Beanery Online Literary Magazine

October 31, 2012

At Sewickley Creek: a novel excerpt



An excerpt from WARPATH, a historical novel

Sal Martin

     In 1756 there was a meeting to discuss peace. One of the negotiators was from the eastern Turtle Clan Delaware named Teedyuscung. Teedyuscung wanted peace for his people and houses and teachers. The conferences at Easton eventually brought a lessening of the hostilities.

“The land is the cause of our Differences, that is, our being unhappily turned out of the land; … they do not act well nor do Indians justice …We on our parts gather up the leaves that have been sprinkled with blood, we gather up the blood, the bodies and the bones, but when we look round, we see no place where to put them.”

That spring, the Martin and Knox children and other white captives made another trip, of twenty some miles, down the Allegheny to Fort Duquesne, in canoes. There were about 200 prisoners at Fort Duquesne at that time. The French commander was offering a bounty for pioneer scalps. He had already paid for 500 scalps. A bounty for Indian scalps was also being paid in Williamsburg and Philadelphia.  That the Pennsylvania Council would do such a thing horrified the Quakers to the point that they withdrew from politics.  Franklin’s anti-Quaker group had won.

The French at Ft. Duquesne did not have enough food for all the mouths and sent the captives along, in canoes, down the Ohio. Martha and Jane Knox and Martha’s two little brothers were taken instead up the muddy Monongahela River to the clean, clear Youghiogheny River, and then on up to Sewickley Creek. They stashed the canoes and carried their precious possessions, blankets and winter clothing up to Captain Jacob’s Cabin.

It was spring and the children were enchanted with the glory of (more…)