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men and true patriots. “Big-foot' was fighting in the defense of his nation, and Poe in the defense of his country. This was certainly a dreadful conflict. Both gave full proof of their natural courage and dexterity. It had liked to have proved fatal to both. I apprehend the Wyandots were a noble race of men. It is a great pity the world cannot learn more of their nationality. I believe that the Poes descended from an excellent stock: we had full proof of this in the high-minded Daniel Poe, who died a martyr, in my opinion, in doing his part to evangelize Texas. A Christian soldier, he fell at his post; his manly form lies in a strange land, and his sweet-spirited missionary wife sleeps by his side. Their lovely children were left without father or mother, but were not forsaken and left to beg their bread.
“Father Tucker resided here during a long, dangerous, and bloody war with the Indians; raised a very large family, but one of whom distinguished himself-I think his name was William.* His father might have said of him, as old Priam said of Hector, that William was the wisest and best of all his sons. He became pious when he was very young, and before he was twenty years of age commenced preaching the gospel. Although born and reared on the frontiers, by close and constant application he acquired a pretty good English education. He bore a very active and successful part in trying to civilize and Christianize the people in the country
* The Minutes give the name as Samuel.
where he resided. His zeal increased with his years; and, while he was yet a young man, he volunteered as a missionary to go to Kentucky: he well knew the danger to which he would be exposed—for the Indian war was raging at the time in its most dreadful forms—but a desire to save souls elevated him above the fear of death. While he was going down the Ohio River, the boat in which he was descending was attacked by a large company of Indians, and as he was well acquainted with the mode of Indian warfare, he took the supervision of all the boats in the company, and had them all lashed together with ropes. Taking his stand in the middle boat, that the whole company might hear the word of command, he ordered the women and children to keep close to the bottom of the boats, lest the Indians might shoot them, and directed the men to arm themselves with axes and bars of iron, etc., so that, if the Indians attempted to come on board, they might mash their fingers and hands. In this way they crippled many of their warriors, and defended themselves for a long time. At length, the cunning Indians found out where the commander stood, and, in a canoe, got round to the end of the boat where the steering-oar works, and shot him through the hole. He saw that he had received his death-wound. He advised them all to get into one boat, leave their property, and try to save their lives. Having given them the best direction he could, he kneeled down, made his last prayer, and expired. They made their escape from the Indians, and landed at Limestone, where
they buried their beloved minister. I have stood and looked at his grave with mingled feeling. I will here say that I received this minute information through an uncle of mine, who owned one of the boats, and was an eye-witness of the whole scene."
The Rev. Lewis Garrett, in his “Recollections of the West,” p. 17, in referring to the death of Mr. Tucker, expresses the opinion that he labored the greater portion of the year on the Limestone Circuit, and near its close returned home to the old settlements;" and, on his return to Kentucky, was killed by the Indians. He
“Samuel Tucker, a young man, who was this year (1790) admitted on trial as a traveling preacher, was remarkably successful in preaching the gospel : he was, indeed, a herald of the cross; and in him was exemplified that prediction, ‘His ministers shall be a flame of fire.' Under his labors there was a mighty turning to God, and these were days of grace, and times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. But his race was short, and his work soon accomplished. Perhaps about the close of this year, he had occasion to go to the old settlements, to assist in removfing some of his relatives or friends. In descending the Ohio River, the boat, laden with emigrants to Kentucky, was fired upon by the Indians. Mr. Tucker received a mortal wound; but report said that he fought with valor and much presence of mind, so that the boat was saved—but he died soon after, rejoicing in God.”
The Rev. Dr. Stevenson, in his “Fragments from
the Sketch-book of an Itinerant," after alluding to the voyage of his father down the Ohio River to Kentucky, gives the following account of the murder of Mr. Tucker:
“Widely different, however, was the fate of the next lot of boats that attempted the same dangerous passage. A little below the mouth of the Scioto, they were attacked by the Indians, in great numbers, from both sides of the river, as well as from their numerous bark canoes in the stream itself. Two of the boats were soon overpowered by superior force, and an indiscriminate slaughter of men, women, and children ensued. The third and only remaining boat of the company was closely pursued for several hours. At times the issue of the conflict was considered doubtful. The most of their active and valorous men were either killed or wounded, and their remaining force was by no means sufficient to manage the oars and successfully resist a direct assault from their blood-thirsty pursuers. The women, however, at length, came forth to the rescue from their places of security and protection. Some took the oars, and others commenced reloading the guns, leaving the few fighting men, who had been mercifully preserved from the balls of the enemy, with nothing to do but to watch the movements of the insidious foe, fire to the best advantage, and as often as they pleased. It was a long and hard-fought battle. The Indians, at length, began to haul off: the fire from the boat had become too constant and well-directed to meet their views, and soon the last warlike craft disappeared on the distant waters, and the poor bullet-riven boat was left to float on without farther molestation. Early the next day, they landed at the ‘Point.' My father was among the first on board. The scene was inexpressibly horrible. The living, as well as the dead and dying, were literally covered with blood. Among the latter was a Mr. Tucker, a respectable local preacher* of the Methodist Church. He had received a mortal wound in his chest, soon after the commencement of the attack; but, nothing daunted by the near and certain approach of death, he continued to fight on-loading and firing his own long rifle, until his fading vision shut out the enemy from his sight. He breathed his last, in submission to the Divine will, soon after the boat reached the landing, and was buried by my father and others, amid the lofty forest trees that then overhung, in primitive grandeur and sublimity, the beautiful bottom where now the tide of business and commerce rolls on mindful of the past. The place of his interment is known to none now living. The light of eternity will alone reveal the hallowed spot.”+
It is proper to state that Dr. Stevens, in his History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, quoting from an article in the Methodist Magazine for 1819, written by the Rev. Mr. Hinde, fixes the date of the murder of Mr. Tucker in 1784. Dr. Stevens says: “As early as 1784, local preachers began to enter it
*He was a traveling preacher. His name stands on the General Minutes, Vol. I., p. 37.
† Nashville Christian Advocate, Oct. 9, 1856.