March 3, 1775
Watauga River on a cool spring night beside the river, Isaac sits with Little Carpenter, Little Fellow, now 23, and William Bartram. An Englishman, Bartram is a fairly overweight gentleman well into his 50’s. He is strangely dressed for the frontier in knickers, stockings, plaid vest, ruffled shirt, tailed coat and leather shoes with brass buckles. They are talking by the fire as Wild Rose tends a calf roast cooking on the make shift spit. As Wild Rose tends the spit Kasewini (Catherine), now 22, and Kway-see (Betsee) 15 assist her with preparing the campsite for the night.
Suddenly Isaac jumps to his feet smoker-hawk in hand and searches the darkness. Bartram is unnerved by his seemingly crazed actions. With a nervous tremble in his voice he whispers,“ Isaac what is it?” Isaac returns with no response standing perfectly still he searches the darkness then relaxes without response returns to the fire and sits. Bartram nervousness increases and asks, “ Isaac my man…Is it a bear?”
“No three whites. Must be lost…”Isaac relies without concern.
Several minutes later, far from camp deep in the night’s darkness comes a man’s call. “To the camp! The name is Robertson, James Robertson!”
“Tuh-Huh! They are lost.” Isaac returns the call. “It is Isaac and Nan-ya’ Hee’! You are welcome at our fire!”
Several more minutes pass when from out of the darkness appear James Robertson, Lidy Bean and William Bean. The weary travelers entering the soft glow of the campfire leading three packhorses loaded with supplies. As they come to a halt, Isaac stands with arms spread wide and greets them warmly. “William, Lidy, James, you are welcome. Come eat with us.”
Upon receiving Isaac’s invitation to join them for supper the trail worn travelers dismount. Seeing Lidy, Wild Rose’s huge smile exposes her sisterly bond with her. She drops her cooking and rushes over engulfing Lidy with a powerful but warm hug. “O-si-yo”. Equally exited to see her friend, Lidy grabs her and hugs her back. She replies in her strong Irish brogue.
“O-si-yo!” Withdrawing from the embrace Lidy takes a strong stance with her fist placed firmly on her hips. With a furrowed brow her bright blue eyes examine Wild Rose top to toe. She asks with a sincere tone, “ Now! How ya be Nancy!” Receiving only a smile from Wild Rose, Lidy’s warm charming smile immediately reappears. The two friends resume their warm embrace.
A little apprehensive Robertson approaches to within a foot of Isaac. Never taking his eyes off the much larger intimidating figure of a man he gazes up at Isaac. The two men exchange a stern cold gaze. Robertson’s face turns warm and he extends his hand to shake. “Good to see you, Brother.” His stern face softens producing a smile from Isaac. He shakes Robertson’s hand with strong brotherly admiration. “Welcome my brother!”
Ecstatic Wild Rose is all smiles. “Come, you are welcome. Lidy, we have smoked calf meat to eat. It is from the first cows you gave me.”
As Lidy, William and James gather around the fire, a very jovial William Bartram stands clearing his throat. Taking the lead Wild Rose introduces him. “This is William Bartram we are guiding him on his travels through the Tsalagi lands.” Receiving the strangers with a smile Bartram shakes everyone’s hand and speaks with an aristocratic English accent. “It is my pleasure.” Admiring Lidy, he warmly takes her hand and kisses it. Still holding her hand patting it lightly he asks with a smile, “ Forgive me madam, but do I detect a hint of the Irish?”
“Tis right ya be,” she responds proudly with a smile. Taking in her glowing personality and natural beauty, Bertram spouts with vigor, “Never a more hardy or delightful people!”
Retrieving her hand from Bartram, Lidy curtseys in appreciation of his compliment. As they all make themselves comfortable James Robertson studies Bartram closely. “I must say you are quite different than most Englishmen we come across in these parts.”
Releasing a hardy laugh Bartram replies. “I guess you to be correct Sir! I am not military by any definition! I am here solely in the interest of science. It is my intention to study the Cherokee as well as the plant and wildlife of the region. To my extreme pleasure and good fortune Isaac has agreed to be my guide and translator.”
“Very interesting,” Robertson says with a hint of doubt. “You do understand these are very dangerous times in the colonies.”
With a penetrating gaze Bartram’s light manner turns to deep concern responding with full sincerity to Robertson’s remark.“Oh, Yes! In deed sir!” he says. “You must trust me when I say, I do understand most implicitly.”
The men take their seat on the ground, and Isaac pops the corncob plug from a jug and passes it to Robertson but he declines the offer. Isaac passes the jug to Bartram. Upon his acceptance with obvious appreciation Bartram comments, “I have forever heard the native peoples have no tolerance for distilled spirits. Through careful study I have found just the opposite. Not only do the Cherokee have a healthy tolerance, but Isaac is very adapt at turning out a superior corn libation!” Ignoring the men Wild Rose and Lidy stand over the spit tending to the calf roast on the fire. Lidy remarks with pride, “Nancy, ya be having come far with your raising of cattle.”
Wild Rose oozes emotion and gratitude as she replies, “ With the lake of buffalo my people have you to thank when they no longer feel the pain of hunger.”
Obviously troubled James Robertson’s light mood turns serious. “Sorry to barge into your camp tonight, but we were headed to the treaty signing at Sycamore Shoals.” Losing his rare, light-hearted mood, Isaac becomes very serious and shakes his head his concerns are clear. “Be warned Robertson buying Tsalagi land is dangerous.”
In an off-handed remark William Bean asks Isaac, “Why do you fight so hard for the Cherokee, but help us every chance you get?”
Turning cold Isaac is emphatic in his reply. “I will continue to help all people that fight the English. Their guns will not rest till the Tsalagi are wiped from the earth. Now, they have even put their spell over the great Dragging Canoe.”
Knowing that Bartram is English, everyone becomes very quite. Clearing his throat Bartram becomes very deliberate, relaying his insights. “It is my observation that many of my English countrymen are here for only their own greedy causes. This is true, very true,” he says. “I may add that many more wish no demise of the natives nor occupation of their lands. In the contrary there are many as myself that are here to learn from these ancient peoples.”
Wild Rose’s light demeanor vanishes as she adds, “There are many of the settlers that want my people wiped from the ground as well. We must trust our hearts to see who is our friend and who is our enemy. Not all whites are evil as my people fear. Not all Tsalagi are as evil as the English proclaim us to be. I fear many will die on both sides, peaceful or not.”
“Speaking of evil!” says Lidy Bean. Her voice has a tremble of fear in it. “ I hear The English have hired the mercenaries, Big and Little Harpe. A murdering trash they be, I tell ya true!”
Nodding in agreement Isaac adds, “Heard of um from Louis LeFlore, a long-time friend and trader with the Choctaw down south on the Pearl River.”
His blood boiling at mention of the Harpes, Robertson grits his teeth in anguish. “Your friend Leflore is correct! They are the most ruthless agents the Tory’s have. Their gang runs up and down the Natchez Trail from the Cumberland to Loftus Heights south of Natchez on the Mississippi. Killing, raping, pillaging livestock, burning crops, farms and houses.”
Chiming in William Bean blurts out, “I heard the Harpes attempted a kidnapping of a young girl in the Carolinas. Capt. James Wood wounded Little Harpe and he dropped the child nullifying the kidnapping.” Distraught Lidy Bean shakes her finger. “That little girl don’t be a know’n how lucky she be!”
Turning his attention toward Isaac, Robertson makes an offer.
“We will continue to help you in your fight the English but, you must keep us informed of Dragging Canoe’s intentions toward us as well.”
Isaac ponders the offer a moment before he nods. “Agreed.”
A somber Wild Rose interjects, “The English have Dragging Canoe thirsty for war with the settlers. Dragging Canoe is my cousin, but he has separated himself from our people. Many of his warriors are Shawnee and Creek they are joining up with his Tsalagi warriors at Chickamauga.”
“Shawnee?” Asks a shocked William Bean. “ Tuh-huh”, replies Wild Rose.
Hearing Shawnee ignites Little Carpenter’s memory of his youth. He blurts out, “ A Shawnee warrior Puck-shin-wa became a close friend while in the French and Indian War.” With a devilish grin he continues, “ After the war he invited me to his home on the Ohio. These were shinning days. We married these two beautiful women. My son, Dragging Canoe’s mother and her fiend Met-ho-tas- ke married Puck-shin-wa…She is the mother of the warrior they call Tenskwautawa ‘The Prophet,’… even at a young age her youngest son’s eyes revealed real power to lead his people… even from birth he was never a boy. His name is Tecumseh… Little Carpenter turns quickly to Robertson, “This John Sevier gains much favor and strength among your people as a leader as well.”
Just as Robertson starts to speak, Wild Rose interrupts, looking directly at him. “Stop! Your words are clouded by your friendship with Sevier.” She turns to Lidy Bean. “I want to hear Lidy’s words on this John Sevier.”
Somewhat uneasy, Lidy stands to properly articulate her words. “ John be a good man and his word can be trusted. But he will fight when pushed into a corner. Ya can bet on that for sure!”
With a tint of sarcasm Isaac interjects, “He sounds to be a man much like Dragging Canoe.”
Becoming deeply saddened, Wild Rose utters softly, “I speak to you now as a Beloved Woman. It has come that day the English nor the Virginians no longer need guns to take our lands. In fourteen suns the land grabbers Stuart, Henderson and Boone will take our ground with no more than a piece of paper. They have always taken without asking. They believe because it is there, it is for the taking. If this is true, Dragging Canoe will raise the red tomahawk of war once more. The ground will run red with the white man’s blood.”
Deeply moved by her words Lidy Bean wraps her arm around Wild Rose’s shoulder, “Nancy, I wish you to be wrong.” Becoming adamant Wild Rose tells her, “I am not wrong! I fear they will take more and more till we are no longer safe on the ground our ancestors have looked after since the day Yo-He-Wa placed Ka-nah-tee and Say-loo on this ground. The white man’s greed is still within him.The land they take will mean nothing for they will be unable to find The Good Peace. ”
There is a silence as everyone takes in Wild Rose’s words. Lidy stands hugging Wild Rose. “We be thanking ya for the supper, but we must go. We still need to be makin’ camp for the night.”
“Stay the night here. You need rest for your journey,” Wild Rose insists. Isaac holds out his arms wide. ”Stay.” Lidy Bean looks over at her husband and then turns back at Wild Rose and smiles. “We be a taken you up on your offer.” William Bean looks over at James Robertson. “James, you heard her.”
As James and William unload their provisions, Wild Rose takes Lidy by the hand leading her over to a cleared spot and prepare the beds. As Lidy and William crawl into their bedrolls Her mind races as she contemplates Wild Rose’s words.
The next morning as James Robertson, William and Lidy Bean are preparing to leave, Wild Rose walks up to Lidy and hands her smoked salted beef wrapped in buckskin.
Quite taken by the gesture, Lidy smiles warmly. “Nancy. We be having many thanks ta ya. We be seeing ya in fourteen days.”
Nodding her approval Wild Rose replies, “We will make the Shoals of the Wa-ta-u-ga in two sunrises for a council of our clans before the talks.” With a broad smile Wild Rose hugs Lidy tightly. “Until we meet again.”
The three of them leisurely make their way along the river, disappearing into the wooded hills.
Sycamore Shoals Treaty
James, William and Lidy arrive at Sycamore Shoals for the Henderson Treaty. and make camp in preparation for the Henderson Treaty.
Meanwhile, Little Carpenter, Tame Doe, Isaac, William Bartram, Wild Rose, Kasewini (Catherine), now 22, and Litli Welo (Little Fellow), 23, Kway-see (Betsee), 15, Ole Hood and Big Foot enter the fringes of a vast meadowlands on the Watauga River. They gaze across the golden knee-high grass. They set their heading for a huge sycamore tree standing nearly 30 feet higher than the other trees. As the trees sway in the wind the sound of river increase steadily as they make their way slowly across the savanna.
Wild Rose in deep thought pays little or no attention to the idle chatter and laughter of the others. Little Carpenter sensing her anguish rides up along side her. He speaks softly to her. “When I was young the signs were clear. Now they are clouded. Heed the signs.” Wild Rose never acknowledges his words, but they weigh heavy on her. As they approach the treaty site, they see the leaders of the various Tsalagi towns breaking away as they gather with their family’s individual clan.
The seven clans are separated into groups marked by their individual colors, dress, markings and insignias. They proudly display their distinction from one another, but are clearly one people. The first clan they see is the Anigilohi – the Long Hair Clan displaying yellow beads knitted into their clothing. The men have a full head of hair. Among them they have several spiritual leaders, as well as many Peace Head Men wearing white feather robes. The women of the Clan wear their hair in elaborate arrangements. The clan has many prominent members of the War Woman’s Society. Dressed more like the men they are bare-breasted with short breechclouts.
The Blue Clan is to the left of the Long Hair Clan. The Anisahoni are the keepers of medicines. To the left of the Blue Clan, Wild Rose spots her clan dressed in red of he Aniwahya. The Wolf Clan are the protectors and the largest and most prominent clan. Among them are the War Head including Oconostota.
To the left of the Wolf Clan is the Anigatogewi, the Wild Potato Clan. They are keepers of the land and their prominent color is green. To the left of the Wild Potato Clan is the Deer /Bison Clan. The Anikawi represent peace. Their color is brown. Many of the Peace Head Men are from this Clan. To the left of the Deer Clan is the Ani Tsiskwa, the Bird Clan representing the spirit world. Their clothing displays the color purple with intertwining feathers in some form or another.
To the left of the Bird Clan is the Aniwodi, Red Paint Clan representing death. Contrary to their name, their color is white. This clan has many prominent Medicine People, Conjurors, Dida-hnvwi-sgi (healers/ sorcerers and medicine men) and Ada’wehi (wise-men). It is the smallest in number and most secretive, holding the knowledge of life, birth, death, regeneration, the hidden things, second sight, illusion, ceremonies and rituals.
Wild Rose concentrating on the harmonious sound of the river utters softly, “The Creator of all, I ask for a sign to guide me this day.” In her mind’s eye she watches as the river grows from a tiny life source. Quickly becomes a deafening roar. The river grows lashing against the rocky stream-bed taking all that is in its way. Opening her eyes, she gasps for air. Looking up to the Creator for relief from her vision, she utters mournfully in Cherokee, “No, this cannot be.”
Catching her breath in the cool breeze, her pulse lessens. She looks up, observing the gentle breeze rustling through the leaves of the sycamore trees. She gazes into the bright green foliage backed by a blue crystal clear sky. Lowering her searching eyes to the earth, her attention centers on the base of a single mighty sycamore tree more than six feet in diameter. She scans the massive roots working her way up the tree drawn to the very top branch and a single leaf that grasps for life. She becomes transfixed on this single leaf fighting against the wind.
She enters the spirit world staring at the single leaf. The wind begins to violently blow the tree to and fro. Never breaking her concentration on this single leaf. The leaf continues its fight, twisted violently by the wind. The lonely leaf finally breaks away from the branch. The violent wind ceases, and the leaf floats haplessly downward. She follows the leaf till finally it reaches the ground. Still, she watches the leaf. Suddenly, a gust of wind takes it away. Her face tenses, pain infuses her body. She gasps as the spirits release her, tears roll down her face. The group unaware of her vision slowly proceeds across the open savanna in silence.
Upon arriving at the treaty site, they dismount at the base of the huge sycamore tree in her vision. She looks up at the empty twig where the lonely leaf once thrived. A lump forms in her throat. In deep distress, she tries to hide her emotions, but cannot hide it from Little Carpenter.
He reaches over, patting her shoulder, and gently utters, “The Creator has given you your answer. Obey the sign. Ignore it and forever regret.”
