It was while on a mountain climbing trip in the French Alps, when
stormstayed at a small inn at Grenoble, that a chance acquaintance
showed The Viscount Adare a copy of “The Travels of Thomas Ashe,” a book
which had recently appeared in London and created a sensation in the
tourist world. The Viscount had already perused “Travels Beyond the
Alleghenies,” by the younger Michaux, but the volume by Ashe, so full of
human interest, more than sharpened his old desire to travel in the
United States, now that a stable peace between the young republic and
the Mother Country was a matter of some years standing.
The mountains, as described by both Michaux and Ashe, seemed stupendous
and inspiring, wild game and mighty forests were everywhere, and a
glimpse might be caught of the vanishing redmen, without journeying as
far west as the Mississippi River.
Thomas Ashe excelled in descriptions of the life along the mountain
highways, though nothing could be more vivid than Michaux’s pen picture
of his feast on venison cooked on the coals on the hearth at Statler’s
stone tavern on the Allegheny summits, near Buckstown. This ancient
hostelry is, by the way, still standing, though misnamed “The Shot
Factory,” by modern chroniclers, much to the disgust of the accurate
historian of Somerset County, George W. Grove.
All during his trip among the Alps of Savoy, and Dauphiny, The Viscount
Adare was planning the excursion to Pennsylvania. His love of wild
scenery was one compelling reason, but perhaps another was Ashe’s
description of his meeting and brief romance with the beautiful Eleanor
Ancketell, daughter of the innkeeper on the Broad Mountain, above Upper
Strasburg, Franklin County.
It was well along in August, the twenty-first to be exact, when Ashe’s
book was first shown to him, therefore it seemed impracticable to make
the journey that year, but the time would soon roll around, and be an
ideal outing for the ensuing summer. From the time of his return to
London, until almost the date set for the departure, The Viscount Adare
busied himself reading every book of American travel and adventure that
he could lay his hands on, besides accumulating a vast outfit to take
along, although the trip was to be on foot, and without even a guide.
Needless to say, with such an interesting objective, the year passed
very rapidly, not that The Viscount had no other interests, for he had
many, being a keen sportsman and scientist, as well as a lover of books,
paintings and the drama.
It was on the twenty-third of August, a little over a year after his
first acquaintance with the writings of Ashe, that The Viscount embarked
for Philadelphia, on the fast sailing ship “Ocean Queen.” Very few
Englishmen went to America for pleasure in those days as the sting of
the Revolution was still a thorn in their sides. Many Britishers did go,
but they were mostly of the commoner sort, immigrants, not tourists.
The Viscount Adare, even before sailing, had his itinerary pretty well
mapped out. He would tarry a week in Philadelphia to get rid of his “sea
legs,” then proceed by carriage to Louisbourg, then beginning to be
called Harrisburg, and go from there to Carlisle, Shippensburg, and
Upper Strasburg, at which last named place he would abandon his
conveyance, and with pack on back, in true Alpine fashion, start
overland, traversing the same general direction of Michaux and Ashe
towards Pittsburg. At Pittsburg he planned to board a flat boat and
descend the Ohio, thence into the Mississippi, proceeding to New
Orleans, at which city he could set sail for England.
It was an ambitious trip for a solitary traveler, but as he was known by
his Alpinist friends as “The Guideless Wonder,” some indication may be
divined of his resourcefulness.
The journey across the Atlantic was interesting. A school of whales
played about the ship, coming so close as to create the fear that they
would overturn it. The Captain, a shrewd Irishman, was not to be
daunted, so he ordered a number of huge barrels or casks thrown
overboard, which immediately diverted the attention of the saurians,
with the result that a smart breeze coming up, they were left far
A boat, said to be a pirate, was sighted against the horizon, but
fortunately made no attempt to come close, heading away towards the
Summer Islands, where, say the older generation of mountain folks, arise
all the warm south breezes that often temper wintry or early spring days
in the Pennsylvania Highlands, with blue sky and fleecy clouds.
The Viscount Adare was pleased with these trifling adventures, and more
so with ocean travel, as it was his first long sea voyage, though he had
crossed the Channel and the Irish Sea scores of times.
He debarked in Philadelphia after a voyage lasting nearly six weeks,
consequently the green foliage of England was replaced by the vivid
tints of Autumn on the trees which grew in front of the rows of brick
houses near the Front Street Landing Wharf. He had letters to the
British Consul, who was anxious to arrange a week or two of social
activity for the distinguished traveler, but The Viscount assured him
that he must be on his way.
