Saturday, August 6, 2016

 The Schillinger Journal

Interview of Mrs. General Webb (1790)

How Dangerous Was the Ohio Frontier?

That question is best answered by a statement from Mrs. General Web, a Kentuckian, who said this in an interview circa. 1800:  "In early times the people were honest to each other.  If a man did wrong, they set him across the Ohio.

I've  avoided writing too many gruesome details of what life was like on the frontier, particularly in the Ohio and Kentucky territories thinking it really served no purpose.    While reading a book called "Frontier Memories II," a collection of interviews by Rev. John Dabney Shane, as taken from the Draper manuscripts", I remember thinking, this is not the kind of things they taught us in Ohio and American History class.  The more I read, the more I began to wonder if by "circumventing" the less romantic aspects of life on the Ohio frontier if I was in some way being disrespectful to early pioneers who settled here; perhaps even ancestors of readers of this blog. 

Shock Value?  Yes!
I finally decided that I would include a few of the  hundreds of first hand interviews from pioneer men and women on the Ohio and Kentucky frontier describing how brutal life was here.  Are they added for shock value?  Yes, but not the kind of shock you may be thinking.  My hope is it will shock into reality those who may think that the Ohio frontier was simply, "pioneers came into Ohio, fought the Indians, took their lands, they move out and we moved in, end of story."   

CAUTION:  the following interviews of pioneers are written as told to the interviewer.  They are graphic and if this kind of thing disturbs you, you may wish to scroll down to the Schillinger section.  No corrections have been made to grammar or spelling in these interviews.  They were written as told to the interviewer.

Family Murdered
 "It was the morning just after breakfast.  The Indians were at the door before we seen them.  The dog baked and I went to the door with the child in my arms, and as soon as I came out, one Indian took hold of me and another pulled the child from me and took it by the legs and knocked it's brains against the wall and then wen into the house killed my mother and two other little children and after taking all out of the house they wanted to carry with them, and they stripping all the clothes off my mother and the children they killed, they then drew the dead bodies out of the house and set it on fire and it was burnt."

 A Captive
Washington County, Ohio.  Mrs. Cunningham who was taken captive, when her house was raided by Indians, and several family members killed and scalped, stated upon her return from captivity that for ten days all she had to eat was the head of a wild turkey and three paw paws.  That the skin on her feet was scalded by the frequent wading of the streams and upon arrival at a Delaware village, when she removed her stockings and shoes her skin and mails came off with them.  

Dog Food
 In 1778 Nicholas Dyfert was made a prisoner and given to an old squaw to replace a son that had been killed.  He suffered severely from hunger on his way to Canada.  One day when almost famished, he observed his new mother make several attempts to eat a hot dumpling, which she could not  master for the want of teeth.  After rolling it around her mouth for some time, she cast it to her dog; but hardly had the animal seized it in his teeth, when Dygert caught him by the ears and after a long shake he forced the dainty morsel from his jaws and transferred it to his own.  The inference of her son with her will displeased the old woman and seizing him by his ears, which freedom he dared not resist, she shook him until he restored the dog with his dinner. 

