xt7ghx15mz20 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7ghx15mz20/data/mets.xml Baldwin, Thomas, b.1750? 1835  books b92e87b1818352009 English Martin and Wood : New York Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Indian captivities. Frontier and pioneer life --Kentucky. Narrative of the massacre, by the savages, of the wife and children of Thomas Baldwin, who, since the melancholy period of the destruction of his unfortunate family, has dwelt entirely alone, secluded from human society, in the extreme western part of the state of Kentucky ... . text Narrative of the massacre, by the savages, of the wife and children of Thomas Baldwin, who, since the melancholy period of the destruction of his unfortunate family, has dwelt entirely alone, secluded from human society, in the extreme western part of the state of Kentucky ... . 1835 2009 true xt7ghx15mz20 section xt7ghx15mz20 
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BALDWIN, THOMAS.    Narrative of the Massacre, by the Savages, of the Wife and Children of Thomas Baldwin.... 8vo., uncut; large folding frontispiece, two woodcuts; 3/H morocco with original green wrappers. New York:    Martin S Wood, 18 35.

First edition.    Thomas Baldwin, a friend of Daniel Boone and a native of Boonesborough, recalls the calamity that befell his family in 1781 from a lonely cabin in Kentucky.    There is a folding, hand-coloured frontispiece with a charming, primitive woodcut of the events of the Indian attack, and a large woodcut vignette of the aged Baldwin with Bible in hand before his cabin.    The book closes with Baldwin's religious relfections on the afflictions which cut him off from the world.

Sabin 2922. Howes B63. Ayer, Narr. of Captivity, 18, Barbeau, Peering Coll. of Indian Captivities, p. 394.

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Who, since the melancholy period of the destruction of his unfortunate family, has dwelt entirely alone, in a hut of his own construction, secluded from human society, in the extreme western part of the State of Kentucky-

11 Great, indeed, have been my afflictions; but, ns it was the will of Heaven, I ought not to Murmur, but to say like liiin, whose atQictions were still greater," die Lord gave and has taken away, and blessed be his name.'*

, Annexed are some well written Moral Instructions, of the venerable Baldwin, to the bereaved and afflicted, how and where (from his own experience) they may find support and comfort amid the severest trials that may attend them in this "''miserable world," and how to prepare themselves for endless enjoyments in that which 13 to come.


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   Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1835, by Charles D. Wood, proprietor, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States for the southern district of New-York. 

In the extreme western part of the State of Kentucky, quite remote from any other inhabitant, there now dwells one of the most eccentric, and, apparently, one of the most contented and happy characters, that the western country affords. The true name of this extraordinary person, is Thomas Baldwin, although better known in the neighborhood in which he dwells, by that of " the Christian Philosopher" a title which cannot be considered ill applied to one who has drank so deep of the cup of sorrow, and borne his afflictions with so great a share of christian fortitude and resignation. It was in the latter part of November last, (1834) that the writer, in an excursion to the west, was induced, by the solicitation of a christian friend, to visit this venerable Patriarch (now in the 35th year of his age) in his secluded retreat. His humble, weather-beaten habitation, composed of rough materials, is one of his own construction, and where, as he stated, he had, with the exception of a few months, dwelt entirely alone, since the melancholy period when every member of his family (with one exception) fell victims to the ferocity of the merciless savages. His own relation of the murderous deed, together with other interesting particulars of his early adventures (which he freely and concisely imparted to the writer) are, in substance, as follows:

He was born in the State of North-Carolina, in. 1743, where he early married and lived happily with his family, until the month of May 1780, when having formed an acquaintance with Capt. Daniel Boon, who had become quite celebrated in the Carolinas, for be- 

Baldwin's narrative.

ing the first settler of that portion of the western wilderness, which now comprises the respectable State of Kentucky, as well as for the bravery by him displayed in his frequent skirmishes with the savages in that quarter, he was prevailed on by the Colonel, to accompany him, with his family, to that delightful and justly extolled section of the country   " Although (observed Baldwin) a remove with my young family to so great a distance, was attended with many inconveniences, yet, we finally reached the place of our destination in safety.

