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in all probability discover her, and give to obey; but being urged, she fired, and the alarm. On the other hand, might shot the deer. In a few moments the Inshe not regard her having been impelled dians came rushing in, expecting to ento seck this shelter, and the fall of the counter the foe; and, when informed that tree, as a special interposition of Provi it was a false alarm, the chief raised his dence in her favor, and could she not tomahawk to kill the white girl who had throw herself upon this manifest protec dared to disobey his commands. His wife tion ? Uncertain what to do, she re threw herself between him and the inmained in the tree all night, not answer tended victim, exclaiming that she herself ing the calls which were repeated at in was the offender; but for a moment, as tervals, in hope the Indians would break the uplifted weapon was whirled several up camp and depart before day, as they times round the Indian's head, Mary exalways did when apprehensive of pursuit. pected he would bury it in her own. PerShe was found, however, and compelled to haps the prospect of plenty of savory accompany them in their northward venison for supper did something to pacify course, and having crossed the Ohio, gave the angry warrior. ap in despair the faint hope that had re At another time, when, by some means mained in her breast, of being restored to or other, the small-pox was introduced her kindred. With the loss of this hope among the party, the captive became desher trust even in the merciful Father who perately ill with that terrible disease. For had preserved her through so many dan ten days she was entirely blind, being left gers, seemed also to fail. But her extreme alone in a lodge built for her at soine sufferings from hunger, cold, and fatigue, distance from the camp, near a spring. were sufficient to overcome greater Her food was brought and left at the strength than she possessed.
spring, to which she would grope her way Fortune seemed to delight in mocking once in the twenty-four hours. Her sufher with opportunities of escape, by which ferings were somewhat alleviated by an she could not profit. One night when ointment made by simmering prickly they had encamped, a snow-storm came on, pear in bear's grease, which a compasand she was completely covered by a sionate squaw prepared for her. During snowdrift. In the morning, as the In this season of distress, she often wished dians were preparing to continue their for death, and sometimes the temptation journey, she could be found nowhere, and was strong to rend the ulcers that covered they concluded she had gone off during her face; but the thought of home, and the night. Their anger was loudly ex the hope of being at some future day depressed, and the most terrible tortures livered from her cruel bondage, would threatened, if she should again fall into support her to a patient endurance of her their power. Hearing all this imperfectly, protracted trials. and only understanding that she was Some of the articles in our heroine's wanted, Mary rose from under her possession, had been taken from her. A white coverlet in the very midst of the knife was left her, which she preserved infuriated savages, whose shouts of aston with the greatest care, and took every opishment and merriment, when they dis- portunity, when she could be unobserved, covered the truth, were absolutely deaf of cutting her name on the bark of trees, ening. It was a bitter thought to her, in the hope that the marks might lead to that had she known how securely she
her rescue. She also retained a pair of was concealed, she might have remained in silver shoe-buckles, of which no one ofsafety. The morning meal of the Indians fered to deprive her. was a large black snake, which was It is supposed that this party of Indians roasted and divided. A few inches only remained about a year in the northwestern fell to the poor girl's share, but the pi part of Tennessee, at the forks of Cumberquant sauce of hunger made it seem deli land and Tennessee rivers, and near the cious food. She was always permitted junction of the Ohio with the Mississippi. to share in every thing with her captors. Passing into what is now Indiana, they
At one time, when the men were all spent some time at a place called "French absent from the camp, a large deer was Lick." Several white prisoners were seen making directly towards it. The brought in, meanwhile, from Tennessee and old chief's wife ordered Mary to take a Kentucky: amongst them, a man named gun and shoot the animal, as she was Riddle and his two daughters, who were known to be the best shot among all the occasionally in Miss Nealy's company. At · women. The chief had expressly forbid all times, when her health permitted, den firing, on pain of death, in the ab- Mary was engaged in some useful occupasence of his men, the discharge of a gun tion, never caring how laborious it might being the appointed signal of the near ap be, as her mental disquietude was thus proach of an enemy, and Mary hesitated relieved. The only employment she ob
jected to, was the moulding of bullets, to committed among the savage tribes. The which she was often compelled.
