The narrative of frontiersman SPENCER RECORDS, about his life and the settlement of the wilderness of the Ohio River Valley, from 1766 to 1795, including struggles with the Indians, and survival without the comforts of civilization, which narrative he wrote from memory in 1842 when he was 80 years old, and which has been kept is his family ever since.
Below is the Gladys Jennings Brown copy of the narrative of Spencer Records (Dec., 1762 - Feb., 1851), who moved across the frontier with his family, from Delaware, via Braddock's Road, across the Appalachian Mountains into the Ohio Valley, 10 years before the American Revolution. It contains riveting stories about Indian battles and buffalo hunting in Kentucky in the 1700's. His family crossed the Appalachian Mountains in 1766 when Spencer was 4 years old, and at the age of 80, in 1842, he wrote a 30-page memoir of his early life. The narrative is of special interest, as first-hand accounts of the earliest settlement of the Midwest are rare, especially with so much detail. It is especially important because it is not a work of fiction by a novelist, or fiction "based on real events," but is a work of non-fiction written by the man who lived through them. It is not filtered through the hands of historians either, who see from a greater distance. The reader learns about personal life on the frontier.
--Morgan Wright, Spencer's great great great great great nephew, December 2007.
The introduction and preface
(pages 1-4 below) were written by Spencer Records' great nephew, William H.
Records (1836-1906) in 1901, and kept with a copy of Spencer's 1842 narrative,
as copied in 1900 by a Mae
Brown. The two documents were typed together as a single document in 1919 by
William H. Records' great niece, Gladys
Jennings Brown, which document is the direct source of this web page.
After the text are sample pages of the actual 1919 document, and an explanation of the document and its source. Page numbers of the 1919 source document are shown in the left margin. Comments [in brackets] were added by us in 2007.
It is a mark of self respect, and is often an incentive to commendable zeal and noble living, to keep track of family history.
From this, as much as for any other reason, I attempt this work.
William H. Records.
Sixty-five years of age,
December 19, 1901
Rising Sun, Indiana
October 15th, 1902
William H. Records died May 9th, 1906
The Records family were settlers in America years before the American Revolution. This work is designed to be a history of the genealogy and family record of Rev. Samuel Records. My information in regard to ancestry is derived from a statement made in writing October 1842, by one Spencer Records. He was a grand-son of the emigrant whose name was John Records, and a son of Josiah Records, and a brother of Laban Records. So, said Spencer Records was an Uncle to Rev. Samuel Records. There are no dates given in regards to John Records.
I am a son of Rev. Samuel Records and am the oldest of his children, and write of the family record of Rev. Samuel Records from personal knowledge.
William H. Records.
John Records, an Englishman, settled in Sussex County, Delaware. His wife was Anna Calloway. The only children mentioned are one son (Josiah) and three daughters. Two of the daughters (names not given) married brothers by the name of Finch. Their names were Quoturnus and James. The other daughter, Susannah, married Joseph Echley; he was a Lieut. in Captain Dairl's Company and was killed by Indians in 1780 in the unfortunate campaign under General St. Clair, when Col. Crawford was captured and burned alive.
Josiah Records, son of John Records, was born in Sussex County, Delaware, May 1st, 1741; married Susan Tulley in 1761. He died in Ross County, Ohio, June 1809. His wife died in May, 1824. Both were buried in their orchard.
In 1765 Josiah Records with his family, his mother, (his father being dead) his two sister-in-laws, James and Quoturnus Finch and others started west. They embarked on the Nantocoke River and went by water to Georgetown, Maryland, and wintered on the Antietam Creek.
In the spring of 1766 he and his two brother-in-laws crossed over the Alleghany Mountains and took up land in what was then called the Red Stone County; it is now Western Pennsylvania. They cleared ground, planted and worked until fall and then returned over the mountains. They moved their families in the spring of 1767.
Josiah Records was a mill wright and made the wood work for the first mill built west of Sorrel Hill. Quoturnus Finch did the blacksmith work; he used the poll of an ax for the anvil; this was in 1768. In 1772 he sold out and bought land within fourteen miles of where Pittsburg now is.
In 1774 the Indians broke out; some of the settlers left, others got together in little forts. In 1779 Josiah Records was commissioned Captain by the Governor of Virginia. Virginia had jurisdiction of that country at that time. This was in the time of the Revolutionary War and the Indians were allies of the British who paid them for the scalps of the men, women and children. In their own neighborhood there were seventeen killed, nine taken prisoners, and one wounded. Ephram Ralph was a cousin of Josiah Records and a Lieut. in Col. Laughery's command and was killed on August 24th, 1781 in Col. Laughery's defeat by Indians at the mouth of what is now called Laughery's Creek on the Dearborn and Ohio County line, Indiana.
About the year of 1784, Josiah Records moved to Kentucky and settled near Washington, then the county seat and situated in what is perhaps Mason County, now. He afterwards went to Ohio. Josiah Records has twelve children, namely: Spencer, Nicey, Laban, Joseph, Ann, John, Elizabeth, Josiah, Sarah, Mary, Susannah, and William.
Laban Records, son of Josiah Records, was born in Sussex County, Delaware in 1765. He went to Kentucky in 1784, with his father, married Ann Sollers in 1789. Her father, Isaac Sollers was an Englishman and was killed by Indians in Kentucky. The Indians were troublesome in those days and the settlers were organized into companies. Spencer Records was a captain, and Laban Records and a brother-in-law, John Hughey, belonged to the [the text suddenly ends here]
COPY OF JOURNAL.
Mae R. Brown,
Kansas City, Missouri.
I have written the following narrative partly for my own amusement and satisfaction, and partly for the information of my children; as by it they may become acquainted with something they would otherwise be ignorant of.
I have written briefly, stating everything in as few words as possible; which will take less writing and reading, and will be, probably better understood.
October 8, 1842 Spencer Records.
Spencer Records, son of Josiah Records and Susannah Tulley, his wife, was born on the eleventh day of December, 1762. My parents were both of English descent.
I shall, in the first place, give a brief account of my father, Josiah Records, which will serve as an introduction to my own. Josiah Records, son of John Records and Anna Calloway, his wife, was born on the first day of May, 1741, in Sussex County, Delaware.
In 1765, my father with his family, his mother, sister Susannah, and his two brothers-in-law, Quoturnus and James Finch, and others embarked on board a sloop in the Nanticoke River, descended it to its mouth in the Chesapeake Bay, thence to the mouth of the Potomac, and up that river to Georgetown, and, having landed there, proceeded on to Antietam Creek, near Hagarstown, and there wintered.
In the spring of 1766, my father and his two brothers-in-law crossed the Allegheny Mountains and took up land near the foot of Sorrell Hill, and near Dunbar's Creek, so called from the circumstances of Col Dunbar having encamped thereon, with the rear of Braddock's army. In the time of his defeat, Braddock was mortally wounded, taken to that camp, there died and was buried.
That country at that time was known as the "Redstone Country," and so called from Redstone Creek, which running through a part of that country entered the Monongahela River, twelve miles from where Uniontown now stands, and near where the town of Brownsville is now built.
