Poe, Adam

Henry Howe, LL, D., Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes, An Encyclopedia of the State, Volume I,  (Published by the State of Ohio, The Laning Printing Company, Public Printers, Norwalk, OH 1896)

 

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436, 437  ADAM AND ANDREW POE, THE INDIAN FIGHTERS, Adam Poe, who, with his brother Andrew, had the noted fight with the Indians, once resided in this county, in Wayne township, on the west fork of Little Beaver. The son of Andrew__Deacon Adam Poe__ was living late as 1846 in the vicinity of Ravenna, Portage county, and had the tomahawk with which the Indian struck his father. The locality where the struggle occurred, he then told the author, was nearly opposite the mouth of Little Yellow creek. We annex the particulars of this affair from "Doddridge's Notes," substituting, however, the name of Andrew for Adam, and vice versus, as he then stated they should be placed:    

In the summer of 1782 a party of seven Wyandots made an incursion into a settlement some distance below Fort Pitt, and several miles from the Ohio river. Here, finding an old man alone in a cabin, they killed him, packed up what plunder they could find, and commenced their retreat. Among their party was a celebrated Wyandot chief, who, in addition to his fame as a warrior and counsellor, was, as to his size and strength, a real giant.   The news of the visit of the Indians soon spread through the neighborhood, and a party of eight good riflemen was collected, in a few hours, for the purpose of pursuing the indians. In this party were two brothers of the names of Adam and Andrew Poe. They were both famous for courage, size and activity.   

 This little party commenced the pursuit of the Indians, with a determination, if possible, not to suffer them to escape, as they usually did on such occasions, by making a speedy flight to the river, crossing it, and then dividing into small parties to meet at a distant point in a given time.  The pursuit was continued the greater part of the night after the Indians had done the mischief. In the morning the party found themselves on the trail of the Indians, which led to the river. When arrived within a little distance of the river, Andrew Poe, fearing an ambuscade, left the party, who followed directly on the trail, to creep along the brink of the river bank, under cover of the weeds and bushes, to fall on the rear of the Indians, should he find them in ambuscade. He had not gone far before he saw the Indian rafts at the water's edge. Not seeing any Indians, he stepped softly down the bank, with his rifle cocked. When about half-way down he discovered the large Wyandot chief and a small Indian, within a few steps of him. They were standing with their guns cocked, and looking in the direction of our party, who by this time had gone some distance lower down the bottom. Poe took aim at the large chief, but his rifle missed fire. The Indians, hearing the snap of the gun-lock, instantly turned round and discovered Poe, who being too near to retreat, dropped his gun and instantly sprang from the bank upon them, and seizing the large Indian by the cloths on his breast, and at the same time embracing the neck of the small one, threw them both down on the ground, himself being upmost. The Indian soon extricated himself, ran to the raft, got his tomahawk, and attempted to dispatch Poe, the large Indian holding fast in his arms with all his might, the better to enable his fellow to effect his purpose. Poe, however, so well watched the motions of the Indian that when in the act of aiming his blow at his head, by a vigorous and well-directed kick with one his feet he staggered the savage and knocked the tomahawk out of his hand. This failure on the part of the small Indian was reproved by an exclamation of contempt from the large one.  In a moment the Indian caught up his tomahawk again, approached more cautiously brandishing his tomahawk, and making a number of feigned blows, in defiance and derision. Poe, however, still on his guard, averted the real blow from his head by throwing up his arm and receiving it on his wrist, in which he was severely wounded, but not so as to lose entirely the use of his hand.     In this perilous moment, Poe, by a violent effort, broke loose from the Indian, snatched up one of the Indian's guns, and shot the small Indian through the breast, as he ran up the third time to tomahawk him.   

 The large Indian was now on his feet, and grasping Poe by a shoulder and leg, threw him down on the bank. Poe instantly disengaged himself and got on his feet. The Indian then seized him again and a new struggle ensued, which, owing to the slippery state of the bank, ended in the fall of both combatants into the water.     In this situation, it was the object of each to drown the other. Their efforts to effect their purpose were continued for some time with alternate success, sometimes one being under the water, and sometimes the other. Poe at length seized the tuft of hair on the scalp of the Indian, with which he held his head under the water until he supposed him drowned.     Relaxing his hold too soon, Poe instantly found his gigantic antagonist on his feet again and ready for another combat. In this, they were carried into the water beyond their depth. In this situation, they were compelled to loose their hold on each other and swim for mutual safety. Both sought the shore to seize a gun and end the contest with bullets. The Indian being the best swimmer, reached the land first. Poe, seeing this, immediately turned back into the water to escape, if possible, being shot, by diving. Fortunately, the Indian caught up the rifle with which Poe had killed the other warrior.  At this juncture Adam Poe, missing his brother from the party, and supposing, from the report of the gun which he shot, that he was either killed or engaged in conflict with the Indians, hastened to the spot. On seeing him, Andrew called out to him to "kill the big Indian on shore." But Adam's gun like that of the Indian's was empty. The contest was now between the white man and the Indian, who should load and fire first. Very fortunately for Poe, the Indian, in loading, drew the ramrod from the thimbles of the stock of the gun with so much violence, that it slipped out of his hand and fell a little distance from him; he quickly caught it up, and rammed down his bullet. This little delay gave Poe the advantage. He shot the Indian as he was raising his gun to take aim at him.     As soon as Adam had shot the Indian, he jumped into the river to assist his wounded brother to shore; but Andrew, thinking more of the honor of carrying the big Indian home, as a trophy of victory, than of his own safety, urged Adam to go back, and prevent the struggling savage from rolling into the river, and escaping. Adam's solicitude for the life of his brother prevented him for complying with this request.     In the mean time, the Indian, jealous of the honor of his scalp, even in the agonies of death, succeeded in reaching the river and getting into the current, so that his body was never obtained.     An unfortunate occurrence took place during this conflict. Just as Adam arrived at the top of the bank, for the relief of his brother, one of the party who had followed close behind him, seeing Andrew in the river, and mistaking him for a wounded Indian, shot at him and wounded him in the shoulder. He, however, recovered from his wounds.  In the mean time, the Indian, jealous of the honor of his scalp, even in the agonies of death, succeeded in reaching the river and getting into the current, so that his body was never obtained.     An unfortunate occurrence took place during this conflict. Just as Adam arrived at the top of the bank, for the relief of his brother, one of the party who had followed close behind him, seeing Andrew in the river, and mistaking him for a wounded Indian, shot at him and wounded him in the shoulder. He, however, recovered from his wounds.     During the contest between Andrew Poe and the Indians, the party had overtaken the remaining six of them. A desperate conflict ensued, in which five of the Indians were killed. Our loss was three men killed, and Andrew Poe, severely wounded.     Thus ended this Spartan conflict, with the loss of three valiant men on our part, and with that of the whole of the Indian party, with the exception of one warrior. Never, on any occasion, was there a greater display of desperate bravery, and seldom did a conflict take place which, in the issue, proved fatal to so great a proportion of those engaged in it.     The fatal issue of this little campaign on the side of the Indians, occasioned an universal mourning among the Wyandot nation. The big Indian, and his four brothers, all of whom were killed at the same place, were among the most distinguished chiefs and warriors of their nation.     The big Indian was magnanimous, as well as brave. He, more that any other individual, contributed by his example and influence to the good character of the Wyandots, for lenity towards their prisoners. He would not suffer them to be killed or ill treated. This mercy to captives was an honorable distinction in the character of the Wyandots, and was well understood by our first settlers, who, in case of captivity, thought it a fortunate circumstance to fall into their hands."

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