1906, The Herald Company of Binghamton, Printers
Julia Anna Shepard, (publishing as Perkins, Mrs. George A)
Submitted by Deborah HUNTINGTON Smith
No Unauthorized Commercial Use may Be Made of This Material
See Also Welles, Early Tioga Point Chapter Six for more on Esther and Catherine Montour
The history of Queen Esther is one of remarkable interest. She led the Indians into the fort at the time it was surrendered; and presided at the fatal ring, of which Mrs. Durkee, an aged aunt, (See also the Hannah GORE Durkee Story) gives the following account: "Fifteen or sixteen of our men, who had been taken prisoners by the Indians, were assembled to receive their death-blow, by the hand of Queen Esther, a large, middle-aged Seneca squaw, who had such honors assigned her.
In this case, it was thought to be revenge for the death of her son, who was killed by the whites.
"Some of the prisoners made their escape from the ring; others attempted it, but were unsuccessful. Among these was George Gore, who had broken through the ring and ran for the river, but was overtaken by an Indian, who, with his knife and tomahawk, cut him to pieces. He was an active and handsome young man. His hat was picked up and taken to his friends at the fort."
The remaining twelve or more were murdered with the tomahawk, by the hand of this savage Queen, on the "Bloody Rock," which may still be seen.
Queen Esther’s residence was near Tioga Point. Her village was of considerable size, two or three miles below the present village of Athens, on the west side of the river, and within the township. It is said it contained about seventy houses, of rude form.
An expedition to Tioga was planned by Colonel Hartley, in September, after the battle, to destroy Indian towns and break up their hiding places.
With a small array of soldiers, they marched on their hazardous way toward Sheshequnnunck, where they took fifteen prisoners, killed and scalped a chief, and the rest fled. They made valuable discoveries, and moved rapidly towards Tioga Point.
Captain Spalding, afterwards known among us as General Spalding, of Sheshequin, had command of the 2d division. They were told that young Butler, a Tory, with his Royal Greens, had just fled from Tioga with 300 men, toward Cliemung, 14 miles off, where they were fortifying, and were 1,000 strong. Colonel Hartley was not prepared to meet them, and after burning Tioga, Queen Esther’s town, and palace, and all the Indian settlements in his way, crossing the "Sheshequin Path," he returned to Sunbury, where a vote of thanks was passed for Colonel Hartley and his brave men.
Captain Spalding is spoken of as having been efficient in that enterprise. They accomplished much, and brought speedy retribution upon Queen Esther and her associates, for. the untold misery they had inflicted upon Wyoming three month before.
Though savage in time of war, Queen Esther was represented as quiet and trustful in time of peace. After the war closed she was often passing from Tioga to Onondaga, unprotected. One time while Mrs. Durkee was residing in Scipio, N. Y., she came to her house in the evening, on her way to Onondaga, with a sister, who was much intoxicated, carrying a papoose upon her back, and inquired in broken English if they could stay there through the night and sleep on the kitchen floor; Mrs. D. being well acquainted with her, she was permitted to stay until morning, and then went on her way. It has excited some wonder how this Indian Queen came by her Jewish name. If, as some suppose, the Indians have descended from the lost tribes of Israel, it might thus be accounted for, or what is more probable, she might have derived it from the Moravian Missionaries, who had many stations among them, and whose names they often adopted. She married Tom Hill, an Indian as forbidding as herself, and after she left Tioga she went to Onondaga to reside.
Some writers have identified Catharine Monteur with Queen Esther, of Bloody Rock notoriety; others say this is improbable, and that the general supposition concerning Catharine is that she was the daughter of an early French Governor of Canada, taken captive when a child, afterwards becoming the wife of a Seneca Chief, and was a lady of comparative refinement. Her residence was at Seneca Lake. The Indian village called Catharine’s town, named for her, was destroyed by Sullivan’s army. She subsequently lived at Niagara.