About the year 1774, the parents of George Foulks located in the midst in the dense forest in the northwest corner of what is now Washington County, Pennsylvania, near the Ohio River. The family of Mr. Foulks consisted of three boys and two or three girls. He was quite poor, and had ventured to improve his fortunes amid the dangers surrounding the border settlers. He had lived some years in the city of Philadelphia, where most of his children were born. When he moved to his new home, the Delaware and Wyandotte Indians visited that region in great numbers in search of game. The colonies had been greatly oppressed by Great Britain, and were just on the verge of a revolt. Her agents and traders were busy in alienating and exciting the savages against the rebel inhabitants of the colonies, as they were then denominated. It was the custom of many of the settlers in that region, in the spring of the year, to cross the Ohio---which there runs nearly west for several miles---in canoes, to make sugar on the fine bottoms. John, George and Elizabeth Foulks, aged respectively nineteen, six and seventeen years, crossed the river in company of their father and erected a neat camp house of small poles, and a furnace, in which they placed kettles to boil sap. After tapping a large number of sugar trees, Mr. Foulks recrossed the river to his cabin, leaving John, Elizabeth and George to gather and boil the sugar water. This was early in March 1777. After they had been thus engaged several days, one evening about 9 o’clock, while the moon was shining brightly, the camp-house was approached by five or six Wyandot Indians, well armed. The campfire had attracted them. When they arrived within a short distance of the camp John Foulks discovered there approach, and judging the visit to be hostile, fled in the direction of the Ohio river, where he hoped to cross in a canoe left near the north bank of that stream, leaving his little sister and brother to the mercy of the savages. The Indians followed him with a dog, and he had fled but a short distance, when they overtook him, and insisted on his surrender and return; but continuing to retreat, several of the warriors discharged their guns after him, and he was mortally wounded, fell, and soon expired. His scalp was taken, and they hastily returned to the camp, where George and Elizabeth had been taken without resistance. The Indians hastily entered the forest in a westerly direction, ordering Elizabeth and George in broken English, to follow. They were much terrified, but complied promptly. They traveled some miles, when their prisoners were secured, and all slept on the leaves. Early the next morning, the Indians arose, and broiled slices of venison, on which all breakfasted, and continued there flight nearly west all day, and again slept as they had done before. During their progress through the forest, they crossed a number of small streams on logs or poles. While crossing one, some three deep, an Indian who walked behind George, in sport, pushed him off the log, and he was thoroughly saturated. At this, the Indians all laughed heartily. George refrained from showing temper, but resolved to retaliate the first opportunity, The next day they came to another stream somewhat more swollen, and had to cross it on a log. The Indian who had pushed him in the day before, pointed to the log, desiring him to lead again. George refused the honor of leading, and fell in behind the Indian. They had gone about half way over, when George caught the belt of the Indian, and giving him a sudden twitch, the savage fell into the stream nearly neck deep. He waded out, venting all sorts of threats and imprecations on George for his temerity. The Indian was thoroughly soaked, and his comrades gave vent to the most uproarious merriment over the incident. This calmed the fury of the enraged Indian, and changed his revenge to admiration. The little captive was regarded from that time with favor, and as much tenderness as if he were a real Indian. They traveled a little southwest until they reached the old trail which passed near the present site of Wooster, to a village then known as Mohican Johnstown, near the present site of Jeromeville, in Ashland County. They were several days in reaching this point, and being unaccustomed to the Indian mode of preparing food, which consisted almost wholly of venison, without salt, bread or even parched corn, the prisoners were very hungry. They remained at Mohican Johnstown several days, and then continued along the trail in a northwest direction across what is now Ashland and Richland Counties to Snipstown, an Indian village near the present site of Rome. Here they found a large number of Wyandots who rejoiced at the success of the