The following article appeared in the Spring 2001 edition of the Ruddlesforter, a newsletter of the Ruddell and Martin Stations Historical Association. Please excuse the formatting. Enjoy...
Letters of John Mulherin Ruddell
To Lyman Copeland Draper
Edited by Jim Sellars
Dr. Lyman Copeland Draper, the renowned collector of pioneer history, opened a line of correspondence with John Mulherin Ruddell in the hopes of finding some information about the great Shawnee chief, Tecumseh. John was the son of Stephen Ruddell and his wife Susan David, and was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky on September 28, 1812.
The Portrait and Biographical Record of Adams County, Illinois mentions the following about John Ruddell’s father:
The father of our subject, Rev. Stephen Ruddell, was a native of Culpepper County, Va., and was born in 1768. He was the son of Isaac Ruddell, who also was born in Virginia and moved his family to Kentucky, settling in Bourbon County, where he built what is still known as Ruddell’s Mills. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a Captain in a Kentucky company against the Indians. The mother of our subject was in her maiden days Susan David, and was a native of Culpepper County, born in 1780. Her father, William David, emigrated from Germany to Virginia, later moved to Kentucky and settled in Bourbon County.
In 1780, during a fight between the whites and Indians, the Ruddells were in a fort at Ruddell Martin Station and the Indians captured the whole party. They took Capt. Isaac to Canada, and the rest to the Big Miami River, and kept them among the Shawnees and Delawares until all were redeemed, except two boys, the father of our subject and a younger brother. Stephen Ruddell lived with the Indians for fifteen years, and then returned home, married, and afterward went back and remained several years preaching among them. He moved from Kentucky to Pike County, Mo., in 1817 and settled on a farm there, but in 1823 he sold out and came to Illinois and made a home on section 18, Ursa Township. Very few families were there at that time, and the distance resembled the present miles between towns. At the time of his death, in 1840, he left four children by his third marriage and three by a former one. Our subject and two sisters by the third marriage --- Mrs. Susannah Grimes, of Dixie, Wash., and Mrs. Mary E. Jordan, of Pleasantville, Iowa – are the only survivors. Stephen Ruddell joined the Baptist Church at an early day, but later became a preacher in the Christian denomination. He established the first Christian Church in Ursa Township, and continued his ministry for thirty-five years. He was a Whig in politics.
Draper received at least one letter in 1863 and five years later he traveled to Illinois and interviewed Ruddell. Draper also briefly corresponded with John’s brother Stephen Duley Ruddell, who was living at the time in Olympia, Washington Territory, but gleaned very little information.
Draper continued his correspondence with Ruddell in 1883 with his last letter in 1890. Draper was able to make other contacts with D. P. Henderson, a long time friend of Stephen Ruddell, and Louis Houck, who passed on a letter from Jack Worrell, a distant cousin of the Ruddells.
Ruddell died on August 28, 1896 in Adams County, Illinois. Draper died August 26, 1891 in Madison, Wisconsin. The letters of Ruddell to Draper are found in Volume 8 of the Tecumseh Papers (8YY) in the Draper Manuscript Collection housed at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in Madison.
May 15, 1863
Marcelline, May the 15th ‘63
Lyman C. Draper,
Yours of the 11th Inst is before me. I am sorry that I have not the time to spare at present to reply to your various inquiries as fully as should like to, but I will as briefly as possible answer to some of them. Stephen Ruddell was my father. He was born in the state of Virginia in the year 1768. His father removed to Kentucky in 1774 or 75 - and in June 1780 the station that my grand father built was taken by storm by the combined forces of Canadians & Indians and all the occupants that escaped massacre was taken into captivity. My grand father and the female portion of his family was retained by the Canadians & taken to Detroit. A British officer there interisted him self in his case and procured his release and also assisted him in the recovery of all the ballance of the family, except my father and uncle who was taken to the Indian vilages where they was boath adopted in to families of the Shawnees tribe. Every effort of my grand father being unavailing for their recovery.
My father was therefore raised in the same vilage with Tecemse being about the same age of that renouned warrior & orator, and for whome he entertained the highest respect. My grand father recovered his boys at the treaty of Greenville.