The ride in public coaches to Lancaster and Harrisburg was accomplished
without incident. His fellow travelers were anxious to point out the
various places of interest, the fine corn crops, livestock and farm
buildings, but the Englishman was so anxious to get to the wilds that
this interlude only filled him with impatience.
[Illustration: BARK-PEELERS AT WORK. BLACK FOREST]
He was impressed not a little by the battlefields of Paoli and
Brandywine, but most of all by the grove where the harmless Conestoga
Indians were encamped when surprised and massacred by the brutal Paxtang
Boys. The word “Indians” thrilled him, and whetted his curiosity, which
was somewhat appeased on his arrival at Harrisburg by the sight of five
Indians in full regalia, lying on the grass under John Harris’ Mulberry
Tree, waiting to be ferried across the river.
He tarried only one night at Harrisburg, then hiring a private
conveyance, started down the Cumberland Valley, where he most admired
the many groves of tall hardwoods–resting at Carlisle and
Shippensburg–as originally planned. At Carlisle, he was waited on at his
inn by a German woman, who explained to him that she was none other than
“Molly Pitcher,” or Molly Ludwig, the intrepid heroine of the Battle of
It was on a bright autumnal morning that, with pack on back, and staff
in hand, he started for the heights of Cove Mountain, towards the west
country. On the way he passed a small roadside tavern, in front of which
a few years before had played a little yellow-haired boy, with a turkey
bell suspended around his neck so that he could not get lost. The German
drovers who lolled in front of the hostelry were fond of teasing the
lad, calling him “Jimmy mit the bells on,” much to the youngster’s
displeasure. His mother was a woman of some intellectual attainments,
and occasionally would edify the society folk of Mercersburg by reciting
the whole of Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”
In time this boy became known as James Buchanan, the only Pennsylvanian
to occupy the Presidential chair.
There were many taverns along the road, considering the wildness of the
country, and The Viscount thought how much history and tradition was
being made about their inglenooks and home-garths. The forests of
chestnuts, yellow pine and rock oak, the grand scenery of distant
valleys and coves, interested him more, and the occasional meetings with
the mountain people along the way, whom he enjoyed conversing with,
about the local folk-lore, game and Indians. On many of the log barns
and sheds were nailed bear paws, deer horns and wolf hides, and the
hieroglyphics and signs, to ward off witches, were keenly interesting to
his inquiring gaze.
It was amazing how the road wound in serpentine fashion among the
mountains; the distance could have been much shortened, he thought.
One morning a backwoodsman with a black beard that hung almost to his
feet, explained to him the “short cuts,” or paths that went down the
steep slopes of the mountains, lessening the distance of the regular
roads followed by the packers around the elbows of the mountain ravines.
The Viscount Adare enjoyed these “short cuts” hugely. They reminded him
of his Alpining days, and they led him right through the forests, under
the giant oaks and pines where he saw many unusual looking birds, such
as Pileated Woodpeckers and Carolina Paraquets, while occasionally a
Deer or Gray Fox crossed his path. He had reached the bottom of a ravine
where a stream headed at a big spring, while taking one of these “short
cuts,” when he came in sight of a clearing which contained a corn field,
a pasture lot or commons, a log house, log barn, and a smaller log
cabin, that looked like a smoke-house. Smoke was issuing from an opening
in the roof of the tiny structure, which might have passed for a child’s
play house, modelled after the larger log dwelling. As he neared the
little hut, which reminded him of an Alpine _baracq_, and which stood
close to the path, the door opened and two most curious looking figures
emerged. In old England he had seen sweeps, but these were more
grotesque and grimier than any he could recall. As he drew nearer, he
perceived that while one appeared to be a man, the other was a young
woman. Both were entirely unclad, save that the woman’s locks were
covered by a homespun cap of the tam o’shanter pattern. Both were
literally black, from head to foot.
When they saw the traveler, the woman ran back into the cabin, pulling
the door shut, while the “Jim Crow” man waited in the path until joined
by the surprised Viscount.
“What is all this, my good man,” he queried, “been cleaning your chimney
and fallen through it into a barrel of tar?”
“Oh, no,” said the grimy mountaineer, smiling, his teeth looking very
white against his swarthy visage. “My business is to make lamp black,
and my friend and I have been sweeping down the walls, collecting the
output this morning, and boxing it, and had just finished when you
appeared in sight.”
The fellow made no attempt to apologize for his outlandish appearance,
but stood there in the sunlight like an imp of darkness, chatting with
“I don’t want to keep your lady friend penned up in there any longer,”
said The Viscount, as he started to move away.
