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In Their Own Words

April 20, 1789

Letter Described Danger of Living on Frontier

From a point on the Ogeechee River, Stephen Johnson wrote to Georgia governor George Walton of the real danger of living on Georgia’s frontier:

“I have to inform Your Honor of a melancholy catastrophy [sic] which happened in my neighborhood last Saturday evening about 8 o’clock at the house of a Mr. Stephen Mills in Effingham County, Skulls Creek, about two miles from where I live. Came a company of Indians supposed to be about eight or ten in number who fell in at Mr. Mills’s and killed Mrs. Mills, the wife of Stephen Mills, and two of her children and their nephew Bill Meazells, son of David Meazells, carried off three horses, ripped open the bed tick[ings], threw out the feathers, carried off the tick[ing]s and what other clothing they could find, threw some of the pewter into the fire and carried away the rest; left four bows and about forty arrows, some of them sticking in the corpses. One of the children lived till next day with three arrows sticking in it. One child they stamped to death and almost to a jelly. Left Mrs. Mills stripped naked and in a deplorable situation to behold. They shot her with guns and scalped Mrs. Mills and Billy Meazells. They left a cap of turkey skin with the feathers, some natural as they grew and others artificially fixed, so that when put on a man’s head it cuts a droll figure. A scout is gone in pursuit of them but had not returned this morning when I left home. The inhabitants are gathering together in parties to make a defence if they can be supported with men and provision. These men have been driven off last fall and lost their provision then and have been obliged to purchase ever since and are now just returned to their plantations and preparing for planting. Your Honor will be able to judge what is most expedient. A number of horses was taken off the same night, as I am informed.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 53