My father after visiting his family and friends in Kentucky returned back to assist his adopted Mother to remove to Missourie after which he again returned to Ky.
In 1798 my Father united with the Baptist church, and Immediately commenced preaching, and feeling a deep sympathy for the Indians commenced a series of Missionary Towers [tours] to preach to his old friends to whome he preached with considerable success, & his labors thus commensed finally resulted in the conversion of a large portion of the Shawnees to Christianity, of which I could say more if time would permit. My father died on the 12 day of October AD 1845, in full assurance of a glorious Immortality, In height he was 5 ft 11 1/2 inches weighed from 200 to 210 lbs of rather lite complexion and blue eyes, & was what mite be termed a Natural orator, a man of great firmness & unbounded benevolence, an affectionate Husband & kind Father, an exemplary Christian.
As before said he was well acquainted with and entertained much respect for Tecumse and lived & died in the belief that if he could have gotten out in time to have had a talk with that Chief that he could have prevented his taking up the hatchet against us in the war of 1812. Tecumse received his mortal wound at the river raisin but did not die on that Bloody field but was carried off the field and died of his wounds in the midst of his warriors.
My Father left no papers at his death throwing any lite on the subject of his captivity having some years before his death given said papers to a Little lawyer by the Name of Lewis Masquirier with a view to there publication said Masquirier took them east but became disipated & died and what ever be come of said papers I know not. I know but vary little of the history of my Uncle Abram Ruddell. He removed to Arkansas a bout the year 1820 and settled on white river he has been dead for many years he had several sons but they are all dead also. I consequently can give you nothing deffinite about them.
If I had the leasure time sufficient I could give you quite a number of incidents regarding the captivity & life of my Father but I have not at this time. I give you this in great hast not even having time to revise nor copy it.
Yours With respect
J. M. Ruddell
L. C. Draper
October 19, 1883
Marcelline October 19 '83
Adams C. Ills.
Mr. Lyman C. Draper
Yours of Oct 11th Inst received and contents duly noted. Many thanks for those books. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my recollections.
1. My recollection is that Tecumseh was at the attack on Fort Harrison but that he strongly opposed said attack, and came vary near getting in to a fight with some other tribe on that account. My father was on a Mission among the Shawnees, Delawares & Wiandots at the time the attack was made.
2nd. My father was made a Chief & was second in command to Tecumseh and had he remained with the Indians would in all probability have become his sucessor.
3rd. The Mingo Chief John Logan was not with the British and Indians who captured Ruddell's Station (of this I feel quite sure) I may have gotten names mixed as it has been so long since I heard my father talk about it. But my recollection is that the Little Black Bear was the Indian leader. But of this I am not quite sure.
4th. My father was well acquainted with and held Jim Logan in high esteem, but I never heard him say that capt Jim Logan was any way related to Tecumseh and as he was well and intimately acquainted with boath those me; had they been connected he sertainly would have said something about it.
Well friend Daper [sic] I am geting old and my memory is not so good as it used to be but of those facts and incidents of long ago many of them are as fresh in my memory as though it had been only yesterday - yet sometimes it takes questions to bring them up.
And as you have my best wishes in your efforts to get out a life of that truly great man (his being an Indian makes no difference as to his greatness) It is a pleasure to me to give you all the aid that I am able and if you think of anything else that would be likely to aid you I am at your service.
Vary Truly Yours,
with kindest regards
J. M. Ruddell
November 5, 1883
Marcelline Nov 5 1883
L. C. Draper
My Dear Sir,
Yours of the 2nd Inst. came to my hands on yesterday and was received as a vary welcome visitor as of an old friend. Found us all in good health. I will now answer your questions to the best of my recollections in the order as propounded.
1st. My Grand Father, Capt Isaac Ruddell, was 77 years old when he died.
2nd. Tecumseh was about six months older than my Father. Father was born Sept. 18, 1768. (Hence Tecumseh born abt. Mar 1768 L. C. D.)
3rd. My recollection is that Tecumseh name means a Panther ready to jump or crouching Panther.
4th. I cannot recollect what my Fathers Indian name was, but it a ment Big Fish in English.
5th. If Little Black Bear was the leader of the Indians. (I think he was ) I do not know to what tribe he belonged.
