Shawnee Legend of Slaughter of White Indians at the Falls of the Ohio


Shawnee legends say that during low water their warriors went to Sandy Island and slaughtered the remaining White Indian mound builders.





Prehistoric Men of Kentucky by Col. Bennett A. Young,  1910


       Col. James Moore, of Kentucky, was told by an old Indian that the primitive inhabitants of this state had perished in a war of extermination waged against them by the Indians; that the last great battle was fought at the Falls of the Ohio, (Clarksville Indiana); and that the Indians succeeded in driving the aborigines into a small island below the rapids, 'where the whole of them were cut to pieces'. The colonel was assured that the evidence of this event rested upon facts handed down by tradition, and that he would have decisive proofs of it under his eyes as soon as the waters of the Ohio became low. When the waters of the river had fallen, an examination of Sandy Island was made, and 'a multitude of human bones was discovered'. There is a simular confirmation of this tradition in the statement of General George Rogers Clark , that there was a great bury-ground on the northern side of the river, but a short distance below the Falls. According to a tradition imparted to the same gentleman by the Indian Chief Tobacco, the battle of Sandy Island decided finally the fall of Kentucky, with its ancient inhabitants when Colonel McKee commanded in the Kanawha, (says Doctor Cambell), he was told by the Indian Chief Cornstalk, with whom he had frequent converstions, that Ohio and Kentucky (and Tennessee also is associated with Kentucky in prehistoric ethnography by Rafinesque) had once been settled by white people who were familiar with arts of which the Indians knew nothing; that these whites, after a series of bloody contest with the Indians, had been exterminated; that the old burial places were the graves of an unknown people; and that the old forts had not been built by Indians, but had come down from ' avery long ago' people, who were of a white complexion and skilled in the arts'.
       In addition to this tradition testimony, various striking traces of a deadly conflict have been found all along the Ohio border... General Clark declares that Ken-tuck-e in the language of the Indians signifies 'the river of blood'

      Ken-tuck-e, to the Indian, was a land of ill repute, and, wherever a lodge fire blazed, 'strange and unholy rumors' were busy with her name. The old Indian who described to Colonel Mooore the sanguinary and decisive battle of Sandy Island expressed great astonishment that white people could live in a country which had once been the scene of such conflicts; and an ancient Sac, whom Colonel Joe Hamilton Daveiss met at St. Louis in 1800, gave utterance to simular expressions of surprise. Kentucky, he said was filled with ghost of its slaughtered inhabitants, how could the white man make it his Home?