captors, who proved to be of that nation or tribe. Here the scalp halloo was given, as at Mohican Johnstown, but at neither place were they required to run the gauntlet. They remained at Snipestown some days. This village was named after a leading warrior and chief who resided there, and was much esteemed by his people. From this village they continued along the old trail to Upper Sandusky, the principal town and headquarters of the Wyandot warriors. When they came in sight of the village, the scalp halloo was again given, and large numbers sallied out to meet the warriors. George was again spared the pain of running the gauntlet. He was given to an old squaw who had some time before lost a son on an excursion to the Pennsylvania border. She was the reputed mother of seven sons, all brave warriors and noted among the Wyandots. His sister was claimed by another warrior and was given to an Indian family in Lower Sandusky to be taught the manners and duties of a squaw. George remained at Upper Sandusky with his new mother, who treated with much tenderness. He attracted a good deal of attention, and soon formed an acquaintance with the Indian youths of the village. He was clothed and habited in all respects as an Indian, and soon learned to talk their language, and became accustomed to their mode of preparing food, and their bark wigwams or huts. He was taught the use of the bow---their gymnastic exercises—wrestling—foot-racing—playing ball and other sports, and soon became contented with his new mode of life. He occasionally met his sister, who was equally fortunate in securing a good Indian mother, who did not require her to perform all the drudgery of a common squaw. It was the custom of the Wyandots, in the spring of the year, to scatter to various points in the forest, in small bands, to make sugar. The first year or two after George had been captured, he was required to assist in gathering the sap in small bark buckets to be evaporated in brass and copper kettles by the squaws. Never relishing hard work, he disliked his new vocation. The water was caught in bark vessels prepared for the purpose, and when it flowed freely, the task of gathering it was quite laborious. After worrying several days in a vain effort to keep pace with the flow of sap, George conceived a plan of relieving a portion of his toil. When he emptied the vessels, he slightly perforated the bottom and a large share of the sap escaped. In this way his toil was reduced, to the confusion of the squaws, who were unable to penetrate the mystery. A discovery of his trick would have resulted in many stripes; but fortunately, the difficulty was not solved. The following autumn the Indian mother and father of George, and a number of Wyandots were encamped near Snipestown. An incident occurred that made a very strong impression upon George. It was this: The Indians brought in a white boy who had been captured on the borders of Pennsylvania. The poor little captive was offered to an Indian woman whose son had been killed by the “Long Knives,” in lieu of her child. She scornfully rejected the proposition, declaring “Me no take white rebel for my son.” Upon consultation, the little boy was ordered to be executed, and the time and place fixed. Some time in the afternoon, on the day prior to the time appointed, George and a number of Indian boys were playing a little distance from his mother’s hut. She called him to her and told him the white boy was to be killed the next morning, and he should not be so merry. This reproof arrested his sport. His sympathies were deeply moved. The next morning the captive was bound to a log to be slain. At this time, a number of Delawares were encamped not a great distance from Snipestown. They somehow learned the Wyandots had determined to execute the rejected prisoner, and a warrior conceived the idea of rescuing him. He hurried into the Wyandot camp, and coming to the place where the prisoner was bound, struck the cords by which he was fettered, with his tomahawk, and severing them, carried off the boy, to the astonishment of the Wyandots. The boy afterwards escaped and returned to his friends. When George reached the proper age, he was adopted after the manner of the Wyandots, passing through all their ceremonies, and was given an Indian name, Ha-enye-ha, or my brother, which he retained. During the period of his indoctrination into Indian customs, modes of hunting and fishing, he often accompanied his Indian parents and other members of the tribe through the north part of what are now Richland, Ashland and Wayne counties; and sometimes nearly to Beaver county, Pennsylvania, during which excursions he learned the names of the streams, all the good camping points, the best springs and