After clearing ground, planting it in corn, and working it, they returned, and in the fall moved over the mountains.
My father hired Peter Melot, with his cart and three horses to move him, and took my uncle Quoturnus' blacksmith tools in the cart all but the anvil; it was too heavy and had to be left. They traveled on Braddock's old road. At that time there were not more than ten or twelve families in that settlement; a few about the broad ford Youghagany; some about Redstone old fort, and a few about Fort Pitt: perhaps not more than a hundred.
in all. However, emigrants crossed the mountains rapidly, and settlements were soon extended to a considerable distance.
Perhaps it may not be amiss to give a short sketch of the manner in which the first settlers of Redstone lived. As they had to pack over the mountains on Horseback, they could take but little more than their clothing, beds and cooking utensils.
Deer, bear and turkey were plenty; they were supplied with meat by hunting; their clothes were homemade; some dressed deer skins; many yards of linen were made of nettles; bread was made by pounding corn on a homing block; coffee and tea were not used.
At that time there were no store goods used west of the Sorrel Hills; all articles they could not make themselves were packed over the mountains from Hagarstown, a distance of 130 miles.
Some made a business of buying bear and deer skins and ginseng etc., and packing them to Hagarstown, and fetching such articles as were needed. My father, being a good hunter, and killing many deer and bear, made a trip to Hagarstown every winter after hunting time, and got such articles as he stood in need of. The people there at that time lived happier and better contented, than the people do here at this time with all their luxuries, fine dress, pride, vanity, pomp and show.
About the year 1768, Phillip Short built a tub mill on Dunbar's Creek; my father did all the mill-wright work, and my uncle Quoturnus, did all the blacksmith work. I remember that my uncle made use of the pole of an axe for an anvil. This mill would grind fifteen bushels of grain in a day, which, being sufficient for the neighborhood, was a great relief. This was the first mill built west of Sorrel Hill.
About two years after this time, Henry Beason built a mill on Red-Stone Creek, and some time after, laid out a town that went by the name of Redstone-town, but now Uniontown, the capitol of Fayette Co., Pennsylvania.
When 1772 came, six years of happy days had passed away. My father having sold his plantation, bought land about 14 miles from Fort Pitt, on the North-west fork of Robinson's Tun. In 1774, the Indians broke out; at that time, the whites were the aggressors, caused chiefly, by the murder of Bald Eagle, a Delaware chief, by some villains on the Ohio, while he was in his canoe; and the murder of the family of Logan, the celebrated Mingo chief, by Michael Cresap.
We all had to fortify ourselves.
Dumore, Governor of Virginia, marched an army into the Indian country, and, as the Indians had not done much mischief, soon returned home, after patching up a kind of peace with them; which was, however of short duration.
In the interval of peace, during the year 1776, my father built a mill on Raccoon Creek, on land which he had previously purchased, ten miles North-west from home, and hired Isaac Fetly to keep her that winter. In the spring of 1777, he moved to the mill. During the summer the Indians recommenced hostilities. A few families forted at the mill. The Indians fired at John Stallion, shooting his mare through, and himself, through the arm; she ran with him about a mile to Dalon's ford, and then fell dead. This was all the mischief done near us, but the frontier in other places suffered more, of which I cannot give any account at this time. In the fall my father returned home, and as the Indians lived at some distance and the winter was cold, we were not troubled with them that season, so that we lived at home in safety.
However, in the spring of 1778, all forted again; my father at McDowell's fort, 2½ miles from home. During the summer my father secured a guard of men to be stationed at the mill, and men would go in companies and get the grinding done. When winter set in, the guard left the mill - but the miller stayed until March, and then moved away. 1779. This winter my father was elected Captain, and received his commission from the Governor of Virginia, which at that time, claimed jurisdiction over all that part of Pennsylvania, laying west of Laurel Hill, which claim they held until 1782.
Sometime in March the Indians fell on a company of sugarmakers, [maple sugar], and killed five young men, and took five young women and one boy prisoners. This company was on Raccoon Creek, two miles below father's mill.
There was another company camped on the Creek, one mile below that. My cousin, John Finch, and I were at the mill during the time when the murder was committed, having been sent there by my father, on an errand, and being detained a day or two, on account of a rise in the creek. The Indians had discovered the camp, and laying in ambush at night, fell on them about daylight, with their tomahawks. This was known to be the case, as their bodies all lay in and near the camp, except one, who had run about 40 yards, and was there tomahawked and scalped: two of them were named Devers; two named Turner; and one Fuller. One of the Devers lay in camp with his shoes on slip-shod: he was stabbed in the left side and was laying on his right side, with his fingers and thumb standing on end over the wound. The creek falling we returned home. The same morning a man from the lower camp went to this to borrow a gimlet to tap sugar trees, and found the men killed and the women and the boy gone. He gave the alarm to the friends at the settlement, 10 miles away. The next day we went to bury them: Ephraim Ralph, a cousin of my father's, who was a Lieutenant in the U. S. service, in Captain Laughery's company, was then at home on a visit and went with us. When the grave was dug, the men being backward to lay them in it, Ralph told them not to hold back, for they knew not how soon they might be in the same situation themselves; so setting them the example, they were all laid in the same grave and we returned home.
These were the first I had seen that had been killed by the Indians, and a dreadful sight it was to me; the more so, as but a short time before, some of them had been my schoolmates. The grief and lamentations of poor old William Turner is still fresh in my remembrance, lamenting the loss of his children; his two sons, George and William, who lay there tomahawked and scalped; and his beloved daughter Betsey, a beautiful child of 14 years, taken captive by the cruel savages; not knowing what she had suffered, or what she might hereafter suffer. His grief can better be imagined by tender parents, than described.
In the year 1782 Capt. Laughery was descending the Ohio in a boat with his company, in order to join Gen. Clarke; he landed at the mouth of a creek below the mouth of the Big Miame; he was there attacked by the Indians and defeated. Laughery and Ralph were both killed.
In the spring of this year, some forted, and some lived four or five families together; four families lived with my father.
About the first of August, Alexander McCandles, who lived about 1½ miles from father, in the company with a few families, had occasion to go for Mrs. Mee, an old lady, about 50 years old, who lived about 6 miles off, where a few families had gathered; after staying the time required, he set off with her; about a mile from her house they were fired on by 5 or 6 Indians from behind a log, situated about 20 yards from the path; the shots missing both them and their horses, McCandles turned around and took the path home, and was soon out of danger. They then turned toward the old lady; one of them threw a tomahawk and stuck it in a tree near her head; she, however, stuck to the saddle and the horse soon carried her home. A few days after, Alexander McNealy, and his brother James, both bachelors, who had gathered at Robert Shirers', went home by themselves to work. Their dog beginning to bark in a hazel thicket, they got alarmed, thinking there were Indians there, and so returned to Shirers'. Alexander got 6 men to go with him, leaving his brother James there, as he was about 60 years old. The Indians seeing them go off followed them and waylaid the path behind a large log; when they came opposite them they fired on them, killing McNealy and 4 others. One made his escape by running, Shirer was not killed but in attempting to leap a muddy branch, he being old and not able to reach the bank, fell in and was taken prisoner.
