Moodua Creek

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    Moodua is an evolution, through Murdy’s and Moodna, from Murderer’s Creek, its present inexpressive name having been given to it by N. P. Willis. One Murdock lived on its shore with his wife, two sons, and a daughter; and often in the evening Naoman, a warrior of a neighboring tribe, came to the cabin, caressed the children, and shared the woodman’s hospitality. One day the little girl found in the forest an arrow wrapped in snake-skin and tipped with crow’s feather; then the boy found a hatchet hanging by a hair from a bough above the door; then a glare of evil eyes was caught for an instant in a thicket. Naoman, when he came, was reserved and stern, finding voice only to warn the family to fly that night; so, when all was still, the threatened family made its way softly, but quickly, to the Hudson shore, and embarked for Fisher’s Kill, across the river.

    The wind lagged and their boat drew heavily, and when, from the shade of Pollopel’s Island, a canoe swept out, propelled by twelve men, the hearts of the people in the boat sank in despair. The wife was about to leap over, but Murdock drew her back; then, loading and firing as fast as possible, he laid six of his pursuers low; but the canoe was savagely urged forward, and in another minute every member of the family was a helpless captive. When the skiff had been dragged back, the prisoners were marched through the wood to an open spot where the principal members of the tribe sat in council.

    The sachem arose, twisted his hands in the woman’s golden hair, bared his knife, and cried, “Tell us what Indian warned you and betrayed his tribe, or you shall see husband and children bleed before your eyes.” The woman answered never a word, but after a little Naoman arose and said, “‘Twas I;” then drew his blanket about him and knelt for execution. An axe cleft his skull. Drunk with the sight of blood, the Indians rushed upon the captives and slew them, one by one. The prisoners neither shrank nor cried for mercy, but met their end with hymns upon their lips, and, seeing that they could so meet death, one member of the band let fall his arm and straight became a Christian. The cabin was burned, the bodies flung into the stream, and the stain of blood was seen for many a year in Murderer’s Creek.

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