A Surprising Account, OF THE Captivity and Escape OF Philip M'Donald, AND Alexander M'Leod, OF VIRGINIA. FROM THE Chickkemogga Indians, AND OF THEIR Great Discoveries IN THE Western World.

From June 1779, to January 1786, when they returned in health to their Friends, After an Absence of six Years and a Half.



Printed in BENNINGTON: in the Year MDCC,LXXXVI.



A Surprising Account &c. OF DISCOVERIES IN THE Western World.

IT has been a matter of observation, that whatever is out of the common line of hu­man occurrences, though credibly attested to, is generally passed over very slightly, and treated as empty chim [...]ras by a respectable part of mankind.

The accounts received from the Ohio, of the discovery of ancient fortifications, and the jaw-teeth, thigh bones, &c. of certain animals, though recorded by a Parsons, a Sul­livan, and other esteemed personages, and some of these [...]uriosities deposited in the custody of Dr. Stiles of New-Haven college, yet the truth of the matter is doubted by many, and the veracity of the wr [...]ters called in ques­tion. Probably the truth of this little narra­tive may be doubted, but as the nar­rators are well known by many, and the real­ity of their sufferings evident from the marks on their mutilated bodies, they doubt not that the account of the [...]r extraordinary discoveries will be highly pleasing to the public in gener­al, and pay the expence of printing, &c.

[Page 4]It was early in the month of May in the [...]ear 1779. that the narrators▪ Philip M'Don­ [...]ald of Edinburgh, lately resident in Virgin­ [...]a, and Alexander M'Leod, of Scotch descent▪ born in Williamsburgh, Virgin [...]a, and educated as well as that part of the continent could af­ford; left the place of their residence to join the American army, as volunteers, against the ind [...]ans. Our offer was graciously accepted, and we soon had an opportunity, not only to shew our courage in combating those brutal enemies, the indians, but, almost fatally, to be made acquainted with their most horrid cru­elty. We were detached with a small party, to make discoveries, and re [...]connoitre the situ­ation of a number of indians supposed to be in the vicinity; after a tedious scout of three or four days, we were almost worn out with fa­tigue, and being destitute of necessaries, we determined to return to the main body, but were soon convinced of the impracticability of our scheme. It was just about eight o'clock in the evening of the 17th of June, when, not being apprehensive of danger, we were set down to supper on a quarter of a buck, which one of our company had killed about two hours before; our arms and ammunition were about thirty rods distant; our little company as happy in their repast as good food and keen appetites could make them; and the fear of an enemy entirely ban [...]shed from our minds, when we were fired on by a party of about twenty indians of the Chickkemogga nation, and four out of ten, of which number our [Page 5] company con [...]i [...]ted were killed instantly, and two others so badly wounded as to be unable to move. It may easily be conceived how astonished we were at this salute, but no time for consideration was given, for the savages, rising from their ambush, had nearly surround­ed us, at the distance of about thirty rods. An opening towards the place where our arms were deposited, was left which we ea­gerly took the advantage of, and got safe to the spot: By this time we were totally surrounded, but determining to sell our lives as dear as we could, we discharged all our pieces at the enemy. The surviving indians, now rushed on and disarmed us in a moment, and from their behaviour we had every reason to expect a horrid and immed [...]ate death, but Providence had otherwise decreed.

The dead indians, nearly double our num­ber, were no sooner bur [...]ed, than the state of the surviving part of our little company was examined, and from the looks and gestures of the indians, we could easily perceive a massacre was intended, and one of their party, who c [...]uld speak English, ins [...]ltingly asked us if we would not have a little more roast meat, & which of us would choo [...]e to be roasted. As we well k [...]ew [...]hat no humil [...]ation would move them to pity, we offered t [...]em every insult in our power, to induce them to dispa [...]ch us instantly, b [...]t all [...] horrid thirst f [...]r cruelty and for [...] not to [...] so easily d [...]sappo [...]ed.

