Indian Abduction 1 September, 1782
CAPTURE OF CAPT. CHARLES POLK’S FAMILY
By: Judge William Polk
The following account of the capture, near Bardstown, Ky., in 1782, of the family of his father, was written many years ago by Judge William Polk, of Indiana, the eldest of the captured children, and published in The Advocate, a newspaper at Vincennes.
William Polk, writer of this account of the captivity of his mother, shared it with her and was the little boy that they dressed in Indian apparel and styled him the son of the chief:
Charles Polk, a young man, was among the early adventurers to Western Virginia, on the upper branches of the Ohio River. Hence we find him in his country’s service in 1774, in an expedition against the Indian Village on the Scioto, and again with Lord Dunmore, in his celebrated campaign in the latter part of the same year.
During the succeeding winter he married [Delilah Tyler] and settled as a farmer near what was then called the Mingo Bottom, on the Ohio River, some distance above Wheeling, where he continued to reside with his family during the winter and improve his farm, in the spring removing them to the neighboring fort erected by the settlers for the protection of their families while they cultivated their farms, part performing the labor, while another part acting as spies and guards. Having had an improvement made in Kentucky by which he obtained a pre-emption claim, in what is now Nelson County, about seven miles east of Bardstown, he sold his farm for Continental Bill (which depreciated in his hands) and in the spring of 1780, he descended the Ohio River with his family, with the intention to settle on and improve his land. On landing at Louisville, finding his land so remote and the removal to it dangerous on account of Indian Hostilities, at the invitation of his friend and comrade in the days of their boyhood, Col. William Linn, one of the bravest of the western sufferers, he settled at Linn’s Station about twelve miles from Louisville.
During the summer Mr. Polk was frequently engaged, as was usual, in guarding against surprise, and in the pursuit of straggling parties of Indians who infested the settlements, and by that means obtained the confidence of his associates, so they chose him Captain in the campaign which Gen. George Rogers Clark led against the Shawnee towns on the Miami that year, and he acted a conspicuous part in the battle of the Pickaway, where the Indians were signally defeated. During the succeeding winter, he removed to his own land; on his arrival he found it occupied by a small band of emigrants from Virginia, who had previously settled there, erected a small fort for the security of their families, and cleared some land and had raised a fine crop of Indian Corn the preceding year, not knowing it was a pre-emption claim. Thus situated, he erected a cabin and commenced to improve sufficiently near, in case of alarm, to take protection in the fort; hunting buffalo for the substance of his family and improving his farm to enable him to sufficient for their support the approaching season.
The early part of the year 1781 passed off without any serious alarm, until near midsummer, when Mr. Ash, who with a large family of sons, having settled a few miles off alone on the frontier, being on a visit with his wife and infant son at Capt. Polk’s on their return early in the afternoon, after proceeding about two mile, were met by one of their sons, an active lad of twelve years of age, who informed his parents while out at work in the cornfields, the Indians had fired upon them and had either killed or taken all the rest of the family; he being a little distance from them had escaped.
The afflicted parents forthwith returned to Capt. Polk’s with his family and took shelter in the fort. They dispatched a runner to the next fort about four miles away to give the alarm and the same evening with a small party started in pursuit and shortly after dark they arrived at the scene of desolation. They found the eldest son, a young man, and the youngest and only daughter, slain. To their surprise, the house had not been burned and on cautiously approaching it, they found the door fastened on the inside. Apprehensive of an ambuscade, they were about to examine, when the voice of a child inquired if it was his father and mother that had come. On their reply the child opened the door and informed them that he was asleep under the bed, wrapped in a buffalo hide to keep off the flies, and that seven or eight Indians came into the house and took off all the things they could carry with them. That when he was first awakened by their noise he was about to tell them his mother would be angry when she came home, but that they looked so ugly he was afraid and lay still under until they were gone. Then he got up and fastened the door to keep them out until his father and mother should come home. The boy was about five years old.
Having thus learned the probable number of the enemy, next morning, on the pursuing trail, they found they had taken the remainder of the family, five sons, prisoners. With the force they had, it was not thought prudent to attempt a pursuit, as it might lead to the massacre of their prisoners. They buried the dead and returned to the fort the same day. The remainder of the season passed without further mischief than straggling parties hovering about the settlement and stealing their horses, which from necessity were permitted to roam through the forests.
