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THE  UTTER  MASSACRE

 

 

Supplement to   The Little List

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

This paper was written by Thomas Pattison in his seventy-ninth year. Mr. Pattison was born February 13, 1782 in Rensselaerville, NY. His father was Sunderland Pattison (1757-1842) whose parents came to the American colonies from Belfast, Ireland. Thomas Pattison’s mother was Sarah Utter whose ancestors came from Germany and Sweden.

                Sarah Utter’s family was victim to an Indian massacre in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania in 1757 where her mother, two brothers, and a sister were killed. Sarah and her sister Joanna were taken captive by “Canadian Indians” and held for thirteen months before being freed in 1758 in a prisoner exchange negotiated by Sir William Johnson

                This account is one of the many conflicts between the settlers and the Indians during the French and Indian War and later during the American Revolution. These frontier raids consumed the time and energy of those on the western frontier such as George Washington, Hugh Mercer, John Armstrong, and others. Many historians consider this period (1754-1763) to have been the most brutal time in our colonial history. Its cruel nature influenced American attitudes for the next century, or more.

                This particular account is included as a supplement to The Little List in order to capture a more elaborate description of the period prior to 1800.

                In the interest of full disclosure, I want to note that my wife was a descendant of the Sarah Utter taken by the Indians. The following account is taken from a typed copy of the original penned version of The Utter Massacre which was among the papers and books inherited by Lucille Allen Anderson (1933-2002) from her maternal ancestors—the Gardners. The inherited copy, plus considerations from an edited version printed by The Ontario County (NY) Journal in 1916 were used in the preparation. Much of the original grammar, punctuation, capitalization (or lack of), and spelling has been retained. You may also find the story on the web under “The Wyoming Valley Massacre of 1757.” (www.geocities.com/Heartland/Valley/2822/massacre.html.

                To add a visual content to the story, photos of oil paintings of several descendants of the Sarah Utter mentioned in the story (including one of her daughter-Sarah Pattison Gardner) have been included in another section of The Little List. These paintings were drawn by an itinerant artist. The paintings may not be great art, but they make interesting family heirlooms. If you go on the web, you will find black-and-white copies of two of the paintings. In this supplement you will view them in their natural color.

                When asked whether I believe The Utter Massacre is accurate, I hedge my response. The major aspects of the story are true—the family, the location, the massacre, the victims and survivors, and some other “facts.” I am wary of some of the dates and the detailed descriptions given of the journey to the Indian’s home territory. I tend to believe the “details” are more likely composites of the experiences of persons interviewed by the author. In other words, I would feel more comfortable reading an account written immediately after the event by the person directly involved. As cynics say, “history is an account of what never happened, written by someone who wasn’t there.”

                The central theme of brutality has been recorded by both English and French participants in the French and Indian War. From our prospective, the actions seem extremely cruel—but, we are reminded that it was a different era with different views of acceptable treatment of non-combatants during wartime.

                The French and Indian War with its brutality shaped attitudes between the European-American and Native-American until nearly the end of the nineteenth century

                As bits of trivia, I might mention that the man that “Sarah” married, Sunderland Pattison, served under George Washington in the crossing of the Delaware in the winter of 1776 and the subsequent Battle of Trenton. Sarah and Sunderland’s grandson, Sunderland Pattison Gardner, can be” googled” and found to be a Quaker minister of note during the late 1800s and whose name appears on many web sites. Most of his ministry was in western New York and Ontario. He was my wife’s great-grandfather.

The text and commentary is taken from: The Gardner Family by Charles H. Gardner, published by Walter H. Jenkins, Philadelphia, 1923; Memoirs of the Life and Religious Labors of Sunderland P. Gardner, Friends Book Association, Philadelphia, 1895; The Utter Massacre, The Ontario County Journal, Issue of December 22, 1916; and, a typed copy of the original (date uncertain). These documents are in the possession of the compiler.

 

 

G.B. Anderson

Mt. Lebanon, PA

July 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE UTTER MASSACRE

 

 

Thomas Pattison

 

 

Prefatory Remarks

 

 

               

The author of this little narrative though at the advanced age of seventy-nine years, yet possessing a retentive memory of which he has been favored from childhood feels to reproach himself of the neglect in not giving the facts and attendant circumstances here narrated publicity at an earlier period; would ask leave to state as a principal cause the limited education of those here treated of as also that of the narrator, who had fondly hoped some more able commentator would have chronicled those events here set forth in this condensed work, with suitable embellishment style and diction commensurate to its importance, of which the author has made no attempt, nor as a compiler, nor reference to, nor deduction from any author, has aimed throughout to give a plain, truthful, though concise treatise, hopes may be explicit to impart the meaning.

                The author being sensible his days will soon be numbered and most of his cotemporaries having paid the debt of nature, many of whom were familiar with the facts and circumstances here treated of (like Job’s messenger I only am escaped alone to tell thee) fearing more delay might suffer these important facts to pass into oblivion and not even a trace of them left on record, other than found in general records and history of concerning massacres, captivities and spoilations from the French and Indians during the wars between England and France, which the author feels to deplore and lament, he still feels more particularly impressed from impulse of nature with still greater enlistment of feeling from consanguinity and more relationship with some here treated of, some who were massacred and some who suffered a long dreary captivity. From the latter and other kindred sources the author has directly derived his knowledge of the facts here set forth as also from the proper data, also in part from manuscripts written by the sufferers themselves and some penned by the author’s amanuensis direct from their dictation in early life. Who ever wished a genealogical history to include the awful scenes here treated of which the author has been very particular in penning strictly in conformity as he received the same from the sources above alluded to, without adding diminishing or deviating therefrom the weight of a feather, placing the whole beyond the least cause for doubt of hesitation as to its truth and correctness to all of which the author will avouch. If any peruse the little history entertain the least shadow of a doubt as to its correctness the author will invite them to an interview with him where they may become undeceived and satisfied as to their correctness and receive his thanks.