criminals were bound to separate trees and As the journey was continued, she be stoned to death, the white prisoners being came acquainted with a French fur-trader, compelled to see the execution. whom she besought to aid her in effecting Many more incidents of adventure, peher escape. He would not listen to her rils and sufferings, are remembered by the entreaties, and she left him indignant at family and descendants of our heroine, of his want of humane feeling. A little con her forest travel and sojourn with her wild science-stricken, perhaps, for his refusal, companions. But the limits of a brief he brought a blanket the next day, and sketch permit only the record of those neoffered it to her; but she rejected the cessary to illustrate the experience comgift, saying that she scorned to receive any mon to too many in those fearful days of thing from a heartless wretch, who was our republic. After a captivity of two too cowardly to give her the aid she re years, the prisoners were taken to Detroit, quired.
where the Indians expected to receive After they had passed into Michigan, from the British Government, payment where their numbers were increased by • for the scalps they had brought. The other captives, one of the females, weak savages received much attention from the from exhaustion and carrying an infant a English, as important allies, while enfew months old, failed to keep up with the camped in the neighborhood of the city. rest, though assisted occasionally by the Mary was sent every day to the house of kind-hearted squaws.
When they en a French resident, to procure milk for a camped at night, a consultation was held sick child of the chief. She saw the misamong the men, and it was resolved to tress of the house frequently, who became kill the child. They had built a large interested in her when she had learned her fire, and when the wood had been con history. One morning, she told her to sumed to a bed of glowing coals, one of come on the following day; to drop her the warriors snatched the babe from its milk can outside the gate, enter the house mother's breast and threw it into the without rapping, and proceed directly to a midst. It was instantly drawn out and certain room. The poor girl had been thrown back into the arms of its distract suffering from chills and fever for several cd mother; again snatched from her weeks. The next morning, when she was and thrown into the fire, to be again ordered to go for milk, it happened that drawn out; and this fiendish pastime was her paroxysm of fever was upon her. In repeated amidst the screams of the ago the half delirious state of her brain, she nized parent, and hideous yells from the had been forming a plan of escape, and savages, leaping and dancing the while resolving that she would take with her with frantic gestures, till life was ex the shoe-buckles which constituted all her tinct in the little victim ; when it was wealth ; and she was looking for them in torn to pieces by the murderers. Scenes a box when the order was repeated. She like this, which were not of uncommon persisted in her search, being able to find occurrence, inspired Miss Nealy with a but one, when her angry master struck feeling of detestation towards the per her, and threatened to kill her at once, if petrators of such outrages, which became she hesitated to obey. Turning suddenly habitual, and amounted to a vindictive round, she begged him to do so, and put hate, of which she could never wholly an end to her sufferings, for the pain and divest herself. She would never speak bewilderment of fever had caused her to their language unless compelled by cir forget that she might soon be free. Howcumstances to use it, and used to say, that ever, she set out, but soon returned and the only favor she ever asked of them was, dropped the odd buckle into the box, to be that she might be put to death. When, again beaten and sent on her errand. By in after life, a favorite granddaughter, who the time she had reached the Frenchman's had been born and reared in her house, gate, her senses were sufficiently restored expressed a desire to wear ear-rings, and to remember the directions of the day was about to purchase a pair, she per previous. When the Indians came in search suaded her not to do so, speaking with of her, the woman of the house informed melancholy earnestness on the subject, and them that the girl had come to the gate, saying she should never be able to look at apparently in anger, had thrown down the her beloved child without pain, if decora vessel and departed, she did not know ted with ornaments which would SO whither—up the street. On the following strongly remind her of her savage en day, men were sent by the city authorities emies.
to whom complaint had been made by It was Miss Nealy's lot to witness, at the Indians, to search the house; but no one time, the punishment of a young In trace of the fugitive could be found. AU dian and his paramour, for a crime rarely this time, Mary lay quietly concealed in a
small dark closet, the door of which, open caught a portion of her spirit, and in very ing into a larger one, could not be easily truth cut them switches as soon as they discovered. It was a place constructed ex were on shore, daring the officer to come pressly for stowing away plate, money, on, and giving three cheers for the brave or other valuables, when a ransacking was young woman. threatened.
