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Indian Massacre of 1814

Indian Massacre of 1814 leaves seven dead


At the time of the war of 1812, a block house had been built at the residence of George Moore on the east branch of Wood River, where women and children were to take refuge in case of Indian attack. Although there was much anxiety, there had been no hostile contact with the Indians before this incident. On July 10, 1814, near the site of what is now the Fosterburg Road gate of the Alton Mental Health Center, seven persons were killed during and Indian raid. They were Mrs. Rachel Reagan, her children Elizabeth 7, and Timothy 3; William and Joel Moore, aged 10 and nine, sons of Capt. Abel and Mary Moore' and John and George, aged 10 and 3, sons of Mr. and Mrs. William Moore.

Reason Reagan had gone to church that Sunday afternoon, leaving hiis wife and childre at the house of Abel Moore. It was located about half a mile from his own home and about halfway to the blockhouse. Mrs. Reagan returned to her home, taking the children with her about 4 p.m., intending to return to the Abel Moore residence within a short time. Two men passing in the opposite direction later heard what they though was a boy's call, but they did not delay or try to find out what the made the noise. Instead, they hurried to the blockhouse.

At dusk, when the party did not return, William Moore and his wife went by separate routes to the Reagan's. He returned with the news that he had found a human body lying on the ground, but that he couldn't identify it because of his haste and the gathering darkness. Mrs. Moore found the massacre site, and reported seeing the figure of what she first thought was a child asleep. When she put our her hand she felt the flesh of a corpse from which the scalp had been torn. In the gloom she could see little Timothy Reagan sitting near his mother. As Mrs. Moore leaned over the child, he told her the "man raise hiss axe and cut them away." The sounded child died the next day.

During the night a messenger was sent to Ft. Russell near Edwardsville, and at the dawn the bodies were gathered for burial. With no men available to build coffins, the bodies were placed in the same grave, with boards laid beneath, beside and above the bodies. They had been taken on a one-horse sled to the burying ground, now Vaughn's cemetery.

The men, led by General Whitside of Ft. Russell, set out after the Indian raiders. The Indians catted in different directions, bu the settlers pursued them, and Mrs. Reagan's scalp was found in the shot pouch of an Indian killed by Abraham Pruitt. A treaty was signed with the Indians a little over one year later.

Reprinted from Bluff City Profiles Alton, Illinois 1837-1987 Sesquicentenial Commemorative Book

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