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The following was sent to me via eMail by Judith Weeks Ancell
On February 1, 2005
Henry Howe LLD, Historical Collections of
Encyclopedia of the State, Volume II, (Published by the State of
Printing Co., Public Printers,
ADAM AND ANDREW POE, THE INDIAN FIGHTERS
Adam Poe, who, with his brother Andrew, had the noted fight with the
Indians, once resided in
this county, in
Little Beaver. The son of Andrew__Deacon Adam Poe__ was living late as 1846
in the vicinity of
the Indian struck his father. The locality where the struggle occurred, he
then told the author, was nearly opposite the mouth of Little Yellow creek.
We annex the particulars of this affair from "Doddridge's Notes,"
substituting, however, the name of Andrew for Adam, and vice versus, as he
then stated they should be placed:
In the summer of 1782 a party of seven Wyandots made an incursion
into a settlement some
packed up what plunder they could find, and commenced their retreat. Among
their party was a celebrated Wyandot chief, who, in addition to his fame as
a warrior and counsellor, was, as to his size and strength, a real giant.
The news of the visit of the Indians soon spread through the
neighborhood, and a party of eight good riflemen was collected, in a few
hours, for the purpose of pursuing the indians. In this party were two
brothers of the names of Adam and Andrew Poe. They were both famous for
courage, size and activity.
This little party commenced the pursuit of the Indians, with a
determination, if possible, not to suffer them to escape, as they usually
did on such occasions, by making a speedy flight to the river, crossing it,
and then dividing into small parties to meet at a distant point in a given
The pursuit was continued the greater part of the night after the
Indians had done the mischief. In the morning the party found themselves on
the trail of the Indians, which led to the river. When arrived within a
little distance of the river, Andrew Poe, fearing an ambuscade, left the
party, who followed directly on the trail, to creep along the brink of the
river bank, under cover of the weeds and bushes, to fall on the rear of the
Indians, should he find them in ambuscade. He had not gone far before he saw
the Indian rafts at the water's edge. Not seeing any Indians, he stepped
softly down the bank, with his rifle cocked. When about half-way down he
discovered the large Wyandot chief and a small Indian, within a few steps of
him. They were standing with their guns cocked, and looking in the direction
of our party, who by this time had gone some distance lower down the bottom.
Poe took aim at the large chief, but his rifle missed fire. The
Indians, hearing the snap of the gun-lock, instantly turned round and
discovered Poe, who being too near to retreat, dropped his gun and instantly
sprang from the bank upon them, and seizing the large Indian by the cloths
on his breast, and at the same time embracing the neck of the small one,
threw them both down on the ground, himself being upmost. The Indian soon
extricated himself, ran to the raft,
got his tomahawk, and attempted to dispatch Poe, the large Indian holding
fast in his arms with all his might, the better to enable his fellow to
effect his purpose. Poe, however, so well watched the motions of the Indian
that when in the act of aiming his blow at his head, by a vigorous and
well-directed kick with one his feet he staggered the savage and knocked the
tomahawk out of his hand. This failure on the part of the small Indian was
reproved by an exclamation of contempt from the large one.
In a moment the Indian caught up his tomahawk again, approached more
cautiously brandishing his tomahawk, and making a number of feigned blows,
in defiance and derision. Poe, however, still on his guard, averted the real
blow from his head by throwing up his arm and receiving it on his wrist, in
which he was severely wounded, but not so as to lose entirely the use of his
In this perilous moment, Poe, by a violent effort, broke loose from
the Indian, snatched up one of the Indian's guns, and shot the small Indian
through the breast, as he ran up the third time to tomahawk him.
The large Indian was now on his feet, and grasping Poe by a shoulder
and leg, threw him down on the bank. Poe instantly disengaged
himself and got on his feet. The Indian then seized him again and a new
struggle ensued, which, owing to the slippery state of the bank, ended in
the fall of both combatants into the water.
In this situation, it was the object of each to drown the other.
Their efforts to effect their purpose were continued for some time with
alternate success, sometimes one being under the water, and sometimes the
other. Poe at length seized the tuft of hair on the scalp of the Indian,
with which he held his head under the water until he supposed him drowned.
Relaxing his hold too soon, Poe instantly found his gigantic
antagonist on his feet again and ready for another combat. In this, they
were carried into the water beyond their depth. In this situation, they were
compelled to loose their hold on each other and swim for mutual
safety. Both sought the shore to seize a gun and end the contest with
bullets. The Indian being the best swimmer, reached the land first. Poe,
seeing this, immediately turned back into the water to escape, if possible,
being shot, by diving. Fortunately, the Indian caught up the rifle with
which Poe had killed the other warrior.
At this juncture Adam Poe, missing his brother from the party, and
supposing, from the report of the gun which he shot, that he was either
killed or engaged in conflict with the Indians, hastened to the spot. On
seeing him, Andrew called out to him to "kill the big Indian on shore." But
Adam's gun like that of the Indian's was empty. The contest was now between
the white man and the Indian, who should load and fire first. Very
fortunately for Poe, the Indian, in loading, drew the ramrod from the
thimbles of the stock of the gun with so much violence, that it slipped out
of his hand and fell a little distance from him; he quickly caught it up,
and rammed down his bullet. This little delay gave Poe the advantage. He
shot the Indian as he was raising his gun to take aim at him.
As soon as Adam had shot the Indian, he jumped into the river to
assist his wounded brother to shore; but Andrew, thinking more of the honor
of carrying the big Indian home, as a trophy of victory, than of his own
safety, urged Adam to go back, and prevent the struggling savage from
rolling into the river, and escaping. Adam's solicitude for the life of his
brother prevented him for complying with this request.
In the mean time, the Indian, jealous of the honor of his scalp,
even in the agonies of death, succeeded in reaching the river and getting
into the current, so that his body was never obtained.
An unfortunate occurrence took place during this conflict. Just as
Adam arrived at the top of the bank, for the relief of his brother, one of
the party who had followed close behind him, seeing Andrew in the river, and
mistaking him for a wounded Indian, shot at him and wounded him in the
shoulder. He, however, recovered from his wounds.
During the contest between Andrew Poe and the Indians, the party had
overtaken the remaining six of them. A desperate conflict ensued, in which
five of the Indians were killed. Our loss was three men killed, and Andrew
Poe, severely wounded.
Thus ended this Spartan conflict, with the loss of three valiant men
on our part, and with that of the whole of the Indian party, with the
exception of one warrior. Never, on any occasion, was there a greater
display of desperate bravery, and seldom did a conflict take place which, in
the issue, proved fatal to so great a proportion of those engaged in it.
The fatal issue of this little campaign on the side of the Indians,
occasioned an universal mourning among the Wyandot nation. The big Indian,
and his four brothers, all of whom were killed at the same place, were among
the most distinguished chiefs and warriors of their nation.
The big Indian was magnanimous, as well as brave. He, more that any
other individual, contributed by his example and influence to the good
character of the Wyandots, for lenity towards their prisoners. He would not
suffer them to be killed or ill treated. This mercy to captives was an
honorable distinction in the character of the Wyandots, and was well
understood by our first settlers, who, in case of captivity, thought it a
fortunate circumstance to fall into their hands.