                The author feeling that this condensed work might serve as a memento to his posterity and descendants in recalling to mind the toils and sufferings of their ancestors enabling them more accurately to duly appreciate the blessings and safety they enjoy, which was purchased by the blood and treasury of their ancestry and left them as a rich legacy.

                The author is aware of many publications extant in our land some of more, some of less interest yet thinks this narrative may be worth the perusal of at least those of more advanced years who may have been familiar with many of the facts and circumstances here treated of, and may perhaps by inquiring minds amoung the younger class of community be thought worth reading, with whom, however, it would be quite remote from their associations they led their class just look over the chronology, genealogy and record of their family who may perhaps find some equally near and some remote in consanguinity and relationship with that of the author with those here treated of, and might of shared a similar fate and from whose toil, gallantry, magnanimity, privations and sufferings and who, when they lay down to rest in their own houses, were sleepless, fearing their destruction from savage enemies from whom we derive the blessedness of peace, liberty and safety we enjoy, sit down under our own vine and fig trees and none to molest or make us afraid, hoping those gallant and magnanimous deeds of our ancestors in time of war and burst of eloquence in time of peace, who have achieved for their descendants the independence, peace and safety they to this day enjoy, may with due reference and deference be remembered and cherished through all time, but it is feared many overlooked the true source from whom the blessings we enjoy and means used to secure them and act as though they were the product of this fair soil and country or that they were citizens of a regal government and the eligibility to the crown, secured to them by dynasty and record of loyalty, but let us for a moment consider that under the divine auspices of heaven and knowledge of these benefactions and how to improve them from which knowledge vouch safed from by heaven did our ancestors carry out the design of the God of our being, for which end our ancestors endured much toil and suffering to accomplish, and to them are we indebted for independence and happiest government ever happened a people under its benign influence; bounteous Heaven has vouchsafed to us peace in our frontiers and borders, safety and security in our midst and honored and respected by all civilized nations on earth, enjoy secular and spiritular freedom in full felicity, pursuing our vocations at will, free tolerations to use our physical and mental faculties and endowments according to the reason given us and our consciences, and our law and institutions, our government and constitution and framed on so liberal a plan as would seem if we guide ourselves aright to sustain with a zeal and fortitude and ancestors pursued the means to accomplish, might accomplish and consecrate all the happiness we can reasonably expect to enjoy in this state of existence, to which end and intent may the minds and hearts of its citizens be directed from which source only descends its prosperity.       

 

 

 

 

                S/  Thomas Pattison

            1860

 


 

Chapter 1

 

 

                History of the life incidents of Abraham Utter and family comprising nine chapters, delineating the situations and prospects of Abraham Utter and family previous to 1750.

 

                The author in early life became acquainted with the brothers of Mr. Utter the pioneer, the subject of this treatise and the sisters of Mrs. Utter, they being uncles and ants of the author, also with various other of Mr. Utter cotemporaries, his acquaintances and neighbors, from which and other kindred sources has directly derived his knowledge of the facts treated of in this narrative.

 

Abraham Utter and family resided in Dutchess County, State of New York until 1750. His family at that period consisted of a wife and eight children, he was highly possessed of a spirit of enterprise which has generally been the case with the pioneers, who settled the wilderness of America, but with him was for years suppressed by lack of means for suitable outfit for such an undertaking and to meet and surmount the difficulties reasonably apprehended to a new and unsettled country.

                He commenced the world with little or no means, his future prospectively event that all depended on his physical energy. While a resident of Dutchess County, State of New York, he maintained his family respectively; gave his children a fair education, his business was principally tilling land on shares, he having no homes of his own and as a freeholder could not be purchased in that old settlement by any means he had in prospect.

He and several of his neighbors, similarly situated, came to settled determination to migrate to a new country, where land was cheaper, and there form a settlement and in perfect reciprocity cherish each others interests. His two eldest sons seconding his views were eager for the enterprise, the place agreed upon and designated for their settlement was in the State of Pennsylvania, in the neighborhood of Wyoming, on the Susquehanna River in 1749.

All concerned were steadily engaged in making preparations to take their departure the following spring, this year 1749 the association consisting of eleven families. After encountering many difficulties and making many sacrifices unitedly succeeded in organizing a train of seventeen teams, principally oxen and forty-four cows, with full determination to take their departure the first of April following. Mr. Utter’s family as afore stated consisted of his wife Sarah, and eight children, namely, Moses, Lydia, Mariam, Abraham, James, Sarah, Joanna, and Thomas.

                Mr. Utter had from his hard earnings saved sufficient for his journey and assist in beginning his new residence, owned a negro man who accompanied him to his new home.

                In April 1750 all their preparations were made. Little did this worthy band think of the gloomy suns they were doomed to pass through.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

                Proceeding from Dutchess County, State of New York, to the State of Pennsylvania, April 5th, 1750, the train in readiness and peace had been settled between England and France in 1748 and not doubting their future safety, the train now started, not that the distance was so great, but their route lay through tractless forests. They had various difficulties to encounter, roads to make, bridges to build over various streams. They had to encamp several nights in the woods.

After surmounting all these obstacles, they finally on the 14th day of April 1750, arrived at their place of determination, surveyed the tract designed for their settlement, each locater determining respective location and commenced improving same.

Mr. Utter with his sons and negro went on vigorously improving their new home, built as comfortable a dwelling as could be expected considering the rude materials of which they had to construct it, cleared the land , and sowed twelve acres of wheat.