6. My Father was with the Indians and was in the battle, when Gen Wayne defeated them. After the defeat my Father visited General Wayne at Ft. Wayne and then General Wayne sent word to my Grand Father that he, Wayne, had found his boys. And that they would be at the fort at a given time. Then Grand Father went out to Ft. Wayne and my Father & Uncle went home with him to Kentucky.
7. I do not remember ever hearing my Father say any thing about Col. Bird's personal appearance but my Grand father and Grand Mother said that he, Bird, was a cruel Blood thirsty savage and gave over all the women and children to the tender mercies of the Indians.And that in the presence of Col. Bird an Indian took an Infant from my Grand Mothers arms and dash its brains out a ganst a tree & then beat her because she cried. As to what ever become of him I dont know.
I have one brother four years yonger than I am. His post office address is Olympia Washington Teritory. I also have one own Sister 2 years younger than I. Her post office address is Ursa Adams Co. Ills.
Well I believe I have answered and to the best of knowledge and belief.
And will subscribe my self as your friend and well wisher.
J. M. Ruddell
Adams Co., Ills.
P. S. My brothers name is Stephen D. Ruddell Olympia W. T. PO address My sisters name is Catherine Nichols PO address Ursa Adams Co., Ills.
If the a bove should sujest any other questions send them on as I am ever at your service.
J. M. Ruddell
August 6, 1884
Olympia W T
August 6, 1884
My Dear Sir
I am sorry to have to tell you so little but I have been sick in bed for over 9 months & am in bed yet but thought I would have my wife write you what I could remember of Tecumseh, he was born about 1768 - after his parents had returned to Ohio, his father died - when he was 6 years old, he (Tecumsah) was placed under his older brother & sister I have forgotten their names. Father said Tecumsah would have been a greater & better man only for the influence his brother, the Prophet had over him; still he thought Tecumsah was one of the Bravest & noblist of men as a red man. Father was the Interpreter for Tecumsah when he treated with Wayne.
Well now he, Mr. Ruddell, is sick & cannot remember any more of Tecumsah & you will have to take our apology for not writing more or sooner. I thought all the time he Mr. Ruddell would be able to write himself but he is not & we do not know when he will.
Stephen D. Ruddell
PS - I think you can get more out of the History of Tecumsah as there is such a book.
August 26, 1884
Marcelline Ills Aug. 26, 1884
L. C. Draper, Esq.
My Dear Sir,
Your favor of July 3rd was received and contents duly noted as soon as it came to hand, but various circumstances has prevented my replying sooner. I have made 2 visits to my sister Mrs. Nichols on the subject of your enquiry. She says that there is nothing that she can remember to have heard father say about Tecumseh. She had received your letters & also a Book, 1 vol. of Wisconsin His. Society for which she returns thanks and would have written to you long since had she been able to write her self.
I have not heard from my brother yet. He may yet write you or my self yet.
I will answer your questions to the best of my recollection.
Tecumseh's father was not a man of any considerable note. He was quite disipated and inclined to be guardsome as to what finally became of him or where he died, I have no recollection of hearing father say.
As to Tecumseh's mother being either a Cherokee or Creek woman I have no recollections of hearing father say anything a bout that.
I have heard from him that she was a good woman kind and truly a good mother.
I have heard my father say frequently that Tecumseh prided him self greatly on his Shawanees or Shawnee blood. I am strongly inclined to the opinion that he was a full blooded Shawnee.
If my brother writes to me and has any rememberance a bout the matter I will write you. Before closing I will say that there is a man living in Canton Lewis Co., Mo that is some older than I am a distant relatiove that was frequent at my fathers and as he was of a very inquisitive nature and had mutch talk with father about the Indians and especially about Tecumseh (or the way father pronounced it Tecumtha) this man may be able to give you some facts & he is the only living man that I know of that would be likely to do so. You address him if you see fit to do so as follows:
Elder D. P. Henderson
Canton, Lewis County Mo
The last sentance in your last letter pleased me well & I will respond Hzza [sic] for Cleveland & Hendrick.
