The Columbia Democrat. (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1837-1850, November 28, 1840, Image 1

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    I liaro sworn upon lho Altar of God, eternal hostility to every form of Tyranny over tlio Mind of Man."Thomis Jefferson.
Volume SV;
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER. 28, 1840. Kumbev SI.
Opposite (St. Paul's Church, Main-st.
published every Saturday morning, at
TWO DOLLARS per annum, payable
half vearin in advance, or Two Dollars
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LETTERS addressed on' business, must
be post paid.
The little town of Dorchcsior, situated
"on tho Maurico river, was once more itnpor
tantthanit is at present; for while every
thing else iu this wide country prospers, it
is falling slowly but surely to decay. Ma
ny years has passed since I visited it, and
over thon it was :i melancholy sight. IIous
cs which I could remember jBoncainbab
ited wore tonantloss,aud often roofless and
fields which when 1 last saw them wero
waving with corn, now lay white and doso
late, scotched with the rays of an August
sun. Fences wcro torn down tenernonts
wero tottering to rum the skolelous of
old sloops lay bleaching on tho shore oven
un aucicnl chuich yard hard by was turned
into a desolate common, and over the whole
Bccno decay appeared to reign with melan
choly sceptre.
-luta.a .different once, though that was
years ago. But 1 only allude to the place
to call to mind how fleeting every thing it
in this care worn world.
About a mile back of tho village stands
an old weather-beaten house, built of thick
hewn logs, and eonsistiug of a single room
below, and a narrow garret abovo. It now
forms the kitchcuuf a more modern struc
ture, but nl tho period of the Revolution,
and indeed, until within a few years, it stood
alone. It is a plain old tenement, and sunds
at tho right angles with the road. Behind
it is or was, a gardon, stretching down to a
little swamp, through which runs a stream
of clear; cool water, at which many a time
1 have diank. An applo orchard once stood
on the right of the house, and a modest
barn in front, though time may havo leveled
these long since with tho dust. But that is
neither hero nor there do I will go on with
my story.
It vas a bright day in early summer,
when a young gill stood at .the door of the
houso, looking anxiously up the road,
as if watching some expected ono. The
sun was just sinking behind tho foicst trees,
casting his mellow light along the sandy
road, and over tho dark sombro green of
the melancholy pines. Evory thing in re
pose, scarcely a breath of ai; stirred tho
leaves the lowing of lho cattle was heard
faint from afar tho ripple of the little stream
carao pleasantly to the ear, and the hum of
insects growing every momont more low
died away at last. Still that young girl
watohed. Slio was beautiful, hut it was
the beauty of a high resolve and of a proud
form. Neither did she, whon you looked
at her a second time, appear so young as
alia at first seemed. She was perhaps eigh
teen, she could not bo over twenty, aud yet
had it not been for an air of wumanlr dir-
liity about her, she might have passed for a
' What can detain him 1 at length she
said as shading her oyes with her hand she
gazed anxiously from the door.
The words had scarcely been spoken bo
fore a figure emerged from the woods up
the road, and with a glad smile, she was
rushing forward a pace or two to meet the
comer( when suddenly she checked her
stops, aha turned pale as death, and scarce
ly ejaculating ' Tho Refugee, she hurried
back to the house.
Tho cause of her emotion was easily ex
plained by tho character of her approtching
visiter' The Refugees, were at that day,
brigands of West Jersey. Taking advan
tage of the turmoil of the limes, aud of the
nbsenco of most of the male population in
the continental army, they ravaged the
country at will, plundering and burning
tarm noreos and oven, In somo install
eosj committing personal violence upon fe
males. They were, :onsequently, the ter
ror of the country.
Of these men David Rowel, or as he was
familiarly called from tho darkness of his
complexion! " Black Davy" was tho most
notorious. Sometimes moving alone, and
sometimes accompanied by others, but al
ways marking his track with somo outrage,
he had gained for himself a notoriety as
wide spread a3 it was teiriblo. It was lho
sight of this individual which checked the
steps of the young girl, and drove her tremb
ling to secK refuge in her home.
But her fear, it seemed, soon vanished.
She had scarcely crossed her threshold be
fore, as if actuated by some sudden recol
lection, alio hastily turned back, and with
an unshrinking face though a boating heart,
confronted tho Refugee. Whatever was
her motive, her fearless, demeanor abashed
the renegade. Ho stopped and was silent.
' What want you, what would you have
sir, why do you seek a lonely house ike
this at such an hoar !' asked the girl, with
flashing eyes.
