In the course of human and Divine events, several children were born to them. Tom, Jr., the first born, grew up to manhood - was large, bony, muscular, with a keen eye and of indomitable courage. He has been described as tall, broad-shouldered, the very ideal of strength; had high cheek bones, deep gray eyes, shading off into hazel; his nose was large and slightly bent, like the eagle's beak; his face was covered with scraggy beard and whiskers, and his brown hair sticking out in long mats from under his coon-skin cap, made him rather a rough-looking representative of the early settlers of the Delaware. His playmates were the Indians of the Delaware Valley. He became familiar with their language, engaged in many of their sports, hunted and fished with them and soon became expert in the use of the rifle, so much so that when hunting for game, if he could not blow off the head of a wild turkey in its flight with a ball from his trusty rifle, he said he did not want such a bird.
Although the wealth and social position of the Quicks were such that young Tom would have been welcome anywhere, his tastes led him in another direction. The forest-life and the companionship of the Indians were much more to his liking, and in his younger days, while his brothers and sisters were attending such schools as were there in those primitive times, or later in life, passing a social evening at home or at a neighbor's, Tom was off hunting or trapping with the Indians. In those exploits he became familiar with the Delaware River, its branches and head-waters, which he had traced to their fountain head. And the knowledge thus acquired proved of vast benefit to him in after years.
At the time of which we now speak, various tribes or families of Indians were living along the banks of the Delaware and its tributaries. They came frequently to the house of the elder Quick, in whom they reposed the utmost confidence, and they were always treated with liberality at his table. They greatly fancied young Tom, little dreaming what they would receive at his hands in time to come. They made him presents of feathers and plumes and taught him many of their ways. Thus, as I have said, he became an adept in many of their sports.
But this friendliness did not long continue. While the Indians were thus enjoying the open hearted hospitality of the Quicks, and some of them even living in the family, there were other influences at work which led the Indians to break off from the kindness thus shown to them. They were alarmed at the increasing demands and encroachments of the whites; they claimed this country as their hunting ground; many of their friends and chiefs had died and were buried there, their spirits gone to the Great Hunting Ground, their bodies reposing beneath the sod of their homes; they were afraid that the pale face man would soon occupy their beloved homes unless some steps were taken to prevent, and thus, after a time, they were plotting for the destruction of the entire white population of the Delaware Valley. This change of feeling on the part of the Indians was soon noticed by the Quicks, who, while they remained friendly, did not mingle with the Indians as theretofore, and young Tom left their society and became more domesticated in his father's family. While thus situated an event occurred which changed his whole being and nature into undying hatred of his late dusky friends.
The destruction of the whites at Milford had been planned, and the Indians were secretly watching an opportunity to put their plan into execution. Unsuspecting of this treachery, the Quicks went about their work and lands unarmed. One day, the elder Quick, his son Tom, and, as one author says, his brother, and another author, his brother-in-law, Solomon Decker, went up the river, which was then frozcn, being in the winter time, to cut hoop-poles for their use. They were unarmed and were soon engaged in that occupation. As they were at that work, they proceeded around a ridge near the bank, and were there discovered by a party of Indians in ambush, a little below where the stream Van de Mark empties into the Delaware. When the Quicks came near enough in their work, the Indians fired a volley and a ball from a rifle, fired by an Indian by the name of Muswink or Modeline, mortally wounded Tom's father. The only hope of the party was to fly, and they started and attempted to carry their father with them. He told them that, as he was dying, to leave him and try and escape to save the family. They then left him and made for an escape, which was across the Delaware, on the ice, in full view of the Indians, who were well used to sharp shooting. They were good runners, but before they had reached the middle of the river the Indians appeared on the bank, yelling like demons. Tom and his brother (or brother-in-law) after leaving the father, had sought the cover of an over-hanging rock and were some distance away before the Indians could get a shot, and by running in an oblique direction and then in a zig-zag direction, keeping far apart, the shots of the Indians did not have any effect, except a ball hit Tom on his heel and knocked his foot from under him and he fell. Then the Indians set up a terrific yell. But Tom was soon on his feet and running. Both parties escaped; and finding that they were not pursued, turned cautiously back to see what became of their father. They heard the scalping war-whoop and saw the rejoicing of the Indians over his prostrate form. It was at this moment that Tom, rendered almost frantic at what he saw, resolved that he would avenge the death of his father. After the Indians had departed, they gathered up the remains of their father and gave them a Christian burial, and when all that was mortal of the elder Quick was consigned to the earth, Tom, taking his knife in his right hand and his rifle in his left, looking up to Heaven, exclaimed:
"By the point of the knife in my right hand and the deadly bullet in my left;
By Heaven and all that there is in it and by earth and all that there is on it;
By the love I bore my father; here on this grave I swear eternal vengeance against the whole Indian race.
