Christmas Outlawed


Life in the Colonies.jpg 2

When my Ancestors arrived in America and settled in Massachusetts Bay Colony this was the law.

Outlawing the celebration of Christmas sounds a little extreme, but it happened. The ban existed as law for 22 years, but disapproval of Christmas celebration took many more years to change. In fact, it wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston area.

The Puritans who immigrated to Massachusetts to build a new life had several reasons for disliking Christmas. First of all, it reminded them of the Church of England and the old-world customs, which they were trying to escape. Second, they didn’t consider the holiday a truly religious day. December 25th was not selected as the birth date of Christ until several centuries after his death. Third, the holiday usually included drinking, feasting, and playing games–all things which the Puritans frowned upon. One such tradition, “wassailing” occasionally turned violent. The older custom entailed people of a lower economic class visiting wealthier community members and begging, or demanding, food and drink in return for toasts to their host’ health If the host refused there was threat of retribution. Although rare, there were cases of wassailing in early New England. Fourth, the British had been applying pressure on the Puritans for a while to conform to the English customs. The ban was probably as much a political choice as it was a religious one for many.

“For preventing disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonor of God and offense to others: it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as foresaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings as a fine to the county.”

From the records of the General Court, Massachusetts Bay Colony May 11,1659

Records indicate that the first Christmas the Puritans celebrated in the new world passed uneventfully.  Some of the new settlers celebrated Christmas while others did not. But the events of the second Christmas were documented by the group’s governor, William Bradford. Sickness had wiped out many of their group, and for the first time they were facing hostility by one of the Native American tribes in the area. Bradford recorded that on the morning of the 25th, he had called everyone out to work, some men from the newly arrived ship “Fortune” told him it was against their conscience. He responded he would spare them “until they were better informed.” But when he returned at noon, he found them playing games in the street. His response, as noted in his writings was: “If they made the keeping of it matter of devotion, let them keep their houses, but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets.”

The second Christmas was the first time the celebration was forbidden in Massachusetts, but the ban didn’t make into the law books until several years later. As the settlement grew and more English settled in the area, tensions grew between the Puritans and the British. The more pressure the English king exerted on the colonist, the more they resisted. In 1659, the ban became official. The General Court banned the celebration of Christmas and other such holidays at the same time it banned gambling and other lawless behavior, grouping all such behaviors together. The court placed a fine of five shillings on anyone caught feasting or celebrating the holiday in another manner.

“The generality of Christmas-keepers observe that festival after such a manner as is highly dishonorable to the name of Christ. How few are there comparatively that spend those holidays (as they were called) after an holy manner. But they are consumed in Compotation’s, in interludes, in playing Cards, in Revellings, in excess of wine, in mad Mirth…”

    Reverend Increase Mather, 1687

The ban revoked in 1681by an English-appointed governor Sir Edmund Andros, who also revoked a Puritan ban against festivities on Saturday night. But even after the ban was lifted, the majority of colonist still abstained from celebration. Samuel Sewell, whose diary of life in Massachusetts Bay Colony was late published, made a habit of watching the holiday-specifically how it was observed each year. “Carts came to town and shops open as usual. Some, somehow, observed the day; but are vexed. I believe, that the Body of the people profane it – and blessed be God! No Authority yet to compel them to keep it. Sewell wrote in 1685.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil War Activities of Daniel Wesley Reagan


In his book, Smoky Mountain Clans, Donald B. Reagan says tht Daniel was a strong Union man but was too old to serve in the war.  He served as “muster” officer and drilled local men, probably the “home guard” in the Gatlinburg area.  He had three sons in service in the Union Army and had to hide from Confederate soldiers that came to the area from time to time, usually on conscription missions.  During such times he hid in the mountains guarding his stores of food supplies for his family and the community.  His youngest son, Charles C. was taken to the cache of food so that he could transport the food in his father’s absence.