“Oh, don’t go,” said the maker of lamp black, “I don’t know why she acts
that way; stay and have dinner with us. We never let a stranger go by
without furnishing him with some food.”
Ordinarily, The Viscount Adare, unconventional as he was, would have
scurried away from such grimy surroundings, but there was something that
appealed to him about the lamp black maker’s lady, even in her coat of
ebony grime, that made him decide to tarry.
“Thanks, I will stay,” he replied, “but I’ll go to the barn so as to
give your ‘friend,’ as you call her, a chance to come out.”
“Don’t you bother to do that,” said the black man. “She is acting
foolish today; don’t give her the satisfaction to move a step. She never
minded showing herself to anybody before.”
These last words were secretly pleasing to the Viscount, as it showed
that the young woman recognized in him a person of superior
sensibilities, but he hurried to the barn until he knew that she had
been given time to escape to the house. But he could not help hearing
the lamp black maker loudly chiding her for modesty, a trait she had
never displayed previously. Pretty soon he saw the fellow making trips
to the spring, carrying water buckets into the house. The Viscount sat
on the doorstep of the barn, watching the juncos flying about among the
savin bushes in the clearing, or his eyes feasting on the cornelian red
foliage of the sassafras trees on the hill, inwardly speculating if with
her black disguise washed off, the young woman, whose higher nature he
had aroused, would be as good looking as he imagined her to be. He made
a mental picture of her loveliness, ranking her close beside that of
high bred beauties of his own land, of the types depicted by Romney,
Kneller and Lely.
It was not long before he saw her emerge from the house, all washed and
scrubbed, with her hair neatly combed, clad in a spick and span
“butternut” frock. As she came towards him, he noted that she was a
trifle above the average height, and her feet, despite the rough brogans
she wore, were very small. He saw, to his amazement, that she was the
counterpart of his mental picture, only more radiantly lovely. When she
drew near, she asked him, her face lighting up very prettily, as she
spoke, if he would like to come to the house to rest, that she would
soon prepare dinner, and hoped that he would not be too critical of her
humble efforts as a cook.
Her eyes seldom met his, but he could see that they were large and
grey-brown, with delicately penciled black brows, and black lashes. Her
face was rather long and sallow, or rather of a pinkish pallor. Her hair
was cameo brown, her nose long and straight, the lines of her mouth
delicate and refined, with lips unusually thin. He had noticed, as she
came towards him, that her slender form swayed a little forward as she
walked, reminding him of the mythical maiden Syrinx, daughter of the
River God, whom the jealous-hearted Pan changed into a reed.
The Viscount Adare was far more disconcerted than his hostess, as he
followed her to the log house. Just as they approached the door she
whispered, “I hope that you will forgive the awful exhibition I made of
Indoors she sat down on one of the courting blocks by the great open
hearth, where pots of various sizes hung from the cranes. The man, who
was still trying to get the lamp black out of his curly hair and beard,
was only partially dressed, and looked all the world like pictures of
the lascivious Lupercalian Pan himself.
The Englishman felt strangely at ease in the cabin, watching the
slender, reed-like girl prepare the meal, and enjoyed the dinner with
his humble entertainers.
Shortly after the repast another bearded backwoodsman appeared at the
door. The lamp black maker had an appointment to go with him to some
distant parts of the Shade Mountains to examine bear pens, and asked to
be excused. He would not be back until the next day; it was nothing
unusual for him to leave his friend alone for a week at a time on
The Viscount was in no hurry to go, as never had a woman appealed to him
as did the lamp black maker’s young assistant. Perhaps it was the
unconventional character of their first meeting that shocked his love
into being; at any rate he was severely smitten; probably John Rolfe was
no more so, on his first glimpse of the humane Pocohontas.
After the two hunters had gone, the young woman sat down on the other
courting block, on the opposite of the inglenook, and The Viscount
decided to ask her to tell him the story of her life. She colored a
trifle, saying that no one had ever been interested in her life’s
history before, therefore, she might not repeat it very well.
She had been born at sea, of parents coming from the northern part of
Ireland. They had settled first in the Cumberland Valley, then, when she
was about a dozen years old, decided to migrate to Kentucky. They had
not gotten much further than the covered bridge across the Little
Juniata, when they were ambushed by robbers, and all the adult members
of the party, her parents and an uncle, were slain. The children were
carried off, being apportioned among the highwaymen. She fell to the lot
of the leader of the band, Conrad Jacobs, who took more than a fatherly
interest in her.
