FLYNN-L ArchivesArchiver > FLYNN > 1998-10 > 0907889847
From: "Diana Flynn" <>
Subject: [FLYNN-L] Leesville, Lawrence Co., IN.
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 18:37:27 -0500
Taken from "History of Lawrence, Orange & Washington Counties, Indiana"
Goodspeed Bros. 1884 Chicago
THE FLINN TRAGEDY
In 1810 the Flinns and Guthries settled near Leesville, and built a fort
there for their protection. It stood about half a mile north of the
village. In March, 1815, after it was thought the Indian troubles were
over, and the usual vigilance had been relaxed, the fort was suddenly
attacked by a band of Pottawattomies from the North. The men were engaged
in felling a tree near by, and were fired upon ere they were aware of any
danger. John Guthrie was shot dangerously in the breast, the ball passing
through his body. He ran for the fort, and fell near the door, but was
promptly resuced by his wife, who almost in the muzzles of the Indian
rifles, ran bravely out and half carrried him within the walls. He
affterward recovered and lived to a green old age. Josiah Flinn was
attacked by several Indians, and though he fought desperately, was
tomahawked and scalped, but did not die for four days. Jacob Flinn, the
other of the three men whom the Indians attacked, was captured and marched
to the head waters of the Wabash River to the principal Pottawattomie
village. He was beaten and half starved, but escaped in a canoe down the
river one night, four months after his capture, and after incredible
hardships, rowing down the river at night, and sleeping in the day in
concealment, living on frogs, roots, ets., he finally reached Vincennes so
weak that he had to be helped out of the boat. He stated that he could
have escaped several times earlier, but would not until he could take
Gurhrie's ax, which had been carried off at the time of the attack. A good
ax was then a very rare and valuable piece of property. The above were the
only serious encounters with the Indians ever occuring in this county.
Taken from "The Flinns of 'Auld Ireland'" by Forrest W. Faris.
MASSACRE AT LEESVILLE, INDIANA. COPIED FROM AN OLD ACCOUNT, OWNED BY ANNIE
F. PERSINGER, WHO DIED IN 1948.
On the night of Nov. 7, 1811, the Flinn and Guthrie families, a score or
more, arrived at the present site of Leesville. Here they established the
first consequential settlement in Lawrence Co. They came from Virginia and
North Carolina. At first they built a fort to protect themselves from
Indian raids. Thye had been associates of Daniel and Squire Boone.
On March 13, 1813, the men were attacked by Indians. John Guthrie was shot
through the breast, the bullet imbedding itself in a nearby tree. Josiah
(Riley) Flinn was tomahawked and scalped - his skull crushed at the first
blow, while Jacob Flinn, a mere youth, was bound hand and foot and tied to
one of the horses. At the first alarm, Elizabeth Flinn Guthrie ran out
from the fort, seized her husband whom the Indians thought to be mortally
wounded, and helped him into the fort. It is doubtful if a more heroic act
has ever been recorded than that of Elizabeth Flinn Guthrie, wife of John
It came a hard rain that night, which to the panic-stricken families, must
have seemed an age. At daybreak the family ventured to the scene of the
attack. They found Josiah Flinn, still living, but unconscious - no
possible hope of recovery. Young Jacob Flinn could nowhere be found. The
Indians took him to their camp, but later he came back, starved and
mistreated until he weighed only 70 pounds. His almost lifeless body was
lifted out of a canoe at Vincennes. He was cared for, given a horse, and a
suit of clothes, and eventually arrived at Leesville.
John Flinn, a boy, rode the only remaining hourse and came to Salem for Dr.
Lamb, who went back with him and treated John Gurhrie, who after a long
illness, got well.
NOTE: The above article refers to Jacob Flinn as "a mere youth". He was
actually about 33 or 43 years of age when the Massacre occured. (born ca.
1770-80 based on 1840 census that lists him between 60 & 70). Mr. Faris
has that he was born ca. 1760-62 making him 43 to 45 at the time of the
The Elizabeth Flinn Guthrie mentioned is Jacob's daughter. The Josiah
Riley Flinn that was killed in the massacre was a son of Jacob. He was
born ca. 1800. Some accounts say that he was a brother of Jacob.
|[FLYNN-L] Leesville, Lawrence Co., IN. by "Diana Flynn" <>|