By Rev. Charles Rockwell
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin
The Abeels.—Their Residence.—Strong Whigs.—H. M. Brace, Esq.—His Narrative.—Time of the Capture.—Sources of Information.—Indiana and Tories,-- Settlement in Prattsville.—A Fight There.—The Abeels Taken.—Negro Impudence.—A Tory Neighbor.—Garret Abeel and Mulligan.—Route of the Indians.—Danger of David Abeel.—Great Suffering by the Way.—Running the Gauntlet.—Release and Return of David.—Anthony’s Captivity and Escape.—The Captivity of Captain Jeremiah Snyder and His Sermon.—An Adventure of Captain Snyder before his capture.—Capture of Him and His sons.—Indian Quarrel.—The House Robbed and Burned.—A Son Released.—They Cross the Mountains.—Tory Aid.—The Captain’s Papers.—Canoe-making.—Down the Delaware.—They Reach the Susquehanna.—A Rattlesnake Feast.—Tioga Point.—Chemung River.—Lieutenant Boyd’s Party.—Murphy.—A Packhorse.—Tory Neighbors.—A white Squaw.—Fishing.—Thieves.—Escape the Gauntlet.—Enter Fort Niagara.—Captives at Night.—Their Food.—The Jansens.—Short and Miller.—War-whoops.
Three miles and a half from Catskill the road to Mountain House crosses the Cauterskill Creek in a beautiful valley between two high hills. In ascending the hill beyond the bridge, there may be seen, near the creek, half a mile to the left, a long, low, stone house, with a large basement kitchen under one end.—such a house as the early Dutch farmers in this region commonly built, the stones being of a light color, unhewn, of every form and size, and joined with rude cement. From this house, in the spring of the year 1780, David Abeel and his son Anthony, zealous Whigs and worthy and intelligent men, were carried away captives to Canada; having been taken prisoners by a party of Indians and tories. Their immediate descendants still live in this region, and are among the most respectable, thrifty, and intelligent of our population.
For the facts which follow, I am mainly indebted to Henry M. Brace, Esq., of New York City, a lawyer; a son of the late Dr. Abel Brace, of Catskill, an eminent, skilful, and benevolent physician. Mr. Brace is a man of strong antiquarian tastes, and of much research in that direction. At the close of his narrative he thus writes:
The foregoing account I have derived mainly from Mr. David G. Abeel, a grandson of David, and nephew of Anthony. He is now seventy-five years of age, and has often heard his uncle describe his capture and the adventures of his father and himself. I have also obtained a few details from Mr. Frederic Overbaugh and his wife, who were well acquainted with Anthony Abeel. The writer of this work would here add that Colonel David G. Abeel is still living, at the age of eighty-two, with his mind active and vigorous, and well recollecting what he has known of the events recorded below. And here I begin the narrative of Mr. Brace, given the spring of 1781 as the time when the Abeels were taken captives, as determined by the narrative of the Snyders, who were with them in Canada, Mr. Brace having been unable to learn at what time they were taken by the Indians. Mr. Brace must have written his narrative some eight years since, as Col. Abeel was then seventy-five years old.
Mr. Brace’s Narrative
“Men and women are still living who have heard Anthony Abeel tell the story of his own and his father’s captivity among the Indians, during the Revolutionary War. The Abeels were strong Whigs; an as, their zeal in this respect offended their Tory neighbors, they resolved to punish them. As their house was distant from others, and defenseless, their capture was easy and safe. This was effected by five or six Mohawk Indians, aided by two or three tories, who were neighbors and former friends of the Abeels. These Indians came by way of the Schoharie Kill, or Creek, through where the town of Hunter, now is, and, from time to time crossing the mountain, were a constant source of anxiety to the early settlers, in their region.” [A settlement of Dutch emigrants, from Schoharie County, was made on the flats in Prattsville, west of the mountains, soon after the French War, in 1763. During the Revolutionary War, they were attacked by a party of tories and Indians; and, in a battle near where the Windham turnpike bridge now is, the assailing party were routed.]