Early in the morning, in the beginning of the spring of 1782, four persons left the fort with horses loaded with salt for Harrodsburg, the next station, about thirty miles distant. Having traveled about five miles, they were attacked by about thirty Indians; fortunately but one man was wounded and he not dangerously. By instantly throwing off the loads and mounting their horses, after a warm pursuit they succeeded in regaining the fort. Expecting an immediate attack, the day and night succeeding was passed in repairing the fort and making such preparations for defense as was in their power. Fortunately, no serious attack was made. After remaining two or three days in the vicinity, stealing horses and killing cattle, the Indians dispersed in small bands for the purpose of stealing more horses from the neighboring fort. Captain Polk, with a small party, pursued one of these straggling bands, overtook them, killed their leader and recovered part of the stolen horses without loss.
From this time the remainder of the summer passed off without any serious alarm until August, but the attack on Bryan’s Station near Lexington and the disastrous battle of Blue Licks on the 19th spread general consternation throughout the country, as no one could conjecture where the next blow would be struck. About the time the intelligence of these disasters was received in what was then termed the loser settlements in the vicinity of Louisville, a young man hunting buffalo alone, about twenty-five miles from the nearest settlement, discovered on their march in the direction of the fort, in the vicinity of Louisville (as he supposed) about a hundred warriors. Not being discovered by the Indians and being on horseback, be hastened to give the alarm and in a few hours apprised his friends of their danger. It may be proper here to state that the young man above named still lives in Shelby County, Kentucky, now upwards of eighty years of age, the highly respected Maj. Bland W. Ballard, afterwards so well known in the Indian wars and who performed a conspicuous part in the late war, at the celebrated but unfortunate battle of the River Raisin.
Col. John Floyd, the officer in command, immediately started an express to give the alarm to the forts in the vicinity of Bardstown, and requesting assistance to meet the enemy, appointed the place of rendezvous nearly midway between the settlements, which were nearly thirty miles apart, on the evening of the next day, the 29th of August, 1782. Col. Isaac Cox, the senior officer in these forts, early in the morning of that day, sent an express to Capt. Polk, at the weakest and most frontier station in that direction; and that same afternoon, with what men could be spared from the defense of the fort, he started for the appointed rendezvous, where he arrived the same evening about fifteen miles from the fort. The arrangements of Col. Floyd were most judicious and prudent, as his position was to afford assistance to whichever of the settlements might be attacked.
Early of the morning of the 30th, four of Capt. Polk’s men were directed to return to the fort, for the double purpose of acting as spies and of strengthening the fort should it be attacked. Two horsemen were directed to make a circuit entirely around the fort, so that they might discover the trail of the invaders, should they have taken that course; the other two, being footmen, were directed to take a more direct route. Unfortunately, the horsemen disobeyed their instructions and, after traveling but a few miles, made directly for the fort, where they arrived early in the afternoon, thereby quieting in part the alarm of the inhabitants. It was afterwards ascertained that had they pursued their route, as they were directed, they would have discovered the trail of the Indians in time to have advised Col. Floyd, so that he might have reached the fort previous to its attack and capture.
On a clear and bright morning, the moon shining in her meridian splendor, the 31st of August, 1782, about one hour before the break of day, the first alarm to the unfortunate inmates was the war-whoop of the Indians as the assailed the fort from different quarters and obtained immediate possession by climbing the walls and unroofing the cabins, descending from the outside. One man defended his house until his wife and one child were killed, when seizing his other child, a boy about four years old, he made his escape. It was believed that he killed one or two of the Indians. One man and woman and child were the only persons in the capture. Two white men, four women and the lad Ash, who had escaped the previous year when his father’s family was taken, made their escape in safety. This promising boy grew up highly esteemed and at the early age of 22 fell, bravely fighting for his country at St. Clair’s defeat.
The remaining inmates, about thirty in number, were taken prisoners and the fort burned. It was known for many years afterward as the "Burnt Station." On the evening of the day of the calamity, Col. Floyd was advised of the melancholy occurrence. A council was immediately assembled to consult what course would be proper to pursue, and the general opinion was in favor of an immediate pursuit. To this Capt. Polk strongly objected, urging that a pursuit would tend to the massacre of all the prisoners, as the Indians would keep scouts in their rear on the retreat, so that a surprise could not be calculated upon; and that as it was, it might be possible for him, some time, to recover his family. Known as he was for his determined bravery, perseverance and patience, and from his amiable and conciliatory course, being universally beloved, a pursuit was not attempted.