By the advice of my friend, the Colonel, we first took up our abode in the neighborhood of Boonsbor-ough, (a small village so called) where I erected for myself and family, a temporary log cabin, with the pleasing prospect that I should be able to enjoy undisturbed, my favorite amusement, (the chase,) as the neighboring forests seemed then to abound with wild game of almost every kind, in abundance   but, too soon were my pleasing expectations, in this respect, blasted ; for, although the hostile savages had met with many serious defeats, yet, they seemed unwilling

Eeaceably to bury the hatchet, but continued to harrass, ill, and scalp the defenceless white inhabitants, whenever an opportunity presented. The situation of myself and family, were at this time peculiarly distressing, for it was not only unsafe to adventure far from my cabin in pursuit of game, but at the imminent danger of my life, that I attempted to cultivate the few acres of land that I had cleared for that purpose.

In the spring of 1781, they killed and scalped a woman and her two daughters, but half a mile distant from my dwelling; and soon after in the same neighborhood, made captives of two promising young lads of the ages of 10 and 14. A party of whites, of whom I was one, immediately collected and went in pursuit of their captors, and succeeded in overtaking them, but as they proved double our number, we were obliged in turn to retreat, without effecting the liberation of the two unfortunate youths, who, as they never afterward 
   Baldwin's narrative.


returned to their friends, were, probably, put to death by the Indians, after their savage manner.

Emboldened by their success in thus putting their pursuers to flight, they now appeared almost daily, in still greater numbers, in view of our little settlement; and the more to provoke us, there amused themselves by brandishing their scalping knives, and imitating the dying groans of such of our unfortunate friends as had fallen into their hands, and on whom, in all probability, they had, in their last moments, inflicted the most savage cruelty!   It was, at this critical juncture, thought advisable to form an union of all the effective white men that could be collected, and to save ourselves and families from sharing a similar fate, to equip ourselves in the best manner possible and march out against them.   One hundred and fifty men were speedily collected, who, under the command of Colonels Boon, Todd, and Harland, marched in pursuit of them.   We had penetrated to the bend of the main fork of Licking River, about forty-five miles from Lexington, where we fell in with a very considerable body of them, whom we put to flight, and being ignorant of their numbers, imprudently crossed the river in pursuit of them.   The savages having reached an advantageous situation, came to a halt, and immediately formed in a line of battle to oppose us. The engagement was a warm one, and continued for about thirty minutes, when, being overpowered by numbers, we were obliged to give up the contest, with the loss of seventy of our men, a very few of whom were taken prisoners.   Among the slain were the brave Colonels Todd and Harland, and a promising son of my friend, Col. Boon.   We were informed on the day following, by one of our party who had been taken prisoner, but had succeeded in making his escape, that the savages, on ascertaining that their loss was four more than ours, delivered four of the unfortunate prisoners whom they had taken, into the hands of their young warriors to be put to death, after their barbarous manner. 

Baldwin's narrative.

This fatal and unexpected defeat had a great effect in damping the spirits of the survivors. Among the slain were some of the most brave and enterprising male inhabitants that our new settlements afforded. Many widows were thereby made, and almost every house in my immediate neighborhood became a house of mourning, while fear and sorrow seemed to fill the heart of every surviving inhabitant. Two days after, (having received information that the savages had retired, satisfied with their booty, to their settlements west,) we returned to the battle ground to bury our dead, and which presented a spectacle horrible to describe ! The lifeless bodies of our friends, stripped, cut and mangled, and, in some instances, torn and half eaten by wild beasts, was the scene which presented itself to our view ! We interred in one grave their mangled bodies, with as much decency as circumstances would admit, and returned, with sorrowful hearts, to our afflicted families.