the principal resorts of game. In fact, he became a thorough woodsman, an accomplished hunter, and an Indian in taste, dress and habits. Snipestown was a favorite Indian village, and he spent a large share of his captivity there, occasionally visiting Upper and Lower Sandusky and Cranestown with the warriors and hunters. Many times during his captivity the Indians suffered for food. After the hunting seasons, when they had plenty of venison and hominy, bear’s oil and sugar, they lived extravagantly. For many weeks their chief occupation was visiting, dancing and feasting, which continued until their stores of provisions were consumed. At this point, the hunters and warriors were compelled to sally forth to renew their stores of venison and bear’s meat. On many occasions George and his Indian mother were so nearly starved that they were compelled to gather the old bones about their wigwam, crack and reboil them for soup, after the had been bleaching in the sun and air for many months. These messes were to him very savory, and quite a luxury at such periods. The Indian women were very industrious, and hoed the corn, chopped the wood, did all the cooking, built the camp fires, and in fact, were literally slaves for there red-skinned lords. They made sugar in the spring, fried out the bear’s oil, jerked the venison and buffalo meat, pounded and prepared the hominy and parched corn for the haughty warriors. Towards the close of the Revolutionary war George often accompanied the warriors to the borders, but was always very reticent about the mischief done during those excursions. In fact, he had been so thoroughly indoctrinated in Indian secresy, that very little if anything, could be learned of him concerning the warlike expeditions of the Wyandots. He was at several Indian consultations at Cranestown, some four miles north of the present site of Upper Sandusky. He there met the noted Simon Girty and several British agents. Their council-house was of bark, and was seventy-five or one hundred feet long and perhaps twenty feet wide. Tarhe, or as he was sometimes called, King Crane, was rising into influence and power as a chief among the Wyandots. He there met many other chiefs and warriors, and learned the particulars of the capture and execution of Colonel William Crawford by the Delawares, being himself, to young to witness that battle. When he was about twenty years of age, he obtained a sort of furlough to hunt in the east, near the Ohio River, and stealthily visited his old home. He was then a complete Indian, in dress, language and manners; and loved the nomadic life of his people. His parents offered every motive for his return to civilized life, but in vein. He determined to return to the home of the red man. This was in the fall of 1786. He had then been with the Indians about twelve years. In 1789-90 active hostilities were carried on between the Indians and the settlers in west Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky. It is believed that George Foulks accompanied the Wyandots and Delawares against Harmar and St. Clair, though he was always silent on the subject. In 1790 the Wyandots were very anxious on the subject of war then approaching. They feared the “Long Knives” ---Sarayumigh, would prevail. One of there prophets or medicine men took a lot of charcoal, and pounding it into a sort of powder, placed it upon a piece of bark, and then drew a rude map of the country. Its rivers, lakes, Indian trails, and the probable route of the invaders. They then took a flint and steel and fired a piece of punk and applied it to the points where Harmar and his army would be most apt to attack the Indian Territory. The fire gradually spread from the points ignited. The Indians watched it attentively. When the charcoal ceased to burn, the Indians formed into a double file and simultaneously fired their guns. After which they stood quietly watching a dark cloud that was floating over. In a few seconds, the sound of their guns was distinctly heard in the clouds. The Indians regarded this as a good omen and shouted over the result, stating that the white warriors would not succeed that year.
They at once began to prepare for war. The result is to well known for repetition. Disaster met the frontier soldiers at every point. About the year 1788, George Foulks was persuaded to marry a Wyandot woman, and fully identify himself with the fortunes of his people. He had two children by his Wyandot wife; but, like Jonathan Alder, finally tired of the Indian mode of living. His people were so frequently involved in war with the whites that there was great danger of final extermination. Looking the whole field over, he concluded to abandon the Wyandots and return to civilized life.
