Captain Bland W. Ballard, was born near Fredericksburg, Virginia, October 16, 1761, and died in Shelby County, Kentucky, September 5, 1853--aged ninety-two years. He came to Kentucky in 1779, when eighteen years old; joined the militia; served in Colonel Bowman's expedition, May, 1779; in General Clark's expedition against the Pique towns, July, 1780, where he was dangerously wounded in the hip, and suffered from it until his death; in General Clark's expedition, November, 1782, against the same towns; in 1786, was a spy for General Clark, in the Wabash expedition, rendered abortive by mutiny of the soldiers; in 1791, was a guide under Generals Scott and Wilkinson; and August 20, 1794, was with General Wayne at the battle of the "Fallen Timbers." When not engaged in regular campaigns, he served a hunter and spy for General Clark, who was stationed at Louisville, and in this service he continued for two years and a half. During this time he had several encounters with the Indians. One of these occurred just below Louisville. He had teen sent in his character of spy to explore the Ohio from the mouth of Salt River to the falls, and from thence up to what is now the town of Westport. On his way down the river, when six or eight miles below the falls, he heard early one morning, a noise on the Indiana shore. He immediately concealed himself in the bushes, and when the fog had scattered sufficiently to permit him to see, he discovered a canoe filled with Indians, approaching the Kentucky shore. When they had approached within range, he tired and killed one. The others jumped overboard, and endeavored to get their canoe into deep water, but before they succeeded, he killed a second and finally the third. Upon reporting his morning's work to General CIark, a detachment was sent down, who found the three dead Indians and buried them. For this service, General Clark gave him a linen shirt, and some other small presents. This shirt however, was the only one he had for several years, except those made of leather; of this shirt the pioneer hero was doubtless justly proud. At the time of the defeat on Long Run, he was living at Lynn's Station on Beargrass and came up to assist some families in moving from Squire Boone's Station, near the present town of Shelbyville. The people of this station had become alarmed on account of the numerous Indian signs in the country and had determined to move to the stronger stations on the Beargraas. They proceeded safely until they arrived near Long Run, when they were attacked front and rear by the Indians, who fired their rifles and then rushed on them with their tomahawks. Some few of the men ran at the first fire of the others, some succeeded in saving part of their families or died with them after a brave resistance. Capt. Ballard, after assisting several of the women on horseback who had been thrown at the first onset, during which he had - one or two single-handed combats with the Indians, and seeing the party about to be defeated, succeeded in getting outside of the Indian line, when he used his rifle with some effect, until he saw they were totally defeated. He then started for the station, pursued by the Indians, and on stopping at Floyd's Fork, in the bushes, on the bank, he saw an Indian on horse back pursuing the fugitives ride into the creek, and as he ascended the bank near to where Ballard stood, he shot the Indian, caught the horse and made good his escape to the station. Many were killed, the number historically indefinite, some taken prisoners, and some escaped to the station. They afterwards learned from the prisoners taken on this occasion, that the Indians who attacked them were marching to attack the station the whites had deserted, but headed of their flight at Bullskin, and marched in the direction of Long Run. The news of this defeat induced Colonel Floyd to raise a party of thirty-seven men, with the intention of chastising the Indians. Floyd commanded one division and Captain Holden the other, Ballard being with the latter. They proceeded with great caution, but did nor discover the lndians until they received their fire, which killed or mortally wounded sixteen (only fourteen are accounted for under the Eastwood monument) of their men. Notwithstanding the loss, the party under Floyd maintained their ground, and fought bravely until overpowered by three times their number, who appealed to the tomahawk. The retreat, however, was completed without much further loss. This occasion has been rendered memorable by the magnanimous gallantry of young Wells (afterwards the Colonel Wells of Tippecanoe), who saved the life of Floyd, his personal enemy, by the timely offer of his horse at a moment when the Indians were near to Floyd, who was retreating on foot and nearly exhausted. In 1788, the Indians attacked the little fort at Tyler's Station on Tick Creek (A few miles east of Shelbyville), where Ballard's father resided. It happened that his father had removed a short distance out of the fort for the purpose of being convenient to the sugar camp. The first intimation they had of the Indians, was early in the morning, when his brother Benjamin, went out to get wood to make a fire. The Indians shot him and then assailed the house. The