The news of our defeat soon reached the State troops stationed on the frontiers, whereupon General Clark, (stationed at the falls of the Ohio,) sent us a reinforcement, with a request that we should pursue the savages to their very settlements ; in which expedition I volunteered my services, and which, probably, was the chief cause of the unexpected attack on, and fatal destruction of my unfortunate family, eleven months from that period! We fell in with a very considerable body of the enemy within a few miles of their towns, to which they fled for safety; but finding themselves still closely pursued, they soon evacuated them and fled in disorder. Agreeable to the orders of our commander, we set fire to and reduced to ashes their deserted villages   Old Chilicothe, Willistown, Peccaway and New Chilicothe   destroyed all their young corn, and took several prisoners, and without the loss of a single man on our part. The savages, in consequence of the destruction of their settlements, &c. became still more enraged against the whites, and sought new opportunities to 
   Baldwin's narrative.


revenge themselves. A few days afterward, one of them boldly entered a house a little distance from the settlement of Crab Orchard, in which were only a woman, her children, and a negro man, whom the savage seized ; but the black fortunately having the most strength, threw the savage down, when the woman, with great courage, seized an axe and despatched him.

It Avas at about this period, that the Savages obtained the information that peace had taken place between the United States and Great Britain, and that the troops of the former were next to be employed in effecting their extermination   this had a good effect, insomuch that they expressed a willingness to bury the hatchet, and no longer disturb the peace of their white neighbors, if they could be permitted to rebuild their settlements, and their squaws suffered therein to remain unmolested, while they were engaged in hunting as formerly; proposals which were readily acceded to by the whites, and so strong did the savages feign a disposition on their part strictly to adhere thereto, that the former too soon threw themselves off their guard, and some of them, imprudently to remove to greater distances from their fortified settlements   the land (then wild and uncultivated) in the vicinity of the small spot which I now improve, being not only rich and fertile, but abounding with game, I was like others, so much disposed to confide in the professions of friendship of the savages, as then to select this spot as the permanent residence of my family, although less than one mile distant from an Indian settlement. My Indian neighbors appeared however pacifically disposed, for several months after my removal, when, unfortunately, in one of my excursions, meeting with a savage from a distant settlement, by whom I was not only recognised as one of Colonel Clark's party (who had assisted in destroying their villages) but one from whom on that occasion, he, as he hinted, strongly suspected that he had received a wound, the destruction of myself and family were by him no doubt at that 

Baldwin's narrative.

moment determined on! as, three days after, a little after sunrise, my family were alarmed by the discovery of a savage, frightfully painted and armed with tomahawk and scalping knife, secreted in some thick brush, within a few rods of my house   as soon as discovered, he gave the war whoop, which was probably a signal to nine or ten others, who at that moment rushed from a neighboring forest, and who, with a horrible shout, approached my dwelling with uplifted tomahawks.    I was at that instant employed within, and my poor affrighted family had scarcely time to close the door, when their savage foes were pounding and demanding entrance thereat   although they soon succeeded with their tomahawks in cutting a passage sufficiently large to admit of an entrance one at a time, yet, fearing probably of meeting with two warm a reception from those within, they preferred and adopted other means to dislodge us   unfortunately, the roof of my dwelling being composed of pine slabs, overlaid with straw and dry bark, they communicated fire thereto, which burned with such rapidity, as to leave us no other alternative than either to remain where we were, and become the victims of the devouring flames, or by attempting to escape therefrom, fall into the hands of the savages, from whom we had but little mercy to expect!   as but a moment's time was left us to decide, the latter was preferred. My family at that time was composed of myself, wife and three children (two sons and a daughter.) I was the last to leave the house, being engaged in reloading my rifle, yet had a clear and melancholly view of the fate of each unfortunate member of my family as they rushed from the flames ; which presented a spectacle, heart-rending in the extreme to a husband and parent, who could afford them no assistance ! My oldest son (armed with a hatchet) was the first to attempt to escape, and by clashing out the brains of the savage who first laid hold of him, succeeded in clearing his way, but was closely pursued by others, and made prisoner of; and his younger brother, in attempting to follow his example, was 