Little Carpenter, Tame Doe, Isaac, William Bartram, Wild Rose, Kasewini, Litli Welo, Kway- see, Ole Hood and Big Foot lead their horses over to the Wolf Clan.
Focus of her vision is broken upon arrival at the treaty site. They are greeted warmly by Oconostota, The Tassel, The Raven and Jay-see, who is tall for a 13-year-old. The reunion of old friends, families and clan members continues with light conversation and laughing.
Oconostota motions Isaac to join him. They walk away from the crowd and move through the woods together with neither speaking for several minutes. Away from everyone Oconostota tells him in Cherokee, “Jay-see has grown to be a fine strong warrior.“
“Tuh-huh. It troubles me he has gained much favor with Dragging Canoe and the Chickamauga,” Isaac replies.
Oconostota retorts warmly in Cherokee, “Rest your worries. He has a good heart.” The two old friends slowly make their way through the woods back to the sounds of conversation and laughter of the treaty area.
Wild Rose calls to them in Cherokee, “Come! It is time for the talks.”
The three walk toward the massive sycamore tree by the river, where Dragging Canoe, Little Owl, Alissah’ along with hundreds of men, women and families of the Cherokee clans are in heavy conversations. They enter the treaty area followed by more than 50 of the Head Men from various Tsalagi Towns.
Standing across the way is a well-dressed, tall, thin white man, Richard Henderson. He is shaking his finger while talking in a firm voice to the surveyor Isaac Shelby, English agent John Stuart and Daniel Boone. James Robertson, William and Lidy Bean stand behind them listening intently to their conversation.
Seeing Wild Rose approaching her, Lidy Bean breaks away from the white contingency. Rushing over to Wild Rose calls out, “Nancy! Nancy!”
Lidy’s presence lightens Wild Rose’s demeanor as she calls back, “Lidy!” Working her way through the crowd, Lidy Bean reaches Wild Rose. The women hug warmly as Lidy kisses her first on one cheek then the other. Many of the whites looking on are not amused with Lidy and Wild Rose’s close relationship. Upon joining them James Robertson and William Bean greet Wild Rose, Isaac, Kasewini, Litli Welo, Kway-see and Little Carpenter with mutual affection.
As they are in light conversation, Dragging Canoe and Little Owl pass in front of them. Dragging Canoe stops, staring with disdain at Isaac, who responds to Dragging Canoe in Cherokee, “Our people are waiting on something more important than our differences. I stand with you against the land grabbers, Henderson and Boone! Tsalagi should hold Tsalagi ground! Not the white intruders!” Seemingly unmoved by Isaac’s remarks, Dragging Canoe and Little Owl continue on.
Moments later, Little Carpenter slowly stands, taking his place in the center of the semicircle of the Head Men and the others. Little Carpenter gingerly steps up onto a large flat rock and calls out in strong voice. “I am old and have been a Head-Man for more than 50 winters. I served as agent to the King of England. It was of first importance to our people. I crossed the Big Water and received with great distinction. I shared food with the King and his lesser Head Men. I was treated with respect and count them among my brothers. I claim the confidence and good faith of all men, red and white. The land of Kain-tuck-ee known as ‘The Bloody Grounds’ is now in treaty to be sold to the white man. I am with you in defending the rightful claims of our people, but the war has left us facing starvation. We should open our hearts to Henderson’s words.” As Little Carpenter steps down the 1,200 Tsalagi mumble under there breath in muted conversations with one another in disagreement.
Wild Rose makes her way to the rock. The crowd quiets as Wild Rose steps upon the rock. Surveying the crowd, she nods to acknowledge each of the seven Clans. She initiates her speech with authority in Cherokee as an interrupter relays her words in English. “We have gathered beside this water to sign the treaty to sell our lands.”
Afraid she may derail the sale, Henderson steps in front of her. With extreme arrogance, he speaks: “I am Richard Henderson here on behalf of the Transylvania Land Company. I have come to make a fair offer to buy the Cherokee land in Caintuck and Middle Tennessee. We wish to purchase from the Cherokee all the lands of the Cumberland River watershed extending to the Kentucky River. In payment the Cherokee shall receive 2000 pounds sterling and the goods you have already chosen at Fayetteville worth 8000 pounds.
Wild Rose angered by his rudeness and disrespect addresses Henderson in a degrading tone, “I have not finished!” Henderson appalled by this woman’s combativeness raises his finger and starts to speak, but she stands in his face staring him down with the look of death in her dark eyes. Henderson relents, becomes flustered and steps back without another word.
Wild Rose turns her attention back to the crowd scanning the faces of her audience. She settles her attention on Little Carpenter, who understands completely as he makes a single simple nod. She remembers his words They now resonate in her heart as she begins to speak. Her voice cracks with emotion. “This morning I asked The Creator for a sign to lead me.”
She pauses, looking at the sky momentarily then continues. “This river we stand beside was once a trickle of water that grew into a mighty river washing away all that stood in its way. The whites came as a trickle and were treated well by our people. Now they want to wash us away.” She pauses, staring at Henderson with fire and disdain as she continues. “The Creator blew the trees. Their leaves fought the wind but are wiped from the trees to fall dead on the ground to wither and rot. We are as the leaves. The Whites continue to blow The Real People, but we fight this wind. It will come that day we also will die and fall to the ground to whither and rot. This is not that day! I am not in agreement to sign this treaty to sell our land, on this day or any other.”
As she steps down from the rock the crowd chants, “(Wild Rose) Gey’-yah-tah-hee’ Ah-gee- lah’sss-gee, “Gey’-yah-tah-hee’ Ah-gee-lah’sss-gee, Gey’-yah-tah-hee’ Ah-gee-lah’sss-gee!”
Heading toward the rock, Dragging Canoe comes face to face with Wild Rose. She looks into Dragging Canoe’s eyes and sees emptiness. “Dragging Canoe,” she whispers in Cherokee. “You must share your vision with the people.” Caught off guard by her remark, his hardness subsides momentarily and he nods in agreement. He steps up to the rock slowly and deliberately carrying the weight of his people. Pausing several seconds, he stares down at the rock, then back over at Wild Rose. She smiles with encouragement urging him on with little more than her eyes.
Dragging Canoe steps upon the rock, surveys the crowd and calls out in a loud forceful voice in Cherokee. “I am Dragging Canoe, War Head-Man of the Chickamauga.” He pauses pointing to Henderson. “White man, you are purchasing a dark and bloody ground!”
His words make Henderson very uneasy. Dragging Canoe pauses as a deep sadness falls upon him. He canvasses the crowd looking upon the faces of his people, then back at Wild Rose. He calls out with authority to his people. “Whole Nations have melted away like snow in the sun before the white man’s advance. They leave scarcely a name of our people except those wrongly recorded by their destroyers.”
“Where are the Delaware?” he asks the crowd. “They have been reduced to a shadow of their former greatness.” Pausing he paces for several, seconds gazing intently at the crowd. “We hoped the white men would not travel beyond the mountains. Now that hope is gone. They have passed the mountains and have settled upon Tsalagi land. Today they wish to have that sanctioned by treaty. When that is gained, the same spirit will lead them upon other land of the Tsalagi.” There is a deep emotional pain in his words as he relates his vision to his people. “Finally the whole country, which the Tsalagi and their fathers have so long occupied, will be demanded.”
Fighting back his emotions, he tells his people of his vision: “The remnant of The Real People, once so great and formidable, will be compelled to seek refuge in some distant wilderness. There we will be permitted to stay only a short while, until we again behold the advancing banners of the same greedy host. Not being able to point out any further retreat for the miserable Tsalagi, the extinction of our whole race will be proclaimed.”
Dragging Canoe’s restraint dissolves and becomes louder. “The white man has surrounded us, leaving us only a little spot of ground to stand upon. It is their intention to destroy us as a people!”
He builds to a fevered pitch. “Should we not run all risks and incur all consequences, rather than to submit to further loss of our country?” He takes his right hand beating hard twice on his chest. “As for me, we will hold our land!”
The whole of the Tsalagi stands with cheers and war whoops lasting several minutes as Dragging Canoe steps down. The huge invigorated crowd greets him. He finds Wild Rose standing off to the side. She emits a brief smile of pride on her tear-stained face. Dragging Canoe nods to her in appreciation of her support before being completely enveloped by the crowd.
Seeing how Dragging Canoe has invigorated the crowd, Henderson, Shelby and Boone become very worried by their angry attitude. English Agent John Stuart separates himself from Henderson and steps forward. Standing on the rock, he waves his hands to quiet the crowd. He screams out, “It is the intrusion of the Virginians on your lands, but affairs were such that the settlers trampled upon the King’s orders, and nothing could be done with them!”
The crowd is not swayed. Stuart lashes out pointing at Dragging Canoe. “The Indians are themselves to blame for selling your lands to Henderson without knowledge of the King’s Agent!” The crowd quietens to a few mumbles.
Dragging Canoe, irritated at the comment, turns on John Stuart and shouts at the top of his lungs. “I had nothing to do with making the bargain! It was made by old men, who are too old to hunt or to fight!” Standing in the midst of his warriors, Dragging Canoe’s anger escalates as he continues, “As for me, I have a great many of my strong warriors around me, and they mean to have their lands!”
Wild Rose becomes enraged as well. Stepping forward, she calls out to her people in Cherokee. “All that know me, know I am for peace. New concessions will always be asked of our people. Our Grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children have already paid the price for this ground with their blood!”
Henderson steps forward in a desperate attempt to defuse the rising situation. “If you want peace, sign the treaty to lease the land! I assure you, that you will be treated fairly and just. If not, I assure you this war will continue!”
With Henderson’s words, the reality of the Tsalagi’s food situation resonates through the crowd. The Tsalagi and the other tribes come to the realization of where the war has left them. They are starving with most of their towns in ashes. The crowd’s fervor quickly dissipates.
Savanooko-Coronoh (The Raven of Chota) looks at his haggard starving wife and children around him. He is overcome with sadness looking upon the hunger in their faces. With great despair he stands and walks reluctantly toward the treaty table.
Reaching the table he stands silent for several minutes, making Henderson very nervous. The Raven looks up as a leaf falls from the tree to the table. A nervous Henderson wipes his brow with a handkerchief, picks up the quill and dips it in the ink well. He extends the quill with a nervous hand to The Raven. Taking the quill in his hand The Raven pauses contemplating what he is about to do. Taking a deep breath, with the quill in his shaking hand, he makes his mark on the paper. Finished, he drops the quill on the table. His shame of betrayal consumes him as he quickly walks away unable to look his people in the eye. His wife and family gather around him for support as they walk away.
Little Carpenter then steps forward his aged hand picks up the quill and very slowly dips it in the ink. He pauses remembering all the treaties he has signed and more so all the treaties the whites have broken. He turns and faces the silent crowd of his people. He looks at the starving children. His eyes filled with tears, he turns back to the piece of parchment paper before him. He makes his mark. Dropping the quill on the table, he turns and walks over to the river standing alone with his back to his people.
Dragging Canoe slowly walks up to the table. He looks Henderson in the eye with a penetrating stare . Knowing he has won, Henderson smiles and dips the quill in the ink then extends the quill to Dragging Canoe. While Henderson stands there holding the quill, Dragging Canoe picks up the treaty. Henderson’s smile quickly dissipates as his anxiety increases. Dragging Canoe turns to the crowd reading every word of the treaty aloud in Cherokee to his people. Finished, the crowd is strangely silent, but their silence speaks volumes. Dragging Canoe turns staring at Henderson, then gently lays the paper down on the table. Henderson’s nervous hand extends the quill once more. Dragging Canoe’s strong hand takes the quill from Henderson and slowly brings it down to the paper. His usually stable hand begins to tremble. As he is about to sign the treaty, a single drop of ink falls from the tip of the quill to the paper. He stares at the ink spot as if it was his blood on the paper. Calmly dropping the pen to the ground, Dragging Canoe steps on the quill grinding it into the dirt with his moccasin. He turns and briskly walks away, his chin high. He is followed closely by Little Owl and the other Chickamauga.
Another Head Man steps forward, Henderson hands him another quill and he quickly makes his mark on the paper.
Slowly walking up to the treaty table Wild Rose looks Henderson in the eye as he dips the quill in the ink and offers it. She takes the quill in her hand, turns to her people, drops it to the ground, crushes it under her moccasin and walks away.
The last Head-Man, Oconostota, walks up to the table taking the quill he quickly makes his mark turns and walks away feeling the full weight of what he has signed away.
After receiving the signature of Oconostota, Henderson takes Boone and Isaac Shelby off to the side. “Although we are most likely not to be molested by the Indians, we better keep sentry tonight, just in case.”
A totally disgusted Stuart steps up to Henderson and interjects, “Be appraised Henderson, I am leaving immediately for Fort Prince George to register my report! I’m not at all secure in my belief the King will indorse this treaty! And by the way, you may have signed a declaration of war and not a peace treaty!” Giving Shelby, Boone and Henderson a look of disgust Stuart walks away mounting his horse and quickly rides away.
Richard Henderson looks around to see if anyone is listening, then turns to Shelby and Boone and whispers, “Stuart works for the Crown. The Transylvania Land Company has already put a lot of time and money into taking this land. I don’t want the English fool Stuart muddling up our plans.” Deeply concerned, Boone replies, “There was already plenty concern over the treaty before arriving. Settlers were not so lucky in Caintuck. The Indians are doing mischief within 15 miles of Boone’s Borough!” The self-righteous Henderson is unmoved and quickly refocuses. “We have already enticed hundreds settlers to move out to the Cumberland with the promise of cheap land. We must secure the ground laid out in the treaty as soon as possible.”
Taking out a large map, Henderson instructs Shelby and Boone. “ Shelby, at first light tomorrow I want you to start with preparing a station in the Cumberland for the settlers. Boone, take your men and clear a road through the wilderness from the Cumberland to Caintuck as Shelby has laid out. Shelby, once the road is cleared move the settlers to the Cumberland Station as soon as possible. Once your tasks are completed you will both have a bonus to add to your compensations.” Isaac Shelby and Daniel Boone smile shrewdly, with Boone nodding his head in agreement. “Consider it done. Mr. Henderson” Shelby and Boone walk with Henderson to the table and quickly collect the treaty papers. Henderson slips the documents into a large leather bag and places the strap securely over his shoulder. The three of them quickly mount their horses and ride hard escaping the treaty site.
Walking from the treaty area in deep depression, Wild Rose, Isaac, William Bartram, Little Carpenter, Betsee, Jay-see, Ole Hood and Big Foot lead their horses to the river. Isaac turns to Little Carpenter addresses him in Cherokee. “Father, I cannot honor this treaty. William Bartram has come to ensure the treaty, but I am unsure he can.”
Deeply saddened, Little Carpenter replies in Cherokee, “I honor your decision my son. I signed for the children. Their cry of hunger haunts me. Should this treaty stop the hunger it is good.”
Isaac states coldly in Cherokee, “ their cries of hunger will not cease as long as white men walk our ground. We go to make a hunt for two moons. We will camp at Cowee before we enter the deep mountains in search of game. I want to see it again before it too is taken from us.”
Without a word, Wild Rose walks away obviously in despair. Little Carpenter smiling slyly at Isaac whispers in Cherokee, “Cowee is a favored place of mine with many good memories of my young days…And the maidens…”
Sensing Wild Rose’s despair Isaac leaves Little Carpenter walks over to her as she stands by the river. She is staring into the rapids as Isaac wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her close. She gasps receiving his loving touch and replies sorrowfully in Cherokee. “Dragging Canoe’s vision, his words gave me understanding of what I saw in my vision.”
Isaac softly asks in Cherokee, “What did you see?”