Shortly after that, two men who lived at my father's set off in the evening to hunt, taking a path that lead to a deserted plantation. They had not proceeded more than half a mile before they were fired on by the Indians, and both killed. My father, hearing the report of guns, in company with another person took the path and ran, but soon returned, having found them both dead and scalped. Bates Collins and Daniel Reardon. Upon
these events, all forted or made off. My father moved 8 miles. When winter set in, all returned home.
After the death of Alexander McNealy, his brother James, being heir to the plantation and other property, went there and lived by himself. One very cold morning, the snow being about half a leg deep one of the neighbors going to his house to borrow a bag, knocked and called at the door, but received no answer; he pushed the door in, and discovered the old man lying by the fire dead, with his feet in the fire and much burned. The fire had then burned down, and how long he had been dead was unknown.
And it came to pass in these days, the devil entered into Col. Williamson who lived about 15 miles west of us, and stirred him up to raise a company of men to go against a town of friendly Indian chiefly of the Delaware tribe, and professing the Moravian religion, and who had taken no part with the hostile Indians, and who lived on the waters of the Muskingum.
Having raised his men he crossed the Ohio, and reached the town. As the Indians were friendly they did not apprehend danger, so neither took arms nor fired. He told them he had come to take them over the Ohio, as he was apprehensive that the hostile Indians would slay them. Being agreed to this, that night the women were busily employed in preparing meal and baking bread to take with them on their journey. In the morning, having them in his power, in cold blood he ordered them to go into two houses; the men in one, and the women and children in the other; then he gave orders for his men to go in and fall on them with tomahawks; to that, some of them objected, and called upon God to witness that they were clear of the blood of these innocent people. However, he found enough willing and ready to accomplish his diabolical design; they went in and fell on them. When the butchery commenced, two young men, brothers, sat down together and began to sing a hymn, and continued singing until they were murdered. They were all murdered without distinction of age or sex; a piece of butchery the Indians were never known to be guilty of, and most disgraceful to any people professing Christianity. The number slain, I have no recollection of at this time. He then returned home. I never heard any person speak of the circumstances without expressing his abhorrence, except
one poor old dirty Scotchman, named John Greenlee, who said "Ah mon, ets a weel done thang, fur they supported the other Injuns as they come and goad," and for which he got no applause from his neighbors.
Although my father's mill was deserted, and the nearest was 5 miles away, yet the Indians never burned it, and as mills were scarce people went in companies to get grinding done, and my father went out and ground for them, notwithstanding everyone moved off or forted. They all raised corn at home and those that had removed their families returned themselves to the fort, and went in armed companies from field, where, while some worked, others kept guard.
During the spring of 1780, my father moved 17 miles, and it was during the summer that Col. Crawford's unfortunate expedition took place, where my uncle, Joseph Eshley, who had married my father's sister Susannah, and who was a Lieutenant in Capt. Dairl's company, was slain, with other of my acquaintances.
In the spring of 1781 my father moved 10 miles. There was no mischief done in our neighborhood by the Indians this summer. Soon after, my father sold his mill-stones, irons and bolting-cloth to Joseph Gammel, who at that time was building a mill in the settlement at Chartier's Creek; and his land on the frontier for the Quakers.
After forting and moving off from home for 5 years, my father this spring, 1782, moved 20 miles, and bought a plantation from Mr. William Fry, on Peter's Creek; taking a final leave of his plantation on Raccoon Creek. All however, forted or moved off except one man by the name of Clock, who lived one mile east of my father's place.
One day during the summer, I was sent home on an errand by my father and was accompanied by John Woods; we had to pass Clock's and when we reached it, we saw blood in the yard, but seeing no one, we pushed the door open and went in, and found him and three of his children lying tomahawked and scalped; one of the poor children was not quite dead, but lay gasping and sighing. Those children were about 3, 5, and 7 years of age. The mother, with a child at her breast, and the oldest child, a boy aged 11 had been taken prisoners. One little girl aged 9 was at the spring when the attack commenced, and made her escape by running down the spring branch and hiding in the weeds until she thought they were
gone, when she ran to Turner's Fort, some 3 miles off. The men from the fort pursued the savages, and after following them 4 miles found a little child tomahawked and scalped, with its mother's apron spread over it; she not being able to carry it any farther and keep up with them. Perhaps she might nave thought that by spreading her apron over it the wolves would not devour it; that they would be pursued, and that probably her child would be found and carried to the fort and buried.
After pursuing them some distance, they found they could not overtake them and on their return to the fort they carried the child there and buried it. During this time there were 17 killed, 1 wounded and 9 taken prisoners, belonging to our neighborhood. The 5 years last past were in the time of the Revolutionary War. The British had taken the Indians for their allies, and paid them for scalps of men, women and children, which was the cause of more murder being committed than would otherwise have been done.
The relation I have given has been confined to our own neighborhood, but the frontier west of us, and on the east sight of the Monongahela suffered much, of which I can give no account at this time.
In the year 1783, my father bought land of John Kiser, which lay in Kentucky. Kiser proposed to go down in the fall.
My father and Uncle Finch built a boat for myself and two cousins, John and Josiah, to go down with him--take cattle and horses along and raid a crop of corn for them, as they intended removing themselves the following fall.
I shall now commence a narrative of incidents connected with myself--leaving for the present, those connected with my father.
About the 20th of November, we embarked on the Monongahela River in our boat, in company with Kiser. I had with me four horses and some cattle. We landed at the head of Limestone Creek, but there was indeed, a buffalo road which crossed Limestone Creek a few miles above its mouth, and passing Nagg's Lick about 12 miles from the Limestone. Went on to the Blue Lick on Licking River, and thence to Bryant's Station; but as we knew nothing of it, we went on and landed at the mouth of Licking River on November 29th. The next day we landed our perogue and canoe, and set off up the Licking; sometime wading and
pulling our perogue and canoe over the shallow places. After working hard for four days and making poor headway, we landed, hid our property, which was whiskey and farming utensils, in the woods and returned to the Ohio, which by this time, had taken a rapid rise, and backed up Licking so that we took Kiser's boat up as far as we had taken our property, and unloaded her. He left on the bank of the Licking, a new wagon and some kettles. Leaving our property to help Kiser, we packed up and set off up Licking, and traveled some days, but making poor progress, the snow beginning to fall, and no cane in that part of the country for our horses and cattle, we left Kiser and set off to hunt for cane. He sent his stock with us, in charge of Henry Fry, who had come down with cattle for his father. When we came to a fork of the Licking we found a wagon road cutout that led up to the south fork; this road had been cut out by Col. Bird, a British officer, who had ascended Licking in keel boats, with 600 Canadians and Indians. They were several days cutting this road, which led to Biddle's Fort, that stood on the east side of Licking, 3 miles below the junction of Henkson's and Stoner Forts; yet our people knew nothing of it, until they were ordered to surrender. Upon their refusal to surrender, the Fort was attacked with canon, which, their stockade not being able to stand, they were compelled to surrender. A few were killed and all rest taken prisoners. They then proceeded to Martin's Fort, six miles up the river, and succeeded in taking that also.