Using the Child As Bait 
Miss Noaks went out to her brother's cabin, all within a few yards of each other, she went into her brother's cabin, her brother had gone to bed, his wife and child with him.  She sat down on the bedside and was relating something that had happened in the other cabin.  When she came in she had neglected to, as was customary, to bar the door,.  An Indian slipped up and put his gun through, leaning against the chink of the door  Miss Noak's turned her eye and seeing it screamed.  Her brother raised up to get his gun, just over where he lay, and the Indian fired.  The ball passing through his sisters arm, and killing the brother.  They then rushed into the house and scalped the brother, jerking his head upon a chest that set there.  The sister scuffled under the bed and while they were trying to get her out (she clinging to the bed stock behind as they tried to drag her out, the bed would still drag).  the old man came out and fired and they ran out.  The child lay all the while in the bed. How the wife escaped we know not.  There were 1/2 dozen Indians.  When the gun fired they thought there was an alarm and they did not know the real strength of the Indians.  A man, George Trumbo and wife (they were not man and wife, he was under age and his father wouldn't let him marry, they had a child however and when he got of age he married her) ran out of their cabin.  The man couldn't run the fastest, 2 Indians saw them and took after them by oonlight.  She saw they were gaining on her and dropped her child which was about 6 months old, and she hid in the bough of a tree that had fallen.  The Indians stopped and tried to make the child cry, to get her to come back and then they killed it and passed on.  They were followed the next day about 30 miles but were not overtaken, they were Cherokees and this was at Hartgrove's Station a a collection of farms. 
Young Boys Out For A Ride
Bob & Nathan MC Clure & John McClure and John Ping and three others, seven in all pursued seven Indians that had killed a boy.   Tow boys were going to English Station, probably from Hartgrove's and were on a horse.  The Indians had waylaid the trace they were on and shot.   The horse was shot and killed and when it fell confined the leg of the foremost boy.  The Indians ran up, killed and scalped him.  The one behind was loose and made his escape.  They were cousins neither had been touched by the shot.  In the pursuit the Indians passed on and turned back and way laid the trail and fired.  They fought three hours with the scouting party, trying to get the advantage over each other.  Nathan McClure was wounded as were two of the Indians.  Both mutually withdrew.  That night they left Nathan MC Clure in a sink and were to return the next morning with a horse.  In they morning they found his gun and a dead wolf, but his body was torn all to pieces.  They pursued further but never met with the Indians any more. 

A Nasty Indian Game
His captors had tied his wrists together and drawn them over his knees after which a stick was passed under his knees and over the wrists and a rope tied to it between them then thrown over a limb of a tree.  His tormentors then drew him up a distance and let him fall by slacking the rope; continuing their hellish sport until the concussion  extinguished the vital spark.  (in other words, they pulled him up and kept letting him fall on his head until he finally died.) 

A Rather Grotesque Kid's Game
The carcass of the Indian, a remarkably large fellow was left unburied for a time and the boys about the fort took turns in playing Indian, so they termed it, and with the tomahawk of it's former possessor; each running up and giving the head a hack with a tiny war-whoop.  Such were some of the juvenile pastimes on the frontier. 

This From An Earlier Posting

  During the 10 year period 1780 to 1789, Indians, with the help of their British allies had murdered over 1500 settlers in Kentucky and along the north side of the Ohio River. In a letter dated, May 7, 1782, a British officer sent a letter and eight packages to Col. Haldiman, British Governor of Canada containing the scalps of 983 men, women and children the Indians had murdered on the frontier. The inventory of scalps is shown in the table below

“May it Please Your Excellency:
At the request of the Seneca Chief, I hereby send your Excellency, under the care of James Hoyd, eight packages of scalps, cured, dried, hooped and painted with all the triumphal marks of which the following is the invoice and explanation:  

No. 1.   Containing forty-three scalps of Congress soldiers, killed in different skirmishes.  These are stretched on black hoops, four inches in diameter.  The inside of the skin is painted red with a small black spot to denote their being killed with bullets; the hoops painted red, the skin painted brown, and marked with a hoe’ a black circle all around to denote their being surprised in the night; and a black hatchet in the middle, signifying their being killed with that weapon.

No. 2.   Containing ninety-eight farmers killed in their houses; hoops red, figure of a hoe, to mark their profession; great white circle and sun, to show they were surprised in the day time; a little red foot to show that they stood upon their defense and died fighting for their lives and families.

No. 3.   Containing ninety-seven of farmers; hoops green to show they were killed in the fields; a large white circle with a little round mark on it , for a sun to show it was in the daytime; black bullet mark on some, a hatchet mark on others.
No. 4.   Containing one hundred and two of farmers, mixture of several of the marks above; only eighteen marked with a little yellow flame, to denote their being prisoners burnt alive, after being scalped; their nails pulled out by the roots and other torments.  One of these latter being supposed to be an American clergyman, his hand being fixed to the hook of his scalp.  Most of the farmers appear, by their hair, to have been young or middle aged men, their being but sixty-seven very gray heads among them all, which makes the service more essential.

