Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Life and Times of
Sir William Johnson, Bart.,
by William L. Stone
Vol. II
Albany: J. Munsell, 78 State Street, 1865.


"FORT JOHNSON, 13th Jan., 1758.
"At a meeting of some of the Mohawk chiefs of the lower town.

"Sir Wm. Johnson Bart
"George Croghan Esq.,
"Capt. Thomas Butler.

"Lieut. Claus Dep. Sec'y.
"Mr. Arent Stevens,
"Captain Montour, Interpreters.

"ABRAHAM, Speaker.

"Brother Warra:

"We come here to lay our case before you, which, as it seems present, is very precarious; listen, Brother, and we will relate you our unlucky accident which happened in our town yesterday evening.

"One of our young men who has been these many weeks past from home, returning yesterday found that since his leaving home, an other party of men were posted in the garrison. In order, therefore, to pay a visit to the commanding officer, and bid him welcome to his garrison, (not knowing that the sentries were ordered to stop any Indian from entering the fort) he came up to the gate, and to his great surprise, as quite uncustomary heretofore, was repulsed by the sentry, and after offering the second time to go in, was pushed to the ground with the butt of the gun. Upon which, seeing himself thus unfriendly used, he returned to his house, and going along one of the block houses, they emptied the chamber pot upon him 1 and shrew him with snow balls: standing,

1 In reading of this outrage, one is reminded of a similar adventure of Socrates, related in the Wife of Bath's Tale.

a little after, under the door of his house, he saw two soldiers coming towards the Indian town, and considering his ill treatment a little before, went to the gate of the Indian fort, and attempted to stop the soldiers; giving them to understand, that as they would not let him enter their fort, he was unwilling they should come among the Indians, but he was soon pushed back; and one of the soldiers took up a piece of wood, and knocked him to the ground leaving four wounds in his head. Upon which a French prisoner, who lives in our town, tried to take up the wounded man, but was prevented by the soldiers, and obliged to run for his life to a white man's house just by there, and they followed him, and would have given him some cuts had he not pushed the door after him and kept the door shut.

"Some of our young men seeing all this, immediately ran to meet us, (as we were not yet come home from the meeting at your house); and finding us at John Wemps, where we stopped a little, told us that there was fighting and quarreling among the soldiers and Indians; we hastened home, and I driving up towards my stable in order to take my horses out of the sleigh and put them up, in the first place found four soldiers in the stable, and upon asking them what they were doing there, and desiring [them?] to leave the stable that I might put up my horses, they immediately struck me with their fists; on which I got hold of him that struck me first and brought him on the ground, holding him some time to prevent his striking me again, when the rest got hold of me, tossed me about, and had like to choke me; tore my wampum and silver medal from my neck, which they have either kept or thrown away, as I can't find it in the place we struggled. During the time of this, two other Indians hearing the noise, came to see what the matter was, when the soldiers were calling for help to the fort, as I found afterwards by a number of soldiers coming with drawn cutlasses, and pursued the two young Indians who were unarmed; and one of them ran to his house, and by a good strong door which he pushed after him saved himself, although many cuts were made into the door to split it. The other Indian ran likewise to his house, but he had not time to shut the door, when the soldiers rushed into the house, fell on cutting him and gave him three wounds in his body, two in his head, and a stab in his breast, which proves very dangerous. His sister being in the house at the same time, cried out murder, when one of the soldiers struck at her and cut her in two places under her arm; and her having a blanket about her saved her from being killed. At last an officer a sergeant came from the fort to prevent their doing more mischief, but the soldiers were in such a rage that he was obliged to draw his sword among them and actually cut one of them in the arm; which, Brother, we mention to you for this reason, that upon inquiry into the affair- we mayn't be charged with having wounded him, for we assure you, we had no weapon in our hands during the whole fray, nor intended at all to quarrel.

"Yesterday morning, also, when two of our women wanted to cross the river in a canoe that belongs to us, and being ready to push from the shore, they were pulled out the canoe by the hair of their head, by two of the soldiers, and the canoe taken from them. And not long ago an old woman, wife to one of our sachems, coming along the road with a load of wood on her back, was attacked by the soldiers, who wanted to ravish her, but defending herself with her axe, she prevented their design.

"This, Brother, is now the true state of our complaint, and we assure you we have told you nothing but what is really fact; we could give you more instances for the ill usage and behavior of the soldiers towards us, but will for the present, pass it with silence.

Gave a string of wampum.

"Brother: If you take this our case into consideration, you must be convinced that it is very hard. We, who expected to be beloved by these people as brethren, to be protected and defended by them, to be treated in such a manner! We assure you, Brother, it is a shocking
accident to us, and pierces our hearts. (N. B. The speaker showed tears in his eyes at uttering these words.) We hope, Brother, we have given convincing proofs during our friendship and acquaintance with the English, and last war as well as this, that we have taken your case to be ours, shared the same fate with you, and still are resolved to continue so to our last; and now to see ourselves thus rewarded for our love and fidelity towards the English! There have been many garrisons among us, but we never were so ill used as by the present; it appears by their actions as if they wanted to pick a quarrel with us at any rate. Now and then, when a drunken Indian was troublesome to the officers heretofore, and the sachems found it out, they always took care immediately to make up and settle it between them.

"Brother: If the affair happened in the garrison, we would not think so bad of it, but to see ourselves in danger of our lives in our own doors from people who pretend to be friends and brothers is very bad and not to be borne with. Wherefore, Brother, we most earnestly entreat you to represent our case to the general, and if he has any love or regard for as, he will remove this garrison;, and thereby restore peace among ourselves and prevent farther accident." ( This speech has been copied entire from the manuscript, journal of Sir Wm. Johnson, referred to in the text.)

Thanks to James F. Morrison for loaning his book for the purpose of putting it on the internet.

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