OSM BENJAMIN MORTIMER TO MEIGS
Goshen near Gnadenhutten,
Ohio State, 21 Augst. 1812.
On the 1st, and on the 8th. Inst., I was so free as to address a letter to Your Excellency, on the subject of the then critical situation of the few Indians who reside here; and requested Your Excellency's pro- tection for them. I now beg leave to inform You of further occurrences here since that time.
On the 8th., between 11 & 12 o'clock at night, above twenty men, all armed with rifles or swords, came here from New Philadelphia, in order, as they said, to search for the Indians, who they supposed, unknown to me, sculked about by day, and assembled here at night. Messrs. Laffer and McConnel preceded them on horseback, and came first to my house, to give me notice of the approach of these people, and what their business was. On being awoke and dressed, I offered to go with them, with a candle in my hand, into overy Indian house, and to every place about us, which they might express a desire to visit. It happened that at the time there were only two Indian families at home, whom we found all fast asleep. I awoke them in presence of Messrs. Laffer and McConnel, and the former informed them of the object of this visit. The latter then went, with my consent, to fetch the company of armed men, who had meanwhile stopped near the town; and they all joined us at one of the Indians houses. Three of these people then declared, that from the place where they had stood among the bushes, waiting to be called, they had seen two Indians cross the street, to that side where the two Indians families were, and where I live, just at the time when I came out of my house with Messrs. Laffer and McConnel, with a candle in my hand. They maintained too, that they had heard them open a door on that side of the street from whence they came; no surmise made with the view to explain what might have led to this belief, would satisfy them. The roost diligent search was then made in all the buildings and places, where the men themselves believed it to be possible, that the supposed two Indians could have come from; but no trace, they allowed, was found, that a human being had been in any place they saw, within the pro- ceding 24 hours. If they had therefore seen living things cross the street, they were probably dogs only, who had barked at the time that Messrs. Laffer and McConnel entered the town; & who, by means of a distant candle, and their fears, might easily have had shadows like men. The search was at length given up as fruitless. All who belong here were very sure, and asserted, that no Indians were, or ever had been, secreted here for any purpose whatever. After staying with us about an hour, these nightly visitors set off on their return home.
Disagreeable as this occurrence was at the time, we have no wish to make it the subject of complaint; as so much care was taken that no person here should be alarmed by it, & nothing improper was otherwise done by the people. A false report, we have heard, had reached New Philadelphia the day before, that 15 strange - and it was supposed hostile Indians, had been seen during the day, coming towards this place. This, it was said, occasioned much alarm, & the 20 armed men and upwards, came here, to see whether the report were true; and if so, to take the 15 Indians prisoners; Judge Dierdorf, Mr. Clark, Co.. Bay, and other gentlemen, had endeavored to dissuade them from their purpose as they were convinced, they said, that
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