Life of Daniel Wesley Reagan


Daniel Wesley Reagan was a forceful man who was well liked and revered by his neighbors.   He was the son of Richard Reagan (1769-1829), also a strong man who was public spirited and well respected.  Richard, like many pioneer White Oak Flats men, was a jack-of-all-trades:  miller, blacksmith, post master, justice of the peace, and religious leader.    He and his family had first lived in Emert’s Cove, (Pittman Center), and Daniel Wesley was born there. His mother was Julia Ann Shultz (1775-1846), daughter of Dr. Martin Shultz.  Of German descent, Julia Ann spoke English and German and preferred a German Bible.
Marriages On 30 Jan 1830, Daniel Wesley married Nancy Ogle  (24 Aug 1810-18 Feb 1844), daughter of Thomas J. and Sophia Bosley Ogle. When they married, Daniel was twenty-eight years old and Nancy was twenty.  The couple had nine children:  Richard Reason (Uncle Dick), Robert (who died as an infant), Ephraim (Uncle Ephraim), Martha (Aunt Polly), Elizabeth Margaret, Julia Ann, Sophia, Daniel Wesley Stephen (Uncle Wes), and Marriah. Nancy died 18 Feb 1844, leaving Daniel Wesley with six children under ten and the two older boys at ages eleven and fourteen.  That same year Daniel married Sarah “Sally” Whaley, daughter of Rebecca Ogle McCarter Whaley and Middleton Whaley.  Sally was brave to take on the responsibility of nine children. At that time she was twenty-five years old and Daniel was forty-two.  Though he was almost twenty years older than she, Daniel was considered quite a catch since he was a landowner and well respected in the community.  Daniel Wesley and Sally had five children of their own:  Mary (Polly), Sarah (Aunt Sally), William Brownlow, Rebecca (who died as an infant), and Charles Clemson.   Pre-Civil War Era  Before the Civil War, the “right” side to be on in Sevier County and in much of the mountain area was “no” side.  Most of the people were neutral.  In Sevier County those who did choose sides were overwhelmingly Union. Daniel Wesley was in that last group.  Tradition has it that when the vote came for succession, there was only one vote in favor in the whole county.  People quickly narrowed that one vote down to Radford Gatlin, the outspoken eccentric Gatlinburg storekeeper who had once been postmaster of the town and had given the town its name by virtue of his office.   Gatlin was run out of town after the vote, but strangely the town kept the name he had given it.  Civil War When the Civil War finally came, Reagan was too old to enlist, but he encouraged three of his sons to enlist, and he, himself, trained soldiers in the Flats and in Bird’s Creek.  He called his exercises with the soldiers “mustering.”  He was also appointed official food distributor for the county during the war.  Since he was a known Union sympathizer, he expected to be captured by Confederate forces, so he hid the food supplies in safe places around the county and took his youngest son, seven-year-old Charles, to where each batch was hidden.  If he were to be captured, Daniel Wesley placed the responsibility for distributing the food to the needy on the shoulders of the young boy.  (Note:  One source mentioned that Reagans were known as short, dark men.  The army descriptions of Richard, Ephraim, and West listed them as  5’9″, 5’7″, and 5’9″ respectively.  All were described as having “dark hair.”  The same source said Reagans were good musicians and could sing and play fiddles and guitars well.  I was unable to verify this musical talent.)  Accomplishments Like his father Richard, Daniel was quite skillful at many tasks.  He was a farmer and blacksmith and built the first wagon made in White Oak Flats.   He reportedly made the wheels out of ”one piece of split white oak.”  He donated the land for the first community cemetery and provided a five-sided building for use as a church, school, and voting place.  For a time he was postmaster for the settlement as were two of his sons.   Anecdote Once one of Daniel’s daughters was whipped by schoolteacher William Trentham for spitting in a classmate’s schoolbook.  Daniel was so furious he locked the schoolhouse and took the key and said that no more schools of that kind would be allowed where he lived.  Since Daniel had donated the land for the school in the 1830’s, he felt he had the right to close it down.  Several days later he relented and reopened the school. Family Tragedies Like all families, Daniel Wesley’s had its share of sadness.  Son Robert died when he was only five months old.  Richard, Ephraim, and Wes were all soldiers during the war.  Wes spent two weeks at a hospital in Washington, DC to recover before returning to active duty.  Daniel’s brother David enlisted in the Union army as “Jim Reagan” to take the place of his son, Jim, whom people said “lacked the nerve to go.”  