Your Friend and well wisher
J. M. Ruddell
September 5, 1884
Marcelline Sept. 5, 1884
L.C. Draper, Esq. Dear Sir,
Yours of the 30th of August received this morning and contents fully noted. As to what my Brother says, 1.I have no recollection of hearing my father say that Tecumseh was placed under the care of an older brother or sister at six years of age or at any other age. It may be so. 2d. I have heard my father say many times that the Prophet, Tecumtha's brother, exercised unbounded influence over him and was the cause of Tecumtha going in to the War of 1812. He was also the cause of Tecumtha visiting the Southern tribes of Indians to persuaid them to take up the hatchet against the Whites. My father was of the opinion that if he could have saw Tecumtha before he went south that he would have kept him and nearly all of the 3 Confederate tribes to wit Shawnees, Delawares and Wiandots out of the war of 1812.
My father commenced preaching to these tribes (I think) in 1804 or '5, and made yearly visits among them till 1811 and a great many of their chief men use to visit father in Kentucky consequently his great influence over them, and he did keep hundreds of them out the war of 1812. 3d. As to what become of Tecumtha's mother & sister I have no knowledge. 4. As to when Tecumtha's having been taken to war while a mere boy I know not he may have been in some skirmishes previous; but I feel vary sure and this from what I have heard father say, that the first battle of any note that he or Tecumtha was ever in, was when General Wayne defeated them on the Miami; and on the retreat Tecumtha performed his great feat as a hunter in killing (16) sixteen Buffaloes one morning with a bow & arrow. His bravery and address in battle, & with this Buffalo hunt, set him up, and he advanced to the head rapidly. 5th. I have no cousins living that I know of. As Uncle Abram's boys all seem to have died comparitively young. 6th. I don't remember what year Uncle Abram died but it has been 40 or 50 years, he died on White River, South E. Missouri. I have frequently tried to open correspondence with them, but never could.
Uncle was not a preacher and died comparitively young. 7th. Remember nothing about Waters.
Well, now, my respected friend, I have tried to give you nothing but what I feel sure is correct as I feel quite an interest in your forthcoming life or history of Tecumtha, it has been a pleasure to me to contribute to same. Very truly. Yours,
J. M. Ruddell
September 6, 1884
Canton Mo. Sept 6th 1884
Dr. Lyman C. Draper
Very dear sir,
On my return from Jacksonville Ill., your highly esteemed favor was rec'd. and read with much pleasure.
I was sorry, that I cannot aid you in your praise worthy efforts in gathering up fragments of history of the great men of the past, who figured so conspicuously as did my old dear friend Stephen Ruddell, while with the Red men of the forest. I have sat by the hour listening to him, have smoked the council Pipe with him, have seen the wampum, and other momemtoes, which he brought with him from his adopted tribe, and heard him say, that he & Tecumpsah were adopted brothers, or rather he & Black Hawk were adopted by Tecumpsah's brothers, and Ruddell was the eldest, and would have succeded Tecumpsah as Chief of the tribe.
But nothing farther, can I recall, that would be of service. Mr. John Ruddell, his son, gave his history, years ago, to some one and if you could get that Mss, I think it would meet your wishes.
Your fr'd D. P. Henderson
November 1, 1884
Marcelline Adams Co., Ills
Nov. 1st 1884
L. C. Draper,
My Dear Friend,
Yours of sometime in the first half of September was received by me as I was just on the eve of starting with my wife on a visit to our children in North West Mo. So I took your letter with me thinking to answer while in Missouri but some how it with another letter from a Daughter in Idaho territory that I had taken with me for the same purpose boath was lost. So this is my excuse for my seeming neglect.
But now after a vary pleasant visit to our Dear boys I will try the best I can from memory to answer.
Your critisism in regard to the buffalo hunt was vary just & I thank you for calling my attention to it.
Tecumtha was only about sixteen years old at that time, and consequently it was at some battle prior to 1794; but I will not attempt to say when or where, only the fact that I have often heard my father say that this buffalo killing was the first notable event in the life of Tecumtha.
As to Elder D. P. Henmderson's statement that father was an adopted Brother of Tecumtha, that is all a mistake; they was boys to geather in the same village, but not in the same family.
The adopted father of my father died before Wayne defeated them and there was only one other son in the family; and I have often heard father say, that he was a drunken, trifling fellow, and as his adopted mother had no one to depend on.
