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Poe Family of German Origin

settled in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Virginia


The following was sent to me via eMail by Judith Weeks Ancell

On February 1, 2005


Henry Howe LLD, Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes, An

Encyclopedia of the State, Volume II,  (Published by the State of Ohio; The

Laning  Printing Co., Public Printers, Norwalk, OH (1896)).






        Adam Poe, who, with his brother Andrew, had the noted fight with the

Indians, once resided in this county, in Wayne township, on the west fork of

Little Beaver. The son of Andrew__Deacon Adam Poe__ was living late as 1846

in the vicinity of Ravenna, Portage county, and had the tomahawk with which

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 distance below Fort Pitt, and several miles from the

Ohio river. Here, finding an old man alone in a cabin, they killed him,

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.