                1751 - this year they cleared and sowed thirty acres with wheat. The crop from the last year yielded abundant returns fully meeting their fondest hopes, incited them to still greater exertion.

                1752 - this year their youngest child, Dorcas, was born making the number of his children nine.  Mr. Utter built a new saw mill, happy in his new home. 

1753 - this year Mr. Utter’s eldest daughters were married, Lydia and Mariam, the husband of Lydia, Joseph Adams, the husband of Mariam, Titus Husted, and went with their husbands to their respective residences in Dutchess County, State of New York.  Mr. Adams and Mr. Husted were both respectable and had been acquainted with the family while residents of Dutchess County.  Prosperity seemed to attend Mr. Utter thus far.

1754 - this year Mr. Utter built a grist mill.

1755 - this year is characterized by a series of events most inauspicious to this community which will be treated in next chapter.

 

 

Chapter 3

 

                The settlement laid waste by the Canadian Indians. Many of the inhabitants massacred. A number made captive.

 

                In September 1755 about fifty Indians accompanied by a number of squaws from Canada, simultaneously attack the settlement at different points, but few had the fortune to escape. Mr. Utter had some little warning of their approach and with his family left in haste, who, when they had retreated one and a half miles sent his negro man back for some money, he had in his haste in leaving not thought of.

                The indians approached while he was at the house, killed and scalped him, mutilated him in a shocking manner. In that condition his remains were found when the indians had retired, the rest of the family consisting of wife and seven children (the two eldest girls were married and lived in the State of New York, as stated before) made safe their escape to a fort about fifteen miles distant from their late abode,

His mills, house and barn were burned, his negro slave, cattle all destroyed, excepting one cow, though singular it may seem on first thought in rambling late in the fall, brought up in the fort on examination was found a ball had passed through her body, probably fell when struck by a ball or that she escaped before another fire, the cause of this animal straying is too perspicuous to need comment as the animals were nearly all destroyed within their want and range and the settlement depopulated.

                Mr. Utter and family remained at the fort until the spring of 1756. While at the fort his eldest son, Moses, was married.

 

 

Chapter 4

 

                Mr. Utter returns to his late possessions and finds them a desolate waste. His exertions in repairing them.

 

                Mr. Utter contemplated a return to his late residence, to which his friends strongly remonstrated and admonished him to refrain until war ceased to rage between Great Britain and France, which had for two years been indirectly pursued, and many incursions, depredations, and murders commited by the French and Indians from Canada.

                In May of the year 1756, war was formally declared by Great Britain against France which was in a short time reciprocated by France in a like declaration. Notwithstanding the threatening attitude of the Beligerents and instability of the two powers, Mr. Utter’s attachment to his late residence, which had been with him a paradise, a nucleus of a land of prosperity with him until the late calamity described in the preceding chapter, he was in hopes by repairs to bring his possessions to similar fructification, to which he had a continual hope to once more feel the delights of his once fondly cherished abode.

Mr. Utter felt safe to return from the ability and abundant means at hand and at command of the British Officers, but also the command and disposition of means were misplaced and misdirected being entrusted to British officials and minions of the crown who were always jealous of the increasing consequence and advancement of the Colonist, never appreciating or allowing the least talent or meriteorious act of the Colonist, however praise worthy or magnanimous, but treated them with the utmost contempt, not allowing them to act at all from their own volitation which from their knowledge of this country far exceeded in use of means and adaptation that of those satellites surrounding British royalty, the suppression of which had caused the very blood of many Americans to boil in their veins and raised their ire and indignation to a pitch almost insuperable yet must tacitly obey those by far their inferior in talent and skill in managing in war offensive or defensive in any emergency could they have been allowed to employ their own means in their own way, independent of Briton, would have averted many evils treated of in this narrative.

The British officers Lord Louden, Abercromby and other British officials whose volatility indecisions and delays brought on many sad calamities especially to the frontier settlements, the indecisions and delays and mismanagement of the British officers and total disregard of the best interests of the Colonies and safety of the new settlers was not felt by them in any manifest degree;

Their enemy having knowledge of the delays and dilatoriousness of which they did not fail to take advantage by incursions, depredations, and massacres and destructions of the frontier settlements. Although war was raging between France and England, Mr. Utter felt safe to return to his late possessions, knowing the commandants had sufficient force and means at their command to defend the frontier settlements at that direction, being misled by their fair promises and known abilities had they the disposition so to do to defend the settlers.

In the fore part of April 1756, Mr. Utter and family went on to their late residence, a dreary waste to what it was previous to the destruction by the indians, the prospects dreary and rather forbidding yet he had his sons yet remaining with him (Moses as afore stated was married and now went on a separate location, three miles from his father’s locality) put forth their best energies, making such repairs as immediate necessity required and most needed in the instant, erected as convenient a house as circumstances would admit, put in some fifteen acres for summer crops, tilled thirty acres to sow with wheat, which they sowed in good season, their summer crops yielding a fair return. This fall they commenced and mostly completed a dam for a sawmill.

In April 1757, they finished the dam. Having recovered most of the irons from the mill burned, they went on building the mill. Had it in operation the first of June. This was a fine help to the settlement as many had returned, and making every effort to repair their wasted residences and preparing a field of forty acres to sow with wheat as that sown the preceding year looked promising. Every thing in their settlement had the appearance of thrift and was fast recovering from the gloomy, destitute appearance from which they first returned hither and once more being an abode of comfort.

The settlers not doubting a time not far distant when they could see their once fair happy homes something like the former delightsome appearance for which end all put forth their best energies, no intermission or toil or exertion; the inhabitants beginning once more to enjoy happy and social society which bereavement had given them a lesson to know how to duly appreciate. Their wheat crop was abundant yield, they got their new fallow ready for the seed by the first day of September were preparing to put in the seed.