The Wyandot warriors discovered by his manner that something was wrong, and watched his motions closely. The real difficulty was, the Indians insisted that he should become a real warrior and accompany them against St. Clair and Wayne. He decline to do so, and slyly departing from his wigwam, took the most direct route for his old home in Washington county, Pennsylvania. The warriors soon discovered his desertion, and several of them took the trail and gave chase. Suspecting this he traveled with the utmost speed, and when about exhausted, and likely to be overtaken. In crossing a principal stream on the route, he concealed himself beneath driftwood, thrusting all but his head under water. While in this retreat, several of the warriors walked on the drift, and gave utterance to their indignation saying they would punish him severely if they caught him, for the perfidy of deserting his tribe. The sound of their voices gradually died away and all became quiet. He cautiously emerged, and finding the warriors had disappeared, proceeded on his way, and finally reached his old home in safety. He was soon noticed by Brady, Sprott, McConnell and other scouts in the government employ, and had some adventures. He did not enter very zealously however, the field against the Wyandots. He had always been treated by them as if he had born amongst them, and was a real Indian. After the battle of Fallen Timbers, and peace had been declared, The Wyandots frequently returned to hunt, fish, and sell their peltry in the city of Pittsburgh. After his return home he married a daughter of Henry Ullery, and located near the present site of the village of Darlington, in Beaver county Pennsylvania. Shortly after he located, he was requested by a Mr.Castleman to go to Upper Sandusky and rescue his daughters from captivity. Two daughters of Mr. Castleman, Mary, aged thirteen, and Margaret, aged nine, had been captured in a sugar camp near the banks of the Ohio River some years prior to the proposed rescue. The Indians had taken the captive girls to Greentown, on the Black fork, and sold the youngest to an English trader by the name of McIntosh, while Mary was taken to Upper Sandusky and adopted. Margaret was taken to Detroit, sent to school, and finally through the traders, returned to her parents. Mary married a half- breed named Abram Williams, by whom she had two children, George and Sally. Williams loved fire-water, and when under its influence, was very jealous and very cruel to his wife. He often threatened to tomahawk her. Regarding her life as being in peril, she managed to convey word of her whereabouts to her parents, through the traders who often visited Pittsburgh. George Foulks consented to attempt to rescue her from her perilous situation. He passed alone, through dense forests, up the well –worn Indian trails to Upper Sandusky, where he met Williams, and proposed to take his wife home on a visit. Williams became angry and threatened to scalp Foulks if he attempted such an enterprise. Foulks desisted from further interviews with Williams. From his long residence with the Wyandots, he had many confidential friends among the warriors. He therefore, resorted to stratagem. He proposed to an old Indian if he would secretly take Mary away, he would give him a barrel of whiskey and a lot of trinkets. After some parleying, the Indian consented ---- the “fire-water” was so tempting he could not resist. The warrior, in company with Mrs. Williams, left the village without exciting suspicion, and passed down the old Wyandot trail, which ran very near the present site of Olivesburgh to Jerometown, while Foulks remained one day and then proceeded by a circuitous route to reach the same place.
On arriving near Jerometown he gave a signal, and the Indian and Mrs. Williams joined him in the forest. He had arranged with a trader for the whisky and trinkets for the Indian upon his return. Foulks and Mrs. Williams continued along the trail near the present site of Wooster, and safely reached the residence of Castleman, in Washington County, Pennsylvania.
Mrs. Williams regretted very much to leave her children, but an attempt to take them along would have proved fatal. She never met them again.
Sally grew up and married a famous hunter by the name of Solomon Jonacake, who was well known to the pioneers of Ashland and Richland counties. This was the last Indian exploit of George Foulks. Some time after this, his Indian wife and two children are reported to have visited him in Beaver County, to induce him to return to the Wyandots. He declined to do so; but visited Pittsburgh and purchased a number of blankets and such other articles as would be useful in their wigwam, and presented them to the squaw with a horse to bear them to their home on the Sandusky, which she accepted and never returned. Mr. Foulks had a fine mill near Darlington, and after-wards became quite wealthy. He was a man of fine native abilities, and was often spoken of as a suitable person to be elected to the legislature or to fill any of the county offices. He, however, refused to accept any office, and steadily continued in business. During his captivity, he passed over the most valuable parts of what is now Richland County, and became acquainted with all the good agricultural locations. After the war of 1812, when the lands, in what is now blooming-grove township, came into market, he entered eight or ten quarter sections, and induced his father-in-law, Mr. Ullery, to invest largely in lands. About the year 1830, Henry and George, sons of George Foulks, located near Rome, in Richland County. He had several daughters, some of whom yet survive. Jacob and William, brothers of George Foulks, also located in Blooming-grove. Jacob resided two or three miles northwest of Olivesburgh. George Foulks died in Beaver County, Pennsylvania July 10, 1840, aged seventy-one years, and sleeps quietly in the cemetery near Darlington, where he lived many years, an influential and reputable citizen.
Mrs. Foulks died at the residence of one of her sons in Richland County some years after his decease. It may be interesting to the reader to learn the history of Elizabeth Foulks, who was captured with George on the banks of the Ohio River. As before stated, she was taken to Lower Sandusky, where she was adopted by a kind squaw. As she grew to womanhood she became acquainted with a young man by the name of James Whittaker, who had been captured by the Wyandots when a child in Virginia, and adopted by them.