Unfortunately, David was killed in the war.  Daniel’s son Brownlow was killed in a freak accident in the mountains.  As he was hopping rocks in the river, his pistol fell out of his pocket, hit a rock and went off.  The bullet struck Brownlow, killing him.  Rebecca Reagan died at only nine months of age.  Land Acquisition Even before he was married, Daniel was interested in acquiring land and at one time owned over six thousand acres.  He would later distribute this land to his children.  This desire for land may be another trait he picked up from his father.  Not only did Daniel Wesley own lots of land and farms, it became his practice to move to the new farms or homes when he bought them.  After his death his second wife, Sally, said she wanted to stay in one spot for the rest of her life because she was so tired of moving.  She got her wish.  She moved into the home of her stepdaughter, Marriah Reagan McCarter and her son-in-law Thomas Hill McCarter (Papaw’s parents).  She lived with them on their farm for eight years until she died 05 Dec 1901.   Marriah had been only two years old when her own mother died, and Sarah was really the only mother she had ever known.  A Long Life, Well Lived
Daniel Wesley Reagan lived a long, prosperous life.  He was well loved by his family and the community.  When he died on 25 Jan 1892, he was ninety years old.
probably because of Gatlin’s extensive claim in the area and the Courthouse fire. This 1859 grant was for 600 acres up both sides of the river from Baskins Creek to the Two Mile Branch. In May 1866, he added another 640 acres to this holding. There are also grants for 1,000, 600, and 4,000 acres on Roaring Fork granted in 1839, 1868 and 1872. Most of this land was divided among his children – no will has been found. Daniel moved around and lived on several of his farms – his wife said after his death that she wanted to spend the rest of her years in one spot, she was so tired of moving. She spent her remaining years with her stepdaughter and her husband, Mariah and Thomas H. McCarter.
Daniel was a blacksmith as well as a farmer. Tradition says he built the first wagon in the settlement, making the wheels of one piece of split white oak. His son, Charles C. Reagan, built the first wagon that crossed the Smokies. Although no record has been found to verify it, Daniel probably served as a Justice of Peace. He did keep the community post office. When the settlement officially became Gatlinburg and the post office was established, Daniel and Joel Conner received the contract to carry the mail from Sevierville to Casher’s Valley, South Carolina. Daniel’s sons, Richard R. and Ephraim Reagan, served as postmaster in the village.
Definitely a Union man but too old to go to service during the Civil War, Daniel served as ‘muster’ officer and drilled the men of the village out in the ‘Flats’. He also served the community as food distributor. Because of his activities and his three oldest sons being in the Union army, he often had to hide out in the mountains to escape the Confederates. The youngest son, Charles C., often told of his father taking him to the woods and showing him the meat and food supplies he had hidden. Daniel didn’t think the Rebels would bother the women and children and if he did have to hide out, then Charles must see that food was brought in for the people as it was needed—a big responsibility for a seven year old boy.
A civic minded man, Daniel furnished the meeting house for the village–the five sided building used for the school, church and ‘voting place’. According to one of the land grants, this was located at the ‘mouth of the lane’, now Reagan Lane, near the old River Road. Although he furnished the meeting place for the Baptist Church for many years, Daniel was not found on the membership roll of the church and did not give the land for the present building site, as has been stated by many sources.
Daniel Wesley Reagan did give the land for the oldest part of the White Oak Flats Cemetery (Gatlinburg Cemetery) to the community. This was originally a family plot on the farm of his father, Richard Reagan. The first burial there was a child of Daniel Milsaps, the first school teacher in Gatlinburg.
Daniel and his last wife Sarah are buried in the White Oak Flats Cemetery.
Source: ‘Smoky Mountain Clans’, Donald B. Reagan, 1978, p 6a, 15-16. ‘Smoky Mountain Clans, Volume 2’, Donald B. Reagan, 1983, p 51. ‘Smoky Mountain Clans, Volume 3’, Donald B. Reagan, 1983, p 45. ‘The Book of Ragan/Reagan’, Donald B. Reagan, 1993, p 37. ‘In the Shadow of the Smokies’, Smoky Mountain Historical Society, 1993, p 577.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sale of Daniel Wesley Regan Farm To Nora Ogle