We took the road up and went on, the snow being about half a leg deep. Early in the morning, about 3 miles from Biddle's Fort., we came upon three families camped; they had landed at Limestone, but finding no road, they wandered through the woods, crossed Licking, and happening to find the road, they took it. The night before we came to them Mrs. Downey was brought to bed: they were poor people, and had not so much as a spare blanket to stretch over her, but were obliged to put up poles and place brush there, for a kind of a shelter. She had no necessities of any kind, not even bread--nothing but venison and turkey. They went to the same station we did. She had several children one being a young woman, who said that her mother had never done better at any time
in her life. So we see the Lord is good and merciful, worthy of praise from intelligent beings, fitting the back to the burden. I mention these circumstances for the encouragement of others. We should at all times of trial and difficulty put out trust in the Lord who alone is able to save all who put their trust in Him.
The names of the families were Reeves, DeWitt and Downey. We went to the fort where we found plenty of cane. The next morning Jack Finch and myself set off to find Lexington, and left the care of the horses and cattle to Josiah Finch and Henry Fry, with orders to be sure to take them over the river if the snow went off or the rain fell. As there was no road we took off up Mill Creek and toward the head of it we met some hunters who lived on the south side of the Kentucky River, who gave us directions how to find a hunting trail which lead to Bryant's station. They gave each of us a wheat cake that had been ground in a hand still and sifted, and as I was not well and had not seen bread for three months, I thought it was the best bread I had ever tasted. We went on and found the trail and arrived at Bryant's station. The next day we went to McCloud's station about a mile north of Lexington, where there was a mill; there we got the meal we had promised Kiser, and the next morning we set off back. It rained almost the whole day. At sunset we came to the river which was very high. We had expected to find the boys on our side of the river with good fires, but they had not crossed it and they had not obeyed orders, so we knew of no better way to retaliate on them than by walking on the bank and holding up our Johnny cakes for them to see. They saw but did not taste them. By this time the rain was over but we were wet and cold, and as it began to get I colder we made a fire and camped there. The next morning we set off down the river and at night camped on the bank of the Licking, and the next evening after dark we arrived at Biddle's Station the river had fallen so much that we could cross it. We therefore went on to McCloud's Station and arrived the last of December. Sometime in January four of us set out to hunt on Stoner. The buffalo being all gone off we had to go twenty miles for them. The [At this point the typist appears to have skipped a page from the source text. Please consult the 1959 Indiana version (see below) page 339-340 for this part] got some better, but not able to work. I heard of one of my horses at Harrison's Station, so I went after him and after my return home it rained almost the whole day. I got
wet and took a relapse and was worse than I was at first. This put me back so much with my work that I got but four acres planted, but as the range was good and cane plenty I raised enough to supply my father until he raised corn for himself. This spring my uncle Josiah came down the river and lived with us.
I heard of my mare about 15 miles west of Lexington, and found her near a great buffalo road that comes from the northwest out of the unknown and leads to the Blue Lick, crossing North Elkhorn at the great crossing, which name it still bears. My two year old colt was found near the Big Blue Lick and brought in, so I got all my horses again.
In the course of the summer I made two trips to Limestone, packing rum and iron for Thomas January of Lexington. I also built a good cabin for my father, and in the fall gathered my corn.
A small fort was also built at the Blue Licks, to make salt on the west side of the river, which was the most convenient to the timber, although the main spring was on the east side.
Sometime this summer a family landed at Limestone, that had the smallpox and went on the Blue Lick; they were not permitted to enter the Fort but camped on the other side of the river. The Indians fell on them in the night and murdered the whole family.
The first of August I set off to hunt my cattle and was accompanied by Alexander McCloud. We struck a northeast course until we struck the south fork of the Licking. Thinking to get to the north of Licking we then started a west course and hunted three days, then turned back and camped not far from the main Licking. Quite early in the morning before we came to Main Licking we killed a large buck elk [moose] which we skinned and hung up to hide. We took some of the meat. We soon came to the river and went down it; there we saw fresh tracks of an Indian, which we followed for several miles. That evening a heavy shower of rain fell so that both our guns got wet which rendered them useless.
At sunset we came to Kisers camp and camped there that night. The Indians had been there, cut his wagon some, and broken some of his kettles. As our guns were wet and out of order, we left them remain so, which I think was pro-
vidential, for if we had put them in order that night, which could only be done by picking powder in the touch hole, and showing them off, the Indians would have heard them and come in search of us, and found us by our fire. If we had put them in order the next morning they would have heard us, as they were camped not more than half mile off, of which we knew nothing.
When morning came we thought we would get our horses first and then put our guns in order. We accordingly left them at the camp and set off to hunt our horses, separating. While we were out we heard the report of ten or twelve guns not more than half a mile off. When we met neither of us had found our horses. "Did you hear the guns?" I told him I did and he said, "It was the Indians." I replied that I knew it was. He then replied that they had found our camp and were watching it. I told him that the woods were open, and that if they were on the other side we could see them, and that we had better run to the river bank and look down. Should they be there and not shoot us we might try to make our escape. We did so and seeing nothing of them took up our guns, saddles and blankets and carried them out of sight of our camp. We soon found our horses, saddled them and mounted. McCloud asked me if I could find the way home without keeping the road. I assured him that I could. He said, "Go ahead and make the best of your way for if the Indians find our trail they can follow it faster than we can ride, and as our guns are out of order we can not defend ourselves and may be killed. " At that time the ground was very wet, with a thick undergrowth of weeds and pea vines which made it bad riding and much in their favor to follow us. Leaving the river at that place which we struck no more, we rode four miles to a creek which we could not ford, being swollen by the rains which had fallen the night before. However, by riding up the stream a short distance we came to a place where three forks came together, where we crossed above the forks, and rode up the left fork about one hundred yards in the water. When we came out we came on the trail of a large herd of buffalo. At sunset we came to the place where we had killed the elk as we went down. McCloud said if I would make a fire he would go back our trail and watch it to which I agreed. He went back half
a mile and returning after dark, reported that he had seen nothing of the Indians following us. We then put out our horses and laid down. Soon a heavy shower fell so that the rain ran under us and we were obliged to stand up under the hide until it was over. We kindled up our fire which was nearly out and gathered brush and sticks to lie on until morning, which being come we decided to stay there and dry our clothes, and blankets, and put our guns in order, as we knew the Indians would not follow our trail in consequence of the rain that had fallen in the night. Having done so, about ten o'clock we had left it.
The last of the same month four of us set out to hunt on a small stream then known by the name of Dry Run, about 16 miles north of Lexington. There we killed the largest buffalo I ever saw which was good beef. This was the time called bellowing time, when the bulls are following the cows. The calves are all produced in the spring and when young, resemble our common red calves. We skinned the bull and cut off all the meat in broad, thin pieces, which we laid on the hide and sprinkled salt on them, letting it sit until we had made a large fire. We then put a row of forks, small sticks were placed on them and the meat laid on the sticks over the fire, where it remained until half cooked. It was then turned over and let lie until morning, for by this time it was in the night. We, then took our guns and slipped off our saddles and bridles and laid down in the darkest place we could find for fear the Indians would stumble on us. In the morning we put the meat in bags and carried it home. [at this point several pages of text are missing, which appear in the 1959 Indiana version. Please see that version, end of page 343 to middle of page 358.]
