A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Monday, 18 March 2013

NARRATIVE OF THE CAPTIVITY OF WILLIAM BIGGS. Part 2



The Indians discovered that something was the matter and saw me tumbling
down several times. I suppose they thought I was wounded and could run
no farther; they then set up the yell again and mended their gait
running. By the time I got my great coat loose from me, and was in the
act of pulling off my under coat, I was pulling off one sleeve I looked
back over my shoulder, but had not time to pull it off--the Indians
being within ten yards of me. I then started again to run, but could not
gain any ground on them, nor they on me; we ran about one hundred yards
farther and neither appeared to gain ground: there was a small pathway
that was a little nearer than to keep the big road,--I kept the big
road, the Indians took the path, and when we came where the path comes
into the big road the Indians were within three or four yards from
me--we ran forty or fifty steps farther and neither appeared to gain
ground. I expected every moment they would strike me with their
tomahawks--I thought it would not do to be killed running like a coward
and saw no other way to make my escape than to face about and to catch
the tomahawk from the first that attempted to strike me, and jerk it
from him, which I made no doubt but I was able to do; then I would have
a weapon to fight with as well as them, and by that means I would be
able to make my escape; they had thrown down their guns before they gave
me chase, but I had not fairly faced about before an Indian caught me by
the shoulder and held his tomahawk behind him and made no attempt to
strike me. I then thought it best for me not to make any resistance till
I would see whether he would attempt to strike me or not. He held me by
the shoulder till another came up and took hold of me, which was only
four or five moments; then a third Indian came up, the first Indian that
took hold of me took the handle of his tomahawk and rubbed it on my
shoulder and down my arm, which was a token that he would not kill me
and that I was his prisoner. Then they all took their hands off me and
stood around me. The fourth Indian came up and attempted to strike me,
but the first Indian that caught me pushed him away. He was still
determined to kill me, and tried to get around to my back; but I still
faced round as he was trying to get to my back--when he got up by my
side, he drew his tomahawk the second time to strike me, but the same
Indian pushed him off and scolded him very much--he let his tomahawk
hang by his side, but still intended to kill me if he could get an
opportunity. The other Indians watched him very closely. There were but
four Indians that gave me chase, they were all naked except their
breachcloth, leggins and moccasins. They then began to talk to me in
their own language, and said they were Kickapoos, that they were very
good Indians, and I need not be afraid, they would not hurt me, and I
was now a Kickapoo and must go with them, they would take me to the
Matocush, meaning a French trading town on the Wabash river. When the
Indians caught me I saw Mr. Vallis about one hundred yards before me on
the road--he had made a halt. They shot him in the left thigh about
seven or eight inches above the knee, the ball came out just below his
hip, his horse was not injured--he rode an elegant horse which carried
him out of all farther danger--his wound mortified, he lived six weeks
after he was wounded, then died. I understood their language, and could
speak a little. They then told me to march; an Indian took hold of each
of my arms, and led me back to where they shot at me, and then went
about half a mile further off the road, where they had encamped the
night before and left their blankets and other things. They then took
off my under coat and tied my hands behind my back, and then tied a rope
to that, tying about six or seven feet long, we then started in a great
hurry, and an Indian held one end of the rope while we were marching.
There were but eight Indians marched in company with me that morning
from the camp. The other eight took some other route, and never fell in
with us again, until some time after we got to their towns. We had
marched about three or four miles from that camp when Vallis arrived at
the fort, about six miles from where they caught me, where they fired a
swivel to alarm the people who were out of the fort--when the Indians
heard the swivel they were very much alarmed, and all looked that way
and hallowed yough, yough. They then commenced running, and run in a
pretty smart trot of a run for five or six miles before they halted, and
then walked very fast until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when they
separated, I supposed to hunt, having nothing to eat. The old chief and
one of the other Indians kept on a straight course with me, we traveled
about three miles, when we got a little way into a small prairie and
halted about fifteen minutes, there one of the party fell in with us, he
had killed a bear and brought as much of the meat with him as he could
carry. We then crossed the prairie and came to a large run about one
mile and a half from where we had halted to rest. By this time three
Indians had joined us. We halted there, made a fire and roasted the bear
meat, the other two Indians staid behind as spies. Whilst the meat was
cooking, the Indians held a council what they would do with the Indian
that wanted to kill me. He was a young fellow about 19 years of age and
of a different nation, being a Pottowatema. They did not want him to go
to war with them; they said he was a great coward and would not go into
danger till there was no risk to run, then he would run forward and get
the best of the plunder, and that he would not be commanded; he would do
as he pleased; was very selfish and stubborn; and was determined to kill
me if he could get a chance. They determined in their council to kill
him. 

2 comments:

MuddyValley said...

That leaves me wanting to read more!

Le Loup said...

Good Muddy, more to come.
Regards, Keith.