Ohio History Journal

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[The following sketch of Cornstalk, is from the Draper MSS.,

Border Forays, 3 D, Chap. XVIII, in the possession of the Wisconsin

Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin. It is herewith published for

the first time through the courtesy of Dr. Reuben GoldThwaites, Secre-

tary of the Wisconsin Historical Society.-EDITOR.]

The early history of Cornstalk1 is involved in obscurity. Dur-

ing those eventful years of Indian attack and massacre between

1754 and 1763, there can be no doubt that he was a prominent

leader. His forays were directed against the frontier settlements

of Virginia, as most approachable from the Scioto country, where

the Shawanese were then mostly concentrated.

The earliest of these expeditions, of which there is any

record, was one he led against several families of the name of

Gilmore, and others, who resided on Carr's Creek, in what is

now Rockbridge County. Suddenly and unexpectedly Cornstalk

and his war-party fell upon these people, October tenth, 1759,

and massacred ten persons, men, women and children, with the

usual shocking barbarity attendant on Indian warfare; among

them, John Gilmore, wife and son, and the wife of William Gil-

more. While an Indian was scalping Thomas Gilmore, he was

knocked down by Mrs. Gilmore with an iron kettle; when another

Indian ran, with uplifted tomahawk, to kill her, and was only

prevented from doing so by the Indian who lay bleeding from the

blows she had given him, exclaimed quickly, "don't kill her; she

is a good warrior," and this magnanimity in a savage saved her

life. A little girl whom they tomahawked and scalped and left for

dead, recovered, and lived thirty or forty years. They burned

and laid waste the homes of six of the settlers, killed many

cattle, carried off eleven unhappy prisoners, and many horses

laden with the spoils they had taken.


1His Indian name was Keigh-tugh-qua, signifying Cornblade or

Cornstalk; See Hist. of Western Pennsylvania, App., 162, 164.