“One Sabbath evening, in the spring of 1781, the Abeels, having just returned from a religious meeting, were taking their supper, when their house was suddenly entered by Indians and tories. They were taken wholly by surprise, so that there was no time to seize their guns, which were on the brackets attached to the great beams overhead; nor would they have been of any use to them had they done so, for the negro servants or slaves of the family, being leagued with the Indians, had during the day taken the priming from the guns, and put ashes in the pans. A Sister of Anthony Abeel used to tell with much glee how, amid the confusion of the capture, she crept under the table, and took the silver shoes and knee buckles from her father and brother, and hid them in her bosom.” [An act showing great courage and presence of mind on her part, though it may be presumed that she did not feel very gleeful while she was doing so.] “The house was plundered, chest and tables were split in pieces by the Indians with their tomahawks, beds were ripped open, the feathers scattered, and small articles of value were carried away. The women of the family were not molested, but David and his son Anthony were taken prisoners. As David was advanced in life, he would not have been taken away, had he not recognized one of his tory neighbors, who was painted and disguised as an Indian, incautiously saying to him, as he called him by name, ‘Is that you?’ the tory replies ‘Since you know me, you must go too.’ A large negro servant of the family aided the Indians in binding the prisoners, grossly abusing his master, and snatching his hat from him, and giving his own in exchange, said, ‘I am master now; take that.” On their way to Canada, the negro was insolent to one of the Indians, who gave him a blow which nearly cost him his life.
“Garret Abeel, a younger brother of Anthony, had been spending the day with John Schunneman, at the parsonage of the dominie, his father, in Leeds; and, on returning home at evening, he heard an unusual noise in the house. Having secured the aid of one Mulligan, who lived between the Abeels and where the turnpike now crosses the creek, they hid in the bushes by the path, near the house, and saw the Indians pass with their prisoners and spoil, the leader of the party carrying a lantern to guide them in their way. Garret raised his gun, and was about to fire, when Mulligan” [who, as Col. Abeel informed me, was trembling with fear] “checked him, saying, ‘Don’t shoot, --you may kill you own father.’ The prisoners were led by way of the mountains, and spent one or two nights in a small fort, on the southwest slope of Roundtop, beyond the Cauterskill Clove, midway between Roundtop and High Peak. The remains of this fort were visible as late as 1848. From the fort they went, by a footpath, down the banks of the Schoharie Kill. David Abeel, being old, fell behind in the march, until having overheard one of the party say that it would be necessary to kill him, that he might not delay them in their journey, he then strained every nerve and kept up with them. Having spoken to the leader of the party, in the Indian tongue, he was surprised, and asked him where he had learned the Mohawk language. He replied, ‘I was for a long time a trader among them.’ After this he was treated kindly by the Indians.
“Their destination was Canada; by what route they went is not known, (probably by the same with the Schermerhorn and Snyders, by the way of the Delaware, Chemung, Susquehanna, and Genesee rivers.) They had a vast unbroken wilderness to pass; and, finding no game in the midst of it, they well-nigh died of hunger, having first eaten two or three dogs they had with them, and then living on roots and herbs. When they were suffering most, the leader of the party found a goose-egg, and, roasting it, gave half of it to David Abeel. I was once told, by a Revolutionary soldier named French, that he with others started, a day or two after the Abeel were taken, in pursuit of the Indians, and reached the fort near High Peak soon after they had left it, the ashes of their fires being still warm, and then followed the Schoharie Kill to the Mohawk without finding them.
