The bloody deeds committed by the Indians, created within the hearts of the settlers a bitter enmity toward them, and often led them to retaliate by the commission of about as barbarous acts as the savages themselves were guilty of, as in the case of the Indian with whom Morgan had the encounter, related in the last chapter. Their vindictive passions once aroused they would forget for the moment that they were civilized men, and the bare sight of an Indian, whether friendly or otherwise, would arouse this spirit of revenge in their hearts, and they would be led to commit acts which in their thoughtful moments they regretted. A striking incident of this kind occurred, in which Horatio Morgan, of Prickett's fort, was the principal actor.

      While hunting one day, he unexpectedly came upon an Indian seated near a fire built on the river bank. Concealing himself behind a tree, Morgan watched the scene for some moments. Over the fire was suspended a pot in which an Indian boy was stirring a mixture of herbs and water. The first mentioned savage--an old man--sat upon a log with his head bowed in his hands, evidently very sick, and the boy was boiling the gruel to relieve his sufferings, which appeared to be intense. Not a considerate thought for the pitiable condition of the old Indian seemed to enter the mind of Morgan, but raising his gun, after watching the scene awhile, he fired. The ball went crashing through the brain of the sick man, and he was forever freed from his sufferings. The boy, frightened at this sudden evidence that an enemy was at hand, took to the woods and made his escape.

      Morgan was overcome with remorse the moment after he had fired the shot, and would have given the world to have been able to recall it. So stricken with shame was he at the cowardly advantage he had taken of the Indian, that it was not until years afterwards that he related the circumstance; and then it was with a feeling of deep regret at what he had so thoughtlessly done.

      Early in the month of March, 1781, a party of Indians raided upon the settlements of this neighborhood, and on the night of the fifth arrived at the house of Captain John Thomas, on Booth's creek, near the site of the town of Boothsville. Elizabeth Juggins, daughter of the John Juggins whose murder is chronicled in a previous chapter, was visiting at the house at the time. When the Indians arrived at the house the occupants were engaged in family devotion to God, and Captain Thomas was in the act of repeating the lines of the hymn, "Go worship at Emanuel's feet.." Scarcely had he commenced when a gun was fired at him from without and he fell, The Indians then forced open the door and commenced the most dreadful tragedy that had yet taken place in this neighborhood. It was in vain that Mrs. Thomas implored the mercy of the savages for herself and children. She was answered with a blow from tomahawk in the hands of a brawny warrior, and in quick succession six of her children lay weltering in their blood around her body and that of her husband. The savages then proceeded to scalp their victims, and to plunder the house, after which they left, taking with them one little boy as a prisoner. Miss Juggins, as soon as she observed Captain Thomas fall, realized the danger and threw herself under a bed, where she remained hidden from the view of the Indians all through the terrible tragedy. When the savages had departed she came out from her hiding place, and found that Mrs. Thomas was still alive, though unable to move. She asked Miss Juggins to hand her the body of her murdered infant that lay a short distance from her, and the young lady afterwards said that her pitiful glances around upon the bloody scene were enough to melt the stoutest heart. What a terrible contrast between the scene now and the one of a half hour before! The unfortunate mother of the murdered family begged Elizabeth not to leave her; but, anxious for her own safety, the girl left the house and took refuge the rest of the night between two logs. In the morning she spread the alarm among the neighbors, who hastened to the scene of the enormities. Mrs. Thomas was found lying in the yard, where she had crawled and died during the night. Her body was terribly mangled by the tomahawk, and had been torn by hogs. The Indians had evidently made the place a second visit, for all that remained of the house and the bodies of Captain Thomas and his children was a heap of ashes.

      After this massacre, the settlement on Booth's creek was forsaken; the settlers becoming alarmed for their safety, they went to Simpson's creek for greater security. Not long afterwards, John Owens, accompanied by some young men of the latter settlement, returned to his farm on Booth's creek for the purpose of threshing some wheat, and while Owens was upon a stack throwing down sheaves, several shots were fired at him by a party of Indians who were concealed a short distance off. He leaped from the stack and the men placed themselves on the defensive. It was soon evident that the savages had departed, and they concluded to go back to Simpson's, procure reinforcements and pursue the enemy. This resolve was acted upon and the trail of the Indians was afterwards followed to a point some distance beyond Shinnston, where the savages were observed in camp and lying about their fires. The whites fired at them, but without effect, and the Indians took to flight, one of them turning and firing at the pursuers. The shot was returned by Benjamin Coplin, and it was supposed the Indian was killed though his body was not afterwards found. The pursuit was finally abandoned, and the settlers returned to the place where they had found the Indians encamped, and took possession of the horses and plunder they, had left behind them in their flight.

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