No. 5.   Containing eight-eight scalps of women; hair long, braided in Indian fashion, to show they were mothers; hoops blue, skin yellow ground, with little red tadpoles, to represent by way of triumph the tears of grief occasioned to their relatives; a black scalping knife or hatched at the bottom to mark their being killed by those instruments.  Seventeen others, hair very gray, black hoops, plain brown colors, no marks but the short club or castete to show they were knocked down dead, or had their brains beat out

No. 6.   Containing one hundred and ninety-three boys scalps of various ages.  Small green hoops, whitish ground on the skin, with red tears in the middle and black marks, knife, hatchet or clubs as their death happened.

No. 7.   Containing two hundred and eleven girls, scalps big and little, small yellow hoops, white ground tears, hatchet and scalping knife

No. 8.   This package is a mixture of all the varieties above mentioned to the number of one hundred and twenty-two, with a box of birch bark, containing twenty-nine little infants scalps of various sizes; small white hoops with white ground.”

While Indians did on occasion kidnap children and raise them as their own, as this list shows, that wasn’t always the case.

Soldiers, surprised at night and killed by bullets
Pkg. #2
Farmers killed in home in daylight protecting families
Pkg. #3
Farmers shot or killed by hatchet in their fields in daylight.
Pkg. #4
Farmers young & old killed after torture of various types
Pkg. #5
Women scalped then killed or clubbed to death.
Pkg. #6
Boys killed by knife, hatched or club
Pkg. #7
Girls killed by hatchet or scalping knife
Pkg. #8
A variety including a minister and 29 infants

So what might an Indian attack looked like?  Turn up your sound, click on the link, put on full screen and you'll see.

OK, you get the picture. These are just a few of the hundreds of such stories pointed out in the book I mentioned earlier.  I purposely left out the more graphic stories of many of the atrocities perpetrated by both the Indians AND the white man.  The point I am trying to make is that the Ohio frontier wasn't like a Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett movie, it was brutal, life was cheap and death waited just outside the cabin door; literally.  That was Ohio.

Ensign Schillinger's Life After the War

Schillinger passed through the gates of Ft. Amanda for the last time on August 3, 1813.   He stayed overnight at St. Marys and the following day, Aug. 4, he continued on to Piqua and spent the night at the Statler family home.  The following day, Aug. 5 th, he continued on through Staunton, Dayton, Centerville and spent the night with the Tibble family.  The next day, Aug. 6, he rode on to his wife's Uncle's home near Mason, Ohio. He spent a short time there then continued stopping at the White Horse Tavern then continued on to Montgomery, arriving at the home of Lodowick Weller on Cooper St. 

Home of the Lodowick Weller Family
7795 Cooper Rd.  
Montgomery, Ohio

There's no way of knowing but I like to think Schillinger spent at least a couple minutes talking with the Weller children.  After all, he hadn't seen any children for nearly 2 months.  Of course, no one had any idea at the time that the Weller's 18 month old son John, would eventually grow up to become the 5th Governor of the State of California.  John was also the same age as Schillingers daughter Philomelia.  One wonders if Governor Weller ever remembered the day that a soldier stopped at his daddy's house.  

Governor John Weller
1858 - 1860

 The original plan was for Schillinger to meet Captain Hosbrook and Lt. Davis at the Statler home north of Piqua.  Not knowing if he missed them or not Schillinger apparently decided to continue on.  Both men would be passing through Montgomery on their way home so he left their baggage with the Wellers.  After freshening up a bit, he thanked the family for their hospitality then followed the trail on home, arriving there shortly after sundown. 

Homes Of Hosbrook, Schillinger and Davis

Alasanna Armstrong Schillinger
Wife of William Schillinger
Schillinger arrived home shortly after sundown on Aug. 6th.  Waiting for him was his wife Alasanna, his two children, 3 year old Nathaniel (named for Alasanna's father) and 18 month old Philamelia (named for his mother who died in New Jersey in 1798 ).  His  third child, Elizabeth was born April 27, 1814.  Yep, 8 1/2 months later.

He makes no mention of it but its probably a safe bet that his in-laws were waiting for him as well.  His mother died in 1793 while William was still living in New Jersey and because his obituary states only that "he (William) walked from New Jersey to Plainville, Ohio (Cincinnati area) around 1805" with no mention of his father coming with him, its probably safe to assume that his father remained in New Jersey.  