“Before reaching Canada, Anthony Abeel was made to run the gauntlet, his father being excused on account of his age, and as proof of the friendship of the Indians for him. Before preparing for the race, he was told by his father, who was familiar with Indian customs, that the younger Indians would probably throw themselves in his way, to hinder him in his course, and if they did so, to knock them down. He then took off his coat and shoes, and began to run, when a young Indian put himself in his way and tried to stop him, but he gave him a blow under his ear which knocked him down. The other Indians filled the air with shouts of derisive laughter at this mishap, leaping and yelling with delight. Amid the confusion Anthony finished his race without another blow. David Abeel was soon released on parole, on account of his age, and sent home. Anthony was a prisoner two years. Some of his time he employed in making brooms and baskets, which he sold, and this supplied himself with tobacco, whiskey, and other unclean luxuries. At length he made his escape with the Snyders, whose narrative follows this. They almost died of hunger by the way, having at one time been without food for nine successive days, with the exception of a few roots and some horse flesh which they found by the way. At another time they saved themselves from starving by a hearty meal of steak taken from a cow which crossed their way. When they reached a friendly settlement they were exhausted with privation and fatigue, their clothes were in tatters, and their feet badly wounded and bare. Their wants were, however, freely and fully supplied; and in due time they safely reached their homes. How and when they did so may be learned from the narrative of the Snyders, which follows this of the Abeels.”
THE CAPTIVITY OF CAPTAIN JEREMIAH SNYDER, OF SAUGERTIES, AND HIS SON ELIAS, AMONG THE INDIANS AND BRITISH IN CANADA, IN THE TIME OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
The narrative, the substance of which is given below, was first published by Mr. Charles G. Dewitt in the “Ulster Sentinel,” in Kingston, of which he was editor, in the year 1827. Mr. Dewitt, who has since died, was a relative of the Snyders, and wrote this narrative from the verbal statements to him by Captain Snyder, who was then in his eighty-ninth year. It was republished in the “Saugerties Telegraph” of January 25 and February 1, 1851, copies of which were preserved by my neighbor in Kiskatom, Mr. Jeremiah E. Snyder, son of Elias, one of the captives, and who is now (June, 1866) living near me, aged eighty, having been born soon after the close of the Revolutionary War. The place where the Snyders lived when they were taken captives was about a mile north of the Blue Mountain Reformed Dutch Church, where an old, unoccupied stone house now stands, on the farm of Mr. Valk. Jeremiah E. Snyder married a daughter of Dominie Van Vlierden, a native of Holland, who formerly preached in the Dutch language alone in the old stone church in Kaatsbann, in the north part of Saugerties, where he died. With copies of the paper containing this narrative. I borrowed and read with much interest the second edition of a sermon preached in Catskill, July 30, 1812, by Dominie Petrus Van Vlierden, it being a day of fasting and prayer in connection with our war with Great Britain. It was translated from the Dutch into English by the Rev. Dr. Ostrander, who, in the year 1800, at the age of twenty, entered the ministry of the Reformed Dutch Church, preaching both in Dutch and English most of his life, having been nine years pastor in Coxsackie, two in Catskill, and fifty in Kaatsbann and Saugerties, as the successor of Dominie Van Vlierden, Dr. Ostrander is still living in Saugerties, in the eighty-sixth year of his age, and the sixty-sixth of his ministry, feeble in body, but with a well-stored, acute, vigorous, and active mind. The sermon referred to above is one of much earnestness, ability, and force.
Before the war of 1776, Captain Snyder, with a few others, had settled on the fertile interval lands, where he was taken by the Indians, living in a log-house in the midst of the forest, near the base of the Catskill Mountains, about two miles east of the Plattekill Clove. He had a wife and seven children, four sons and three daughters; and known as a strong Whig and a military officers, and with bitter tories all around him, his position was one of much exposure and danger.
