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Re: Moluntha's age
Posted by: Ralph Jenkins Date: February 11, 2002 at 10:45:46
In Reply to: Re: James Renick/Capt. Logan; Joshua=Moluntha? d.1786 by Ralph Jenkins of 285

For the public record: below is the full text of Lytle's account of the killing of Moluntha. This is an eyewitness account, from a participant standing close enough to have intervened in the killing. Notice that nowhere in the account does Lytle refer to Moluntha's age. The only adjective he applies to Moluntha is "famous." Note the details: Moluntha has three wives, and a number of children, including several young. Lytle indeed observes ages: "a young and handsome woman," "two or three fine young lads,"children," "about my own age and size," " the young savage". But nothing to indicate that he saw Moluntha as elderly, aged, old. Who would suppose from this description that Moluntha would be described by later writers as "toothlesss"? It looks as if the suggestion of great age was added by other writers like Green, whose summary of Lytle's account implies that Lytle described Moluntha as aged, when he in fact appears not to have used that adjective.
Gen. William Lytle, who was a boy of sixteen at the time, accompanied the expedition under Logan, and thus describes the march and its results, in Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio: "We came in view of the two first towns, one of which stood on the west bank of the Mad River, and the other on the northeast of it. They were separated by a prairie, half a mile in extent. The town on the northeast was situated on a high, commanding point of land that projected a small distance into the prairie, at the foot of which eminence broke out several fine springs. This was the residence of the famous chief of the nation-Moluntha.

His flag was flying at the time, from the top of a pole sixty feet high. We had advanced in three lines, the commander with some horsemen marching at the head of the centre line and the foot men in their rear. Col. Robert Patterson commanded the left, and I think Col. Thomas Kennedy the right. When we came in sight of the towns, the spies of the front guard made a halt, and sent a man back to inform the commander of the situation of the two towns. He ordered Col. Patterson to attack the town on the left bank of the river. Col. Kennedy was also charged to incline a little to the right of the town on the east side of the prairie. He determined himself to charge with the centre division, immediately on the upper town. As we approached within I half a mile of the town on the left, and about three-fourths from that on the right, we saw the savages retreating in all directions, making for the thickets, swamps and high prairie grass, to secure them from the enemy. As we came up with the flying savages, I was disappointed, discovering that we should have little to do. I heard but one savage, with the exception of the chief, cry for quarter. They fought with desperation, as long as they could raise knife, gun or tomahawk, after they found they could not screen themselves. We dispatched all the warriors we overtook, and sent the women and children prisoners to the rear. We pushed ahead, and had not advanced more than a mile, before I discovered some of the enemy. When I arrived within fifty yards of them, I dismounted and raised my gun. I discovered at this moment some men of the right coming up on the left. The warrior I was about to shoot held up his hand in token of surrender, and I heard him order the Indians to stop. By this time, the men behind had arrived, and were in the act of firing upon the Indians. I called to them not to fire, for the enemy had surrendered. The warrior that had surrendered to me came walking toward me, calling his women and children to follow him. I advanced to meet him, with my right hand extended, but; before I could reach him, the men of the right wing had surrounded him. I rushed in among their horses. While he was giving me his hand, several of our men asked to tomahawk him. I informed them that they would have to tomahawk me first. We led him back to the place where his flag had been. We had taken thirteen prisoners. Among them were the chief, his three wives-one of them a young and handsome woman, another of them the famous grenadier squaw, upwards of six feet high and two or three fine young lads. The rest were children. One of these lads was a remarkably interesting youth, about my own age and size. He clung closely to me, and appeared keenly to notice everything that was going on. When we arrived at the town, a crowd of our men pressed around to see the chief. I stepped aside to fasten my horse, my prisoner clinging close to my side. young man by the name of Curner had been to the springs to drink ; he discovered the young savage by my side, and came running towards me. The young Indian sup-posed he was advancing to kill him ; as I turned around, in the twinkling of an eye he let fly an arrow at Curner, for he was armed with a bow. I had just time to catch his arm as he discharged the arrow, which passed through Curner's dress and grazed his side. The jerk I gave his arm undoubtedly prevented his killing Curner on the spot. I took away his arrows, sternly reprimanding him, and led him back to the crowd which surrounded the prisoners. At the same moment, Col. McGary, the same man who had caused the disaster at the Blue Licks some years before, coming up, Gen. Logan's eye caught that of McGary. 'Col. McGary,' said he, 'you must not molest these prisoners.' I will see to that,' McGary replied. Coming
up to the chief, his first salutation was the question: Were you at the defeat of the Blue Licks?' the Indian, not knowing the meaning of the words, or not understanding the purport of the question, answered in the affirmative. McGary instantly seized an ax from the hands of the grenadier squaw, and raised it to make a blow at the chief. I threw up my arm to ward off the blow, when the ax came down, the handle striking my wrist and nearly breaking it, while the blade sank into the head of the chief to the eyes, who fell dead at my feet. Provoked beyond measure at this wanton barbarity, I drew my knife for the purpose of avenging his cruelty by dispatching him. My arm was arrested by one of our men, which prevented me inflicting the thrust. McGary escaped in the crowd.

A detachment was then ordered off to two other towns, distant. six or eight miles. The men and prisoners were ordered to march down to the lower town and encamp. As we marched out of the upper town, we fired it, collecting a large pile of corn for our horses, and beans, pumpkins, etc., for our own use. Next morning, Gen. Logan ordered another detachment to attack a town that lay seven or eight miles to the north or northwest of where we then were. This town was also burnt, together with a large block house that the English had built there, of huge size and thickness, and the detachment returned that night to the main body. Mr. Isaac Zane was at that time living at this last village, he being married to a squaw, and having at the place his wife and several children at the time."

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