Post Family Stories
Stephen W. Post
4th Great Grandfather
Ashbel G. Post
3rd Great Grandfather
For my children
in honor of their Grandmother
Wilma Leona Post Adrian Kaip Thomas
Excerpt from Fred Post book (page V25) as told to him by Alexis Kolb, a descendant of Stephen Post, through his daughter Cynthia Post Norton (sister of Ashbel G. Post)
The Capture of Stephen Post
The Winter of 1817 or 1818
Grandfather Post had bought a section of what was known as the fire lands, between the Black and Vermillion rivers. He obtained a guard of soldiers and went back some twenty miles where his land lay, and built a block house.
General Wayne came through the region and hired two old scouts and Grandfather Post to lead the way through the forest to Fort Meigs (south outskirts of Toledo, OH), on the Maumee river.
General Harrison was here with an army. Wayne kept his old scouts. No one was safe for the British offered a prize for all the scalps they could get.
In one of the scouting expeditions Grandfather Post and two of his friends were taken prisoners. The two comrades were killed. Grandfather was a musician took his flute from his pocket and began to play and dance. The Indians were amused and took him with them to Canada.
He became a favorite and the Chief wanted to adopt him. In the winter the Indians went to Malden. Here they obtained some skates. The young men went down to the lake, taking G'father with them.
He pretended he did not know what the skates were. He said he wanted to ride on the little "sleds". They good naturely let him try the skates and he made great sport for the Indians tumbling and falling on the ice. He said the sleds they gave him were no good. He wanted to try first one and then the other until he had gotten all of the skates off the Indians. He knew the best skates and did not put them on until the last. Fastening them on securely he tumbled and rolled until he was some dstance from the Indians. Suddenly he straightened up, waved his hand and was off like a shot for the south side of the lake (Erie).
For an instant the Indians were too surprised to move. Then some started for their guns while others started in pursuit. It was a life and death race. Grandfather Post came to a long air hole many feet wide and extending as far as the eye could reach. He took a running leap and landed safely, with a broken skate strap. He was now safe from immediate pursuit, for the Indians dare not cross the chasm.
He made the best of his way to the shore, where found the snow very deep. He was tired and nearly famished. The Indians had taken all his weapons, even his knife away. But he had learned several Indian makeshifts and he trusted in Providence.
Scraping the snow from the side of a log, he lay down to rest. It was a beautiful, starlight night and as he lay he heard a gentle russle (sic) on the other side of the log. Looking in that direction he saw a rabbit scurry away. Rising, he found a shrub of moosewood. He stripped off some bark with his hands and made a snair (sic) which he set in the rabbit trail, then lay down to wait. In a short time he had a rabbit. He was so nearly famished that he tore the skin from a leg and sunk his teeth into the warm flesh. Oh, how sick it mad him! He hung the rabbit in a tree. In the morning it was frozen and he was able to eat some. At the break of day he started down the lake, but he was so sore and lame that he moved slowly and painfully. During the day he kept out some distance on the lake for fear of Indians. About dark he drew near the woods and thought he saw light from a fire. Crawling through the brush he found that it was the embers of a campfire left by a scouting party of Indians, who evidently camped there the previous night. They had killed a deer and eaten most of it but there was plenty left for him, and he laid down by the fire and enjoyed a good nights rest. He started early the next morning. His head aching fearfully and he felt sore and ill. At about ten o'clock he saw a man on the ice before him. He staggered, heard someone say "Why, Mr. Post!" and knew nothing more for long months. (The description suggests it was Tularemia acquired from the raw rabbit, an animal disease common in Ohio even today.)
This was in January, the following March he awoke in a hospital bed with his wife at his side.
The Battle of Sioux Creek
excerpted from The Ancestors and Descendants of William Erastus Post and Sarah Case Post, By Fredrick Just Post, Phd.