Her companions told her also that they Miss Nealy occupied that room for a were in expectation of seeing one of the month, hidden from all eyes, and sus American generals in a few days, and tained by the kind care of her benefac that when he came he would provide her tress. An accident had nearly betrayed with a horse and saddle. She continued and remanded her to captivity. One day her journey with this company for several when looking carelessly from the window, days; and when the others faltered from she was startled by seeing the face of an fatigue, and were unable to proceed, she Indian, whom she knew too well, and by went on in the hope of finding employthe gleam of his eyes, she saw that he ment among the Dutch settlers, her only had also recognized her. She hastened to companions being an old man and two inform her protectress, and implore her boys. After a day or two of weary aid. There was no time to be lost, for travel in the snow, these also gave up, the savages would not be slow in reclaim and one morning left her to proceed alone. ing their prisoner. She was supplied im It was a sad day for her-tramping on mediately with boy's apparel, which she through the snow and water in which her put on; her hair was cut off, and she was feet plunged at every step, and towards sent, accompanied by the son of her hos evening a heavy rain drenched her gartess, half a mile into the city to the house ments. Yet her courage did not fail, for of another kind-hearted Frenchwoman, she had now before her the hope of who gave her shelter, and kept her con eventually reaching her beloved home, and cealed through several weeks. Work was felt that her success depended on herself also procured for her from a tailor, and she alone. She could not persuade herself to was enabled to earn sufficient to clothe stop for rest till after dark, when she herself comfortably. When the fear of came up to the door of a small cabin pursuit was over, she was removed by where a cheerful light was glimmering. night to an island in the river, where she Very cheering was the aspect of the huge found seventeen other captives whom blazing logs in the ample chimney, but she had met before, in her travels through other comforts there were none; scarce Indiana, Ohio, or Michigan; some of them even a morsel of bread ; and not a bed having been purchased by the British could be furnished on which to lay her authorities, some having escaped through wearied limbs. She was, however, accusthe assistance of the French inhabitants tomed to hardships, and lying down on of the city.
the floor with her feet to the fire, without Our heroine remained but three weeks stopping to dry her clothes, soon fell into in this new asylum. Upon leaving the a profound slumber. In the morning she island, the captives were conveyed down awoke in great distress from oppression at the lakes, stopping some time at Ni the lungs, and unable to speak except in agara, and down the St. Lawrence riv a whisper. The woman in the cabin, er, and were landed upon the shore of though wretchedly poor, had a kind heart, Lake Champlain, where they were ex and made the suffering stranger as comchanged as prisoners of war. Before they fortable as she could. Miss Nealy, from quitted the vessel, one of the British offi
her acquaintance with Indian life, had cers endeavored to exact a promise from acquired a knowledge of diseases and of the company, which consisted of women, medicine, which now proved useful in her old men and boys, that they would not own case. She happened to have some aid or abet the continentals against the medicines about her, which she directed royal government during the continuance the good woman how to prepare and adof the war. This heroic woman was accus minister. A severe attack of illness tomed to relate, with much dignity and spi finally yielded to the youthful vigor of her rit, how she refused to give the pledge, and constitution, strengthened by endurance challenged the officer to go on shore with of all kinds of hardship, but it was some her into the thicket of bushes, where she weeks before she was able to travel. is would cut a switch and brush him till In the fear of a recurrence of scurvy, he would be glad to promise, on his own from which she had previously suffered, part, that he would never again be caught she procured at a little-settlement a few upon provincial ground." She would days' journey from this cabin, a small describe the scene with as much pride at quantity of snuff and other simple remeninety, as she could have acted in it three dies prescribed by a traveller, spending score and ten years before. The others almost the last penny she possessed for
these and a little japanned snuff-box, which she presented a few days ago to the narrator of these incidents of her history. In this settlement she also learned that a farmer who lived in the vicinity intended to remove with his family in the spring to the southwestern part of Virginia ; and that his wife was in want of
help” to spin, weave, and make up mens and boys' clothing. This was good news indeed, and she lost no time in making application to be received in that capacity.