In 1790 I had a dream which I will now relate, though to some it may seem useless, thinking a dream is but a dream. However, I will relate it and let the reader think what he will of it. The first of March I set out to hunt with my brother Laban; we hunted off about 10 miles and when night came went up a small run to its head. After we had encamped and made a fire, as it was too cold to lie without it, we took our horses 200 yards off and hobbled them so that if we should be surprised in the night and not killed, we might get them, we laid down to sleep. But it was dangerous times we kept all our clothing on except our moccasins, with our shot pouches on and our guns by our sides, my dog lying at my head. I fell asleep and dreamed that my brother
and I had set out to hunt and where we had hunted; our going up the creek, camping and putting out our horses, lying down with our clothes on, my dog lying at my head - everything exactly as it had happened. I thought the dog looked down at the run and growled, and that the Indians came rushing onto us and that it was with much difficulty we made our escape. I awoke and thought it was but a dream and fell asleep again, dreamed the same thing over again and awakened again. My dog then raised his head, looked down the run and growled, just as I had dreamed he had. I then, being alarmed, wakened my brother and told him that I supposed the Indians were creeping up on us. I requested him to lie still until I raised up and put my moccasins on, and then I would lie down until he did the same. I supposed that if we both raised up at the same time they would think we were alarmed and rush upon us. Having done so we both jumped up at once, took up our guns, saddles, and blankets and slipped off the place where we had left our horses and sat down. It being just about day break which is a common time for the Indians to make an attack. We then got our horses and set out to hunt and at night reached home. I thought at that time, and still think the Indians were creeping up on us.
About the 10th of March the Indians were on the Ohio about the mouth of the Scioto, with two prisoners which they had taken. John May was ascending the Ohio in a boat with three men, one by the name of Flinn, and the other two I have forgotten, and two young women. As soon as they came opposite the Indians they compelled the prisoners to go on the bank and raise a lamentable cry to induce them to land and take them on board, stating that they had been taken captive but had made their escape. But May thinking it all deception made no attempt to land. They still continued to follow him and he at last being over persuaded by the women and by Flinn, reluctantly consented to land. As soon as the boat struck the bank the Indians fired on them, killed May and one of the women and took the rest prisoners. Before the Indians had left the boat Thomas Marshall, a Virginian, and some other gentlemen who were descending the Ohio, with their boats weakly manned but heavily loaded with horses and store goods, hove in sight. The Indians sprang on the boat they had taken and compelled the prisoners to help them, and being weak manned, soon
came opposite them. They then opened a heavy fire on them, who finding they were not able to cope with the savages, either by fighting or running, abandoned two of their boats with their cargoes to the Indians, and all went on board of one boat, and then being well manned, they shot rapidly ahead. The Indians seeing themselves fast falling behind, gave up the chase. Before the Indians could land the two boats they had captured they fell down just before the mouth of the Scioto.
It was soon reported that the Indians had taken two boats containing two thousand dollars worth of goods, and 28 horses, whereupon I received orders to raise all the men I could and if the men could not be otherwise, raised to draft one third of my company and rendezvous at Limestone the same evening with six days provisions. This notice was very short - first to raise the men and then if they could not be raised to draft them and march ten miles to Limestone the same day. However, I raised all the men I could without drafting any and marched to Limestone where I met about 100 men, the exact number not now recalled. We crossed the Ohio the same evening and camped. The next morning we were paraded by a brave officer whose name I shall spare and placed in two ranks or lines, of Indian file with orders to march about 20 yards apart, with Capt. John Kenton at the head of one file and myself at the head of the other. He, himself, rode in front of his fine charge with Dr. Johnson as surgeon in case of need with my brother Laban in front as pilot, whom he had selected, knowing him to be a first rate woodsman. At this time it would seem he had no need of a pilot as we were to march up the Ohio. However, he found use for a pilot. We marched on in good order for some time; at length we fell on the fresh signs of Indians. Our commander soon became alarmed and said to his pilot "Let us quit the river and take to the hills." He accordingly started a northeast course into the hills and knobs and at length fell on a creek where more recently tracks of Indians had been seen. He was again powerfully alarmed and said to his pilot, "For God's sake, Records, take to the river." He then started a south course to a small creek and descended it to the Scioto River. At the mouth of the Scioto we found the two boats that had been abandoned by Marshall and his
company; all the property had been taken away, except the stills for which the Indians had no use. A great many papers of chocolate and papers of pine lay scattered about the beach, but spoiled by the rain that had fallen on them. We went on board of the two boats and arrived safely at Limestone, having been commanded by such a brave, courageous and war-like officer. Of the number of days we were out I have no certain recollection. Hard is the heart that cannot feel for cowards and pray they may find relief.
On the 15th day of April 1790 I was married to Elisabeth Elrod, daughter of John and Mary Elrod. I settled on my own land 6 miles west of Washington [historical Washington, Kentucky] where I had previously built a log cabin 16 feet square, and cleared some ground. At that time it was the outside cabin west.
I will now give a description of my log cabin and the way it was built; after raising it the necessary height a large log was laid across the middle and over laid with split logs. Two of the pieces at one corner were cut out to make a hole to go up above and below; the door was made of strong puncheons pinned with a two inch pins and barred with a strong bar so that it could not possibly be pushed upon. Abraham Gardner and Rudolph Fuso took leases of me and lived in the same cabin with us as they had no time to build cabins for themselves. They were both Dutchmen and not used to guns so that I could have no dependence on them only they would make us a show if Indians came in sight and if we should be fired at they would do to shoot at instead of us.
This summer my brother Laban and my brother-in-law, John Hughy, were employed as spies on the Ohio River. On the 2nd of August at a big lick on Locust Creek 4 miles from the Ohio, they saw the boats of 22 Indians who had been watching the lick. They sent word as soon as possible to Col. Rankin who gave orders to me to draft ten men from my company and meet in the morning at my father's, where I would meet 15 men from Capt. Kenton's company and from there to go in search of them. I raised my men according to orders, but found only 6 of Kenton's men. However, we set off 19 miles and when we came
to the lick we saw that a number of horses had just gone down the creek. They had been up Stoner the south fork of Licking and had stolen 20 horses. We pursued them rapidly to the Ohio River. They had all gone but four. At that place it was 20 yards from the creek to the river and growing thick with grass. About 50 yards the water came up to the banks with a thicket of willows growing. An Indian was standing sentinel close to the creek; We saw him the instant he saw us. Some jumped down the bank after them; some ran to the bank to keep them down; one made his escape by swimming and diving, two ran into the willows and we could not find them. My brother Laban killed one that had squatted in the grass. The one in the river had many guns fired, at him but to no purpose, as he was most of the time under water. The other Indians hallowed at us and shot at us but the shots failed to reach as, the river being too wide. Only one ball reached the shore by skipping the water. We took the scalp from the dead Indian and got his gun and four horses which they had not taken across and then returned home.
