Indian Raid

Taken from Loose Leaves of the History of Lamar County
Article appeared in The Paris News on Thursday, July 28, 1921

Down in the vicinity of the present village of Clardy there lived during the year of 1840 a very excellent family bearing the name of Featherstone. The number of those composing the family has not been ascertained by the Historical Society, but there were at least man and wife and some slaves. On the occasion referred to in this story, Mr. Featherstone, and if there were other male members of the family, were away from home. Mrs. Featherstone and one of her slaves, a woman, were the only members of the family who were at home on that day. The immediate circumstances attending the merciless massacre will never be know as no one remained to tell the tale. The surroundings, however, seems to indicate that Mrs. Featherstone and her slave were taken completely by surprise. Nothing is recalled which would seem to indicate that they barred themselves in the home or made any effort at resistance. Both were killed in the yard near the house. They were, no doubt, engaged in the discharge of their ordinary routine domestic duties and in all probability both in the yard when they were suddenly set upon by a hoard of heartless and merciless redskins and shot and beaten down with pitiless hands. When the murder of the woman was accomplished the fiends then pillaged the house—probably took everything they wanted, then carried he feather beds out and ripped them open and scattered the feathers broadcast to the winds and burned the house.

We have never been able to ascertain exactly, but some hours elapsed before the bodies were found and the alarm could be given. Then there was hurrying to and fro in making preparation for the pursuit. The savages scalped the negro woman but not Mrs. Featherstone. This was interpreted to mean that the foray party was not strong and this was a little trick which they thought might slightly dull the edge of retaliation. The red-handed murderers must have a trophy to exhibit when they returned to their lodges and there must be a pow-wow, but if they could carry the scalp of the old slave maybe the pursuit and desire for revenge would not be just what it would have been if they took that of Mrs. Featherstone. This at least was the interpretation which the pioneers put upon the acts, deeds and doings of the forest murderers on this occasion. Therefore, concluding that the marauding party was small they lost little time in making up a pursing party. We are much indebted to Dr. W. W. Stell for a rather graphic description of the events immediately surrounding this tragic event. He was only about six years old but remembers the hasty gathering of the pursuing pioneers who assembled at his father's house. He remembers that his father's house was chosen because he was the owner of a number of negro men slaves who together with the larger boys could guard the women and children while the men followed the Indians.

These negro men and boys remained on guard every night armed with axes, clubs, etc., for the most part, since the men carried with them the guns, pistols, knives, etc., which equipped the average arsenal of the pioneer home. These faithful watchers neither slumbered nor slept on their posts of duty. The Doctor also vividly recalls the preparations for the journey of pursuit—the parching of considerable quantities of corn, the grinding of corn on his father's steel hand mill, the baking of corn bread, the moulding of bullets, etc. He regrets that in the excitement of the time that he almost forgot to recall who composed the company of pursuers, but of those he can recall with reasonable certainty were his father, Major Stell, his son, George, David and Jesse Pace, Joseph Hannshel, Mr. Featherstone, the husband of the deceased white woman, the two Nicholsons. There were some others, he thinks, who lived further away. Among them might have been Bobby and Billie Patton, possibly those as far away as Uncle Billie Brackeen or Jesse Shelton, but he was too young to note with certainty all who were gone some four or five days but were not successful in overtaking the murderers. The Doctor is not able to locate exactly the site of the old Featherstone home. At the time of the raid his father lived at the Cherry place which was about two miles south of the present village of Jennings, and the Featherstones lived still three miles down the prairie near the Hannshels on the east side of Sandy Creek. Hannshels settled at what is now Clardy in 1832, and the Historical Society has often tried to ascertain who came to the country with them—since it would have been almost foolhardy for a lone family to have settled in that exposed place. It may be that Featherston was one of the families who came with the Hannshels and settled near by. If there are those who can furnish any information in connection with this raid it will be greatly appreciated. An old record left by the Pattons gave some few details of the raid. It was left by the descendants of Billie Patton, but it was destroyed in the fire of 1916, and no accurate recollection is retained of just what those recitals were.
Dr. Stell, so far as is known, is the only living person who retains any personal recollection of the tragic event. It has ben suggested that some of the old families down in that section may know by tradition at least the site of the Featherston home and therefore the scene of the raid and murder. Dr. Stell does not recall what became of Mr. Featherston or if there were children in the family.

 


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