Saturday, July 16, 2011

Captian Phillips Massacre July 16, 1780

Today Kerri and I, as well as the rest of Ghost Hunters Incorporated team, will be in Saxton, Pa to see if we can communicate with any past souls still hanging around the Captian Phillips Rangers Memorial. The claims are: hearing drums, voices, and screams on the mountain.

The Story

The morning of the 16th captain Phillips found himself surrounded by a band of Indian of 50-60 in the band was 2 Tories (British soldiers) 10 of the Indian carried rifles the rest bows and arrows. Phillips ordered his rangers to complete silence.

One of the Indians shot his rifle into the air, likely as a rouse to draw the rangers from the cabin. The rangers stayed in the cabin. A short while later another Indian ventured near the cabin. Thomas Galtrell took a shot and wounded the Indian.  Then raising the war-whoop the Indian expecting engagement took cover behind trees about 70 yards away.

The next action was taken by the Indians who fired upon the house riddling the door and window. The rangers held their post, taking a shot whenever an Indian came into range. Two Indians were killed and two were injured. This kind of battle went on all morning till afternoon.

Phillip Skelly shot the chief threw the cheek; again the Indians raised the war-whoop and more determined than ever to wreak vengeance on the rangers. The Indians then shot burning arrows to burn the rangers out, finally the succeeded in catching the structure on fire and the men surrendered.

One of the white men in the band of Indians was a spokesman. He ordered they give up their weapons which they did, the mens hands were tied behind their backs and they started, as the Indians said, Kittanning.
Not long after they started they were halted, Phillips and son continued on with 6 Indians while the rest stayed behind. The fate of these men was not known to the next day.

Col. John Piper of Yellow Creek, who found the bodies of the men following the massacre, wrote that “Captain Phillips, an experienced good woodsman, who had engaged a company of rangers for the space of two months for the defense of our frontiers, was surprised at his post on Sunday, the 16th of July .... When I received the intelligence, which was the day following, I marched with only 10 men directly to the place where we found the house (where they had taken refuge at night) burned to ashes, with sundry Indian tomahawks that had been lost in the action, but where we found no person killed at that place.

 But, upon taking the Indian tracks, within about half a mile we found 10 of Captain Phillips’ company with their hands tied and murdered in the most cruel manner.” They were found tied to trees with 3 to 5 arrows stuck in them and they were all scalped.  The men were untied and buried where they were found.

The “official” list of names of the men killed in the massacre is Philip Skelly, Hugh Skelly, P. (Philip?) Sanders, T. (Thomas?) Sanders, Richard Shirley, M. Davis, Thomas Gaitrell, Daniel Kelly, G. Morris and A. Shelly. These names appear on the monument. However, the Pennsylvania Archives, Fifth Series lists Joseph Roberts as one of those killed. Historian D. I. Foster added another -- Fred Rouser.

Mike Morris

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