A Story of the Pioneers At Squire Boones Station
Also know as Painted Stone Station, in Shelby Co. Ky.
No station could be considered more exposed to Indian attack in 1781 than Squire Boonnes Painted Stone Station. It was located on a small ridge on the north side of clear Creek-not not too far from to days downtown Shelbyville.
It was in the middle of a region with few occupants... in other words, it was more than 20 miles to the nearest neighbor-as far as Shelbyville is to Frankfort.
Squire Boone, brother to the famous pioneer, Daniel Boone, feeling that Boonesborough was secure, located land and brought families to set up the station in 1776.
The location is mentioned by Squire Boone in a Shelby county deposition as follows: ‘in the spring of the year 1776 I came again to the same place and took a stone out of the creek and with a mill pick, picked my name in full and the date of the year thereon, and I painted the letter and figures all red from which this tract of land took the name of Painted Stone Tract. ( it is believed that the stone from Clear Creek was about an inch thick and 18 inches square.)
It was mid April in 1780 when Squire Boone and Evan Hinton along with 13 families and several single men came to the area. They built a large station with cabins on an acre- about the size of a football field. They felt safe and secure in their new home.
One morning, in April of 1781. Indians surprised three young men clearing ground outside the station. One was killed and another captured. The shots caused other men to leave the safety of the station. The Indians screened themselves behind brush and logs along the path. Two more settlers were killed and two were wounded, including Squire Boone himself. Squires right arm was shattered and when it healed it was and inch and a half shorter than the other. The Ball was cut out from his side and it took several months for his recovery. He was confined all spring and summer because of the wounds.
More and more Indians raids were reported and by the end of August, talk started of abandoning Painted Stone because it was so isolated. Squire sent a messenger to the Beargrass Station in what is now Jefferson County, asking for an escort as they evacuated. About forty men answered the call.
James Welsh and Frank Campbell were among the volunteers. They scouted for Indians and hunted for food around Painted Stone while the settlers packed their belongings. Once, as Campbell came to a turn in the lane that led to the station, he saw Indians. He yelled for the men with him to get down and fight. Campbell was shot while dismounting his horse. He ran150 yards but was brought down by a tomahawk blew to the forehead.
The settlers were desperate to leave. All were ready except for the Boones and the Hintons-there werent enough pack horses to carry their belongings so they had to remain behind. The militia agreed to return for them the next day.
Squire Boone gave permission for his son Isaiah to go with the militia, which left early in the morning on September 13,1781. The move was slow, the pack horses were loaded down; the men had to heard the cattle along the 21 mile route, which was a dark wooded trail that had only been cleared the year before.
Nine miles into the journey, Welsh became sick and 1-10 of the militia stayed behind with him. Three more miles into the journey, the families had completed more than half their escape when the Indians attacked.
The women and children got off the horses and sought shelter. The men put up a gallant fight. But, there were to many Indians, so they decided to put the women and children back on the horses and race them the eight or nine miles to the nearest station.
Shots begin to fire. Confusion and panic set in. One cowardly young man was pushing a woman off her horse so he might ride it. One of the leaders shouted Touch another woman and Ill blow a hole through you.
Other men were brave. The single handedly fought with Indians who had fired guns and attached the families with tomahawks. The attack continued for a mile with some Indians cutting the packs that fell from the horses, others were more persistent in the desire for scalps.
The families who survived the immediate attack had to cross Long Run Creek, which was knee deep because of recent rains. One little girl almost drowned, her mother reached in and caught her by her hair. Isaiah Boone, Squires son, was one of the last to cross Long Run. He fell in getting his gun wet.
When the 9 year old stood up, he saw an Indian on the other side of the creek. He tried to fire the gun; the Indian dodged behind a small bank, but the gun wouldn’t work. A man cme alog just as the Indian popped back up and he shot the Indian through the neck. Isaiah started again to cross the creek. His gun, shot pouch and coat slowed him down so he had to throw them away as he made his way to safety.
Benjamin and Aaron Van Cleave were 10 and 12 year old brothers who were trying to cross Floyds Fork Creek which was also swollen because of recent rains. They grabbed a horses tail and held on until they reached the shore. The water crossing soaked their buckskin pants which made them to long and heavy. One rolled his legs up; the other took a knife and cut them off. When the pants dried, the legs went back to their original size. The boy who cut the legs off had to throw his pants away.
Welsh, the sick commander who had stayed behind, was put on a carrier and with his men began catching up with the pioneers, not knowing about the Indians until they saw some holding Aaron and Benjamins sisters as prisoners. The Indians fled without their captives, who made it safely to the station.
Fourteen year old John Van Cleave hid during the night of the massacre in a hollow log. He couldn’t keep up with his younger brothers because he was a bit overweight. he waited until morning to sneak out and make a run for the station.
Not everyone was as lucky. The ambush of the fleeing settlers is known as Boones Massacre or the Long Run Massacre.
Regardless, the word massacre is correct because it makes one think of surprise, panic, hopelessness and slaughter. A mother and two small children were murdered. Another womans hand was found and buried, identified by the ring on one of the fingers. In all, 15 settlers were killed, a large murder for those circumstances. The Indians responsible for the massacre numbered 50 but they soon joined forces with others to equal 200. All heading for the Painted Stone Station where the Boones and Hintons remained. But the Indians decided to wait along the dark trail for the settlers to claim their victims so they could be buried.
The next morning, September 14, 1781, twenty seven men on horses took off. As they approached the wooded trail area, Indians were on both sides of the ridge and shot at the rescuers as they rode past. A few Indians were shot by the white men but the Indians were on all sides and outnumbered them. The Indians also resorted to the tomahawk. Of the 27 men only 10 escaped.
The only men left at Painted Stone to defend the station were Squire Boone and his 12 year old son Moses. Squire Boone was still weak from his wounds and could barely creep about. Finally, as many as 300 men came to their rescue.
The task that followed was burying the dead and gathering the belongings. At the massacre site, a Bible was found near a dead woman with an Indians bloody footprint on it and a spear hole through it. These remarkable stories about Shelby Countys early pioneers continue as we learn that in 1782, Squire Boone represented Jefferson County in the Virginia House of Delegates. Acting as a land locator for wealthy men who did not relish the hazards of the frontier, Squire Became one of the Shelby Countys largest landowner. He would accept Virginia treasury warrants, make entries for land, arrange for surveys, obtain title and acquire half the land for his efforts. However, as a result of losses from conflicting interfering land claims, he was compelled to sacrifice his property, including his station, which he left in 1786.
Squire, a man of many talents, also reared a family of five children with his wife, Jane Van Cleve. He learned about water mills and grist milling from his grandfather, George Boone, who was a miller in Pennsylvania. He was a redoubtable Indian fighter and a Baptist minister; serving twice in the Virginia Legislature.