During the winter our heroine labored very assiduously, doing the washing of the family and milking the cows, in addition to the other employments for which her services had been engaged ; thus leaving herself not a moment of relief from toil till late bedtime, and receiving in return only fifty cents a week, and but a small part of her wages in money,
When the family set out in the spring on their southward journey, she assisted in driving the stock, as well as in cooking and doing all kinds of work necessary in “camping out;" making almost the entire journey on foot, and being compensated for her laborious services with only food and lodging, and such protection as the company of those she attended, afforded her. Yet, throughout her life, she seemed to remember that family with warm affection, and spoke of them with gratitude ; it was her first experience, since her doleful captivity, of human sympathy and home-feeling; and her generous heart overflowed towards those who gave it : her labors to serve them being esteemed as nothing in the balance.
When they reached the Susquehanna river—where she was to pay her own ferriage-such having been the agreement -she asked permission of the ferryman to paddle herself across in a small and leaky canoe lying on the shore near by. He consented, warning her, however, that it was unsafe; but she was an excellent swimmer and intent on saving her money, which she did, and crossed in safety. The people in the ferry-boat were less fortunate; when half way across, one of the cows, affrighted, jumped overboard and swam back to shore. The Dutch farmer requested Mary to return with him and bring the animal over; and she did so, getting her on board, holding her by the horn with the left hand, and having the thumb and finger of her right thrust into her nostrils; thus keeping the cow quiet for a distance of nearly a mile. A modern belle would laugh at such an instance of usefulness; but our grandmothers were more practical and would not have felt ashamed of it. Its happy conquences will soon be seen.
When the travellers arrived at their place of destination, Mary obtained employment for a few days in a family. It happened that a farmer by the name of Spears, who lived in the neighborhood, called in, and heard the girl's romantic history. His wife wanted some one to assist her in household duties, and Miss Nealy was recommended to the place; she accepted the proposal to go at once, and mounted behind her future father-in-law, rode to his house, where she remained some time waiting to find some party that might be going to Tennessee, for her fears of being recaptured by the Indians had grown stronger the farther she travelled westward.
We will now turn to another scene in this "ower true tale.” When her family had ascertained beyond doubt that she had been captured by the Indians, they gave up all hope of ever seeing her again. They grieved as for one dead; but there was one whose sorrow was all too quickly banished; the betrothed lover of Mary, who, judging that the smiles of a new love was the best consolation for his loss, speedily transferred his vows to another comely maiden, and was by this time on the eve of marriage. It happened about this period that Mary's brother went on business into the interior of Kentucky. On the very night of his arrival, at a rustic tavern, he fell in with several travellers, who were relating their different adventures after an excellent supper. One of them had come all the way from Pennsylvania, and described with graphic glee, the scene of the crossing of the Susquehanna by the Dutch emigrant family, escape of the cow, and her recapture and bringing over by the heroic young woman. That girl, he added, had been a captive among the Indians, and had escaped from them. To this account young Nealy lis tened with aroused attention. "Did you hear the young woman's name ?” he eagerly asked. “They called her Polly" -answered the stranger, but I heard no other. “ Did you observe that she was left-handed ?" again the brother asked, “She certainly was"_was the reply; "I noticed it both in pulling her canoe, and in holding the cow.” No farther infor mation could be given ; but this was enough. The brother had no doubt that this was indeed his long-lost sister, and that her course had been directed home ward. And now, what was to be done? He was convinced that no family would be likely to emigrate in a southwest direction in that time of peril; she had no chance of an escort to return home; and through the vast wilderness that intervened, how could an unprotected girl
travel alone? He determined, therefore, band to the field, sometimes in the capahimself to set out; go to the ferry on the city of guard, sometimes to help him hoe Susquehanna, where the scene described the corn ; and always carrying her chilwas said to have taken place, and to trace dren with her. On one occasion, while his sister thence, if possible.