The Indians after taking whatever property of the inhabitants they could travel with, set the houses on fire and consumed the remained and about daylight returned to their camps. Soon after sunrise, they commenced their retreat with their prisoners, in all about thirty, including Mrs. Polk and her four children, the eldest, William, (the writer of this account) a boy of seven years of age, the others daughters (Elizabeth, Sally and Nancy), the youngest two years old, and herself in that situation that but faint hopes could be entertained that she could be the fatigue of a forced march through the wilderness, and her second son (Charles) was born at Detroit on the 27th of the ensuing October. On the first day of their captivity, circumstances occurred which, though of minor importance, it is believed from what was afterwards learned from the Indians, influenced their treatment to Mrs. Polk and her children and probably was the means of preserving her life, which will be detailed in a manner that may appear tedious and unnecessary. The apology is that it is given as an illustration of the Indian character, to show that even among untutored savages there are traits of benevolence and humanity that are worthy to be preserved.
At the first assault on the fort, Mrs. Polk having her two youngest children in the same bed with her, immediately arose and taking a child under each arm attempted to wake up her two eldest children, but before she succeeded the Indians broke into the house, seized her two children, hurried her out and shortly after to their camp, within about half a mile of the fort. After daylight, in looking over the encampment, she discovered all the prisoners except her own two children, from which she inferred that they had not been discovered in the darkness within the house and had been left to be consumed, as she saw them set the house on fire before they left the fort, which added much to her affliction that she had not succeeded in waking them out of their sleep. It will here be proper to mention that the (Indians) had arrived in the vicinity of the fort, previous to the departure of Capt. Polk and his men and from their hiding places had witnessed his leaving for the purpose of joining Col. Floyd. One of the first inquiries in the morning after arriving at their encampment was for the Chief’s (Capt. Polk’s) squaw and papooses. When pointed out to them, they appeared much pleased that they had taken them prisoners – said that White Chief would be much disappointed on his return to find his family all taken from him. I have heard Mrs. Polk say she could observe a marked difference in the treatment of her children and the others taken. On the second morning, they painted her son in Indian style, decorated him in feathers and some Indian trinkets, and called him "The Young Chief of the Long Knife," the name given the Kentuckians by the Indians of that day.
Shortly after sunrise they commenced their march, Mrs. Polk carrying her youngest child, and Mrs. Ash, (whose family had been massacred the preceding year, as I have previously named) carrying hers, only a few months old. After traveling a short distance, the Indians took their children from them for the purpose, as they supposed, of murdering them, and directing them to march, Mrs. Ash observing, if they killed her child she would go no further with them. They rapidly pursued their journey for about twelve miles, when they halted. In a short time, the Indian who had taken Mrs. Polk’s child, came up to them and handed it to its mother and at the same time the two eldest came up and joined her for the first time since their captivity, which much relieved her anxiety on their account. Mrs. Ash repeated that as they had murdered her child she would go no further.
Having crossed no stream of water thus far, Mrs. Polk, from her fatigue and thirst, was so exhausted that she could scarcely breathe. The Indians had brought with them many watermelons form the fort, and while refreshing themselves with them, she held out her had as a request for a part to relieve her thirst, which as answered by a general laugh and shout of approbation, and some ten or twelve of them handed her slices which she divided among the prisoners around her, offering Mrs. Ash part, saying it would relieve her thirst, which she refused by a shake of the head, without speaking. The Indian countenances immediately changed to anger; they began a conversation among themselves, when one came forward, stripped her of part of her upper garments and in a few minutes started the prisoners, making signs to Mrs. Ash to take her child, a boy two year old, and march. After they had proceeded a short distance they distinctly heard the tomahawk strike her head. She uttered a scream simultaneous with their war-whoop and all was silent. They continued their march until near sunset, traveling this day about thirty miles before they encamped for the night. The Indian claiming Mrs. Polk and her youngest child as his prisoners, being of a surly temper, proposed killing her that night, saying she could not travel as far next day as they wished to go, to which proposal his brother, of a more humane disposition, objected and proposed to defer the council until the next evening and was joined by two or three others, who assigned as a reason why she should be saved the circumstances of the watermelons, as related above.
The next morning the Indian who had first proposed saving her life, in the council of the proceeding evening, by sign informed her that in two days they would cross the big water, as they called the Ohio River, where they had horses, and she then should ride. Thus encouraged and stimulated to go as far as she could, a mother’s desire to know what would be the fate of her children, the second day passed off as the first, by a rapid march, and contrary to her expectations she made the journey as the day before. The same Indian who had interceded for her in council the previous evening again prevailing in suspending a decision until the next evening.