A shiver comes over her with eyes down cast. She stammers in Cherokee as if in physical pain: “I, I, I saw a cold wind, snow. Tsalagi men, women and children are in a long line escorted by strangely dressed soldiers. Death! Everywhere death! Then wilderness, barren ground without trees without grass. Then the strangely dressed soldiers come once again.” She looks up at Isaac. Her eyes show a fear he has never seen in her before. In Cherokee she whimpers, “You must understand we shared the same vision.” Isaac wraps his arms tighter around her as tears flow down her face. He tells her in Cherokee, “Take your vision to the Dee-dah, hn-huh-wee:sss-gee (healer, sorcerer) and Ada-we-hi’(wise- man).”
Already mounted: Kway-see, William Bartram, Jay-see, Old Hood and Big Foot, Kasewini, Litli Welo and Little Carpenter approach Isaac and Wild Rose leading their horses. Wild Rose still consumed by the vision mounts up without a word. Kasewini, Litli Welo and Little Carpenter say their good-byes and leave on the journey back to Chota. Isaac, William Bartram, Ole Hood, Big Foot, Jay-see, Kway-see and Wild Rose ride away, headed southeast toward Cowee.
Return to Cowee
One week later William Bartram, Ole Hood, Big Foot, Jay-see, Kway-see and Wild Rose follow a ridge leading downward emerging at the edge of a stream. The massive Council House of Cowee can easily be seen high on the man-made mound. Covering many acres, it rises more than 30 feet higher than the village. The smoke from the Sacred Fire drifts from the small opening in the roof and beckons them on.
Having reached the stream encircling Cowee, they make their way down the steep embankment and cross the waist-deep water. On the opposite bank at the river’s edge, the women fill water bags. There are still townspeople participating in morning cleansing ceremony.
Coming out of the stream, they make their way up the incline arriving beside the Council House. Saddened to see Cowee is still in disrepair from Grant’s Raid. Wild Rose thinks back to the day her son was born here. Tears fill her eyes as she remembers the massacre.
The men are busy rebuilding the lodges, while many of the women are busy curing clay pots, tanning hides and weaving river cane for beds and other structures destroyed in the raids.
Big Foot’s wife, Running Deer, and his daughters Little Bird, Dancing Rabbit and Dancing Rabbit’s daughter, Nayn-see, 15, rush up to greet him. With a huge smile, Big Foot jumps from his horse grabbing up his family in his huge arms.
Isaac, William Bartram, Ole Hood, Jay-see, Betsee and Wild Rose dismount, their hearts warmed by the reunion. After several moments of hugging and kissing, Running Deer turns her attention to Wild Rose. “It is good to see you,” she says in Cherokee. “Come. We will help you make camp by the river. We talk.”
Wild Rose with Kway-see (Betsee) follows Running Deer, Dancing Rabbit, Little Bird and Nayn-see down stream to a willow tree grove at the edge of the stream. In light Cherokee conversation and laughter, they busy themselves with making camp and catching up on the latest news. Nayn-see peeks back over her shoulder invitingly at Jay-see. Slightly embarrassed at being caught staring adoringly at her, Jay-see shyly turns away and walks over to join the older men. She smiles and giggles at his shyness, turning back to her conversation with the other women.
Bewildered by her actions, Jay-see turns away and joins William Bartram, Big Foot, Isaac and Ole Hood by the river’s edge, where they lay under the river birch trees talking. Jay-see plops down on the ground with a sullen look on his face. Having witnessed the exchange of Jay-see and Nayn-see, the men chuckle, furthering Jay-see’s frustration. Ole Hood spits a stream of tobacco juice grinning at Jay-see. “If ya need some advice on women kind …”
“And ya be the one to inform him of this wisdom?” interjects Big Foot in an admonishing tone that quiets Ole Hood. All the men chuckle at Ole Hood and Big Foot before turning their banter on Jay-see, ribbing him about Nayn-see.
Isaac’s thoughts are far from the lightness of Jay-see’s affections for Nayn-see. As he surveys Cowee his facial expressions grow grimmer. He utters, “Before Grant’s expedition destroyed the middle towns, Cowee knew little of the white man’s world. No war, no hunger, no torment.”
Upon Isaac’s comment, William Bartram inspects the surrounding area and proclaims, “It still be a Garden of Eden.”
Growing more sullen as well, Big Foot remarks, “But I don’t think what is left will be safe for much longer with the likes of Henderson gaining more of the Tsalagi land.”
Breaking the morbid tone of the conversation, Jay-see quickly stands, which draws everyone’s attention. Nayn-see and five other girls in their teens and 20s approach them with baskets of wild strawberries and muscadines.
Coyly taunting Jay-see, Nayn-see walks up to his side brushing him ever so slightly but intentionally ignores him while presenting the basket to Big Foot. She says lovingly in Cherokee “Ey-du-dee (grandfather), I thought you might be hungry. We picked you strawberries and muscadines in honor of your return.”
Being ignored by Nayn-see, a frustrated Jay-see is somewhat embarrassed, while Big Foot is overcome by her full attention. Big Foot smiling ear to ear stands and graciously accepts the gift with pride. “Why thank you, Lass, Oo-nee-see (grandchild). Seeing your smiling face is enough to fill me.”
Eyeing the fresh fruit, Ole Hood stands and reaches for the basket. “Well since you’re full on a smile, I’ll …” Big Foot cuts him off with a glare.
Hugging her Grandfather, Nayn-see scurries away to join the other young women at river’s edge. Just before undressing, she pauses, feeling guilty over her rudeness to Jay-see.
She scampers back up the bank, reaching a sullen Jay-see. His eyes are closed as he leans against a tree. She nudges his foot with hers. Opening his eyes, he looks up to find Nays-see smiling down at him. She giggles and reaches down to take Jay-see by the hand and lead him down to the river.
Looking about for the basket of fruit, Big Foot sees it is nearly empty and yells, “Hood, ye old Bodach!” Ole Hood shrugs his shoulders, flopping out his arms. “Whaaat?”
Shaking his head with a look of disgust at Hood, Big Foot turns his attention back on watching Nayn-see and Jay-see. “Aye, she be a fine wife for the right young man,” Big Foot says with a grin.
“Have ya anyone in mind?“ Isaac asks curiously with a smile. Both smiling, Isaac ribs Big Foot. “A little skinny, but a good match for a strong warrior.” The two old friends share a chuckle. Isaac comments, “She seems to have an eye for my Jay-see.” Big Foot retorts, “Aye, and Jay-see don’t?” The two of them continue to chuckle, before Big Foot’s face turns grim. “She is the only good to ever come from that Satan’s pawn, Coytmore.” At the river’s edge, Jay-see and Nayn-see remove their clothing and enter soothing waters for daily cleansing.
With the wars and Grant’s raid men are a scarce commodity. Twenty Tsalagi women ranging in age from their teens to late 30s surround Isaac, Big Foot, Ole Hood and Bartram The curious women inspect the strange looking Bartram making him very uneasy. However, enjoying the attention he smiles broadly. “My word what a lovely campsite, Isaac!”
Clad in only a breach-clout the oldest woman with a large basket of berries steps forward standing directly in front of Bartram. “We have fruit to share with you, before we bathe,” she says in Cherokee. Not understanding her words, Bartram remains the proper English gentleman.
He nervously tries diverting his eyes from her nudity as he motions for them to sit. “On behalf of my companions we accept,” he says in a joyful tone. “May we sit while we regale ourselves on the fruit.” He sits back down on the ground quickly joined by two of the women on either side of him. “I must say, Isaac, I do enjoy being encircled by the whole assembly of the innocently jocose nymphs. “Aye! Agreed!” says Big Foot hardily.
The girls take Bartram by each hand. At first he is enthralled and all smiles at their attention. His smile fades to fear as two women remove his coat and undo his tie and shirt. Growing more nervous and concerned he turns to his friends for help. “They are certainly a curious lot!” The girls relieve Bartram of his shoes and knickers. He makes a less than half- hearted attempt to push their hands away. “Isaac, I must protest. What have they in store for me?”
“They only want to bathe you.” Isaac replies. “What?” Bartram proclaims with deep distress. As the last of Bartram’s cloths are removed he is desperately trying to cover his large pinkish body with his hands. “Madam! I must protest! Mixed bathing is forbade!”
Ignoring his pleas for help, Isaac and Big Foot are amused by his discomfort. “They are curious of strange white men,” Isaac tells him with a snicker. “If you refuse they will be offended.”
Bartram promptly responds, “I have no intention of offense in any manner!” He continues his ineffective battle trying to cover his massive self. One very curious woman approaches him. Taking her forefinger she pokes repeatedly at his soft pinkish belly. She giggles continuing to poke his fat belly. Her poking action, goosing and tickling his pinkish skin, makes Bartram very uneasy. He asks in deep despair, “But is it permissible we all bathe freely in the same stream?”
“The Tsalagi believe in their daily cleansing. If you do not bathe it will be an insult to Yo-He- Wa,” answers Big Foot firmly.
“I wish no offense,” Bartram replies apologetically. Two other women step up taking Bartram by each hand. His fat pink body is a horrid sight as they lead Bartram into the water. He sighs shaking his head no, while flashing an unintentional smile. “What I must do in the name of science!”
Isaac, Ole Hood and Big Foot are chuckling as Ole Hood covers his eyes. “I’ve seen some gruesome sights, but seeing Bartram naked is the worst by far,” Ole Hood says shaking his head in disgust.
Running Deer walks up and takes Big Foot by the hand, scolding him in Cherokee. “Husband, by the smell it has been too long since you cleansed. You will not come in my lodge stinking like a white man.” Big Foot smiles down at his wife as they disrobe and enter the stream.
Two of the women walk up out of the stream taking Ole Hood by the hand. They undress him as they lead him down to the stream. “Hell I ain’t real crazy ‘bout a bath but, I have to reconsider this!” Entering the stream he stands in the knee-deep water, hands on hips with a big smile. Admiring the lovely women bathing him, Hood calls out. “Damn Spencer, I think I’m in love!”
Big Foot calls back, “Talk about a gruesome sight!” He turns away shaking his head. “I guess this will be another story I will have to hear for the rest of my life! “
Hood looks over at Big Foot. “I ain’t never been real thrilled about bathing, but I will say, I could get used to this! I can see why this is one of Little Carpenter’s favorite places!”
Not to be out shined by the women of Cowee Wild Rose seductively approaches Isaac. They casually disrobe and enter the stream. Seeing Jay-see and Nayn-see dressing and walking hand in hand up the hill toward town, Wild Rose smiles nudging Isaac to look. “O-s-da oo-na-lee-go-hee (good mate),” she whispers.
The Revolution Commences
January 1776 Chota
It is a cold wind blown day. Wild Rose, enveloped in a buffalo robe, rides through Chota at a full run. Reaching Isaac’s trading post she quickly slides from the horse before it stops hitting the ground running. She bursts open the wooden door staring into the darkness of the trading post. She pauses to catch her breathe as the cold wind blows in around her.
Isaac sitting by the mud fireplace jerks around startled by the howling wind rushing into the cabin. Initially blinded by the intense glare of light he can only make out Wild Rose’s silhouette outlined by the white blowing snow. Framed by the doorway she quickly closes the door behind her. Her eyes adjust to the cabin’s darkness. Approaching Isaac her face is lighted only by the glow of the diminishing fire. Isaac recognizes the deep concern on her face. “What is it?”
Physically spent Wild Rose plops down on the small wooden keg next to the fire warming her hands. After a moment to gather herself she gazes up into Isaac’s face. “The Virginians talk of striking the war pole against the English King,” she mutters. “ The Englishman Stuart fears the Tsalagi will unite with the Virginians.”
Isaac stands and grabs her by both arms lifting her.“The Tsalagi should stay out of the white man’s war,” he proclaims with forbiddance. “Where is Dragging Canoe?”
Stepping out of his grasp, Wild Rose paces the room and reluctantly replies, “Dragging Canoe is meeting Stuart at Mobile Bay for guns and supplies, then returns to Chota looking for more warriors to join his Chickamauga.”
Her concern transfers to Isaac. He stares down into the coals and states, “With English support Dragging Canoe will take the war to the Virginians.” Isaac’s hate having remained dormant within his soul, she sees his blood lust for the English growing. His eyes glow with revenge in the dancing flames of the fireplace.
July 7, 1776 Fort Prince George
The American Revolution begins in earnest in the New England colonies. No longer considered a vital necessity by the British Fort Prince George is abandoned. The two-hundred settlers, men, women and children can only watch in despair as the British army of 100 soldiers led by. Maj. Lewis mount up. The small army rides slowly from the fort followed by only a few of the settler families with carts and on foot. The majority of the settlers watch them ride away, closing the gate as their protection disappears from sight.
Several weeks later at Fort Prince George tavern sits a plump man in his 50s. He is Gen. Griffith Rutherford, commander of the South Carolina Continental Army. Across the table from him is Col. William Christian, commander of the Virginia Continental Army. In his 30s, medium height and vigorous.
The two leaders examine a large map spread out on the rough wooden table. Rutherford proclaims with authority, “As general of the Patriot Armies of South Carolina, I am urging a united attack against the savages!” Unsure of the reasoning for this tactic Col. Christian pleads with Rutherford, “General, as head of the forces of Virginia, I want to be assured of the alliance between the English and Cherokee before attacking them. Should the Cherokee be not cohesive with the British, we may lure them into fighting along side of our meager troops, as did the French during the French and Indian war.”
Having immeasurable contempt of the Cherokee, Gen. Rutherford points his finger in Christian’s face. “I have no doubt of their loyalty to England. I propose the final destruction of all the Cherokee.”
Col. Christian pleads, “But sir!” Cutting him off, Gen. Rutherford persists. “We have our facts!” he states with venom. “The savages are being supplied arms and ammunition by the British to wage war against all patriots!”
Seeing no possible way to convince Rutherford otherwise, Col. Christian relinquishes the argument and asks, “Just what are you proposing?”
Gen. Rutherford returns his attention to the map, pointing out several locations. “We march at once and pursue the savages before they can attack us,” he says coldly. “The attack of the Overhill Cherokee must come from Virginia, from whence alone it can be done to advantage.”
His concern heightened, Col. Christian asks, “What of the friendly Cherokee?”
Gen. Rutherford nonchalantly replies, “We will take certain measures surely. But be assured we must first treat all the Cherokee as if they are at war with us.”
Across the mountains Dragging Canoe, Little Owl, Jay-see and Nayn-see, in red war paint on horseback make their way through the narrow mountain pass. They are leading ten pack horses loaded with boxes of guns, powder and ball. Riding along side them are British agents Alexander Cameron, 32, well dressed in civilian clothing and Capt. John Stuart, now in his 60s and dressed in his formal British uniform. They slowly make their way down the mountain trail and cross the Little Tennessee River.
Entering Chota they are greeted by the townspeople, who vigorously inspect the supply of guns and ammunition. Dragging Canoe waves a musket over his head and shouts in Cherokee,
“We have returned to Chota from Mobile with my brothers, Cameron and John Stuart, with guns to fight the Virginians!”
To the cheers of the crowd, they dismount and enter the hallway of the Council House with a large contingent of Dragging Canoe’s followers chanting his name: “Chee-yuh-guh-see-nee! Chee- yuh-guh-see-nee!”
Inside the Council House, the War Council is in deep discussion hear the chants but ignore them. They sit around the fire as wives bring in venison, corn, cornbread, squash and potatoes. The Council consists of Oconostota, The Tassel, Little Carpenter, Wild Rose, Creek Head-man The Mortar, Shawnee Head-Man Cornstalk, along with representatives from the Iroquois, Mohawk, Delaware, Ottawa and Nautuca tribes.
Isaac sits in the rear of the council watching and listening to every word. He takes special notice upon the arrival of Jay-see and Dragging Canoe. They remain standing in the doorway of the inner Council Chamber surveying the room. The room grows silent.