I swear to kill all and spare none; the old man with his silver hair; the lisping babe without teeth; the mother quick with child and the maiden in the bloom of youth shall die."
A voice from my father's grave cries, "Revenge! Eternal Revenge!"
Allerton, in his work heretofore referred to, says: "Standing on Hawk's Nest (a lofty peak some ways above Port Jervis) and looking southwest, you see Pilot Knob towering hundreds of feet ahove the surrounding hills; at the northwest rise the carbon moulitains that furnish us with the coal, and above all towers Mt. Ararat, where it rains or snows every day during the year; and that direction also brings into view the rocky fortress where Tom Quick, the Indian slayer, dug his cave and lay in ambush to wreak his vengeance on his deadly foe.
Tom seldom talked and only to hunters or to those upon whom he could rely to keep his secrets; but he talked a great deal to himself and his gun, which he named "Long Tom." It was of the largest size, 7 feet, 4 inches long and carried a ball an inch in diameter. It was an old saying that when one of Tom's bullets went through an Indian it made two windows in him and a hall between. He carried that gun until the stock was almost worn through; in all his adventures with the Indians, he managed to retain possession of it as long as he lived. It has been cut down to five feet and is now in the possession of James M. Allerton, at Matamoras, Pa.
Tom was seldom seen in the settlements and then only long enough to procure powder and ball, which was his chief stock in trade. From the Indians that he killed from time to time, he became possessed of their arms and ammunitions, which he secreted in old hollow trees at different places in the forests.
Allerton states that Tom talked to his gun and himself and gives the following as a fair sample of his soliloquies. He had been out hunting and returned to his cabin one evening, hung up a saddle of venison, in a corner, and looking toward the east where he saw the full moon, thus spake: "This is rather a nice evening; let me see; it is full moon; a good coon night. What do you say, Long Tom," raising his gun, "how would you like to drop one of those red coons before morning? I would, and that would make just 87 red devils that I have sent to the Spirit Land since Muswink murdered my father. Tell me, oh ye stars," looking up; "for what was my father murdered? For being a friend to the Indians - for furnishing them with shelter and food - for being a good man, a kind neighbor, a God-fearing and God-loving man. My father, you sleep on the banks of the Delaware; only your body lies there, your spirit is here, there, everywhere; it is now hovering around me; it is continually whispering in my ear, Revenge! Revenge! It is God's will that your death should be avenged; it is God's will that your son Tom should he the avenger. For this I have left home and the comforts of civilized life and burrowed in the ground like a rabbit."
The same author continues: "The spot where his father fell beneath the ball and the scalping knife of the Indians was a Carthagenian Altar to him. Hamlicar Barca brought his son, Hannibal, to the Altar of the gods that he "might swear eternal enmity to Rome."
Tom's consecration to the destruction of the race, whose warriors had wrought the death of his father, lacked indeed the forms of religious rites, but possessed the substance; and no more steadily on a wider field did the son of Hamlicar follow out the pledges of his youth than did Tom. Quick pressed on to the fulfillment of his vow of vengeance, thinking as he did that the blood of the whole Indian race was not suflicient to atone for the blood of his father. His oath was not violated. He lived to see the day when he could traverse the Delaware River from one end to the other without encountering a red man.