A great fire was now ma [...]e, and the two [Page 6] unfortunate creatures, who, as before related, were badly wounded, named Thomas Hud­slip, and William Gradnow, of Pennsylvania, were stript naked, and bound fast to the tops of two saplings, previously cleared of limbs and bark for the horrid business. These sap­lings were just strong enough to keep the en [...] seebled bodies of the unfortunate sufferers in an erect position. Another sapling, rather larger was now pruned of the limbs and bent down so as to reach the heads of the victims, by the weight of two indians, who, having with their knives cut round the skin of each of the victim's heads, from the forehead to the back of the neck, and sk [...]nned it a little way, fastened their hair to the tree, and jumping from the tree it tore the whole scalp off in an instant. They then threw hot coals and em­bers on their heads, after this they pierced their bodies all over, and stuck them full of pitch pine splinters, dipt in turpentine; even in their very eyes some of these instruments of torture were placed, and set on fire. The poor unfortunate creatures, under these dread­ful tortures, were suffered to remain about half an hour, when the split pieces of pitch pine before mentioned being wholly consum­ed, or extingu [...]shed by their blood, the infer­nal savages br [...]ght fire and placed under their feet, burning them by degrees till their entra [...]ls dropped into the fire, the fire was then renewed, about them and the whole carcases consumed to ashes,

[Page 7]After this most horrid and unnatural trag­edy, we were carried on for six days through the woods into the Ohio country, without making any stop, here our other two com­panions, were unable to proceed any farther, by reason of their wounds, they were there­fore massacred in a manner equally cruel as the others, being roasted to death by such slow degrees, as to be nearly twenty four hours in the extremity of torture.

After six days further very severe travel, we arrived at a large indian town. Here we were met by a great number of indians, men, women and children, who were no sooner ac­quainted with the loss they had sustained by our means, than they determined on putting us to the torture for revenge: We were both ac­cordingly str [...]pped, and whipped by every in­dian present, till at length we fainted with an­guish and loss of blood. After remaining some time in this distrest situation, we were removed into a wigwam, under a strong guard of indians, to be kept a few days till the arri­val of another party expected from the westward, who were going to war against the Americans, when we were to be sacrificed. But this horrid scene we providentially escap­ed in the following remarkable manner.

The sixth night after our dreadful punish­ment, we awoke, and perceiving that four out of six of our guard were asleep, and the other [...] in a defenceless posture, as our soreness made them think we could do them no harm: being both unbound, and two or three tomahawks [Page 8] lying within our reach, we determined to make an attempt to escape; we communicated our intention by signs to each other, and seizing the tomahawks sunk them in an in­stant in the heads of the waking indians. We killed the others likewise without any noise, and snatching up our own knapsacks and clothes that lay in one corner of the wigwam, and taking each of us a knife, tomahawk and musket, we issued forth and traveling all night, reached the top of a high mountain▪ here we tarried near a week, feeding on roots, &c. till our wounds began to heal, and then pursued our rout along the mountain, fearing to descend into the vallies, least we shou'd fall into the hands of the inhuman savages, which we dreaded worse than death itself. It was now, according to our calculation, about the middle of August, and we had traveled near twelve days, improving every hour we could, in a due west direction We were arrived at a part of the country beautiful to view, the a [...]r was serene, the trees at so great a d [...]stance as almost to bear the appearance of a cleared up country, for a considerable distance round, and a variety of animals passed us, seemingly in­offensive, within a few rods of us and would st [...]p and graise near us. Our surprise at these matters was very great: It was sometime since we had tasted flesh, and appetite prompted us to desire it; we had gathered a variety of fruits that answered very well for bread, but we felt a reluctance at the thoughts of destroy­ing creatures feeding pea [...]eably around [...] [Page 9] We had ranged about for some time in search of a spring, when we at last came to one, on the side of a hill, that laid open to the sun. We d [...]pped up a cupfull and tasted it, when we were surpr [...]sed to find it salter than brine, and observing the channel in which it flowed, we perceived the margin was covered with a thin crust of pure white salt, of which we scraped up a considerable quantity, return­ing grateful thanks to providence for so great a [...]avour.

We now determined to make use of our newly acquired treasure, to prepare a little food for prosecuting our journey westward, as we were not yet freed from our fear of the indians. With this v [...]ew we shot one of the peaceful tenants of the wood, who [...]e b [...]dy was about the size of a sheep, and most delicious food. We corned our meat, and should have stayed in this beautiful place a long time, but our fear of the Indians prevented. We found in the pleasant retreat trees that bore a sort of fruit that tasted sweet and much like a good pear, when first gathered but after being dried a few days, tasted like [...]ew bread

We began to gather and prepare our bread, and in about four days set forward again with all the expedition we could, being still [...]a [...]nt­ed with the dread of the savages. We trav­eled on at a great rate, for a long time find­ing such a plenty of delic [...]ous wi [...]d fru [...]ts, that we scarce [...]y ever eat more than one meal a day of our preserved food.