According to Donald B. Reagan’s Reagan-Ogle geneaology book, Daniel accumulated extensive land holdings in Gatlinburg between 1824 and 1872 including 600 acres up both sides of the Little Pigeon River to Two Mile Branch, another contiguous +640 acres, followed by 1000, 600, and 4000 acres on Roaring Fork.  Most of this land was divided among his children.  He did donate some land that provided the oldest part of the White Oaks Cemetery near the center of Gatlinburg.  He also furnished the meeting house for the village which was used for the school, church, and for voting.  It was located at the lower end of the “lane” now Reagan Lane.  During his lifetime, he moved his family from farm to farm.  He was a blacksmith and built the first wagon in the community, and later carried the mail between Gatlinburg and Cashiers Valley, NC. Noah Ogle (1833-1897) bought or was given 100 acres of land in the middle of what is now Gatlinburg, from his father-in-law Daniel Westly Reagan in 1866. Noah had married Sophia Reagan in 1854. He had been discharged from his military service one year before he bought the land.  At the time, he and Sophia had 5 children.(Served in Union army, as a pvt in Co E, 2nd TN Cav Volunteers from 1862 till July 1865)  The farm lay between Baskins Creek and Reagan Lane on both sides of the river, now the center of Gatlinburg.  In the 1870 census, he is lilsted as a grocery merchant.  The store he started was still operating 100 years later, and as of 2008, the land is still owned by his descendants, being some of the most valuable land in the county. The store was apparently passed into the hands of their son, Ephraim E. Ogle (1856-1936), And then to Charles A Ogle who married Hattie Mae Maples, in November 1917.  (GF West Reagan told me he and Hattie were a “little sweet” on each other but he was not ready to marry and so she found and mararied Charlie Ogle.)  The store was owned by Charles Earl Ogle in the mid 20th century and the property was remodeled sometime between 1965 and 1985.

