An excerpt from Laura Sanford's, History of Erie County

The troops retired to their quarters to procure their morning repast: some had already finished, and were sauntering about the fortress or upon the shore of the lake. All were joyous in holiday attire, and dreaming of naught by the pleasure of the occasion. A knock was heard at the gate, and three Indians were announced in hunting garb, desiring an interview with the commander. Their tale was told. They said they belonged to a hunting party, who had started for Niagara with a lot of furs; that their canoes were bad, and they would prefer disposing of them here, if they could do so to advantage, and return, rather than go farther; that their party were encamped by a small stream west of the fort about a mile, there they had landed the previous night, and where they wished the commander to go and examine their peltries, as it was difficult to bring them, and they wished to embark where they were, if they did not trade. The commander, accompanied by a clerk, left the fort with the Indians, charging his lieutenant that none should leave the fort, and none be admitted, until his return. Well would it probably have been, had this order been obeyed. After the lapse of sufficient time for the captain to visit the encampment of the Indians and return, a party of the latter, variously estimated - at probably one hundred and fifty advanced toward the fort, bearing upon their backs what appeared to be large packs of furs, which they informed the lieutenant the captain had purchased and ordered deposited in the fort. The stratagem succeeded; when the party were all within the fort, it was the work of an instant to throw off their packs and the short cloaks which covered their weapons, the whole being fastened by one loop and button at the neck. Resistance at this time was useless, and the work of death was as rapid as savage strength and weapons could make it. The shortened rifles, which had been sawed off for the purpose of concealing them under their cloaks and in the packs of furs, were at once discharged, and the tomahawk and knife completed their work. The history of savage warfare presents not a scene of more heartless and bloodthirsty vengeance than was exhibited on this occasion. The few who were taken prisoners in the fort were doomed to the various tortures devised by savage ingenuity, and all but two who awoke to celebrate that day, had passed to the eternal world. Of those, one was a soldier who had gone into the woods near the fort, and on his return observing a party of Indians dragging away some prisoners, escaped, and immediately proceeded to Niagara; the other was a soldier's wife, who had taken shelter in a small stone house, at the mouth of the creek, used as a wash-house. Here she remained unobserved until near night of the fatal day, when she was made their prisoner, but as ultimately ransomed and restored to civilized life. She was afterward married, and settled in Canada, where she was living at the commencement of the present century. Captain D. Dobbins, of the revenue service, has frequently talked with the woman, who was redeemed by a Mr. Douglass, living opposite Black Rock in Canada. From what she witnessed, and heard from the Indians during her captivity, as well as from information derived from other sources, this statement is made.

Return to story