Daniel Soliday and Jacob


This account about Daniel (father) and Jacob (son) Soliday is found in the Centennial History of Washington County Indiana by Warder W. Stevens; 1916; B.F. Bowen '&'; Company, Inc.
The only white men that were ever killed in the county by Indians were the two Solidays, on Good Friday morning, 1813. During the previous winter a few Indians would pass through the settlement occasionally, apparently on hunting excursions, and all seemed to be very friendly and sociable, for redskins. None of the settlers knew that some forty lodges were wintering across the river, just a short distance above where Spark's ferry was afterwards located. After they had crossed over and killed the Solidays and retreated, their camp was discovered. There were found logs, in which holes had been chopped out, where their ponies had been fed; places where they had pounded up their corn, skins of hogs, skeletons of wild animals and gourds full of grease. If the settlers had suspicioned this band of savages were encamped so close to them they could very easily have banded together during that long, cold winter, crossed the river on the ice and dealt death and destruction in their camp. But they were slipped up on unawares, and the wonder was that the whole settlement was not killed outright -- as the savages had no doubt planned.

The evening before Good Friday the Indians crossed the river in canoes and lined themselves up into squads, expecting the following morning to lie in wait for and despatch such of the settlers as might venture away from their homes. It was learned afterward that other cabins were endangered by the presence of Indians, but there was no favorable opportunity presented for them to attack the inmates. Daniel Soliday was working for a Mr. Ellison, who lived on what has latterly been known as the John Doyle farm: while Jacob Soliday lived with Richard Newkerk, about three miles farther west, on the farm generally known as the John Bennet place. Ellison and Daniel Soliday started out after having an early breakfast, to hunt a mare that was on the range and which they rightly supposed had a young colt. They came across them about a mile from the cabin, and as the mare was then in flesh and too weak to get up and nourish the colt, Ellison sent Soliday back to the house to get some milk for the colt. After waiting a long time for him to return, Ellison concluded he would go to the house and see what was the matter. Arriving there, he found that Soliday had not been seen since they both started away together.

Obtaining the milk, Ellison and two more of the family started back to the mare and colt. They pursued a little different route from the one over which Ellison had returned, and they had not gone but a little way till they passed by some beech trees about two feet in diameter, behind which Indians could very easily hide. Here they found Soliday, stabbed to death and scalped. The leaves were torn up considerably which showed there had been a tussle, but Soliday's body lay across an old log and the blood lay in pools around. The Indians had not fired a gun for that would have aroused the whites and made it difficult for them to escape. Soliday would never carry a gun, as other settlers did in those days, but, even if he had had a gun at the time it probably would not have availed him, as the Indians no doubt were ambushed behind the trees, and no doubt pounced upon him unawares - felling him with the tomahawk and killing him outright. Besides the stabs in the breast that he received his skull was crushed in several places.

Jacob Soliday was a powerful man, and had always said that he had no fear of being killed or hurt by an Indian on an even show with gun or tomahawk. He and Newkirk started out this same morning to hunt stock, they having some cattle that had not been seen about the cabin for some days. They thought they heard a calf bawling some distance from the house, among some heavy timber but never thought of Indians. It was the custom of these wily savages to imitate the bawling of cows, the bleating of sheep or the squealing of pigs away from the clearing, so as to decoy settlers away from home to look after stray stock in the brush, and then shoot them down or tomahawk them. As newkirk and Soliday started out in the direction in which they thought they had heard the cattle, they had gone but a short distance through the woods before a half dozen redskins jumped out from behind trees, completely surrounding them. They had their guns along with them but the surprise was so sudden that there was no time for shooting, and a hand-to-hand fight ensued. Newkirk received a scalp wound and a bad cut on the shoulder, but succeeded in breaking loose from his assailants and made back for the house and gave the alarm. Soliday was less fortunate, and being a powerful man, fought like a tiger before he was overpowered and killed: for the ground gave evidence of a desperate struggle and his gun was broken and the barrel bent and in his still clinched hand was found about half the top-knot of an Indian. Soliday was scalped twice. How badly the Indians were hurt no one ever knew, as they seldom left their dead or wounded behind, unless the retreat was a very hasty one.

THE ALARM AND PURSUIT

[There continues an account of the pursuit of the Indians but the copy I have is incomplete.]


A newspaper article on the occasion of Joseph Soliday's 80th Birthday recounts some family history and gives some additional information on the death, burial, etc. It emphasizes (amplifies?) the "fighting prowess" of both Daniel and Jacob Soliday.
"History gives an account of the tragic death of these two men, who were noted for their great bodily strength and their prowess in capturing and subduing the Indians. Mr. (Joseph, grandson to Daniel) Soliday spoke of their massacre and said when he was a slip of a boy his mother took him to the Walnut Ridge cemetery and showed him the graves of the two relatives, whose lives were taken by the savage red men. Daniel and Jacob had both fought valiantly at Tippecanoe, had wreaked vengeance on the Indians at every chance and so won their enmity. It is thought a plot was made to kill the Solidays, for their deaths occurred the same day and under the same circumstances - tho they lived several miles apart. . . . "

child Nancy SOLIDAY is in my ancestral line having married Briggs Minty GOLDSBY. She is the daughter of Jacob Soliday who, with his father, was killed and scalped in the above account.

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