Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 1.djvu/453

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bullets and loaded guns, while Mrs. Church took the place of one of the wounded men at a port-hole and fought as bravely as the men. Watching a tree behind which an Indian was firing upon the cabin, Mrs. Church gave him a load of buckshot as he was aiming his rifle at the house. He fell back howling into the snow. So the fight went on until sunset, the well directed shots from the cabin preventing an assault by the Indians. At dark they joined others of the band who were butchering isolated settlers.

William and George Wood, who kept a store and were on friendly terms with the Indians, were confident that they would not be molested and refused to unite with their neighbors in preparing for defense, as they discredited Markham’s report of the massacre at the lakes. A party of Sioux, upon their arrival, went to Wood’s store and purchased a keg of powder and a quantity of lead, which was used in the siege of the Thomas house and in the slaughter of the Stewart family. The Wood brothers suffered a terrible penalty for their folly, as some days later the treacherous Sioux returned to the store, shot the proprietors with some of the ammunition recklessly sold to them, plundered the store and, piling brush over the mutilated bodies of the victims, set it on fire. Johnny Stewart, a little eight-year-old son of Joshua Stewart, had escaped into the woods when the family was massacred by the Indians. After dark he made his way to the Thomas house and was taken in. Soon after a Mr. Sheigley also arrived. There were now seventeen persons in the house, three of whom were badly wounded and in need of medical aid.

A consultation was held, and it was determined to attempt to escape in the night, before the Indians could assemble to renew the attack and probably set fire to the house. Whether they should stay or go, there was but little hope of escape from the doom that had overtaken their neighbors. They believed themselves to be the only survivors of the colony. No assistance could be expected,

[Vol. 1]