This is a continuation of last week’s post, sharing some of the stories told to David R.. Robbins by his grandfather Ransom Robbins, an early pioneer of Jennings County, Indiana.
Living in southern Indiana in 1812 could be a dangerous proposition. The war with Britain was starting up and the Indians of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and other territories were allied with them in an attempt to reclaim homelands taken over by white settlers. At the minimum they wished to drive the Americans across the Ohio River.
The Pigeon Roost settlement in southern Scott County was the site of a well-known attack in 1812 where 24 settlers were killed by Indians. Here are some of the Robbins stories about that time, edited lightly for spelling and grammar.
Sometimes afterwards when grandfather [Ransom Robbins] was a young man, he went over to Kentucky to make a visit with his old neighbors. While he was there, word came that the Indians had killed all the people in Fourteen Mile Creek and Pigeon Roost settlements. Grandfather shouldered the rifle and started for home. After he had crossed the Ohio River (on the ferry boat) and he had gone about two miles, he seen a man lying across the road. Well, he thought, this is the first sign. He walked up a little closer and stopped. He could not make out whether the man was dead, asleep or drunk from the position the body was in. He thought he might be asleep and his gun was under him as if ready for instant use, and if he should walk up near him, he might wake up and shoot. So he concluded that the safest was to go around him and come to the road beyond this man. He done so. He never heard of any man being found dead in that place. When he got home he found the folks all alive and well in the whole settlement. But the Indians had killed nearly all the people at Pigeon Roost.
About a year afterwards an Indian came to my great-grandfather’s house [James Robbins] one day, at Fourteen Mile Creek settlement, and took dinner with them. The Indians were all peaceable then. He told them that he was one of the Indians that killed the people at Pigeon Roost. That he and eight other Indians camped for one week in the creek bottom land in sight of their house, and near the path that the women and children came along to after and driving home their cows. It had been planned for nine other Indians to join them there, but they did not come. And as there was so much shooting going on in the settlement that they thought they were not strong enough to kill both settlements. At the end of week they went to Pigeon Roost settlement.
James and Hannah Robbins were the parents of seven children, the oldest son being Ransom (D.R.’s grandfather) and the oldest daughter being Mary, also called Polly. Ransom’s first wife was Rebecca Green, while Mary’s husband was Rebecca’s brother Jams (“Jimmy”) Green. D. R. Robbins talks about the siblings and their spouses.
Grandfather told me of their having a very good neighbor at Fourteen Mile Creek by the name of Green. Their oldest son’s name was James, and was known as Jimmy Green; that he and Jimmy Green were the best of friends. I don’t remember what year grandfather said that they moved from Fourteen Mile Creek to Jennings County, Indiana. I remember him saying that he was quite a young man, and the Green family moved at the same time they did, and they all settled near Musquatok [Muscatatuck] Creek and took up claims on government land and commenced clearing up the land and making a house and farm again in the heavy timber.
Jimmy Green and grandfather were about the same age, and they were both stout, active men, and they thought a great deal of each other and were like two brothers. When they were twenty-one years old, they had forty acres of land apiece and were joining. They both built a log house on each forty, one helping the other till they had them completed, and a small clearing around their houses. During this time Grandfather was courting Jimmy’s sister Rebecca, and Jimmy was courting Grandfather’s sister Mary and soon after they had their houses finished, all four were married, on the same day and at the same place, and then commenced their housekeeping on the same day, and they were married by the same minister.
The two couples were married in 1815 in what was then Clark County, Indiana, as Jennings County was not created until two years later. Interestingly, the marriage of Ransom Robbins and Rebecca Green is recorded in the Clark County marriage records, while that of James Green and Mary Robbins is not.
(Jacob Robbins-James Robbins-Ransom Robbins-Jacob Green Robbins-David Ransom Robbins)