Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

With an account of the lost child of the Delaware: Wheaton and the Panther, &c.
Thanks to Willis Barshied Jr. for the donation.

Printed by Hoffman and White,
No. 71 State Street 1836.


The next year, on Wednesday the thirteenth of November, 1778, Cherry Valley was attacked and burnt. Seven hundred Indians and tones, and British, were the perpetrators of this deed ; who came from Niagara, by the way of the Chemung river, as described in Pachin's narrative, and so on up the Susquehannah, under the command of Brandt and Butler.

So sudden and unexpected was the onset, that it was impossible to notify the inhabitants, who, in time of danger could fly to the fort, but the gun, the report of which was known as the alarm gun, was employed in its first shot at the enemy. Many outrages horrible lo relate, were committed here and there among the families, who, if they could have reached the fort would have been saved, as that was not burnt.

The wife of the Reverend Mr. Dunlap, a Presbyterian clergyman, was found dead, scalped, and an arm of her body hanging on the limb of an apple tree. A Mr. Hughey Mitchell, and his family, not having time to reach the fort were all killed except himself, who fled to a hedge fence and there lay hid in full view of the butchery of his wife and children. The last of which was a little child about two years old, which on beholding the horrid faces of the Indians painted in the most frightful manner, turned away and caught hold of the leg of a tory's pantaloons looking, up to his face for protection. But instead of shewing pity, and saving it, he spoke to an Indian standing near, to kill it, which he did at one blow of the tomahawk.

In the midst of the murdering and conflagration of the place, as Brandt was standing by the smoking ruins of a house just reduced to ashes, looking sharply about him he discovered, some eighty or an hundred rods from him, a house built with logs, which as yet had escaped the flames of the general ruin. Instantly he sprang across the field, and passed the woods which nearly hid it from common observation, and fearlessly entered in without compliment, or any such introduction. Here he found a woman alone with five children, the wife of a tory, who at that time was not at Cherry Valley, whose name I think best not to divulge ; she sat spinning at the little wheel, in as composed a manner as if nothing- was the matter, while the sharp ring of the rifle, with the loud blustering noise of the musket were tolling the death nell of her acquaintances.

Brandt being struck with her stupidity and indifference, exclaimed, My God woman are you spinning here, when everywhere your neighbors are murdered by the Indians. She replied, I did not think myself in danger, as we are the king's people ; but now began to be alarmed, as possibly the Indians might not be able to distinguish ; O if I could only see Brandt, he would help me. I am Brandt, said he, but it is out of my power to aid you, as there are many Seneca Indians here who are not under my control, and kill both friends and foes, not caring to make any distinction, as all scalps look alike to them, bringing the same price at Niagara.

All this was said in a moment, while she flew here and there, doing she knew not what; her feelings being quite lively, now that her precious self was in danger. Brandt said to her, take your children and cross that creek and hide in yonder bushes. But, while pointing her to the spot, five Seneca Indians came running that way; you are lost, said he, it is impossible for me to save you. She screamed, O must I and the children be murdered. Spring into that bed with your children and cover yourselves entirely over. She had scarcely done so, when the five Indians, the fiercest of their tribe, came up yelling and painted horribly. Brandt had placed himself at the door, with his back against one post and his foot against the other, with his hatchet stuck into the post above. You cannot enter here, said he to their chief, who was a monstrous Indian, there is no one here but a poor sick woman, and she is on the king's side. O yes, they are all an the king's side now, said the laconic chief, and rushed by into the room. I tell you, said Brandt, this woman who lies here sick, in that bed, has furnished me and my men with food many a time, and she shall not be hurt. Where then is her husband, said the warrior. He has fled, and gone across the creek; I thought I saw a glimpse of him, said Brandt, when I came to the door ; at which the five Indians darted off in that direction, hoping soon to find him.

Now as soon as they were fairly out of sight, Brandt stepped out of the house and gave a yell as shrill as the scream of a panther. Directly there came running five of his own Indians to the house. Have you any paint, said he, that I may mark this woman and her children for my own. At first they said no, when, so great was the anxiety of the woman, that she sprang out of the bed, where she had laid hid, with inexpressible horror, while Brandt was deceiving the Seneca Indians, and offered to have a piece cut out of her cheek, arm or any where, so that she and her children might be marked with the blood.

But soon one of them said he had found a little, when the mark of Brandt was set upon them, as his own, who no Indian dare obliterate, which saved the woman and her children. This was humane in Brandt, notwithstanding she was on the king's side ; as he might here have easily obtained six scalps which would have brought him forty-eight dollars at Niagara, or have given o them over to the Senecas, for the same purpose.

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