The third day passed off in the same manner, until late in the afternoon, when within a few hundred yard of the Ohio River, her foot slipped in a small hole and being unable to extricate herself, she quietly sat down to await her fate, which she believed would be immediate death. Her ill-disposed master, with a slight kick and surly voice, ordered her to march. She shook her head, signally she could not. He immediately drew his tomahawk from his scabbard and raised it over her head, for the purpose of dispatching his victim at a single blow, but his more humane brother, who was immediately behind him, caught it in his hand as he drew it back and commenced a conversation in an earnest tone of remonstrance, which Mrs. Polk thought continued for two or three minutes, before he let go of the tomahawk, which the other then returned to its scabbard and passed on, while her preserver remained and assisted her to rise and proceed to their bark canoes, in which they had crossed the river in their advances and concealed a short distance up the Kentucky River, above its junction with the Ohio.
He assisted her on board, and observing her feet and legs much swelled, he took his knife and ripped open her moccasins, which they had given her to put on at the commencement of the journey, and which, on account of the swelling, could not be gotten off in any other way. On taking them off, her toe nails came off with a long portion of the skin on the bottom of her feet, which appeared to excite the sympathy of the Indians in the canoe. He then directed her to bathe her feet by pouring water on them while crossing. Having crossed over, he assisted her up the bank and brought her child and blanket to her; then went and brought some oil, or rather marrow, procured from the bones of buffaloes, which a few Indians who had been left to hunt and take care of the canoes had procured, and directed her to rub her feet with the marrow. He then handed her a large, soft pair of moccasins to put on, after which he said she could sleep and would be better in the morning. From her pain and sufferings, she had but little hopes of living to see the morning light, but to satisfy the kind Indian who appeared to take such an interest in preserving her life, she did as he directed, and, contrary to her expectations the remedies applied so far relieved her that, for the first night during her captivity, she slept soundly and was so far relieved that I, for many years afterwards, often heard her declare that the whole scene of that afternoon and night still appeared to her to be a most extraordinary and miraculous interposition of divine goodness for her preservation.
On the same evening, the Indians held another council to decide on her fate, believing she could not live to travel to their villages. At this council and elderly Indian who had not before interfered was the first to object, saying she had lived and traveled so far that he believed the Great Spirit would not permit them to kill her and if they attempted it he would be angry with them and they could not prosper. Being joined by others, his advise prevailed and from this time they have over all thought of killing her under any circumstances. This day being the fourth of their captivity, they traveled but a few miles before they arrived at a camp, where a few old men had remained to hunt during their absence on their war excursion, where they remained the balance of this day; and here were the horses which had been named to Mrs. Polk as an encouragement for her to pursue the journey. From this point, the next morning being the fourth of September, the Indians separated into small bands for the convenience of hunting for their support on the journey, Mrs. Polk and her two youngest children being attached to one band and her eldest two belonging to another, they were separated, much to the grief of the afflicted mother.
The party with Mrs. Polk proceeded to their villages on the Auglaize River, where they arrived on the tenth of September, where, after remaining four days, they started for Detroit with their prisoners, retaining the youngest daughter, as they informed her, to raise as one of their own squaws, which much increased her grief. At the Rapids of the Miami, or Roche de Bout as it was called, they rested one day. Here was a trader from Detroit, who had been acquainted with Capt. Polk previous to the commencement of the Revolutionary War, to whom the Indians related the result of their council in determining on Mrs. Polk’s case, who informed her thereof and pointed out to her the Indian who so eloquently plead in her behalf at the last council. While waiting here the Indians came up with Mrs. Polk’s son, having disposed of her daughter to the Shawnees at one of their villages in the vicinity of Piqua, on the Great Miami, she having take sick; and, as they said, they were afraid she would die on the journey and they would get nothing for her. From here they proceeded to Detroit, where they arrived about the 25th of September and gave up such prisoners as they brought with the to Col. De Peyster, the commander of the British forces at that point, who treated them with the kindest attention and humanity. In his speech to the Indians, he strongly insisted on bringing in such prisoners as they had retained, naming in particular Mrs. Polk’s two children, which they had separated from their mother and strongly remonstrated against their practice of murdering women and children. Such was Col. De Peyster’s general character in benevolence and humanity, that the prisoners compared him to a kind and indulgent parent in his treatment to their children.
