“Sufferers’ Land” Post #16 – Native Americans

When the Benedict family arrived in Norwalk, open warfare with Native Americans had ceased, but tension remained. Hunting parties of Indians visited the area frequently. Often they supplied the settlers, who for the most part did not hunt, with deer and other game. Sometimes these natives would wander into homes, scaring settlers half to death. In later years, Sally Benedict described a late night intrusion of her home.

One night the loud barking of our dog attracted our attention, followed by a knock at the door; on opening which, in stalked a large Indian, dressed in furs and blanket, and fully armed. The children huddled close to me, as he came near and asked for “Daddy.” He was evidently intoxicated, and I did not dare let him know that “Daddy” was not at home. I asked him to sit down, but he preferred to stretch himself before the fire, where he soon fell asleep. When he awoke, he was nearly sober, and quite inclined to be talkative. He told me of the many wrongs the Indians had suffered; that the white man had planted corn over his father’s bones, and the poor old Indian wept. Finally, he started up, exclaiming, “Daddy no come. You go sleep. I go to my brother’s,” and he went away.

Sleep was a stranger to our eyes that night. We kept ourselves in readiness for flight, for we expected the “red-face” would return with his brothers, and murder us all. The riches of a Kingdom would not repay me for another such night of anxiety. [1]

Sally’s concern about her late night visitor may seem humorous now. Only a few years previously, Indian raids during the War of 1812 had resulted in many deaths and the flight of settlers out of the Firelands. In 1819, Sally and the other residents of Norwalk were witness to an event that made them wonder if those days of war were about to return.

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GO TO NEXT POST – Murder on the Portage River

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Footnotes:
[1] Quote of Sarah Benedict’s description of a visit to her home by a Native American is from Family, by Ian Frazier, p. 58 & History of the Firelands, by W.W. Williams, 1879, p. 175.

© 2009 by David W. Barton. All rights reserved

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One Response

  1. Dave,
    Another great post. I can’t imagine the time you put into researching this. The stories are great and I just want to read more and more!
    Jo

    Like

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