This is a document
that I received from Helen Walts of Hurst, TX. The story is about,
William Van Burkleo, one of her ancestors. His age is approximately
the same as Isaac D. Van Burkelow. Isaac came to western Kentucky
about the same time that William ventured down the Ohio to Kentucky,
Illinois and Missouri. His travels are related in the following
text. In the papers Helen Walts sent me there is mention of an
Isaac as a witness on some probate documents. William Van Burkleo
is from Kent county in Delaware. Isaac also listed Delaware on
Kentucky census records as his place of birth. I suspect very
strongly that they are related to each other.
The following text
is from the State Historical Society of Missouri. The story was
originally published by the Banner News. It is William's own account
of his travels as a 10 year old boy from the headwaters of the
Ohio river to Kentucky and eventually his home near St. Louis.
This is the
modern day editied version of his text
first day of June 1854 (written)
is) a small sketch of my life and of ancient times from 1794,
at which time I was 10 years old. I was born in the state of Deleware,
Kent Co. in June 11, 1784. When I was about 4 years old my father
moved to the Monongahela (Valley?) where he stayed two years and
then moved to Kentucky in the hottest Indian times. Three families
of us inbarked in a flat boat for Limestone, which is now in Mason
county, Kentucky. When we arrived there I saw the first (example
of) Indian barbarity. There were three flat boats just landed
which started a day before we did. (We?) had been delayed by a
large number of Indian canoes. The boats were well made. The atttack
was made in the night. The Indians attempted to land the boats
but were bravely resisted by all in the boats. Men, women and
children they fought with guns axes knives. The Indians, after
a long fight and loss of a great many men, retreated and the boats
floated on until they came to Limestone where they got help to
land. They had just landed when we got there (and) the scene was
so alarming that I never will forget it. I think there was about
60 souls big and little amongst which there was but one man and
two women that was killed or wounded. My father went on board
the boats and I went with him. Of all the horrid sites I have
ever witnessed it was the worst. Some dead and dying, some crying,
some mourning. There were horses, cattle and people lying dead
all over the boats.
then moved out amongst on the waters of Licking (River) to Miles
Station where times were pretty warm. The first night we got there
the Indian stole all our horses from the wagons which was within
a few steps of the block house. (So for the while we stayed in
the first Sunday morning after we got to the station a young man
went out to get his horse and the Indians had tied the horse in
the brush with the bell open. (They) killed the young man and
scallped him in sight of the block house. We stayed there and
lived on wild meat and homney bread pound in a morter until the
war was over.
year (Wayne) whip (with?) my father volunteered and went to Ohio
and joined the Army as a spy. As soon as (Wayne's?) last battle
was over he returned home, which was the first Indian scalp I
ever saw. He brought 2 or 3 scalps, a tomahawk (and) some other
trinkets which was a great test in the station. He then moved
to Ohio. We arrived at Cincinnati a few days after (Wayne's Treaty)
with the Indians. Cincinnati was a smawl village. We remained
their until the fall of 1798 when old David Dust returned home
from his country on visit to see his brother who was taken prisoner
by the Indians and brought to this country.
Dust was a close neighbor to us. He brought such great news about
the Spanish country. My father fixed up and we started with his
family in one small flat boat and his cattle in a large boat.
The ohio was so that we could not get along. We then turned the
cattle out on the Indian side and drove them along the bank and
lay with the boat that had the family every night which was very
bad. The buffalo and bear often scared the stock and gave us much
got to the 6 mile island, which was 6 miles above Louisville (the)
last of november where we put up for winter . We wintered finely
(as game) was plenty.
soon as they broke he bought a flat boat and put the cattle aboard
and set out again and floated until we come to Ft.
Massac (Illinois) where there was a garrison of soldiers.
There we had to stop and get a passport. We then floated on until
we got to the mouth of The Ohio (River) where we stopped to kill
bear meat to do us through the summer. Intending to make a "pevogue"
(might be a type of raft or boat) to come up in but accidently
there was a keele boat come along going to the solen after salt.
We got the family in that and crossed the cattle over the mississippi
through swamps and marshes which was a sever job. I waded many
times to my waist through (Cypress weeds) and falling over them
in the water until I was half drowned until we got (to)Cape Girardeau
which was the first settlement. We found there was Laramore which
was an Indian chief and comident (Commandant?)
we got there we hadn't eaten anything for 2 days . Hhe gave us
some homney and dry venison which was great nourishment. We then
drove on through the shone (Shawnee or Shoshone?) and dilawar
(Delaware) town where we found a great deal of friendship. They
gave us dry venison to last us misear as was cold then which is
where we found the family.
rented a house for the summer picked out his in bobveeta bottom
(and) moved into it in the fall and became neighbors to the Indians
for their own town was only 4 miles from us. He became so dissatisfied
that he determined to leave the country and sold out intending
to get it all in salt and take it to Nashville, (TN?) Salt was
worth 4 dollars a bushel then in Tennesee and intended buying
cotten and taking it up the ohio. He moved to (salenes?) to collect
it. He (there?) got his debts all turned over on (Speners?) and
left have books they was carrying on the slat (salt) works. He
stayed there a year trying to collect it and the (broke) and he
lost it all but abought hundred bushels. He then moved to St.
