Chapter XXII
Moravians and Wyandots


For some time before his fatal journey, Colonel Lochry had been losing favor with the Supreme Executive Council in Philadelphia. No question was raised concerning his sincerity and energy in the patriot cause, but his failures to co-operate with Colonel Brodhead, his tardiness and irregularity in rendering accounts of his large public expenditures and the looseness of his militia discipline were charged against him openly. A secret cause of dissatisfaction was his personal antagonism to Colonel Christopher Hays, who wielded at that time a stronger political influence in Philadelphia than any other resident of Westmoreland. Early in the summer Hays was authorized by President Reed to consult with Thomas Scott and other close friends on the frontier and to nominate a successor to Lochry.(1)

On August 15, 1781, while Colonel Lochry was descending the Ohio to his death, Hays and Scott, in a joint letter to President Reed, nominated Edward Cook for county lieutenant(2) and the nomination was confirmed by the Supreme Council before the news was received that the office had been rendered vacant by the blow of a Shawnee's tomahawk. Edward Cook was one of the notable men of early Westmoreland. He was born at Chambers-burg, Pa., in 1741, and at the age of 30 settled between the Monongahela and the Youghiogheny in what is now Washington township, Fayette county. In 1772 he built the first stone mansion in that region and built it so stoutly that it is still occupied by his descendants. His plantation comprised 3,000 acres, fronting on the Monongahela and including the land now occupied by Fayette City. He owned many slaves, was a man of large wealth and famous hospitality and exercised the most extensive influence throughout the Monongahela valley. He was a ruling elder of the Presbyterian church and the chief founder of the pioneer congregation of Rehoboth. He became a member of the committee of correspondence of Westmoreland county and was a delegate to the convention of 1776, which formed the first state constitution of Pennsylvania. For more than four years he was a sub-lieutenant under Lochry.

Another important change took place on the frontier in the fall of 1781. Several times Colonel Brodhead had been involved in quarrels, not only with the local militia officers, but with members of his own staff at Forts Pitt and McIntosh; and when he was accused by Alexander Fowler, a Pittsburg merchant, who had been appointed to audit the military accounts in the West, of speculating with public money, the officers insisted that he should resign his command to Colonel John Gibson, the next in rank. Although a court-martial had been ordered to try him, Brodhead declined to retire, and made it necessary for Washington to write to him under date of September 6, to turn over his command to Colonel Gibson.(3) Brodhead obeyed this order on Septemper 17 and departed for, Philadelphia. He was acquitted of the charges against him and for many years afterward occupied offices of trust and profit in Pennsylvania. He died in 1809 and was buried at Milford, Pa.

His successor in the command of the Western Department was Brigadier General William Irvine, appointed by Congress on September 24, 1781.(4) He. was a native of Ireland, of Scotch descent, a graduate of the University of Dublin and had served for a short season as a surgeon of the British navy. At the close of the Seven Years War he quit the service, emigrated to Pennsylvania and became a physician in the town of Carlisle. He attained a local eminence and some degree of fortune, took a leading part in the patriotic agitation of 1774, was a member of the provincial convention of that year which recommended a general congress and afterward gave his attention to the organization of the Cumberland county associators or "minute men." In January, 1776, he was appointed colonel of the Sixth Pennsylvania, formed his regiment and marched through New York to participate in the invasion of Canada. At the battle of Three Rivers, June 16, 1776, he was captured, was released on parole seven weeks later, but was compelled to remain out of the service until May 6, 1778, when he was exchanged. As colonel of the Second Pennsylvania and brigadier general in the Pennsylvania line, he served with distinction under General Wayne in New Jersey and was in several sharp engagements. When he was ordered to Ft. Pitt he was 4o years old and was the most capable and accomplished officer in command of the Western Department during the war.

General Irvine arrived at Ft. Pitt about the first of November, 1781, and set to work energetically to introduce system into the several branches of the military service, to restore discipline among the troops and to conciliate the factions among the settlers and militiamen of the frontier. It was his good fortune to be able to signalize his assumption of command by a public celebration of the surrender of Cornwallis, which had taken place at Yorktown on October 19.