He was a middle-aged married man, but he openly said that when the girl
was big enough, he would chase his wife away and install her in her
place. But she was kindly treated by the strange people, even more so
than at home, for her mother had been very severe and unreasonable.
When she was fifteen she saw signs that the outlaw was going to put his
plan into effect–to drive his wife out into the forest, like an old
horse–and probably would have done so, but for Simon Supersaxo, the lamp
black man, who came to the highwayman’s shanty frequently on his hunting
The robber became jealous of the young Nimrod and threatened to shoot
him if he came near the premises again. A threat was as good as a
promise with such people, so Supersaxo was ready to kill or be killed on
He met the highwayman one evening in front of McCormick’s Tavern, and
drawing the bead, shot him dead. He was not arrested, but feted by all
the innkeepers for ridding the mountains of a dangerous deterrent to
travel, while she, her name was Deborah Conner, went to help keep house
for him, along with the outlaw’s widow, but in reality to help make lamp
That was four years before. Since old Mother Jacobs had died and
Deborah, now nineteen years of age, was being importuned by Supersaxo to
Previous to the Englishman’s coming that morning, she had never felt any
shame at working in the lamp black hut with her employer, or appearing
before passers-by unclad, but now a great light had come to her; she was
free to confess that she was changed and humiliated.
The Viscount looked her over and over, and far into those wonderful
stone grey eyes that mirrored a refined soul lost in the wilderness.
Then he made bold to speak:
“Deborah”, he said, “since you have been so frank with me in telling the
story of your life, I will freely confess to you that I loved you the
minute my eyes rested on you, even in your unbecoming homespun cap, and
lamp black from head to foot. I realize that your being here is but an
accident, and my coming the instrument to take you away. I will marry
you, and strive always to make you happy, if you will come away with me,
and I will take you to England where, among people of refined tastes,
you will shine and always be at peace.”
Deborah opened her thin delicate mouth in surprise, and her eyes became
like grey stars. “Really, do you mean that”? she said.
“I mean every word,” replied The Viscount Adare.
“I know that I feel differently towards you than any man I have seen, so
I must love you, and I will always be happy with you,” resumed the girl.
“And while I owe Simon Supersaxo a deep debt of gratitude for saving me
from being forced into marrying that horrid old road-agent, I owe myself
more, and you more still. I will go with you whenever you are ready to
take me, no matter what my conscience will tell me later. Though I’ll
say to you honestly that I never thought there was any life for me
further than to make lamp black, until you came.”
She explained to him that at Christmastime the lamp black man always
went with a party of companions on a great elk hunt to the distant
Sinnemahoning Country, and if The Viscount would return then, she would
arrange to meet him at a certain place at a certain day and hour, and go
away with him. “There is a little clearing or old field on the top of
the ridge, beyond this house,” and pointing her slender white hand,
showed to him through the open door. “Meet me there on the day before
Christmas, and I will be free to go away with you rejoicing.”
The balance of the visit was passed in pleasant amity, until towards
nightfall, when The Viscount shouldered his pack and seized his staff,
and started away, not for Pittsburg, but eastward again. Deborah, her
slender reed-like figure swaying in the autumn breeze, walked with him
to the edge of the clearing. She kissed him goodbye among the savin
bushes, and he kissed her many times in return, until they parted at the
carnelian-leafed sassafras trees on the hill, and he commenced the
ascent of the steep face of Chestnut Ridge.
The trip back to Philadelphia was taken impatiently, but with a
different kind of impatience; he wanted the entire intervening time
obliterated, until he could get back to his strange exotic mountain
love. In Philadelphia he engaged passage for England the first week in
January, and wrote letters abroad to complete the arrangements for
taking his wife-to-be to his ancestral home. He could never forget the
last afternoon in the Quaker City. Christmas was coming, and the spirit
of this glad festival was in the air, even more so than in “Merrie
England.” He was walking through Chancellor Street when he came upon two
blind Negro Christmas-singers, former sailors, who had lost their sight
in the premature explosion of a cannon on the deck of a frigate on the
Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. He stopped, elegant
gentleman that he was, listened enraptured to their songs of simple
faith: “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.”
“If they had so much to be thankful for,” he mused, “how much more have
I, with lovely Deborah only a few days in the future.”
Then he gave them each five shillings and moved on. A little further
down the street, he met an old Negro Woman selling sprigs of holly with
bright red berries. He bought a sprig. “I’ll take it to Deborah,” he
said to himself.
