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Flame Scalps Of The Chartiers


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Before Pittsburg had become worthy to be called a settlement, a white man
rowed his boat to the mouth of Chartiers creek, near that present city.
He was seeking a place in which to make his home, and a little way
up-stream, where were timber, water, and a southern slope, he marked a
tomahawk claim, and set about clearing the land. Next year his wife,
two children, and his brother came to occupy the cabin he had built, and
for a long time all went happily, but on returning from a long hunt the
brothers found the little house in ashes and the charred remains of its
occupants in the ruins. Though nearly crazed by this catastrophe they
knew that their own lives were in hourly peril, and they wished to live
until they could punish the savages for this crime. After burying the
bodies, they started east across the hills, leaving a letter on birch
bark in a cleft stick at the mouth of Chartiers creek, in which the
tragedy was recounted.

This letter was afterward found by trappers. The men themselves were
never heard from, and it is believed that they, too, fell at the hands of
the Indians. Old settlers used to affirm that on summer nights the cries
of the murdered innocents could be heard in the little valley where the
cabin stood, and when storms were coming up these cries were often
blended with the yells of savages. More impressive are the death
lights--the will-o'-the-wisps--that wander over the scene of the tragedy,
and up and down the neighboring slopes. These apparitions are said to be
the spirits of husband and wife seeking each other, or going together in
search of their children; but some declare that in their upward streaming
rays it can readily be seen that they are the scalps of the slain. Two of
them have a golden hue, and these are the scalps of the children. From
beneath them drops of red seem to distil on the grass and are found to
have bedewed the flowers on the following morning.

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