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that genuine eloquence is not the offspring of refinement. But all doubt on this subject has been long since removed, by the testimony of officers who were present when it was delivered, and who many years afterwards, remembered the impression made upon their minds by the affecting appeal of the unlettered chieftain. There are, however, strong reasons for the belief, that Logan himself was deceived as to the part supposed to have been taken by Colonel Cressap in the massacre of his family, and that some of Cressap’s men, in retaliation for an attack made previously by the savages upon some traders, perpetrated this murder without his knowledge. Cressap, it is said, was not in the neighborhood at the time, and could not have known of the sudden broil which produced a catastrophe so deeply to be deplored.
CHA PTER W.
SETTLEMENTS ON THE OHIO,
It is a curious fact that the first explorers of this region, found no Indians settled upon the shores of the Ohio. Throughout the whole length of this beautiful river, not a single vestige of an Indian town is to be found. The aboriginal tribes, who are always at war, seem to have had regard chiefly to that state, in choosing the sites of their villages. For savages, situated as they were, the most commanding positions were those lying near the sources of large rivers, from which they could descend in their canoes to attack an enemy below them, while their own villages would be approached with difficulty, by canoes attempting to ascend against the stream. Where the head waters of two rivers approached, and flowed away in different directions, affording increased facilities for sending off hunting expeditions and war parties, a spot in contact with both streams possessed unusual advantages, and such places were generally occupied. But it will be seen, that for the same reasons, the shores of a large river like the Ohio, into which numerous tributaries of great size and length poured their waters, would be exposed, above all others, to the attacks of savage warfare, as they would be easily accessible from a variety of directions.
It is not known that any tribe was ever settled permanently in Kentucky; no ownership was exercised in that region, and no exclusive title asserted to it, by any nation of Indians, when it was first visited by the whites. It was a common hunting ground for many tribes, who visited it from a great distance, roaming over its rich pastures during the season for taking game, and making it their temporary residence during a part of every year, for that purpose. It was also the great battle ground of the Indians, who met here in desperate conflict, either accidentally, when engaged in hunting, or by concert, in the mutual pursuance of a policy which induced them to carry their wars as far as possible from home. The name applied to it by the savages—the dark and bloody ground—is terribly significant of the sanguinary character of those conflicts, which rendered this region celebrated in the traditionary legends of that ferocious race. Whether any superstition invested the scenes of so many battles with a peculiar awe, and rendered the savage reluctant to reside here, where he might suppose the spirits of the fallen to be wandering, we have not the means of knowing; we are only informed of the fact that a tract of country the most luxuriant, the most abundant in game, and the most prolific in all the fruits, and the spontaneous productions of nature, which yield food, or other necessaries of life, to the wandering tribes, was an uninhabited wilderness. Although the pioneers found the country unoccupied by a resident population, and might properly have taken possession, without violating any law of nations, or moral principle, yet it was precisely in that condition which rendered any attempt to settle the land particularly dangerous. These boundless forests swarmed with parties of hostile savages, who resided too far from the settlements of the whites to fear their power, or to feel any wish to conciliate their friendship. Their own villages and families, were, as they supposed, too distant to be exposed to the danger of retaliation. They were abroad, unincumbered with property. or dependents, and prepared for war; no delay was suggested by prudence, nor any time required for consultation. A hated race had intruded into the hunting grounds, for the possession of which they had long disputed among themselves, and with one accord, the arms of all were turned against the invaders. The pioneers were few, they acted on their own responsibility, with the countenance merely, but not the aid of the government. In the whole history of the settlement of Kentucky, comprising a period of twenty years, neither men nor munitions were sent to these infant settlements. It was not until the Indians had been repeatedly beaten, and the power of our countrymen was completely established in Kentucky, that the government began to send troops to the west, and the names of Wilkinson, Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne, are found in the annals of border warfare. And these officers acted chiefly on the western shores of the Ohio. Yet the pioneers were almost always successful in their battles, and the progress of the settlements was never stopped. They continued to increase steadily in numbers, and to spread gradually over the land. Although the warfare of the Indians was of the most unsparing char
acter, accompanied with all the atrocities of the tomahawk, the firebrand, and the stake, the courage of the pioneers was never damped, and their conduct was equal to every emergency. Without detracting in the least from their merits, it may be inferred from some of the facts above stated, that the war against them was never conducted with much skill or concert. Both parties were far from any place which could afford supply or relief, and neither possessed the requisite facilities for any long sustained effort. The one party usually surprised the other, and the conflict was brief, sanguinary, and for the time, decisive. We have alluded, in our introductory chapter, to the character of the pioneers, and the mode of the earliest emigration to Kentucky. We shall now extend these remarks as far only as is necessary to a complete elucidation of the subject. There is a tradition that a person named McBride visited Kentucky, and cut his name on a tree at the mouth of Kentucky river, in 1754. If there is any truth in the rumor, it does not appear that he made any report which was believed, or by which others were induced to follow his adventurous footsteps. In 1758, Doctor Walker, a gentleman of Virginia, led a small party to explore Powell's valley, east of the Laurel ridge, which he called Cumberland mountain. Receiving intelligence, from some source which is now not known, that the Ohio might be reached, at no great distance, by traveling in a northeastwardly direction, he proceeded on that