The incidents following in the life of Tom Quick may not he related in the chronological order in which they occurred, nor are they all of the tragic events of his life, but enough for you to judge of the mettle of the man and to give an opinion as to how well he kept his vow. I am not here to justify his conduct or to condemn it. I am here to narrate facts as far as I have been able to ascertain them. In general, if he heard the report of a gun or rifle, when he was out hunting, he managed to creep cautiously in the rear of where the sound proceeded from, and was generally rewarded by seeing an Indian busily engaged in skinning a deer or hear; a ball from his rifle sent the Indian to his long hunting ground.
It happened on one occasion that Tom was wandering off in the woods without his rifle - something unusual for him - when he unexpectedly met an armed Indian. Tom addressed him in a friendly way and they were soon conversing freely. After a while, he said, "Brother Indian, would you like to see Tom Quick?"
"Yes, indeed I would," said the Indian; "I have heard of him."
"Well," said Tom, "I will show him to you pretty soon."
So they walked on till they came to a very high ledge of rocks; and when they were on the brink, Tom told the Indian to wait a few minutes and he would show him to him. Tom went to the edge of the ledge and peered over the roadway below and watched for some time and then told the Indian to take his place. The Indian readily did so, cocked his rifle, and asked, "Where is he?"
"There! There!" said Tom, motioning with his hand so that the Indian would reach his head and shoulders over the precipice to see him in order to shoot him. He looked and peered and did not see any one.
"Where is he?" again queried the red man.
"A little further; lean a little further," said Tom, and the Indian leaned over as far as he could without losing his balance, and looked in the direction that Tom had pointed. Then Tom quickly got behind him and grasping him by the shoulders, said, "Shoot me! Shoot me!" and instantly hurled the Indian over the ledge, where he was dashed to pieces on the rocks below.
Another time Tom was surprised in his sleep by two Indians. They bound him and plundered his cabin and set out for their own home along the Delaware. One walked ahead with Tom's belongings, Tom next with his hands tied behind him, and then the second Indian, with both rifles, one of which was cocked in readiness for any emergency. When they reached a high ledge, they were obliged to take a dangerous path near the edge of the rocks. When they got to the place where the path was very narrow, Tom feigned dizziness and would not go any further, although beaten severely by the two Indians. He leaned against the bank on the upper side and shuddered when he looked down on the rocks and river below. The Indian behind him endeavored to push him along, when, by a quick movement, Tom got behind him and the next moment he was making an air line descent towards the river, and lodged in the forks of a tree. Both rifles fell into the river. The fallen Indian called loudly to his companion to come down and help him out. Tom took to his heels and ran, though with his hands bound behind him, like a deer, to his cabin.
As was said, Tom was in the habit of secreting rifles and ammunition taken from his fallen foes, in hollow trees and other such places, and they served him to good advantage as the following incident will disclose. He was once captured by two Indians who were taking him off by the Grassy Brook route. Grassy Brook is near Barryville, Sullivan Co., New York, across the Delaware River from Shohola. His arms were tied with deer skin thongs, and as they were travelling in the rain. Tom was rejoiced to know that the thongs had stretched, and afterwards became so loose that he could, whenever he wished, free his hands. This fact he secretly kept from the Indians. After travelling along for a while they came near a large chestnut tree, in the hollow of which Tom had, some time before, placed some rifles, powder and ball. He now expressed a desire to go behind that tree and gave such a good reason that the savages consented, but they stood in the path with their gulls cocked so as to be ready against any effort on Tom's part to escape. Once behind the tree, his actions were not seen by the Indians and with great rapidity he loaded two of the guns, and shot one of the savages dead, and the other, in attempting to get behind a tree, never reached it.