The abashed Refugee had by this time
recovered his confidence, and with an easy
ir he whistled aloud, and then answered the
Not to fast mistress, not so fast, wo are
here after your good man, my dear, and tho'
you uave ueun raarnou only a lortnignt or
so, we must F0llle.our account vjth him.-
I havo signalled ray men and you soe lhy
are coming. Wo must search your house,
como on my bovs,' and with theso words
the renegado, accompanied by threo rough
looking men, who had just come up in an
swer to his call, passed into the houso.
The young wife (for such she was) gazed
after them, and lifting her hands on high,
murmured a thanksgiving that her husbaud
had not yet come.
In about a quartor of an hour the men
returned, and swearing loudly at their ill
success, began to search among the few out
houuss for the master of the place; but their
efforts were in vuin. The young wife,
meanwhile, though hoiraying no sign of
fear, stood still, not knowing but that the
enraged ruffians would, the next moment
take her life, or even do what to her would
be worse than death.
' By , this is too bad,' said the leadcr,af
(cr their Unsuccessful search, ' he will cer
tainly be hero some time to-night let us
wait for the rascally rebel, and shoot hire
down on his owu threshold.'
The brutal proposition just suited his dos
peartet followers, & taking tip their quarters
within, they ordered tho young wile to pro
pare ihom some supper. Though loathing the
tight of her tormentors a, id trembling mo
mentarily lest her husband should arrive,
sho was forced to obey their commands.
Sho contrived, however, ahvsys to keep i
sight of the door, so as to obtain a view of
her husband as soon as he emerged from
the woods, determining to warn him at ouee
to flee, though she herself would risk her
life there by.
Suddenly tho darted towards the door,
for her keen cyo had dttectcd tho one so
long looked for, and waving her hand she
'Fly fly Richard fly.'
'What the does the jade mean?' an
grily exclaimed the leader of the refugees,
rushing after her; and lifting his piceo,
he continued, 'como on or you are a dead
For an instant ths husband paused. He
saw at a glance tho situatiou of affair and
though it was agony to lovo his wife in
such hands,he know it would be certain
death for him to approach the house His
firm republican principles, had mado the !
refugees and lories his political foes, and he
knew that more than onco ' Black Davy,'
had swom to take away his life. His only
hope, thoiofore, was in a precipitate retreat.
That no personal injury would be offered
to his wife, he felt almost certain, for deeds
of that character had never yet been attribu
ted to the present leader of tho refugees.
These rapid thoughts caused a momentary
delay, which had tvell nigh proved his ruin.
The refugee eaptain had already raised his
piece; and when ho saw the husband turn
to flee, he fired. But the solf-dcvoted wifo,
at that very instant, sprang forward and
sturck up the musket, at the peril of her
life. The hall whizzed 1iarmIeo3ly over
her husband's head, and in another moment
he was lost in tho surrounding forest. Tho
ruffian turned with the scowl of a demon
on his face, and lifting hia heavy piece in
to tho air struck down tho heroic wife. She
fell ecnseless and bleeding to tho earth.
The refugee gazed on her a moment, and
then with a heavy eurso called his men to
follow him in pursuit of the flying hui.
An hour sifter the husband returned, hav
I .1 1 . I .. r
ing uirown ins pursuers at izuu. .Language
cannot describe lnu emotions on beholdmsr
tho condition of his wifo. A neighbor
chancing to pass, apparently somo ton min
utes after tho refugees had departed, had
discovered her scnselecs on the ground.
one was now scarcely revived nnd could
wim uiuicuuy spoaii, xcl stio strove to
smile, and faintly extended her hand to her
husband, culling him iu those fond tones
which only shu could use.
' By all that is holy,' exclaimed the agon
ized isan, as ho rushed from her bed-side,
' I will avenge this an that renegade,
or dio in the attempt. But Ellen must not
know of it. I will wait until sho is asleap
and then depart oa y otrsml. God will
favor the right.'
I he slaro were faint and few that night,
as the bold farmer, extorting from tho kind
neighbor a promise of secrecy, sto'.o out in
to the air, armed with Lis trusty piece, and
after looking a iumcnt at tho sky abovo,
struck rapidly across tho forest: In loss
than an hour he had visited two farm-houses
and obtained threo neighbors to aid him
in his design. Striking ri"ht into tho
heart of the forest, they pushnd on for cov
eral hour, without any apparont fatigue and
almost in silence. At length they came to
a halt.