So my father went back to Ohio after visiting his own family in Kentucky and assisted in removing his adopted mother to the Indian territory west of the Mississippi river where he remained with and cared for her over a year, when she died on Spring river, Mo. So I know by these and many other facts that the Elder is mistaken.
Father thought a great deal of his adopted mother and said that she was a good woman and was truly a mother to him, and that he could not bear the idea of abandoning her in her old age. So he was over 2 years longer out of civilization on her acct.
Well I believe that is all there may have been some other matters in your last letter that I can't call to memory, and like most old people I can discover that I am geting some what for getful.
Excuse seeming neglect and believe your truly I will try to give you any other facts that may suggest them selves to you.
Cleveland's prospects seems to grow brighter here.
November 15, 1884
Marcelline, Adams County, Ills.
November 15, 1884
L. C. Draper.
My Dear Sir,
Yours of the 6 Inst received and contents duly noticed. 1st. My father said that the Prophet had an un bounded influence over Tecumtha & that Tecumtha looked upon him as possessing supernatural powers – that he had commuion [sic] or revelations from the Great Spirit.
I have frequently heard my father tell of the conversation that he had with Tecumtha on this subject to convince, or to try to convince him, that the Prophet possesses no supernatural power, all to no purpos. Father tried to convince him that revelations from the Great Spirit had closed.
Tecumthas answer would be it may be closed to the white man but not to the Indian and so he Tecumtha fully believed all the extravagant sayings of the Prophet. Although the Character of the Prophet was any thing but lovely either in looks or conduct, and that when the Prophet was fuly dressed and painted ready to enter in to his darkened wigwam fully accoutered with his shoulder blades of the Deer & wildcat & with all his other cungering instruments, that his appearance was truly hideous – and that he would remain in his incantations and popws [sic] with out eating, drinking or sleeping, and that his powers of endurance when thus engaged were really remarkable, and so my father was of opinion that Tecumtha was the tool of the Prophet, and all this seemed to be strange to father as Tecumtha was mutch the smartest man in every respect.
2. I have heard my father tell of Wayne’s Battle and also of a fight that he and Tecumtha with other Indians was in with Simon Kenton and with other Kentuckians – and in several other fights with other Indians in all of which, Tecumtha acted with coolness and bravery not rash but deliberate.
Was near Tecumtha at Wayne’s Battle – and in the front among the first that fired a gun and remained near to geather till Wayne ordered a bayonet charge, they then gave way and among the logs and bush each sought his way out the best he could & he saw him no more in the fight.
Father always spoke of Tecumtha as brave not rash always seeking to be strategic – and any thing to save his own men and destroy his enemies – his motto was never take any prisoners; but if you do, treat them like me. He never allowed a prisoner tortured when he could prevent it. – 3. I cant tell on what part of White River Uncle Abe lived. I have never been able to get up any correspondence with any his family.
J. M. Ruddell
P.S. – No time to copy – rather nervous to-day, I am not over a spell of palpitation of the heart, which sometimes troubles me.
I most fondly hope that you may soon finish your life of Tecumtha, as it will certainly be a work that will sell; & if I am living when completed, please send me a copy.
J. M. R.
November 16, 1884
Olympia W T
November 16th 1884
Lyman C. Draper
We received your 2 last letters but he, R[uddell], is in bed yet & knows so little that it is not worth much to you; he says tecumsah's mother was a Shanee woman I do not know when or where she died.
It is my opinion that Capt John Logan is the son of Tecumsah's sister.
Why don't you get the History of Tecumseh there is such a book. Uncle Abraham Died on Red River on lower Missisipi.
Don't know how old he was
I wish we could tell you more but remain yours.
M M Ruddell
May 3, 1885
May 3rd 1885
My Dear Sir,
Enclosed find a letter from Mr. Worrel - which gives some clue about Abraham Ruddle. I thought that I saw a trace when you wrote me, from the fact that a Mr. Ruddle Byrd, a relation of my wife's bore the name of Ruddle. I am going to Jackson in a few days & will see Mr. Worrel. These folks are all his kinfolks of my wife's by marriage. Will key after this business.
Am in hurry & cannot write more this hour.
