Adams County History & Genealogy

Adams County, Ohio History

Andrew Ellison's Narrative of His Captivity

In the spring of the year 1793, the settlers at Manchester commenced clearing the cut-lots of the town; and while so engaged, an incident of much interest and excitement occurred.

Mr. Andrew Ellison, one of the settlers, cleared a lot immediately adjoining the fort. He had completed the cutting of the timber, rolled the logs together and set them on fire. The next morning, a short time before daybreak, Mr. Ellison opened one of the gates of the fort and went out to throw his logs together. By the time he had finished this job, a number of the heaps blazed up brightly, and as he was passing from one to the other, he observed, by the light of the fires, three men walking briskly towards him. This did not alarm him in the least, although, he said, they were dark skinned fellows; yet he concluded they were the Wades, whose complexions were very dark, going early to hunt.

He continued to right his log-heaps, until one of the fellows seized him by the arms, and called out in broken English, "Howdo? howdo?" He instantly looked in their faces, and to his surprise and horror, found himself in the clutches of three Indians. To resist was useless. He therefore submitted to his fate, without any resistance. or an attempt to escape. The Indians quickly moved off with him in the direction of Paint creek.

When breakfast was ready, Mrs. Ellison sent one of her children to ask their father home; but he could not be found at the log-heaps. His absence created no immediate alarm, as it was thought he might have started to hunt after the completion of his work. Dinner time arrived, and Ellison not returning, the family became uneasy, and began to suspect some accident had happened to him. His gunrack was examined, and there hung his rifle and his pouch in their usual place. Massie raised a party and made a circuit around the place and found, after some search, the trails of four men one of whom had on shoes; and as Ellison had shoes on, the truth that the Indians had made him a prisoner was unfolded. As it was almost night at the time the trail was discovered, the party returned to their station.

Next morning early, preparations were made by Massie and his party to pursue the Indians. In doing this they found great difficulty, as it was so early in the spring that the vegetation was not of sufficient growth to show plainly the trail of the Indians, who took the precaution to keep on hard and high land, where their feet could make little or no impression. Massie and his party, however, were as unerring as a pack of well-trained hounds, and followed the trail to Paint creek, when they found the Indians gained so fast on them that pursuit was vain. They therefore abandoned it and returned to the station.

The Indians took their prisoner to Upper Sandusky and compelled him to run the gauntlet. As Ellison was a large man and not very active, he received a severe flogging as he passed along the line. From this place he was taken to Lower Sandusky and was again compelled to run the gauntlet, and was then taken to Detroit, where he was generously ransomed by a British officer for one hundred dollars. He was shortly afterwards sent by his friend the officer to Montreal, from whence he returned home before the close of the summer of the same year.

An Encyclopedia of the state: History both general and local, geography with descriptions of its counties, cities and villages, its agricultural, manufacturing, mining and business development, sketches of eminent and interesting characters, etc., with notes of a tour over it in 1886.
The Ohio Centennial Edition
- Henry Howe, LL.D. [© 1888]