Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mrs. John Merrill of Kentucky, A True American Amazon

A True American Amazon

Women of the American Frontier often lived lonely and isolated lives.... For many of them just getting up in the morning and facing the day's backbreaking chores required more courage than many modern woman ever dream of in the ordinary course of events. In my horror novel Shadows in a Timeless Myth, I explore a variety of different women from different backgrounds and the courage they show in paranormal, or otherwise extraordinary events.

Here is the story of a American frontierswoman Mrs. John Merrill, who faced real-life, extraordinary circumstances with fierce courage. Note that history does not even tell us her given name, but only that of her husband, and that the Indian warrior gave her the honorific title of Long Knife Squaw.

During the summer of 1787, writes Mr. McClung, in his Sketches of Western Adventure, "The house of Mr. John Merrill, of Nelson county, Kentucky, was attacked by the Indians, and defended with singular address and good fortune. Merrill was alarmed by the barking of a dog about midnight, and upon opening the door in order to ascertain the cause of the disturbance, he received the fire of six or seven Indians, by which one arm and one thigh were broken. He instantly sank upon the floor, and called upon his wife to close the door. This had scarcely been done when it was violently assailed by the tomahawks of the enemy, and a large breach soon effected. Mrs. Merrill, however, being a perfect amazon, both in strength and courage, guarded it with an axe, and successively killed or badly wounded four of the enemy as they attempted to force their way into the cabin.

"The Indians ascended the roof, and attempted to enter by way of the chimney; but here again they were met by the same determined enemy. Mrs. Merrill seized the only feather bed which the cabin afforded, and hastily ripping it open, poured its contents upon the fire. A furious blaze and stifling smoke instantly ascended the chimney, and brought down two of the enemy, who lay for a few moments at the mercy of the lady. Seizing the axe, she quickly dispatched them, and was instantly afterwards summoned to the door, where the only remaining savage now appeared, endeavoring to effect an entrance, while Mrs. Merrill was engaged at the chimney.

The sole surviving warrior, soon received a gash in the cheek, which compelled him, with a loud yell, to relinquish his purpose, and return hastily to Chillicothe, where, from the report of a prisoner, he gave an exaggerated account of the fierceness, strength, and courage of the 'long knife squaw!'"

 Compiled From Sources In The Public Domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

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