About the first of March, 1791, the Indians stole horses near Washington just before daylight. The horses were soon missed and the Indians pursued. Snow began to fall and cover the ground, they were obliged to leave the horses disperse and make their escape.
John Gardner set out one evening to hunt and saw the track of one of them who had come near my fence before he saw it, and then turned short to the left to go around the field. It was a fine thing for him that I did not know of his coming there I would have gone out, met the gentlemen and given him a salute.
Some time in March Capt. Hubble was descending the Ohio below the mouth of the Scioto he was attacked by a large party of Indians who came in their canoes and fired on the boats, wounding four or five of his men and killing two by the name of Kilpatrick and Tucker. They soon gave up pursuing Hubble and turned their attention to attacking Greathouse's boat which was then in sight. As soon as the boat came in reach they attacked it. This boat being weakly manned, surrendered without much resistance. They took the boat to
shore, killing Greathouse and a man named Black. How many they took prisoner, I have no recollection at this time. I went up to help bury the dead and on my way met a boy about 15 years old who had been taken prisoner and made his escape. He turned back and went with us. When we came to the boat Black was lying in it tomahawked and scalped. The boy said, "There lies my poor old father." Greathouse was lying on the bank scalped and tomahawked. There was a large sack of flour, some hogs and some other property in the boat, which they had not taken off. After burying the dead we took the boat off down to Limestone.
Sometime in the year 1791 application was made to my brother Laban and myself to view a road from Cincinnati to Washington, and cut out a bridle path for a sum of money which the men at Washington had made up which thing we agreed to do. Forty miles of it was then unbroken forest and as it was dangerous times we took with us two men armed. We viewed the road down and cut it back. While we worked the other two carried the four guns and the provisions keeping at the same time a close watch. Having accomplished the job to their satisfaction, we received our pay. It was sometime afterward cut out and has been for a long time a very public road.
During the summer the Indians were hunting opposite the mouth of Locust Creek. Now about four miles from us the hills set on, forming a very rough and unsettled part of the country, which continued to the mouth of the Locust, and on up the road leading from Washington to the Blue Licks. Should the Indians waylay this road and get horses before the news could be taken to Washington, and men collected to go to the place there would be sufficient time to cross and make their escape more especially as the men would have no way to cross and this was, no doubt, their scheme. A certain young man who lived near Stoner, was driving a wagon to Limestone while the Indians were waylaying the roads in the knobs of Johnson's Creek, about 14 miles from Washington. When he came opposite to them they sprang into the road before him took his horses by the bridles and made him prisoner. They then took him and his horses and started for the Ohio River which they
crossed after traveling 25 miles over very rough, hilly part of the country. As the prisoner had a bottle of whiskey in his pocket the Indians drank freely and got somewhat intoxicated. The roughness of the country and the darkness of the night caused them to get beyond, which retarded their progress and was of advantage to the prisoner. Shortly after he was taken, a traveler came on going to Washington. He found the wagon in the road and the gears lying by it. He rode hastily to Washington and took the news to Col. Rankin who lived there and who sent off an express to me to raise men and pursue them if I possibly could. Why did he not give orders to Capt. John Kenton who lived only two miles west of Washington or to Capt. Lea who lived about the same distance east? Perhaps he thought they would be slow in raising men but knew I would be prompt to attend to it and men could sooner be raised on the frontier than they could about town. But the express did not arrive until after night, and as soon as it was light I ran to my brother Laban and my brother-in-law John Hughy, and sent them after men with orders to meet at my father's as soon as possible, while I ran to the others. We met, ten of us, and took the road to Lea's Creek Station on the Ohio, about 8 miles off, where I knew a flat bottomed boat lay. We ran hastily down, boarded the boat and shoved off, doubly manned the oars and one took the steer oar. We then pushed out into the middle of the river and pulled on with all our force. We made good headway and kept the middle of the river as long as possible for fear of passing the place where they crossed the river. We then pulled over the northwest side of the river - then called the Indian side. Then kept near the bank to see where the horse came out of the river. We soon came to the place, landed, tied our boat, took the trail and pursued them rapidly for about four miles, and came to their camp but they were gone. They had divided about equally into three companies which made us at a loss as to which trail to take. We wanted to follow the ones which had the prisoner as we were more anxious to release him than to kill them. We chose the middle trail, pursued them hastily about two miles, when they again divided into two companies. We were again at a loss which trail
to take but chose the right hand one. The trail was by this time small, but we pursued them as long as we could see, and camped for the night. At daylight we continued the chase, and soon heard them [at this point a page of text is missing. Please consult the 1959 Indiana version, page 366 to 367, for the text] for another party of Indians who were at war with those who had taken him. We took the horse, pack of skins and gun, and returned to the Ohio, which we crossed in our boat. That night we camped on the banks of Locust Creek, and the next day arrived home. As the horse belonged to the prisoner we gave it to him and he went on his way rejoicing. The pack of skins and gun fell to us for our trouble.
If when that young man had been taken prisoner the news had not been taken to Washington and then to me; if we had not hastily raised men; if there had not been a boat at Lea's Creek Station; if we had not pursued them rapidly; if we had not taken the right trail each time they separated, the prisoner would not have been released from captivity. And then if my brother's gun had not made a slow fire, if there had not been a division about taking him - if we had all fired on him he would have been killed. Some may think it all an accident and indeed it looks like an accident but my friends, when we rightly consider, with the Lord, there is nothing accidental for although the savages were permitted to take him they were not permitted to keep him, so it was not possible that there were any ifs in the case.
The first part of June, 1793 Kentucky became a state and all commissions from the government of Virginia became null and void. Sometime in November I was elected captain again and received my commission from the governor of Kentucky, and on the 9th of January, 1794 I was sworn into office.
Sometime in this year my brother Laban and myself were appointed to view a road from Germantown to Licking River, opposite the mouth of Beaver Creek, to intersect a road from that place to Georgetown; also to measure it and mark the mile trees. We found it 19½ miles. At that time all the way through the woods. We found a good way through the woods which was sometime afterwards cut out, and it has been for a long time a public road. About this time as I can recollect. Mr. McGlinn, who lived a half mile from
Washington, was shot dead by the Indians as he was standing in his yard between sunset and dark, but they did not venture to scalp him.
Sometime in the fall of this year Tobias Woods, Henry Woods, Absalom Craig and Fielding Fayin set out to hunt on Locust Creek. On their return they came to a fine spring that broke out of a bluff almost ten feet high. They camped there and set out to take an evening hunt. When they came in at night one of them said that Laban Records was in the woods for he heard him laugh. But as none of them knew of his being out Tobias was somewhat alarmed thinking there might be Indians about. About two hours before day he said as he had no horse with him, he would set off and hunt home. At daylight Fayin went to his horse and began to unhobble him and Henry went to the spring. The Indians, who it appeared had fell on their trail, and followed them to their camp, were laying in ambush behind a log on the bluff, where they slipped up after night, at this juncture fired on them killing Henry at the spring and wounding Craig in the hip. Fayin made his escape and ran home.
