“Then set us right upon the matter,” remarked young Harmar.
“Do,” added Wilson. “I’ve heard the story through two or three twistings, and I’m only satisfied that the lady was killed.”
“Well,” commenced Morton, “what I now tell you may depend on as the truest account you can receive. No one but Heaven and the Indians themselves witnessed the death of the young girl; and our only evidence of a positive nature is the declaration of those who were supposed to be her murderers. But to the story.
“Jane M’Crea, or Jenny M’Crea, as she is more generally known, was the daughter of a Scotch clergyman, who resided in Jersey City, opposite New York. While living with her father, an intimacy grew up between the daughter of a Mrs. M’Niel and Jenny. Mrs. M’Niel’s husband dying, she went to live on an estate near Fort Edward. Soon after, Mr. M’Crea died, and Jenny went to live with her brother near the same place. There the intimacy of former years was renewed, and Jenny spent much of her time at the house of Mrs. M’Niel and her daughter. Near the M’Niel’s lived a family named Jones, consisting of a widow and six sons. David Jones, one of the sons, became acquainted with Jenny, and at length this friendship deepened into love. When the war broke out, the Jones’s took the royal side of the question; and, in the fall of 1776, David and Jonathan Jones went to Canada, raised a company, and joined the British garrison at Crown Point. They both afterwards attached themselves to Burgoyne’s army; David being made a lieutenant in Frazer’s division. The brother of Jenny M’Crea was a whig, and, as the British army advanced, they prepared to set out for Albany. Mrs. M’Niel was a loyalist, and, as she remained, Jenny remained with her, perhaps with the hope of seeing David Jones.
“At length Jenny’s brother sent her a peremptory order to join him, and she promised to comply the next day after receiving it. On the morning of that day, (I believe it was the 27th of July,) a black servant boy belonging to Mrs. M’Niel discovered some Indians approaching the house, and, giving the alarm, he ran to the fort, which was but a short distance off. Mrs. M’Niel, Jenny, a black woman, and two children, were in the house when the alarm was given. Mrs. M’Niel’s eldest daughter was at Argyle. The black woman seized the two children, fled through the back door into the kitchen, and down into the cellar. Jenny and Mrs. M’Niel followed; but the old woman was corpulent, and before they could descend, a powerful Indian seized Mrs. M’Niel by the hair and dragged her up. Another brought Jenny out of the cellar. But the black woman and the children remained undiscovered. The Indians started off with the two women on the road towards Burgoyne’s camp. Having caught two horses that were grazing, they attempted to place their prisoners upon them. Mrs. M’Niel being too heavy to ride, two stout Indians took her by the arms, and hurried her along, while the others,