Yours, Louis Houck
Enclosed Letter from Jack Worrell
Jackson Mo. May 1st 1885
Mr. L. Houck
Dear friend –
Your letter came during my absences have been down in New Madrid, took Lucie and baby down and left them, will go after them in two or three weeks. Now in reply to yours in regard to Mr. Ruddle, will write you about the language of my mother, she says: I remember Abraham Ruddle coming to my father’s (Abraham Byrd's) house when I was about eight or ten years old my father was then living in this country six miles from this place, where he first settled and died, on the same farm. Abraham Ruddle had a wife, and several children; I remember one of the girls was very beautiful. I don't remember how many children nor how large they were. He was a cousin of my fathers - I don't know who his wife was, I believe they came from Tenn, here they stayed here several days then moved on to White River, I think down in Ark, though I am not sure, yet I have heard my father and mother talk a great deal about the Ruddles, I heard them say Abraham Ruddle was wounded in a battle with the Indians, and he crawled behind a log, and when the Indians found him, he begged them to kill him, but they would not; but took him prisoner. They kept him a long time; they cut his ears, and made him wear rings and ear bobs, he learned a great deal from them how to doctor with roots &c., he told my father many thing that was very useful, he also had an older brother whose name was Stephen Ruddle - he also was captured by the Indians; but I don't know where, - I believe Stephen afterwards became a preacher. Whatever became of them I am not able to say, if Stephen Ruddle ever had a family I never knew of them.
I believe I have written you about all I could gather from my mother. Should she tell me any more, will write you, with regards to your family am as ever,
or J. A. Worrell
August 13, 1885
Marcelline Aug 13, 1885
L. C. Draper
My Dear Sir,
Yours of April 17, 1885 reached me in due time but as I was quite busy at the time I laid it a way and did not think of it till this morning. I accidently turned it up and I went looking for your 21 Nov letter, but am not able to find it neither do I remember a word that was in it.
I have no recollection of ever hearing father say who accompanied Tecumthe on his trip to the southern tribes the a bove will explain my seeming neglect.
We down in this part of Illinois are delighted with the administration of Cleveland and hope he may continue to make haste slowly if some of the hungry office seekers starve.
With Kindest regards.
J. M. Ruddell
August 15, 1887
Marcelline Aug 15, 1887
L. C. Draper.
My Dear Sir,
Your communication of the 8th Inst. Received.
The letter you mention in yours of the 8th I never received & as to my having had mail matter forwarded to me at Ursa, never happened as I have received all my Mail at Marcelline for the last 35 years.
As to who Tecumptha’s wife was or regards his sister, doghter, I do not rember having heard my father say, I have heard him say that Tecumpthe was always vary friendly with the Cherokees and Creek and he certainly went to them for the purpose of enlisting them as allies in the war of 1812. My father’s opinion of the Prophet, was that the Prophet was a bad man and as Father was well acquainted with him he had every opportunity to know and while he had a real love and the greatest respect for Tecumpthe – he had no confidence in the prophet, and often expressed surprise at the influence he exercised over Tecupthe, as the Prophet was certainly a great liar & hypocrite.
With my best wishes for you and the success of your life of the great chief I am yours Truly,
J. M. Ruddell
July 10, 1888
Marcelline July 10th 1888
L. C. Draper
My respected Friend
Yours of June 21, ‘88 received and happy to learn that you still live, but truly sorry to learn of the death of Mrs. Draper, My wife & I extend to you our sincear condolance. I received your letter 17 August Ians. Also a large Book but as I was not able to answer at the time and was not for some time afterwards your be came misplaced and consequently the seeming neglect circumstances have been such that I could not well answer you sooner than I have, send on your new volume of your society.
My wife and I are boath in good health at this writing we have been living to geather as Husband & Wife for 56 years and are now I am 77 and her 76 years old our children are all married and Scattered from here to the Pasific Coast
Well Sir I do hope to give Grover Cleveland another vote. as he has given us an honest fair and Ecinomical administration.
With our best wishes for your health and prosperity I will say good by for the present as I am geting too nervous to write further.
J. M. Ruddell
June 21, 1888
1. Had not the Shawnees a system of education for their youth - sort of lectures, such as Tecumseh must have attended? If you can recall any thing your father may have said on the subject, please fully inform me.