Dragging Canoe, Jay-see, Little Owl, Alissah’ and Nayn-see enter and remain standing on the opposite side of the Sacred Fire from the Head Men of Chota. Dragging Canoe closely observes Oconostota, The Tassel, Little Carpenter and Wild Rose. The Council pauses all discussions and the two opposing factions simply nod to one another without expression.
Stuart and Cameron enter and take seats on the floor behind Dragging Canoe who remains standing. The room remains silent as he stares down Oconostota. Neither blinks as Dragging Canoe initiates the talks in Cherokee. “I called this war council of the Creek, Shawnee, Iroquois, Mohawk, Delaware, Ottawa and Nautuca to unite our true brothers against the intruders! We have returned to Chota with my white brothers, Cameron and Stuart. We bring enough supplies to fight the Virginians!”
The room clamors with chatter. Alissah’ takes her place on the floor beside Dragging Canoe. Raising his arms he quiets the crowd. “My brothers, Stuart and Cameron, wish to address the council.”
Oconostota motions Stuart to stand. John Stuart stands, “There are many whites in the Overhill Country that want to rebel against the King’s authority! Many of them you know. Lt. Marion the one called Swamp Fox, John Sevier, William Bean and James Robertson among them!”
Cameron slowly stands taking his place beside Stuart. “War with the colonies is upon us. But if we initiate a war against the settlers of the Overhill Country too early, we will not be able to distinguish who is loyal to the crown and who is not. The rebels must be given time to make the first move! I advise my brother Dragging Canoe not to attack till we deem it appropriate.”
John Stuart chimes in, “I am in full agreement with my brother, Cameron. You should not mix in the white man’s war at this time. Cameron and I will choose the time and place for you to strike the settlements.”
Dragging Canoe responds reverently, “I hear your words!”
Oconostota stands and addresses Cameron. “The Council will consider your words. Until we meet again.”
Led by Dragging Canoe, Alexander Cameron and Capt. John Stuart make their way out of the inner chamber of the Council House. They are quickly followed by Little Owl, Jay-see, Nayn-see and Alissah’, with Dragging Canoe’s Chickamauga warriors.
Once the last of Dragging Canoe’s warriors leave, there is a limited amount of heated discussion on the subject among Council Members before they rise and leave the inner chamber.
Isaac and Wild Rose remain alone in the Council House standing by the Sacred Fire. Wild Rose looks up at Isaac in despair and whispers, “If we do not stop Cameron, he will have Dragging Canoe fight this war for the English.” Nodding in agreement, Isaac and Wild Rose exit the inner chamber and enter the narrow hallway.
Once outside the Council House Wild Rose and Isaac slip away as the enthusiastic younger warriors inspect the weapons Dragging Canoe brought to Chota. They stop momentarily to observe the celebrations taking place around the many fires at the chungky yard. They cautiously make their way to the trading post staying in the shadows behind the lodges and away from Dragging Canoe. They quickly enter closing the door behind them.
Walking to the cane bed, Isaac pulls a large wooden box from under the bed. He removes several pieces of parchment paper, ink and two quills, placing them on the table. “What are you doing?” Wild Rose asks. He places the piece of paper in front of him. “We must write letters to warn the settlements and draw out the English loyal to the King.”
Wild Rose pulls a stool up to the wooden table and sits. Looking across the small table, Isaac explains. “I will write to those that may be loyal to England, and you write a letter to warn the settlers of Dragging Canoe, Cameron and Stuart’s intentions.”
They each take a quill and begin writing. As they finish, there is a knock at the door. They look at each other with concern. Isaac quickly hides the papers away before he cautiously opens the door. They are relieved to see it is Ole Hood.
“What the hell is going on around here?” Hood asks with puzzlement. “Everyone is plumb jumpy.”
Closing the door Isaac holds the letters in each hand as Ole Hood inspects them. Isaac explains, “Relay this message to all the settlements and this message to those believed to be loyal to England.”
Isaac hands the letters to Ole Hood, who slips them in a large leather pouch tying the leather clasp tightly. Hood says, “I had better leave right away before Dragging Canoe gets wind of this.” Isaac turns to Wild Rose. “See if you can get any information on Dragging Canoe, Stuart and Cameron’s plans.”
He then informs both of them. “Once you leave Chota, do not return. We will meet at my cabin on Little Pigeon River.” Hood and Wild Rose nod in acknowledgment. Stepping to the door, Wild Rose peeks out to see if anyone is watching. Not seeing anyone she slips out of the trading post with Hood.
She makes her way toward the celebration at the chungky yard, while Ole Hood slips out with the leather pouch draped across his shoulder and mounts his horse. He gently nudges his mount forward, riding slowly out of town to avoid drawing attention.
Lurking unseen in the shadows, the suspicious Little Owl watches as Ole Hood slips away. He quickly makes his way to the celebration at the chungky yard, working his way to the front of the crowd to Dragging Canoe. He whispers to Dragging Canoe, who whispers back his instructions.
Little Owl walks over to five warriors. Little Owl and the warriors leave the chungky yard and quickly mount their horses, riding out of Chota.
Once out of Chota, Ole Hood rides as briskly as possible along the usual routes then turns to the safety of the woods.
Moments later Little Owl and the warriors ride hard in pursuit of Ole Hood. Remaining on the main trail unknowingly passing by Ole Hood hid in the woods. As they pass, Hood chuckles and gets himself another chew of tobacco. Nudging his horse onward, he mumbles, “You thunk I didn’t see ya lurking about the trading post, now did ya?”
Early the next morning just before the sun breaks over the mountains walking his horse nonchalantly along the backside of town Isaac leads his horse to the river. Seeing no one around, he mounts his horse and slowly crosses the river. Riding up the opposite bank, he disappears into the huge hardwood forest. Undetected, he heads north.
Meanwhile Ole Hood heads for the second settlement as the dawn is breaking. His horse exhausted, Ole Hood pulls back on the reins slowing the animal to a walk. He pats his horse’s neck. “Old partner, we have just a little ways to go. Then you can rest.” Entering a narrow part of the trail Hood, doses off as his horse meanders on.
Moments later he is fiercely awakened by a body slam knocking him from his horse to the ground. He looks up to find Little Owl standing over him followed by five warriors pouncing down on him from the ridge above. Little Owl violently strikes Ole Hood’s head with a war club, knocking him unconscious. Bleeding profusely, Hood lies on the ground in a crumpled pile. Little Owl snatches the leather pouch from Old Hood’s body. Little Owl and the warriors hustle over to the woods retrieving their horses. They quickly mount up and ride away.
Hours later, Ole Hood wakes as a piercing light breaks over the mountains. Groggy, he tries sitting up. Dizzy, he grabs his head feeling only a crusty mass of dried blood. Gaining his senses he remembers and mumbles, “Oh, shit!”
He checks his side for the pouch. Realizing it is gone, he staggers to his feet looking around for the pouch, but it is nowhere to be found. He finds his horse grazing in the meadow beside the road. He staggers to his horse and slowly pulls himself into the saddle. Kicking the horse to a gallop, he heads north.
After three days Ole Hood reaches the small one-room cabin at Little Pigeon River. He dismounts and makes his way onto the small covered porch and into the cabin, closing the door behind him. Exhausted and dizzy, he collapses on the river cane bed.
That night hearing a rider approach, Ole Hood walks out on the porch with his musket, his head wrapped with rags. Isaac rides up to the cabin. As he dismounts, he asks, “What happened to you?” After tying his horse’s reins to the post, he walks onto the porch and inspects Ole Hood’s wound. Hood complains, “ I was jumped by Little Owl and a couple of warriors.”
“Where are the letters?” Isaac asks harshly. Ole Hood can only shake his head in shame. “Little Owl got um.” Pacing about in deep thought Isaac pauses and replies, “We still have time. Dragging Canoe has his own worries. Cameron and Stuart sent him to rescue the British Col. Brown from the colonist’s siege of Augusta, but he will return soon when he hears about Evan Shelby.”
“What are you talking about?” Hood asks. “Shelby attacked and burned eleven Chickamauga towns in the Chattanooga area while Dragging Canoe is in Georgia,”
A worried Isaac says. “What’s worse, a delegation of Shawnee led by Cornstalk is already on their way to meet Dragging Canoe to see if the burning of the towns has broken the Chickamauga resistance.”
Deeply worried and pacing, Ole Hood says, “If it were anyone but Dragging Canoe they would quit and abandon any more thought of fighting. But this will only piss Dragging Canoe off more than he is and unite all the disgruntled tribes. If the upper Chickamauga towns are burned… Where is Dragging Canoe now?”
“Most withdrew to the protection of Look Out Mountain making new towns to the south,” Isaac says. “They call these lower towns Running Water, Crow Town, Lookout Town and Long Island, but The Breath gathered most of them at Nickajack.”
Butting in, Hood asks, “Not at Nickajack Cave, across the river from Little Cedar Mountain?” Grabbing a chew of tobacco, Hood continues, “Been there. That is mighty rough country and being that far south in Mus-Ko-Gee country, they be sure to be more Creek a joinn’ the fight!” With concern Isaac adds, “The Tennessee River below Chattanooga is near impassable. The only entry into that country is by a narrow pass at Lookout Mountain, which could be easily defended by only a few warriors.”
Outside of Nickajack Cave the area is filled with many Tsalagi, Creek, Iroquois, Mohawk, Delaware, Ottawa, Nautuca and Shawnee. The Shawnee are led by Corn Stalk and Law-le-was-i-kaw, known as Tenskwautawa ‘The Prophet,’ accompanied by his four brothers, including 11-year-old Tecumseh, and their widowed mother. Leading the Tsalagi are Oconostota, The Tassel, Little Carpenter, The Breath and Wild Rose. The Creek are led by The Mortar with Dragging Canoe leading the Chickamauga accompanied by Jay-see, Alissah’, Nayn-see, Alexander Cameron and Capt. John Stuart.
Dragging Canoe is the first to address the council. With so many different tribes attending he uses a language common to all of those gathered, Mobilian . “Our towns burned, we are living in the grass, but we are not yet conquered!”
While in vigorous discussions Wild Rose takes notice when Little Owl enters the council area with Ole Hood’s leather pouch. Her heart sinks as Little Owl hands Dragging Canoe the pouch.
Little Owl whispers into his ear in Cherokee. “We captured these letters from Hood north of Settico.” Gazing only briefly at Wild Rose, Dragging Canoe whispers back in Cherokee, “What of Big-Man?“
“He was in Chota when we left,” replies Little Owl. Dragging Canoe looks coldly at Little Owl and asks sharply in Cherokee, “He is gone?”
Wild Rose is not surprised when Dragging Canoe and Little Owl stare coldly at her, making her increasingly nervous. Dragging Canoe opens the pouch taking out the letters reading them carefully. He then hands the letters to Cameron and Stuart.
After inspecting the letters, Stuart folds them and tucks the letters into the pocket of his coat.
Cameron whispers to Stuart, “Seeing where Little Owl intercepted Hood, I suspect the letters never reached their intended destination?” Stuart smiles whispering back, “Then why don’t we rewrite the letters and send them out with our propaganda.” Cameron smiles. “Excellent!”
Dragging Canoe overhearing their conversation whispers to Cameron, “It would be better to attack Watauga, without letters.”
“Not to worry, I will alter the text to foment anti-Indian sentiment and lead the settlers to a fear an attack. Believing they have the advantage by striking the first blow, the settlers will then attack. Once they attack, we can clearly discern the King’s loyalists from the rebels,” utters Stuart.
Angered by the letters, Dragging Canoe becomes increasingly aggravated with Stuart and Cameron. He protests with his voice getting ever louder, “It would have been better to attack the Wata-u-gans at once, without writing letters. The letters served only to put them on guard and cause them to prepare to come against the Tsalagi. By this time, they will have all their people removed. You told us to assist the King. Now, when there is a white army coming against our towns, you want to keep us back. One of the white men who lives among us, the trader Isaac has gone away. We are convinced it is to give information to our enemies of what has passed in Council. Let there be no more letters written, nor any more people suffered to leave Tsalagi ground!”
Staring hard with his jaw clenched tight Cameron stands toe to toe with Dragging Canoe. “May I remind you we have gone to great trouble to supply the Tsalagi with guns, ammunition and supplies to fight the settlers!”
Trying to maintain peace within the Council, Little Carpenter stands. “Stuart, do not pay attention to the young men, that no more traders be allowed to leave the towns.”
Ignoring Little Carpenter, Dragging Canoe diverts his anger at Wild Rose, addressing her sharply in Cherokee. “Why have the traders left town?” Evade his question she says. “I have no power to hold them!” she answers weakly in Cherokee.
In a rage Dragging Canoe turns to Cameron. “And why are you, my brother, talking of leaving, after you bring trouble on the Tsalagi by writing letters to the Virginians? Let no more letters or traders leave Chota!”
The pompous Cameron addresses Dragging Canoe and the Council. “The traders cannot be expected to remain when their lives are in danger. As for myself, I told you from the first that I would return to Pensacola as soon as possible, and I expect to leave as soon as I can procure fresh horses. You, Dragging Canoe, are the cause of the trouble that has come on the Tsalagi, and it does not look well to throw that blame upon me!”
Seeing the Council is against him, Dragging Canoe calms down and addresses them in Mobilian. “I promise the traders my security. I hope you will not in the future pay attention to idle dreams. If any of you choose to join the war, I will be glad, but I will not insist upon any of you going. Those who do not go, however, will be expected to furnish the warriors with their ammunition and supplies!”
Calming down Dragging Canoe turns to Cameron. “I will always pay attention to what my brother says, and will hold fast to his talks.”
Cornstalk stands and nods at Dragging Canoe. Returning the gesture, Dragging Canoe breaks away from Stuart and Cameron. Cornstalk and Dragging Canoe approach one another. After several minutes of muted discussion, Dragging Canoe calls out to the Council. “The Cornstalk, Head-Man of the Shawnee, is here to speak!”
Cornstalk stands peering about the room. He slowly walks around the fire as he addresses the War Council. “My people, the Shawnee have been reduced to a only a handful of warriors. We once possessed land almost to the sea. This day we have hardly enough ground to stand upon. Our lands have been covered over with forts and armed men. It is better we die as warriors than to diminish away as the sand. Stay Strong! Stay Strong!”
Cornstalk walks back around the fire and takes his seat. There is a rumbling of conversation among the audience.
Oconostota stands and waves his arms for silence. The heated crowd calms down as a heavy- hearted Oconostota mutters, “I hear Cornstalk’s words. He is a honorable Head-Man of the Shawnee. We have witnessed the same upon our own grounds. I have fought many wars in my years. From my heart I tell my brothers I am opposed to this war! But I will obey the council’s decision.”
The Mohawk Head-Man, Joseph Brant, stands to address Oconostota. “The intruders come into Mohawk towns killing our people,” Brant says. “They spare no one, the English agent Johnson’s son was drowned in hot tar! If the Virginians do such cruel acts to their own kind, what fate are we to await from the Virginians?”
Little Carpenter replies in a weakened tone. “I hear your words. I must agree with Oconostota. We have many brothers on both sides of the white man’s war. So, I ask the Council, what brother must I choose to kill? This is all I have to say.”
Cornstalk speaks again. “My brothers, now is the time for action against the intruding Virginians, not words! The Northern Tribes have agreed. We are attacking the Virginians from the north. The King’s Army will soon fall upon the Virginians from the east. The Tsalagi and Mus-ko-gee united with us falling upon the Virginians from the west and south, will find them as nothing!”
The Cornstalk walks to the center of the council area and stands in front of the Sacred Fire. He stares across the flickering flames separating him from Oconostota. The Cornstalk slowly unfolds a purple war belt nine feet long and six inches wide. He holds the war belt draped across his out stretched arms palms up. “This is the Shawnee’s declaration of war on the Virginians and our pledge of unity to all that is our brother in this war,” he says with bold sternness.
