Among the wigwams of Greentown when the pioneers of 1809-10 entered the township, was that of Abram Williams, an irritable, morose old Indian, who had formerly married a white captive on the Sandusky river, from whom he separated in consequence of the violence of his temper and long continued jealousy and cruelty.
The story of this unhappy marriage, as near as I can learn, is as follows:About the year 1785 a family by the name of Martin and a Mr. Castleman were neighbors in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, and resided near the east bank of the Ohio river. It had been the custom of these families, for several years, to cross the river in the spring to make sugar on the bottoms. They had been engaged several days during the spring alluded to, when Castleman's horses strayed from their enclosure.He went in search of them on the river bottoms. During his absence, Martin returned from the camp and requested Mary Castleman, aged about thirteen, and Margaret, about nine, to accompany him to assist in boiling and gathering sugar water.
Mrs. Castleman hesitated for some time to let them go; but Martin being quite positive there were no Indians in the vicinity, she finally consented to let them return with him. A short time after they crossed the river Mrs. Castleman heard the explosion of guns in the vicinity of the canoe, and being alarmed for the safety of her daughters, hastened to the riverside and called aloud, but received no reply.Returning to her cabin she alarmed the neighbors, and a number of men assembled on the east bank of the river, but dared not pass over, for fear of an ambush. On the succeeding morning, a number of volunteers crossed in a canoe, and found Martin and his wife dead and scalped.
The Castleman girls, and a little daughter of Martin, were nowhere to be found. The volunteers concluded they had been captured and carried away by the Indians. Pursuit was now useless, as the savages were doubtless many miles away. Years after, it was learned that there were but three Indians at the capture. In skulking along the banks of the Ohio, they happened on Martin's camp, and finding it defenseless, concluded to kill him and his wife, and take the girls to Sandusky. After they had killed Martin and his wife they secured the girls. While they were engaged in the fiendish murder of the two old people, Margaret attempted to conceal herself in a hollow sycamore log, while Mary fled to the river and got into a canoe and began to push it from the shore, but one of the Indians instantly pursued herinto the water and dragged the canoe back again, and secured her. He asked her how many men were at the house, and knowing that the safety of her mother and family depended upon her strategy, she answered nine.
The Indians then took up their line of march for Greentown, on the Black fork. After several daysthey arrived at the Indian village, where they met some traders from Detroit. They passed up the ancient trail from Fort Pitt, by way of Jerometown, now known as the Portage trail. A trader at Greentown, by the name of McIntosh, was much pleased with the appearance of Margaret, and purchasing her for twenty-five dollars, took her home with him to Detroit, where she remained a number of years as a member of his family, and attended school. Her farther, through the traders, finally learned of her whereabouts, and went to Detroit and took her home.The Indians took Mary and the Martin girl to Sandusky, where they remained. The history of the Martin girl, during her residence among the Delawares, is a blank. Mary Castleman grew up to womanhood among the Indians, learning all their customs and language. During her residence among the Indians at Sandusky, she became acquainted with Abram Williams, a half-blood, to whom she was married. She had by him two children, George and Sally. Williams was a jealous, tyrannical and cruel husband, and he and his white squaw lived very unhappily.
Williams, in his paroxysms of rage and jealousy, often maltreated his wife, and threatened to kill her. Fearing he would put his threat into execution, she resolved, if possible, to make her escape and seek refuge among her friends in Beaver county. By the traders, who often visited Fort Pitt, she conveyed intelligence of her situation to her farther, and her desire to be relieved. The attempt to rescue her would be attended with much danger. If not successful, it would result in bringing upon her the vengeance of her exasperated husband, and might terminate in great suffering and death. Mr. Castleman made arrangements with a man by the name of George Foulks, a neighbor, to go to Sandusky to obtain the release of Mary. In his youth, Mr. Foulks had been captured by the Indians, taken to Sandusky and adopted, where he resided for many years, and became versed in their language and customs. He was well acquainted with all the Indian trails, and it was presumed by Mr. Castleman, that Foulks was just the man to secure the liberation of his long missing daughter. Mr. Foulks, after some preparation, set out for Sandusky, passing up the old trail to Jerometown; thence near where Olivesburg now stands, through Bloomingrove, in Richland county, to the place of his destination. He soon found Williams and his wife. After spending a few days with them he proposed to Williams to let Mary accompany him on a visit to her friends in Beaver county. The Jealousy of Williams was at once aroused. He refused to permit his wife to leave, and menaced the life of Foulks if he persisted in making such a request.Mr. Foulks determined to carry out his intentions to bring Mary home. The rage of Williams was to be baffled by strategy. Affecting to acquiesce in the unwillingness of the dusky husband, he alleviated his fears. Mr. Foulks then went to an old Indian acquaintance and friend, and proposed to give him a barrel of whiskey and other presents if he would aid him in getting Mary away from Williams. The Indian feared the resentment of his Indian neighbor, and at first refused; but the "fire water " was a tempting prize.At the next interview he entered heartily into the project, and agreed to go with Mary. The plan was, for Foulks to keep away from Williams, and remain about the Indian camp. The confederate then took Mary and started down the old Jerometown trail, while Foulks remained a day in the camp, and then started by another trail to meet his Indian friend and Mary at Jerometown. When he arrived near the Indian village he gave the signal, and Mary and his friend soon appeared in the forest, and she was then taken home by Mr. Foulks and restored to her friends and civilized society. Some time after this desertion Williams came to Greentown, built a wigwam, and was residing there with his children, George and Sally, when the first pioneers came into the neighborhood. Sally was then a young women, and had many admires among the dusky warriors. Mrs. James Cunningham, Mrs. James Irwin, Mrs. Sarah Vale, and others, called at the wigwam of Williams to see what kind of a housekeeper Sally appeared to be. These ladies were all young then. they found the wigwam of Williams neat and clean, and Sally a pleasant young lady.