Once Tom was the guest of John Showers, who lived in the town of Lumberland, in the County of Sullivan, with three or four other white men, who were hunters. One evening an Indian entered and asked to stay all night. They said he could stay. That pleased Tom, for here was another opportunity to send another red man to his hunting ground. The evening passed pleasantly, and after a long chat around the open fireplace, they wrapped themselves in their blankets and lay down on the floor and were soon all fast asleep except Tom, who remained awake for the purpose he had in his mind. When the loud breathing told that they were all fast asleep, Tom got up, secured his rifle, and the hunters were aroused by its report and found the savage dead in their midst. Tom had fled. This murder was concealed for many years.
Upon another occasion, Tom was at work in a field, when he was accosted by an unarmed Indian, who told him he had discovered "Something over there," pointing to the woods; that he very much wished Tom would go with him and see. Tom quit his work and walked along with the Indian. He noticed, however, what a pleased expression the Indian had, and this put him on his guard. The Indian had hid his gun in the woods and wanted to coax Tom to go in the woods unarmed, when he could kill him. As they were walking along Tom stooped to pick up a hemlock knot, thinking it might be of service to him in a rough-and-tumble encounter, which the Indian seeing, suddenly sprang upon him and they then and there engaged in a fight for life. Tom at last came off victorious, leaving the Indian dead on the field; but he was so exhausted that he could hardly get back to the house where he was stopping. He often spoke of this incident as the hardest struggle of his life.
One more incident - the shooting of Muswink - and I am done with them. Not long after the happening of the event last narrated, a number of people were assembled at a county tavern kept by a man by the name of Decker, not far from Carpenter's Point, discussing neighborhood events. Among them were the Cuddebacks, the Gumaers and the Swartwouts. Peace had been proclaimed. Muswink suddenly appeared and said, "Here you be all. Come and drink with the Indian that killed and scalped old Tom Quick. Come along all of you. The war is over and the hatchet is buried."
He was told not to be too sure that the hatchet was buried; that his son Tom still lived and with him the hatchet was never buried. Some further conversation took place, indicating that Tom might take his scalp if he met him. Muswink replied that he was ready for him, and that he could handle him as easy as he did his father. Just then Tom entered and Muswink said: "Ugh, he looks just like his father." A war of words ensued. Tom was out of humor and the savage somewhat under the influence of liquor and began to boast of his exploits in the late war and of his participation in the killing of Tom's father. He said that he tore the scalp from his head with his own hand. Tom was out of humor and seized a chair, but was prevented from striking him by those present. Muswink then gave a particular account of the whole affair and went through with all the motions and grimaces that Tom's father did in his dying moments, and interspersed the narrative with unfeeling and irreverent remarks. Tom was going to make for him, but was told that no blood could be shed there. Muswink told him to come on - that he could pull off his shirt as easily as he did his father's sleeve buttons. showing the same. This was too much for the son; he could control himself no longer, and seizing a rifle which was hanging on hooks on the beams above, cocked it and presented it to the breast of the savage and told him to march. "March where?" said the Indian, now realizing for the first time his danger. The word "March," was repeated, and Muswink sullenly left the house followed by Tom with his gun ready to shoot in case he tried to escape.
After driving him several miles on the road towards Huguenot and reaching a thick cluster of pines, Muswink turned and asked Tom if he meant to shoot him. "Yes, you Indian dog! You shot my father and you kill no more white men." Muswink said that the war was over and peace was declared. The son told him that the war was not over with him; that he had vowed to drive the last red skin from the Delaware Valley and that he was the last. Tom's gun spoke and Muswink was no more. Tom then took possession of the sleeve buttons that had belonged to his father, dragged the body under the upturned roots of a tree, kicked some loose dirt over it, returned to the tavern, placed the gun on the hooks and left the neighborhood. Several years afterwards, the bones were exhumed hy Philip Decker, on lands lately belonging to Abram J. Cuddeback, while plowing this land and he gave them a Christian burial.
Smith, in "legends of the Shawangunk," says: "It does not appear that any attempt was made to arrest Tom for this murder of Muswink; if any such were instituted he eluded them. The frontiersmen generally applauded his action, believing the aggravating circumstances under which he acted were a full and sufficient justification."