During the year previous to his capture, Captain Snyder, his son Elias, and three others, were out in search of tories, when Elias and two who were with him went in pursuit of wild turkeys among the mountains, leaving the Captain and one Anthony Van Schaick, to go on alone. While moving cautiously along, they were suddenly startled by the firing of guns, and five bullets struck the ground near Captain Snyder. He saw the muzzles of these guns within deadly range of him, and was ordered, with a curse, to lay down his arms, but saved his life by flight, though thirteen shots had been fired at him. Van Schaick also escaped by running. From a prisoner they took, later the same day, they learned that he had been put forward, on the cliff under which they passed, to see who they were; and, having told what he saw, they aimed their guns mainly at Captain Snyder, as a military officer, and peculiarly hated by them.
Saturday, May 6, 1780, while Captain Snyder and Elias were ploughing in a field near the house, their horses suddenly showed signs of fear, and soon a number of tories and Indians rushed upon them from the forest in three distinct parties, so that they could flee only towards the house. Leaving their horses, they fled, pursued by six Indians, among whom were the celebrated John Runnip and Shank’s Ben, running and yelling with all their might. Elias and his father soon took different directions, each pursued by three Indians, when, seeing three tories coming from a hill near the house, and finding themselves entirely surrounded, Elias stopped running, and was taken by a tall Indian, calling himself Hoornbeck, while his father was seized by Runnip, at which two Indians and a tory were very angry, having been in front of him when he stopped and gave himself up to those who pursued him. This well-nigh proved fatal to him, it being a rule among the Indians that he who first laid hands on a prisoner, or obtained his scalp, was entitled to the reward from the British Government for such humane and meritorious acts; and, when two or more came up at once, they had a short way of ending the dispute by killing the prisoner. Hence the leader of those in front, a short dark-skinned wretch, came up in a threatening manner; and, angry at having failed to take the prisoner, he struck his tomahawk into the head of Captain Snyder, evidently intending to kill him. It glanced, however, making him reel, and leaving a deep cut near the ear. Another blow was parried by Runnip, so that the head of the tomahawk alone hit his shoulder, when the Indian was commanded to desist. Another Indian tried to pierce him with a spear; by Runnip put it aside, thus saving his life.
They then went to the house, which the women and children had left, having fled to the woods, Pork, maple sugar, and clothing were taken; every room was searched; and the family chest with its till was broken open with a tomahawk, in search of four guineas which a tory had paid Captain a few days before, two of which they found and about two hundred dollars in Continental money. They had already set fire to the barn, and Captain Snyder obtained permission to remove some bedding and other articles for the use of his family from the house before it should be burned. While he and his son were carrying out the chest, bedding, and other articles, one of the Indians ordered them to stop; the house was set on fire, and they left for the mountains with their provisions and plunder. A tory neighbor who lived not more than four hundred yards distant saw what was doing, and withdrew, that he might not be called upon to aid.
After going a short distance in the forest, Captain Snyder and Elias prevailed upon the tories to release Ephraim, his youngest son, who was lame and only nine years old, whom the Indians had captured in hopes of reward. In passing from the hill too, in pursuit of the captives, the Indians saw the women in the bushes, but did not disturb them. Soon they stopped to divide the plunder into convenient packs for carrying, and to paint the prisoners; and then they moved on again in Indian file. The pilot or leader of the party was an Indian who tried to run Captain Snyder through with a spear, and who had taken the name of William Van Bergen; after whom came the prisoners, and then the other Indians and the tories. The captives had no packs, and Captain Snyder carried only one of the axes taken from his house. The feet of Elias were sore from the earth and small stones in his shoes, causing much pain. They soon came to a narrow cleft in the rocks, where the leader, reaching up his hands, laid his gun on a shelf of rock higher than his head; and then, seizing some bushes, he drew himself up to a platform above. Elias followed him; and, taking the axe from his father, he too climbed up. Alone there with the Indian, who was looking up to a higher ledge before him, while those below were out of sight, Elias, expecting to be murdered beyond the mountains, with the axe in his hand, felt strongly tempted to kill the Indian and to try to escape; but his father, seeing the danger of his doing so, shook his head, and took the axe from him.