A comfortable house was provided for Mrs. Polk and her two children, in common with a small and excellent family of prisoners who had taken by Col. Bird in his celebrated expedition against Ruddell’s and Martin’s Stations in Kentucky in the year 1780, where she lived as comfortably as the nature of the case would permit.
But the situation of her two children left with the Indians, her anxiety on their account, and her sufferings and exposure on the journey, had much impaired her health, so that fears were entertained for her life. But a short time after her arrival, on the 27th of October, her second son was born, after which her attention to her infant so engrossed her mind, together with the assurance of Col. De Peyster, the commander, and Col. McKee, the Superintendent of the Indian Department, that they would procure the release of her children from the Indians, she became more reconciled to her situation and her health improved. By industry and economy with the use of her needle, she was supplied with provisions by the British Government. She lived much more comfortably during the winter than could have been anticipated. Early in the spring messengers were dispatched to the Indian country by Colonels De Peyster and McKee, in search of her children and such other of the prisoners as the Indians had retained, and on the first of July she had the pleasure of receiving her children under her own maternal care, where we leave them in the full enjoyment of their happiness for the present and return to Capt. Polk.
No immediate pursuit of the Indians having been attempted, fearing it would lead to a massacre of the prisoners, Capt. Polk, with a few friends about ten days afterwards, followed on the trails with a view of ascertaining, if practicable, the fate of the prisoners. He found the remains of three children and Mrs. Ash, who were the only prisoners murdered after they left the fort. From the decayed teeth, he was enabled satisfactorily to ascertain that it was not Mrs. Polk who had been murdered.
General George Rogers Clark having determined on a campaign against the Shawnee villages on the Great Miami, Capt. Polk was among the first to approve of the measure and he commanded a company in that expedition. The Indians having discovered the advance of General dark’s army, a few miles from their villages, fled without making any resistance, so that but few were either killed or taken prisoners. Detachments were sent in pursuit to destroy the different villages and their corn and vegetables, being the only method whereby they could be made to feel the distress of war. Capt. Polk took an active part in these excursions, in hopes of recovering some of his family, but was disappointed; a few prisoners were taken and their villages destroyed. In one of these excursions, Col. McKee, the Superintendent of the Indian Department, narrowly escaped being captured, as he afterwards informed Capt. Polk, when at Detroit after his family.
On the return of Gen. Clark to his headquarters at Louisville, Ky., he was advised there were strong hopes during the winter of peace being confirmed. He immediately dispatched a messenger with a flag, accompanied by one of his Indian prisoners, with a letter to Col. McKee, proposing an exchange of prisoners; first of all to release Capt. Polk’s family; afterwards such other prisoners as Col. McKee might select. Capt. Polk’s family, not being under Indian control, he could not comply with Gen. dark’s request. He detained the messenger until he could send a letter by express to Col. De Peyster, the commander at Detroit, who, on receipt of the letter, immediately sent for Mrs. Polk, communicated to her the intelligence received and the contents of Gen. dark’s letter, at the same time informing her that he could not accede to his proposal for her and her family to return to the Indian territory, as she was now safe, and he could not trust the Indians; and should any accident happen he would be blamed; and should himself feel as if he had been accessory to the massacre of her and her children; that he fully believed that peace would be restored during the ensuing summer and that Capt. Polk could then safely come for his family; that he would then with pleasure render him the necessary assistance, and advised her to write to her husband and the letter should be sent with his own to General Clark.
Mrs. Polk then named a general order that had been recently issued, directing all the prisoners at that fort to prepare to proceed by the first conveyance to Niagara, on their return to their own country, stating that those who remained behind would not be supplied with provisions from the King’s stores, and informed him she could not possibly support herself and children by her own labor. He then assured her she need have no fears on that account, as the general order was intended for the idle and dissolute among the prisoners, of which he was sorry to say there were too many, and not to drive off helpless women and children. He again assured her that he would send into the Indian country and have her children brought in and given up to her, all of which promises he punctually performed. Mrs. Polk, as advised, wrote to her husband, which conveyed to him the first certain intelligence of the situation of his family.