inmates barred the door and prepared for defense. His father was the only man in the house, and no man in the fort, except Capt. Ballard and one old man. As soon as he heard the guns, he repaired to within shooting distance of his father's house. Here he commenced using his rifle with good effect. In the meanwhile the Indians broke open the house and killed his father, not before, however, he had killed one or two of their number. The Indians, also, killed one full sister, one half sister, his stepmother, and tomahawked the youngest sister, a child who recovered. When the Indians broke into the house, stepmother endeavored to effect her escape by the back door, but an Indian pursued her and as he raised his tomahawk to strike her, Capt. Ballard fired at the Indian, not however in time to prevent the fatal blow, and they fell and expired together. The Indians were supposed to number about fifteen, and before they completed their work of death, they sustained a loss of six or seven.* Samuel Graham in an interview later, related the story: "I came to Kentucky, perhaps in 1795. It was the same fall with Wayne's victory. When I came, there were two or three houses in Shelbyville. Tyler's Station was on the south side of Tick Creek, between that and the pike, about one-half mile from Middleton's (Cross Keys Inn). Bland Ballard's father was in a little cabin close by the creek. Bland Ballard himself, was in the station, more on top of the hill. When the Indians came, Bland Ballard ran out in his shirt tail; kept on till he came to a stump. The Indians were breaking into his father's house, and Bland fired from behind the stump till he had killed two or three of them. His father was killed." During the period he was a spy for General Clark, he was taken prisoner by five lndians on the other side of the Ohio, a few miles above Louisville, and conducted to an encampment twenty-five miles from the river. The lndians treated him comparatively well, for although they kept him with a guard, they did not tie him. On the next day after his arrival at the encampment, the Indians were engaged in horse racing. In the evening, two very old warriors were to have a race, which attracted the attention of all the Indians, and his guard left him a few steps to see how the race would terminate. Near him stood a fine black horse, which the Indians had stolen recently from Beargrass, and while the attention of the Indians was attracted in a different direction, Ballard mounted this horse and had a race indeed. They pursued him nearly to the river, but he escaped though the horse died soon after he reached the station. This was the only instance with the exception of that at the River Raisin, that he was a prisoner. He was in a skirmish with the Indians near the Saline Licks, Colonel Hardin being the commander; the Colonel Hardin who fought gallantly under Morgan at the capture of Burgoyne, and who fell a sacrifice to Indian perfidy in the northwest; the father of General M. D. Hardin, and grandfather of Colonel J. J. Hardin of Illinois, whose heroic death at Buena Vista was worthy of unsullied life. In after life, Major Ballard repeatedly represented the people of Shelby County in the Legislature, and commanded a company in Colonel Allen's regiment which fought the first battle of the River Raisin was wounded slightly on that day, and severely by a spent ball on the twenty-second of January. This wound, also continued to annoy his old age. On this disastrous occasion he was taken prisoner and suffered severely by the march though snow and ice, from Malden to Fort George. As an evidence of the difficulties which surrounded the early pioneer in this country, it may be proper to notice an occasion in which Major Ballard was disturbed by the Indians at the spot where he then resided. They stole his only horse at night. He heard them when they took the horse from the door to which he was tied. His energy and sagacity was such that he got in advance of the Indians before they reached the Ohio, waylaid them, three in number, shot the one riding his horse and succeeded not only in escaping, but in catching the horse and riding back in safety.
Also from Willis<11>, is letter written from his home at O'Bannon Station by Mr. John W. Williamson, in 1872.
Jefferson County, Kentucky
November 27, 1872
Sometime in the year 1781, at Lynn's Station, there were four young persons to be married and there was no preacher to unite the parties nearer than Brashear's Station, two miles east of Shepherdsville, where lived old John Whitaker, a Baptist preacher. So the parties prevailed on Bland Ballard to go bring the preacher. He started, but before he arrived at the station, he discovered a large trail of Indians, who had gone south. He immediately returned to the station, and all the forts were notified. Immediately there was a council held and they supposed that the Indians had gone to destroy the stations on Cox's Creek in Nelson County, and all there were on Nolin in Hardin County. Their conclusions were right, for they did destroy a fort and put to death about one hundred and fifty persons; there were about two hundred persons in the fort, and but few escaped. It 'was always afterwards called the Burnt Station.