 

 

Chapter 5

 

Massacre of the Mr. Utter’s wife and three children, namely James, Thomas, and Dorcas and his journeyman cooper. Narrow escape of himself and part of his family. Captivity of two, namely Sarah and Joanna.  His despondency,

 

Early in September 1757, the Canadian Indians in number about thirty accompanied by a number of Squaws, simultaneously attacked the settlement at three different points. Mr. Utter and his oldest son, Moses, were absent in Wyoming at the time they made the attack on the house. This division consisted of seven Canadian Indians and three squaws and several Indians acquainted in the settlement and who could speak English, had been fed and well treated at Mr. Utter’s; and heretofore had appeared friendly, now appeared to act as spies to the Canadians and seemed now reckless without the least sympathy for the sufferers.

Mr. Utter was a cooper by trade, had a journeyman in his employ, who at the time the Indians entered the house sat at the table with the family at dinner. They made their entrance unnoticed even by the dog, who before would not allow an Indian about the premises until quieted by some one of the family. When they entered, the dog seized one by the ham. They shot three balls through him, then seeing but one man they advanced to the table, seized the journeyman above mentioned, led him out of the door, tomahawked and scalped him.

Fearing no resistance they began rummaging the house for food like so many hungry wolves. Mrs. Utter told them that she would prepare victuals for them at which the Indians, heretofore friendly, expressed a malicious grin and questioned Mrs. Utter concerning her husband and oldest sons. She told them that they had gone a different direction in hopes they might escape, which they seemed to doubt.

The children gathering about their mother, to whom she made the best use of her time in admonition and advice, telling them she would be killed and probably some of them made prisoners. The indians did not tarry long, soon surveyed the forlorn group and made their selection who for the scalping knife and who for captivity.

They took Sarah at the age of nine years and her sister Joanna at the age of seven years. (the former the mother of the author, the latter his ant), led them out at the door tomahawked their mother, two brothers and a sister and scalped them, whose screaches and screams were heard by the prisoners.

This division had when they made the attack on Mr. Utter’s family three prisoners, David Harras (an acquaintance and near neighbor about the age of Sarah above named, he being taken when on the way to a distant neighbor whether his father had sent him on an errand, the rest of his family were fortunate enough to escape) and two little girls seven or eight years of age. They all now left in haste, except two who had formerly appeared friendly, who tarried to secure Mr. Utter and sons, probably agreed with the Canadian Indians so to do. On leaving, Joanna above named though at the age of only seven years, was restive and gave bent to her anguish by a loud, lamentable outcries in defiance of all the threats the indians who threatened to kill her. She was all but frenzied and told them to kill her; she wanted to die. They placed a hand over her mouth to prevent the outburst of her grief, while Sarah, her sister two years older, better knew in what their safety depended and what source to pursue for their immediate safety and treated her with the kindness of a sister to stifle her grief in which she prevailed and she became quiet.

They advanced upon Isreal Baldwin, killed his two children, took him and his wife, set fire to his buildings, advanced five miles in haste where they halted, waiting to be joined by the other divisions of their party who soon appeared, junction formed, who unitedly had thirty-three prisoners. The only adult amoung the prisoners were five in number, viz, Isreal Baldwin and wife, two young men Johnathan Mosher and Thomas Quick, and Mrs. Gillord whose husband was killed before her eyes, attempting to make defence against their assailants.

Mr. Utter as afore observed with his son Moses, was absent to Wyoming and on return heard the reports of guns at different directions of their settlement. Moses became alarmed, feeling confident the distruction of their settlement was progressing, urged his father to delay their return until evening and then advance cautiously for which his father rebuked him, thinking his fears groundless stating the firing was from the inhabitants celberating the harvest home, which is practiced by some people especially the Dutch who constituted a large share of the inhabitants, thus quite a jubilee manifesting their joy and delight having secured the blessings vouch safed to them by bounteous Heavens which they manifest by various performances fitting their taste, but Moses maintained the reverse and so earnestly besought his father to delay their return which rather checked their progress, in advancing, which brought twilight when about forty rods from their dwelling out if which a nursery of apple trees where Moses with still greater intensity urged their delay, sure the settlement was destroyed and the family killed. His father so far exorable to delay for a moment, when they saw the visage of a person come out of the house, looking in different directions. Their, said his father, is your mother looking for our approach. He still apprehending no danger.  Moses urging him to be silent asserting that the person they saw was an Indian.

Presently the visage of two persons came out of the house, seemed to look in every direction, gave an Indian whoop and returned into the house. They now secreted themselves in the nursery, when just at daybreak the two Indians at the house came out of the house apparently listening and looking in different directions, gave a whoop and left in haste. They now emerged from their covert and retired in haste and survey not knowing whether they were in secret watching the house, and supposing all their friends were killed or made captive.

Moses, as afore stated, lived three miles from his father and had a wife and one child. It so happened that at the time of the massacre, Abraham was at his brother Moses’ house who, with brother Moses family, escaped to a place of safety. As soon as they survivors dared venture, they repaired to their wasted houses to seek the remains of their murdered friends. They did not feel safe to tarry long, buried in haste the shattered and mangled fragments of their murdered friends who in after time found many of those remains which had been buried in shallow graves had been dug up by wolves and some of the bones yet remained scattered over the ground.

After this disaster, Mr. Utter became despondent and sunk under the weight of his misfortune and never essayed to reoccupy his former possessions. Though a man of energy and fortitude, he sunk under these unpararrelled afflicitions.

