American History Stories—Volume II - Mara L. Pratt

Massacre of Wyoming

One of the saddest events of this sad year, 1778, was the massacre of Wyoming.

Wyoming was a quiet little village in the Wyoming valley along the Susquehanna river. These Wyoming settlers were very loyal people;—hardly a family among them but had sent a dear father or son to the army. All around them were the Tories, who looked upon this peaceful little village with fierce hate.

One summer evening, these Tories got together six hundred Indians, and with howls and yells, shouts and war-whoops, all swept down upon the little village.

The women and children, frightened, hurried within the walls of "Fort Forty," the only stronghold they owned.

One hardly dares think how much more terrible still this might have been had not one Zebulon Butler, a brave young soldier, chanced to be home on a furlough.

He quickly mustered all the old men and boys into a little army. Then, finding their only hope lay in rushing forth to meet their foe in open field, they left the fort and went bravely out, led by their brave leader.

It was a brief, deadly encounter. The foe, five times their number, broke savagely upon them. When at last the little band gave way, the Indians and the Tories, one hardly less blood-thirsty than the other, pursued them with unrelenting fury.

There is no more brutal picture in all history than this massacre of the peaceful, loyal people of Wyoming. A description of it, even, is too horrible for children's ears. So we will ask you to read Campbell's poem of "Gertrude of Wyoming." It is a famous poem, one you will often come across, by and by, in your school-life; and it is well you should remember what it has to do with the early history of your own people.

[Illustration] from American History Stories - II by Mara L. Pratt