Need help identifying a frontiersman (pre-1783)


4v50 Gary
January 5, 2003, 04:12 PM
Can't remember which book I read it in, but it concerns the American frontier (pre 1783). Anyway, our frontiersman knew that the Indians would lay in wait and shoot a man when he first stepped out in the morning to relieve himself, devised a stratagem for survival. He made a wood dummy which he dressed in old clothes. Mr. Dummy would peer out of the door in the morning and if Mr. Dummy wasn't shot, he knew it was safe. One day, the woman (don't remember whether she was a sister or wife) held Mr. Dummy to receive his bullet, but Mr. Dummy was fired upon. Naturally, she allowed Mr. Dummy to fall inside as if he was killed. The Indians rushed towards the cabin door whereupon the first man was shot down by the frontiersman.

Who was this guy? Been flipping through the pages of some of my books but I never make a note in the margins so I can't find him. :o If anybody does remember this story, besides his name, can you give me the title of the book you read it in?

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Mike Weber
January 5, 2003, 09:25 PM
First I've heard of this story Gary. When you find the account be sure to fill us all in on the rest of the details, sounds interesting. I wonder if the fellow involved was Daniel Boone.

January 5, 2003, 10:18 PM
It wasn't Boone.
A few months ago I read the most recent biography of Boone, and he was definitely NOT an Indian killer or hater. He often stated that in his life time he had only had to kill three men.

The book closely examined all the Boone stories and legends, and the dummy trick wasn't one of them.

4v50 Gary
January 5, 2003, 10:23 PM
Nope, it wasn't Boone. I was wondering about the Wetzel boys but couldn't find it in those books either.

BTW, during the Siege of Boonsboro by Blackfish and the Shawnee, two Indians used a dummy. One would hold the dummy mask out and the defenders would pop away at it. The other Indian would shoot at the defender or his/her smoke (yep, numerous examples of frontier women who, if they knew how to shoot, also shot back). The defenders finally figured it out and when the dummy holder got careless, they shot him. The shooter skedaddled. Read that in Lyman Draper book on Daniel.

4v50 Gary
January 6, 2003, 08:35 PM
I posted elsewhere and another muzzleloader found it for me. Dug it out of my copy of C. B. Allman's "The Life and Times of Lewis Wetzel", pages 70-71:

"The Wetzel boys made a false face out of a soft block of wood, and painted it a human color and fixed it in the human shape, and some of them would frequently go and see to the domestic concerns on their farms. Jacob taking his false man and his sister, Susannah by name (commonly called Susan) and staying all night, was apprehensive that there were Indians near, by the alarm of the dog in the night. He told his sister he had every reason to believe there were Indians near.

"As soon as it was fairly light, he opened the door, taking his post on the left side of the door, and Susannah on the right side. As the door opened to the right, she stood rather back of the door, holding up the false man with her left hand in full view of the open door. Two Indians were concealed some distance in front of the house. One of them fired at the false man, thinking it was the man of the house. The Indians rose from behind their concealment and made toward the house, but as soon as the report of the Indian's gun was heard, Susan let the false man fall into the house. Jacob shot one dead on approach, and Susan quickly shut and bolted the door. Jacob soon had his powder in his gun, and ramming two naked bullets down, fired out of a port hole just as the Indian was in the act of making off, the two balls taking effect in the Indian's back and soon brought him to the ground."

Glad we don't have to do that modernly just get to work or for groceries.

January 6, 2003, 09:59 PM
Thats interesting. I'd never heard of lewis having a brother.
If you haven't read anything by Zane Grey, you should. I have pretty much every book he wrote (maybe all of them:confused: ) in a set that was my grandpa's. His stories span pretty much the entire period of America's development after the revolutionary war. He has a few involving Lewis Wetzel partnered up with Jonathan Zane, as bordermen/indian fighters. Simon Girty is in there too. I'll try to find them and get the titles of those ones for you if you want. They're pretty good reading. I don't know how accurate they are, he definitely likes to spin a yarn but they're not overdone like stuff is today and everything is pretty beleivable. He seems to have done a lot of research to get all the right stuff in terms of the setting and the events that take place.

4v50 Gary
January 8, 2003, 11:09 AM
Thanks Redneck. I know of Zane Grey's works and they are available here.

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