Charles , (MO) which was called petit coat and stayed their one
year. Being still dissatisfied took what he had in salt and went
to Tennesee (and) sold it for cotten and started up the ohio.
I was 14 years old. He gave me (the) choice to go. (I) thought
it best to come back here. I got back about the last of September.
I got to St. Charles, (MO) there was 2 men by the name of Garder
that was fitting out for a expedition up the Missouri (raping?)
I joined them and went along. We went abought 5 hundred miles
up the Missouri (river) and when we got amongst the hostile Indians
there I learned my first lesson about Indians. We were in a canoe
and had to dodge from side to side of the river to keep out of
their way. Sometimes we would slip up some of the small rivers
where he was afraid to shoot and then we would live on beaver
meat when there was plenty of buffalo and deer all around us we.
We was 7 months that we saw no white man nor had neither bread
nor salt. In the spring we come down the river lamen. We met 2
the last of may we come down to mak e arrangements to start up
again the next fall. When I got to St. Charles their was a man
waiting for me with tidings from my mother that father was dead
as she wished me to come to her assistance. I started the young
man and myself in a bark canoe which I brought down with me to
the mouth of (the) Ohio. Then walked up the Ohio killing our meat
as we went till we got to the volking cave (could be "Cave-in-rock"
IL) on the Ohio where I found my mother with 7 children. I then
bought a large pevouge and hired 2 young men and started back
. Before we got to the mouth of the Ohio 2 of my little brothers
died. But we come on taking us pretty near all summer to get to
portage desoux (Portage
De Souix, MO). I stayed with her til (she) married old Mr.
Gatey and since that time I have been strugling for myself.
1811 I was married. I then bought 100 arponds of land at 1 dollar
per arpond. It join hisen (his) and overall, in the point I paid
for it with 200 bushels of corn.
next fall I was in debt to old James Mongon. 75 dollars for my
wedding suit which consisted of a hat, coat, shirt and pants of
a cheap quality which I paid for the same fall in venson and poultry.
Then said to my wife we are out of debt and got a good peace of
land. I ask no odds of the world.
then worked on at home and abroad having good luck until the fall
of 1812 when the Indian war broke out when my god look turned
to bad luck. Some time about the first of october in the night
I was warned to be at portage desoux the next morning by sun up
armed and equipped for their was a great body of Indians at the
south of Illinois. I started before day the next morning and was
there by day light.
company met and was mustered by Capt. Samuel Griffith and was
ordered up the Mississippi near the mouth of Illinois (just north
of St. Louis) where we stood guard that day and night and the
next day without any thing (to) eat except a few apples we got
evening we was called in and sent home after provisions to return
(the) next morning which was good luck for me. If it had not been
so my family wold have all been murdered for the Indians attacked
my house that night. They fired a platoon in the bed where my
wife and myself was asleep. (It) broke my wife's leg and hit me
with 7 buck shot in my thigh which awoke me. I knew what was up
and sprung to my gun which was hanging in the rack over the head
of my bed. But just as I got my gun from the rack one stepped
in the house my wife said (and) pointed his gun at me and fired
and sprung out of the house. The powtder burned me and blinded
me so that I never got to see them for they doged round the house.
A ball hit me in the hip but I did not fall. I got behind the
foot of the bed that stood behind the door intending to make the
best fight I could. I set waiting for them to break I for some
time with my gun cocked in my hand and the butcher knife in my
mouth. (I) hailed them but no answer. I spoke in french and Indian
and told them to come in but they made no answer. I told my little
brother in law who was waiting at my back to shut the dorr which
he did. At that moment they attempted to burst the back door.
I got there as soon as I could and held it too until the boy secured
then, by help of the boy and a hand ladder that was in the house,
got up in the loft where I opened holes so that I could see out
but never got sight of them. They found out I was there and left.
I lay there all night and watched with great difficulty when I
wold raise up to look out I would faint before I could lay down.
My wife lying below bleeding but never moaned. She told me that
her leg was broke.
day light came the boy took a horse and went for assistance which
came as soon as possible. We was taken to St. Louis County to
her brother doctor fallises (Fallis) whare we stayed until the
next spring. I got so that I cold walk with crutches. I then came
back to the point to Squier Syrses for my house was burned down
in the night.
the night after we was shot they burned down my house with everything
that we had and from that my fence took fire and burned one hole
string of it and I lost my hole crop which was 30 acres of corn
and all my truck they shot one horse and stole two. I then moved
where I now live and was determined to see them out. I made strong
doors and made port holes all around the house but they never
tryed me again.
they had the fight at the sink hole I could hear the guns so plain
I expected it would be my turn next. When they killed Dreling
in Gore Sealy's yard standing talking to Sealy in the door they
fired 21 guns at the door Sealy shut the door and got his gun.
