Lighting Ancestral Lamps

Page 47

CHAPTER VIII

Benjamin6, Patriarch
Southern Illinois Bunn Clan

They became unfriendly. The white families were greatly concerned over the situation and rightly so. General Bell passed along the route near the route now improved and known as "Bell's Trail". He warned the settlers in the vicinity of Mohican and nearby townships to protect themselves from Indian violence by constructing forts, or more correctly called blockhouses. Benjamin's farm was between the Indian villages of Greentown and Jerometown (or Jeromestown). Several white families by this time rived in this strategic area. Thus, it was only natural under such circumstances for the leadership of the area to obey the warning of General Bell and construct forts or blockhouses. Benjamin Bunn, Vachel Metcalf, and others but a blockhouse on the Bunn land southeast from the present town of Jeromeville, probably about two and a half or three mi1es. Commenting further on the location of the farm, A.M. Alleman, a very old resident of Jeromeville, Ohio, early in the twentieth century, told Charles N. French, through correspondence, "I have the description of the location of the Benjamin6 Bunn farm from an old deed held by George W. Eagle, Jr., current owner, (this was about l9l2). Alleman said, "the Bunn farm was located in Ashland County, Ohio, Mohican Township, about three miles southeast of Jeromeville, and north of Lake Fork on the road from Jeromeville to Lake Fork"' Technically it was located in town 21, range 15, sections 15 and 22. In this fort or blockhouse, Benjamin Bunn, Vachel Metcalf, William Bryan, James Bryan, James Conley, Elisha Chilcote, James Slater, and their respective families took refuge.

The fort according to early historical records was located on a clearing of about one acre. It is described as having been two stories high; the upper story projected over the lower story. Portholes were frequently in this upper story which made "good "shooting" from within favorable if and when necessary. There was a well or spring within the walls of the blockhouse. The entire cleared section was protected by a palisade 12 or 14 feet high. There was one strong gate that provided entrance and exit. Both the fort and palisade were constructed of logs. The above families made the fort their headquarters until the middle of the summer of 18I3.

Benjamin Bunn was appointed captain of this particular fort. Apparently the Indians, during the war of 1812, caused much anxiety among the settlers. Bunn and his followers had cause for anxiety on at least two occasions. Knapp's history of Ohio reports that Benjamin Bunn and Vachel Metcalf discharged their rifles to warn neighbors of Indians. They fired thirteen shots. Another story, perhaps more nearly true than legendary, states that during this troubled period, perhaps before the settlers occupied the blockhouse, the two oldest children of Benjamin6 and Margaret, that is Hyatt and Isabel, were among the trees near their home picking whortle berries (probably blueberries) when they were suddenly approached by a Indian brave known as Long John. The Indian said in broken English, "Me kill your father; he kill my hound." The Indians were said to have had many half starved dogs about their camp. These dogs had previously crippled or injured several of Benjamin's hogs. For this reason he shot the Indian's dog. Certainly the children were very much scared. They left their berry picking and hurried home to tell their father.

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