Dragging Canoe approaches the fire and faces The Cornstalk, stretching out both arms palms up. Cornstalk drapes the long purple war belt over Dragging Canoe’s arms. The Cornstalk resumes his position beside Dragging Canoe.
One by one the other Head Men of the council stand and approach Dragging Canoe to place their War Belts on his arms. The Head Men take their places beside Dragging Canoe around the fire.
The last Head-Man steps up to Dragging Canoe delivering his war-belt and his support of the declaration of war. A deadly stillness falls over the crowd.
As each of the Head Men stand they stare in silence at Oconostota causing the tension in the council to rise. Only the occasional crackling of the Sacred Fire breaks the silence. Dragging Canoe walks around the fire coming to a stop before Oconostota. He stares straight ahead never looking down at the seated War Head-Man.
Oconostota slowly stands as Dragging Canoe speaks in Cherokee. “The Council has spoken! All War-Men of Shawnee, Mohawk, Creek, Iroquois, Delaware, Ottawa and Nautuca gathered here in council agree to go against the Virginians, leaving only you Ah-kah-nah’-sss-doe-tah of Chota. What is your word?”
A reluctant Oconostota addresses the Council. “I honor the council. As War Head-Man of Chota,” he says trepidation. “I once more take up the red hatchet of war.”
The sadness in Oconostota face is clear as he removes a scalp from the belt on his side. Lightly holding the scalp in his hand he stretches out both hands, palms up, signifying his vote for war.
Seeing Oconostota’s sign, Wild Rose, as War Woman removes the war belt she brought from Chota. The war belt of Chota is over ten feet long, having recorded the many wars Chota Warriors have fought.
With the long heavy belt draped over her arms she walks up to Oconostota. Looking him in the eye, their eyes share their regrets as she places the war belt of Chota over his arms. She quietly returns to her seat.
Dragging Canoe steps up to Oconostota and accepts the scalp. Then he gently places the accumulated war belts on Oconostota’s outstretched arms. The heavy weight of the war belts is equal to the weight on Oconostota’s heart.
Dragging Canoe with the scalp given to him by Oconostota walks back to the Sacred Fire. He removes six more white men’s scalps from his belt. Clutching all seven scalps, he raises them above his head. He looks around the Council House and proclaims, “War is approaching. With the white intruders we must unite. I now have seven scalps, one from each clan of the Tsalagi. Let these scalps seed the growth of more hair from the heads of the Virginians!”
One by one he presents a scalp to the Shawnee, Mohawk, Creek, Iroquois, Delaware, Ottawa and Nautuca Head Men. Each Head-Man accepts a scalp, nodding to Dragging Canoe and shaking his hand in a show of unity.
Dragging Canoe walks up to the Sacred Fire surrounded by all the Head Men. “The ignorant intruders will be sleeping knowing the Tsalagi are still and honor the treaty with Governor Bell,” Dragging Canoe says. “Give them no reason to believe otherwise! We, the Chickamauga, are a separate nation. We signed no treaty! With support of the Shawnee, Mohawk, Creek, Iroquois, Delaware, Ottawa and Nautuca, and many of the younger Tsalagi, my Chickamauga will lead the fight against the Virginian intruders!”
Silently Oconostota drapes the War Belts over a stool. A despondent Little Carpenter removes the White Peace Pipe from the white pelt he brought from Chota.
Simultaneously Oconostota produces the Red Hatchet of War that was buried at Chota Council House. As soon as Little Carpenter places the White Peace Pipe in the box he covers it over with a pelt signifying the peace is broken. Oconostota slowly walks over to the blood stained red war pole. He raises the Red Hatchet of War. His jaw clenches tight as he comes down with all his might. He sinks the Red Hatchet of War into the Red War Pole. The gathered warriors release war whoops to show their approval. Oconostota with his head dropped in sorrow walks away ignoring the celebration.
As the crowd settles, Dragging Canoe kneels and takes out his knife. Scratching out his plan of attack in the hard-packed dirt of the Council floor, he calls out his instructions: “We attack the Carolinas and Georgia first. I will attack the Holston settlements with 300 warriors. The Raven of Chota will attack Carter’s Valley. Our combined warriors with Oconostota’s Chota warriors will attack Robertson and Sevier at Wa-ta-u-ga.”
Using the crowd to conceal her exit, Wild Rose works her way out of the council area and disappears into the darkness.
Dragging Canoe stands and rakes his foot over the plan in the dirt. He walks over to the red war pole. He screams out, “There are more scalps to be taken! Destroy and burn all the settlers have on our ground!”
Screaming the war whoop and waving his tomahawk, Dragging Canoe comes down with his tomahawk and strikes the war pole. The Council House suddenly fills with a deafening roar of war chants and war whoops. The Head Men and warriors wheeling their preferred weapons, either tomahawks or war clubs, make their way to the Red War Pole. They take their turn striking the war pole with their weapons while chanting their tribes War Song.
John Stuart and Cameron make their way through the crowd of inflamed warriors. As they reach Dragging Canoe, Stuart grips Dragging Canoe’s arm. Dragging Canoe stops his dance, looks down at the hand on his arm with fire in his eyes.
Seeing his error, Stuart releases his grip and screams to be heard over the war whoops. “I am opposed to this action,” Stuart says. “The time is not right!”
Cameron, also screaming over the shouting and war whoops, calls out, “Dragging Canoe, I must warn you that you must abide by the King’s Agent rules of engagement or we will not furnish you with any more ammunition or supplies.”
After repeating their position, Stuart calls out over the deafening crowd to Dragging Canoe, “You must wait!”
Dragging Canoe yells back over the mounting crowd noise, “That time has passed!”
Stuart replies loudly, “Dragging Canoe, do you concede that you alone will be responsible for starting a war.”
With a knowing smile Dragging Canoe yells out at the height of his voice, “I take this responsibility openly and proudly.” Dragging Canoe releases a war whoop rejoining his warriors.
Becoming even more uneasy Stuart and Cameron make their way through the crowd. Once outside the crowd they blend into the rear of the festivities around the large bonfire. Cameron whispers to Stuart, “All our rhetoric can no longer dissuade them from taking up the hatchet!”
And Stuart replies, “I do not despair of getting them to act for His Majesty’s service.” Cameron stresses his position. “The timing is not right for this action,” he says. But Stuart calmly states, “We need not be tender of calling upon them to take up the hatchet against His Majesty’s rebellious subjects when it becomes necessary.”
Little Pigeon River
Before dawn two days later Inside his cabin at Little Pigeon River, Isaac nervously paces the floor, while Ole Hood is propped up in the corner of the room sleeping. His mouth is dropped open, Hood snores violently, further elevating Isaac’s nervous state.
Hearing a horse approach at a slow pace, Isaac kicks Ole Hood’s foot. His eyes pop open. ”What! What!” Dazed, Hood wipes drool from his whiskered chin and instinctively grabs his musket.
Isaac is already at the doorway as Hood joins him. They step onto the porch with muskets in hand. They see the unmistakable form of Big Foot Spencer and relax. Big Foot dismounts. “What are ya’ll on nerve about?” Big Foot asks.
“The English are bringing the Tsalagi into the white man’s war,” Isaac replies with distain. Big Foot is confused. “What war?”
“You need to get out of Cowee more,” Hood chimes in. “The English colonies have declared war on the British Crown.” Big Foot shakes his head in disbelief. “I be damn. ‘Bout time, That be a bonnie fight worth fight’n” he says. “So what are you two so jumpy about?”
The unusually serous Hood explains, “Isaac and Wild Rose wrote letters to warn the settlers. I was delivering them when I was jumped by Little Owl. We spect he took the letters back to Dragging Canoe.” A deeply concerned Isaac blurts out, “Something has happened to Wild Rose. She should have been here by now. I must return to Chota.”
“Isaac, that will be suicide with Dragging Canoe knowing ya sent letters warning the settlers. Besides most of the towns’ Head-Men are at NickaJack including Oconostata and Wild Rose.” Big Foot says.
“ Nickajack?” Responds Isaac.
Big Foot, “ Yep There be a big war council being held at Nickajack. Cherokee, Shawnee, Creek, Choctaw, you name um they be there!” Seeing the sense in what Big Foot says, Isaac concern grows for Wild Rose as he paces the yard contemplating his options.
Two days later sitting in the cabin at Little Pigeon River, Isaac, Big Foot and Ole Hood finish off the last of the hominy corn, when Isaac jumps up. Knowing Isaac to be peculiar, Big Foot and Ole Hood shrug off his actions and continue eating.
Walking softly to the door, Isaac’s listens as his keen hearing hones in on the sound. In the distance is heard the distinct sound of a horse’s hooves growing louder by the second. Isaac is already out door and on the porch when Ole Hood sets his fork down. He tells Big Foot, “Shhh. I hear something!”
Jumping up from the table, Big Foot and Ole Hood rush onto the porch. They see Wild Rose on a far distant hill riding her bareback horse at a full run before she disappears into a valley.
They run out into the far edge of the yard, joining Isaac. Wild Rose tops the hill in front of the cabin racing down toward them. Reaching Isaac, she pulls her horse to a quick halt and slides gracefully into Isaac’s waiting arms, embracing him passionately.
A sarcastic Ole Hood breaks their long passionate embrace. “Wild Rose, as much as we are all enjoying this loving moment, please tell us what happen at the council at Nickajack !” Ole Hood’s comment and smile is broken off by Isaac’s harsh stare.
Breaking from Isaac’s arms, she turns her attention to all three men. “Dragging Canoe has brought together the Shawnee, Creek Choctaw and Chickamauga, Even The Over Hill Towns including Chota. He is ready to strike!” Catching her breath, she speaks to Isaac. “You, Big Foot and Hood are to be the first Dragging Canoe scalps!”
Ole Hood throws his hands in the air. “That’s enough for me!” he says. “We gotta go!” Ole Hood paces nervously around the yard talking to himself as Big Foot standing solid and listens closely.
Wild Rose turns directly to Isaac. “When Dragging Canoe was sleeping off the Black Drink, Oconostota told me to meet him and bring you with me.“
“Where?” Isaac responds without hesitation. “Lewis’ cabin outside Fort Coswell.” Wild Rose instantly recognizes the hate in Isaac’s eyes burst forth at the mention of Lewis. Isaac grabs Wild Rose by both arms looking her in the eyes. “Stay with Hood and Big Foot!”
Wild Rose angrily jerks away from his grasp and grabs the mane on her horse, throwing herself swiftly up on her mount. “I did not ask!” she says hotly then turns to Hood. “Hood, listen to my words!”
He stops his blabbering and pacing turning his full attention to Wild Rose. “You and Big Foot go to Fort Coswell!” She states firmly. “Send my white brothers word to be ready, for the bolt will fall very soon. It will be as if midnight fell on Watauga. All will be dark with warriors.”
Pondering her words carefully, Ole Hood swallows hard. “Yes ma’am!”
She turns to Isaac. “Oh’-sss-de-gah’ kam! Oh’chee-goe-wah-tee-nuh Ah-kah-nah’-sss-doe-tah goe-hee-uh-suh’-hee! (We are going now! We met Oconostota tonight!)”
Without hesitation Isaac rushes into the cabin. Once inside he quickly gathers a bag of ground corn, his weapons and buffalo robes. He briskly walks from the cabin to the corral and bridles his horse in minutes. Leaving Ole Hood and and Big Foot she rides over to the corral to join Isaac. With both Wild Rose and Isaac mounted, Old Hood and Big Foot watch as the pair ride away at a breakneck pace.
Revenge For The Ohio
The next night after a torturous two-day ride night falls on Wild Rose and Isaac. They make their way through a rock-strewn forest lit by only moonlight. They stop and dismount at the edge of the woods and look out at a large meadow. Past the meadow they see a fire in the woods. Making their way slowly across the meadow and reach the edge of the woods. They survey the situation cautiously before Wild Rose calls out, “Dee-gah’-nay’-lee (brother) nah-sss-gee gay- suh’-ee (it is) Gay’yah-tah-hee’ Ah-gee-lah’sss-gee Ey’kwah-Ah-sss-gay’yaw’, (Wild Rose Big- Man)!”
From the campfire is heard a familiar voice from Oconostota. “Hee-gee-nay-le-eye (You are my friend.) Ey’- chee’-yuh-nuh’ (Come in – to two people).” The familiar voice brings a smile to Isaac’s usually stern expression.
Isaac and Wild Rose remount aware of every movement and sound as they enter deeper into the woods. The glow of the campfire grows as they approach the camp. Seeing Oconostota, they dismount. They are greeted with a smile from Oconostota. His head is covered in black war paint with white strips running down from the corners of his eyes. “O-si-yo! It is good to see you, doe- stah-dah-nuh-cley (my brother)!”
Isaac greets Oconostota warmly, “O-si-yo! Doe-stah-dah-nuh-cley (my brother)!” Isaac turns and greets The Tassel and The Raven, “O-si-yo, doe-stah-dah-nuh-cley (my brother)!” They respond in kind with warmth. Turning their attention to Jay-see and Nayn-see. Wild Rose and Isaac hug them warmly. Isaac greets the other four warriors in red war paint. “O-si-yo!”
Oconostota’s smile turns somber. “Balance will return according to Yo-He-Wa’s law!” he says in Cherokee. “Tonight we take our revenge on Lewis for his betrayal on the Ohio. ”
The news of obtaining revenge on Lewis increases Isaac’s anticipation as he and Wild Rose ready for battle. Taking out war-paint from the pouches hung on their sides, she applies the red war paint to Isaac’s face and entire head. Then she masks his eyes with black war paint.
Reciprocating, Isaac applies red war paint to Wild Rose’s face, followed by black paint covering her eyes. As he finishes, she gently kisses Isaac on the lips.
With the warriors ready, Oconostota kicks the fire out addressing Isaac in Cherokee with a smile. “How does it feel to be a Tsalagi warrior once more?”
Thumping his chest twice with his right fist, he smiles and replies, “Oh’-sss-dah (Good)!”
Oconostota, The Tassel, The Raven, Jay-see, Nayn-see, Isaac, Wild Rose and the other four warriors mount their horses and leave camp, disappearing into the night.
After a one-hour ride, they come upon a large dog-trot log cabin. Lights from cabin illuminate the yard. Remaining on their horses, the warriors surround the cabin. A large yellow cur dog on the porch barks relentlessly, alerting the inhabitants of the cabin.
The Tassel releases an arrow that hits the dog in its side. With a single yelp, the dog slumps to the floor of the porch. The warriors dismount and close in on the cabin, approaching to within ten yards. They hear scuffling from the cabin and Maj. Lewis franticly calls out, “Who’s there?”
Oconostota replies coldly, “Lewis, twenty years has passed since you killed and scalped our warriors on the Ohio. We come to restore balance taking revenge of our murdered brothers.”
Moments later Maj. Lewis calls out, “You can have my wife and children. Take your revenge on them!”
From inside the cabin they hear more scuffling, slapping sounds and furniture breaking. A woman screams, then more slapping, scuffling and children crying.
The door is thrown open. Seconds later, Lewis’ wife (in her 30s) and Lewis’ son, 10, and daughter, 12, are pushed into the open hallway of the dogtrot cabin. Lewis slams the door behind them. They become frantic sobbing relentlessly.
The Tassel runs up and grabs Lewis’ wife’s hair, yanking her head back. He puts his flint knife to her throat and drags her into the yard. Four other warriors grab the crying and screaming children dragging them away.
Just as The Tassel is about to cut Mrs. Lewis’ throat, Wild Rose rushes to his side. She gently lays her hand on The Tassel’s arm. Feeling her touch, he jerks his head around. His eyes filled with hate, he stares into her warm soothing gaze. She calmly speaks to The Tassel in Cherokee. “We are not English dogs. We respect women and children.”
