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Sketch of Black Hoof

 Native American Nations | Traditions of the Seneca                   

Black Hoof, a chief of the Shawnee, was known as a great orator as well as warrior. He had come from Florida when young and taken part in all the Indian wars, particularly distinguishing himself in taking scalps at Braddock's

He could remember that when a boy he had bathed in the salt-water on the Florida coast. It is related of him that his scalp string had upon it one hundred and twenty-seven scalps, which he had himself taken during his career.

[Note.-It is a curious fact in history that this sharp Indian map seller came, at that early day, from the "western reserve," where the inventive genius of their white successors still predominates defeat. In all the after wars he bore a conspicuous part, and at all the treaties was a principal orator. In 1795 he became satisfied in the uselessness of further strife, and from that time to his death was friendly to the white settlers. He never would assist in the burning of prisoners. It is said he was a man. of rigid virtue and lived forty years with one wife. Ile lived at Wakatomeka, near the present site of Dresden, on the Muskingum, but removed with his tribe about 1.817, and died in 1831, at the great age of one hundred and ten years, at Wapakonnetta, in Auglaize County, Ohio.]

Legend of Three Legs Town, on the Still Water

On a dividing ridge in Belmont County issues two little streams-one flowing into the Ohio, called Wheeling Creek, the other taking a north-west direction through parts of Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, and emptying into the Tuscarawas River some six miles south-east of New Philadelphia. After wandering a hundred miles south, the waters of these Belmont hills again meet at Marietta, and, mixed with those of the Ohio and Muskingum, all join hands, as it were, and go merrily and muddily down the Ohio and Mississippi, until all are lost in the sea. - On one of these small streams, called by the Indians Gehelemukpechuk, by the whites Stillwater, there was an Indian town called "Three Legs Town," as designated on Boquet's map of 1764, and located near its junction with the Tuscarawas.

Tradition says it was so named, after a chief who first resided there by the name of "Three Legs," because of the fact that he had an extra leg. His father was said to be the great Shawnee chief Blackhoof, and his mother Cherokee of great beauty from the south-the climate laving imparted to her all the ingredients of beauty inc, (lent to southern white women of a later day. Blackhoof had brought her up into the Sciota Country, and while out one day gathering wild plums she was attacked by wounded buffalo, limping on three legs, but succeeded in escaping from him. In proper time she gave birth to boy, who, like the beast, had three legs, and when he learned to walk, limped with one leg dangling after him he was in other respects perfect-inheriting all the genius of Blackhoof himself. The mother thought the more of him because of his misfortune, and instead of putting the monstrosity out of the way, she gave her life to his nurture and bringing up. On reaching the age of manhood, and being unable to follow the chase or go to war, he was offered a chiefship and privilege to select his place of abode in this valley. He chose the mouth of the Gehelemukpechuk (Stillwater), for the reason that immense quantity of fish were caught there-as they are caught there at this day in larger quantities than at other places along the river 'Three Legs, being an invalid, could not expect to, nor did he ever, become chief over a large town, but those who had settled near him were old braves who had spent their energies, and sat down at Three Legs town to pass the residue of their lives in fishing, smoking, and giving advice to young warriors.

It happened that after Braddock's defeat, in 1755 a number of the captured English soldiers were brought down by some Shawnee, under Blackhoof, and give over to his son, Three Legs, to be put to death by torture in their usual mode. The trail from Beaver River, south passed in sight of the Three Legs town, and hence it was daily sight to see captives driven or pulled by, on their way to death. Among these was a Herculean highlander, take at Braddock's fight, who belonged to the Scotch regimes his name was Alexander McIntosh, and it is said that he was by blood a relative of Lachlin McIntosh, who became n American general in the revolution, and erected Fort Laurens in 1778.

Young McIntosh, by reason of his great height and strength, was reserved from the fiery death of the other prisoners by order of Three Legs, and became his body guard; but was doomed to be a witness to the burning of his fellow prisoners, and told that a similar fate awaited him in case he attempted to escape. The place of burning was at the edge of the plain where a steep bluff bank of rocks ascends some one hundred feet, from the summit of which the whole plain is discernible, forming one of the most picturesque panoramas in the valley. From this emir fence prisoners doomed to death were thrown, and whether dead or alive when they reached the base of the precipice, as he burning was gone through with. McIntosh surveyed the eminence from below, and saw the first prisoner thrown over, who fell with a thud which knocked the life out of him. His body was thrown on a burning pile of wood. The second victim came down upon his feet, hurt, but able to stand. He was tied to a post and a fire built around him. The Scotchman, unable to listen to his moans, darted at the thief, Three Legs, sitting near, smoking his pipe, and with one blow of the fist prostrated him in death, then seizing his tomahawk hanging in the chief's belt, was but a moment dispatching one of the two Indians attending to the fire, and before another minute elapsed he cut the thongs of his burning fellow captive, pulled him from the fire, and ran some little distance with him, but finding the other Indian had ran in an opposite direction he stopped, and it loosened the withes around the legs and arms of his comrade, who at once rose to his feet, and both started up the hill to gain the summit by a circuitous path, in the hope of rescuing their fellow captives. The three savages on the to summit, seeing which, and the terrible work of the Highlander below, sprung down from the precipice to the relief of their fallen chief, and this enabled the Scotchman to reach and release his three follow captives on the summit from the thongs with which they were tied. The four now returned for their comrade, who had been released from the fire, but unable to ascend the path, he was caught by the three savages below and tomahawked. Thus it stood for a minute-four released prisoners against three warriors, the latter having their hatchets, and the former only one in the Highlander's hands. In another moment they heard the scalp yell of the savage who had run away, and supposing he had other Indians, the four whites descended the hill and entered the forest, in a run for life-the Highlander keeping in front. After running half a mile they heard their pursuers; the Scotchman telling his unarmed comrades to keep together, while he treed, and awaited the savages. Soon the most fleet one passed him, and at that moment received his quietus-he having come within three feet of the Scotchman without seeing him, and the tomahawk of the latter was buried in his skull. He leaped up, and fell with a terrible scream, dead. The Highlander then rejoined his comrades, and they were not further pursued, Making their way east by the sun, they crossed the Stillwater, following which they reached its source, crossed the dividing ridge, and were on the Ohio in two days, without having eaten anything save roots and bark. From thence they followed the west bank up the river another day, and finally crossed the Ohio by wading it near the present Wellsville where the river was, and is yet, fordable in low water. They then got assistance from a hunter whom they met, and who took them to a settlement on the Monongahela.

Nine years afterward, the highlander, who had settled in Westmoreland County, joined Boquet's army, and at Coshocton inquired of the Indians what had become of Three Legs and his town up the river-telling them he was once a prisoner there, but escaped. All he could learn was that Three Legs had been killed by a white prisoner, and his town was since deserted. McIntosh returned with the army to Pennsylvania, settled in Fayette County, and again volunteered, in 1778, at Fort Pitt. General Lachlin McIntosh there made his acquaintance, and took him down to Beaver, thence to Fort Laurens, and back to Pittsburgh; after which he was sent to the Tuscarawas as one of Brodhead's Indian killers, in 1780, and at the slaughter of the Coshocton Indians in that campaign the Scotchman was in the fore-front, boasting in his old age of having tomahawked six Indians in one hour, when telling his exploits in Fayette County, where he died, leaving a family.

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Ohio Annals; Dayton, Ohio, 1876

Traditions of the Seneca

 

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