They come running from the brush some stopped to scalp Reling
and the rest come running to burst the door when they got (with)in
a few feet of the door.
was at a port hole and let the foremost one have it. He fell with
his head against the door stop (where) several of them gathered
him and packed him off and they left. There (were) to be two rangers
staying the there that night but had no guns. One of them had
just stepped out on his business and had just returned and set
down as he saw an Indian slipping (up) on him. He sprung with
his britches in his hand at that moment the guns all fired and
the Indian took after him but soon lost sight of him. Charley
run to white fort which was about 2 miles from there. They gathered
about 10 or 12 men and put out for Sealy's. Before they got there
they saw the Indians in a parara careing for the dead Indian.
They hurried on to the hous found Sealy unharmed but David Realing
Killed and scalped. They immediately pursued (them) to the bank
of river where the Indians took water.
was a ranger he had his gun broke in a battle and was to home
doctring it. The next was Elick sensor near Looka Spring. He was
on a horse hunting the Indians(and) was (caught) in (an) ambush
. (They) shot him off of his horse and scalped him. He was a fine
young man. I never was able to do (militia) duty again but had
many scouts after them on the settlement.
Clark sent me 3 men to stay with me all the time and my brother
in law stayed. All brave fellows we made it a rule to never open
the door until sun up then we would scout round a little to see
if there was any signs. One morning we found a trail in the woods
so fresh that the dew was knocked off the weeds. There appeared
to be 10 or 12 of them about a half a mile back to a smawl parara.
I went about 50 yds. ahead on the trail. The rest followed each
one about 25 steps behind another so that the could not get much
advantage of us. I went abought 100 yds. and then I discovered
a smawl patch of trash (?)
to the boys to stop when I got to the little pach I bakned to
them to come on the indiens had stoped thare and had been eating
lying down, they had bent the bushes and vines togather mad a
sort of a flind we then followed them across the little prara
in to the brush we then turned back and rased some men and porsued
them but they scattered and we cold not find them we had maney
such chases as that have run them several times till they tuck
weater for the river was all over the prara in 15. I will say
something abought the battles and defeats the time that Capt.
James Callaway was defeated their was a large boddey of indiens
come into this settlement near luter iland and did some mischief
Capt. Callaway rased a company and porsued then he was a corages
and experienced fellow rushed along without a spy and when they
come near the narrows on luter whare the bluf come close to the
to the bank old Capt. Wm. Ramsey porposed to go up the bluf and
go round he said there was danger in following thru the pas Callaway
laghed at him and told him he was a coward Ramsey was a old exspranced
indien fighter said he you may cawl me what you pleas I shall
go round and before he went near enough to ascertain he hole fact
then made their retreat with the nuse that Callaway was defeated
they fought to the last but the indiens killed defeated then all
Capt. Ramsey's battle on the mississippi near the mouth of salt
river he com on a boddy of (indiens) camped on the bank the river
he sent his brother allen Ramsey and 3 other men as spies they
crawled so neare up behind the camps one old indien having a looking
glass in his hand saw them, throw the glass sprung to his (feet)
allen Ramsey being fore most shot him the five then commenced
the spies treed themselves and fought some time til their was
several killed and in both sides til at length the indiens retreated
one by one sliping under the bank of the river Ramsey left at
the same time knowing that their was a large boddy of indiens
way lade the on they a hot battle there several killed and on
both sides so gut in tuck more men went back to take care of the
dead and wounded the time of the battle at sinque hole the indiens
attacted fort bouward by fiering on some men that went out of
the fort to a old huse that was near they lay in the brush by
the road side as the men was on their return to the fort over
a slue of back water whare the men had their conoe in site of
the fort the indiens fired on them and killed them all at the
same time the indiens fired on the fort from a nother quarter
Capt. Crage leaving a few men in the fort raleyd on them whare
the killing the boys but haveing to go round the slue the indiens
retreated to the brush Crage soon over tuck them abought the same
number that atact the boys they fired and run and in a short distance
their armey was placed they fired kiled Capt. Crage as he was
foremost and wounded several more they retreated and fought back
ontil they come to the mout of a holow that heads near the sinque
hole luetenent Spere tuck command of the men porsued them the
indiens got across the holow on the hill sid whare they had the
advantage of the ground their they made a stand Spears pushed
on them they kept retreating up the holow til at length Spears
got on the other hill side their they fought for some 2 or 3 hours
ontil Capt. D. Musac got thare with a part of his men after some
time the indiens began to scatter and finely retreated and the
wounded and such as cold not make their escape run in the sink
hole Spears atented to charge on them but they was so well conseled
that he found he cold do nothing with them after making maney
attempts and had several men kiled and wounded they sent and got
a pare of cart wheels and made a battry on them against they got
that done it was getting dark Musick tuck a part of the men and
went round the other side and the battry was to move down at the
same time Spears rushed to fast was shot in the head old saint
Scoot shot the indien in the head the same momet it was dark and
the left--when they went back next morning the indiens had put
the dead indien on Spears had cut off Spears head from the sine
(spine) the indiens had fixt the sink hole for that purpose had
dug with their tomahake so they cold hide their was a grate deal
text ends here, as the rest of it was lost over the years