Just before the arrival of General Irvine in the West, an event took place in the valley of the Tuscarawas river, which entailed many evil results to the frontier. A large body of savages forcibly removed the Moravian missionaries and their Indian converts from their three settlements on the Tuscarawas to the valley of the Sandusky, where they were planted amid the villages of the hostile Wyandots and Delawares.

This removal was ordered, with good reason, by Colonel DePeyster, the British commandant at Detroit. The presence of the Moravians almost midway between the British and the American posts had seriously interfered with the prosecution of the war by the British and Indians against the colonies. The missionaries and their converts claimed a strict neutrality but did' not observe it. Zeisberger and Heckewelder were secretly the friends of the Americans and conducted a regular clandestine correspondence with the officers at Ft. Pitt, giving valuable information of the movements of the British and hostile savages. This correspondence was suspected by DePeyster and his partisan leaders and they had several times urged the Moravians to move nearer to Detroit. The hostile Indians threatened the converts with destruction because they would not join in the war, while many of the borderers believed that the men of the Tuscarawas villages did occasionally participate in raids on the settlements. The settlers had little or no faith in the Christianity of the Moravian red men. To save the Moravians from danger on both sides, Colonel Brodhead advised them to take up their residence near Ft. Pitt, but they refused to heed his warnings. The convert villages were between two fires, constantly liable to be consumed by one or the other, but Zeisberger and Heckewelder were blind to the peril.

In August, 1781, DePeyster became convinced that the missionaries were giving information to the Americans. Thereupon he sent Captain Matthew Elliott, with a small party of tories and French-Canadians, to secure Indian assistance and remove the Moravians to the Sandusky. Elliott was joined by about 250 savages, including Wyandots, under Dunquat, the half-king; Delawares, led by Captain Pipe, and a few Shawnees.(5) Elliott's party performed its errand with unnecessary harshness.

The Moravian Indians numbered about one hundred families(6) and occupied three villages on the Tuscarawas river. Schoenbrun (Beautiful Well) was on the west bank of the stream, two miles below the present town of New Philadelphia. Seven miles farther down the river, on the eastern bank, was the principal village, Gnadenhuetten (Tents or Huts of Grace), and again on the western bank, five miles farther down, was Salem.(7) These villages consisted of fairly comfortable log cabins and were surrounded by vegetable gardens and large fields of maize. The Indians possessed herds of cattle and hogs and many horses.

Elliott's band seized and confined the missionaries and their families and gathered them and all the converted Indians at Gnadenhuetten. The prisoners were permitted to prepare food for the journey and to pack up some of their goods, but their huts were looted and many things were stolen by the hostiles. On September 11 the movement from Gnadenhuetten began. Blankets, furs, utensils and provisions were carried on the horses and the cattle were driven along, but the Moravians were forced to leave behind their great stock of corn, unhusked in the fields. Men, women and children trudged afoot, and the feeble ones, white and red, suffered sorely from fatigue and hunger.

The sad procession descended the Tuscarawas to its junction with the Walhonding and passed up the latter stream to its sources, thence over the dividing ridge to the Sandusky. In the ascent of the Walhonding the greater part of the provisions was conveyed in canoes, and during a wild rain storm two of these canoes were sunk, with their valuable cargoes.(8)

By the time the Moravians had reached the Sandusky river they had been robbed of their best blankets and cooking vessels and their food was exhausted. On the east side of the stream, about two miles above the site of Upper Sandusky, they settled down in poverty and privation, built rude shelters of logs and bark and spent a winter of great distress.

In the following March the missionaries were taken, by order of DePeyster, to Detroit for a second time, where they were closely examined on the charge of having corresponded with the Americans at Ft. Pitt.(9) Although they were guilty of this charge, the evidence was not at hand to convict them. DePeyster treated them kindly but would not permit them to return to the Sandusky. They were compelled to make a new settlement on the Huron river.