Life of Daniel Wesley Reagan


Parents Daniel Wesley Reagan was a forceful man who was well liked and revered by his neighbors.   He was the son of Richard Reagan (1769-1829), also a strong man who was public spirited and well respected.  Richard, like many pioneer White Oak Flats men, was a jack-of-all-trades:  miller, blacksmith, post master, justice of the peace, and religious leader.    He and his family had first lived in Emert’s Cove, (Pittman Center), and Daniel Wesley was born there. His mother was Julia Ann Shultz (1775-1846), daughter of Dr. Martin Shultz.  Of German descent, Julia Ann spoke English and German and preferred a German Bible.
When Daniel was about two to four years old, the family moved to White Oak Flats (Gatlinburg).  They arrived not long after Martha Jane Ogle and her family.   Legend has it that Daniel Wesley was the first white child born in White Oak Flats, but that story is incorrect.
Marriages On 30 Jan 1830, Daniel Wesley married Nancy Ogle  (24 Aug 1810-18 Feb 1844), daughter of Thomas J. and Sophia Bosley Ogle. When they married, Daniel was twenty-eight years old and Nancy was twenty.  The couple had nine children:  Richard Reason (Uncle Dick), Robert (who died as an infant), Ephraim (Uncle Ephraim), Martha (Aunt Polly), Elizabeth Margaret, Julia Ann, Sophia, Daniel Wesley Stephen (Uncle Wes), and Marriah. Nancy died 18 Feb 1844, leaving Daniel Wesley with six children under ten and the two older boys at ages eleven and fourteen.  That same year Daniel married Sarah “Sally” Whaley, daughter of Rebecca Ogle McCarter Whaley and Middleton Whaley.  Sally was brave to take on the responsibility of nine children. At that time she was twenty-five years old and Daniel was forty-two.  Though he was almost twenty years older than she, Daniel was considered quite a catch since he was a landowner and well respected in the community.  Daniel Wesley and Sally had five children of their own:  Mary (Polly), Sarah (Aunt Sally), William Brownlow, Rebecca (who died as an infant), and Charles Clemson.   Pre-Civil War Era  Before the Civil War, the “right” side to be on in Sevier County and in much of the mountain area was “no” side.  Most of the people were neutral.  In Sevier County those who did choose sides were overwhelmingly Union. Daniel Wesley was in that last group.  Tradition has it that when the vote came for succession, there was only one vote in favor in the whole county.  People quickly narrowed that one vote down to Radford Gatlin, the outspoken eccentric Gatlinburg storekeeper who had once been postmaster of the town and had given the town its name by virtue of his office.   Gatlin was run out of town after the vote, but strangely the town kept the name he had given it.  Civil War When the Civil War finally came, Reagan was too old to enlist, but he encouraged three of his sons to enlist, and he, himself, trained soldiers in the Flats and in Bird’s Creek.  He called his exercises with the soldiers “mustering.”  He was also appointed official food distributor for the county during the war.  Since he was a known Union sympathizer, he expected to be captured by Confederate forces, so he hid the food supplies in safe places around the county and took his youngest son, seven-year-old Charles, to where each batch was hidden.  If he were to be captured, Daniel Wesley placed the responsibility for distributing the food to the needy on the shoulders of the young boy.  (Note:  One source mentioned that Reagans were known as short, dark men.  The army descriptions of Richard, Ephraim, and West listed them as  5’9″, 5’7″, and 5’9″ respectively.  All were described as having “dark hair.”  The same source said Reagans were good musicians and could sing and play fiddles and guitars well.  I was unable to verify this musical talent.)  Accomplishments Like his father Richard, Daniel was quite skillful at many tasks.  He was a farmer and blacksmith and built the first wagon made in White Oak Flats.   He reportedly made the wheels out of ”one piece of split white oak.”  He donated the land for the first community cemetery and provided a five-sided building for use as a church, school, and voting place.  For a time he was postmaster for the settlement as were two of his sons.   Anecdote Once one of Daniel’s daughters was whipped by schoolteacher William Trentham for spitting in a classmate’s schoolbook.  Daniel was so furious he locked the schoolhouse and took the key and said that no more schools of that kind would be allowed where he lived.  Since Daniel had donated the land for the school in the 1830’s, he felt he had the right to close it down.  Several days later he relented and reopened the school. Family Tragedies Like all families, Daniel Wesley’s had its share of sadness.  Son Robert died when he was only five months old.  Richard, Ephraim, and Wes were all soldiers during the war.  Wes spent two weeks at a hospital in Washington, DC to recover before returning to active duty.  Daniel’s brother David enlisted in the Union army as “Jim Reagan” to take the place of his son, Jim, whom people said “lacked the nerve to go.”  Unfortunately, David was killed in the war.  Daniel’s son Brownlow was killed in a freak accident in the mountains.  As he was hopping rocks in the river, his pistol fell out of his pocket, hit a rock and went off.  The bullet struck Brownlow, killing him.  Rebecca Reagan died at only nine months of age.  Land Acquisition Even before he was married, Daniel was interested in acquiring land and at one time owned over six thousand acres.  He would later distribute this land to his children.  This desire for land may be another trait he picked up from his father.  Not only did Daniel Wesley own lots of land and farms, it became his practice to move to the new farms or homes when he bought them.  After his death his second wife, Sally, said she wanted to stay in one spot for the rest of her life because she was so tired of moving.  She got her wish.  She moved into the home of her stepdaughter, Marriah Reagan McCarter and her son-in-law Thomas Hill McCarter (Papaw’s parents).  She lived with them on their farm for eight years until she died 05 Dec 1901.   Marriah had been only two years old when her own mother died, and Sarah was really the only mother she had ever known.  A Long Life, Well Lived
Daniel Wesley Reagan lived a long, prosperous life.  He was well loved by his family and the community.  When he died on 25 Jan 1892, he was ninety years old.

Wood River Massacre


Pages 82-83

WOOD RIVER MASSACRE.