I raised five or six men and went out with Fayin to the place where Woods lay at the spring shot and scalped. As Fayin said he saw him running about fifty yards from the camp but being shot in the hip and not being able to escape we know that he was overtaken, brought to camp and there slain. We saw where the Indians had lain behind the tree and left a deer skin. We cut a blue ash sapling and split it; of this we made a shovel digging a grave sufficient to keep them from the wolves. In that we laid the bodies, spread a blanket over them and covered them up. These were the last persons killed by the Indians in our part of the country. In the year 1795 peace was made with the Indians and I resigned my commission.
In August I set off for Pennsylvania in a canoe, in company with my brother Laban, Wm. Blackmore and Daniel Link. At the mouth of the great Kanawha to Belleville the Ohio River is very crooked, making it sixty miles by water. We steered through the woods directed by Col. Lewis, and arrived at the mouth of the Little Kanawha. Next morning we took the road to Clarksburgh on the west fork of the Monongahela on the east bank of the
river. This is the seat of Justice for Harrison County, Virginia. Forty miles lower down the river stands Morgantown, the county seat of Monongahela County. On the east side, eight miles below the Monongahela, Cheat River united with the Monongahela by a mount two hundred yards broad. This has its sources in the Greenbrier Mountains and runs north through a part of Randolph and Pocahontas County. (Here follows a note by my mother: February 26th, 1789. I will now try to finish copying this journal; for the last month I have not been able to write). [It appears the note from Spencer's mother is lost unless it is with the 1842 manuscript. It has not been copied in any of the known versions.]
Having descended the river to Brownsville we returned home down the river in a boat. The following August I set off for Pennsylvania again, in company with Robert Elrod. We kept up the Ohio by land and found some difficulty in traveling, having very often to ride up the creek some distance to get above breakwater. At the mouth of Big Sandy I was near being drowned by the attempt to ford it at its mouth. The depth of the water was about three feet, but the depth of the quick sand I could not tell as we found no bottom. We got about half way over it but there was not a chance of crossing it as it still got worse. With much difficulty we came out on the same side that we had gone in, and proceeded up the river about two miles where we found a good ford and crossed the river in safety.
We arrived in Pennsylvania about the last of the month. Some time in October, James, who had been employed by the United States to cut a bridle path from Wheeling to Chillicothe, being at work thereon, we, in company with two other men, took the road and came up with them about ten miles from Chillicothe. We then started through the woods to that place, and thence reached home, after an absence of sixty days. We were the first persons that ever traveled that road.
On the 23rd day of June, 1800 I sold my plantation in Kentucky, and in August my wife and myself set off for Pennsylvania. We followed James Road and arrived there about the first of September. In a short time after our arrival we both took the fever and ague and both had hard shakes every day. Not being able to ride home we took passage home in a boat laden with
apple cider. The river was so low that we were sixty days on it and we both had hard shakes every day. When we landed we were hardly able to ride home. We had the ague almost the whole winter. I had more than a hundred shakes without missing, and many afterwards.
In March, 1801, I moved to the state of Ohio and settled in Rose County on Sunfish Creek where I had previously bought land. There I built a saw and grist mill.
In 1803 I with two other men was appointed to view a road from New-market to the salt works. Forty miles of it was at that time through the woods. The other men not being woodsmen, it fell on me to lead. We found a good way for a road which was sometime after cut out and became a public road.
In 1804 I was solicited to become a candidate for Captain, to which I objected. However, as I did not attend the election, I was run in and received my commission from the governor of Ohio, which I returned to Gen. Mossie, letting him know that it did not suit me to serve.
In 1805 I bought land on the west fork of Brush Creek, in Adams County now known as Brown county, and in April moved and settled on it and here built a grist mill.
In the year 1821 I sold my plantation in Ohio and moved to the State of Indiana, where I settled in Bartholomew County, six miles north of Columbus. Here we suffered a great deal of sickness and lost four of our children. The year 1833 was the last year I was able to farm my plantation. I then rented it for three years. The rent was sufficient to support us but we were neither of us able to do the work that needed to be done, and as our children were all married and gone from us, they advised us to break up house-keeping and live with some of them. This I was reluctant to do but as there seemed no alternative, the last of November 1836, we went to live with our son-in-law Tunis Quick and our daughter Susannah, with whom we still reside.
We have had thirteen living children and eighty seven grand children. I will now give the names of our children, and the dates of their births, deaths and marriages.
Josiah was born on the l0th day of April, 1791, and married Mary Alexander April 8th, 1813.
John was born the 6th day of July 1793, and married Rachel Bailey March 28th, 1817.
James was born July 25th, 1795, and married Elizabeth Heaton October 3rd, 1820. He departed this life September 3rd, 1823.
Hannah was born July 4th, 1797, and married John Wilson December 9th, 1814.
Laban was born September 6th, 1799 and married Hannah Bradley, his first wife, September 9th, 1822, and his second wife, Elizabeth Ann Barnett September 25th, 1825.
William P. was born November 23, 1801, and married Elsie Harvey, March 17th, 1826.
Mary was born December 20th, 1803, and married James Burch, July 2nd, 1822. She departed this life October 17th, 1823.
Susannah was born November 23rd, 1805, and married Tunis Quick, September 3rd, 1823.
Matilda was born October 20, 1808, and married Josiah Hendrixon, August 13, 1833.
Rachel Bagley was born December 27th, 1810, and married Milton Nelson December 16th, 1830.
Elizabeth was born May 25th 1813, and departed this life October 18th 1823.
Lucinda was born June 4th, 1815, and married James K. Barnett on August 13th, 1833.
Lucy was born June 4th, 1818 and departed this life August l3th, 1827.
My father departed this life June 1st, 1809. and was buried in his own orchard. He was 68 years old.
My mother departed this life at her daughter's in May 1824, and was buried by the side of my father. She was 81 years old.
I was the eldest of twelve children; their names were: Spencer, Nicy, Laban, Joseph, Ann, John, Elizabeth, Josiah, Sarah. Mary, Susannah and William, who have all departed this life except myself, John and Wil1iam.
As copied in the late spring and early
summer of 1919, by Gladys Jennings Brown,
daughter of Grace Sarah Watson, wife of
Trusten P. Jennings, and grand-daughter of
Laban Records, brother of Spencer Records. [Editor's note 2007: grand-daughter of Laban Sollers Records who had a brother Spencer, sons of the 1765 Laban]
Finished --- July 22nd, 1919.
[After the end of the document, additional text, written in 1849 by Spencer, and then more written after his death, follow. The author of the final paragraph is unknown, but it might have been William H. Records. The text was handed down in the family with the 1919 document, but was not part of it.]
We continued to live with our son-in-law until 1848, when we went to Milton Nelson's home. In April, 1848, we went to live with Rachel and Milton Nelson. They had sold their farm at Mt. Auburn, Shelby Co., intending to move to Iowa. They abandoned the trip when Mrs. Nelson became too distressed about her parents. They bought a farm from Alex Breeding about 1¾ miles SW of Mt. Auburn, Ind. Mr. Breeding moved to Iowa.