I would here stated that David Harras named in the fore part of this chapter, in after time lived near neighbor to my farther, in Rensselaerville, County of Albany, and State of New York, for some twelve years, from whom and other kindred sources the author is indebted for the knowledge of the facts set forth in this narrative as he had received it direct from the sufferers and others familiar with the circumstances (Cotemporaneous observers of these events.)

 

 

Chapter 6

 

Fate of the captives. Their treatment in journeying to the Indians settlements in Canada. Their sufferings and destitutions. Awful scenes witnessed by the captives.

 

After the junction of the different divisions who had destroyed the settlement, they commenced their route to Canada taking with them thirty-three prisoners and as much booty off their victims spoilations as they could possibly carry, loading their ponies to their full strength, and most onerous and burdensome loads placed upon the men prisoners as their strength would endure, beside being bound with thongs in a manner to enable escape impossible.  In the mean time any relaxation or intermission of toil was sure to be punished.

They scrupulously garded the prisoners, especially Thomas Quick, and for that reason will be noticed a succeeding part of this chapter. They proceeded on until the seventh day of their journey, suffering from toil and hunger, the young prisoners receiving no direct punishment except as they would frequently strike them with their tomy hawke handles on the head, principally because they could not readily understand and speak their lingo, inflicting wounds from which scars were visible during life, inflected at that time and age.

The three men prisoners Isreal Baldwin, Johnathan Mosher, and Thomas Quick were doomed to torture by a cruel death. The Indians designed one on their way to their home, two to be immolated on their return to crown their jubilee among their savage brethren; of the latter Thomas Quick was one. Every night during their encampment, the wolves kept up a continual howling and screaming, which added to the horror of the prisoners, though but little noticed by the Indians. Sometimes the nocturnal howling would seem near ---sometimes more remote.

One singular circumstance noticed by the prisoners greatly to their astonishment was the singular movement of an old Indian belonging to the tribe, acting in a very singular manner. He would each night lay down seemingly to rest, soon would start up apparently in great fright and agitation, his countenance expressing terrible horror; would advance to the fire, take something from his belt, throw it in the fire and it would flash powder like. He would then appear calm, lay down again and seem to rest for a while, but soon another paroxism followed by the same movement as the preceding; so alternately through each night.  Whether this was the result of some human imagination and remorse, of which the Indian is but little susceptible if at all, or from what cause, who can divine?

The seventh day of their journey the captives had trudged under grievous burdens and retaining more vigor than would seem possible to those whose physical powers have never been put to the severest test. They halted about one hour before sun set, for what cause the prisoners were ignorant, but were soon convinced. The Indians soon commenced with alacrity and high glee preparing for a torture by gathering fuel of which they built a fire, about twenty rods from where the trail halted. They now went to the forlorn group, took Israel Baldwin in the presence of his wife, tied him to a stake at a little distance from the fire, stuck his flesh full of fine splinters, dry and easy of ignition. They now brought burning brands and encircling their victim with fire, near enough to give severe torment and not set the splinters on fire with which his body was completely punctured, they now commenced their hellish pow-wow, now their abominable jubilee set in earnest.

The hate of the white man now manifested itself by dancing around their victim singing unmeaning songs with their wild notes, leaping and exhibiting their immortal hatred of the white man gesticulations, grimaces and uncouth distortion of features in order to convey to the mind of their victims all the mental suffering and anguish possible, which is to be consummated by physical torture.

They now set fire to the splinters while their victim is writhing in all the agony and misery human flesh is heir to, thus continued until death comes to his relief. They now seemed to be in the height of felicity, leaping, shouting and exulting, employing their best physical powers.

This took place in a dense forest, a lonely, dreary place. When ready to commence their torture, they were very particular to inform their prisoners what they were about to do. They rarely spoke to the prisoners in English, yet in this case they were very communicative in the language, in order to convey to their bosoms the most poignant grief and terror. It may with propriety be said of them that they even refine on cruelty. In this case their greatest delight appeared to be in the greatest torment and suffering of their victim.

It is stated above, the prisoners sustained themselves remarkably, but just for a moment contemplate their condition, especially the younger prisoners, where they had been fostered by tender parents and kind and enduring friends, and yet advancing still more remote from all they held most dear and of which they had free recollections, yet having a forlorn hope of ever again enjoying, and feeling sure their relatives were killed or if any living would have no knowledge of their condition, never expecting to enjoy the society of their own race again, how feeble the prospects of ever being delivered from their inhuman tormentors, bereft of all the comforts and endearments they had been accustomed to receive, and surrounded by a race but little superior to the wild beasts of the forests and completely at their mercy; suffering from hunger and cold. Sad is the reverse as this tender age, their suffering, grief, and privation cannot be adequately described on paper nor easily imagined.

They proceeded on their journey after the above torture until the ninth day, where they meet at a point on a small river, about fifty Indians and a number of squaws returning from a similar invasion on some frontier settlement who had with them a number of prisoners, two men who they designed to torture on their return to their home in Canada.

Here they halted for the remainder of the day, fishing and hunting, provision being scarce with all; here they obtained plenty of provision, of which all were glad to partake, hunger had given them a zest for anything eatable. There about sunset, a quarrel commenced about who should hold Thomas Quick as their prisoner; each tribe claimed him and as he had been made prisoner by the first party they wished to retain him. The strife athletically waged as the last party outnumbered the first and perceiving how it was likely to eventuate one of the weaker parties come to Quick, he being an athlete and remarkably stout young man and answering well to his name, his nimbleness and agility could hardly be equaled and a foe to the Indians, both of these tribes stoutly suspected he had killed several Indians, which was the cause of strife between the two tribes who should triumph in his captivity, asking him if he would assist them if they would let him loose. Quick told him if he would treat him more kindly he would.  To which the indians agreed and let him loose. Being nimble of foot he soon left them. As soon as his flight was known the two tribes unitedly pursued.  They returned about midnight, bringing neither prisoner nor scalp, being good evidence with the prisoners that he had escaped.