Cincinnati - 1800

Location of the Schillinger home then and now

Entrance to the Great American Ballpark off Joe Nuxall Way

A Very Active and Civic Conscientious Citizen

William and Alasannas family continued to grow.  Their children were:  
William Schillinger Jr. born Aug. 18, 1816 
Frances Schillinger  born Aug. 22, 1818
Benjamin Harris Schillinger  born Oct. 1, 1820
John Stites Schillinger born July 2, 1823.

Sometime between 1813 and 1820, the Schillinger's moved from Plainville into Ward 3 in Cincinnati. The home was located at the intersection of 2nd and Sycamore. The city directory listed Schillingers occupation as "Cooper" (barrel maker).

In 1820, Schillinger served as Clerk of Courts for Hamilton County.  He later
joined the "Protection Society No. 1" and served as it's treasurer before coming it's chief, a position he held for many years.  The society was made up of volunteers who rushed to fires alongside the firemen, their job was to prevent people from getting too close to the fires and also to help prevent looting.  They wore a special emblem on their hats to identify them.  His son William jr. followed in his fathers footsteps.  In 1841 he became an officer in the Cincinnati Fire Guards.  

William sr. also served in the 24th Ohio State House of Representative and again in the 34th session.  The family is recorded as being one of the pioneers of Hamilton County, Ohio.  He also served on several community organization boards and rose to the rank of Colonel in the Ohio militia.  William was also a member of the first city council convened in Cincinnati. 

William's wife Alasanna, died in 1834.  He continued to live in the original home until he sold it to his son sometime befoe 1843.  The 1843 Cincinnati directory shows that William had moved to Walnut st. between 6th and 7th streets.

Walnut st. between south from 7th street.
Schillinger lived in this block. 

Socialite Daughter
Frances Schillinger Hinkle
Daughter of William and Alasanna Schillinger
The Schillinger's 5th child,daughter Frances married Anthony Hinkle, a grocer who owned a business at the corner of Columbia and Vine sts.  Anthony Hinkle went on to become a book binder than eventually a book publisher and distributor of book to Cincinnati area schools.  The Hinkles became very wealthy and moved to the very prestigious Mt. Auburn section of Cincinnati. Census information givea us a good indication of how the Hinkle family fortune developed over time. 

1850 - Hinkle family and a housekeeper
1860 - Hinkle family and a housekeeper, a servant and a butler
1870 - Hinkle family  and a housekeeper, 2 servants and a butler
1880 - Hinkle family and a cook, servant, laundress, coachman and a butler. 

The Hinkle Household Stood at 2314 Auburn Ave, Cincinnati, an area of Mt. Auburn considered as a premier place to live.  The home looked like this.

William Schillinger's Last Home Mt. Auburn area of Cincinnati

Schillinge's Neighbor

This Hinkle home no longer exists but the home shown above was standing when the Hinkle home was built.  No doubt it would have been out of my price point. 

In addition to the Hinkles being very wealthy they were also philanthropists who contributed large amounts of money to many organizations in Hamilton County.  They are too numerous to mention here but a quick internet search will show readers the ways this family contributed to Hamilton County.  

NOTE:  The average income the year the Schillingers granddaughter was married was $430 a year.  Her wedding dress cost $600 ($2500 in today's value)or the equivalent to  year and a half wages for the average person.  Put into perspective, with today's average year wage of $42,000, the dress would cost over $60,000 dollars.  It must have been a beauty.

William Schillingers Death 

William moved in with his daughter and her family sometime before 1860, his wife Alasanna having died in 1834.  Finally on March 17, 1871, after a short illness, William Schillinger died at the age of 90.

