Lighting Ancestral Lamps

Page 48

CHAPTER VIII

Benjamin6, Patriarch
Southern Illinois Bunn Clan

Being equal to the occasion, but having been a friend and neighbor of the leaders of the tribe, he loaded his rifle, went straight to the chief and told him the story. Everything was settled peacefully and the Indians' leaders assured Benjamin6 that neither he nor his family would be harmed. They kept their word. Other blockhouses, perhaps several in the general area, were erected. The families of the respective neighborhoods took refuge in them. Life was quite rigorous. General Bell first warned the settlers to prepare for trouble from the Indians. Then during 1812 General Robert Brooks and his army of more than 2,000 soldiers with a wagon train of army supplies, camped at Greentown, only a few miles distant, a few days after the Indians left. The soldiers confiscated their unripe corn. Four weeks later, colonel Anderson came with 150 men, 25 cannon, and 50 covered wagons filled with munitions and each drawn by six horses.

They halted at Greentown, then followed General Brooks' trail to Fort Meigs.*/3

While these developments were going on, the Indians retaliated. For instance the Indians in and about Greentown, Ohio massacred Frederick Zimmer, his family, and others. Rolla Zimmer (who may be a descendant) and family are the nearest neighbors of the writer of this book, William Benton Bunn, Jr.9 as related by Baughman in his Richland County Historical record of Richland County, Ohio. The Zimmer family consisted of the father, Frederick, the mother, a daughter, Kate and a son, Philip. The family lived five miles north of Greentown. Martin Ruffner, their neighbor, went to the Zimmer home to warn of the approach of Indians.
His family had left the fort to which they had been assigned and in which they had lived for some time because "nothing had happened", and they naturally wanted to return to their own home. The son, Philip, was sent to summon Copus, a preacher or missionary and friend of the Indians. Five Indians of the former Greentown clan came. Kate, the daughter, in order to prevent or delay their attack, served the Indians supper. However, they were sullen and finally began their attack with their usual war yell. Ruffner who was sitting between the savages and the helpless family shot one Indian and felled another with his rifle which he used as a club.
Then an Indian shot Ruffner and scalped him while yet alive. Kate's ring was torn from her finger, and finally a tomahawk was buried in her head. The father's money was taken and eventually both the mother and the father were massacred. Philip, who had been sent to bring Copus had not as yet returned when the fight ensued, thus he escaped.

The three Indians who escaped for the time being were captured and placed in jail at New Philadelphia (Ohio). Kanatsche, one of the three, confessed that he killed Kate Zimmer. He also confessed that the purpose of the attack was robbery. These three Indians were turned over to the military authority, taken to western Ohio, and eventually released.

Terrible episodes such as these cultivated "bad" relationships between the settlers and the red men. Finally, however, the British who had apparently incited these savages to their terrible depredations were defeated. The British defeat apparently broke the morale of the Indians

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Cover | Contents | Forward | Intro | Orgins | England | Crest | First | Interlude | Benjamin 1

Benjamin | Hyatts | Hyatt1 | Hazard | Perry | William | HM Bunn | Index