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Experience Bozarth’s Heroic Stand – Indian Captivities

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Signal Prowess of a Woman, In a Combat with Some Indians. In a Letter to a Lady of Philadelphia

Westmoreland, April 26, 1779.

Madam,

I have written an account of a very particular affair between a white man and two Indians.1 I am now to give you a relation in which you will see how a person of your sex acquitted herself in defense of her own life, and that of her husband and children.

The lady who is the burthen of this story is named Experience Bozarth. She lives on a creek called Dunkard creek, in the southwest corner of this county. About the middle of March last, two or three families, who were afraid to stay at home, gathered to her house and there stayed; looking on themselves to be safer than when all scattered about at their own houses.

On a certain day some of the children thus collected came running in from play in great haste, saying there were ugly red men. One of the men in the house stepped to the door, where he received a ball in the side of his breast, which caused him to fall back into the house. The Indian was immediately in over him, and engaged with another man who was in the house. The man tossed the Indian on a bed, and called for a knife to kill him. (Observe these were all the men that were in the house.) Now Mrs. Bozarth appears the only defense, who, not finding a knife at hand, took up an axe that lay by, and with one blow cut out the brains of the Indian. At that instant, (for all was instantaneous,) a second Indian entered the door, and shot the man dead who was engaged with the Indian on the bed. Mrs. Bozarth turned to this second Indian, and with her axe gave him several large cuts, some of which let his entrails appear. He bawled out, murder, murder. On this sundry other Indians (who had hitherto been fully employed, killing some children out of doors) came rushing to his relief; one of whose heads Mrs. Bozarth clove in two with her axe, as he stuck it in at the door, which laid him flat upon the soil. Another snatched hold of the wounded bellowing fellow, and pulled him out of doors, and Mrs. Bozarth, with the assistance of the man who was first shot in the door, and by this time a little recovered, shut the door after them, and made it fast, where they kept garrison for several days, the dead white man and dead Indian both in the house with them, and the Indians about the house besieging them. At length they were relieved by a party sent for that purpose.

This whole affair, to shutting the door, was not perhaps more than three minutes in acting.

Footnotes

  1. Reference is probably made to the desperate encounter of one Morgan and two Indians. Ed.  


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