The battle as here reviewed is from Peter Mortensen's article in "The Ord Democrat" of March 2, 1894, and is here given almost verbatim. Speaking of the Turtle Creek settlement, Mr. Mortensen says:
"The young blood of the Posts, who had been asking for a real fight with the red men, did not have to wait long. One morning in the latter days of March, '73 a fine mare and her yearling colt were missing from the corral. The footmarks of Indian ponies were noticed around the stables and their trail with those of the stolen horse and colt were plain, leading southward toward the hills and up the Turtle Creek Valley. All the settlers were notified and requested to respond at once for the purpose of over-taking the red rascals, to recover the stolen horses and such other booty as they might have in their possession and to teach the in such a lesson as would forever prevent them from again stealing any horses from the white settlers. To this call responded, as quickly as possible, "Happy Jack" a trapper, Indian scout and regular frontiersman, who the previous fall had moved his camp from near the chalk hills in Greeley county to the Canyon bearing his name, near Mr. Goodenow's farm; also A. G. Post and his son Frank, John Case, Doctor McKenney, Frank Curtis, the three Post boys, David, Charles and Calvin, Falle Moller and Chris Frey (the latter two returning home after the first day and before the battle the following morning) and the writer, who received the news while plowing on his farm with with his ox team. The oxen were immediately liberated from their yoke and on the back of a borrowed horse without a saddle, a borrowed gun and a belt with a shot bag containing 27 rounds of cartridges, he hastened to meet his companions, who had been preparing sufficient provisions to last the company several days. The company were all on horseback with the exception, I think, of Mr. Case and A. G. Post, who rode in a spring wagon containing the provisions, camping utensils and blankets. It was estimated from the trail that the Indians were about twelve in number. There were eleven of us when we started out with "Happy Jack" as our leader, who it was reported had single-handed defeated as large a band as the one we were about to annihilate. And there were the younger Posts. Their blood, was just more than boiling with enthusiasm enough in each to fight the band single-handed. We were armed "to the teeth." Frey brought his old musket, loaded to the muzzle with large buck-shot enough to kill several of the red bucks if they had been conveniently arranged. He had forgotten to bring any extra ammunition. Moller brought his double barreled shot gun, also heavily loaded. The writer brought a borrowed Springfield needle-gun and 27 rounds of cartridges, but on account of some defect in his eyesight and inexperience in handling such a dangerous weapon, might as well have brought a willow club. Even "Happy Jack" did not carry a breech-loader, but a double-barreled gun, one barrel of which was used for shot and the other for ball. Mr. Curtis and Frank Post, I think, both carried Spencer carbines, which experience had proven were sure to overshoot their marks from ten feet to ten rods, according to distance. The rest of the company were armed with muzzle-leading guns and muskets of more or less improved patterns. With such arms no wonder we were certain of victory against a foe, who, as we found out later, were armed with nothing but Winchester repeating rifles!
"After receiving our instructions from "Happy Jack" we left Uncle Billy at home to protect the two ladies, Mrs. Post and Mrs. McKenney, and the remaining horses, about ten in number. Jack was as sure in following a trail of Indians as a blood-hound is in following a nigger trail in the South, and with him in front, Messrs. Case and Post behind in a buggy with our provisions, we started in hot pursuit after the offenders of the Common Law and of the Statutes of Nebraska. A few miles up the north branch of Turtle Creek the trail divided, the largest body of the Indians crossing the creek toward the south, while a trail of two or three Indians and the stolen mare and colt continued on up the creek. This appeared to be in our favor. The prospect now was that we would have to fight but two or three instead of a dozen. That it would have been very convenient for those Indians who had left the trail to have followed us up and in one of the deep draws which we occasionally had to cross to have massacred us all did not enter our minds, and probably not theirs, for as it will appear later they were not planning for human blood but to steal more horses. Occasionally along the trail which we continued to follow we noticed pieces of red cloth, which "Happy Jack" explained to us was to warn us not to follow them, as they would fight us if we came too close. The trail continued to lead up to the head of Turtle Creek, over the divide to Sioux Creek in Loup county and down that creek to the North Loup Valley. When we reached the valley it was sundown and we decided to go into camp on Sioux Creek in a cottonwood grove with plenty of water and dry wood. After partaking of a hearty meal of fried bacon, bread, dried venison and coffee some of us, sore and tired, tried to sleep on the damp ground while others were scattered around our camp to guard us against sudden surprise. But even those who were permitted to sleep were but little benefited. The howl of a coyote or wolf in the still air or the neighing of the horses tied in the brush would startle us or call us to arms by the guard.