A striking incident in the history of Washington county was connected with the removal of the Moravians. While the exiles were being conducted up the Walhonding, seven Wyandot warriors left the company and went on a raid across the Ohio river. Among the seven were three sons of Dunquat, the half-king, and the eldest son, Scotosh, was the leader of the party. They crossed the Ohio on a raft, which they hid in the mouth of Tomlinson's run. They visited the farm of Philip Jackson, on Harman's creek, and captured Jackson in his flax field. The prisoner was a carpenter, about 6o years old, and his trade made him valuable to the Indians, as he could build houses for them. The savages did not return directly to their raft, but traveled by devious ways to the river, to baffle pursuit. The taking of the carpenter was seen by his son, who ran nine miles to Ft. Cherry, on Little Raccoon creek, and gave the alarm. Pursuit the same evening was prevented by a heavy rain, but the next morning seventeen stout young men, all mounted, gathered at Jackson's farm. Most of the borderers decided to follow the crooked and half obliterated trail, but John Jack, a professional scout, declared that he believed he knew where the Indians had hidden their raft and called for followers. Six men joined him, John Cherry, Andrew Poe, Adam Poe, William Castleman, William Rankin and James Whitacre, and they rode on a gallop directly for the mouth of Tomlinson's run.

Jack's surmise was a shrewd one, based on a thorough knowledge of the Ohio river and the habits of the Indians. At the top of the river hill the borderers tied their horses in a grove and descended cautiously to the river bank. At the mouth of the run were five Indians, with their prisoner, preparing to shove off their raft. John Cherry fired the first shot, killed an Indian, and was himself killed by the return fire. Four of the five Indians were slain, Philip Jackson was rescued without injury, and Scotosh escaped up the river with a wound in his right hand.

Andrew Poe, in approaching the river, had gone aside to follow a trail that deviated to the left. Peering over a little bluff, he saw two of the sons of the half-king sitting by the stream. The sound of the firing at the mouth of the run alarmed them and they arose. Poe's gun missed fire and he jumped directly upon the two savages, throwing them to the ground. A fierce wrestling contest took place. Andrew Poe was six feet tall, of unusual strength and almost a match for the two brothers. One of them wounded him in the wrist with a tomahawk, but he got possession of the only rifle that was in working order and loaded, and fatally shot the one who had cut him. Poe and the other savage contested for the mastery, awhile on the shore and then in the water, where Andrew attempted to drown his antagonist. The Indian escaped, reached land and began to load his gun, when Andrew struck out for the opposite shore, shouting for his brother Adam. At the opportune moment, Adam appeared and shot the Indian through the body, but before he expired the savage rolled into the water and his corpse was carried away down the stream. One of the borderers, mistaking Andrew in the stream for an Indian, fired at him and wounded him in the shoulder. The triumphant return of the party to Ft. Cherry was saddened by the death of John Cherry, who was a man of great popularity and a natural leader on the frontier.(10)

Scotosh, the only survivor of the raiding band, succeeded in swimming the Ohio and hid over night in the woods. In the morning he made a small raft, recrossed the stream, recovered the body of his brother lying on the beach, conveyed it to the Indian side of the river and buried it in the woods. He then made his way to Upper Sandusky, with a sad message for his father and the tribe.(11)

1 Pennsylvania Archives, vol. ix., pp. 301, 301.

2 Pennsylvania Archives, vol. ix., pp. 864, 440.

3 Washington-Irvine Correspondence. p. 62.

4 Pennsylvania Archives, vol. ix., pp. 419, 425, 433.

5 The Girtys, p. 182.

6. Ft. Pitt, p. 240.

7 Historical Collections of Ohio, vol. ii., p. 682.

8 Western Annals, p. 373; Westward Movement, p. 194; Taylor's History of Ohio, Cincinnati, 1854, p. 357.

9 The Girtys, p. 145.

10 The account of this affair is based principally upon the Narrative of Adam Poe, grandson of the original Adam Poe, published In aerial form in the East Liverpool (O.) Crisis, during July and August, 1891.

11 The Girtys, pp. 134, 151.

SOURCE:  Page(s) 140-152: Old Westmoreland, A History of Western Pennsylvania During the Revolution by Edgar W. Hassler, J.R. Weldon & Co, Pittsburgh, 1900

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