We reckoned now that it must be about the [Page 10] latter part of September, and as we had travel­ed at a great rate, we thought ourselves out of the reach of the hostile indians, and thinking so beautiful a country must be designed for the sustenance of some favored beings, we determined to descend into the vallies, and make what discoveries we could.

We had passed several small rivers on legs, and trunks of trees, &c. which we found blown down and lying near their banks, but after travelling in the low lands about three weeks longer, in our old due west course, we arrived at the bank of a large river or sea. We thought now that all our journeying westward, was at an end, however after tra­velling along the bank of the river a few days we discovered a large canoe with paddles in it; this circumstance made us fear we were rear some nation of indians, and as we were afraid of falling into the hands of savages, we determined, to embark, although the wind blow high from the east, and accordingly jumping into the canoe, we soon rigged up a sort of a mast, and committed ourselves to the mercy of the winds and waves.

We had when we went on board, about ten days provision, which we determined to husband to the best advantage as we were uncertain what provision we should find on the western shore.

It was about the middle of the afternoon when we embarked, and as we sailed at a great rate we were soon out of sight of land, howe­ver as the wind seemed rather to fall than ri [...]e, [Page 11] and the weather was clear, we apprehended no danger, but put on before the wind cheer­ful expectation of reaching the western shore next morning. But alas! how uncertain are all human prospects; about midnight, we were [...]urried away by a swift south-west cur­rent, at an inconceivable swift rate, without any pr [...]spect of release from it, and without any appearance of a western shore.

After being carried at a surprizing rate for fifteen days, towards evening we perceived the current gradually changed its course, and set towards the shore, and that its force abated cosiderably. Our provisions were now ex­hausted to the last morsel, but we had some hopes of relief, as we had worked our boat in­to the ends, were got into a creek, with a pleasant sh [...]re on each side, on which to our in­ex [...]essi [...]l [...] [...] we soon effected a landing, and feasted on the spontaneous luxuries of nature, with which the shore abounded.

Here we must mention with admiration, the surprizing benificence of Deity, in replenishing the earth with every necessary and even luxu­rious growth of nature, for the sustenance of his dependent creatures. Here we found a fine well watered country, beautiful to behold, the trees were exceeding high and large, at a great distance from each other, and so little underbrush that a man may easily have cleared an acre in two days. The wild fruits were excellent, and the spontaneous growths of the earth were beyond all descr [...]ption luxuriant. We had not travelled far in the level country, [Page 12] before we reached a large plain kind of track, free from every sort of vegetation, and re­sembling a road in America: on seeing this, we concluded we must be near some sort of inhabi­tants, but as we were uncertain of what sort they may be it made us tremble with appre­hension. We l [...]f [...]ed up our hearts a d [...]vo [...]ees to heaven for protect [...]on, and relying on the mercyful care of providence determined to pro­secute our journey along the beaten path untill we arrived at some place of dwelling for hu­man beings; we had not been long traveling, in the r [...]ad before mentioned, when we dis­tinctly heard a human voice at a small distance from us, a [...]d by the sound, we were led to conclude, the speaker was not of the indian tribes w [...]th [...] we had been acquainted. We st [...]pped for some time, irresolute and un­deter [...]ed whether to proceed or to retire; when a [...] voice assailed our ears, and suddenly a monstrous creature in human shape, but; nearly twelve feet in height, jumped from a rock into the road, and taking us both up, almost dead with fear, it to his hand, exclaim­ed, in the Hebrew language, what creatures can these be!

We were now partly recovered from our frig [...]t, and seeing no apperance of malignity in the aspect of our possess [...]r, we carefully turned ourselves round & took h [...]ld of the long shaggy hair of his outside parment to keep us from talking, and then ventured to ad­dress him [...]n the language of his [...]xc [...]a [...]a­t [...]on, a [...]d beg h [...]m not to kill us. He was pleased beyond measure to hear us [Page 13] speak, and told us to apprehend no dan­ger from him, for he belonged to a race of beings that never intentionally did harm to any creature.

We were greatly relieved from our fears by this declaration, and after about an hour's travel, upon rising a high hill we discovered a large regular built city before us, in appear­ance, but when we came to it our astonishment was greatly encreased. The houses were ex­ceedingly beautiful and lofty though consist­ing of but two stories, and the people appear­ed exceedingly loving and tractable.

