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THE LAST MURDER; IN EASTERN PENN'A BY THE INDIANS ANCESTORS OF COL. D.C. KELLER A NARRATIVE GIVEN BY MRS. CHARLES DELONG OF NEW JERUSALEM, AND WRITTEN BY REV. A. STAPLETON, OF LEWISBURG
Boyertown Democrat - Saturday, September 25, 1897
The ancestors of Rev. A. STAPELTON, Lewisburg, were among the early settlers in Oley. He has written interesting family histories and occurrences of many years ago, including massacres by the Indians.
Col. D. C. KELLER received a letter from Rev. STAPLETON, in which he says "Enclosed please find an account of the massacre of your great-grandfather (Jno. NIMAN) by the Indians. I also send herewith the KELLER genealogy. I hope in the near future to publish two more of our ancestors - John Nicholas DELP and John William MILLER. I know of 3 children of John Nicolas DELP, (1) Susan, our great-grandmother KELLER; (2) Marillas, who had her home at our Grandfather's place for many years; (3) Felty, who was well off, lived near Fleetwood, and I am pretty sure was the father or grandfather of the DELPS, who live there. Your descent from John William MILLER is as follows.
John William MILLER came from the town of Ittlingen, near Carls Rhue, Germany in 1751, and died at Pleasantville, Oley, in 1812. He was the father of: (1).Catharine, married to Joseph DILLIPLANE, who moved to Maryland. (2).Hannah, born in 1756, married to George CLOUSER, and died in 1829. (3) Rosina, born in 1764, married to M. John STAPLETON, and died in 1824. Rosina was the great grandmother of Rev. A. STAPLETON, Lewisburg. (4) Mary married prior in 1782 to Wm. RICHARDS and died in 1838, very aged. Mary was the grandmother of Hon. Louis RICHARDS. (5). Rebecca, died in Huntingdon, PA. (6). Eva, born in 1764 and died young. (7) Daughter, name unknown. (8) George, born in 1768 and died in 1833. One of his sons died in Reading in 1891, aged over 80 years.
George and Hannah (MILLER) CLOUSER (Hannah being the second daughter of John William MILLER) were the parents of 5 children - William, John, George, Kate, and Hannah. William married Catharine MOSER, daughter of Jacob MOSER, and they had four children - Sallie, Polly, Kate, and Esther. Esther married John KELLER and is the mother of Col. D.C. KELLER. She was born June 27, 1810, and celebrated her 87th birthday anniversary last June, when there was a family reunion.
Wanshop KELLER was a brother of Conrad KELLER (Rev. STAPELTON's grandfather), and he had 3 sons - Solomon, Daniel and Henry. Henry lives at Pricetown and is 84 years of age.
Rev. STAPLETON says that his narrative of the murder of John NIMAN and 2 sons in 1780 was obtained from his (Rev. STAPELTON's) aunt, Mrs. Charles DELONG, New Jerusalem. In 1833 the wife of Joseph SPECHT, of Rockland, Berks County, died. At the funeral he entrusted his little daughter Susan, about 8 years old, to Conrad KELLER, who was his deceased wife's brother. The wife of Conrad KELLER was the daughter of John NIMAN. Susan SPECHT remained with her uncle (Conrad KELLER) until she was a grown up and married Charles DELONG, and hence had every facility of hearing the details of the murder, and from her the account was obtained. It is as follows:
MURDER OF THE NIMAN FAMILY
The last murder of the savages in Eastern Penn'a was that of John NIMAN and his two boys, whose little farm was situated near where the city of Pottsville now stands. Inasmuch as the details of the massacre hitherto given are both meager and inaccurate, we will give the account as derived by my informant from one of the surviving children, Mrs. Polly KELLER, wife of Conrad KELLER, of Rockland township, Berks county. At the time the NIMAN family had 5 children. Another, the 6th, who was named Polly, was born soon afterward. NIMAN was an industrious farmer, and being very busy, sent his wife to the mill, 4 miles distant, to tell the MILLER that he would be on hand early next morning with a grist of wheat, which he wished to have ground immediately. Mrs. NIMAN took with her two little children, George and Betty. For some reason now unknown, she concluded to stay with the MILLER over night, and to this action she owed her life.
In the morning, instead of going to the mill as had intended, NIMAN and his two little boys were cruelly killed and scalped by the Indians. Historians generally, err in saying that three children were killed. This mistake probably arose from the fact that the oldest child, Katie, who was 11 years of age, was taken captive. The reason it is said, that she was spared, was the fact that she had black eyes, while the others had blue eyes. It is a curious fact, which I had never seen recorded, that the Indians did sometimes spare victims whose eyes were the color of their own.
The news of the massacre reached Mrs. NIMAN at the mill, the MILLER quickly gathered a party, accompanied by the unfortunate widow, soon came upon the scene. No particular damage was done save the horrible murder of NIMAN and the two boys and the abduction of the daughter. NIMAN lay in the middle of the room and was shot doubtless in his effort to reach his rifle, which was hung, as was the fashion in those days, on an overhanging beam. It seems the Indians did not discover the rifle, as it was untouched by them.
A neighbor, who was employed by NIMAN made a very narrow escape. He had lodged at NIMAN's house and going out in the morning to attend to his horse, he found that the animal had broke loose and strayed off. After looking a while for him he concluded that the horse had gone home, so he returned to NIMAN's to get his saddle and bridle, and then go home himself and see about the horse. Upon his return for the riding outfit he found the murder had been committed.
The widow of NIMAN afterwards married an EGOLD [a.k.a. EGOLF], with whom she had several children. Her child, Polly, unborn at the time of the massacre, who as said married Conrad KELLER, lived to a good old age and reared a large family. Her youngest son, Charles, who in earlier days was a man of eminence in Berks county, died last March at East Greenville, PA, aged 80 years.
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