CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

August 2, 2011

Native American Warfare on the Western Frontier


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

NATIVE AMERICAN WARFARE

ON THE WESTERN FRONTIER

     A chapter in my historic romance novel (Intertwined Love) tells about the first group of French émigrés who traveled west to found the town of Gallipolis, Ohio. One of their fears about traveling through the western frontier (west of the Allegheny Mountains, known then as the Ohio lands) was being attacked by bands of Native Americans. Below is an excerpt from my novel draft. It is one story the French emigres might have heard as they traveled to the Northwest Territory in October 1790. I might warn you, it is pretty gory. Those with weak stomachs might pause before reading it.*

     “There was the tale about three victims who were captured by the Indians. Two were tied to trees, around which large fires were kindled so the Indians could delight in watching their victims writhe in agony. They listened to their victims’ screams while they were gradually scorched to death Eventually one Indian stepped up to a victim, ripped open his body, and threw his bowels into the flames. Other Indians joined him, and using burning sticks and heated irons proceeded to lacerate, pierce, and tear the flesh from the victim’s breasts, arms, and legs, until death mercifully closed the scene.

     “They kept the third victim separate for a few hours. Then they dug a hole in the ground deep enough for the man to stand in, upright, and then they pinioned his arms to his body and placed him in the hole, with only his head above ground. They filled the remaining space with the loose dirt they had dug up. After scalping their victim, they left him alone for several hours to suffer. When they returned, they kindled a fire near his head. The victim of this hellish barbarity yelled that his brains were boiling in his head, and begged for the mercy of instant death. The Indians, deaf to his cries, ignored his entreaties while building the fire so high that the victim’s eyeballs burst and gushed from their sockets. Death finally put a period to his sufferings.”

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The following tale, also excerpted from the novel draft, is a balance to the tales of Indian atrocities.

     “It wasn’t just the Indians who were cruel. When the tide of Colonial affairs turned, a bounty was placed upon the scalp of the Indians. For every male scalp of an Indian over ten years of age, the reward was one hundred and thirty four pieces of eight**. Scalps of females over ten years of age brought fifty pieces of eight. The hunters didn’t rest until they had a coveted scalp lock stretched over a willow hoop, drying over the hot coals of the hunter’s camp fire.

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SOURCE/FOOTNOTE

*If someone wants the source, please make a request and I will search for it. I didn’t record it in the novel.

**The Spanish dollar (also known as the piece of eight, the real de a ocho or the eight-real coin) is a silver coin, of approximately 38 mm diameter, worth eight reals that was minted in the Spanish Empire after a Spanish currency reform in 1497. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_dollar)

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ADDITIONAL READING:

RAINBOW’S END Part 1

THUNDER MOUNTAIN LENAPE NATION POWWOW

THE AMAZING BEAVER

ICE HARVESTING: BIG BUSINESS IN EARLY AMERICA

HOW TO HARVEST AND STORE ICE (ICE FARMING)

www.intertwinedlove.wordpress.com

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