'Their haunt is somowhero about here, I
havo learned, said the husband, 'I heard it
by chance from one of their gang who mis-
took mo fet Bill Richings, who you know,
was supposed to havo no objection to their
ways. 1 saoulun t be ourprised, if the
lino wledge of my possessing this informa
tion, has led to the attack to-night.
Hark,' said ono of the band, 'do you not
hear a tread coming through tho woods?
'it is it is wo have found ihcra lie
close now and wait till they come up.'
Tho group instantly relapsed into silenee,
and each of them taking a position behind a
huge trte.or some fallen trunk in the awamp
waited breathlessly for the approach of the
comers, whose tread might be heard, grow
iug muic aim niuiu uisunei, as uiey an.
proached. Directly voices were heard,cor.
versing in a careless tone thon a loud
laugh rnng across the night.and after a mo
mentary silence, one of tho approichiug
uanu tiurst into a seng,
' Now is our time,' whispered tho hug
uanii, lo one of hit companions, Make the
right hand man, and leavo tho leader to mo
ready firs.'
Tho report of their rifles rung sharply
through the woods and three of tho refugees
leaping Into tha air, Ml dead upon tho
ground. The piece of tho husband flashed
in tho pan, but did no go off. The cap
tain of tha renegades was unharmed.
Springing back a few steps from the co
veit where his assailants lay concealed, ho
Wo aro betrayed wo must run for it,
my boys," and.before the enraged pursuers
could well understand his intention ho had
turnod and fled, followed by thoso of his
band who still remained behind. It was
no lime, however, for hesitation. Thn
bafiled husband was the first to dash from
hia oovert, and without pausinc to seo
whether the fallen men wero dead or not,
he thundered.
' Forward forward pursue tham to the
And at onco dashed off in pursuit. His
companions hesitated but a momont, and
then followed his example. Three of tho
rafugeos had escaped, but they wore four in
pursuit, Fear seemed, however, to have
seized upon tho icnegades.olae why should
thoy have ratreated before a force so littlo
exceeding their own? It is probable, how
over, that they imagined a far greater num
ber of the enraged inhabitants wore on their
track, for they could scarcely suppose that
four men would havo hardihood to pone
trato to their fastness, when their full num
ber was known to equal a dozen. What
ever was their motive, however, they con-
tinued their flight, their pursuers the while
pressing hotly in their rear.
It was towaid morning when two indivi
duals omerged upon tho edgo of an abrupt
hill, many miles from the fastness of tho
refugees. Ono of them was the captain of
tho refugees his pursuer was tho injured
husband. Both the companions of the out
law had already been overtaken and slain.
The eagerness of tha husband had outstrip
pea tue paeo of his companions, and after
a pursuit of hours, he was now on the point
of coming up with the rofugeo.
Tho rapid pace of tho two men, pursuing
aed pursued, brought the latter to tho edgo
of tho abrupt hill beforo ho vas awaro of it
and ho saw at a glance that further flight
vas impossible. He turned and beheld
only one-foe in sight. He eould hoar the
shouts of the others far behind in the forest
aud he rejolred to grapple, with tho fore
most pursuer, and by destroying him effect
his escape before the others came up. lie
turned at bay. The rifles of both Ihe com
batants havo bean discharged in the pursuit,
and thoy now stood face to face, with no
weapons but their hunting knives. A mo
ment they gazed at cacV other with all their
mutual hato sparkling in their eyes.
' Villain murdarar traitor,' hoarsely
ejaculated the husband, palo with passion,
as he darted at the refugee.
Tho outlaw mado no aaswor, but he
scowled a mortal defiance at his foe, aud,
drawing his knife, awaited the onset of his
antagonist; and it was terrible. For a
fow moments so incessant wero there thrusts
at each other, and bo rapidity wcro these
thrusts mutually parried, that the cyo could
not follow tho motions of tho combatants.
