Summer has not always been the season of horse shows, family picnics and riding roller coasters. For John Minor, my great ^5^ uncle, summer was a harrowing time of enemy movements and secret attacks. Captain Minor was stationed during the summer of 1777 at Fort Stadler on the western frontier where Pennsylvania and West Virginia now meet. The men of the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment were part of the Continental Army, charged with keeping the region safe from Indians and settlers sympathetic to the Crown.
On the 14th July at 8 o’clock, Captain Minor wrote to his commanding officer, Colonel Morgan, the following:
This minute Alex’r Clegg came in great haste, who escaped the shot of a number of Indians while we were getting ready to go after them John March and Jacob Jones came in and say that they think they saw at least 20 and followed them, but they escaped. The Indians fired at Jacob Farmers House. Two men and a boy were kill’d, a young woman and two children missing. It is supposed that he is killed, and Nathan Winley and two of Jacob Jones’ Children and a Daughter of Farmer’s, we shall march after them in less than an hour. The truth may be relied on.
John Minor, Captain
As our summer is blown into fall, I have to work hard to imagine the tension these early settlers and soldiers felt that 1777 season. The exercise helps me keep life real–see the good, grab the love, endure the fear–its all part of life and the opportunities we have in a democratic experiment.