James Morris


James Morris of Mason County – near Mayslick, large brick, to the right of the turnpike coming from Maysville.

Morris, Shotwwell, and Drakes. 8 families of us left N.J. in May 1788. &5 of them came to Mayslick, and settled in a circle around the Salt spring. Laid off their farms so as to corner in the lick spring. & then settled in their corners, with port-holes in their cabins, so as that they could fire from any four, on those attacking the 5th. This would account for its irregular position. This of defence, and the reason of giving each a part in the spring, made their lines somewhat crooked.
The 1st year, the whole of us had to subsist upon wild meat, except 100 lbs of bacon which was left to my father, because it was so old, they didn’t claim a share. The law of the settlement was, that while there was any bread in the settlement it should be divided among the company. We got so that 4 families were out one morning, and they sent sound and found one family with a loaf, (half) which was divided among the children. They had given 4/5 hitherto. Before dinner, a wagon came along from towards Paris, loaded with meal, at 3/5, which we bought with nearly all the money we had.

Wood was 1st. (then) Flora 2nd. Stites 3rd. Kelsy 4th. Lawson next year.

A man by the name of Wood was killed in the spring of 1788, just a little to the north of the road, between Washington and Maysville, just a few weeks before we came.

A few months before the Kelsy affair, (if Kelsy’s was in Dec. it was the same year,) one Flora was crossing Johnson’s fork hill with 2 or 3 others, he the only one I believe with a gun; the Indians fired and killed Thos.? Flora. (They were coming on to Washington, and coming up Johnston’s fork hill, and the Indians lay in ambush.) They were all on horseback, and made their escape by their horses leaping a log, which was in the way, while the Indians had to run round the Top (called the Cap) (Cap off those limbs.) and thus the horsemen got the start. They had shot the only gun in the company, thinking they could overtake and capture the rest. The Flora family afterwards settled Flora’s Station, Chenoweth’s and Ross it was afterwards called, between here and Howe’s Mill.

Nehemiah Stites, nephew of the 2 that settled at the mouth of the Big Miami, had been at Washington to build a cabin; on his return, with one other, they were attacked by 3 Indians. The 2 had their guns cocked, and raised to fire, but Stites was not quite quick enough. He was shot before he could shoot.

Wade Jr.
Stites & Wade Jr.              Shotwell & Wade Sr.        Morris & Grant were out hunting – all within hearing of the Indians guns. When the Indians fired and Wade shot, Morris and Grant (heard their guns, and so did the other two.) saw a flock of wild turkies fly up into the trees, which these supposed they had been after, and Morris held Grant’s horse, while Grant should go to shoot at them. (He didn’t fire.) It was the practice when any went off to a distance to build a cabin, and spent a week, they should take Saturday afternoon, and hunt half the day home. Stites was shot down and the Indians ran up and tomahawked & scalped him. Both were on horse-back. (Stites the year before Lawson and between Flora & Kelsy.) Wade Jr. escaped & Stites’ horse, but lost the coverlid on which he was riding. Buildings were going on while we were yet at Washington.

When we were putting up the 1st cabins at Mayslick, a party of packers came along, and camped about 2 miles north of Mayslick. The Indians came upon them and alarmed them. 2 of the man raised up their heads, and the Indians fired, and killed one of the men and wounded the other. (Part of the cabins were up; some were not yet done. They built cabins as high as the 1st floor, and took apart an old wagon and put it on for a cover, through which they got down inside of and slept of nights, cutting only port holes to shoot through, at first, without cutting window or door out.) The woman of the family Xashed on a bucket of water that had been brought up. (Kelsy was the wounded man. Was a citizen down at Maysville or Washington, and probably was in the employ of those packers. He was camping together with them. This is the fall 1788.) The woman thus put out the light for him to see to shoot by. Then jumped in the wagon, and broke open a chest nailed down, and handed out some ammunition. When the Indians fired, the men saw to fire by the flash of their guns, & still drove the Indians back. The woman’s husband ran away, and reported they were all killed. Kelsy crept out of the way, and caught a horse, and came in. The Indians would still fire at the wagon, where they had seen the fire, and the men, as soon as they got their ammunition treed [?], and fired where they saw the Indians’ guns to flash, and so drove them back and compelled them to leave their blankets, while they maintained their grounds.

James Lawson’s escape interrupted the 1st wedding that ever was celebrated at Mayslick. The ceremony had just been performed, when the horsemen from the 2d wagon brought in the alarm. Richard Tennant to Ann Shotwell – 1st wife. (Tennant moved to Ind.) Between Johnston’s fork & the Blue Licks. The wagon that had crossed the Licking, and came this way. Was the 1st that was attacked. The other wagon was going towards the Licking. (This was in 1789, the year following these others.) Ann Shotwell, was an aunt of Dr. Drake. When they pursued after the wagoner, in the Lawson case, they killed several Indians in rescuing him, after getting in Ohio.

The case of Downing. Mr. Morris states he killed 2 Indians, when he made his escape. One that lay with his head rolled up in a blanket, and one that pulled out the tin cup. He killed the man with the cup first, and then the other before he could get his head out. A little Indian besides, not killed.

They came on a Dutchman, at a Sugar camp, down here by Washington, making sugar. They were hunting horses, & tied a string of bells around him, and set him on a horse. As they came to a pen, and were going round, he cut the string to his bell & escaped into the field, where he got away. They had taken him to be a slave (in the dark) and he made out as if he had been very badly treated.
In 1788 at the attendance on public worship, the people were obliged to go out and have sentinels to walk round, and keep a guard. This at Washington – and the worship was on logs under a grove.
Garrard (Jas.) was raised in Stafford County, Va. Was one with William Wood, in organizing the Mayslick Church, in 1789.


from the Draper Papers, 13CC202+