They then moved in an oblique direction up the mountain, crossing the Cauterskill near where Palensville now is, and passed to the south of Pine Orchard between two lakes on the east branch of the Schoharie Kill. Through this and the other kill, they waded breast high, and near by encamped for the night. Expecting, as they did, an early and violent death, their minds were much relieved when Runnip told them that they would not be hurt, if they made no attempt to escape; that they were taking them to Niagara; that they would use them as well as they could; but that death would be their lot it they attempted to escape. He would be kind to them, he said, for he might in turn fall into their hands.
The next morning being Sunday, the Indians left the tories at their camp-fire with the Continental money and two guns taken from the Captain, and guided by Runnip, who now took command of the party, they went on to a ravine near the head of the Schoharie Kill, where was a depot of provisions, about ten feet from the ground, on a scaffold formed by two small hemlock-trees, and a crotched staked or post. Here they remained until Tuesday morning, Monday being wet. During the day Runnip produced a bundle of papers belonging to Captain Snyder, taken from his chest, and carefully examined them, burning the small ones, which contained many important memoranda of military operations among the Whigs, and preserving the large ones, which were a lieutenant’s and captain’s commission in the service, with some title-deeds of property and other papers. Tuesday morning, May 9, at daybreak, the Indians arranged and filled their packs for each one of them, eight in all, taking down from their depot Indian meal and peas. During the two days they were there, nine hungry swine could not have eaten more than they did. Van Bergen was the commissary of the party; and Runnip and Hoornbeck afterwards subdivided their packs, allotting a part to each. Captain Snyder shouldered his pack; while Elias, by complimenting Hoornbeck as being stronger than himself, was relieved of one third of his pack, the Indian having emptied it into his own.
At eight A. M. they moved onward, Runnip leading them, and climbed a lofty peak of the Alleghanies, where the snow was still four feet deep the 9th of May. It was hard enough to bear them, and Runnip measured its depth by running his spear into it. Near sunset they reached the east branch of the Delaware, where they encamped. Runnip and another Indian then went towards Middletown, which they called Pohatoghhon, in quest of potatoes, which in fleeing from the country in alarm the autumn previous, the settlers had left in the ground, and were still in a good state of preservation. Four others with Shank’s Ben at their head, went a little way up stream to cut down an elm-tree, from which to make a bark canoe, while the other two Indians were sitting on the ground mending their moccasins. The tomahawks were laying on the ground and the guns were by a tree not far from Elias; and just as he, by a silent signal between him and his father, was about to seize the tomahawks, with a view to despatch the two Indians near them and then escape, the four Indians who had gone for the elm-tree came running into camp, thinking perhaps of their imprudence, and, taking Elias with them, thus defeated his plan.
In making a canoe, the bark is carefully peeled; the rough outside is removed so as to make it pliable; and then it is stretched inside out over twigs, in the form of ribs, to give it the right shape. Near each end the bark is pared away so as easily to bend and overlap; and thus the bow and stern are formed, where, and in knot-holes, a kind of pulp of elm bark is placed, to caulk them and made them water-tight. Their paddles were split from small ash-trees, and were mainly used to steer with, as Indians do not often move in still water or against the current. About noon the next day, Wednesday, the eight Indians, with their prisoners and packs, left in their canoe; and finding, three miles below, a log canoe, two Indians entered it with their baggage, giving the others more room. After floating down stream twenty-four miles, they spent the night on shore, at Middaugh’s Place, where the Indians took two bushels of corn from a secret depot; it was somewhat musty, but answered well for food. The next morning after floating down sixteen miles to Shehawconb, where the eastern and western branches of the Delaware unite, they left their canoes. After marching about six miles, Runnip was suddenly seized with a fit of fever and ague, which detained them until the next morning. Saturday noon they reached the Susquehanna River, about sixty miles above Tioga Point, having been eight days in reaching that place from Saugerties, their progress being slow, as their packs weighted about one hundred and thirty pounds each. Here one of the Indians killed a rattlesnake, which Runnip skinned, cleaned, and chopped into small pieces, made a soup of it, ate the flesh and drank the soup, and was entirely well of his fever.