The Tassel releases his grasp, the woman instantly slumps to the ground. Wild Rose reaches down, helping her to her feet. Wild Rose puts her arm around the woman’s shoulder. “Come with me!” she says. Lewis’ trembling wife looks into Wild Rose’s war painted face. “You and your children will not be harmed,” Wild Rose says. She becomes hysterical and screams, but Wild Rose slaps her hard across the face. Stunned, she becomes silent. The warriors step in tying the three captives’ hands. Once they are bound, Wild Rose leads them out of harm’s way.
Oconostota makes his way to the rear of the cabin. Gathering dried straw he takes his flint and lights a fire. As the fire builds, the back of the house starts to burn.
In a crazed rage, The Tassel runs onto the porch. In one forceful move, he kicks the door in and bursts inside. Lewis, braced against the door, is flung backwards to the floor losing his pistol. Once inside, The Tassel reaches down grabbing Lewis by the hair, dragging him out the door kicking and scratching at The Tassel’s hands and arms.
Lewis is crying and urinating on himself. “I gave you my wife and children!” he screams. “What more do you want, my dog?” The Tassel reaches down, picking up the dead dog in his free hand. “I have your dog!” he replies. “We are Tsalagi. We do not eat dog, but it is all the ooh-nay’guh (white man) leaves and I am oo- yoe-see (hungry)!”
Lewis glances over seeing his dead dog in The Tassel’s other hand and continues to plead. “I can be of value! Please! Please! Don’t kill me. Please!” Recognizing Wild Rose, he pleads with her, “Rose, save me!”
Her response is cold and deliberate. “I saved your wife and children, but you are not worth saving.” Nodding toward Lewis, she calls to The Tassel, “He is yours to do with what you wish.”
The Tassel with fire in his eyes looks down into Lewis’ cowardly face. Oconostota steps up to Lewis and gazes down on him while he tells The Tassel, “I want Lewis to remember this day.”
Calmly Oconostota reaches back over his shoulder remove an arrow from his quiver. He places the arrow in his bow draws back. Looking down at Lewis he releases the arrow shooting Lewis in the groin.
Lewis screams, grabbing his groin. The Tassel releases Lewis, who wallows in his own blood and urine. Returning The Tassel’s wrathful stare, Oconostota’s features are strong and hard. He speaks calmly, “he will bleed out slowly. Leave him… We have balance.”
The Tassel accepts the directive and steps away from Lewis. Isaac and Wild Rose step up beside Oconostota.
Before a word is said Oconostota motions them to walk over out of earshot of the others before whispering in Cherokee, “Dragging Canoe has six hundred warriors and Tories headed for Fort Coswell. They will attack all settlements up to New River before returning to Chota!”
Puzzled by Oconostota’s statement Isaac ask, “Why do you betray Dragging Canoe?”
Filled with distress, Oconostota replies in Cherokee, “Dragging Canoe betrayed the people by uniting with the English! I want no part of the white man’s war. The English will use our people, then throw us away.”
The two old friends shake hands warmly and Wild Rose says in Cherokee, “Oconostota, we will take Lewis’ wife and children to the safety of their own people.”
Oconostota pauses to consider her request before answering. “O-sss-dah (Good)! Day’-dah dah-goh’ huhn-yuhn’ (Until we meet again).”
Wild Rose and Isaac gather up Mrs. Lewis and the children. Angered by Wild Rose and Isaac taking the captives, The Tassel approaches Oconostota and asks sharply in Cherokee, “Why do Big-Man and Wild Rose take the captives?”
Oconostota stands toe to toe with The Tassel before answering calmly in Cherokee, “Isaac saved my life and yours at the Ohio. We now have balance. The captives pay our debt of life to Big-Man. I have spoken!” The Tassel nods in agreement, “Doo-dah’-nee-luh-chah (Agreed)!”
Isaac and Wild Rose mount their horses with Lewis’ wife and children all on another horse. Gently nudging the horses they ride away into the dark night at a slow pace.
Oconostota, The Tassel and their warriors pillage the farm burning everything they do not take, while Lewis slithers around in his own blood screaming, “At least kill me! Don’t leave me with no food and water!”
Tried of hearing his complaining, The Tassel walks over to Lewis, “ you need no food or water. The wolves will have fed on you before the sun rises.” Panic grips Lewis he is crying feverishly. The Tassel unable to take Lewis’s cowardice strikes him in the head knocking him unconsciousness.
As the sun rises Lewis lies on the ground. He abruptly awakens and tries to stand, but falls to the ground in pain. The flies buzz around Lewis’s wound. The arrow still protruding from both sides of the leg. Looking around he sees the remains of his dog roasting over the embers of a dyeing fire.
The warriors are awake, but still resting when Oconostota wakes. He walks about, stretching gingerly as he speaks in Cherokee. “We go to Fort Coswell to unite with Old Abrams and our warriors.”
The Lewis Woman
After breaking camp, The Tassel grabs the remains of the dog from the spit and mounts up along with the other warriors. The Tassel finishes eating the dog. He throws the bones at a very weak and pale Lewis wallowing on the ground in severe pain. Isaac, Wild Rose leave with Mrs. Lewis and her two children.
Well after a full day and into the night of traveling it has taken its toll. Isaac, Wild Rose with Mrs. Lewis and her two children are totally spent, barely able to stay astride their exhausted horses.
The ride becomes even more formidable as the horses have to fight through mangled timber laid down by a recent buffalo stampede. The slow and difficult travel weighs heavy on the trail worn riders. The Lewis children are crying and constantly complaining about their hunger.
Even Isaac is tired and tells Wild Rose in Cherokee, “Good place to camp. Dragging Canoe will not pass here. The broken trees make travel too slow. You are safe. I will go find meat.”
Wild Rose, Mrs. Lewis and the children dismount. Remaining mounted, Isaac hands his musket, ball and powder to Wild Rose leaving him with only his bow, quiver and tomahawk. Isaac leaves the campsite to find fresh game. Wild Rose and Mrs. Lewis make camp. She
sends her children out to gather firewood. Wild Rose is removing salted buffalo meat from a buckskin bag when Mrs. Lewis approaches her, a tense anger in her voice. “Why did you and the warriors attack us?”
Angered by her tone, Wild Rose gives her a venomous retort, “We went to the Ohio with Lewis to fight the French. Lewis turned on us killing many warriors as we slept.”
Slightly taken back by Wild Rose’s words, she makes a vain attempt to defend her husband. “But wasn’t that twenty years ago?”
Wild Rose states coldly and firmly, “No matter. Our law demands balance! We must avenge the death of our people. Time is of no concern.” She pauses before adding, “If you want we can still take you to The Tassel?”
Wild Rose’s response makes Mrs. Lewis gasp and more congenial. “No! We will stay with you.”
Wild Rose turns her back to hide her smirk. Mrs. Lewis walks to the opposite side of the campsite. Seeing the musket leaned against a tree within reach, she contemplates escaping, slowly leaning in toward the gun. Her hand on the gun she glances back over her shoulder at Wild Rose. Mrs. Lewis starts to lift the musket, but Wild Rose’s tomahawk strikes the birch tree embedding its self just above Mrs. Lewis’ head. She screams and drops the musket, jumping away from the gun.
Wild Rose calmly walks over to Mrs. Lewis, stopping within inches of her face. Wild Rose pins her back against the tree, reaches over Mrs. Lewis’ head and jerks her tomahawk free from the tree. She looks into Mrs. Lewis face and whispers, “Fools die quick out here.”
The next day about noon Isaac slides down from his horse, ties the reins to a branch and makes his way along the ridge till he finds a vantage point here he can survey the entire hollow. With the skill of a hawk, he observes a large buck making his way though the hollow. He admires the precision of the deer’s careful manipulation of his surroundings to camouflage his movements as he weaves silently through the hardwood forest. Isaac anticipates his prey’s destination making his way down wind from his intended prey. Silently slipping down the ridge, taking up a position behind a large beech tree within striking distance of a white oak tree where the ground is covered with acorns.
For nearly an hour Isaac waits patiently with bow and arrow in hand. The deer, now within 20 yards, pauses to survey his surroundings. Secure in his safety, the deer makes his way over to the white oak tree. Taking a last look around, the antlered buck drops his head to feed on the abundant acorns.
Isaac slips around the tree exposing just enough of his body to take aim at the deer. The deer now just ten yards away, he pauses a second before releasing his arrow.
Crashing sounds of snapping tree saplings breaks the silence, echoing through the woods and growing closer. The arrow misses its target, and the deer sprints away. Bursting from the thicket at a dead run, a mammoth black bear releases a growl. Hot after the deer, the bear suddenly slides to a halt. Standing on its hind legs the beast is over seven feet tall. It sniffs the air, and the agile bear spins to face Isaac. Seeing the bear has him, Isaac knows his only chance is his bow. Quickly, he readies an arrow. Snorting, the bear stalks him then charges. Isaac releases the arrow, but it is too late. The bear pounces, knocking Isaac to the ground. The bear falls on him but within moments lays still.
Several minutes pass before Isaac burrows his way out from under the bear. Isaac staggers over to a tree and slides down beside it, looking at the bear. He examines himself covered in the bear’s blood. Feeling pain in his right shoulder, he can see where the bear’s claws ripped away his buckskin and lacerated his right shoulder. Isaac makes his way over to the unintended kill. He takes a moment to honor of the massive bear. With the use of one hand he fights the pain in his shoulder and guts the bear as quickly as he can. He cuts away a handful of bear fat rubbing it on his wounds.
After field dressing the bear, he keeps the meat, heart and liver. Then he makes his way back up the ridge toward his horse, which he mounts and rides back to the bear carcass. Knowing he can’t lift the massive bear, he skins the animal and makes a travois from its hide and two broken saplings. With his smoker-hawk, he hacks the bear into quarters and loads them on the travois.
He makes his way back toward camp, blocking the pain from his mind. As he picks his way through the broken trees of a wooded bottom, he catches a brief glimpse of movement on the ridge above. He remains still as three mounted warriors move along the crest of the ridge headed in his general direction. They are several hundred feet above his position, moving at brisk pace. He pulls into a bushy enclave and dismounts. Isaac watches closely, putting his hand over his horse’s nose to stop it from whinnying to the warrior’s horses.
The warriors fast pace indicates they are scouting the flanks for a war party and not hunting. After the warriors pass Isaac ties his horse to a tree. Fighting the pain in his lacerated shoulder he makes his way on foot up the ridge, picking up the warrior’s trail. Following the warriors he keeps a safe distance back so as not to be seen.
Later that day with dusk descending Isaac continues to follow the warriors. In the distance he sees the halo of a large campfire on the treetops coming from the opposite side of the next ridge. Laying on his stomach he continues to watch. His patience pays off and he catches a glimpse of an outpost warrior’s silhouette in the campfire halo.
Knowing the Tsalagi method of operations he is well aware there are more scattered outpost warriors on the perimeter of the camp. Isaac makes his way around to avoid other warriors before reaching a spot to take a peek over the crest of the ridge.
In the basin of the hollow he can clearly see the large war party. Still not satisfied, Isaac’s curiosity pushes him to investigate further. He works his way through the thick underbrush to a closer vantage point. Surveying the warrior’s camp he sees Dragging Canoe, Old Abrams and The Raven sitting at a fire in a camp with well over 100 warriors.
Content with his findings Isaac mentally blocks out the throbbing pain in his shoulder and arm. He makes his way back through the increasing darkness of the thickly wooded hills and hollows till he finds his horse. Mounting up he picks his way through the broken timber using his horse’s skills more than his own to pull the travois loaded with bear-meat.
After over two hours of fighting the mangled forest and the pain in his shoulder, Isaac sees the faint glow of a campfire. He stops just outside the glow of the campfire and whistles a birdcall to alert Wild Rose. She stops and answers with a similar call signaling it is safe to enter.
He leads his horse into camp and Wild Rose walks up to greet him. She sees the bear carcass in the makeshift travois and Isaac’s lacerated right shoulder and arm. She unties the horse from the travois and rolls the bear meat up in the hide. Gathering a bag of salt from her travel sack, she liberally covers the fresh meat except the bear heart. She suspends some of the meat over the fire to cook and uses a rope to hoist the remaining meat in the air, where animals can’t reach it.
With the meat secured, she walks out into the woods and returns with the bark of a willow and a hickory tree. She hands Isaac a piece of willow bark to chew on for the pain as she rubs the wounds with bear-grease. She uses the hickory bark as a bandage, placing the inner layer of bark directly on the lacerations. The tough outer bark protects wounds as she binds it with leather strings to secure the bandage.
Exhausted from the day’s hunt Isaac is soon asleep. After short nap he is awaken by Wild Rose nudging him lightly. “The bear heart and liver is cooked,” she whispers in Cherokee. Groggy Isaac waves her off, but she insists. “You need strength. The bear’s heart will give you the bear’s strength!”
He sits up as she hands him a piece of bear-heart on a stick. Isaac holding the stick gingerly eats the heart. Wild Rose turns to Mrs. Lewis, holding out a stick with bear liver. “Come. Feed your children.” Mrs. Lewis approaches with uncertainty, but starving quickly accepts the food. She returns to the other side of the fire, sharing the liver with her starved children. They eat in silence as she and her children devour the meager meal.
As Isaac and Wild Rose sit by the fire, she asks in Cherokee, “Why so long? I was worried.” Isaac takes a bite before replying in Cherokee. “First the bear, then I spotted a scouting party and followed them.” Finishing the bear-heart he explains what he encountered. His report troubles Wild Rose. Without speaking further, Isaac stands and makes his way over to the horses to bed them down for the night. He ventures out of the firelight to gather wood. Wild Rose tends to the fire and cleans up around the campsite before preparing for bed. She removes all her clothing before sliding under the buffalo robe.
On the other side of the fire, Mrs. Lewis is mortified at the sight of her open nakedness. She covers her children’s eyes, quickly shuffling them under the buffalo robe loaned to her by Wild Rose. She joins her children turning her back toward the fire.
Wincing in pain from his wounds Isaac makes his way back to the fire with several large pieces of wood and checks on the bear meat smoking over the fire. Isaac makes his way over to Wild Rose and disrobes, slipping under the robes beside her. Soon their fatigue and the sound of the crackling fire lulls them all to sleep.
The Siege of Fort Coswell
Noon on a hot summer day at the small station, consisting of a few cabins enclosed by a log pole fence. From the distance can be seen a provisional thirteen-star flag flying from the sapling flagpole. Militiaman Lt. Marion dressed as a frontiersman is standing on the wall with Samuel Moore, 30, and James Cooper, 40.
Lt. Marion sees two riders in the distance approaching the fort at a full gallop. When they get closer, he sees the riders are rough and burly traders. The speed of their horses kicks up the sod as they race cross the open plain leading up to the fort. When they are within 100 yards, Lt. Marion calls below, “Riders approaching. Open the gates!”
The gates swing open just before Ole Hood and Big Foot ride though. Their horses slide to a halt, lathered from the strenuous pace. Ole Hood and Big Foot dismount as James Moore, a simple-minded boy of 18, approaches them. James Moore grabs their horses’ reins, “ I’ll take care of those for ya sir.”
“Thanks,” Ole Hood says with a smile. “Who is in charge here?”
Moore replies, “James Robertson!” The boy takes the reins of their horses leads them over to the small barn followed by Big Foot and Ole Hood. James Moore gives their exhausted mounts a little water rubbing them down with burlap sacks.
Looking around the small fort Hood comments, “Heard about this feller Sevier taking charge of all the militia west of the mountains?”
In a nonchalant manner Moore replies, “Nope, not here. Mr. Robertson has the final word.”