The Indians seemed sad and downcast. They manifested their disappointment by more severe treatment of the prisoners, whether from the uncertainty who should eventually hold him their prisoner, they made no further effort for his recovery.

The quarrel ceased and they very amicable pursued their journey together, clear through. The second day after the junction of the two tribes, the stronger party who contented for Quick in order to allay their thirst for cruelty and torture which they meant to enjoy to satiety in the immolation of Quick in which they failed, now contented themselves with ovation in causing the two prisoners they had in reserve to run the gauntlets between two files of Indians, for which they all halted about two o’clock P.M., on a open, smooth piece of ground where they unitedly formed in two files about six feet asunder extending about forty rods, an Indian with a tomy hawk placed at each end, one about half way each side of the files with each a spear, some placed along the files with clubs. They now brought forward the prisoner, stripped them stark naked cause them to run back and forward with their utmost speed. They run one way and back, receiving no punishment except being pricked with the spears to increase their speed. Now cruel torture commenced and continued until death closed the scene, some would strike them with clubs and receive awful wounds from the spears, in this manner treated as to afford but little sport for their tormentors. They now on reaching one end of the files the Indians there placed tomyhawked and scalped in the twinkling of an eye. The other on approaching the other end meet a like fate.

The above performance afforded the utmost delight for the savages which they manifested in a manner peculiar to their race, revolting to humanity.  This finished, they proceeded to a dense forest where they encamped for the night.  Here the wolves, as they had every night during their encampment, howled and screamed yet more frightful than usual, seemed to approach very near their camp.

The next day they proceeded on their route and continued on until five days travel of their settlement, encamping every night in the woods, nothing transpiring since the last torture more than usual experienced during their dreary march.

The prisoners suffered from hunger and cold, a reiteration of same treatment so far received from their inhuman captors. Seventeenth day of their captivity, when within five days march from their settlement in Canada, Jonathan Mosher, the only man left among the prisoners of both tribes became so feeble his strength so near exhausted from hard fare, being bound and carrying a load beyond his strength to endure, being able to advance but slowly, retarded their progress. Not that they felt the least sympathy in his sufferings, but wished to prolong his life that they might have one sacrifice when they arrived at their home as he was the last victim to torture, for which they extended their utmost care of him.

They unbound his limbs and done their utmost to sustain him. Now partially relieved when near night the second day of his failure, they halted to gather grapes. When all were busily engaged, not thinking of his even making attempt to escape, a chance soon offered as they had no particular eye on him, of which he made the best use, which was not noticed until they were gathering to leave, when immediate search was made. They designed to encamp that night on the other side of the river; which was near. All were on the alert until late next morning. When they came without prisoner or scalp, all seemed vexed and disappointed, which caused more sulleness of the Indians and dread of the captives. When they left in search of the escape just noticed they took a direction toward a windfall which they had passed that day, where the timber had been blown by a vein of wind of considerable breadth making it difficult to pass, thinking the prisoner had escaped thither for shelter.

They now started on about ten o’clock A.M., crossed the river where canoes appeared to have been left by them. Here they encamped for the remainder of the day and night, hunting and fishing, replenishing their camp with plenty of provision which was very acceptable to all and much revived the drooping spirits of the captives.

The nocturnal, hideous yells and piercing screams of the wolves seemed to surpass that of any piercing preceding night, making the woods resound with their dread howl, which seemed more intense than ever, and near proximity to the camp which they keeped up until the break of day. The next morning all preceeding in their canoes about fifteen miles then left the stream and entered the forest. Providence had so ordered that they should not be gratified in their torture of those intended to be immolated on their return.

They now proceeded on to the twenty-second day of their journey when they arrived at the settlement of the tribe who took captive Sarah and Joanna Utter, so frequently named in this narrative, having encamped in the woods twenty-one nights. The tribe accompanying them on their return tarried with them on the night of the twenty-second day of their journey, and the day and night following then when to their place of residence more interior.

 

 

Chapter 7

 

The prisoners now arrived at the Indian settlement in Canada. Their sufferings and grievances. Their stationary captivity duration. Of character traits and habits of the Indians. Their peculiar native cunning.

 

The tribe whose massacres, atrocities and cruelties the author is endeavoring to portray, now at their homes, it will be seen displayed a sample of their cunning jealousy and the disposal of their prisoners as they had done in the selection of them, as they placed the prisoners as distant from each other as possible, especially those of sanguinity and relationship, in order to prevent all intercourse or contact.

Witness the case of the two sisters, Sarah and Joanna Utter, of whom the author is particular narrating, the first his mother, the latter his aunt, were with families two miles distant from each other, who never had an interview but once during their stationary captivity which was eleven months duration. Their joyous meeting and grievous separation will be mentioned in another part of this chapter,

Sarah was given to any elderly squaw whom she was taught to call Suky, meaning grandmother, who notwithstanding the cruel barbarity of the Indians as a general character even treated her adopted grand-daughter kindly, the same as her own children.

I will state one trait of this old squaw which seemed almost a prodigy. Whenever the tribe went off on such incursions as above narrated, which frequently they did, this squaw would pray to the great spirit to soften and mollify the hearts of the Indians and turn them back; she would wring her hands apparently in great distress exclaiming, O! the poor women and children.

Thus, it appears this child of the forest reared among crime, torture, murder and every licenciousness, appeared to be processed of human feelings equal to those reared in more enlightened circles. She was wont to pray daily, never participating in their joys, felicities and exaltations in the torture of captives.  At such time she would seem sad and gloomy. The author mentions this as concerning it almost as a prodigy in nature and fearful such cases are rarely met.