Now one, now tho other seemed to have
tho advantage. Tho dry leaves flaw in
showers around the centending foe3,and the
dust flow in clouds, hiding them ofien from
the sight. Not a ward was spoken by
either combatant. At length, after ono or
two slight wounds on either side, at a des
perate thrust made by tho husband, his
knife struck against tho iron buckle of his
antagonist's belt, and was shivered into pie
ees. The refugee saw his udvantago, aud
raised his knife to strike. As a last hope
his pursuer grasped his wrist. A despe
rato strugslo ensued. Both wero men of
great personal powers but the outlaw.hav
ing received a wound in his right arm, was,
perhaps, the weaker of lho two. After a
protracted contest ho yielded, and iu a
fierce effort raede by the husband lo obtain
the knife, it flew from tho refugee's hand to
tho distance of somo yards. By this time
they had imperceptibly been drawn to tho
edgo of tho hill, whore a1 rugged precipice
of somo fifty feet, shot perpendicularly
downward. Gathering every onergy for
this last endeavor, tho pursuing husband
strove to force the outlaw over tho precipice
and had partially succeeded in it, whon he
felt the gravelly bank giving away benealh
then). With ono hand be hastily grasped
a twig; and with lho other making a gigan
tic effort, ho thrust his antagonist over (ho
precipice, so that tho outlaw dangled. in tho
air, having no supportjjut the hold he kept
upon the left arm of his antagonist. Alt
hopo for the refugee was ovsr, but he de
termined that hio foe should perish with
him. Moments passed away, at every ono
of which, tho bank gave way more and
more. Tho utmost efforts of lho victor to
shako off lho dying man were in vain, and
ho felt that his last hour was come. Ho
heard no more even the ohouts of hie
friends; and with a sicking sensation he felt
they had either lost tho:r way or deserted
him. GoUld they only come up he might
ho saved. Ho felt tho twiir beain to vield
ho had already slipped half off the bank -
and tho struggles of the dying man ivoro
becoming moro desperate every moment.
Ho gazed at the gulf below. Broker lirabsi
of treos, aud uprooted pines lay mingled
promiscuously together so that to fall into
the abyae would bo certain dcslruetion.
The countenance of tho outlaw already
were a demoniacal smile in contemplation
of tho ruin to which he wa3 dragging tho
young man. And that bridegioom was
there no hope for him? alas! all was gone!
He gave ono thought of his bride one
look toward heaven one prayer to his God
and thon shut his eyes against tho awful
catastrophe hs fait had corns. Suddenly,
however, a sharp report, as of a rifle, rung
widely in his cars, and at tho same instant
he felt the hold of the antlaw relax from
his arm. He opened his ayes only to be
hold the dying man shooting like an arrow
down the abyss only to see hia mangled
body lying shattered on tho trunks of tho
trees below. In a moment he was lrawii
away from lho bank and clasped in tho arms
of his companions, who coming, up .at tho
very last momeut, had by ghosting the out
law iu the heart, rescued their friend from1
a horrid death.
It was a glad night, that one at the littlo
farm house, after tha return of tho hardy ad-
vonturers from teir expedition. Ellen was
by this time completely recovered, and a
happier evening never was speut by twd
fond young hearts lhan by the young bride
groom and his bride.
Tho refugees wero from that time extir
pated in the vicinity. But their memory
yet survives, and though tho incidents of
this tale depending hitherto on tradition for
preservation aro now known to very few, yet
there ato slill living, or were some years
ago, one or two loitering patriarch's whoso
eyes would kindle, and whose brea'.h would,
come quick as they told of tho outlaw's
Tho spot where ihe fastness of lho refu
gee's was located, is deep in one of those
tanglod swamps, which skirt the shores of
Maurice river; and which are almost imper
vious to the sunshine, and impenetrable to
tho foot of man. It is many a long day
since the writer of this sketch penetrated to
it under the guidance of an old woodsman;
and ho will hever forget the refreshing
draught ho took at the little springs of cedar
water, hard by the side of the tenement.
Tho rudo cabin which the outlaws had con
structed, had for years laid rotting ou the
earth tho wild deer had trodden gaily over
ihe spot where it once Btood young sap
plins, and then rtigged trees had sprung up
within the circuit of its fallen walls, and on
ly a fow decayed timbers, crumbling with
ago, and covered with moss, betoken the
position of tho dreaded habitation.
The hill upon which tho final encounter
of the combatants took placo is, to this day;
shewu not far from a little croek, emptying
into the Maurice river, somo miles from
Dorchester. It is still a bold, rugged, bio
ked precipice, though, within the last forty
years, it has fallen cousiderably away
through the action of the snows and raiu.
The little ravino into which lho outlaw fell
is now half filled up with blides of eirth
from the precipice above. Tradition, how
ever, still preserves tho exact coot whero
the conflict occurred, and well do wo re
membor the eagerness with which in our
boyish days, wo listened, as we stood on'
tho an old veteran's thrilling account
of lho outlaw's Death Struggle
This Hue is of socio use, aint it 1