Having here made another canoe from the bark of a large chestnut, they left Sunday at nine A. M., and reached Tioga Point Tuesday morning. On their way, two Indians landed at the head of an island, and shot a young elk, which they ate. Leaving the canoe at Tioga Point, they went up the Chemung River, along its bands, and passed a breastwork which the Indians had thrown up the year before to resist the invasion of General Sullivan. Between this and the Genesee Flats, on Sullivan’s route, were a couple of mounds beside the path. “There lie your brothers,” said Runnip, in Dutch, pointing at the mounds. These were the graves of a scouting-party of thirty-six men, sent forth from Sullivan’s army, who had been cut off by the Indians. One, Murphy, escaped; and Lieutenant Boyd and a sergeant, after having been examined by Butler, the leader of the Indians, were given over to be massacred. Near these mounds they saw one of Sullivan’s packhorses, which had strayed from the army and spent the hard winter of 1780 in the long grass on one of the Chemung Flats. He was a small, thickset bay, low in flesh, but apparently in good spirits, and with no signs of fear. Here the feet of Elias were covered with blisters; and they favored him by halting, as Indians doctor their prisoners with the tomahawk alone, thus quickly ending their sufferings.
The Sunday following they met two tories, John Young and Frederick Rowe, of Saugerties, on their way to the frontiers with a party of Indians. Young had lived for years within a mile of the Captain Snyder; and they conversed freely with each other, the being civil and sociable, and inquiring after his friends and as to the state of the war. Rowe said nothing. They there waded the Genesee River up to their armpits, and, without stopping to dry their clothes, walked about a dozen miles and encamped. There they met a white women, between twenty and thirty yeas old, with a child in her arms, and an Indian, her husband, with her. She asked as to news in English, and interpreted to her husband the answers given, in what was supposed to be the Seneca language. She also questioned the prisoners with regard to their capture and other matters. She said that she had been taken by the Indians in the old French War, and had lived with them since, but couldn’t tell from whence she had been taken. Her husband was probably a chief, a man of good manners and appearance, and about thirty years of age. They had spent the winter there, not having been disturbed by Sullivan’s invasion. She was not without intelligence and beauty, and in her Indian dress was interesting in her appearance.
They now for three or four days traveled over a fertile region, meeting at times with Indians scouts; and, May 24, encamped by a stream within thirty miles of Niagara. As the water here was in many places shallow, Elias and a young Indian, a brother of Runnip, were employed in driving the fish over the shoal places, where the Indians shot and speared them. They were suckers, some of them more than three feet long an large in proportion, and made, as cooked by the Indians, good food. The next morning a runner was sent to Fort Niagara to give notice of their approach, and probably to receive orders as to the prisoners. When about to start, a Seneca Indian, apparently of some distinction, approached Runnip, and having spoken a few words to him, came up to Captain Snyder and took hold of his coat, when Runnip told him, in Dutch, to take it off and give it to the Indian, which he did, when the Indian threw it over his arm and went away. Soon after this they met a party of Indians on their way to the Genesee Flats to plant corn, and the squaws in passing robbed them of their hats. They met also two squaws, one of them a sister of Runnip, who turned back with them to Niagara. Runnip and his sister had great joy at meeting; and the squaws shook hands with all the party, as is the uniform custom with Indians when they meet with strangers or with friends.
