The following sketch was written by Dr. Thomas A. Eagle, jr., of Macon City, Missouri, in reply to a letter making certain inquiries concerning the first settlers of Mohican. It differs, in some degree, from the recollection of others, but from his standpoint is, no doubt, reliable. He places the location of the Eagles in 1810. They were, undoubtedly, in Mohican in May 1809. The forts alluded to were, probably, the Buren or Metcalf, and Shinabarger blockhouses, and stockade.
"The whites commenced their first settlement in Mohican Township in the spring of 1810. In that spring four families emigrated and settled in the rich and fertile valley of the Mohican. The first settlement was made on the west side of the stream, generally from one-half to one mile from it. Alexander Finley and family were the first emigrants. They arrived about two weeks before the families of Thomas Eagle and my father, William Eagle, who were met and cordially welcomed by Mr. Finley. Mr. Finley and family brought with them, for the use of father and family, a bucket of buttermilk and a fine corn pone, which was quite a treat, and thankfully received. This was their first meeting and acquaintance. It was very pleasant and cordial, and ripened into an attachment that grew stronger from day to day, and was never chilled by jealousies or broils. Their limited means, dangers, and dependence upon each other, had the effect to cement the friendship. Their families imbibed the same feeling, and, to day, the descendants of these pioneers look back to their childhood days, on the banks of the Mohican, with feelings of delight. Surrounded by dangers and endured to hardships, they learned to think for themselves, and acquired courage to accomplish the task they had undertaken. It was no place for faint hearts or irresolution. They were forty miles from the settlements and in the midst of red men, who generally treated them kindly until the war of 1812. The first settlers were, religiously, of the Methodists and Presbyterians. The Finleys and Eagles were exemplary members, and their children became members of one or the other of these churches. My father, William Eagle, remained in Mohican township, on the farm on which he settled, until the spring of 1855, when he removed to Iowa, and from thence to Missouri, and died in Kirksville, aged seventy-six years.
"In the winter of 1862 my mother died in her ninety-second year. They were natives of Virginia. They had seven children - four are dead, and three living: one, Elizabeth Culbertson, resides in Iowa - She was the first white child born in Mohican, February 20, 1811 - Mary Montgomery, wife of Jonathan Montgomery, of Macon Missouri, and myself.
"The Delaware Indians inhabited Mohican at the time of the opening of the war of 1812, and were regarded as hostile and treacherous. At that time the white settlers had become pretty numerous, and were much annoyed at the presence of the Indians. The alarms were frequent, sometimes well founded, and at others false. When the murders on the Black fork took place, by the Indians, the inhabitants of the Jerome fork erected two block-houses, one a few hundred yards north of my father's house (William Eagle), and one two miles north. The one north was known as the Hellar blockhouse. When it looked threatening, the settlers sought safety in the blockhouses and stockades. The Indians were tampered by a Frenchman by the name of Jerome, who was married to a squaw. He had been trading with them several years, and had a post at what is now Jeromeville. The place was named after him. During the Indian troubles it was agreed that there should be no shooting at the blockhouses unless in case of alarm, for the benefit of those at work on their improvements. Late one afternoon the citizens heard shooting at Hellar's blockhouse. They hastened to depart to General Beall's army at Wooster, as it was thought impracticable to reach the fort. Father, with his family, started. Mother Eagle was sick in bed, unable to travel on foot. Sometimes she was held on a horse, and at others carried on the route. My oldest sister (Mary) was then a small child, and also had to be carried. When they arrived at the Mohican, the canoe was on opposite side. Mr. Finley had arrived and crossed, and concealed his family on the opposite side of the stream, supposing that the fleeing families were Indians in pursuit of him. Finding it impossible to cross, father went down the stream and the family secreted south of what is now Finley's bridge, for the night. I have often heard father relate this adventure while my childish fears were aroused. The family were not molested, and reached their destination in safety.
"After the close of the war, the settlers of Mohican were compelled to undergo many privations. For several years they had to go thirty or forty miles to mill, on pack-horses, following the Indian trails as best they could or in canoes, down the Lake fork of Mohican and up Owl creek to Shrimplin's mill, and by-paths to Apple Creek, in Wayne county. Some may conclude that the first settlers would be gloomy and despondent. Such is not the fact. Amidst toil and dangers they would have their sport. On one occasion, when there was an alarm, it was thought the Indians were approaching. The citizens convened at James Colyer's, about one mile east of the Mohican. In the night they heard a noise, which they imagined to be the Indians. In great haste, each seized his gun and took position to be ready for the bloody contest; but one of their numbers, on attempting to place the guards, was found to be missing. The missing youth had professed great anxiety to meet the savage foe. Search was made, and the brave (?) boy was found secreted beneath a bed, half frightened out of his wits; when asked what he was doing, he said he was in search of the short gun. The gun was noted for its extreme shortness, and the brave young man was afterwards known as the "short gun hero."
As for myself, I was born April 5, 1819, in Mohican township. Read medicine in Ashland, under George W. How, M.D. I practiced several years in Mohican, Iowa, one year in California, two years in Fairfield, and in 1857 moved to Macon County, Missouri. I made, that year, the first "free soil" speech ever made in the county, for which my life was threatened. In 1864 I was elected to the legislature for two years, and re-elected in 1866, and served four years. In 1868 I was elected sheriff and county collector for two years. Since that time I have been engaged in the practice of medicine. I was the youngest of the family of William Eagle.