Affidavits Of July 1849 Indian Attack
Transcribed by: Spessard Stone
Used with permission
These affidavits by the McCulloughs were published in The Herald-Advocate (Wauchula, Fla.) of July 9, 1992 as "Affidavit Recounts 1849 Indian Attack." In the newspaper article, the affidavits were re-paragraphed for easier reading, but here appear as in the original in Kennedy & Darling to the Hon. Thomas Ewing, 31st Congress, 1st Session [Senate], No. 49, May 21, 1850. Editor's note: The Kennedy-Darling store was located within today's Paynes Creek State Historic Site, southeast of Bowling Green, Florida.
To the Hon. Thomas Ewing,
Sir: Herewith enclosed we hand you the affidavits of William McCullough, Nancy his wife, and Louis Lanier, citizens of this county. Be pleased to consider and file the samewith our letter to you on the 25th July last.
With due respect, we are
State of Florida,
Personally appeared before me, Judge of Probate, in and for the county and state aforesaid, William McCullough, who having been duly sworn according to law, says he was hired by Messrs. Kennedy and Darling on the 3d day of July, 1849, and arrived at their Indian store on Peas creek on the that day and remained there until it was burned by the Indians on the 17th or 18th July, 1849.
On the 17th July about noon Echo Emathlo Chapko and three squaws came to the store, bringing a large quantity of water melons of which Captain Payne purchased some 9 or 12, at the same time telling the Indians that he could have purchased them all but he did not think the melons would sell in New York to advantage. The Indians also brought venison, sweet potatoes, skins and beeswax, all of which was purchased by Captain Payne. Echo Emathla Chopka stated that he would return a pony he had recently purchased as not being such as he had ordered. The Indians went away about 3 or 4 o'clock, P. M. of the same day. During the time they remained at the store they behaved well, in fact appeared more friendly than usual.
About half an hour before sunset same day, four other Indians came to the store, all men, without any thing but their arms. These men came to the store with a quick step, carrying their rifles on shoulder, muzzle foremost, locks covered, and appeared more bold and animated than usual. Otherwise I did not observe anything uncommon in their appearance or conduct, except that they brought no trade with them, which was unusual. They told Captain Payne they had a large pack of skins on the east side of Peas creek, and wanted his boat to get it across. Payne told them that after supper he would assist them in getting the pack over. The Indians then desired permission of Captain Payne to stop in the store and were refused, Captain Payne stating to them that Indians were never allowed to sleep in the store. The Indians then went out of the store, and Captain Payne closed the store doors and windows, and he and Demsey Whichidon [sic] went out at the end of the store and sat talking with them until suppertime-it was now early twilight. We all sat down to supper-the Indians were sitting at the end of the store next to the eating-room quietly smoking their pipes. We had scarcely got seated at the supper-table when they fired in at the door from the outside, one Indian standing on either side of the door and two in front, one behind the other. By this shot Captain Payne and Dempsey Whiddon were killed dead, and I received a bullet in my left shoulder. I was shocked for an instant, but saw Payne spring up and fall back on the floor. Whiddon fell forward, his face and hands resting on his plate. I sprang to the door and shouted, when the Indians gave back reloading their rifles. My wife was closing the shutters of the windows, but I told her our only chance was to leave the building. My wife then took her child and started for the bridge, which was about a quarter of a mile from the store. Previously, however, to my wife's starting, I had taken down a loaded rifle that hung on the wall, and had examined Captain Payne and Dempsey Whiddon and found that they were both dead; I then determined to leave the building. I followed my wife with the rifle. I had not gone more than 30 yards from the store when Indians fired on me again one shot and missed; at about 20 yards further on they fired another shot at me and missed; at about half from the store to the bridge my wife and child fell down, and I had just got them up and started again when the Indians fired on us again, a ball passing through the flesh of my right thigh, the same ball passing through the leg of my wife near the knee; but no bones were broken. We then passed on across the bridge, when we left the road and hid. About two minutes after we had concealed ourselves, three Indians passed up the road running, and in earnest conversation apparently searching for us. In a few minutes two of them returned and passed us in the direction of the store, and the other I have never seen since then, but I suppose he intended to have us cut off on the road. As soon as it was dark, we took to the woods, and on the following Friday, about noon, without food and almost naked, we reached the settlements on the Big Alafia, a distance of twenty or thirty miles, having lost my way and wandered a good deal in the woods. In the gray of Wednesday morning I saw a bright light in the direction I supposed the store to be. I think the store was burned at that time. At about 3 o'clock, A. M., on Wednesday morning I heard the report of several guns. Also while I lay concealed near the bridge, after the two Indians had gone back, I heard the report of one gun. We lost everything we had, and among other things some papers worth a hundred dollars, and my other property, such as wearing apparel, bedding, furniture, and farming utensils, buildings and crop, both at the Indian store, and my place on the Alafia, which I was also compelled to abandon in consequence of my wounds, is worth three hundred dollars. Only the assets at the Indian store has been destroyed which are valued at two hundred dollars. As far as I know, the Indians have not yet disturbed my place on the Alafia, but I am unable to look after it.
I think the buildings of Messrs. Kennedy and Darling at the Indian station were worth fifteen hundred dollars. I cannot say how much the goods were worth that were in the store when it was burned.
There were shelves on two sides of the store-room which was about 22 feet square, and on the shelves, which were pretty well filled, (there were five tiers of shelves) were rifles, brass kettles, beads, blankets, tin-ware, domestic goods of every description, powder, lead, flints, tobacco, knives, red broadcloth, spurs, bridles, and bits, a saddle, looking-glasses, files, a full foolchest of tools, Indian shawls and handkerchiefs, hoes and hatchets, grindstones, combs, binding, a large quantity of salt and whisky, corn and provisions, and a quantity of deer-skins in hair, also bear-skins and moccasins, kitchen and mess furniture, a large canoe, &c.
The store was complete; upper and lower floors of pit-saw lumber, chimney and floor to the kitchen. I have also nineteen hogs, valued at two dollars and a half per head, that are at large on the south side of the Alafia.
Personally appeared also Nancy,
wife of deponent William M'Collough, and she having been duly sworn according
to law, says the foregoing statement is correct and true; also that one of the
four Indians was called Yoholochee, a Miccasuky Indian, whom she had often seen
on the Alafia river, at her father's house. She says that this Indian looked
mad. She was well known to most of the Indians that traded to Tampa formerly;
knew a good many Indians by sight, but cannot call them by their names. These
Indians appeared to look about a good deal.
State of Florida,
Personally appeared before me, Judge of Probate, in and for the aforesaid, duly commissioned and sworn into office, Louis Lanier, planter, of the county of Hillsborough, and State Florida, who having been duly sworn according to law, says he visited the Indian store of Messrs. Kennedy & Darling, on Pease creek, on the 29th day of June 1849. He further says that he is acquainted with the business of building in Florida, and that in his opinion the buildings at the station recently erected were worth at least seven hundred dollars. In regard the value of the Indian goods, on hand at the Indian store at the time, I cannot form an opinion satisfactory to myself, as I am unacquainted with the business.
Note: In both affidavits Simon's
surname is spelled Purman; his name was Turman. Also, Lanier's given name is
spelled Louis and Lewis.