It was only a little village as they informed us, about ten English miles in length, and the same in breadth, and contained about five hundred families.

Mr. M'Donald having been educated at the University of Edinburgh, could under­stand their language perfectly well, and com­municated to them the history of Europe, at which they were much surprised. In return they informed us, that they had ancient re­cords which we might see, if we pleased.

In examining the records, we discovered that they were originally from Asia, and most pro­bably seperated from that continent soon after the fl [...]od. They have a tradition among them that a long time ago, then progen [...]tors were miraculously planted by the being they adore, on the happy spot they at present possess, (wh [...]ch is [...] a [...]cording to our com­putation, two thou [...]and miles in circum [...]erence. [Page 14] That they were prohibited by their religion from war, and that murder and infidelity were equally unknown among them.

They address their praises to the sun, as the representative of the being they adore; for which purpose the whole village were summoned together at the rising and setting of that planet. When with united voices, and a solemn attention beyond what we had ever seen before, they performed their ceremonies.

These people are strangers to the use of flesh, and all kinds of spirituous liquors; they live to a great age, and though vastly numerous, they populate to slow that it is very ra [...]e three children belong to one family. We saw some people among them above an hundred years old, according to their reckoning, and their days are nearly twice the length of ours.

We were sent soon after we were found, to the high priest or king of their nation, who attend­ed with great pleasure the recital of our prin­ciples of religion, and the divine precepts of the scripture, but when we informed him of the quarrels among christians, and their shed­ding so much blood to support their different sectaries, his astonishment was greater than can be conceived, and in his public declam­ations he often took occasion to return thanks that the vices of christians were unknown to them as to practice.

We could have spent our lives among this people contentedly, and never should have thought of seeking for another home, but Providence had ordered otherwise, and [...] re­turn [Page 15] to our native home after a long absence was effected by accident as follows.

On a little uninhabited island, about three leagues from the main, grows a sort of fruit of which the inhabitants of the main are ex­ceeding fond, and which, when dried, in taste, nearly resembles rich cake: the produce of this island is collected annually by the king's ord­ers, and distributed throughout his dominions. The water craft made use of in this business, is very large and strong built boats, con­veniently fixed for the purpose, & covered with a deck to prevent the fruit from getting wet. The annual produce of this island is comput [...] to be equal to one half the bread consumed by the inhabitants in a year. And as the inhabit­ants are exceeding fond of milk with their cake, (of which they have great plenty) it forms a very considerable part of their living.

We had been among these hosp [...]table peo­ple so long that all their cares became ours, and we partook of all their amusements. We were with the party employed on the [...]sla [...]d business, and had nearly complea [...]ed our lad­ing, when a violent storm arose, which occa­sioned some of the boats to break their land­fasts, and as none of the natives were in the boat with us, we were driven at the mercy of the winds and waves, and were soon out of sight of land. The storm beginning to en­crea [...]e, we [...] [...] our helm down, and went [...] and now T [...] raged with great v [...]o­lence, [...] from the c [...]s in [...] us to [...] our­selves [Page 16] up close, the storm continuing with unremitted fury for several days, during which we lost ou [...] rudder and mast.

We were driven in this situation twenty eight days without any prospect of relief. We put up our earnest supplications to heaven for assistance, and returned unfeigned thanks for the signal interposi [...]ons of providence in our behalf. It was early in the morning of the twenty ninth day, while we were at our devotions, that we discovered a sh [...]p to the south of us, and steering towards us. Tho, we had never hoped to see Europeans again our joy at th [...]s discovery cannot be easily con­ceived or described. The sh [...]p proved to be a Russian frigate, just returning from a voyage of discoveries in the South S [...]a [...], w [...]o took us on board and tre [...]ed us [...] great humanity Our fruit was of a kind they [...]d not seen in their voyage, and on our arrival at St. Petersburgh, we received a hands [...]me price for our cargo, and a strong inv [...]tation to sail in [...]er I [...]per a Majesty's serv [...]e [...] of the [...]sland we described, but our imma [...] to see our friends prompted us to equ [...]p [...]; for our voyage to America. We accord [...] [...] o [...]t Petersburg on board an English vessel [...] to L [...]don, from whe [...]ce we set [...] a few days af [...]er, and [...] Heave arrived safe in Virginia [...] of January 1786, after an absence of [...] six years and a half.


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