Murder of Dr. Madison.—A gentleman at the West writes to me (Nov. 17): “As to the murder of Dr. Madison, the facts were, that he started from Green Bay, with three soldiers, to go to Chicago, and from thence to his wife in Kentucky, who, during his absence, had added ‘one’ to the family. The Indian Ke-taw-kah had left the bay the day previous, had passed the Indian village on the Manatoowack River, on his way to Chebiogan on the west side of Lake Michigan, to see a relative, but had turned back. When the Doctor met him, he was standing by the side of a tree, apparently unemployed. The Indian, says the Doctor, addressed him, and said something, from which he understood they wanted them to guide him to Chicago. As he knew he should get something to eat from them, he concluded he would go with them as far as Chebiogan. Accordingly, he fell in with the party about 2 P.M., and walked on until they had passed the Manatoowack River, about three miles.
“They came to a small rise of ground, over which two of the soldiers had passed, and the other was by the side of the Doctor’s horse, and both were just on the top. The Indian was about two rods in the rear, and was at the foot of the hill, when a gun was fired in the rear, and Madison received the charge in his shoulders and in the back of his neck, and immediately fell from his horse. The Indian instantly disappeared. The Doctor exclaimed, ’Oh! why has that Indian shot me? I never did him or any of them any injury. To kill me, too, when I was just returning to my wife and my little child, which I have never seen! It is more painful than death.’ His conversation was very pathetic, as related by the soldier, and all who heard him were greatly affected.
“The Indian says he shot him without any cause or malice; that the thought came into his head, about two minutes before, that he would kill one of the four; and when he saw the Doctor on the top of the hill, he concluded he would fire at him, to see how pretty he would fall off his horse.”
These things transpired late in the fall. I did not reach Albany till late in December, and immediately began to prepare my geological report.
New-Yearing—A prospect opened—Poem of Ontwa—Indian biography—Fossil tree—Letters from various persons—Notice of Ontwa—Professor Silliman—Gov. Clinton—Hon. J. Meigs—Colonel Benton—Mr. Dickenson—Professor Hall—Views of Ex-presidents Madison, Jefferson, and Adams on geology—Geological notices—Plan of a gazetteer—Opinions of my Narrative Journal by scientific gentlemen—The impostor John Dun Hunter—Trip up the Potomac—Mosaical chronology—Visit to Mount Vernon.
1822. Jan. 1st.—I spent this day a New-Yearing. Albany is a dear place for the first of January; not only the houses of every one, but the hearts of every one seem open on this day. It is no slight praise to say that one day out of the three hundred and sixty-five is consecrated to general hospitality and warm-hearted cordiality. If St. Nicholas was the author of this custom, he was a social saint; and the custom seems to be as completely kept up on the banks of the Hudson as it ever could have been on the banks of the Rhine.