knocked down, and while one of the merciless wretches was engaged in tearing off his scalp, he was dispatched by a blow from another ! My beloved companion, his mother, shared a similar fate ! and my little daughter (but eleven years of age) who left the house at the same time with her poor mother, was seized by another of the savage monsters, and while apparently in the very act of raising his tomahawk to dispatch her, she fell on her knees and entreated for mercy ! Believing that she was about to share a similar fate of the others, and feeling determined that it should be at the expense of the life of him into whose hands she had fallen, I levelled my rifle at the head of the barbarian, which (fortunately for me perhaps) missed fire ! fortunately I say, for had it taken effect, I should in all probability have been doomed to endure tortures, similar to those which were afterward inflicted on my unfortunate son ! My house was now completely enwrapt in flames, and could no longer afford me a shelter, and as the savages were in a measure obscured by a thick body of smoke produced thereby, seemed at the instant to offer me some and the only chance to effect my escape by flight, and as no time was to be lost, I hastily threw off my coat and waistcoat, threw my loaded rifle into the flames, and sprang forth, and succeeded in outrunning several of them, but becoming exhausted, I was laid hold of by a stout savage, who (with his tomahawk raised ready to despatch me if I advanced a step further) demanded my surrender, to which I reluctantly acceded ! T was immediately thereupon strongly pinioned, and led a short distance from where lay the slaughtered remains of my poor wife and child   in a few moments after my surviving son and daughter were brought to the same spot, and where we were compelled to remain, without being permitted to exchange a word with each other, until the blood-thirsty wretches had finished packing up the most valuable of my effects which they had saved from the flames. ,

Having to their satisfaction succeeded, in not only 2 

Baldwin's narrative.

destroying the lives of two innocent unoffending victims, but in the total destruction of my late peaceful dwelling, together with most of its contents, the fruits of many years industry, they took up their line of march in a direction west, compelling myself and two children to accompany them. They travelled with considerable speed until they reached (as I have since ascertained) a distance of twelve miles, when they came to a halt, and for what purpose, we were too soon made acquainted   it was to consult and agree in what manner they should inflict the greatest torture on my poor son, in retaliation for the death of the savage who had fallen by his hands! the mode finally agreed upon was to burn him alive, at a stake, after their usual manner of putting to death a great portion of their prisoners. Preparations were accordingly made ; one end of a stake of about twelve feet in length was driven into the ground, and to which my poor ill-fated eon was bound; some dry brush was next gathered and thrown about him, and piled to the height of his breast, and to which fire was then communicated, when their savage dance to and fro around the stake (attended with terriffic yells) commenced !   What at this moment were my feelings, and those of my little daughter (who were both compelled to stand and witness the shocking scene) I shall not attempt to describe,   parents alone can best judge ! For half an hour my ears were pierced with the dreadful shrieks and dying groans of my poor child, in the course of which I twiee fainted, and was brought to by the water thrown in my face by his tormentors ; and who, to increase my distress, by their gestures gave me to understand that I was reserved for still greater torments; this was communicated to me by the savage to whom I have alluded, as being in all probability the instigator of the fatal and unprovoked attack on my innocent family   who, during the sufferings of my son, repeatedly cast on me a fiendlike frown, pointing at the same time to the wound on his head, which he believed was inflicted by me. In little more than half an hour 
   Baldwin's narrative.


from the time that fire was communicated to the brush by which my son was enveloped, he ceased to breathe ; nor could I but feel thankful that his sufferings were at an end.

The Indians, after having slightly covered with earth all that remained unconsumed of their victim, (which was done probably to prevent its serving as a guide to their pursuers) they extinguished their fires, and preparatory to their again proceeding forth, bound upon my back a leathern pack, filled with a portion of the effects which my house contained. My burden was heavy, but I was obliged to bear it without a murmur, and indeed, my mind was so distracted with impressions of what might be the sufferings of my little daughter, rny only surviving child, that I forgot my own. Before the close of the day, we were overtaken by another party of savages, twelve in number, on their return from Boonsboro', where they had been to exchange furs for whiskey. Although they in their intercourse with their "white brethren," had probably professed great friendship, yet, on this occasion, seemed, with one exception, as much to exult in my miseries and at the success of their tawny brethren, as they did themselves. My captors were forward on the occasion, to make a display of the booty which they had in their possession, and of some of which they made an exchange with their brethren for whiskey, of which they all drank so freely as to intoxicate themselves to that degree that they could proceed no further that night. I seized on this as one of the most favorable opportunities that might present to make my escape ; I was tightly pinioned, and compelled to prostrate myself on a blanket between two lusty Indians    unfortunately, they had placed my child at a considerable distance from me, and in a situation as to render it unsafe for me to attempt her rescue. About midnight (believing the two Indians by whom I was guarded to be sound asleep) I crept with as little noise as possible upon my knees two or three rods from them, when, finding that in doing this I had caused no alarm, I 