He returned to Harrisburg by the stage coach, accompanied by a Negro
body-servant well recommended by the British Consul. At Harrisburg he
purchased four extra good horses. With these and the Negro he retraced
his previous journey. He left the Negro and the horses at McCormick’s
Tavern, continuing the balance of the journey on foot, his precious
sprig of holly, with the bright red berries, fastened on the top of his
staff, that had often been decked with the _edelweiss_ and the Alpine
rose. Deborah had said that she knew all the mountain paths back to
McCormick’s, so they could reach there quickly, and be mounted on fast
horses almost before her employer missed them.
His heart was beating fast as he neared his trysting place, the little
clearing on the ridge, the morning before Christmas. Peering through the
trees, he observed that Deborah was not there, but surely she would soon
come, the sun was scarcely over the Chestnut Ridge to the east! A grey
fog hung over the valley, obscuring the little cabin in the cove.
He waited and waited all day long, but no Deborah appeared. He walked
all over the top of the ridge to see if there were other clearings, lest
he had gotten to the wrong one. There were no others, just as she had
said. Cold beads of perspiration stood out on his forehead; he was
angry; he was jealous; the day was closing bitterly cold. “The woman
that I want, she will not come.”
Finally as the sun was going down behind the western summits of the
Alleghenies, he untied the sprig of holly from the end of his
mountain-staff, and bending over, stuck it in the fast freezing earth, a
symbol of his faithless adventure, and started down the mountain,
straight towards Deborah Supersaxo’s cabin.
At the foot of the hill he met her coming towards him–her face was
deadly pale, her thin lips white as death–instantly his hate changed to
tender love again.
“Kill me if you wish,” she cried out before he had time to speak, and
held out her arms to show her non-resistance, “for I have been unworthy.
I broke my faith with you, and was not going to come; I repented at
leaving Supersaxo, who had been so good to me when I was in distress. I
was going to leave you in the lurch. Then, then,” and here tears
trickled down her ghastly cheeks, “I was sitting on the courting log by
the fire, commending myself for my loyalty, when a few minutes ago one
of his friends came in to say that the day before yesterday, while
looking at somebody’s bear pen near the Karoondinha, it fell in on him
and broke his neck. I was just coming up the hill to tell you, if you
were still waiting, how wicked I had been to you, and how I had been
punished. Kill me if you wish, I can never be happy any more.”
The Viscount Adare did not hesitate a moment, but flinging down his
staff, he rushed to the girl and caught her in his arms. “Doubly blessed
are we this night, dear Deborah, for there is now no impediment to our
happiness; no misdirected sense of duty can cast a shadow on the joy
that lies before us. I want you now more than ever before, after this
final trial, and you must come with me!”
“Never say must again,” said Deborah, sweetly, looking up into his eyes,
“I am your willing slave; I will go with you to the ends of the earth: I
want to redeem this day by years of devotion, years of love.”
Picking up his staff, The Viscount Adare and the mountain girl resumed
their journey, past the now deserted log house and the lamp black shack
where they had first met, up the steep mountain, and off towards
McCormick’s Tavern, near where, in a deep pine grove, the Negro
body-servant would be waiting with the horses.
That is all that has been recorded in the mountains concerning the lamp
black girl and The Viscount Adare. In England there is an oil painting
of a certain Viscountess of the name that bears a striking resemblance
to the one time Deborah Conner.
Up on the ridge, in the little clearing, one or more of the seeds of the
sprig of holly took root, and grew a fine tree. In order that this story
may be localized, it is said that this is one of the points furthest
north of any specimen of the native holly in Pennsylvania. In time it
died off, but not before other scions sprang up, and there has always
been a thrifty holly tree on the hill, as if to commemorate a lover’s
tryst, whose heart when on the point of breaking from hideous despair,
found the fullness of his happiness suddenly, and whose story is an
inspiration to all aching hearts.
The selective draft, according to Dr. Jacobs, a very intelligent Seneca
Indian, residing on the Cornplanter Reservation in Warren County, was
practiced by Pennsylvania Indians in some of their earlier conflicts,
notably in the bloody warfare in the Cherokee country.
In the war against the Cherokees, there was a popular apathy at home, as
it was not undertaken to repel an unjust invasion, but for the purpose
of aggression, after the murder of a number of Cherokees by the Lenape,
and as such did not appeal to the just and patient tribesmen in general.
In order to increase the invading armies beyond the limits of the
volunteer quotas of warriors and chiefs, who were of patrician
antecedents, the draft was resorted to, with the result that a
formidable host departed for the Southland, ravaging the enemy’s
country, and bringing in many prisoners.