"Before sunrise we had finished our breakfast, broken camp and were again in the saddle, following the trail up the Loup Valley. We had not travelled more than an hour, probably 8 or 10 miles, when we heard fierce yelling behind us. We were startled to say the least. Our enthusiasm went down into our knees and made them shake. The blood rushed to our heads and made us dizzy. There they were within 80 or 100 rods of us, eight, ten or twelve, more or less. On their little Indian ponies, they looked like giants and with their flowing red blankets and feathered hats like knights of the Dark Ages. It would have been a grand sight had we been in a mood to appreciate it, but we were not. Where was Calvin and Frank Post? Where was our hero and leader "Happy Jack?" There he stood his pony between him and the Indians, and as pale as a corpse. I offered him the service of my needle gun and my 27 rounds but he declined and advised us not to shoot. "If you don't shoot at them they will go on and not molest us," he said, but they did.
"Soon one of the warriors was seen to leap from his horse and deliberately take aim at us with his Winchester over his pony's back and the ball went whiz-z over our head. Soon he was followed by others and the balls went whiz-z! whiz-z! whiz-z! Our horses became excited. They had caught our enthusiasm and began to run, not towards the Indians but in an opposite direction towards the river. The balls kept a whizzing, and some were seen to strike on the ground near us. A few times we would change front and send a volley after the red skins, who would mount their ponies, circle around a minute and then again commence to fire at us. During our retreat Charles Post and the Doctor, I think, were riding in the hind end of the buggy facing the Indians and keeping up a constant firing, even after the stock of the Doctor's rifle had caught in the buggy wheel and broken its stock. How long our retreat lasted or what distance it covered I have no distinct
recollection. We might have covered a mile or two when we reached a high bank near the river. Here I handed my gun to Frank Post and made myself useful holding the boys' horses while they opened fire on the Indians at a rather Iong range, and I fear to little effect. When I turned my gun over to Mr. Post I had but 7 rounds left, and as I had not fired once I must have lost the other 20 in the excitement. The Indians soon got tired of being targets for us to shoot at and took up the trail after their companions where we had left it and no doubt soon overtook them and over their camp fire had a good laugh over the panic they had caused and the trick they had played us.
"On our way home a valuable mule belonging to A. G. Post and hitched to the buggy died some distance west from where Burwell is now located. Whether the cause was from a wound received during the fight, a sudden attack of colic or from excitement, opinions have very largely differed, and the facts have never been established. We reached home before night where Uncle Billie(William Erastus) and the ladies, with tears in their eyes told us of the trick the red rascals had played on us. That portion of the Indians whose trail we had left on Turtle Creek, and who we supposed had left the locality post haste, had hid themselves in the hills and after we had passed they very cooly and deliberately returned and before the eyes of Mr. Post and the ladies, who were powerless to off or any resistance, drove off the rest of their horses, nine or ten in number.
"I don't mean to infer that "Happy Jack" was a coward. While his actions were, to say the least, very strange, his superior knowledge of Indians and Indian warfare may have shown him the folly of forcing a fight in which the settlers certainly appeared at a disadvantage against their better trained and better armed opponents, and thus saved our lives, if not our reputations as Indian fighters.
"Thus ended the first conflict in the North Loup Valley between the pioneers and the savages, but it was not the last, as may be noted later on. The direct loss to owners was indeed a heavy one, as it represented many years of hard earnings. Estimated in dollars and cents it could not have been less than $1,500, but the indirect loss in retarding immigration and the development of the Valley was many times greater."