We will never know the struggles, hardships, fear of Indian attacks, or just the day to day living as our ancestors lived. I honor you Charity Heady for the strength and courage to live your amazing life for without you I wouldn’t be me.
Charity Heady Mcindoo was an amazing lady and early pioneer in Indiana. After her 1st husband John McIndoo was scalped by Indians in 1787, Charity married Robert Sturgeon, July 6, 1788 in Bourbon County Kentucky. Jacob McIndoo, son of John McIndoo and Charity Heady married Margaret McDowell, August 21, 1806 in Shelby County, Kentucky. Robert Sturgeon is listed in the Kentucky, Tax List, 1799-1801 in Shelby County, August 25, 1800. We find these two families living in Vallonia, Jackson, Indiana. The next event is the death of Robert Sturgeon September 1812 listed in three different entries that we will combine together. The first article is an excerpt from the book: 1886: History of Jackson County, Indiana. Brant and Fuller (pages 383-384)
The early struggles of the pioneers of this section were faced with poverty, toil and privations, wild beasts and Indians, who were still numerous and always ready to pillage and murder indiscriminately, added to their lack of comforts and even necessities of life, and we find their lot little to be envied. We can form but little idea today of the privations and suffering our ancestors had to undergo in reclaiming the country.
Around 1810 the Indians became belligerent toward the settlers. At that time General William Henry Harrison, then Governor of Indiana, ordered a fort built at Vallonia to protect the 90 families in the area from the Indians. The first man killed by Indians was John Hinton, who was shot while at work in the field. After the death of Hinton, the Governor sent two companies of Mountain Rangers to Vallonia for the protection of the settlers. Robert Sturgeon was one of these Mountain Rangers.
According to the records as prepared by John H. Benton and also H. W. Chadwick, the death of Robert Sturgeon, about the last of September, 1812, was a quick follow-up of the murder of Mr. Absolem Buskirk of Hutchinson’s Fort. Mr. Buskirk with his brother-in-law had gone out to a corn field with a two horse wagon and were gathering corn and pumpkins. Burskirk leaned his musket against a tree. The Indians shot at him repeatedly, but missed. All the men in the Fort hurried to the scene. They found Buskirk’s body already scalped. They followed the trail of the retreating Indians and forced them to abandon the captured horses.
The Rangers moved the body to Huff’s Fort. The next day Mr. Buskirk was buried by the Rangers who then started to ride back to the Fort at Vallonia. According to John H. Benton, Robert Sturgeon lingered at Huff’s Fort to enjoy a social glass of liquoir.
While Sturgeon and the others were approaching “Fisler Hill” then called Cheeney Hill, Robert Sturgeon, who had been drinking freely, proposed being the first one to reach Fort Valliona. His comrades warned him to be more cautious but he spurred his horse to a gallop down the hill. Presently they heard several musket shots. They shouted and galloped forward also. As they approached the Half Mile branch, they saw Sturgeon lying on the ground in the road. Several Indians had surrounded him and were striking him with tomahawks. He had been shot through the wrist. His horse was gone. He might have escaped if he had not been unhorsed.
This so frightened the company of Rangers that they rushed past the dead man and never stopped until they were safely concealed behind the palisades of the fort. This display of cowardice so exasperated the settlers that they were wild with anger; and upon the refusal of the troops to bring the body of Sturgeon within the fort, the following men volunteered to perform that task: Abraham Miller, Joseph Britton, Richard and Nealy Beem and Thomas Ewing. They took a sleeping blanket along to carry the dead man on. They also took every dog in the fort. These dogs shared their master’s dislike for Indians and were perfectly capable of detecting the presence of Indians. The dogs discovered his body on the east bank of the Half Mile Branch. The Indians had pushed his body under a fallen log but failed to scalp him, probably because they were afraid more white men might happen along.
Robert Sturgeon’s body was taken within the fort, and the following day was buried in the old graveyard on the hill, just east of the little village. This was probably the first grave.
The other two articles that this information came from are:
Readings in Indiana history. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University, 1914, (pages 140-141) Indian Border Wars.
“Bringing Sturgeon’s Body In”----from John Ketchams report on Ranger Service in Harrison Messages and Letters, Volume 2. 1812, near Fort Vallonia and Half Mile Branch of the creek.
Charity married James Bates October 20, 1819 in Jackson County Indiana. She is listed in the 1830 US Census of Bartholomew County, Indiana on the same page as her daughter-in-law Margaret McIndoo. In one of these county histories Charity is mentioned as one of the early pioneers of the area and that she lived to the age of 101.