We, in the course on time, had sold our farm and were depending upon the interest of the money to support us. The price we received for the land was one thousand dollars; this we turned over to M. J. Nelson and we went to make our home with them. They arranged a room for us with a fireplace where we could sit and smoke our pipes to ourselves if we chose. They had a large family, mostly boys who used to often resort to our room and hear us tell of our adventures of early times.
As to my political principles, I am a true Whig, the sin of loco-focoism I have never been guilty of. At this time, myself and my wife belong to the Lewis Creek Church of Regular Baptists, yet I would not have you to understand that I think none will be saved but the Regular Baptists. But all that have been quickened by the Spirit and brought from death unto life, will be saved of every sect, or if belonging to none.
Josiah departed this life on Monday, 22nd day of May 1848, aged 56 years, one month, and twelve days. His wife Mary departed this life on Monday, August 22, two months after him. 1849 my wife and myself have lived together a going on 60 years since the 15 of last April. I am in my eighty-seventh year since the eleventh of December last.
Spencer Records, the narrator of this record, on account of hardships and trials, partially lost his hearing and was bent the last 20 years of his life. He died at the age of 88 without illness. He rode on horseback 14 miles on a cold February day, the day before his death, to see his daughter Susannah Quick to arrange about returning to make their home with them. He became so chilled that he died from the effects of the exposure. His wife survived him four years, dying 13 Oct. 1854. He carried a hickory cane with a buck horn hand piece. He was a Whig. He was a regular Baptist. His parents were Methodists. He always wore shoes made on a straight last and changed them around every morning and maintained that it was only pride that caused people to have them left and right. He told about making of flax, pack saddles, and hide tanning. He often talked of early experiences.
Sample pages from the 1919 document:
This web page is a copy of a document which was typed "in the late spring and early summer of 1919, by Gladys Jennings Brown, daughter of Grace Sarah Watson, wife of Trusten Polk Jennings, and granddaughter of Laban Records, brother of Spencer Records." This quote was typed at the end of the document. Her source document was one handed down from her great uncle William H. Records, b. 1836, d. 1906, who was a great-nephew of Spencer Records and was a boy when Spencer was still living. His document included his own 1901 introduction and preface to Spencer Records' narrative, as copied in March, 1900 by Mae Brown of Kansas City, Missouri from an earlier document, which either traces back to the 1842 manuscript, or which was the 1842 manuscript itself. We don't have the 1900 document or the earlier document from which it was copied or typed, to compare regarding typos or errors. Typewriters were new and relatively rare in 1900, and there was no way to make copies other than to retype them or write them out longhand. We don't know whether the 1900 document was typed or hand-written. William H. Records was a son of the Rev. Samuel Records, who was a son of Laban Records, who was a brother of Spencer Records. Laban Records is mentioned many times in Spencer's narrative. The 1919 document was retyped and published here in 2007 by Morgan Wright, a great-great-great-great grandson of Laban Records, Spencer's brother.
Spencer's original 1842 manuscript was handed down to his son William P. Records, b. 1801, d. 1889. A copy or copies of the manuscript remained in the hands of the descendants of Spencer's younger brother Laban, who had also crossed the frontier with the family, as an infant, and handed the document down to his son Samuel (b. 1812, d. 1904). Laban's grandson (Samuel's son) William H. Records (b. 1836 d. 1906) is mentioned above as the holder of the source document that was typed in 1900 and retyped in 1919. Spencer's 1842 manuscript is currently in the Kentucky Papers, Draper Manuscripts, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 23CC, in Madison, Wisconsin. The manuscript has not been seen by this author for comparison to the 1919 document.
A slightly different version of this narrative was published in December, 1959 by the Indiana Magazine Of History, which has scholarly footnotes and historical comments throughout, as well as interesting appendices. The source of that document is Arthur W. Records and Naomi Hougham, both of Franklin, Indiana, who submitted a document in the 1950's. Differences between the 1919 Gladys Brown document and the one published in 1959 are slight and can be attributed to typographical variances, and editorial changes made by the editor of the Indiana Magazine of History, who made changes to the document in spellings, punctuations, and paragraph layout, and explained these changes in his introduction. The present document, however, is being typescanned without changes of any sort, except to correct obvious typos, from the 1919 document mentioned above.
Comparisons between the 1919 document and the version in the 1959 Indiana magazine do reveal a few notable differences. For example, the latter document, on p. 329, states that Henry Beason laid out a town on the Redstone Creek called Beas-on-town, where the 1919 document spells it Redstone-town. It is easy to see how "Beas-on-town" and "Redstone-town" can differ by simple errors in copying, and both spellings actually make sense... one would be a town named after Beason, the other a town named after the creek. Comparing and studying the two, however, it seems "Redstone-town," in the 1919 version, is correct. The modern name is Uniontown, Pa. The two documents should be read side by side, because each document has missing sections which the other contains, as well as different spellings of names, different wordings, etc. Also, the 1919 document mentions the Laurel Mountains as well as Sorrel Mountain, while the 1959 document uses the name Laurel for both. Names are spelled differently as well, such as Fayin in the 1919 document being spelled Fagan in the 1959, and McCloud in the 1919 spelled McConnel in the 1959.
The Indiana Magazine of History also published a version of the narrative in September, 1919, which this writer has not seen. Considering the September, 1919 date, only 2 months after this document was typed, one wonders if the 1919 document was indeed the one submitted to and published by that journal. Gladys Jennings Brown was living in California when she typed it.
Morgan Wright, who put this on the web in 2007, descended from Spencer's brother Laban Records, as follows. Laban, b. 1765, Delaware, d. 1823, married in 1789, Kentucky to Nancy Anne Sollers, b. 1764, d. 1822. They had a son Laban Sollers Records, b. 1801, Ohio. This Laban's daughter Martha Ann Records, b. 1843, Illinois, d. 1887, Missouri, married in 1862 Lewis M. Watson, b. 1834, Ohio, d. 1898, Iowa. They had daughter Grace Sarah Watson, b. 1875, who in San Francisco married Trusten Polk Jennings, b. 1873, Missouri. They had Martha Jennings, b. 1905, Lee Summit, Missouri, d. 2002, Ca. (who was the sister of Gladys Jennings Brown, who typed this document in 1919). Martha had Evan née Donald, b. 1923, Los Angeles, CA, adopted by Wright. Evan Wright in 1951 married Michela Piacenza, b. 1927 New York City, who had Morgan Wright, b. 1955, Hollywood, Ca. Laban Sollers Records was Spencer's nephew, and Laban's son.
Note: Laban Records, Spencer's brother, had a grandson Laban S. Records, b. 1856 d. 1940, who wrote the book, "Cherokee Outlet Cowboy," which was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1995. In the book he says he was a son of Samuel Records, and that his oldest brother was named Henry, living in Rising Sun, Indiana; but our William H. Records also says he was the oldest son of Samuel, and lived in Rising Sun, Indiana. We surmise that this is the same person, and that his middle initial stands for Henry.
Spencer and Laban Records are mentioned often in the book, "The Kentucky Hunters," 2003, by Ted Franklin Belue, although it appears that all the information came from Spencer's narrative.
Morgan Wright can be contacted at [email protected]