 

The most startling and cruel atrocity ever committed by the Indians within the limits of Madison county was the Wood River massacre, on the tenth of July, 1814, by which seven persons, one woman and six children, lost their lives. This tragedy took place in the forks of Wood river, between two and three miles east of the present Upper Alton. The victims were the wife and two children of Reason Reagan, two children of Abel Moore, and two children of William Moore.

 

At the beginning of the war of 1812-14, the citizens of the county, who lived at exposed locations on the frontier, sought refuge in the forts and block-houses; but, as no Indians made their appearance and the Rangers were constantly on the alert, scouring the country to the north and east, the most began to feel so secure that in the summer of 1814 they returned to their farms and dwellings. There were six, or eight families residing at that time in the forks of Wood river. The men were mostly absent from home in ranging service. At the residence of George Moore on the east branch of Wood river, a block-house had been built to which the women and children could flee should danger be apprehended.

 

The massacre occurred on a Sabbath afternoon. Reagan had gone two, or three miles from home to attend church, leaving his wife and two children at the house of Abel Moore, which was about a mile distant from where he lived, and half-way between his house and the block-house. About four o’clock in the afternoon Mrs. Reagan started back to her own dwelling, intending to return to Abel Moore‘s in a short time. She was accompanied by her own two children, and the four children of Abel and William Moore. A little afterward two men of the neighborhood passed along the road, in an opposite direction to that taken by Mrs. Reagan. One of them heard at a certain place, a low call, as of a boy, which he did not answer, and for a repetition of which he did not delay.

 

When it began to grow dark uneasiness was felt at the absence of the Moore children, and William Moore came to Abel Moore‘s, and not finding them there passed on toward Reagan‘s, while his wife started in a direct line, not following the road, for the same place. William Moore now came back with the startling information that some one had been killed by the Indians. He had discovered a human body lying on the ground which by reason of the darkness and his haste, he was unable to identify.

 

The first thought was to find a refuge in the block-house! Mr. Moore desired his brother’s family to go by the road directly to the fort, while he would pass by his own house and take his own family with him, but the night was dark, the road passed through a heavy forest, and the women and children chose to accompany William Moore though the distance to the fort, by the road only one mile, was thereby nearly doubled. The feelings of the party, as they groped their way through the dark woods, may be more easily imagined than described. Sorrow for the supposed loss of relatives and children, was mingled with horror at the manner of their death, and fear for their own safety. Silently they passed on till they came to the dwelling of William Moore, when he exclaimed, as if relieved from some dreadful apprehension, “Thank God, Polly is not killed!” The horse which his wife had ridden was standing near the house.

 

As they let down the bars and gained admission to the yard, his wife came running out, exclaiming, “They are killed by the Indians, I expect.” The whole party then departed hastily for the block-house, to which place, all the neighbors, to whom warning had been communicated by signals, gathered by daybreak.

 

It has been mentioned that Mrs. William Moore, as well as her husband, had gone in search of the children. Passing by different routes, they did not meet on the way, nor at the place of the slaughter. Mrs. Moore who was on horseback, carefully noted, as she went, every discernible object till at length she saw a human figure, lying near a log. There was not sufficient light to tell the size, or sex, of the person, and she called over again and again the name of one and another of her children, supposing it to be one of them asleep. At length she alighted, and examined the object more closely. What must have been her sensations as she placed her hand upon the back of a naked corpse, and felt, on further examination, the quivering flesh from which the scalp had recently been torn? In the gloom of the night she could indistinctly see the figure, of the little child of Mrs. Reagan‘s sitting so near the body of its mother as to lean its head, first one side, then the other, on the insensible and mangled body, and as she leaned over the little one, it said— “The black man raised his axe and cutted them again.” She saw no further, but thrilled with horror and alarm, hastily remounted her frightened horse, and quickly hurried home where she heated water, intending by that means, to defend herself from the savage foe.

 

There was little rest that night at the fort. The women and children of the neighborhood, with the few men who were not absent with the Rangers, crowded together, not knowing but that at any minute the Indians might begin their attack. Seven were missing, and the bodies of these lay within a mile, or two, mangled and bleeding in the forest. At three o’clock in the morning a messenger was dispatched with the tidings to Fort Russell.

