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An Old Letter From Fort McIntosh

Milestones Vol 24. No.3

Mr. Editor: - Through the kindness of a descendant of the Little family who settled in St. Clair Township, Columbiana County, Ohio, at quite an early day, we are prepared to present the old pioneers of the county, through the columns of your paper, "The Oldest Letter" that has fallen into our hands. Your readers frequently hear of the "oldest inhabitant;" we now propose to give them a copy of the oldest letter, of which at least we have any knowledge, in the County of Columbiana. As will appear the letter referred to was written at Ft. McIntosh, (now Beaver), one hundred and five years since, on the 29th day of January, A.D. 1884. The letter was written by James Little, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, while doing duty in the Fort. The letter is addressed to Mr. William Little, living on Raccoon, near Hopkin's Mill and to the care of Capt. George McCormick. The writer was the grandfather of Gen. John S. Little; and William Little was the author's brother. The original is written in a plain hand, and on heavy unruled paper, the kind in use at that time. Here is the letter:

FF. McINTOSH, January 29th, 1779.

Dear William: - I take the opportunity to acquaint you how affairs stand here, and how I got in the next day after you and I parted. I got to the Block House about the middle of the afternoon, where I had to stay all night, and got in the next day in time to draw my clothing, but was almost too late; though with ample to do, one jacket, one pair of shoes and one do hose. The letter did not seem to take much effect on the old fellow as some of his men did not come in according to promise. It did enrage him a little at the rest which makes him very backward in giving any more furloughs. Now I do not think of getting home any more except Captain McCormick or some of the officers there would speak to the General about me. Duty is very hard and at times the officers are very particular, for if a man does anything amiss, into the guard house with him, and he must either list during the war or receive thirty-nine on the back. You may follow about what business you may think most necessary or beneficial, as I would allow you to part with the clothes as soon as possible so as you get a sure chap to deal with and gather as much Continential stuff as you can while it is so cheap, and lay out as little as possible till times alter for the better. Last night there was two Indians came in with an express from Fort Nonsense, which informs us that Captain Clark of our regiment and the men that was left there, was coming home to join their regiment, was attacked on the road within two miles of Tuscarawas, and had four men killed on the spot, four wounded and one missing. They fought them till they were reinforced from the Fort, and then had to return with the party back again. There is no account of any of the Indians being killed as I can learn, but they do inform us that there was a good many French at Fort Lawrence when they left, and they say they are not going away. No more at present. Write to me any opportunity, and tell me how affairs get on there. Give my love to all the folks and neighboring friends and well wishers; but in particular to the pretty girls. Adieu,

James Little