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A Legend Of Slaughter At The Seneca Capital

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A legend exists of. a fearful fight that, took pace between the Seneca and Wyandot, on their return from Braddock’s defeat, in 1755. They had fought side by side against the English army, but, no sooner had they dispersed toward their homes, than the old unsettled feud between them was renewed. The Seneca took the trail by Beaver, Mingo bottom, and west to Tuscarawas. The Wyandot took the tippler trail, striking the ridge between the heads of the Elk Eye Creek (Muskingum) and the Hioga (Cuyahoga.), where they camped. It was but a day’s journey across the present Stark County, to reach their enemies at the Seneca capital. The warriors there suspected their design, and sent Ogista, an old sachem, who met the Wyandot on the war-path, stealthily approaching the capital. He sent back a runner to give warning of their coming, and, trusting to his age for protection, boldly penetrated into the midst of the enemy, as a peacemaker. The Seneca, upon being apprised of their proximity, sallied out to fight, but were stopped by Ogista, who was returning with an agreement, made by him and the opposing chief, to the effect that each tribe should pick twenty warriors, willing to suffer death by single combat. When all were slain, they were to be covered, hatchet in hand, in one grave, and henceforth neither Seneca or Wyandot ever again were to raise a bloody hand against the other.

Forty braves were soon selected, and each twenty being surrounded, the tribal war-dances were danced, and the death lamentations sung, when the way being cleared, the carnage commenced, which ended as night intervened, there being one martyr left, with none to strike him down. He was the son of Ogista, who had proposed the sacrifice. The aged man received his weapon, and with it cleaved off the head of his offspring, when the bands gathered the dead into a heap, laying their forty hatchets by their sides, and having raised a mound of earth over them, all repaired to the Seneca capital, closing the fearful scene with a feast, in memoriam of the compact thus sealed with blood, that the hatchet was then forever buried between the Wyandot and Seneca. Twenty-four years afterward, Fort Laurens was erected in sight of the mound. A friendly Delaware, at the fort, was asked by the commander to explain its origin. He related the above legend. In January, 1770, the fort was invested by one hundred and eighty Wyandot, Mingo (Seneca), and Monsie, led by John Montour. Under the impression that the Indians had moved off; a squad of seventeen soldiers went out behind the mound to catch the horses and gather wood. They never returned to the fort having been ambushed and killed by a party of Wyandot and Seneca warriors, who were worshiping the Great Spirit at the grave of their ancestors and relatives.

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