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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 133 one of the savages, advancing with uplifted tomahawk, threatened him with instant death if he did not cheerfully and willingly accompany them. Having consented to what he could not resist, they untied him, and loading him with the plunder of his own house, set off on their march homeward. At daybreak, after having travelled all night, the savages ordered Williamson to lay down his load, when they again tied him to a tree by the hands, and so tightly, that the small cord with which he was bound forced the blood from his finger-ends. The wretches then kindled a fire close by their victim, who had no doubt that it was intended to roast him alive, and began dancing around him with the most hideous yells and gestures. Having satisfied themselves with thi5 pastime, they each snatched a stick from the fire, and began to apply their burning ends to various parts of his body, causing him the greatest torture. Of this cruelty they at length tired, and nnbinding the wretched captive, gave him a portion of some victuals which they had hastily cooked. They then again fastened him to a tree, to which they kept him bound till night, when they resumed their march, loading him with their booty as before. The savages now proceeded towards the Blue Hills, where, having hid their plunder, they attacked the house of a settler named Snider ; and having found admission, they scalped himself, his wife, and five children, and finally set fire to their dwelling, having previously plundered it. The only individual spared was a young man, a servant in the house, who they thought might be useful to them. Having perpetrated this atrocious deed, they loaded Williamson and the young man, whose life they had spared, with their booty, and again directed their steps towards the Blue Hills. During this march Williamson’s companion in misfortune continuing, notwithstanding all the former could say to him, to bemoan his situation so loudly as to attract the notice of the savages, one of them came up to him, and struck the unhappy young man a blow on the head with his tomahawk, which instantly killed him. The savages next proceeded to the house of another settler named Adams, where they perpetrated similar atrocities, murdering his wife and four children, burning his house, corn, hay, and cattle. Adams himself, however, a feeble old man, they reserved for further cruelties. Having loaded him with the plunder of his own house, he was marched along with them, and on their aniving at the Great Swamp, where they remained for eight or nine days, was subjected to every species of torture which savage ingenuity could suggest. At one time they amused themselves by pulling the old man’s beard out by the root ; at another, by tying him to a tree and flogging him with great severity; and again, scorching his face and legs with red-hot coals. While in this encampment, the savages with whom Williamson was captive were joined by another party, who brought along with them three prisoners and twenty scalps. These unhappy men, who gave Williamson and his companion in misfortune, Adams, the most shocking accounts of the barbarities that had been practised by the party into whose hands they had fallen, having subsequently attempted to escape, were retaken, and put to the most cruel deaths. They then scalped him, and left him where he fell.
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134 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. From their present quarters the savages, still carrying Williamson along with them, proceeded two hundred miles farther into the interior, where their wigwams, wives, and children were. Here Williamson was detained for two months, suffering severely from cold and hunger, as the Indians paid no attention to his comforts, but left him to shift for himself as he best could, always taking care, however, that he should not escape them. At length another expedition against the whites having been determined on, the Indians, who, by various additions to their numbers, now amounted to about 150, began their march, taking Williamson along with them towards the back parts of the province of Pennsylvania, On arriving at the Blue Hills, Williamson was left there with ten Indians, it not being deemed safe to take him nearer the plantations, to await the return of the main body. Here Williamson began to meditate an escape, and watching an opportunity one night when his guard were asleep, having previously assured himself that they were so, by gently touching their feet as they lay around the fire, he softly withdrew, after having vainly attempted to possess himself of one of their guns, which they always kept beneath their heads when they slept. Williamson’s terror was so great lest he should be discovered, that he stopped as he was retreating every four or five paces, and looked fearfully towards the spot where his sayage masters were lying ; seeing, however, no motion amongst them, he gradually mended his pace, and had gained a considerable distance, when he suddenly heard the war-cry of the savages, who had missed their captive, and were now in pursuit of him. The terror of Williamson, on hearing these appalling sounds, increased his speed. He rushed wildly on through woods and over rocks, falling and bruising himself severely, and cuttiiig his feet and legs in a miserable manner ; but he eventually succeeded in eluding the vigilance of his pursuers. Continuing his flight until daybreak, he then crept into the hollow of a tree, but was here again alarmed by hearing the voices of the savages in his immediate vicinity, loudly talking of how they should treat him if he again fell into their hands. They, however, did not discover him, and soon after left the spot. Williamson remained in his concealment till nightfall, when he again set out on his perilous journey, hiding himself in trees by day, and prosecuting his march by night. On one occasion during his route, he unknowingly approached so near a bivouac of savages, that the rustling he made amongst the trees alarmed them, when, starting from the ground and seizing their arms, they began to search round for the cause of the noise they had heard. Fortunately for Williamson, who stood stock-still, petrified with fear, a herd of wild swine at this critical moment made their appearance near the spot, when the savages thinking that they had been the cause of their alarm, gave up their search and returned to their fire. On observing this, FVilliamson recommenced his journey, and finally arrived in safety at his father-in-law’s, on the 4th January 1755, where he learned that his wife had died two months before. Soon after his arrival, Williamson was called before the State Assembly, then
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