The Cherokees were not completely vanquished, as they were victorious in
some of the conflicts, and also made numerous prisoners. Some of these
were tortured to death, others were adopted by families that had lost
their sons, while a few escaped and made their way Northward.
[Illustration: THE FALLEN MONARCH, PORTAGE CREEK]
The war was followed by the usual period of upheaval and reconstruction,
and the moral code of the redmen suffered as much as did modern
civilization as an aftermath of the world war. Many Cherokee prisoners
were brought to Pennsylvania and put at menial work, or bartered as
slaves while others intermarried with the northern tribes, so that
Cherokee blood become a component part of the make-up of the
Pennsylvania aboriginies. The Cherokee legends and history lingered
wherever a drop of their blood remained, so that the beginnings of some,
at least, of our Pennsylvania Indian folk-lore hark back to the golden
age of the Cherokees.
They certainly have been the martyr-race, the Belgians of the North
American Indians, even to the time of their brutal expulsion from their
Carolina homes during the Nineteenth Century by U. S. troops at the
behest of selfish land-grabbers, and sentenced to die of exhaustion and
broken hearts along the dreary trek to the distant Indian Territory.
Among the bravest and most enthusiastic of the Pennsylvania invaders was
the young warrior In-nan-ga-eh, chief of the draft, who led the drafted
portion of the army against the Cherokee foemen. He was of noble blood,
hence himself exempt from the draft, but he was a lover of war and
glory, and rejoiced to lead his less well-born, and less patriotic
compatriots into the thick of battle. Although noble rank automatically
exempted from the draft, the young scions of nobility enlisted
practically to a man, holding high commissions, it is true, yet at all
times bold and courageous.
In-nan-ga-eh was always peculiarly attractive to the female sex. Tall,
lithe and sinewy, he was a noted runner and hunter, as well as famed for
his warlike prowess. At twenty-two he was already the veteran of several
wars, notably against the Ottawas and the Catawbas, and thirsted for a
chance to humble his southern rivals, the Cherokees. He wished to make
it his boast that he had fought and conquered tribes on the four sides
of the territory where he lived, making what is now the Pennsylvania
country the ruling land, the others all vassal states.
He was indiscriminate in his love making, having no respect for birth or
caste, being different from his reserved and honorable fellow
aristocrats, consequently at his departure for the south, he was mourned
for by over a score of maidens of various types and degrees. If he cared
for any one of these admirers, it was Liddenah, a very beautiful, kindly
and talented maiden, the daughter of the noted wise man or sooth-sayer,
Wahlowah, and probably the most remarkable girl in the tribe.
That she cared for such an unstable and shallow-minded youth to the
exclusion of others of superior mental gifts and seriousness of purpose,
amply proved the saying that opposites attract, for there could have
been no congeniality of tastes between the pair. Temperamentally they
seemed utterly unsuited, as Liddenah was artistic and musically
inclined, and a chronicler of no mean ability, yet she would have given
her life for him at any stage of the romance. She possessed ample
self-control, but when he went away her inward sorrow gnawing at her
heart almost killed her. She may have had a presentiment of what was in
During invasions of this kind, communication with home was maintained by
means of runners who carried tidings, good or bad, bringing back verbal
lists of the dead, wounded and missing, some of which they shamefully
In-nan-ga-eh was decorated several times for conspicuous bravery, and
was reported in the vanguard of every attack, until at length came the
shocking news of his ambush and capture. Over a score of the most
beautiful maidens along the Ohe-yu and Youghiogheny were heartbroken to
distraction, but none more so than the lovely and intellectual Liddenah.
This was the crowning blow, her lover taken by his cruel foes, being
perhaps boiled alive, or drawn and quartered. Seated alone in her lodge
house by the banks of The Beautiful River, she pictured all sorts of
horrors befalling her beloved, and of his own deep grief at being held
prisoner so far from his homeland.
It was a humiliation to be captured, and by a band of Amazons, who
begged permission to entrap the fascinating enemy. Finding him bathing
in a deep pool, they surrounded it, flinging at him slightly poisoned
darts, which made him partially overcome by sleep, so that he was only
able to clamber out on the bank, there to be secured by his fair captors
and led in dazed triumph to their chief.
The Chieftain was elated at the capture, and treated the handsome
prisoner with all the deference due to his rank. Instead of boiling him
in oil, or flaying him, he was feted and feasted, and the warlike bands
became demoralized by catering to his pleasure.
