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The Wyoming Valley Massacre of 1757,Part Two


Thomas Pattison

Chapter Five

(Describing the massacre of the Utter Family and the captivity of two Utter sisters - Sarah and Johanna)


Early in September, 1757, the Canadian Indians - in number about thirty - accompanied by a number of squaws, simultaneously attacked at three different points.  Mr. Utter and his oldest son Moses were absent from Wyoming when they made the attack on the house.  Their division consisted of seven Canadian Indians, three squaws, and several Indians acquainted in the neighborhood. These latter could speak English, had been fed and well-treated at Mr. Utter's, and heretofore appeared Friendly.  They now appeared to act as spies to the Canadian Indians, and seemed now reckless and without the least sympathy for the sufferers.

Mr. Utter was a cooper by trade and had a journeyman in his employ, who at the time the Indians entered the house sat at the table with the family at dinner.  They made their entrance unnoticed - even by the dog, who before would not allow an Indian about the premises until quieted by some one of the family.  They shot three balls through him; then seeing but one man, they advanced to the table, seized the journeyman, led him to the door, then tomahawked and scalped him.  Fearing no resistance, they began rummaging the house for food - like so many hungry wolves.  Mrs. Utter told them she would prepare victuals for them, at which the Indians - heretofore friendly - expressed a malicious grin, and questioned Mrs. Utter concerning her husband and oldest sons.  She told them they had gone a different direction - in hope they might escape, which they seemed to doubt.

The children gathered about their Mother, to whom she made the best use of her time in admonition and advice, telling them she would be killed and probably some of them, and some made prisoners.  The Indians did not tarry long, soon surveyed the forlorn group and made the selection - who for the scalping knife and who for captivity.  They took Sarah (editor's note: my 5th great-grandmother) at the age of nine years and Johanna aged seven - the former the mother of the author, the latter his Aunt; led them out at the door, tomahawked the Mother, two brothers, and two sisters scalped - whose shrieks and screams were heard by the prisoners.  This diversion had (when they made the attack on Mrs. Utter's family) three prisoners: David Harris, an acquaintance and near neighbor about the age of Sarah above-named, he being taken when his Father had sent him on an errand, (the rest of the family were fortunate enough to escape), and two little girls about seven or eight years of age.

They all now left in haste, except two who had formerly appeared friendly - who tarried to secure Mr. Utter and Sons, probably agreeing with the Canadian Indians to do so.  On leaving, Johanna above-named, though at the age of only seven years, was restive, gave vent to her anguish by loud lamentable cries in defiance of all the threats of the Indians - who threatened to kill her.  She was all but frenzied and told them to kill her, as she wanted to die.  They placed a hand over her mouth to prevent the outburst of her grief, while Sarah, her sister, two years older, better knew in what their safety depended and what course to pursue for their immediate safety, and treated her with all the kindness of a sister to stifle her grief, in which she prevailed and became quiet.

The Indians advanced upon Israel Baldwin, killed his two children, took him and his wife, and set fire to his buildings. They advanced about five miles in haste, where they halted, waiting to be joined by other members of their party. They soon appeared, junction formed, who united had three prisoners, the only adults among them were five in number, viz: Israel Baldwin and wife, two young men, (Jonathan Mosier and Thomas Quick), and Mrs. Gifford with her eight months old babe - whose husband was killed before her eyes attempting to make a defense against their assailants.

Mr. Utter - as before observed with his son Moses was absent at Wyoming - upon returning heard the report of guns at different directions of their settlement.  Moses became alarmed, feeling confident the destruction of their settlement was progressing, and urged his Father to delay their return until evening and then advance cautiously - for which his Father rebuked him, thinking his fears groundless, stating the fire was from the inhabitants celebrating the Harvest Home, which is practiced by some people, especially the Dutch; who constituted a large share of the inhabitants.  The Harvest Home was quite a Jubilee, manifesting their joy and delight, having secured the blessings vouchsafed to them by bounteous Heaven - which they manifest by various performances fitting to their taste.  But Moses maintained the reverse, and so earnestly besought his Father to delay their return - which rather checked their progress in advancing as twilight came upon them.

About forty rods from their dwelling, coming out of a nursery of apple trees, Moses continued with still greater intensity to urge their delay, feeling with certainty that the settlement was destroyed and the family killed.  His Father was so far exorable to delay for even a moment, when they saw the visage of a person come out of the house looking in different directions.  "There," said his Father, "is your Mother, looking for our approach." He still apprehended no danger.  Moses urged him to be silent, asserting that the person he saw was an Indian.  Presently, the visage of two persons came out of the house, seemed to look in every direction, gave an Indian "Whoop," and returned into the house.

The Father and son now secreted themselves in the nursery - when just at the break of day the two Indians at the house came out, apparently looking in different directions, gave a "Whoop" and left in haste.  The Father and son now emerged from their covert and retired in haste and survey, not knowing whether the Indians were in secret watching the house, and assuming all their friends were killed or made captive.  Moses, as afore stated, lived three miles from his Father, and had a wife and one child.  It so happened at the time of the massacre that Moses' brother Abraham was at Moses' house, and while there Abraham (with Moses' family) escaped to a place of safety.

As soon as the survivors dared venture, they repaired to their wasted homes to seek the remains of their murdered friends.  They did not feel safe to tarry long, and buried in haste the mangled and shattered fragments of their murdered friends.  In after time, many of those remains which were buried in shallow graves were found to be dug up by wolves, and some of the bones remained scattered over the ground.

After this disaster, Mr. Utter became despondent and sank under these unparalleled afflictions.  I would here state that David Harris - named in the forepart of this chapter - in after time lived near neighbor to my Father, in Rennsalearville, Albany Co., N. Y. for some twelve years.  From whom and other kindred sources the Author is indebted for the knowledge of the facts set forth in this narrative, as he had received it direct from the sufferers and others familiar with the circumstances.  (Contemporaneous observers of these events).

The Wyoming Valley Massacre of 1757, Part Three.

The Utter Family Tree

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