One obituary in a Cincinnati paper reads:  


On yesterday afternoon at the residence of his son-in-law A. H. Hinkle, Esq., on Mount Auburn, one of our oldest citizens – Col. Wm. SCHILLINGER – departed this life at the advanced age of 89 years.  Col. SCHILLINGER was born on Cape Island, New Jersey in 1782 and emigrated to the West in 1802, having walked the whole distance from Philadelphia to this city.  Shortly after locating here, he removed to the settlement at Plainville, and while there married to Miss ALASANNA ARMSTRONG, of that place.  In 1812 he again took up his residence in Cincinnati, and remained here until the hour of his death.  During the whole of his residence in Cincinnati, COL. SCHILLINGER has been closely identified with its history.  In his early manhood, and for beyond his middle life, he was “part and parcel” of the municipal government of the city, and was a member of the first City Council convened.  In the very early times, when it was necessary to look after the Indians on our immediate borders, COL. SCHILLINGER volunteered as a member of Capt. D. Hosbrocck’s company, of Gen. Wm. H. Harrison’s command and performed a tour of duty against the Indians of the Maumee river.  On the return of this expedition on the formation of the militia (which in those days meant active duty), COL. SCHILLINGER was elected successively,             Ensign, Captain, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, and commissioned by Governors Huntington, Worthington and Ethan Allen Brown. 
Most of our old citizens will recollect a society identified with our Fire Department called “Protection Society No. 1,” whose members comprised the very best of our citizens.  Of this COL. SCHILLINGER was for years Chief.  Of this trust he was very proud.       The duty of the company was to protect property at fires.  They wore white badges on their hats, inscribed “Protection,” and usually took possession of the immediate vicinity of the fire, keeping the people from crowding the firemen at their work.  Among the Colonel’s papers, carefully preserved, was found a list of members of this early     organization.  As a reminder of those days, we give the names:                                           
COL. SCHILLINGER was early identified with the church, and was an Elder for many years of the Rev. Joshua Wilson’s First Presbyterian Church, and was one of the corporators of Lane Seminary.  He was ever a consistent Christian, and was rewarded by a long life.  He passed away peacefully and without pain and has, without doubt, gone to the reward promised to those who are “faithful unto the end.”
 Schillinger – On Friday March 17, at 2 o’clock, after a short illness, Col. Wm. Schillinger, in the 90th year of his age.Funeral on Monday, March 20th at 2 P.M., residence of his son-in-law, A.H. Hinkle, Mt. Auburn.  Friends of the  deceased and members of the Pioneer Association are invited to attend. Carriages will leave the office of the Undertaker, Mr. Estep, corner of Seventh and Central Avenue, at half-past 

Internment:     Burial in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Oh
                        Record No. 22018
                        Public notice of death Mar 20, 1871
                        Disease:           Old age
                        Interment Apr. 1, 1871 - 2 PM            
                        Lot owner:      Cones, Schillinger & Asjcraft (Ashcraft?)
                        Parents name: William & ? Schillinger
                        Size and kind of grave:           Plain 6.10 x 28 in.
                        Undertaker: Estep & Meyer   
                        T. B. Estep and A. H. Hinkle
                        Charges; Vt (vault) $1, Grave $4 rent $1 

Next time you're in Cincinnati, if you get a chance stop by Spring Grove Cemetery.  It's just off I75 and the cemetery is like entering the Roman Forum.  It is probably one of the most beautiful cemeteries you'll ever see..  William and his family are buried in LN Garden Section 52, lot 196.

As a young man, William would have had no way of knowing how important his writings would be to readers two centuries after he wrote them. He gave us the key that unlocked the gates of Ft. Amanda so we could go inside.  In doing so, he introduced us to ordinary people, heros in their own ways who never made the history books and who history forgot.  If readers of the blogs this past 24 weeks have learned anything it's this.  Next time you find yourself having to dispose of belongings of a deceased relative, when you get to the old, undated, unlabled,bent and crumpled photos and letters, and think, "I don't know any of these people so why would I want to keep them,"  treat them as treasurers.  They were kept for a reason and in they're in hat condition because they were very special to someone who probably looked at and read them many many times during their lives.  "So, Dave, just how long am I supposed to keep them?"   Forever.

 I'm back in the classroom next week and that along with some other responsibilities, I'll be posting less frequently.  Plus it gives me more time to do genealogy research of the men and women associated with the fort.  I do hope you've enjoyed the past 24 weeks and if you have any suggestions on how to improve them, please feel free to email me at  

David Johnson