Sunday, January 22, 2017

Major Daniel Kain 
Commandant at Fort Amanda (Mar - Aug. 1813)

Tall, Dark and Handsome 

Daniel Kain was born May 7, 1773 in Lancaster, Pa., son of James and Catherine Kain. The family moved to Ohio in 1789 when Daniel was 16 years old. During the War of 1812, the 44 year old Kain, became commander of the Second Battalion, Fourth Regiment, First Brigade, First Division of militia and commanding the troops at Ft. Amanda, Jennings, Brown and Defiance.  He made his headquarters at Fort Amanda. In appearance, 
Kain was described by acquaintances as "tall, dark and fine looking with a martial air." 

Before The War
 In a previous posting, I wrote about Kain's activities during the war along with a small bit of information about his hometown and it's history.  What follows is recently discovered information on some of the dangers Daniel Kain faced when his family first arrived at the mouth of the Little Miami River.  

The following information is taken from a series of interviews someone did later in Kain's life.   The source had scattered pieces of information that "bounced around" from subject to subject making it difficult to read or put into perspective.  I've taken the liberty of assembling those pieces into what I hope will give readers a better understanding that people like Daniel Kain aren't just historical figures, but human beings that were first settlers in our state and some of the hardships and dangers they faced.  

First it should be noted that early setters to Ohio didn't just waltz into the thickly forested woods of Ohio, park their wagon, unbridle their horses, build a cabin and start raising crops.  Knowing there was safety in numbers, groups of settlers built "stations," a picketed enclosure with cabins that could house several families; a "mini-fort" of sorts.  

The Early Years 
In February of 1789, Daniel Kain and his family arrived by boat at the spot where the Little Miami River empties into the Ohio River.  Traveling with the Kain family were the Watts and Reeder families along with several others he does not mention by name. The following is a piece written by Rebecca Reeder, a member of the family that was traveling with the Kains. She wrote:

My father, mother, and seven children, landed at Cincinnati on the 8th of February, 1789. There were three little cabins here when we landed. They had no floors in these cabins. We lived in our boat until the ice began to run. What few men there were here got together and knocked our boats up and built us a camp. We lived in our camp six weeks. Then my father built us a large cabin, which was the first one large enough for a family to live in. We took the boards of our camp and made floors in our house.” (Charles Cist, Sketches and Statistics of Cincinnati in 1859)

Fig. 1

A man named Benjamin Stites had arrived at the site the year before and built a picketed enclosure at the spot which he called Stites Station.  Today we know it as Columbia.  The occupants of the station had planted corn and other crops the year before to sustain them through the winter months.  While Stites lived inside the picketed enclosure, a man named Esquire Goforth chose to live outside the walls (I guess his fear of enclosed spaces was greater than his fear of death by the Indians)

The Kain's stayed at Stites Station through the summer months than moved on up the Little Miami to the current site of Newton, Ohio where they built a cabin.

 That Winter, the Kain's received word that the Indians had attacked Dunlap's Station on the Big Miami and warned Kain that they should come back to Stites Station or risk being cut off.  Whether they heeded the warning or not is unknown, however the following Spring, Kain moved his family upriver to another station near a mill run by a man named Wickersham (Newtown, Oh).   Kain descrived Wickershams house as a "good strong house."  The other settlers in the area went to work building 5 cabins that housed the families of James Kain, William Shaw, Thomas Barnes a man named Bockover.  By the time they had finished the buildings, the enclosure housed seven families and an old bachelor.   The fifth cabin must have been a spare because Kain stated that a man named Covalt decided to stay outside the walls in the house he had built earlier.  I guess, like Goforth at Stites Station, Covalt wasn't afraid of the Indians either, but his luck was about to run out.
 Young Man Killed And Anothers Luck Ran Out
A young man named James Newell was killed on his way to Covalt's Station during the Winter 1791-92.  He was killed opposite Armstrong Mill which was located on the same side as Wickershams Mill (east side).   A man traveling with him was taken by the Indians and his fate is unknown.  Young Daniel Kane was witness to the body being brought back into the station noting "it was all bloody."  That same year a man Kain referred to as "old Mr. Covalt," the man who chose to live outside the walls at Newtown was killed by the Indians.  A companion with him was shot in the leg. 

18th Century Car Thieves

Because Indians couldn't just go down to the corner used horse lot and pick up a new horse, the only way they could replaced, dead or dying animals was either to raise horses or steal them.  More often then not the preferable method was the latter.

While construction was underway, a group of Indians managed to steal several of the settlers horses.  To give some idea of their value, Kain noted that the horses stolen from Thomas Barnes and his (Kanes) father were valued at as much as a quarter section of land (160 acres).  A sizable loss. 

