Re: Catherine Mellott and Can-Tuck-ee

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Posted by Elaine on January 23, 1999 at 00:15:00:

In Reply to: Catherine Mellott posted by Pat on January 21, 1999 at 13:21:40:

: Elaine,
: I want to know more about Simon's wife, Catherine Mellott.
: Pat

Hi Pat,

Catherine's life was interesting, as was her sister-in-law's.
Living on the frontier, they both experienced life in captivity while young. That's one way to see the world anyway!

In 1778, Catherine's father Peter uprooted his family from their Maryland home. They were headed west ... to Can-Tuck-ee. Surely their neighbors must have said; "There is a war going on. How is it you are headed west?" Subtle or sudden like, they turned west. Catherine was only 14 years old.

Abandoning most of their possessions, the Mellott/Malott family
traveled to the Monongahela where they met up with a Mr. Reynolds . They acquired two boats, one for their livestock & one for the families. Planning to follow the trail blazed only a couple of years earlier by Dan'l Boone, the Cumberland Trail, they continued on to the Ohio River. Here the two boats descended the Ohio, headed towards the Gap that would bring them to their destination ... Can-Tuck-ee.

However, while near the shore along a bend in the Ohio River, they were attacked by our favorite party crashers, the Huron - known as Wyandottes south of Canada. Bearing longue carabines, the Hurons fired upon the Reynolds & Malott families. Reynolds and a young child (his, I believe) were killed. Peter Malott, who steered the livestock boat, escaped. His children, there were five including two women ... girls, actually, were taken captive.
For 4 years the five Malott children lived among the Huron. Released in 1783, they hacked their way out of the wilderness, bearing their own children-selves all the way. They made it safely to that popular hopping 18th century resort town, Detroit.

Meanwhile, Peter made his way to Can-Tuck-ee. Then, believing his family to be dead, returned to Maryland and became the wife ... ooops! ... husband of another. Of the five children lost to Peter Malott that day, only one would ever again see their father ... Peter Jr.

1784, while still in Detroit, Catherine met Simon Girty. He was 43, she was 20. Considering the fear and hatred Girty's very name caused along the frontier, as well as his none so good reputation as a bloody, ruthless renegade, I wonder what the 20 year old Catherine Malott was thinking. (Well, he did 'save' Simon Kenton.) Was he her salvation? Her future? Did she lack marketable job skills? Maybe Ol' Simon wasn't quite as bad as we've heard tell. Or ... maybe she was defending him because she had become infatuated with him? At any rate ... she married him. (We could blame poor Simon's troubles and bad rep on his childhood ... after all, his mother reportedly did in Mr. Girty & took up with an overly neighborly neighbor.)

Catherine's brother Peter (Jr.) also married while in Detroit. His wife, Mary Jones, was another released captive, having begun her own adventures in the wilderness at age 10 ... yes, with the Huron. Detroit was becoming quite THE place to be for former Huron houseguests. Now, Mary ... she had some stories to tell!

And they all went to Canada where they lived ... ever after. Catherine & Mary are both good examples of strong, determined frontier women.

Makes you wonder what the heck Alice Munro was complaining about. A couple of days camping with Magua's boy scouts and she's ready to go sky diving. I mean, what was her problem?!!!


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