Baldwin's narrative.

arose upon my feet and commenced walking lightly from them, until I succeeded in reaching a distance which I believed beyond their hearing, when severing the cord with which I was bound, by sawing it across a rock, I commenced running, and continued so to do, until the break of day, when my strength failed me, and I found it impossible to proceed any further without seeking that repose which exhausted nature required. Although I had reached a distance as I judged, of twelve miles or more from where I left my savage foes, yet I was not without my fears, that J might have been early missed and pursued by them, I crept into a large hollow tree as a place promising the most safety ; but the horror with which my mind was agitated, at the awful retrospect of the scenes which I had so recently witnessed, in the cold blooded butchery of my unfortunate family, prevented my obtaining the repose so much needed ; and, what served to distract my feelings still more, was the reflection, that although I had been so fortunate as to effect my own escape, my youngest child was still in their power ; and who, in consequence of my flight, might be doomed to endure tortures still greater, if possible, than those inflicted upon her unfortunate brother! the thoughts of her wretched condition, and what would probably be her feelings on finding herself deserted, by one to whom she had been taught to look for protection,, caused me at the moment to reproach myself as one of the most cruel, most unnatural of parents! and to resolve, let the consequences be what they might, again to return and surrender myself a captive to my savage foes ! but on further reflecting that it would not be in my power to afford the poor child any assistance, and that by again placing myself in their power, I might place her in a situation to be compelled to witness (as in the awful death of her brother) similar tortures inflicted upon her surviving parent, caused me to change my resolution, and to resolve that I would hasten to some friendly settlement, to obtain assistance to aid me in effecting her liberation   but, 
   Baldwin's narrative.


after thus resolving, and proceeding at a slow pace with a heavy heart, a short distance, such was the distracted state of my feelings, that I more than once imagined that I distinctly heard the moans of the poor child, calling aloud for her father to return and deliver her from the hands of the frightful savages! Then would I stop, and again resolve, at all hazards, to return, and thus did I spend one half the day, without proceeding fifty rods either way, in resolving and re-resolving, when a thought suggested to my mind the propriety of appealing to Heaven, to decide for me, and to direct me to the way that I should go, resolving that after thus petitioning, I would without further delay, proceed that way that my inclination should lead me to. Upon my knees I offered up a fervent petition to this effect, and had scarcely concluded, when I was aroused from the suppliant position in which I had placed myself, by the barking of a dog, and soon after by the appearance of an Indian, running at full speed toward me ! I now gave myself up as lost, not doubting but that he was one sent in pursuit of me. When within a few rods of me he seized his dog, and holding him with one hand tight by the mouth, to prevent his barking, and with the other seizing me by the arm,, with a friendly smile led me to a thicket, where, requesting me to follow his example, prostrated himself flat on his belly, he still holding the dog in the manner mentioned. We had remained in this situation but a few minutes when the Indian pow-wow was heard, and very soon after their footsteps, as they passed, apparently in great haste, within a few rods of us. At the very moment my Indian friend (for such he proved to be) elevated his head a little to ascertain the course they were steering; as soon as fairly out of sight he arose and requesting me to follow him, took a different route from that of my pursuers. We travelled on an Indian trot to the distance of five or six miles, when my friend perceiving that I was suffering much from bodily fatigue, came to a halt, and being seated, drew from his pouch some parched corn, 

Baldwin's narrative.