Early in the spring, Col. De Peyster was advised of the peace and instructed to restrain Indian hostilities on the frontier settlements, and so far succeeded that they were peaceable during the year. In the summer following the capture of his family, Capt. Polk ascended the Ohio River to obtain some assistance from his friends, who had promised him aid in recovering his family. And as the safer route to Detroit was through the Indian country, he procured a passport, which was indispensably necessary, from Gen. lrwin, who then commanded at Pittsburg. In company with Jonathan Zane, of Wheeling, [West] Va" as his guide, they proceeded through the wilderness to Upper Sandusky, to the residence of the celebrated Simon Girty, so well known at that day as the most active partisan leader of the Indians in their wars on the frontier settlements. They were received with friendship by Girty, and treated with Indian hospitality for two days, while they remained at Sandusky.
Mr. Zane had been the guide the preceding year to the unfortunate expedition of Col.Crawford, whose melancholy fate at the time excited so much sympathy throughout the country. After conversing freely with Mr. Zane on the subject, Ginty advised him (as it was generally known among the Indians that he had been the guide to Col. Crawford) not to proceed any further, but to return immediately, as in his opinion it would not be safe to travel through the Indian country, and promised to send a trusty Indian as a guide with Capt. Polk to Detroit, and would be responsible for his safety. On the third morning after their arrival at Sandusky, they separated; Mr. Zane to return home and Capt. Polk, in company with his Indian guide, pursued his journey to Detroit, where he safely arrived the tenth of October and where he had the satisfaction of meeting all of his family in good health, thirteen month and a few days from the date of their captivity.
The humane and benevolent Col. De Peyster reluctantly consented to grant Capt. Polk’s passport to return through the Indian territory, fearing he might be interrupted by hunting parties of Indians he might encounter on his journey. At the earnest request of Capt. Polk, he consented, sending a confidential officer as far as Sandusky with a speech to the Wyandotte chiefs, to warn their young men not to molest them while passing through their country. Many other prisoners wished to accompany him on his return, but the commander would not permit any except the family of Mr. White, who had resided in the same house with Mrs. Polk, and three small daughters were taken and the son of the only man killed at the taking of the fort, whose wife escaped with the widow lady above named, leaving her three small children who were taken; the youngest two were murdered after they had left the fort, which children Col. De Peyster put under his care to convey to their parents, furnishing them with good clothing and making a present of a horse and saddle to the eldest daughter, about eleven years of age, who had lived in his family and been treated as one of his own children.
On the 15th of October, Capt. Polk commenced his journey on his return. At Sandusky he remained two days, waiting for Thomas Girty, a brother of Simon, who was on a visit to his brother, as it was believed that his company would add to the safety of the party. As a further precautionary matter, he employed an aged Delaware Indian as a guide and a younger relation of the old man as a hunter.
From Sandusky Simon Girty accompanied them a few miles, passing over the battlefield of the late lamented Col. Crawford, pointing out the different movements of the enemy, saying that had Col. Crawford continued the pursuit ten minutes longer, at the commencement of the battle, he would have defeated them, as at the time he stopped the advance troops (which he did, fearing an ambuscade), the Indians were about commencing a general retreat. The writer has a perfect recollection of this conversation, though only eight years of age at the time.
No particular accident happened on the journey through the wilderness, but their progress was slow and fatiguing, as the children that were of sufficient ability had to walk. Early in November he arrived among his friends, who resided near the Ohio River, in what is now Brook County, [West] Virginia, and prepared for descending the same, and safely landed at Louisville, KY" on the evening of the 24th of December, 1783. From thence he removed to his late cabin, which, being some distance from the fort, had escaped conflagration. Having by the captivity of his family, expenses in recovering them and the destruction of his property, been reduced to poverty, he had to sell the large portion of his land for what it would bring to enable him to commence again as a farmer.
Having received no compensation for his services, as Captain in the two expeditions under Gen. Clark, and at that time in the West, there being of but little expectation of ever receiving any thus situated, he assigned his claims on the Government for $200 or $220 worth of goods, at an extravagant price, being all he ever received in a pecuniary point of view, for all his services and sufferings for his country; yet none rejoiced more in her independence or complained less of the hardships endured. By industry and frugality, he lived to raise a large family of children, who with their descendants, chiefly reside in the States of Indiana and Kentucky.
Mrs. Polk died at the birth of her twelfth child, in Shelby County, Kentucky, on the 7th day of June, 1797. Capt. Polk kept his family together, until several of the eldest children married and removed to Indiana, where he followed them, living among his children as a patriarch of old, beloved and respected by all his acquaintances, and died as he had lived, with Christian resignation and composure on September 11, 1823, in the 76th year of his age.