| America First|
|by Lawton B. Evans|
|Collection of one hundred action-packed stories, covering the range of American history, from the first visit of Leif the Lucky to the exploits of Sergeant York in World War I. In relating the long, thrilling story of the trials and triumphs of the pioneers and patriots, the author aims to gratify the love of children for the dramatic and picturesque, to satisfy them with stories that are true, and to make them familiar with the great characters in the history of their own country. Ages 8-12 |
HOW DETROIT WAS SAVED
 AT the close of the French and Indian War, the town of Detroit was garrisoned by about three hundred men, under
command of Major Gladwyn. All appearance of conflict was at an end. The Indians seemed to be most friendly,
and were allowed to approach the fort without interference, for the purpose of trade and conference.
Pontiac, however, a noted Indian Chief, conceived a plan for capturing the fort, and murdering the garrison.
He approached with a band of Indians, and camped a short distance away. He sent word to the Governor, Major
Gladwyn, that he would like to come into the fort to trade and to have a talk. The Governor replied that he
would be glad to have so famous a Chief, and his warriors, pay him a visit; and he fixed the day for their
reception. He had no idea that they meditated treachery, and was really anxious to secure their good-will and
The evening before the meeting, an Indian woman, who had been employed by Major Gladwyn to make him a pair of
moccasins out of elk skin, brought them in. They were beautiful, and Major Gladwyn was so pleased with them
 thought he would like to give them to a friend. He therefore told the Indian woman to take the rest of the elk
skin, and make him another pair.
He then paid what he owed her, and dismissed her. The woman went to the door, but no further. She held back as
if she had something more to say. Upon being questioned why she did not hurry home, she hesitated a while, and
then replied, "You have been very good to me. You have given me work and have paid me for it. I do not want to
take away the elk skin, for I may never see you again to give you the shoes you want me to make."
The Governor insisted upon knowing why she felt this way, and, after much persuasion and many promises that no
harm should ever befall her, she confided to him that Pontiac and his band had formed a plot to kill all the
garrison, during the visit they were about to pay the following day; after which they planned to plunder the
She told the Governor also that the Indians had shortened their gun stocks, so as the better to conceal them
under their blankets. At a given signal, they were to rise and fire, first upon the Governor himself, and then
upon every soldier in sight. Other Indians in the town were to be
 armed likewise, and, at the sound of firing, were to begin a general murder and burning.
This was a terrible story, and the Governor began at once to make preparations for thwarting the plans of
Pontiac and his Indian warriors. He sent the woman away, called out all the soldiers, and armed them heavily.
He gave every man directions what to do, and told all the traders in town to be in readiness to repel any
About ten o'clock, Pontiac arrived, his warriors covered with heavy blankets. The Governor and his officers
received them cheerfully. Pontiac was surprised to see so many soldiers on guard, and gathered in the streets.
So he asked why it was. The Governor replied, "I drill them every day to keep them ready for service." Pontiac
was disconcerted by the number, but said nothing further.
He then began his speech of friendship and good will, saying he never intended to harm the English any more,
but always expected to live in peace with them. He desired his warriors to have free access to Detroit,
promising no danger to the people. He was about to hand the Governor a belt of wampum, which was the signal
for attack, but Gladwyn turned upon him suddenly, and said,
"You are a traitor, and are not to be believed; see this evidence of your deceit!" He tore aside
 the Chief's blanket, revealing the shortened gun concealed beneath it. The soldiers thereupon seized the
blankets of the other warriors, and laid bare all the guns ready for their foul design.
The Indians were thus taken by surprise, and gave no signal to their companions outside. The Governor told
Pontiac that the English had means of discovering all their plots, and that everything they did was sure to be
known at once. He then led the much astonished Chief and his band to the gates of the fort, and ordered them
never again to return for trade or conference. He spared their lives, but the next time he promised there
would be no mercy.
By evening all the Indians had been driven out of the town, and the gates were closed and guarded. Pontiac
never discovered that Detroit was saved by the timely warning of a grateful woman, but ever afterwards he
believed that the English had a way of knowing whatever plan he made for their destruction.
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