of which he invited me to partake, and which proved a seasonable relief, as twenty hours had passed without my having tasted any food. As soon as the repast was over, he, in an intelligible manner as his broken English would admit of, gave me an account of what took place as soon as my escape was discovered, (which he represented was about an hour before day break) and the resolutions formed by the savages in what manner to dispose of me, should I be so unfortunate as again to fall into their hands. After a short consultation, my death was determined on in the manner following.    After having stripped and bound me to a stake, my naked body was to be pierced from head to foot with pitch pine splinters, of five or six inches in length, which when done, they were at one extreme end to be set on lire ! and while thus dying by inches, they would no doubt by their savage yells have manifested all the satisfaction and gratification in my sufferings, so peculiar to them on such occasions. In accordance to this resolution, three or four of their number were set to work in preparing the splinters, &c. while the others set out in pursuit of me, guided by the dog before mentioned, who was put on my track, which animal fortunately wras the property of the friendly Indian to whom I was indebted for my life. He was not of the party who had participated in the barbarity exercised toward my family, but one, who, on account of favors received, had been the uniform friend of the whites. It was his wish that I should escape, and to effect which, he had prevailed on the others by whom I wras pursued to permit him to precede them a little distance, that he might the better encourage his dog to pursue my track, and while thus proceeding, was so fortunate as to fall in with me, and thereby save me from the worst of deaths !

Having become a little refreshed, by a promise of well rewarding him, I prevailed on my Indian benefactor to accompany me by the shortest route to Boons-boro', which we reached in safety the third day after. 
   Baldwin's narrative.


It was there I met with many of my old friends and acquaintances, and who seemed deeply affected at the recital of the unhappy fate of my family, and to that degree that several of them kindly proffered their services to set out directly with me in pursuit of the savages, and to do all in their power to effect the liberation of my little daughter. Accordingly, they, to the number of seventeen, (including myself,) set out early the morning ensuing on the important expedition, accompanied by the friendly Indian as our guide. We were all well mounted, and by my earnest request, my friends consented to take the place of my late abode and that of the slaughter of my unfortunate family in their course ; being anxious to perform for them the last office, should their mangled remains be found undisturbed by the wild beasts, or (what was still more to be dreaded) the barbarous savages. On the morning of the third day, we reached the melancholy spot, and found the bodies of my wife and son lying apparently in the same situation in which they were left. They were by my friends enclosed in some slabs, roughly and hastily put together, and deposited beneath that hemlock tree!" (the old gentlemen here pointing the writer to the tree and grave, which he afterward visited.) " This done, we proceeded forward with as much haste as possible, and in a few hours reached the place where the savage monsters had sacrificed my son, in the manner that I have described, and the succeeding day the place of our destination; where, from appearances, there could be no doubt the savages had encamped the night in which I made my escape from them. The stake to which they intended to have bound me was still standing, and near by more than a peck of splinters ready sharpened as described by my Indian friend; but the savages had either on or before our approach, fled, and thus were we sorely disappointed in not being able to recover my poor child ! And as it was uncertain in what direction or to how great a distance they might have conveyed her, it was thought advisable by all to return. 

Baldwin's narrative.

Our Indian guide having expressed a wish to return to his own home, he was, in consideration of the important services rendered me, presented by my friends with the beast on which he rode, and other presents of about an equal value, with a solemn promise on his part, to do all in his power to search out, and effect the liberation of my captive child, if found living; and if not, to acquaint me as soon as possible with her fate, for which he was promised a specific sum as a reward.

We returned directly to l>oonsboro' where I remained a welcome guest with my friends, until a peace was finally and permanently established with the neighboring frontier tribes of Indians; they having by treaty ceded their lands to a specified extent, to the United States, and removed to a country still further wrest.

As no further assaults from the savages were to be apprehended, and as no spot on earth appeared so dear to me as that in the immediate vicinity of where the mortal remains of a part of my family were reposing, I, soon after the conclusion of peace, again returned to this place, with the strong determination of making it the place of my permanent residence, until the day of my death   and that I would here dwell alone, secluded from all society, as the unmerciful savages had not left a single earthly connexion to abide with me. It was at that period that I erected with my own hands, and without any other assistance, the humble dwelling which I now improve ; and where I think I can truly say, that I have dwelt more than fifty years perfectly contented, and at peace with the world. As my humble dwelling stands quite remote from any other human habitation, and as it lias been my desire during my long and lonely residence here, to live