On the morning of the 26th of May, after passing the night within four of five miles of the fort, they moved onwards; and at the end of two miles met the runner coming from the fort, who turned back after speaking with Runnip, while the latter turned towards Niagara River for a mile or more, where they again met the runner with four or five white men and several unarmed Indians. Under their protection, and that of Runnip and his party, the prisoners were led to the fort, passing through an encampment of several thousand Indians, whose cabins extended more than a mile in length. This was called “running the gauntlet,” and sometimes proved fatal to the defenseless captives. There was no danger from the warriors, who were above such revenge; but the young Indians and squaws, armed with clubs and sticks, delighted to beat out the brains of Whigs, against whom they were greatly exasperated, especially after Sullivan’s invasion. The Captain and his son, however, were so closely surrounded by those with them that the Indians could not get at them; and, moving rapidly, they entered the fort. Thus, after a circuitous Indian journey of probably more than five hundred miles, they at last reached the British rendezvous, bareheaded, and the Captain without his coat, and, notwithstanding all their severe toil, hardships and exposure, their health was uninjured.
And here it may be well to notice some matters of interest connected with the manners and customs of the Indians, as they presented themselves to those of whom I am writing. The manner of sleeping common to the Indians who had captives with them was to pass the middle of a long cord around the arms of the prisoners, knotting it on the back, and then, stretching it to its full length each way, the ends were fastened to stakes driven in the ground. On this cord the Indians spread their blankets and slept, that thus they might easily know of any effort of their prisoners to escape. The captives, when they could, made a bed of the branches of hemlock or other evergreens; and, when it rained, covered their beds with a scaffold of the same kind, and slept under it, the Indians sleeping on the bare ground. The captor always slept next to his prisoner. Each Indian had a small brass kettle for cooking his food, with a common right to cook in a large one belonging to the whole company. Van Bergen was cook, and with a wooden ladle gave to each Indian his mess in the small kettles, leaving the portion of the captives, which was a liberal one, in the larger one. Their meals were commonly of suppawn, or sepawn, as Webster spells it; this being, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the name still given to the boiled Indian meal or hasty-pudding of New England. With this they had boiled peas and small portions of the pork taken from Captains Snyder’s house. Of game they had little, except the flesh of a young elk and part of a deer, left by the wolves on the banks of the Delaware. They also killed muskrats, but the Indians alone could digest them. Salt, Indians do not relish; but they had some for their prisoners.
The Indian who tomahawked Captain Snyder shaved him twice a week, but never spoke of, nor seemed to notice, the wound on his head. The prisoners were painted on the first two days of the capture, and not again until they reached the Susquehanna, after which they were painted every morning. To give the eyes a fiery cast, they had a mixture injected into them, unpleasant but not painful. They conversed with Runnip in broken Dutch, but were mostly silent. Runnip often said that they were going after prisoners of a higher rank to Shawangunk,--for the Jansens, one of whom he said was a colonel, and the other a major. Captain Snyder and his son afterwards learned from some prisoners who were brought out that they met Runnip and his party in the Genesee country in July, on their way to Shawangunk. Runnip had some manly traits. In this last expedition they had as prisoners Peter Short and his son-in-law, Peter Miller, of Woodstock. Under the guidance of tories they had painted Short black, which was a sign among the Indians that anyone might put him to death. Against this Runnip remonstrated, saying that he had not treated the Snyders in this way, and told Short to wash his face, which saved his life, as otherwise the young Indians and squaws would have beat this brains out. A year afterwards Captain Snyder and his son learned in Canada from Captain Anthony Abeel, of Catskill, of the result of Runnip’s expedition to Shawangunk. This word is commonly pronounced, “shongum,” and it lies on the south line of Ulster County, adjoining Orange County. They did not succeed in taking the Jansens, but captured their negroes, who rose upon the Indians by the way, and killed some of them. It is thought that Runnip was thus killed. The negroes were never heard of; and it is supposed, that, being lost in the forest, they perished from want. On meeting in the wilderness, the Indians gave as many yells or whoops as they had prisoners and scalps. The yell for prisoners was loud and long, to the full length of the breath, ending with a shrill whoop; the yell for scalps was short and abrupt. Where parties suddenly met in a thicket, without seeing each other at a distance, they passed without taking notice of those passing them; and the yells were given when they had left those they had met some distance in the rear.
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