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