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In the Miami Valley, nine miles below Hamilton, Ohio near what is now Cincinnati, in what is now called Colerain township, a small settlement was put together by John Dunlap, a Scots-Irishman from Colerain, Ireland. In 1790 John, the first settler up the bend of the great Miami River, laid out a village in the wild, untamed wilderness. In the manner of that time, he and a few families built a blockhouse, near where they erected a few cabins, all within a stockade of log pickets about eight feet high. It was placed on the Eastside on the river with three sides of pickets and the fourth being the deep river itself. Within its walls moved about thirty persons: men, women, and children...but only 8-10 capable of bearing arms.
The families, mostly of Scots-Irish descent (Dunlap, Horn, Wallace, McDonald, Barret, Barket, White) appealed to Fort Washington for troops to aid in their defense, since the Indians nearby were hostile and had been massing for several days in early January 1791. A lieutenant Kingsbury and eleven men were sent and occupied the Station, along with the families. The Soldiers were Taylor, Neef, O'Neil, O'Leary, Lincoln, Grant, Strong, Sowers, Murphy, Abel, McVicar, and Wiseman.
On the night of January 8, 1791, a surveying party of four men (Wallace, Hunt, Cunningham, and Sloan), were exploring some of the Miami bottoms opposite to the fort, and were only seventy yards from the fort when the Indians fired some volleys at them. Cunningham fell dead, Hunt’s horse threw him and he was taken prisoner, Sloan, although wounded,
and Wallace made it back to the fort.
Before sunrise on the morning of the ninth of January, just as the women were milking the cows in the fort, the Indians made their appearance before it, and fired a volley, wounding McVicar. Every man then took a position and started returning fire. The Indians, who were led by a white renegade named Simon Girty, called a parley, and a Shawnee Chief named Bluejacket. Abner Hunt, the prisoner was brought out, tied and hobbled, and begged the surrender of the fort, in the hope of saving his own life, and promised that no one would be killed. Not a single individual in the fort would agree. Lt. Kingsbury took an elevated position where he could overlook the wooden pickets, and rejected all of their propositions,
telling the Indians that he had sent for help to Fort Washington.
The Indians, replied that he was lying...and that they had 500 warriors, would soon be joined by 300 more, and that if they did not surrender, they would all be massacred and the station burned. Kingsbury replied that he would not surrender if they were ten thousand, and leapt down from his position as they fired at him, narrowly missing his head while striking the white plume feather he wore in his hat! Poor Abner Hunt was set upon by the savages, stripped naked tied spread-eagled upon the ground, and a fire started upon his belly!
He slowly and loudly died in the sight of all at the Station.
The Station, now being surrounded by 300-400 Indians, and with only 30 people inside, was attacked viciously on all three sides. The Indians fired, as usual, from behind stumps, trees and logs, and set fire to a quantity of brushwood that had been collected by the settlers, and then, rushing in with burning brands, attempted to set fire to the cabins and wood pickets. The vigilance and close firing of the settlers, however, prevented the Indians from accomplishing this. One Indian was killed just as he reached the buildings. All day and night long the attacks continued. The Indians shot blazing arrows into the stockade and onto the roofs of the cabins, but the garrison was always able to either remove the arrows or put the fires out. The attack continued through the day of the 10th and again the whole night after.
The garrison of Dunlap's station, outnumbered 10 to one, displayed great bravery, bordering on rashness. (Sounds like Scots, eh?) During the incessant fire from both sides, they frequently, for a moment, exposed their persons above the tops of the stockade, mocking the Indians, and daring them to come on. Women, as well as men, used every incidence to provoke and invite the enemy. They exhibited caps of soldiers above the wall to be shot at. According to their own accounts, they conducted themselves with great folly as well as bravery. When the garrison was in danger of running out of bullets, the women melted down their pewter plates and spoons to keep in supply. During the attack, the Indians charged a building called the mill, where a hand mill was kept for grinding corn. The Mill's walls were not chinked or daubed, and the Indians, firing through the openings between logs, were able to kill one man and wounded another.
Early on the 11th, a hunter by the name of Cox, heard all the firing, and suspecting the cause, went to Cincinnati and informed the commander at Fort Washington, about 14 miles from Dunlap's Station. A volunteer force of 38 men turned out immediately, matched by the same number of regulars under the command of Captain Truman, and twenty volunteers from Fort Columbia, under the command of Captain Grano. The force, all on horseback, started out before daylight to relieve the Station. During the night, Wallace and 18-year-old Wiseman, managed to escape the fort by crossing the river under heavy fire, and met up with Cox's party on the way. The relief party topped the hill overlooking the Station, only to discover that the Indians had seen them coming and had retreated, with many losses. The Party rode down to the Fort, amid the wild cheering of very tired settlers, who along with Abner Hunt, had only lost one other life!
Although the settlement was abandoned, the name of Dunlap's Station lives on in the memories of those who came after, and the name where John Dunlap came from (Colerain) was given forever to the local township in the valley of the Miami. The Footsteps of our Clan are in the muddy banks of the Miami River, and on the floor of the bravely held Dunlap's Station.
From the History of Hamilton, Ohio...Internet & the Magazine of History,
January 1910 Vol. XI, Number 1