Yes and their education began very early in life and was a regular system. To make them hardy they bathed or was made to bathe every morning winter & summer in cold water then the boys were learned the use of the bow & arrow; at from 12 to 15 years they were given a gun, and then they attended regular in the council house & were taught the arts of hunting, fishing & trapping then the arts of war and desipline & as every village had its council house this system was kept up winter & summer The youths were also taught to be very respectful to older persons & called all older persons uncle, aunt, grand father or grand mother.
2. Did your father speak of Tecumseh's mother, & her nationality - what became of her, & where die?
I have nothing to say on this subject.
3. How many brothers had Tecumseh beside the Prophet, & what became of them?
I have no recollection of any other brothers of the Great Chief.
4. Before Tecumseh served against Wayne, he made a trip with an elder brother to Tennessee - & shared in attacks on frontier stations there: Relate any thing you can recall yr. father may have said about these attacks.
Of this fourth question I have no recollection of having heard my father say anything.
5. Give me if you can, the exact locality of Ruddell's Station on Licking - which side - whether on a bottom or elevated ground? Which way & how far was Martin's?
I can not give the location of Ruddell's & Martin's Stations as I was only five years old when my father removed to Missouri in AD 1817 & have never heard any one describe its location.
6. Was Ruddell's Station attacked sometime previous to its being taken - & what do you recollect about it?
There were as many as two attacks on Ruddell's Station previous to its being taken but as the attacking parties had no cannon, they were driven back. It would never have been taken with out the use of cannon.
7. Of what place was yr. grandfather, Capt. Isaac Ruddell a native? In what year did he die & age?
My Grand Father was born in Virginia either in Culpepper or Botatort* counties, have forgotten which. As to his military services other than his command of the station; I know nothing. My Grand Father died in Bourbon County Kentucky near Paris age 70 years.
8. Have you any tradition of yr. grandfather Ruddell being stationed on Corn Island opposite Louisville? When did he move his family to Kentucky?
Cannont give any definite answer to either of these questions.
*It must have been Culpeper, as Botetourt was not settled early enough. I think Col. John Bowman, Ruddell's brother-in-law, lived in Botetourt & probably Ruddell also. [Note by Draper]
9th. Where did Tecumseh's famous buffalo hunt take place, of which you wrote me?
As to the whare or when of the Buffalo hunt, can't say.
10th. What was Anthony Shane's character, was he reliable?
11th. Have you any tradition of early fights Tecumseh had with whites under Kenton?
I have heard my Father speak of a conversation he had with Simon Kenton about 1805 or six as he passed through Ohio on his way to preach to the Indians, in which he Kenton spoke of a fight that he had with a party of Indians some where in the Miami valley and got badly worsted.
But my recollection is that I have at some time given you an account of that little fight and will not attempt to repeat it this morning; but if I am at fault in my memory, on this, I can if requested state the case a agin.
Truly your Friend
J. M. Ruddell
July 25, 1890
Ursa – Ills, July 25, ‘90
My dear old friend Draper, yours of July 12 just received. Found us all well as common.
Our old Family Record was lost in the great flood in the Missippie of 1851 and as to the date of my grandfather’s death I cannot speak definitely – but suppose that the county Records of old Bourban are right.
As to the Prophet’s wife having such an influence over him I have my doubts. I have heard my father say frequently that the Prophet was a man of very few social qualities but that he was a man of a vary sulky –rose and selfish disposition and that his wife was low heavy set some old squaw; but as to her influence over him I donot remember having heard my Father say anything, So I think that it is vary doubtful about it this influence.
You will excuse my seeming neglect in answering your letters as it is seldom that I write and if I neglect to answer my friends letters, it is forgetfulness in me and not real indifference.
Yours With Kindest regards
J. M. Ruddell
A big thanks to Sandie Eisenbath for the Adams County, Illinois historical excerpt and picture of John M. Ruddell. And to Jeff Oehlerich for the picture of Stephen D. Ruddell. The picture of Lyman Copeland Draper is from the book Pioneer’s Mission, The Story of Lyman Copeland Draper by William B. Hesseltine.