Three Killed in Indian Attack
David Garrard lived on the bank of Spring Creek about four miles south of what is now
State Route 36. He was a neighbor of the Dilbone family that suffered at the hands of the
same two Indians who caused his death. Garrard was with a friend (Mr. Ross) making
shingles in the woods some distance from his property, just past noon, on August 18, 1813,
when two Indians fired on them, striking Garrard and wounding him. Ross, ran for the house
pursued by one of the Indians, who subsequently, upon the urging of his friend, gave up
the chase and returned to the site of the shooting.
It is reputed, that Ross then ran
to Staunton, a former Indian village that had become a white settlement (part of present
day Troy, Ohio), to warn others about the attack and was able to alert a group of
volunteer militia who were drilling at that location. The warning went out too late to
help the Dilbones, and by that evening most of the settlers were housed in blockhouses
specially constructed for safety against such attacks.
Garrards body was discovered later that evening surrounded by evidence that,
although he was wounded, he fought valiantly against his attackers before succumbing.
Garrards widow would later marry Cephus
Carey, a prominent settler in Hardin,
Shelby County. Coincidentally, Careys first wife, Jane, was killed by Indians in
Henry and Barbara Dilbone were married in Pennsylvania in 1801 and moved
their family to Miami County about six years later, locating their new log cabin on Spring
Creek. They were the second settlers to locate in Springcreek Township north of the
current U.S. Route 36. As time passed, other settlers moved into the area, including
George and John Caven, Benjamin Winans, William McKinney and David Garrad.
It was 1813 and many of the regions Indians were allies of the British fighting the
Americans in the War of 1812 that did not conclude until
December 24, 1814. Col. Johnston, the Indian agent
situated northwest of Piqua, had over 6,000 neutral Indians living at his location and
under his protection.
It was August 18, 1813, and the Dilbones along with their four
children, John 7, Margaret 5, Priscilla 3, and William 9 months, left their cabin during
the afternoon to pull flax from their flax patch. Flax, a grasslike plant, was grown by early
pioneers, and spun into a thread that was used to make material for clothing and other
uses. After passing through a corn field they arrived at the flax site, and Mrs. Dilbone
placed the children safely under a tree.
Sixty years later their son John, related what occurred next. His father, upon hearing
their dog barking, stood up and was shot
in the chest by an Indian the dog had discovered at the edge of the corn field. His mother
began to run toward the children, after having recognized one of the assailants as Mingo
George, a local renegade Shawnee. As she ran to her three children (Margaret had returned
to the house to get a drink), in their full view, she was struck and killed from behind by
a tomahawk. Young John also recognized Mingo George as the killer. His accomplice carried
no weapon and was a young teenage boy. At that point in time, as the Indians approached to
look at the children, a gunshot was heard in the distance prompting the man to drop his
weapon, and to cause both Indians to retreat into the corn field.
Young John, realizing that their mother was probably dead, and their father had not
returned, helped the other children back to the house where he explained to Margaret what
had happened. Shortly after that, Mrs. Samuel Winans visited the Dilbone house and the
children related the incident to her and she sounded the alarm to others. Eventually,
William McKinney arrived at the house, and with Johns help located the death scene.
Dilbone was dead from a large wound in her back. The Indians gun, knife and blanket
were on the ground close to where the children had been sitting.
Since it was getting dark, McKinney took the children to his home where other settlers
had gathered. They decided to relocate to the safety of Richard Winans station. On
the next day, an armed scouting party led by Benjamin Dye arrived at the Dilbone homestead
where Henry Dilbone was found alive in the woods, close to the corn field, by Jacob
Simmons. Henry, remaining alive by plugging a bullet hole in his chest with a piece of his
shirt, desperately asked about the safety of his wife and children. One account reports he
died soon after being found, while another concludes that he died on the next day.
Both bodies were taken by sled (also known as a mud boat) to a site west of Fletcher
where they were secretly buried. Several weeks later, Mingo George was captured and
executed for his part in the murders, and his body was ignominiously sunk into a quagmire
The orphaned children were nourished, loved, and raised by the Dilbones
neighbors. Priscilla died at the age of 13, while John, Margaret and William lived into
adulthood. John lived to a ripe old age and eventually owned much of the original Dilbone
farmland. Margaret married John Lindsay and lived nearby. William moved to Shelby County;
buying farm land in Perry Township.
In 1918, when the old Piqua-Urbana Road (U.S. State Route 36) was being paved,
excavation uncovered human bones that were proven to be the remains of Henry and Barbara
Dilbone. A 4 foot mill wheel memorial marker was erected on the site in 1949, (located on
the north side of U.S. Route 36, five miles east of Piqua), during a ceremony remembering
the massacre, and can still be seen there today. Leonard U. Hill, a deceased Piqua
historian and acclaimed researcher and prolific writer on area history, closed the
dedication ceremony with these words: "May all who view this marker be reminded that:
the present day comforts of life, the ease of acquiring a living and our assurance of
security were not always thus. All of our pioneering ancestors endured many great
hardships and a few, as the Dilbones, made the supreme sacrifice."
Hill also records in his writings that there are at least three 19th century accounts
of the event, and although they differ in some respects, they are, for the most part, the
same in their description of what occurred. An example of one discrepancy, is that the
Dilbones were buried quickly and secretly because they had not been scalped, and the
settlers, knowing that the British paid the Indians a bounty for American scalps, thought
that they would return to take the scalps they had neglected to obtain. Another report,
apparently, indicates that Mrs. Dilbone was scalped at the scene.
'Indian' segment written in December, 1997 by David Lodge
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