It was not long before the chief’s daughter, Inewatah, fell in love with
him, and as her illustrious father, Tekineh, had lost a son in the war,
In-nan-ga-eh was given the choice of becoming the chief’s adopted son or
his son-in-law. He naturally chose the latter, as the wife-to-be was
both beautiful and winning.
The war resulted in defeat for the Cherokees, although the old chief
escaped to fastnesses further south with his beautiful daughter and
alien son-in-law. All went well for a year and a half after the peace
when In-nan-ga-eh, began to feel restless and listless for his northern
mountains, the playground of his youth. He wanted to go on a visit, and
asked the chief’s permission, giving as his word of honor, his love for
the chieftain’s daughter, that he would properly return.
The Cherokee bride was as heartbroken as Liddenah; she had first asked
that she might accompany him on the trip, which was refused, but she
accepted the inevitable stoically outwardly, but with secret aching
In-nan-ga-eh was glad to get away; being loved too much was tiresome;
life was too enervating in the warm sunshine on Soco Creek; he liked the
camp and the hunting lodge; love making, too much of it, palled on him.
He wanted to be let alone.
Accompanied by a bodyguard of selected Cherokees, he hurriedly made his
way to the North. One morning to the surprise and delight of all, he
appeared at his tribal village by the Ohe-yu, as gay and debonair as
ever. As he entered the town almost the first person he saw was
Liddenah. She looked very beautiful, and he could see at one glance how
she loved him, yet perversely he barely nodded as he passed.
When he was re-united with his parents, who treated him as one risen
from the dead, his sisters began telling him about the news of the
settlement, of his many friends, of Liddenah. Her grief had been very
severe, it shocked her mother that she should behave so like a European
and show her feelings to such an extent. Then the report had come that
he had been put to death by slow torture. “Better that,” Liddenah had
said openly in the market place, “than to remain the captive of
Once it was taken for granted that he was dead, Liddenah began to
receive the attentions of young braves, as they came back from the South
laden with scalps and other decorations of their victorious campaign
against the Cherokees. Liddenah gave all to understand that her heart
was dead; she was polite and tolerant, but, like the eagle, she could
love only once.
There was one young brave named Quinnemongh who pressed his suit more
assiduously than the rest, and aided by Liddenah’s mother, was
successful. The pair were quietly married about a year after
In-nan-ga-eh’s capture, or several months before he started for the
North, leaving his Cherokee bride at her father’s home on the Soco.
Quinnemongh was not such a showy individual as In-nan-ga-eh, but his
bravery was unquestioned, his reliability and honor above reproach. He
made Liddenah a very good husband. In turn she seemed to be happy with
him, and gradually overcoming her terrible sorrow.
When In-nan-ga-eh had passed Liddenah on entering the village, he had
barely noticed her because he supposed that he could have her any time
for the asking. When he learned that she was the wife of another, he
suddenly realized that he wanted her very badly, that she was the cause
of his journey Northward. The old passion surged through his veins; it
was what the bark-peelers call “the second run of the sap.”
Through his sisters, who were among Liddenah’s most intimate friends, he
sought a clandestine meeting with his former sweetheart. They met at the
“Stepping Stones,” a crossing near the headwaters of Cowanshannock, in a
mossy glade, which had formerly been his favorite trysting place with
over a score of doting maidens in the ante-bellum days.
Liddenah, inspired by her great love, never looked more beautiful. She
was probably a trifle above the average height, gracefully, but solidly
made. Her skin was very white, her eyes dark, her hair that of a raven,
while her aquiline nose, high cheek bones and small, fine mouth made her
resemble a high-bred Jewess more than an Indian squaw, a heritage
perhaps from a remote Semitic origin beyond the Pacific. She showed
openly how happy she was to meet In-nan-ga-eh, until he told her the
story of his tragic love, how she had broken his young heart by cruelly
marrying another while he languished in a Southern prison camp. In vain
she protested that, on all sides came seemingly authentic reports of his
death; he was obdurate in the destiny he had decreed. Quinnemongh must
die by his hand, and he would then flee with the widow to the country of
the Ottawas. The hot blood surging in his veins, like a second flow of
sap in a red maple, must be appeased by her submission.
Liddenah was horrified; she came of eminently respectable ancestry, she
admired Quinnemongh, her husband, almost to the point of loving him, but
where that affection ended, her all-pervading obsession for In-nan-ga-eh
began and knew no limitations in her being.
