Wabash : A Novel of the American Frontier
Overview - The story begins in the log cabin home of retired general John Neely in Princeton, Indiana. The year is 1818. The threat of Indiana attack is receding rapidly. General Neely receives a visit from an old soldier who had served under him during the war of 1812. Read more...
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More About Wabash by Collin Higginbotham
The story begins in the log cabin home of retired general John Neely in Princeton, Indiana. The year is 1818. The threat of Indiana attack is receding rapidly. General Neely receives a visit from an old soldier who had served under him during the war of 1812. Sergeant Greenway's service in the U. S. Army went back to the beginning of the republic. He had come to Princeton to reminisce and to visit the sites of the confrontation between himself and three friends and Piankeshaw Indians from 1792 to 1794. He especially wanted to visit the graves of his cousin Thomas Doyle and the child Mary Griscom near the yellow sandstone bluff. In April 1793, four families depart Wheeling, Virginia to travel to Vincennes to establish homesteads and farms in the Wabash Country. They journey by flatboat down the Ohio River. The riverbanks are already sprinkled with small outposts of Americans pushing into the wilderness and moving the frontier. Their flatboat plans to go further into the Wabash wilderness. The voyage is without serious incident until they reach a river island called Diamond Island. There, they are ambushed by a Piankeshaw war party. Several adult members of the travelers are killed, the remainder are taken captive. The captives are taken many miles north of the river to a Piankeshaw village called Chippecokewea. The spoils from the flatboat are distributed throughout the village. The captives are separated. In 1792 James Greenway and three friends embark from Post Vincennes to hunt and trap the Wabash wilderness south of Vincennes. They set their base camp on a small island in the river know as Coffee Island. They explored the forests, streams and swamps. On one excursion they encountered Piankeshaw warriors. The warriors held four white captives who were survivors of a flatboat ambushed on the Ohio River. The soldiers killed five of the Indians but one escaped to alert their village. In the rescue attempt, Thomas Doyle and five year old Mary Griscom were killed. They were buried at the base of a yellow, sandstone bluff. They all returned to Coffee Island. The hunters and their French guide were told that the Indians held two more captives at the Indiana village. A young boy and girl. The hunters resolved to rescue these two as soon as possible. They do retrieve the young people but are forced to fight a long, running retreat back to Coffee Island. At Coffee Island they are besieged by warriors until the warriors give up the effort. Having survived the indian attacks, The now expanded company continued to hunt and trap. They return eventually to Post Vincennes. They sell their furs and dried meat. The individuals begin to adjust to their new circumstances. Their lives continue on the frontier.