Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

Besieged by the Savages

Then, suddenly, the Indians whom General Hamilton, of Detroit, had sent against us could be seen in every direction around the stockade; but they took good care at first to keep beyond range. Many days later, we learned that the wretches had made an attack on Harrodstown and on a fort that had been built by a man named Logan. I heard father say to mother, when he believed Billy and me to be so far away we could not overhear the words, that at last the time had come when we must fight for our lives.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Then every boy large enough to raise a rifle to his shoulder was given a post of duty at one or another of the loopholes, while the women and girls were ordered to go from cabin to cabin, cleaning the guns which had become foul from rapid firing, or loading spare weapons when our people were sorely pressed at this point or that.

It was real war which had come upon us at last, and we knew that in case our men were overcome, we women and children would be taken captives. What our lives might be as slaves in the villages of the savages was a thought to make our blood run cold. Elizabeth Henderson, for one, declared that she would never be taken prisoner again.

On that dreadful morning when we could see the savages skulking behind the trees in every direction, only a few shots were fired. The Indians waited in the hope of being able to pick off some of our men without exposing themselves to danger, so we in the fort were unable to shoot with any hope of success.

Perhaps a dozen shots were fired from the stockade without effect, so far as we could see, when Flanders Callaway set up a shout of triumph, and the men declared that he was the first to bring down an enemy.

Slowly the feathered headdresses could be seen approaching the stockade. As the number increased, they grew bolder, until every man and boy inside the fort was forced to remain keenly on the alert; again and again Jemima and I loaded spare guns for this man or that, so hotly were the savages pressing us be-fore sunset.

How many we killed or wounded I know not; but certainly two of our men were wounded. John Holder had been shot through the shoulder and Benjamin Smith had been hit in the arm, although neither of the men was willing to admit that he had been hurt seriously.

Mother and Mrs. Boone insisted on dressing the wounds, and would have kept both men in our cabin, but they refused to remain idle when every rifle was needed, for the Indians might make a rush at any moment, and on account of their large numbers, it was possible they could succeed in climbing over the stockade or in setting fire to the logs.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis


Front Matter

At Boonesborough
Beginning of the Story
Boone on the Yadkin
Boone Moves his Family
Ready for the Journey
What we Wore
Driving Cattle and Sheep
Camping at Nightfall
The Long Halt
Jimmy Boone Goes to Clinch
Murder of Jimmy Boone
A Time of Mourning
The Faint-hearted Return
A New Home
Making Moccasins
Tanning Leather
Governor Dunmore
Our Home on the Clinch
Household Duties
Attacked by a Wildcat
Fighting the Wildcat
Boone and Father Return
The Wilderness Road
Building the Forts
Gathering Salt
Our Home in the Fort
Ready for Cooking
Furnishing the House
The Hominy Block
The Supply of Water
Sports Inside the Fort
Wrestling and Running
Religion of the Indians
Indian Babies
Colonel Callaway Arives
News from Eastern Colonies
Venturing Outside the Fort
Dividing the Land
Who Owned Kentucky?
Ready to Build a Home
Billy's Hard Lot
Preparing Flax
Spinning and Soap Making
Broom Making
More Indian Murders
Indian "Signs"
Woodcraft and Hunting
Pelts Used as Money
Petition of the Settlers
Making Sugar
Building Fences
Capture of the Girls
My Willful Thoughts
Finding the Trail
The Pursuit
The Story Told by Jemima
Elizabeth's Heroism
Rescuing the Girls
Alarm Among the Settlers
Indians on the Warpath
The First Wedding
The Wedding Festivities
The Brides Home
The Housewarming
Attacks by the Indians
Besieged by the Savages
In the Midst of the Fight
The Assault by the Indians
Failure of the Assault
Watchfulness of the Indians
The Sortie
My Father Wounded
Our Wounded