Sarah Ann (Pitzer) Parr – Narrative


We arrived in the county of La Salle on the 16th day of October, 1831, from Licking County, Ohio, and settled on the left bank of the Fox, about nine miles from Ottawa, on the place where the Harneys now live. We left Ohio in May previous—my mother’s family, in company with Aaron Daniels, Edward 8anders, Benjamin Fleming, and Joseph Klieber, and their families.

There was but little talk about Indians during the winter, but in May there began to be rumors that the Indians were coming soon. About the middle of April, Shabona, the Pottawatomie chief, came to our house, and told us the Indians would soon give us trouble. Soon after, we heard they had burned Hollenbeck’s house. Mr. Fleming came to our house just as we were getting breakfast, and told us we must all put out for Ottawa, without a moment’s delay. In great haste we got ready and started, without our breakfast, leaving the table standing. We stayed in Ottawa about a week, when my mother, myself, and several others, went up to Dayton, because there were only two houses in Ottawa, owned by David Walker and Joseph Cloud, and there was a small fort at Dayton, built by John Green around his house, which was supposed to make it safe, at night at least. About five days after, while we were all asleep, about eleven o’clock at night, a Frenchman brought word that Hall’s, Davis’ and Pettigrew’s families were all killed, up on the creek. In a great panic, we got ready—or setoff without getting ready—to go down the river, myself with seventeen others, in a large dug-out, or perogue, as it was called. We were piloted down by Mr. Stadden and Aaron Daniels. The boat was so loaded that it dipped water several times; however, we all landed safe. The balance of the Dayton folks walked down on the bank of the river to Ottawa, where we stayed some four weeks, when my mother and myself went to Sangamon, on the Sangamon river, six miles north of Springfield, where we stayed till the war was over. My mother, Anna Pitzer, was a widow, and it was not deemed safe for her to remain, for provisions were scarce and supplies very uncertain. I was sixteen at the time, but the recollection of those scenes is as vivid as if they occurred but yesterday.

Elmer Baldwin, History of La Salle County, Illinois (Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1877), pp. 127-128.