 

At dawn of day the scene of the tragedy was sought and the bodies gathered for burial. They were buried the same day, in three graves, carefully dug, with boards laid beneath, beside, and above the bodies. There were no men to make the coffins.

 

The Indians had built a large fire, and also blazed the way to make the whites think that there was a large party. The news soon spread, and it was not long before Gen. Whiteside, with nine others, gave pursuit. Among the number were James Preuitt, Abraham Preuitt, James Stockden, Wm. Montgomery, Peter Wagoner and others, whose descendants now live in Moro and Wood River. The weather was extremely hot, and some of their horses gave out and fell beneath their riders. Gen. Whiteside gave out entirely. His orders was to keep up the pursuit. It was on the second day in the evening, that they came in sight of the Indians, on the dividing ridge of the Sangamon river. There stood at that time a lone cotton-wood free on the ridge, and this several of the Indians had climbed to look back. They saw their pursuers, and from that tree they separated and went in different directions, all making for the timber. When the whites came to the spot where the Indians had divided, they concluded to divide and pursue the Indians separately. James Preuitt and Abraham took the trail of one of the Indians. James Preuitt having the fastest and best horse, soon came within sight of his Indian. He rode up to within thirty yards of him and shot him in the thigh. The Indian fell, but managed to get to a tree top that was blown down. Abraham Preuitt soon came up, and they concluded to ride in on the Indian and finish him, which they did by Abraham shooting and killing him where he lay. In his shot-pouch was found the scalp of Mrs. Regan. The Indian raised his gun, but was too weak to fire, and had also lost his flint, or perhaps he might have killed one of the pursuers. The rifle is supposed to be in the hands of the Preuitt family yet. It was somewhere near where Virden now stands that the party came upon them. The Indians hid in the timber and in a drift in the creek. Night coming on is all that saved them. It was ascertained at the treaty afterwards at Galeua that only Indians escaped, and that was the chief. The Indians bled themselves on account of the heat to prevent them from fainting. Solomon Preuitt, who was not in the pursuit, assisted in the burial of Mrs. Reagan and the children. He hauled them in a little one- horse sled to the old burial ground south of Bethalto, where a simple stone marks their last resting place. There is also buried in the same burying ground an Indian girl who was captured by Abraham Preuitt during one of the campaigns in the war of 1812. The Indians had been pursued into the Winnebago Swamps, and Abraham Preuitt hearing firing in a distant part of the swamp concluded to go and see what was the matter. On nearing the spot he found Davis Carter and one other firing at the little Indian child who was mired and could not get out. He called them cowards and ordered them to cease firing at a helpless child. Preuitt went into the swamp and rescued the child and brought it home with him. She lived to the age of fifteen, being about six years old at the time of capture. She was always of a wild nature.” *

*from an article furnished by E. K. Preuitt

Reason Reagan Part II


Reason Reagan Born 1733 Pittsylvania County Virginia, USA, Death July 1814 Madison County Illinois, USA.

Reason Reagan ran away from home sometime before 1808. He married, 3 February 1808 in Livingston County, Kentucky, Rachel Thomas. About 1809 Reason returned to Tennessee and his sister Catherine “Caty” Reagan returned with him to Kentucky. Then about 1810 Reason moved the family from Livingston County, Kentucky to a settlement at the mouth of Wood River in Illinois Territory. Caty lived with her brother Reason and sister-in-law Rachel in the Wood River community of Madison County, Illinois Territory, Rachel, her 6 year old daughter Elizabeth, and 3 year old son Timothy were massacred by Indians on Sunday 10 July 1814.

Reason Reagan lost his life while pursuing the Indians after the massacre occurred. Rachel, Elizabeth, and Timothy Reagan are buried in Vaughn Cemetery in Madison County, Illinois.

Reason Reagan was buried either where he died or with his family.

“The Book of Ragan/Reagan”, Donald B. Reagan, 1993, p 245-252.

 

Source: Stories