All his friends were killed. He had lost nearly all recollection of his parentage, and had become thoroughly initiated among the Indians, and had no desire to leave them. Whittaker became much attached to Elizabeth, and she to him. They were finally married after the Wyandot custom.
Whittaker became an influential trader and interpreter among the Indians. On one occasion a number of Cherokee, Shawnee, and Wyandot warriors captured an emigrant boat on the Ohio river with a number of pioneers, among whom were a Mr. Skyles and Johnston with one or two others who were brought to Upper Sandusky. A French trader, M. Duchonquet, purchased Johnson from the Indians and skyles finally escaped.
A few days afterwards, the Cherokees appeared with a Miss Flemming, who had been captured at the same time, and made preparations for her execution. The French trader took an interest in the fate of Miss Flemming and invited Whittaker to accompany him to the Cherokee camp.
He did so, and Miss Flemming recognized him as and old acquaintance.
Whittaker had often visited with the Indian hunters, her father’s tavern near Pittsburg. He was therefore, very desirous of aiding her. Miss Flemming implored him to save her from death by torture, which was then impending.
Whittaker tried to induce the Cherokees to release her for a consideration.
They sternly refuse. Whittaker determined to have Tarhe or King Crane, who was then the great Wyandot Chief, intervene. Tarhe was at Detroit, and Whittaker took a small boat and hastened to see him. When he landed, Tarhe with deep interest heard his story. Whittaker said Miss Flemming was his sister, and was about to be killed by torture. He ask Tarhe to interfere for her rescue. The chief admitted that he was humane, and at once started for Sandusky and hastened to the Cherokee camp. The Cherokees were inflexible, and would not consent to release the prisoner and heaped upon Tarhe charges of cowardice for interfering. The chief retaliated on the Cherokees for the inhuman attempt to torture a woman, and withdrew.
The Cherokees were alarmed, and determined to kill their prisoner without delay. She was striped of her clothing, tied to a stake and faggots placed around her, and left to suffer the horrors of impending death. She was to be burned early the next morning. Tarhe expected this, and to avert the tragedy took a number of young warriors, and at midnight entered the Cherokee camp. He found Miss Flemming tied to a stake, painted black and in a state of insensibility, moaning over her condition. Tarhe at once released her from her painful situation, re-clothed her and set her at liberty. An Indian whoop was then given, when the Cherokees were awakened and hurried to the spot.
Tarhe told them he had rescued the prisoner, and that by the laws of conquest she was his property. Harhe’s warriors were the most numerous, and the Cherokees quietly admitted that he had the advantage.
They then expressed a willingness to accept the offer of the day before----six hundred silver brooches. Tarhe consented and by the aid of the traders, furnished the brooches, and Miss Flemming, clothed as a squaw, was returned to her parents at Pittsburg by two faithful Wyandot warriors.
Mr. And Mrs. Whittaker were employed as interpreters at the treaties of 1814—17 and at several other interviews between the whites and Indians.
They are often mentioned for their humane acts by the Wyandots and Delawares. They remained in the Indian country about Malden, Detroit and Upper Sandusky long after the war of 1812. They had several children, sons and daughters. Some thirty years since a Miss Whittaker, daughter of Elizabeth, visited an uncle (Jacob Faulks) near Olivesburgh, and is said to have been a young lady of good education and fine address.
The relatives treated her kindly and her visit was a pleasant one. Whittaker and his wife died many years since at Lower Sandusky, and their descendants are presumed to have gone west with the civilized Wyandots in 1842—3.
Such is the story of George and Elizabeth Foulks, as we have been able to glean from his acquaintances in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
The larger part of the narrative was obtained from Mrs. Robert Starr, formerly of Washington County, Pennsylvania. Now a resident of Blooming-Grove Township, Richland County, Ohio. Two miles west of the village of Lafayette, and aged about 87 years. Her mind is quite clear. She was intimately acquainted with Mr. Foulks in his lifetime, and has heard him repeat the story of his adventures a great many times. Mr. Foulks also related many hunting exploits, the outlines of which have escaped recollection.
All in all, he was an extraordinary character---a bold woodsman---a thrifty business man and a noted pioneer.
contributed and transcibed by Russ Shopbell email@example.com