PUBLICATION 3 - 1967
DAVID MUSICK TRAGEDY
By Luther F. Addington
The following narrative was prepared by Judge E. J. Sutherland of Clintwood, Virginia, for delivery at the dedication of the David Musick monument near Honaker, Virginia, August 19, 1956.
Judge Sutherland said, "I am indebted to my long-time friend, Reverend Grover C. Musick, for this story of David Musick. Grover Musick is a great-great grandson of the martyred David Musick. He secured this story from his great-aunt, great-granddaughter of David Musick."
by Mrs. Fletcher is as follows:
Two of the boys, Abraham and Elijah Musick, went early one morning for firewood with which to prepare breakfast. They were surprised by a party of Indians (not known how many), but were able to reach their home. The doors were barred, and the defense of the home began. David Musick had a flint-lock rifle. He found it would not fire, due to the fact his house had been burned previous of this, injuring the gun. Mrs. Musick touched fire to the gun, hoping to ignite the powder, but to no avail. Mr. Musick was shot through the thigh by an arrow from the bow of the Indians and fainted from loss of blood. The Indians broke into the house, killing and scalping him and making prisoners of his wife and children. They then plundered the house and ate what they found of prepared food, their hands gory with blood.
While the Indians were attacking the house, a neighbor, who had come to the Musick home to borrow a plow, on seeing the Indians, became so excited he ran with all speed possible. On reaching the yard of his home he fell dead. He must have had a weak heart.
The evening previous to the massacre of Mr. Musick the same band of Indians scalped a girl named Brumley, who lived in the same community. They came upon her late in the evening, while churning at a springhouse some distance from her house. Strange to say they scalped her alive, leaving her to die. The girl crawled some distance to an old stable an hid in some flax, which was stored in the building. She was found alive and recovered.
But to resume my story of the Musick family and the Indians.
and the children to get ready, they started on the long journey back to
the Ohio Valley. Before leaving the settlement, as they went through a
field, they killed a steer. After skinning it, they encased part of it
in the hide for a supply of meat. Then, they found a young mare; and,
securing her, they placed the meat on her and had young Abraham, the
son, mount her. This boy, Abraham, had red hair; and the Indians were
of him and treated him very fine. Not so, however, with Electious, the
youngest son, who refused to eat the raw meat along the way and cried a
great deal. As a punishment, they rubbed his face against an oak tree,
cutting the flesh deeply. He carried the scars with him to his grave.
Night coming on, they decided to camp there. Crossing a knoll a few yards above, where Russell Prater enters Russell Fork, they forded the river to what was at that time a small island. An Indian brave, who could speak a little English, said as they were crossing; "White man no come here."
Little did they know about their peril, for close upon them was a posse of white settlers, who, a little later in the night, sighting their camp-fire, moved into hiding behind the knoll and anxiously awaited the coming of dawn to attack and release Mrs. Musick and her children. All the Indians undoubtedly would have been killed had the orders of the Captain of the posse been obeyed. One of the posse became so excited that he fired before the order to fire was given.
When Mrs. Musick heard the firing, she and the children rushed toward the whites, she carrying the baby, Phoebe, in her arms. One of the Indians threw his tomahawk at her but missed, sticking it in an oak tree. Another Indian threw pieces of burning firewood at her. An overruling of Providence surely must have saved the family.
The result of the attack: One Indian killed, another seriously wounded but who was able to escape with his companions with much pain, as was indicated by his screams. Some years ago a human skeleton was found under a cliff not far from Haysi, supposedly that of the wounded Indian. Then began the long thirty-mile journey back to the settlements of the Clinch Valley in Russell County.
The posse being very much worn out by the long and arduous trip, when they reached the foot of Sandy Ridge, decided to camp for the night at a large spring. But Mrs. Musick insisted they cross the mountain to Clinch River side before camping. Later discovery proved her fear correct, for the party of Indians had turned back after the fight and pursued the whites, following them to the big spring and camping on the proposed camp site of the whites. They gave up the chase hereand returned to Ohio.
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