“Tonight”, said In-nan-ga-eh, scowling dreadfully, “I will surprise the
vile Quinnemongh in his lodge house, and with one blow of my stone
war-hammer crush in his skull, then I will scalp him and meet you at the
stepping stones, and by the moonlight we will decamp to the far free
country of the Ottawas, his scalp dangling at my belt as proof of my
hate and my bravery”.
Liddenah gave a reluctant assent to the fiendish program when they
parted. On her way home through the forest path her conscience smote her
with Mosaic insistence–the blood of her ancestors, of the Lost Tribe of
Israel, would not permit her to sanction the murder of a good and true
warrior. She would immolate herself for her family honor, and for her
respect for Quinnemongh.
Arriving at the lodge-house she went straight to Quinnemongh and
confessed the story of her meeting with the perfidious In-nan-ga-eh, all
but the homicidal part. Quinnemongh was not much surprised, as he knew
of her great love for the ex-Cherokee prisoner, and In-nan-ga-eh’s
“Quinnemongh”, she said, between her sobs, for, like a white girl, she
was tearful, “I was to meet In-nan-ga-eh tonight, when the moon is over
the tops of the trees, by the stepping stones, and we were to fly
together to the country of the Ottawas. You present yourself there in my
stead, and tell the false In-nan-ga-eh that I have changed my mind, that
I am true to my noble husband”.
Needless to say, Quinnemongh was pleased at this recital, and promised
to be at the ford at the appointed time. Like most persons under similar
circumstances, he was eager to be on his errand, and departed early,
armed with his favorite scalping knife. Liddenah kissed and embraced
him, calling him her “hero”, and once he was out of sight, she darted
into his cabin and lay down among his blankets and buffalo robes,
covering herself, all but the top of her brow, and huddling, all curled
up, for the autumnal air was chill.
The moon slowly rose higher and higher until it reached the crowns of
the giant rock oaks along the edge of the “Indian fields”. The gaunt
form of In-nan-ga-eh could now be seen creeping steadily out of the
forest, bounding across the clearing and, stone axe in hand, entered the
cabin where he supposed that Quinnemongh was sleeping. A ray of shimmery
moonlight shone full on the upturned forehead of his victim. Animated by
a jealous hate, he struck a heavy blow with his axe of dark diorite,
crushing in the sleeper’s temples like an eggshell. Leaving the weapon
imbedded in his victim’s skull, he deftly cut off the long bushy scalp
with his sharp knife, and, springing out of the hut, started off on a
dog-trot towards the stepping stones, waving his bloody, gruesome
He approached the fording with the light of the full moon shining on the
waters of the brook; he was exultant and grinding his teeth in lustful
fury. Who should he see there–not the fair and yielding goddess
Liddenah, but the stalwart form of the recently butchered and scalped
Quinnemongh. Believer in ghosts that he was, this was almost too much of
a visitation for him. Pausing a minute to make sure, he rushed forward
brandishing the scalp in one hand, his knife, which caught the moon’s
beams on its blade in the other.
“Wretch”! he shrieked at Quinnemongh, “must I kill you a second time to
make you expiate your sin at marrying Liddenah”?
Quinnemongh, who stood rigid as a statue at the far side of the ford,
replied, “You have not killed me once; how dare you speak of a second
“Whose scalp have I then”? shouted In-nan-ga-eh, as he continued to rush
“Not mine surely”, said Quinnemongh, as he felt his comparatively sparse
Just as the men came face to face it dawned on both what had happened,
and with gleaming knives, they sprang at one another in a death
struggle. For half an hour they fought, grappling and stabbing, kicking
and biting, in the shallow waters of the ford. Neither would go down,
though Liddenah’s scalp was forced from In-nan-ga-eh’s hand, and got
between the breasts of the two combatants, who pushed it, greasy and
gory, up and down as they fought. They literally stabbed one another
full of holes, and bit and tore at their faces like wild beasts; they
carved the skin off their shoulders and backs, they kicked until their
shin bones cracked, until finally both, worn out from loss of blood,
sank into the brook and died.
In the morning the scalped and mutilated form of Liddenah was discovered
among the gaudy blankets and decorated buffalo robes; a bloody trail was
followed to the stepping stones, where the two gruesome corpses were
found, half submerged in the red, bloody water, in an embrace so
inextricable, their arms like locked battling stags’ antlers that they
could not in the rigidity of death be separated. Foes though they were,
the just and patient Indians who found them could do nothing else but
dig a common grave in the half-frozen earth, close to the stepping
stones, and there they buried them together, with Liddenah’s soggy scalp
and their bent and broken knives, their bodies to commingle with earth