Thankfully, I was able to find the entire article entitled “Kentucky’s Children Took Brave Part in Pioneer Life.” By Mrs. W. T. Lafferty, University of Kentucky
The heroism of Kentucky Pioneers still thrills a reading public but the story would be incomplete if it did not record a few examples of the part played in the settlement of Kentucky by their young children.
Little William Plascut, who came with his parents in 1791, was on the ill-fated boat of Captain Hubble, which miraculously escaped the hundreds of Indians that pursued it from Pittsburg to Maysville, killing four of the five horse on board, and either killing or wounding seven of the nine men who defended it. After the boat was safely landed, this brave little lad asked that his injuries be attended to. A ball that had passed through the side of the boat had struck him on the forehead and remained under the skin. Another had splinted the bone at the point of his elbow. Whis his distressed mother exclaimed “Why did you not tell me of this,” he replied cooly, “Because Captain Hubble directed us to be silent.”
When the Craigs and their companions journeyed over the Wilderness Road, they came near losing their baby. One morning while mother and father were busy packing the animals for the day’s journey, the little sister begged that baby should ride with her in the basket. But father did not hear the conversation and taking it for granted that his baby son was safe in his mother’s arms, he started the caravan on its way and had gone quite a distance before the mother discovered the absence of the little tow-head in th basket, and cried “Where is the baby?” Father, leaving his family to the care of a guard, galloped back to their camp ground in search of his child. There he found the lost baby, sound asleep under the tree and brought him safely to Kentucky where he lived to become the founder of a notable family.
At Strode’s Fort which stood near the present town of Winchester, a brave little boy went into the woods one evening to drive the cows to the fort so they could be milked. Cautiously, he scattered twigs of the paw-paw bushes as he went, so he would be able to re-trace his steps through the pathless woodland. Suddenly he found foot step and discovered a band of Indians following him. Did he run, or cry for help? No, indeed. Pretending he had not discovered their presence, and knowing full well that the cows would be needed in the fort, if the Indians besieged it, he whistled a tune and proceeded to drive the cows into the stockade before giving the alarm.
When the whole family was ill and in need of bread, little Patsy Lair had to ride through the woods to take the sack of corn to the mill to be ground. She was strapped to the horse and told if she saw an Indian, to lie flat, with her arms around his neck, give him his rein and dig her spurs deep into his flank. The miller waited upon her promptly, adjusted the sack of meal behind her so it would not slip off and the brave little girl started home. When nearly there she heard a sound and suddenly an Indian’s hand reached for her bridal rein. Remembering instructions she dug her spur into her horse’s flank. Swiftly he galloped over the familiar path and reached his stable door white with foam, his game little rider and her meal still on his back.
When the Indians came to attack Montgomery’s Fort they concealed themselves in the woods and gobbled like wild turkeys. The fighting men had gone to Pettit’s Fort and left only a few old men to guard the women and children. Weary of confinement within the fort walls, the children begged the old men to go shoot turkeys. Wise one, however, restrained the eager little ones and told them they were hearing Indians, not turkeys and should remain quietly within the stockade. The Indians came into the open and attacked the poorly defended fortification and it became apparent that it would be captured unless help could be had. In this emergency brave little Betsy Montgomery raced through the Indian infested woods to Pettit’s Fort for help. Running like a gazelle, springing over fallen trees and rocks, the little girl spread the news in time for a squad of armed horsemen to overtake the Indians and rescue the forters they were carrying captivity.
Fort Jefferson, built by George Roark on the Mississippi River in 1780, was besieged by a hundred Indians and the forters were reduced to the point of starvation before Clark got there to rescue. During the five-day period when babies were starving for milk, the Indians kept the men beyond each of the garrison. One morning, Nancy Ann, a half-grown girl who assisted with milking, discovered that the Indians had gone to sleep outside the fort walls. Quick as a ___ (missing) hard to catch, put him on a good horse and told him to go at full speed down the steep hill shouting “Open the door, open the door.” The child obeyed and got inside in a trice, and the brave mother got her gun and shot the foremost Indian. It takes two good Indians to carry off a wounded one, so they took their wounded companion up the creek and staunched his bleeding wound with his moccasion then carried him away. That bloody moccasin is a grim keepsake in the family today, reminding them of Tommy Hogg’s courage.”
(One partial line missing here in this article)
Two articles to go – next week “First School in Kentucky Taught at Harrods Fort.