Hood cracks a smile as Moore looks up from his chores. “That’s him yonder!” He points to a man making his way across the muddy yard through 60 settlers – men, women and children milling about the fort in daily activities.
Robertson is within a few feet when Ole Hood catches his gaze. The two men smile at one another as Ole Hood reaches out. “Old Friend, how the hell are ya?” The two old friends share a hardy handshake as Robertson answers with a hint of doubt in his voice. “You tell me?”
Big Foot walks around his horse to shake Robertson’s hand. “We just came from Chota.” Ole Hood’s mood turns somber. “Hate to tell ya, but Dragging Canoe is sending Oconostota here with over a hundred warriors.”
Contemplating the information Robertson concern deepens. “Have you seen Isaac?” Ole Hood somewhat puzzled. “We left him and Wild Rose a few days back. Kinda figured they would be here by now?”
In a light hearted tone Big Foot adds, “He’ll be fine, but we sure could use something to eat.” Robertson shakes his head. “We don’t have much but it be filling and you are welcome to it.”
The three of them walk across the muddy yard toward a small one-room cabin, where a young pretty brunette woman in her 20s leans against the doorway. Robertson nods in the girl’s direction. “By the way, my sister Ann came back with me from the Yadkin Valley.”
Smiling ear to ear, Old Hood asks with a puzzled expression, “Is that her?” Robertson notes with a hint pride, “That’s her.”
When they arrive at the doorway, Ann Robertson greets them warmly. “Hi. Please come in.” Old Hood’s smile broadens. “It will be my pleasure!’ he says. “Well, it is clear to see who got all the looks in the family!”
Big Foot shakes his head in disgust. Hood looks up at him with a puzzled look, shrugging his shoulders. “What?” Big Foot places his huge hand on Ole Hood’s shoulder and whispers, “Mind your manners, Hood.” Ann Robertson, tickled by their banter, giggles and steps inside the cabin followed by the three hungry men.
Less than two hours later in black war paint Old Abrams with well over 100 warriors with their heads covered in red war paint enter a wooded hollow. The women dragging their travois loaded with supplies follow them. Making their way up the hollow the war party enters from the fore side of the woods. Using the woods to block their arrival the warriors leave the wives in the woods to make camp.
Old Abrams and his warriors silently make their way to the edge of the woods bordering the field that separates them from the front gate of Fort Coswell. Old Abrams peers out from the concealment of the woods. Beside him is Jay-see, The Tassel, The Raven, Tomotly, in his 30s, with 50 warriors ready for attack. Old Abrams motions to Jay-see, he silently leads 50 warriors away from the war party using the woods for cover.
Jay-see leads his 50 warriors cautiously around to a secured vantage point in the woods within striking distance of the back wall of the fort, which is 50 yards away. The warriors silently spread out just inside the tree line. They have a clear view across the open field of the fort’s 12-foot rear wall.
Inside the small fort the settlers are completely unaware Old Abrams and his warriors lurk in the woods and are ready for attack. Finishing their meager meal of cornbread and milk, Ole Hood, Big Foot, James Robertson and Ann Robertson step from the cabin. Ole Hood lags behind talking and joking with Ann to her obvious amusement.
Big Foot and James Robertson walk across the yard toward the front fort wall. Seeing the condition of the fort, Big Foot asks Robertson with concern, “How be you with food and ammunition?” Robertson’s face tightens. “The food supply is down to only parched corn and cornmeal as you can see. We only have moderate amounts of ball and powder.”
The two men reach the front wall and climb the ladder to the walkway. Standing on the narrow walkway Big Foot looks out on the seemingly tranquil surrounding woods and remarks, “We should have time to gather what we can from outside the fort before they attack.”
Robertson nods in agreement. “I will send a few of the men out in search of food and send two more to Virginia for reinforcements.” Robertson calls down below to two men splitting shingles, “Cooper, take Samuel Moore with you and see what food you can get up. Stay alert! The Indians may be laying siege shortly.”
Samuel Moore and James Cooper wave in acknowledgment and lay down their fro and mallets. They pick up their muskets, ball and powder horns. They make their way to the gate, opening it just wide enough to pass though. Big Foot and James Robertson watch the two men walk from the fort and head across the field towards the woods.
Robertson turns back toward the yard and sees a well-dressed man step from the outhouse and walk across the yard, taking a seat on a wooden crate in the shade beside the cabin. James Robertson nudges Big Foot. “There is someone I would like you to meet.”
Robertson and Big Foot make their way back down the ladder where Ole Hood smiling ear to ear greets them. James Robertson motions to Ole Hood. “Come on over and sit down.” Ole Hood and Big Foot follow Robertson over to the man sitting down on a wooden crate. He is quite handsome with blonde hair and a medium build, clearly a man of wealth in his 30s. James Robertson addresses the stranger, “John, this is Ole Hood and Big Foot. I told you about them.”
Ole Hood takes a seat on an empty keg “John! How are ya?” John Sevier looks the traders over with discernment, greeting them with a reserved politeness. “Hood, Big Foot, good to meet you. I am state militia Col. John Sevier.”
“So we have heard?” States an apprehensive Big Foot towering well over a foot taller than John Sevier. Big Foot’s untrusting stare causes Sevier to become a bit uneasy and just nods in response. The men settle down and in muted conversation.
The confident and vivacious Bonnie Kate Sherrill is a slender athletic brunette in her early 20s. She is carrying a large basket and is followed by Elizabeth Massengill. Elizabeth is in her 20s, tall with tightly bound up blonde hair. They tiptoe their way around the mud holes carefully working their way toward the men at the fire. Bonnie Kate smiles with admiration as she walks up to within a foot of John Sevier.
Elizabeth looks up to see her father standing on the wall watching her every move with disapproving forbiddance. Lowering her eyes a silent Elizabeth remains a step behind the outgoing Bonnie Kate.
Seeing the two women Ole Hood stands smiling acknowledging both women separately by tipping his coonskin hat. “How you do, Miss? Ma’am? Name’s Hood, they call me Ole Hood. This here is Big Foot Spencer.” Big Foot bows slightly, “A good day to you, Lasses.”
The outgoing Bonnie Kate is eager to meet the strangers and gathers all their attention, “Nice to meet you, Mr. Hood. Mr. Spencer,” she says politely accompanied by a warm smile. Elizabeth, the shyer of the two, just nods. The others mistake her timidness as aloofness and focus their full attention on Bonnie.
Although very cordial to everyone Bonnie quickly turns her complete attention on John Sevier. With a broad smile and obvious attraction she asks, “Colonel Sevier, do you think it’s safe for us to go out and gather berries?” John Sevier returns the smile with equal admiration says with authority. “I have seen no signs of an attack, but stay close.”
Upon hearing Sevier’s reassurance Elizabeth quickly makes her way toward the front gate avoiding further conversation that may incite her father. A smiling, Bonnie Kate remains transfixed on Sevier for a moment before she scurries away to join Elizabeth.
A little jealous of Bonnie’s admiration of Sevier, Ole Hood grunts mumbling under his breath, “How the hell would he know ifn’ they be an attack… He’s been in the outhouse since we got here?”
The men watch as Bonnie scampers lightly across the yard before catching up with Elizabeth already standing at the gate. The two women walk out of the fort talking and laughing.
Standing at the fire Hood admires them as they walk away and utters. “Maybe I need to go and keep an eye on them.” Big Foot states sternly, “They be safer with you here.”
Hood grunts in reply as Big Foot turns his attention back to John Sevier. “Guess you’ve heard Dragging Canoe has taken at least 20 scalps in the last month and is gaining a lot of power?” Sevier nods at Big Foot with concern, but is not shaken.
From the woods in front of the fort Old Abrams with his warriors watch the two men leave the fort headed in their direction. Remaining concealed they see two women exit the station and make their way across the field directly towards the woods where they wait.
Old Abrams motions The Raven and 10 warriors after Samuel Moore and James Cooper. Then he motions to Tomotly and several warriors after the two women.The women make their way across the field. They pass by Moore and Cooper gathering firewood from a dead tree not 20 yards outside the edge of the woods. They speak briefly before preceding on.
Bonnie Kate and Elizabeth are just outside the edge of the woods. They split up and go off in opposite directions picking muscadines.
With stealth Tomotly edges his way through the woods and works his way up behind Elizabeth with knife drawn. Elizabeth reaches up to pick berries and catches a shadow coming from behind her. She spins around to find the war-painted warrior Tomotly standing directly behind her. She screams as he lunges at her knocking her to the ground. Just up the trail Bonnie hears Elizabeth’s scream and dives from the path into a clump of bushes.
Meanwhile Five women are half way across the field headed toward the woods to help with the foraging. Hearing Elizabeth’s screams the five women stop and turn quickly fleeing back to the safety of the fort running as fast as possible.
Cooper and Moore, gathering wood from the old dead tree at the edge of the woods, hear Elizabeth’s scream as well. Seeing the women running back toward the fort, Cooper and Moore pause gathering their senses. They drop the bundles of wood and make a run for the fort. Seeing the two men retreating to the fort Old Abrams motions The Raven and 10 warriors to snatch up Samuel Moore and James Cooper. The ten warriors burst out of the woods on horses chasing them down and overtake Cooper and Moore. The warriors drag them back to the dead tree and tie them to the stump. As the warriors pile wood up around them. Cooper and Moore seeing their fate scream for help.
Back inside the fort hearing the distant screams from the woods sends a shockwave of terror though out the fort. The inhabitants freeze in place contemplating the horror that is about to befall them. Lt. Marion, standing on the bastion, franticly yells down to John Sevier, “The savages have got Cooper and Moore. Quick, open the gates!” Suddenly everyone is racing about the fort is an organized frenzy.
Still sitting by the fire in his own little world Ole Hood is watching the chaos in unconcerned amazement as one person after another dashes past racing to their post. He is thinking about Little Owl jumping him and taking the letters. Suddenly it dawns on him it may be Dragging Canoe. In a frantic Ole Hood jumps up, “ “What the hell? Damn if my hair is going to be Dragging Canoe’s next scalp!” He takes off running toward the safety of the cabin as he yells out, “Big Foot, I’ll protect the women folks!” Reaching the doorway of the cabin he calls out again, “ get them women in here!”
Overwrought with anger and concern John Sevier yells out, “Men! Quick. Go with Big Foot and rescue those women and men!” James Robertson keeps his head and yells back to John Sevier with a cold sternness in his voice, “No! It is a trap to lure us out into the open! Close the gates!” Submitting to Robertson’s command, Sevier’s displeasure is very clear as he glares cold and hard at Robertson. Robertson knows he makes an unpopular choice and Sevier is backed by everyone on the wall. However, Robertson remains strong in his decision and quickly glances around at his people glaring stares. “I respect your sentiments and I wish to save them as well. But it would take too many men and put the entire station in a state of jeopardy!” In the heat of the moment his reasoning brings little conciliation to the patrons of the fort.
In the woods Tomotly followed by three warriors drag Elizabeth away by the hair. She is kicking and screaming fighting to free herself from her captors. The warriors are so preoccupied with subduing Elizabeth they pass within a few yards of Bonnie Kate without seeing her hidden in the bushes. After they pass, a terrified Bonnie Kate takes a deep breath and clams herself. She proceeds to covertly make her way to the outer edge of the woods. Concealed in the bushes she watches waiting for a chance to make a run for the fort.
The warriors arrive in camp located deep within the woods with the exhausted Elizabeth drained of all her strength. At the campsite Tomotly taking leather strings ties Elizabeth to the nearest tree. He tells her, “You safe here.” She looks around at the Tsalagi women staring blank faced at her. She looks up at Tomotly and retorts with venom, “Safe! Safe from you savages?”
Ignoring her comment Tomotly remounts his horse. He joins Old Abrams, The Tassel and The Raven and within seconds they disappear from camp. Racing through the woods following Old Abrams the warriors reach the edge of the woods were they find 50 warriors ready for battle. Concealed within the woods Old Abrams, The Tassel and The Raven take their place in the lead position. The warriors await the the word from Old Abrams for the frontal attack on the fort.
From the field outside the front gate the distinct screams of the five women perforate the fort. The five women are in an all out run as they make a mad dash through the narrowing gates just before they’re closed. Rushing down the ladder to the returning women, John Sevier searches desperately for Bonnie Kate and Elizabeth. He grabs one of distressed women by the arm ask, “Where are Elizabeth and Bonnie Kate?” The woman gasping for air replies sharply, “The savages have them. Their screams are what alerted us.” Sevier’s stone face never reveals his distress over the women being captured and his building anger with Robertson for overriding his order to rescue them.
Across the field next to the woods several younger warriors continue to pile up wood nearly waist high around the captives Cooper and Moore. A warrior with flint and fleabane strikes up a fire underneath the woodpile. The fire ignites and the flames rise ever higher. Cooper and Moore continue screaming and thrashing about fighting their bonds. Soon they are both quite and still. The sickening stench of their burning flesh fills the air.
With the sickening odor of burning flesh permeating the nostrils of everyone in the fort, many become physical ill, neutralizing their willingness to fight. But not so with Sevier, he gathers himself with pure hate in his heart as the smell of burning flesh claws at his gut. He runs back up the ladder taking a position on the wall along side Robertson, Marion and Bean. Sevier nor Robertson speak or look at one another. All the habitants of the small station are more resolute than ever in their desire to defend the small fort at all cost.
No longer able to witness the cremation, Marion turns away and utters, “Oh my God.” His anger peaks and he lashes out at Robertson. “How can you just stand there and do nothing as good men are burned to death before your very eyes?” His eyes glazed over in guilt, Robertson doesn’t reply as he focuses on what little remains of the burning Cooper and Moore. The ghastly sight and smell are forever etched in his soul.
Still hiding in the bushes at the edge of the woods, Bonnie Kate hears the warriors rustling about and she remains hidden. As the battle ensues, Old Abrams, The Tassel, The Raven,
Tomotly with 50 warriors release their warhorses, racing across the open vista to attack the front of the fort. Bonnie Kate catches glimpses of the warriors racing through the woods towards the fort. Their frightening war whoops fill the air.
Across the open field positioned on the fort’s front wall the seasoned marksmen release one deadly volley after another on the warriors. However, they issue only minimal damage with the majority of the warriors pulling up and staying just out of gun range. Riding back and forth, taunting their adversaries and releasing their arrows high over the wall, the warriors save their powder and ball.
At the rear of the fort Lidy Bean and Ann Robertson are preoccupied with washing clothes. The two of are weary, hot and sweaty in the enclosed wash area where a large black iron pot boils over the fire. The two women are swishing the laundry around and around in the boiling water with wooden paddles. Stopping to catch their breath they clearly hear the distinct sounds of musket fire coming from the front wall of the fort.
Curious they step outside the protection of the enclosed wash area. They see the bursts of black powder smoke and hear the distinct crackle of the muskets. Beholding the inner sanctum of the yard, they are taken back witnessing so many of the fort’s patrons huddled together in small bunches unprotected in the open yard. The warriors arrows launched over the wall easily find their random targets. Upon the death or injury the small bunches of huddled people scatter screaming in terror. Leaving their wounded comrades squalling and squirming on the ground they seek covered shelter.
Standing just outside the doorway mesmerized by the surreal scene of screaming and death, Lidy mumbles to Ann Robertson, “Ann, we are under attack!” Beholding the carnage they remain in a state of numbness till several arrows strike the wall within inches of them, snapping them back to reality. Diving back inside to the safety of the wash area they slam the door shut just as several more arrows pepper the entranceway.
In the woods outside the rear of the fort hearing the attack has commenced on the front wall, it is Jay-see’s cue to attack the rear wall with his 50 warriors. Leaving the safety of the woods, the warriors led by Jay-see make a mad dash across the open ground. Moving steady and silently for the rear wall of the fort many of the warriors carry armloads of wood.