Without their horses, Kain's father was forced to plow using a team of oxen borrowed from William Shaw.  Once the ground was plowed up, they had to break the clods down using hoes.  Despite all that, Kane noted that they had a "first rate crop again at Wickersham's, 7 acres more."

OH NO.......Not Again
That Winter, Kain's father purchased another horse and in the Spring of 1793, Indians stole that one too.  Around the first of April during a full moon, Indians stole another 11 horses from the settlement.  Twelve men from the settlement went out looking for the Indians and were gone 4 days.  Whether they were successful in getting their horses back is unknown.

Such A Strange Irony
Kane talked about how a man he referred to "old Mr. Jennings" had not traveled west with others from his home in Pennsylvania and had stayed behind for 4 years because of he wanted to avoid the dangers of living so close to the Indians. One day as he was traveling with a companion named Mr. Chris, they were about 1/2 mile northeast of Newtown when Indians ambushed the two and shot Jennings in the chest killing him.  Mr. Chris made his escape and notified the others at Newtown and within 10 minutes they were in pursuit.  While they were gone, Indians shot down 5 of the settlers cattle that were grazing on  nearby hill and cut out their tongues.   My guess is since they couldn't butcher the animals, the next best thing was to at least cut off something edible.

 Other Nearby Stations

From his interviews we can see that the numbers of settlers coming into the area was increasing as Kane mentioned several located within a short distance apart within a relatively short distance on the Little Miami.  There was a station called "Jarrett's Station located about a mile above the mouth of the Little Miami.  There was another called "Middle Station" located, as the name applies, about halfway between Jarrett's Station and Newtown with Mad Station located between the two latter. He added that there were 3 or 4 families living at Mad Station. 

 Mad Station Ambush
As they were preparing to build Mad Station, the settlers led by Captain Hall, then at Newton Station, received word that a group of Indians were coming down Clough Creek near where a new station was to be built.  The men laid in waiting and ambused a group of Indians coming down Clough Creek. One was severly wounded it was not known until later that he died. Kain noted that the Indians said that "the white man was mean."  Maybe that's where they got the name "Mad" Station.

Good Thing He Didn't Go
Robert Griffin went out hunting one Saturday morning and he asked Kains 13 year old brother if he want to go along.  The brother said he was supposed to dig up some potatoes and if he finished it before he (Griffin) wanted to leave, he'd go with him.  Apparently Griffin was in a hurry to go hunting because Kain later wrote that as Griffin was coming down Duck Creek, he was shot through the brest, tomahawked and scalped.  It was near Jarretts Station as the gunshot was heard there. 

 Tap Tap........Heelllllllllooooooo White Man!
Daniel Kain's uncle was a man by the name of 
Captain James Flynn.  When the following event took place is unknown but my guess it was either in the Winter or at least after the crops were in and the men had enough time on their hands that they could go looking for trouble.

Seems Captain Flinn and his party of spies were about14 miles from Newton when apparently they separated.  As Flinn was creeping along in the brush, he crawled up behind a tree so he could get a good look at a group of Indians nearby.  Suddenly he felt a couple taps on his shoulder.  He quickly turned around and saw saw that while he was creeping up on the Indians, one of them had been creeping up on him.  He was taken back to their camp.  That night, he saw the Indians getting a rope to tie him up and he knew if they were able to, he would surely be killed.  Seeing some confusion, Flinn jumped to his feet and ran as fast as he could.  He later recalled that the Indians yelled and whooped "such as you never heard the like."    
After The War of 1812
Little is known about Kain's life from the time mentioned in the stories above until his service during the War of 1812.  What is known is that he was first married to a woman named Marry Hutchinson.  With her he had 2 sons; James and Joseph.  Joseph died at the age of 26 in 1828 leaving his wife Elizabeth and 1 year old daughter Lucy.  Kain also had a daughter, Alice who married Israel Foster. Foster later became the bishop in the church (denomination unk.)  Daniel married his second wife, 23 year old Eleanor "Nellie" Foster, on Dec. 1, 1805.  Together they had 7 children.

After the war, Daniel served as Sheriff of Clermont County, Justice of the Peace for 24 years and postmaster until 1839.  He was descrived as "a zealous Methodist, faithful Freemason and first Vice-President of the first Temperance Convention held in Brown and Clermont Counties.

Eleanor, Daniels wife of nearly 37 years died on July 25, 1842 at the age of sixty.  Daniel, known 
throughout the remainder of his life as “Major Kain,” died the following year on Mar.11, 1843 at the age of seventy. William, Eleanor and son Joseph are buried in the Williamsburg Cemetery, 824 Gay Street, Williamsburg Township.
GPS: N39°03'38.74”,W84°03'29.49”


              Major Daniel Kain                              Eleanor (Foster) Kain
               (1773 - 1843)                                        (1782 - 1842)