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VERY early one autumn morning several men had come to the Earnest home to help make rails. While sitting around the chimney fire, they head a noise like owls hooting. One of them said, "We will not make many rails for it is going to rain soon - the owls are hooting." It was the war whoop of the Indians they heard, and in a moment they were upon them. One or two of the men were killed at once. Mr. Earnest reached for his gun above the door but was shot. The men were all scalped.
George, must have been in bed yet, as he sprang up and tried to jump out of a window and go around to the opposite window and reach in to get his gun; he was shot at, fell from the window as if dead, and made his escape in his shirt.
In this time the mother had gone to the loft where Mary and Jacob were perhaps asleep yet. She was about to hide them in tow, but fearing the Indians would burn the house she let them out at the roof. Mary - they called her Molly - ran as fast as she could down through a meadow and made her escape. Jacob slid down off the roof and hid in smart weed. He said, he could see the whites of their eyes glaring as they were hunting for them. Nothing has ever been said as to how Johannas escaped.
The family had a loom and did their weaving. While the Indians were cutting a coverlet out to take along, and parleying about it, the mother pushed her
husband's scalp, and at least one of the others behind a chest. Looking all around after missing the scalps and talking, they thought this was some token and got ready to leave at once.
What a scene at day break on that fatal morning! Here beside the stream they had built their cabin home, and while the father cleared the forest and raised grain for food and flax for clothing, the mother spun, and wove, and sewed, and cooked by the hearth, and took care of the garden besides assisting her husband, in the fields. In a few hours these ties were all broken. The mother stepping over the blood drops of her husband--almost stepping over their scalped bodies, must flee from her home with the savages in great haste, leaving all that was precious behind her, except her little boy Henry and two year old baby Mike. Pressing her baby boy to her bosom with one arm and leading Henry by her side, she went not knowing whither, nor the fate of the other children. By her presence of mind in hiding the scalps she was saved the awful sight of seeing her husband's scalp dangling from an Indian's belt on the long journey.
Mrs. George Kauffman, now deceased, formerly of Woodbury, Pa., (her husband yet living is a descendant) told me the Indians got one scalp and split it to show that they had killed more.
Mr. Kauffman says, "the father held the door and asked his wife or some one to hand him an axe (which they had likely just been whetting) but did not get it in time, and as the Indians burst in, he leaped out over them and made his escape." This may have been one of the other men but not the father, for he was killed. He tells also of this man running down through the field
or meadow and the Indians with their dogs after him. He tripped and fell in a deep gutter, the dogs leaped over, lost the track and he was saved. This may have been Johannas.
Mr. Jacob Griffith said, "It was thought the Indians had been watching around the day before, from the way the grass and weeds were tramped, and their tracks in hollow sycamore trees near by, along Dunnings Creek. "