Joanna above named was given to a squaw as an adopted daughter, from whom she received many kindnesses, nothing in particular to complain considering the circumstances.

The fare of the females much more, tolerable than that of the males, as the care of the females is committed to the squaws who do not appear to be possessed of equal and refined cruelty with that of the men. The male prisoners remained with the men who feel more the weight of the vengeance and cruelty. This and the neighboring tribes brought prisoners and booty from places they had devastated and destroyed the inhabitants in cases of torture of prisoners. They frequently invited neighboring tribes of which they are at peace to participate in their gratification and exaltations in satisfying their desires for vengeance on the whites. They glory in the most refined cruelties on such occasions. Bring an elysium to those brutes in human shape, the torture ended, they now finished their jubilee in a war dance, in which the squaws seldom joined. Pandemonium being closed for the present they retired to their respective homes.

I will here state that the squaws are treated by their husbands with little regard or feeling. The whole weight of vengeance from the most servile toils and all drudgery and anything that appears like labor is placed upon them to perform little cared for by the man, totally degraded and subject to all the cares for their sustenance thus the squaw languishes and drags out of indolence, sullenness, taciturnity, unsociability, hate, revenge, indeed a complication of every endowment to make him odious, contemptible, and despicable, in view of civilization and refinement of other races.

I will state here the squaws when provision among them which is frequently the case, the squaws will impart to the prisoners a greater allowance to the prisoners than to their children, observing at same time pale face cannot live on as short fare as the Indians.

The prisoners here for the eleven months did not suffer as much for food as on their journey, whether from their remaining stationary, the cause of becoming; more accustomed to such fare, or the Indians could with less exertion procure food, yet their sufferings in lack of food and other comforts was grievous.

The gloominess of their situation possessing their minds was grievous to an extreme beyond what can be adequately described. As before observed, Sarah and Joanna Utter never saw each other but once during their stationary captivity in Canada. The manner of their meeting and cause of contract was, one was sent to hunt for a pony and the other for a cow. On their approach, the younger Joanna saw in the distance an object she feared was an Indian or some wild beast, and as it appeared, advancing in a direction to meet her she became intimidated, turned a little aside into a thicket of underwood where from her covert could observe the movement of the object without her being noticed. When behold, on her near approach it was her long absent sister Sarah. Imagine their joy at this interview which only could be equalled by the grief in separating again.  They fell in each other arms in the most fervent embrace and delight for the moment not thinking of separating again,

This long wished for interview could be enjoyed but for a short space, when the elder said to the younger, we must part, which was so heart rendering to the younger that she fell prostrated to the ground, and for a moment seemed all but lifeless, her sister doing her utmost to reconcile her, telling her too long delay from their respective homes or knowledge of their interview would arouse the suspicions of the Indians and they would be severely punished if not killed. The younger sister could hardly be persuaded to separate on begging her sister to not leave her but accompany her home. But the elder clearly pointed out the danger of their going in conjunction to the place of either. The younger in a degree claimed and they separated never expecting to see each other again. Supposing for which they had just reason that their relations and acquaintances all suffered in the general massacre and they left during life in doleful captivity environed to by woods and wild in their cruel tormenters, how forlorn the hope of these infant sisters, far separated from their homes and confident they must remain in dreary solitude, of which if any friends survived, were ignorant of their fate, destiny, locality and fare, without the list lingering hope or the list prospect of ever being restored to those fond endearments and kindnesses bestowed upon them by fond and doting parents and kind friends; with a clear recollection of their once juvenile play and pleasant past times with joyful and endeared playmates of suitable age to mutually enjoy those plesing exercises so highly prized in childhood.

Let us for a moment think of the indulgences of kind parents they had been accustomed to meet and make an estimate and comparison, most distressing to their infant minds, never before having to face averse fortune of any tangibility now suddenly befell their lot and they bereft of all those enjoyments and in environs of their location were tribes of Indians of similar cast, forbidding the list hope of any amelioration of their condition, depressing their spirits whose feelings and dread would be difficult to depict.

One trait of the Indians is to initiate the captive as much as possible into all the habits, usage’s and customs practiced and observed by them respectively in order to prolong their nationality and rank as long as possible, in view of the fast decline and depreciation of their race, who at periods not far remote, were the lords and chief rulers of this fair continent, now degraded and dwindled to but a small portion of these who possess it, very humbling to the native independence of the Indians; at the same time despised and abhorred and dreaded by all civilized races (principally on account of their cruelty and indiscrimination of their enemies).

As the prisoners became more accustomed to their manner of life, their feelings and keenest distresses might abate and become more obtuse, yet to the close of their captivity were severely felt, as before observed the Indian race are of a peculiar cast, if they exhibit the least satisfaction to their  prisoners, it is an account of the progress they made in imitating their habits and manners of life.

The author, failing in his attempt to portray the horror and awful feeling of the captives, as he cannot find language adequate to the task, would beg to be excused and leave the subject for the consideration of the intelligent reader.

Eleven months having now elapsed since their stationary captivity and about twelve since they left their homes, and the captives ignorant of any exertion used for their delivery and nothing affording them the least hope of amelioration of their condition or ever again hearing the chant of civilization, and doomed to drag out a forlorn dreary existence with those dread monsters in human shape, most depressing to the spirits of the captives. It might here be stated of the Indians, one of his moods and particular habits is, when he is hungry he is cross, morose, irritable, and implacable until he can gratify himself in eating his satiety; when he will be quiet, dormant, inert, and docile until  another paroyxem of hunger. The Indian does not accustom himself to any restraint; inflexible in everything, he determines especially revenge. They display their native cunning and forethought in the selection of their prisoners (unless for torture,) by selecting those who are not old enough to effect their escape and those old enough not to be burdensome.

