An American heroine





During the summer of 1787, writes Mr. McClung, in his
Sketches of Western Adventure, "The house of Mr. John Merrill, of Nelson

County, Kentucky, was attacked by the Indians, and defended with singular

address and good fortune. Merrill was alarmed by the barking of a dog about

midnight, and on opening the door in order to ascertain the cause of the

disturbance, he received the fire of six or seven Indians, by which one arm

and one thigh were broken. He instantly sank upon the floor, and called

upon his wife to close the door. This had scarcely been done when it was

violently assailed by the tomahawks of the enemy, and a large breach soon

effected. Mrs. Merrill, however, being a perfect amazon, both in strength

and courage, guarded it with an axe, and successively killed or wounded

four of the enemy as they attempted to force their way into the cabin. The

Indians ascended the roof, and attempted to enter by way of the chimney;

but here again they were met by the same determined enemy. Mrs. Merrill

seized the only feather bed which the cabin afforded, and hastily ripping

it open, poured its contents upon the fire. A furious blaze and stifling

smoke instantly ascended the chimney, and brought down two of the enemy,

who lay at her mercy. Seizing the axe she quickly despatched them, and was

instantly afterwards summoned to the door, where the only remaining savage

now appeared, endeavoring to effect an entrance. He soon received a gash in

the cheek, which compelled him, with a loud yell, to relinquish his

purpose, and return hastily to Chillicothe, where, he gave an exaggerated

account of the fierceness, strength, and courage of the 'long knife

squaw!'"





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