The general opinion was that they, on their return, would destroy Boone, and it was decided to send what men could be spared from the different stations and move Boone down to Lynn Station. When the men arrived at Boone's Station, they found that they could bring only half and that they would make two trips, so they divided the families into halves, and started, and just as they reached Long Run they met the Indians and were put to flight and defeated. There were a good many killed and lost. Among the number were the two Misses Hansboro's. Several days later, some women got to Lynn's Station, naked in a manner, for when they got to the station, all they could hold out as a flag was a little piece of their shirt. And Mrs. Mundle and Elizabeth Ballard, wife of Bland Ballard, took clothes and brought them in. This battle was called Boone's Defeat, and I don't know from what cause, for Boone was not there, but his oldest son was there; he still remained at his station.
The next day they raised what men they could to bury the dead. Their effective force was almost sixty men under the command of Colonel Floyd and Wells. When they reached the west bank of Floyd's Fork they held a council and made that a rallying point in case they were defeated. Here Bland Ballard and Caress begged to be permitted to go and reconnoiter, for they were satisfied the Indians were there, but Floyd would not hear to it. They then marched in two companies, one in advance of the other some three hundred yards. The Indians, about seven hundred in number, formed a half-moon on each side of the road or trace. As soon as Floyd marched far enough, they closed their lines and had him surrounded. There were fourteen men shot down the first fire. Ballard and Caress stood near together; as the Indians came up each shot down an Indian and went over him and escaped down a ravine cross above Chenoworth's Run, and reached their rallying point uninjured. Part of the Indians passed Boone's Station but did not attack him. They destroyed all stock they could find outside of the fort. This was called Floyd's Defeat.
Previous to this time, Floyd and Wells had been at outs. Floyd was wounded and thrown from his horse and being a fat man was likely to fall into the hands of the Indians, but Wells got off his horse and put Floyd on him and both made their escape and were always fast friends afterwards.
Here I will proceed to give an incident that took place at Tyler's Station. Old Colonel Bland Ballard and his son, Bland, had moved to Robert Tyler's fort. After remaining there for a short time; the families being very much crowded the colonel moved his family, consisting of his wife, his son John by his first wife, and three children, about two hundred yards outside of the fort. Early in the morning, just at daylight, the Indians made the attack. John had gone out to get some kindling for the fire. While he was breaking some sticks an Indian rose up behind the brush heap and shot him in the head. The old man at the firing of the gun, sprang and seized the bar of the door, got one end in, but before he could get the other end in, the Indians were against the door, but with the assistance of his wife, they succeeded in keeping the Indians out for a considerable time.
While this was going on, Bland, his son, sprang out of the fort and ran about halfway and took a position behind a small tree, and whenever he could get a shot he did so to good effect. Bland's wife in the meantime got on top of one of the houses and whenever an Indian appeared she would holler to her husband to watch out. One of the Indians got under the bank of the creek, crawled up to get a shot at Bland, but his wife was watching the Indian, and when he put his gun through the fence she hollered to him. He then fired and the Indian fell. The Indians finally succeeded in chopping a chunk out of the house and shot the old man, and broke his thigh. They then succeeded in getting in the house. His wife broke out at the back door and attempted to run to the fort. Bland had just discharged his gun or he would have saved her. The Indian caught and tomahawked her. The Indians tomahawked the three children and pitched them out in the yard. The youngest child, about two years old, survived and lived many years afterwards but very much disfigured. After the Indians had completed their murderous work they gathered up their dead, and packed them off up the big hill on the opposite side of the creek in full view of the fort. After they had left, one Indian came back, went into the house, and was there for some time. When he came out he went in a stooping position until he thought he was out of gun shot. As he straightened up, Bland fired and he fell. The Indians all came yelling back and they supposed the fort would be attacked, but they packed off the last Indian that was shot. The number of Indians killed by Bland and his father was eight or nine. Robert Tyler stated he counted eight, others say there were nine. After the Indians left they wanted to send an express to the different stations. Bland would go, but none was willing for him to leave the fort. Robert Tyler agreed if they would get him a horse and guard him over the hill, he would go. They were soon reinforced from Bracket Owen's, Colonel Aguilla Whitaker's, and Boone's Stations. They pursued the Indians for a while but they scattered. They thought it best to return, which they did in time, to bury the dead five in one grave. It was ascertained that Colonel Ballard had fought desperately. His mouth was full of bullets. In loading he had spilt his powder all over the floor.
JOHN W. WILLIAMSON.
<10>George Lee Willis, Sr., HISTORY OF SHELBY COUNTY, KENTUCKY, p.147-151
<11>Willis, p.181-184, "Long Run Massacre"See also:
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