Allerton in his "Hawk's Nest," says: "That after the death of Muswink, the authorities attempted to arrest Tom and bring him to trial, not that they thought him guilty of any serious crime, but that he might be the means of bringing on another Indian war. Most of the people justified the killing of Muswink. First, because he was the murderer of Tom's father, and second, the provocation given by Muswink at Decker's tavern. But at last he was arrested, tied and put into a sleigh and taken to Newton, where he was tried for murder; but with the assistance of some friends, he managed to escape and made for the Delaware, crossed it, made for the west bank, where he was concealed and fed by his friends for two months, and then made his appearance in public again, and died at the house of Jacobus Rosencrantz in 1796. As Hamlet says:
"How stand I then, That have a father killed?"
Now, you may ask, what excuse was there for all these crimes? To answer that question we must take into consideration the times when these events occurred. It was during the breaking out of the French and Indian War, when it was an easy matter for the French to arouse the Indians to fight against the settlers and drive them back from entering on their lands. This led to the breaking up of the friendship which at first existed between the whites and Indians around the Delaware from the Water Gap to Lackawaxen, until they determined to drive the white man from their hunting grounds. Tom's father was treacherously murdered; from that time Tom Quick was a changed man. It is said that his niece, Maggie, once asked his mother, "What makes Tom act so queer and stay away from home so much?" She replied, "The murder of his father has turned his head."
Gardner, in his "Life of Quick," says: "It was this sad event that fired the heart of the bereaved and frantic son. Tom was transformed. He was from that tune forward known as "The Indian Slayer," or as he called himself, "The Avenger of the Delaware." But, though rough in his manner, having been accustomed from infancy as much to Indian as to civilized life, he had a heart which beat with the warmest affection toward all his kindred, especially towards his father."
As I stated he was born in 1734 and died in 1796, and therefore lived through the tragic times of the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars. He lived at a time when the life of an enemy was cheap; and, as Allerton in his book says, "The strongest proof that Tom's actions were approved by the people and that he was looked upon by the settlers as a protector of their homes and the guardian of their wives and children, is the fact that he was always welcome to their houses and a plate for him placed at their table. Not only this, but the fact that they universally screened him from the Government officers. In a word, they were proud to think that one of their number had the courage to face the whole Indian nation of the red skins. His life and character have been published to the world. Historians have eulogized his merits. Dramatists have exemplified his life and character on the stage, and the descendants of the early settlers have raised a monument over this dust in his native town at the spot where he was born to perpetuate his memory."
Old age at last overtook him and he retired to the house of Jacobus Rosenrcrantz sometime after his arrest for the shooting of Muswink, and died there. It is said that he died of the smallpox and was buried near there; that the Indians learning where he was buried dug up some of his remains, distributed them among the various tribes, and gloated over them, and that the smallpox broke out among them, and that like Samson of old, "He slew more in his death than in his life."
His bones were dug up and on the 28th day of August, 1889, his descendants unveiled a monument to his memory in the presence of a thousand persons. This monument stands in a street 60 feet wide, one of the leading pleasure drives of Milford, Pa. Near by is the stream, the Van de Mark, which comes for a distance among the hills at the north and west and empties into the Delaware at Milford Eddy. There are several inscriptions and emblems on the monument.
On the side looking east, there is an emblem of a wreath, and on the die it is stated that Tom Quick was the first white child born within the limits of the Borough of Milford; on the base next the die is "Tom Quick, the Indian Slayer" or "The Avenger of the Delaware." On the side of the monument looking south, is a tomahawk, canoe paddle, scalping knife, wampum, and an inscription which states that, maddened by the death of his father, he never abated his hostility to the Indians till his death, 40 years afterwards. On the base next the die, it states the time and place of his death; that he was buried on the farm of James Rosencrantz on the banks of the Delaware five miles from this spot, on what is now "The Rose Cemetery," two miles south of Matamoras; that his remains were taken up on the 110th anniversary of the Battle of Minisink, July 22nd, 1889, and placed beneath this monument. On the north side on the shaft is a plow, and an inscription stating where his father came from and when he settled there; that he was the first white settler in this part of the upper Delaware, and that his log cabin, saw mill and grist mill were the first structures erected by white men in the settlement of this region. On the base is a statement that after a peaceful residence of twenty years with the Indians, Thomas Quick, was shot and scalped by his supposed friends who were lying in ambush along the bluff on the south side of the mouth of the Van de Mark, and a half mile east of his home. On the west side is "Old Glory" on a standard partly unfurled, and on the die is an inscription which states that this monument was erected by a descendant of Thomas Quick of the fourth generation; in youth, a resident of Milford; in age, one of the founders of the Chicago Tribune, who was from 1865 to 1869, Lieut. Governor of Illinois, and also an inscription which reads: "Done under the direction of Rev. A. S. Gardner, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Milford, 1889."
