And we carry on . . .

Martha Ivans and Mary remained with the Shawnees until the fall of 1788. They were slaves, literally property of value, but were treated very like Indian children. Their only danger came from a dispute concerning their ownership. When the Indians who claimed them were sober, the girls were safe, but when they were drunk, the girls were taken into hiding by sober Shawnees in order to save their lives.

The thinking was that if the girls were dead, the ownership dispute would be settled. (A pragmatic solution, indeed!) Fortunately, for the girls, they had devoted protectors among the Shawnees. Unfortunately for the tribe, including the girl's protectors, the many years of bloody attacks had finally moved the settlers to action, and they decided to destroy the Shawnee towns on the Scioto. The traders warned the Indians, and the Indians took their wives, children and elderly and moved into the forest. Late November, 1788, the settlers burned the Shawnee towns and all the tribe's winter provisions, then returned immediately to their homes.

The elder's lack of control over the warriors and the warrior's taste for blood and carnage had conspired to leave the tribe without shelter or provisions. Winter was upon them and, destitute, they left for Detroit. The travelers suffered through one bitter storm after another with only deerskin moccasins on their feet. The girls had only one blanket and often awoke under a covering of new snow; one morning it was 12 to 14 inches deep. Their snow blankets probably kept them from freezing to death.

In Detroit the Shawnees went on a king-sized binge. Finally, their money gone, they sold the only marketable product they had left... the girls. Martha was bought by a man who lived near Detroit and was immediately released into the care of a kind English family named Donaldson. They employed her and treated her well. Mary, on the other hand, was bought by a miserable creature named Stogwell for a half-gallon of rum.

He lived at Frenchtown, near Lake Erie. He neither released Mary nor treated her kindly, requiring her to work very hard, providing nothing but rags for clothing and giving her only enough food to keep her alive. Slavery, though it was legal and accepted, was terrible if the master was a bad human being.

To be continued . . .

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