thus occupied, they heard a whistle like He set off accordingly, taking the pre the note of a wild turkey. One of their caution to make inquiry at every cabin, neighbors, an old hunter, cautioned them and of every person whom he met, lest he against following the sound, which he should pass her on the way. When in knew to be made by an Indian, whom he Virginia, he stopped one day to feed his resolved to ferret out. He accordingly horse, and make the usual inquiries at a crept noiselessly along the ground, like farm-house, and was told that a young one hunting the bird, till close to the spot woman who had been in captivity among whence the whistle came, when he fired, the Indians, and had recently come into and an Indian fell. the country, was living in a family some On one occasion strange sounds were six miles distant. Nealy lost not a mo heard close to the dwelling at night, and ment; but flinging the saddle on his horse Mrs. Spears, looking through a "chink” before he had tasted his corn, rode off in in the cabin, saw the shadow of a man the direction pointed out. Before he had stealthily moving around the house. She reached the house, he met his sister. What awoke her husband; he climbed the ladpen can describe that meeting ! * We der to the loft, and putting his gun through shall not attempt it.
an aperture in the roof, fired upon the Mary made immediate preparations to savage. Five Indians started up and ran return home, but suffered many hardships, off; but he continued firing till the alarm and was exposed to many dangers on their was given at the fort, and aid was sent. way through the almost trackless wild. A company of soldiers followed the trail The howling of wolves, the screams of for several miles, and judged the number panthers, and the low growl of bears were of the savages to have been about fifty. familiar sounds in her ears; but nothing While residing here, Mrs. Spears received daunted her save the fearful thought of intelligence of the murder of one of her again falling into the hands of merciless brothers by the Indians. savages. Even after her reunion with her
Mr. Spears, who had no fear of them. family, this terror so preyed on her mind was in the habit of going to the fort to that she had no peace, and her widowed try his skill in shooting at a target; and mother yielded to her entreaties, and re when he did not return by dusk, his wife moved to a more secure home in Ken would leave the cabin and betake herself tucky.
with the child to the woods for safety, for The story of Miss Nealy's return to her terror of the lurking enemies, whose Tennessee, and her strange adventures, cruelty she had so bitterly experienced, was soon noised abroad, and her former was very great. One night, having thus lover, repenting his infidelity, came once left her home, she was standing with her more to prefer his claim to her favor. It infant in her arms, under a wide spreadmay be conceived with what scorn she ing tree, awaiting the return of her husspurned the addresses of a man who had band, when she heard the shrill note of a not only lacked the energy to attempt her screech-owl, directly over her head, and rescue from the Indians, and had soon fell to the ground as if shot. She often forgotten her, but who was now crowning described, in after life, the mortification his perfidy by the basest falsehood to she felt, on recovering from her fright; wards the other fair one to whom his but excused herself by pleading that the faith was pledged.
fears which so overcame her, were for the Mary Nealy was united in marriage to little helpless child. In times of peculiar George Spears, on the 27th of February, danger, she was accustomed to do sewing 1785, at her new home in Lincoln County, and washing for two young men at the Kentucky.t After her marriage, her mo fort, in return for their coming home every ther returned with the rest of her family night with her husband, and lodging in to Tennessee. Mrs. Spears and her hus the cabin. band continued to reside for two years On another occasion, when they had near Carpenter's Station, in Lincoln Coun reason to believe a large body of Indians ty; and during the three succeeding years were in the neighborhood, and were warnat or near Grey's Station, in Greene ed to leave the cabin without loss of time, County, Kentucky. While living here, Mrs. Spears hastily buried her dishes, and it was her custom to accompany her hus emptying out part of the feathers from her
• This noble brother died about five years ago, at his residence near Nashville, Tennessee.
† Date copied from Mrs. Spears' family Bible. VOL. 6-18