Suppose we think a little more about the life of this man. His actions seem bitter, almost brutal, but that only shows how deeply seated had become the hate that the early settlers had for the savages. The experiences through which Tom Quick passed will somewhat palliate or excuse the severity of his actions. His father had been killed and scalped by those whom he thought were his friends. He had been hunted by the Indians and often barely escaped. He had sent many of the Indians to their last hunting ground. Experience has made it manifest that where humanity is subject for a long time to the control of certain ideas, whether kind or cruel, "man's nature soon becomes merely an exponent of the principles in obedience to which it has acted." He lived through times that tried men's souls; times when the red man was ever scalping, tomahawking, and otherwise killing all within his reach; when the warrior Brandt and his followers laid many a patriot in the dust; when the burning of homes and robbery and plundering were riding broadcast through the land - the savage showing no mercy to frail woman or tender child; when it was the act of prudence and safety on the part of the settlers to protect themselves by the musket or the rifle.
No wonder to me is it, then, that the subject of this sketch should have vowed and endeavored to do away with as many of his country's enemies as he could. To indulge a little in the less sad phase of his actions, it may be that he was a good old Presbyterian of the John Calvin stripe, and firmly believed in foreordination, and acted like one of our colonial ancestors, who was also a good, blue John Calvin Presbyterian, and lived in the time of which we are speaking. He was remonstrated with for carrying his rifle with him whenever he went out to work in his fields. He was told that he believed in foreordination and that he wouldn't die till his time came, and there was no use of his taking his rifle with him. "Ah, yes," he said, "that is so, but there might happen to come along an Indian whose time had been foreordained to die then, and I do not wish to disappoint the decrees of Providence." Let us rejoice that we do not live in such trying times; that the spirit of civilization, following in the footsteps of our Christian religion, has made it possible, under God in whom we trust," for us to dwell under "our own vine and fig tree, none daring to molest or make us afraid." Let us hope that the scalping knife, the tomahawk and the assassin's steel have forever gone from this fair land of ours, and that the grand old flag, the Stars and Stripes may continue "to wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave;" that the spirit of peace, brotherly love and "good will to men" may continue to permeate all lands; that war may cease; that strife and turmoil and everything that tends to mar the happiness of all nations may be done away, so that the end shall come - the end of all our strifes, animosities and ill-feelings; when the glory of God shall sparkle in the minutest atom and in the brightest star, in the dew drop and in the boundless ocean; and this earth, retuned and restrung, shall be one grand Aeolian harp, swept by the breath of the Holy Spirit, which shall pour forth those melodies which began on Calvary and shall sound throughout all generations. Let me close by repeating a few verses sung by Miss Maggie Quick, heretofore referred to after their escape from capture by the Indians, and note, please, the seemingly prophetic spirit therein displayed - her faith in God and the fulfillment of the prophecy in our day.
Where Spring in his beauty saw plenty and joy;
The death-dealing savage came down in his fury, And all that was lovely, he rushed to destroy.
"When sated his nature with blood and with plunder,
He left for the wildwoods beside the Great Lakes;
There vengeance from Heaven shall surely o'ertake him, For 'westward, the course of our empore takes.'
"While we mourn for the dear ones whose homes are now vacant,