Sunday, September 11, 2016

Seneca Indians Kill 300 Illinois Indians Along the Erie Shore

Seneca Indians Kill 300 Illinois Indians Along the Erie Shore


"The slaughter was immense. Vengeance nerved the arms of the Seneca braves, and of three hundred Illinois but two escaped. "



A striking story is told of a Seneca youth who for many years and through a wearisome captivity nourished the hope of vengeance so dear to the Indian soul. A certain tribe of the Senecas had settled on the shores of Lake Erie, when they were surprised by their ancient enemies the Illinois, and in spite of a stout resistance many of them were slain, and a woman and a boy taken prisoner. When the victors halted for the night they built a great fire, and proceeded to celebrate their success by singing triumphant songs, in which they commanded the boy to join them. The lad pretended that he did not know their language, but said that he would sing their song in his own tongue, to which they assented; but instead of a p├Žan in their praise he sang a song of vengeance, in which he vowed that if he were spared all of them would lose their scalps. A few days afterward the woman became so exhausted that she could walk no farther, so the Illinois slew her. But before she died she extracted a promise from the boy that he would avenge her, and would never cease to be a Seneca.
In a few days they arrived at the Illinois camp, where a council was held to consider the fate of the captive lad. Some were for instantly putting him to death, but their chief ruled that should he be able to live through their tortures he would be worthy of becoming an Illinois. They seized the wretched lad and held his bare feet to the glowing council-fire, then after piercing them they told him to run a race. He bounded forward, and ran so swiftly that he soon gained the Great House of the tribe, where he seated himself upon a wild-cat skin.
Another council was held, and the Illinois braves 
agreed that the lad possessed high courage and would make a great warrior; but others argued that he knew their war-path and might betray them, and it was finally decided that he should be burnt at the stake. As he was about to perish in this manner an aged warrior suggested that if he were able to withstand their last torture he should be permitted to live. Accordingly he held the unfortunate lad under water in a pool until only a spark of life remained in him, but he survived, and became an Illinois warrior.
Years passed, and the boy reached manhood and married a chief's daughter. His strength and endurance became proverbial, but the warriors of the tribe of his adoption would never permit him to take part in their warlike expeditions. At length a raid against the Senecas was mooted, and he begged so hard to be allowed to accompany the braves that at last they consented. Indeed, so great was their admiration of the skill with which he outlined a plan of campaign that they made him chief of the expedition. For many days the party marched toward the Seneca country; but when at last they neared it their scouts reported that there were no signs of the tribe, and that the Senecas must have quitted their territory. Their leader, however, proposed to go in search of the enemy himself, along with another warrior of the tribe, and this was agreed to.
When the pair had gone five or six miles the leader said to his companion that it would be better if they separated, as they would then be able to cover more ground. Passing on to where he knew he would find the Senecas, he warned them of their danger, and arranged that an ambush of his kinsfolk should lie in wait for the Illinois.
Returning to the Illinois camp, he reported that he had seen nothing, but that he well remembered the 
Seneca hiding-place. He asked to be given the bravest warriors, and assured the council that he would soon bring them the scalps of their foes. Suspecting nothing, they assented to his proposal, and he was followed by the flower of the Illinois tribe, all unaware that five hundred Senecas awaited them in the valley. The youth led his men right into the heart of the ambush; then, pretending to miss his footing, he fell. This was the signal for the Senecas to rise on every side. Yelling their war-cry, they rushed from their shelter and fell on the dismayed Illinois, who gave way on every side. The slaughter was immense. Vengeance nerved the arms of the Seneca braves, and of three hundred Illinois but two escaped. The leader of the expedition was borne in triumph to the Seneca village, where to listening hundreds he told the story of his capture and long-meditated revenge. He became a great chief among his people, and even to this day his name is uttered by them with honour and reverence.