The Legend Of Murder Creek

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In the spring of the early '20's a white man named John Dolph came from the Mohawk country and built his cabin a stone's throw from what is now known as "Murder Creek." Here Dolph, with Peter Van Deventer, intended to build a sawmill.

On a certain October evening, Mr. Dolph spread his mill plans on his kitchen table in order to discuss them with his wife. Suddenly a piercing shriek was heard in the woods outside. The cry was repeated again and sounded nearer. Flinging open the door Dolph saw the figure of an Indian girl rushing towards his cabin. Dashing in, she fell to the floor moaning breathlessly, "Oh, save me, save me!!"

Dolph closed and barred the door and almost immediately the burly voice of a man was heard. "Let me in! Let me in!" he cried as he threw his weight against the door.

Mr. Dolph stalls the man and at the same time motioned to his wife to conceal the girl.

Mrs. Dolph lifted up the trapped door and led the trembling girl into the mouth of a cavern. Dolph, with musket in hand, then asked the intruder what business he had.

"My name is Sanders," said the man, "and the girl is a prisoner, whom I am to deliver to the authorities at Grand River, Canada. Her father, a chief, placed her in my hands, because she wishes to marry a bad Indian. Now let me in, gentleman, please."

Mr. Dolph unbarred the door and Sanders entered and search the cabin for the Indian girl. When he could not find her, he flew into a rage and muttered, "She shall not escape me; I shall find her yet!" He then walked out into the darkness, and hid himself to watch if he could see any suspicious actions at the house.

Mr. and Mrs. Dolph crept out to the mouth of the cavern, unaware that they were watched by Sanders. There they found the Indian girl, asleep from pure exhaustion. She awakens and told them the story of her unhappy adventure.

"My name," said the girl, "is Ah-weh-hah, which in the language of the pale-face is Wild-Rose. My home is near Spirit Lake, under the cliff about a mile below the Tonawanda Falls.

"My mother has been dead for several years, and my poor father, who is chief of the Senecas and is named 'The Great Fire,' has been murdered by Sanders.

"For more than a year this dreadful man has been hovering around Spirit Lake, urging me to marry him. My Toh-yoh-ne, or Gray Wolf in your language, however, is very dear to me and I was to become his wife very soon. Sanders told me that rather to see me the wife of the Seneca brave, he would murder me and all who stood in his way.

"In order to avoid trouble my father said he would take me to the Cattaraugus Nation, where Gray Wolf would join me.

"It was this morning that my dear father told me to prepare for a journey to Cattaraugus. We soon started on foot, taking the old trail, leading on to the Te-os-ah-wah, a place called "Buffalo" by your people.

"We reached the De-on-go-te Gah-hun-da and sat down to rest, when suddenly we saw Sanders close upon the trail behind us.

"My poor aged father trembled with fear and apprehension, but Sanders seem to have relented, and was sorry for his past conduct. He smilingly came forward and said he had made up his mind to cease trying to persuade me to marry him; that he hoped I would be happy with Gray Wolf: that he had decided to leave all behind and seek a home in the far West; that he hoped that all was forgiven and forgotten; and that he was even now on his way to the great unknown West, he would like to accompany us as far as On-tar-o-ga.

"The man spoked so pleasantly that we were deceived and allowed him to travel with us. Presently we came accustomed camping-place and ate our evening meal.

"I had arisen and was looking eastward where I thought I saw a light across the head of the valley. At that instant I heard a blow struck, followed by a groan, and quickly turning I saw my poor father laying dead on the ground, with that fiend Sanders standing over with an uplifted club in his hands.

"I fled into the forest with the mad man close behind me, brandishing his club and vowing he would kill me, too. As I ran I fled toward the light I had seen. I ran until I came upon the bridge over the Wun-ni-pa-tuc and there your light was in plain view. As I ran I cried, 'Save me,' when your door was suddenly open for me with the fiend not ten steps behind me. You know the rest."

Wild-Rose was a beautiful, refined, and soft-voiced maiden, and the Dolphs resolved to keep and protect her.

When the morning came Dolph and Van Deventer buried the remains of the victim of Sander's treachery. The murderer had taken the Buffalo stage at midnight. When Dolph returned home he found the Indian girl delirious.

The news reached the ears of Gray Wolf, and he hastened to the refuge of his unhappy sweetheart, and together they journeyed to her father's grave. They chanted the death song, as a last token of their affection. A grave fire was lighted and the sacred tobacco incense rose to lift the burden of the prayer to the Maker-of-All.

Suddenly Sanders jumped from the underbrush, ax in hand, and Wolf grabbed his Tomahawk. Then began a terrible struggle. Losing their weapons in the fray, each grabbed their hunting knives and tore each other's flesh until the blood ran down in gushing streams, and the white man fell backwards, dead. Wolf tried to speak to comfort his horrified sweetheart, but instead he staggered forward and fell. He too had perished at the graveside of her father.

Mr. Dolph heard the cry and ran the quarter mile to find what new tragedy had occurred. There he found the unhappy Wild Rose, on her knees, swaying back and forth as she moaned between her sobs the death chant. Incoherent and dazed, she followed him backed to his cabin, and with the help of a neighbor Dolph buried the two bodies, the Wolf near the Chief and the white man a little to one side.

Often Wild-Rose would visit the graves of her father and lover to weep and to chant her grief. When one day the Dolphs missed her, they went out to the graveyard and there they found her, lying upon the grave of Gray Wolf, lying cold and lifeless, dead of over-exposure and a broken heart; and so beside the grave of her beloved they buried her. Many were the sincere tears they shed as their tender sympathies reached out in grief for the unhappy Ah-weh-hah.

As the legend goes; now, as in the former days, the lover of the midnight who strolls along murder Creek, may hear the voices of the two lovers as they wander over the modern dust of the ancient trail. The ghosts of the father and the murderer never come back to earth - they who come are only the spirits of the lovers whom destiny forbade a marriage in the earth life, but whom death united in a bond that the years have not broken.