 

 

Chapter 8

 

Exchange of prisoners at Niagara. Their transfer from British agent to the Mayor of the City of New York. Their restoration to their relatives after an absence of thirteen months.

 

After a lapse of about twelve months, the prisoners were brought to Niagara. The exchange of prisoners having been agreed upon between France and England. In this Sir William Johnson had a direct agency. This took place in September 1758, at which place the two sisters, Sarah and Joanna Utter, were informed by a young man (a British soldier) of the death of their brothers Moses and Abraham, whose narrow escape of the massacre at Pennsylvania was noticed in a preceding chapter. Moses, the elder, had died soon after the massacre. Abraham, was buried at Niagara just four days previous to the arrival of the prisoners. He died of what then was called camp distemper (now dysentery). After the distruction of their homes and massacre of their friends, began to reap vengeance on the author of their desolation and joined the army and meet the fate above mentioned.

Abraham, above mentioned was a lieutenant in the British service, who during his last illness was attended by the young man above mentioned, who received as compensation all that remained to him. The young man accompanied them to the grave of their brother and also showed his uniform, sword, watch; and various articles that remained to him, expressed a kind wish to divide with them that they might be possessed of some relic as a memorial and memento of their brother, which if it could have been preserved till mature age would have been a choice relick of inestimable value: however willing or deposed, he doubted of being any avail to the children who were to be transported to New York before meeting their relatives, as he kept all.

The prisoners collectively were in numbers about ninety, mostly children. The last of September the train of prisoners set out for New York, where they arrived the 10th day of October 1758, who by the Mayor was caused to parade the streets daily, that they might recognize or be recognized by their friends. When so recognized the Mayor would allow them to depart. They had remained there but a few days when Mr. Adams, brother-in-law to Sarah and Joanna Utter, seeing their names in the paper, immediately started for New York. When he meet the train in the street, he passed Sarah, the elder, without the recognition of either; on passing the younger Joanna, she hastened to him exclaimed! “Good Lord here is our Joe.” On which the train halted and Sarah approached and instantly recognized him. The Mayor being satisfied by this interview gave leave of departure. Mr. Adams took them to his home in Dutchess County, State of New York, having been absent from their friends about thirteen months. When brought to New York, when above noted, they were habited in Indian costume. They had partially forgotten their vernacular language, but retained sufficient knowledge of it, so as to speak and understand tolerably well. They had acquired many of the Indian traits and habits, which at this time was familiar with them, however, was soon effaced from different associations and care of friends.

 

 

Chapter 9

 

Sarah and Joanna Utter, so frequently named in this narrative, now restore to their relatives.  Their marraiges. Places of residences before and after marriage and their deaths.

 

Sarah and Joanna Utter, continued to reside with brothers-in-law Joseph Adams and Titus Husted, before the massacre and captivity of Mr. Utter’s family as stated in a previous chapter of this treatise. Sarah married at the age of twenty-four. Her husband’s name was Sunderland Pattison, who was a tanner by trade, which he established in Armenia County, State of New York, which he pursued for a number of years when he turned his attention to farming. These were the parents of this author and here he was borne the thirteenth day of February, 1782.

My father purchased a trait of wild land in Rensselaerville, County of Albany, State of New York, moved on it. At this time they had four children living, viz, Sunderland, Thomas (last named now in his eightieth year), Sarah ,and Margaret. The country was new and just beginning to settle at this time.

The next year after harvest the Dutch settlers who formed the great portion of the inhabitants in celberating harvest home fired guns in different directions through the day and as the fireing continued in the evening (I mention this merely to show you how lasting impressions are made in early life) my mother became frightened and terrorfied to the degree the family were unable to persuade her to tarry in the house and insisted that the Indians were destroying the settlement, tried to persuade all to leave. Finding she could not prevail, she retired to an unfrequented, elevated place where she could watch a sentinel, where she continued throughout the night, where the family who were able, visited her by turns until morning. As the settlement advanced she became reconciled to her home and her fears of a massacre abated, yet the hate, dread and fear of Indians continued during her life.

She died in Rensselaerville at the age of fifty-seven, having six living children, two Lydia and Harriet were born in Rensselaerville. Her husband died in Elba, Genessee County, New York at the age of eighty-four years.

Joanna married at the age of twenty-six years; her husband was Martin Sluzer, a German by birth, settled in the Township of Providence, County of Saratoga in the State of New York, where both died; he at the age of ninety-seven, and she at the age of ninety-two.

Thus the author has given in this chapter of the closing scenes of the two sisters, whose early sufferings he has in part thought not adequately protrayed in the preceding part of this history; would here state that David Harras, of whom mention is made in a previous chapter, and who was a fellow prisoner of the two sisters, whose eventful lives are our principal subject of this narrative, in after time lived in Rensselaerville, a near neighbors to my father some twelve years, from whom in conversation with my mother and others familiar with the circumstances here related, the author has directly derived his knowledge of the facts here set forth; the author feeling such interest as hardly able to lay down his pen, and hopes the charitable reader will overlook and excuse any incoherence, incongruity, momenty tautology or lack of proper style of diction, as the author has not sought embellishment or reference from any author or treatise, only wishing to set forth the facts here treated of in as clear light as possible and treating this grave subject and facts with deference they justly merit, hoping it may be perused with something like the interest and close application in eliciting the facts here set forth to those of more advanced years with whom much here related they may have been familiar and have a perfect reminiscence, and the youth who may desire knowledge of their ancestors and what happened and befell them in their day, and amount of toil and suffering they endured to establish the happiest government ever happened any people on earth, under the auspicious of which to this day their posterity have flourished.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                s/ Thomas Pattison

                                                                                    1860

 

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