Poor Lo and Some of His Characteristics - 1890


DEAR SIR, - Your notice in a late issue in reference to the disclosure of the Indian’s remains that was buried, as Mr. Choate remembers- in 1825, reminds the writer of a solitary grave that had been made at a still earlier period, in what was then a dense forest on the bank of a beautiful stream in the fourth concession of Hope, lot 9. It would seem that the obsequies on this occasion had received more than usual attention - probably a Chief - the body being interred about three feet deep and well covered with cordwood. From these conditions it is quite evident that our Indians, perhaps from contact with white people, had a much better system of disposing of their dead than some of the western aborigines, who make a scaffold of poles and think perhaps that by putting the body on the frame work, he will make a more direct exit to the happy hunting ground. But the cordwood in this instance did not prevent the grave from being desecrated, it was opened and various bones extracted. One T.C. Wheeler, a school teacher and local poet, by digging, obtained the skull and kept it on the shelf at his various boarding places, to stimulate his muse in the lofty flights in which he sometimes indulged. But for the last forty years the wheat has grown and the flock have grazed where the red man was laid to rest, in the primeval forest, on the bank of murmuring stream.

It was well for the early settlers that the Indians here were not dangerous, while they were about as honest as people are generally. But hunger would sometimes drive them to extremities. About the year 1797 a pioneer located some 400 acres of land at Port Britain, he built a small log house on the bank of the lake, after which he married a young woman in the township of Sidney, and they came to their new home in the woods. It was a solitary life they had for some years, barring the company of Indians, wolves, and mosquitoes. On one occasion the husband was obliged to go down to Consecon, where his family had property, and leave his wife alone for several weeks in the dead of winter. She could not go because of some cattle and sheep they had, and had to stay to take care of them. The animals had to be put in the “lock-up” nights to keep them from outside marauders. But one night the lone wife had a very exciting time, as the wolves attacked the house to get at some fowls she had under the floor. But by a liberal display of buncombe and firebrands she kept them at bay until the dawn, when they slunk away to their fastnesses in the swamps.

On another occasion, during these lonely weeks, her courage and skill was put to a severer test. It was evening, and the shadows of night was darkening the gloomy forest. She had made all taut outside and just entered the house when, before she could barricade the door, a burly Indian pushed it open and came in. She knew the Indian and knew that he had a bad record, but asked him what he wanted. He said pork. He was refused and ordered away, but he only grinned and went to the pork barrel in the corner and took off the lid. She knew now that only bravery, skill and strategy could save her property and perhaps her life. By this time he had got a piece of meat in his black paws. This brave woman then caught a long bladed butcher knife from the cupboard, and measuring about six inches of the blade, told him she would stab him that deep if he did not let the meat alone. The savage looked at her suspiciously. Just then a happy thought struck her. She marked with her knife on the piece of pork and told him if he would go to the lake and bring a pail of water, she would give him so much pork. The Indian at once took the pail and proceeded to get the water. Here was one point gained, at all events, for she had got him out of the house. The water was brought; she handed him out the piece of meat and saw no more of him.

There has been many instances of true heroism among the early settlers of the wilds of Canada and the States, having borne hardships and dangers with unflinching fortitude and courage. As for poor Lo, he is fast receding, and the places where he domiciled in camp and canoe will soon know him no more.

Yours truly,


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