Inside the rear wall of the fort in the washroom the wide-eyed Lidy and Ann peep through the cracks in the door and remain huddled in place. The shooting mixed with screams of the wounded and dying becomes unbearable for Lidy. She whispers, “Let’s go. The wounded need us!” Ann nods in agreement. Lidy takes in a large breath, slightly cracking open the door to survey the yard. Seeing it is clear they are about to bolt when they hear rustling noises behind them on the outer side of the wall. They peer over their shoulders at the outside wall trying to discern what the noise can be. Ann is mumbling to herself praying so fast she is incoherent. Trying concentrate on the sounds just outside the wall Lidy whispers a stern command, “Ann shush!”
They catch glimpses of warriors through the cracks between the log pole-fence. Her curiosity soaring Lidy slowly walks over to the outside wall with Ann whispering in protest, “Lidy no! Come back!” Not heeding Ann’s protest, Lidy creeps over and peeps through a crack. She sees several warriors piling up straw and wood starting a fire at the base of the wall. The fire quickly catches and builds as the flames race up the log pole fence.
Lidy Bean steps back whispers strongly in her strong Irish brogue, “Ann! Be a grabn’ da side of da pot!” Without protest Ann follows Lidy’s lead, wrapping rags around their hands before taking a five-gallon cast iron pot dipping it into the boiling water of the large wash pot. With the heavy pot of boiling water in hand they carefully make their way up the steps attached to the rear wall of the wash area.
Reaching the upper walkway they keep their heads below the top edge of the fence four feet above them. Crawling along dragging the pot of boiling water they stay low maneuvering themselves closer to the smoke and flames rising up the wall. They position themselves directly over the warriors adding more wood to the fire below them. In place they carefully pick up the hot boiling pot resting it momentarily on top of the log pole wall. Lidy nods to Ann, they carefully tip the boiling caldron to the outside of the wall showering the hot boiling water down on the warriors and fire below.
The scalded warriors scream in pain and retreat. Other warriors seeing the women above them on the wall proceed to rain bullets and arrows on the two women. Lidy takes a bullet in her shoulder throwing her back on the walkway causing her to drop her side of the pot and forcing Ann to drop it as well. Lidy falls on the narrow walkway. Ann crawls over and sits beside Lidy. Ann rips over a piece of her petticoat wring Lidy’s arm to stop the bleeding.
On the front wall with the shooting continuing, Robertson searches for an answer to the strange mode of attack by the warriors. “Something’s not right. This ain’t normal.” John Sevier is reloading when he catches a glimpse of smoke at the rear wall his voice tense tells Robertson, “I am going to the back of the fort.” Robertson nods in approval. “Good! No one is in that area but helpless women washing clothes.”
Scampering quickly down the ladder and across the yard with musket in hand, Sevier reaches the wash area and rushes in. He sees the two women up above him on the walkway. Running up the steps he sees Lidy is shot. Keeping low as the warriors pepper the top of the rear wall with musket balls, and arrows he lifts her in his arms. Crouching low he carries Lidy down the steps to the safety of the wash area followed by Ann. “Ann, get help!” he yells.
Ann immediately leaves the wash area. She runs across the yard toward the front wall as random arrows strike the ground around her. Screaming for help she reaches the front wall. “James! James! We are being attacked on the rear wall!” James seeing Ann pointing to the rear of the fort he signals to five of his men and calls out, “Attend the rear wall with John Sevier!”
Sevier with his musket in hand leaves Lidy and runs back up the steps. Reaching the top of the wall he takes aim shooting an attacking warrior below him. He ducks down as multiple arrows and musket balls pepper the wall protecting him. He reloads his musket leans it against the wall and removes two pistols stuck in his belt. He picks his moment stands firing his two pistols at once killing two more warriors then ducks back down reloading. Sevier is quickly joined by ten more men and Lidy Bean. Sevier gives her a look of astonishment, but Lidy cuts him off. “I be a havn’ one good arm now be a givn’ me your pistol,” she commands. He smiles saying to himself, “ defenseless women…” Without a word he hands his freshly loaded pistol to Lidy. She peeks over the edge of the wall and takes aim killing another warrior.
After a brief exchange the attack subsides and the warriors retreat to the woods. Her blood and energy fleeting, Lidy staggers down the steps dragging the pistol in her good arm. Her knees buckle and she becomes faint. Slumping she is caught by her husband before hitting the ground. Passing in and out of consciousness she looks up at her husband and smiles weakly at William. “ It a be just like a man!” she says feebly. “Ya be a shown’ up after da women be a doing all ya work!” He cannot help but smile but his smile quickly gives way to deep concern as she passes to unconsciousness. “ Lidy! Lidy!” he cries. Ann Robertson reaches the base of the steps just as Lidy passes out. Led by Ann, William Bean races with Lidy in his arms across the yard to the safety of their cabin.
Once inside, William puts Lidy on the feather bed. “I will take it from here,” Ann tells him softly. “You are needed on the walls.” William leans over and kisses Lidy’s forehead and gently touches her cheek. He is hesitant as he approaches the door, once outside he races across the yard and quickly scampers up the ladder to his post beside Robertson. He asks with deep concern, “ how is Lidy?”
Before William Bean is able to answer, Old Abrams and 50 warriors are screaming at the top of their lungs as they race across the open field on their horses. They attack the front of the fort in full force once again. William Bean and the other settlers on the wall return fire again and again but the warriors continue their repeated assaults resulting in heavy losses on both sides.
As the assaults continue Bonnie Kate seizes the opportunity to escape. She carefully works her way cautiously through the woods. Reaching a point in the woods where she is well hidden she pauses to catch her breathe. Peering out across the open field she has a clear view of the scorched rear-wall of the fort. Her heart is racing as she observes a few remaining warriors make several feeble attempts at attacking the rear of the fort.
There are several wounded warriors limping feebly off the field of battle coming directly toward her seeking the safety of the woods. Squatting down she hides in the bushes covering herself with leaves. The warriors enter the woods passing within a few yards of her yet she remained undetected. Shortly after the warriors pass she sees the assault on the rear of the fort is suspended. Searching for a way to escape her precarious situation she makes a decision to make a run for the fort. She strips away all her clothing leaving only her bare undergarments, and then lastly she removes her shoes. Standing barefoot in only her bloomers she takes a deep breath ready for her dash across the field to the fort. Just as she is ready to commence her run she catches a glimpse of a warrior’s horse wandering about in the woods eating the vegetation. She pauses searching for any lurking warriors. Seeing none she cautiously leaves the safety of her hiding place to apprehend the animal.
A very experienced horsewoman, she gently talks to the horse as she approaches. Reaching the horse she strokes the animal’s neck. She gently grabs the reins and gathers a handful of the horse’s mane, knowing she is soon to be safe back at the fort. Just as she is about jump up on the horse a red war painted warrior grabs the reins. Bonnie Kate still clutching the reins is overcome with fear as she and the warrior stand in place staring at one another.
The Warrior holds out his hand trying to calm her tells her softly. “Do not be afraid. I will help you,” he says. “I do not kill women and children.” Bonnie Kate, driven by pure fear at the sight of the ghastly painted warrior, ignores his words. Out of hopelessness Bonnie Kate kicks the warrior in the groin. He crumples bent over in pain, and she snatches the horse’s reins from his hands.
Clutching the horse’s mane and reins, the athletic Bonnie Kate jumps up throwing her leg over the bareback horse in one fluid move. Without hesitation she kicks the horse to full run bursting from the woods and out into the open field at a full run. Crossing the fifty yards of open field, musket balls and arrows sail around her from the warriors taking refuge in the woods.
Reaching the back wall of the fort she pulls the horse to a quick stop with musket balls and arrows smacking into the fort’s wall. She jumps up standing on the horse’s back, to her surprise the bullets and arrows stop. Stunned she turns to see the warrior she kicked standing in the middle of the field waving his out stretched arms calling out repeatedly in Cherokee. “Stop your weapons! Stop your weapons!”
She looks back on the warrior in appreciation before seizing her chance to finish her escape. She jumps up as high on the fence as possible grabbing onto the pointed top of a post. Barely hanging on, she desperately tries to scale the wall. With her bare feet slipping on the pole wall and exhausted she hangs as her fingers lose their grasp on the post. From nowhere a hand reaches down and clutches her wrist. She dangles by one arm looking up she sees John Sevier peering over the top of the fence calling down to her, “Jump for me Kate!” With her rescuer’s fingertips just inches away from her free hand, she manages to plant a foot in a crack between the poles on the fence. With one hand and one foot secured, she makes one final lunge. She slips but manages to reach just high enough for Sevier to grab other hand. Bonnie Kate’s feet paw feverishly at the fence as Sevier pulls her up and over.
Halfway over the wall the light cotton fabric of her bloomers snag the pointed log pole. Sevier releases her hand and grabs the butt of her bloomers with both hands and pulls with all his strength. The bloomers rip freeing her from the fence as she flies over the wall. She falls into John Sevier’s arms knocking him backwards.
Instinctively, Sevier wraps his arms around her. Breathing hard the two of them lay in place several moments catching their breath. Finally, Sevier asks, “Kate, you all right?”
“Yes, I, I, I believe I will be fine,” she responds. Feeling cool air on her bare bottom, Bonnie Kate realizes she is revealing herself to the world. Not to mention she is laying on top of John Sevier in a compromising position. Embarrassed by her exposed condition, she jumps up and tries to cover herself. “What must you think of me?” she says in an apologetic tone. Gazing upon her yet fighting to divert his vision unsuccessfully Sevier says sympathetically, “I think nothing of you!” Highly upset and hurt by his response, she places both fists on her exposed hips. “So, that is what you think of me? Nothing?” Confused by her response, Sevier remains silent. Seeing his perplexed expression, Bonnie Kate softens releasing a shy embarrassed smile. Sevier removes his coat and places it around her shoulders. She kisses him lightly on the cheek, “Thank You John…” Arm in arm he helps her across the walkway and down the steps to the yard.
William Bean stands besides James Robertson on the front wall watching with concern as the warriors depart. They study the warriors’ retreat to the woods carrying their wounded from the field of battle. Several of the men in the fort are still shooting. With rifle in hand Robertson frantically waves his arms above his head and yells out. “Cease fire! Cease fire!”
The few remaining shooters cease firing, an erie ghostly silence falls over the fort. With the shooting over, the pungent smoky haze of spent gunpowder hangs over the carnage. An exhausted Robertson is deeply saddened by the death of so many of his fiends within the walls of the fort. He turns his attention to the field outside the fort and is deeply moved by the bravery and sacrifice of the warriors in defense of their land. James Robertson and William Bean watch as the warriors gather the last of their wounded and dead. Uttering softly Robertson says, “They are retreating with considerable loss. I don’t foresee them attempting a second assault…”
William Bean turns his attention to his own people. Surveying the dead and wounded across the muddy yard, he adds, “I hope not. Our loss is considerable as well. I don’t think we could survive another assault.”
Later that afternoon still standing on the fort’s wall, the exhausted and battle-worn James Robertson and William Bean stand watch, their eyes fixed on the far wood line. Both men become uneasy as they observe an increased activity in the woods.
A little unnerved their fears are soon eased when they see it is a procession of warriors leaving the the woods led by Old Abrams and his remaining warriors. Robertson happens to spot an irregularity in the warrior’s procession. A knot forms in his stomach his teeth are clinched. With all the turmoil and death of battle he had forgotten, but is starkly reminded. Despair grips him as he can easily distinguish Elizabeth by her long curly blonde hair and tattered dress. Pulled along behind the warrior’s horse led away on a leash around her neck. Robertson is sickened by the sight and mummers, “ It is Elizabeth she is alive…” His mind races back in time to that nightmarish night his mother was led away in the same fashion and the toll it took on her mentally and physically. He knows Elizabeth’s life as she knew it is no longer.
Robertson and Bean filled with anguish are helpless observers as they watch the line of retreating warriors grow longer as the war party heads south across the hill in the far field and out of sight. Blocking Elizabeth’s fate from his mind, an unconscious smile crosses Robertson’s face. He joyously calls down to the patrons below, “They are leaving! The warriors are leaving!” For the first time in weeks Robertson feels those remaining in the fort are finally safe and releases a deep sigh of relief. Hearing the news the inhabitants of the fort erupts in cheers of relief as the news lifts their spirits. Robertson turns his attention back to the far hill. He watches intently as the last of the warriors’ women bringing up the rear of the procession pulling travois carrying the wounded fade from sight..
Robertson and Bean turn their attention to the status of the devastation on the yard of the fort. As he observes the devastation Robertson is overcome with grief for his dead, wounded and captured compatriots. For the first time he is fully aware of his responsibility for every soul that he had bought into his dream of a new life in the wilderness and the price. The dream has cost these people their lives, while many, like his mother and now Elizabeth, will suffer a living death as a prisoner.
The pain of responsibility is too much for him to carry, Robertson falls to his knees sobbing uncontrollably. William Bean steps lightly over to Robertson who has his back to him. Fully understanding what he feels Bean softly places a hand on his shoulder because he shares the same guilt. “James, it is not your fault,” Bean says in a comforting tone. “We all knew the dangers we were facing coming here, let it go.”
Wiping his face, Robertson glances back over his shoulder before he stands. Bean starts to speak again, but Robertson his eyes filled with regret and grief holds up his hand stopping him. “No they didn’t,” he lashes back. “No one really knows till they have walked through the fire in your gut, heart, senses and mind caused by war. But I knew, I knew!”
Robertson has to throttle back his emotions before he can continue. “I saw my mother taken prisoner and what it did to her! I saw my father’s murdered burned body! I saw his dreams become nothing more than fire, smoke and ash! I always thanked God my sister Ann was with my sick Grandmother in Charles Town and spared that horrid night.”
With his anger building to a fever pitch, Robertson takes two fingers pointing to his chest screams. “But now, because of me, she and every man, woman and child here will be tainted evermore. From this day forward every breath they take will have the stench of burning flesh in their nostrils! And why? Because of me! That’s why!”
William Bean retorts, “True, they will never forget, nor should they! But you gave them something they could never achieve in the filthiness of their squalor. You gave these people hope of a life on their own terms! That is what brought them here. Not you!”
James Robertson diverts his attention to the other side of the yard. He sees Elizabeth Massengill’s father climb down from the wall to the foot of the ladder. He tells Bean with deep sadness, “ Go tell Mr. Massingill that.”
James Robertson slowly makes his way down the ladder. As he walks across the yard toward Mr. Massingill, Bean’s words have little effect on the guilt-filled Robertson. He remembers the warning Isaac gave him. “Go home. This is Tsalagi ground. Stay and you will die!” The words resonate within his soul, capturing his every thought.
As Robertson comes face to face with Elizabeth’s father he steps up to Mr. Massingill looking him in his eyes. He is without words but manages to speak. “ Mr Massingill… I,I,I, am sorry about your daughter Elizabeth’s capture.” With a snarl Massingill spouts, “Sorry! Sorry for what?”
James knows he is a hard man but his response surprises James, “ Sir your daughter was captured and I am sorry.” Massingill is firm and unrelenting in his response. “ You above all are quite aware what savages do to captured white women!” Dropping his head Robertson has no response. Seeing no response from Robertson, Massingill’s anger and shame grows as he continues, “When the savages are done with ravishing her, what white man fitting to be a husband will take her as his wife. Her and the children she spawns from her ungodly actions are spoiled goods! She shant be fitn’ to be taken as a wife by any white man, fitn’ or not!”
Robertson stunned responds, “ But Sir! She is your daughter! Your flesh and blood!” Staring hard at Robertson, Massingill is cold in his response, “ My daughter… I no longer have a daughter! My daughter is dead to me.” Massingill walks away leaving James Robinson standing alone with his guilt.