When stones can talk, what a tale they tell


The grave sites in these pictures were brought to my attention at a recent meeting by a friend. The graves are located at the Columbia Township cemetery near Cement City and mark the final resting place for Abraham and Loretta Osborn.

Abraham was a Patriot who served in the Revolutionary War, but it is Loretta’s stone that has the more interesting tale to tell.

Below her pertinent information are the following words: “Loretta Finch Osborn, figured in the Wyoming N.Y. massacre. She and her little brother were taken captive by the Indians after their father was killed and scalped.”

A quick internet search of the incident states in Wikipedia that “The Battle of Wyoming, Pennsylvania (also known as the Wyoming Massacre) was an encounter during the American Revolutionary War between American Patriots and Loyalists accompanied by Iroquois raiders that took place in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania on July 3, 1778. More than three hundred Patriots were killed in the battle. After the battle, settlers claimed that the Iroquois raiders had hunted and killed fleeing Patriots before using ritual torture against thirty to forty, who had surrendered, until they died.”

The Early History of Woodstock Township written by Orsamus Lamb of Adrian tells more of the story. Jesse Osborn, Abraham and Loretta’s son farmed near Tecumseh and planted an extensive orchard in Woodstock Township. The author (was related by marriage) notes of Abraham and Loretta: Grandfather Abraham was a soldier of the Revolution, and Grandmother Loretta was one of those who escaped the massacre at Wyoming. She was then about 12 or 15 years old, and at the tender age was made prisoner by the Indians. She saw her father murdered and scalped, and dared betray no emotion lest those red devils should visit upon herself the same fate. And, nerved to desperation, she, in order to save the life of her little six-year-old brother – Asel Finch, who afterwards lived at Tecumseh and was father-in-law to the late Judge Blanchard – she then carried him on her back 60 miles through an unbroken forest, with the gory scalp of her father continuously in view, dangling from his murderer’s and her captor’s belt. She and her little brother were afterwards ransomed.

“And today the ashes of Abraham and Loretta lie side by side, on a little elevation on section four, as peacefully and as sweetly as if the thunders of British cannons had never awakened their slumber, or the midnight yell of the savage and the fire-fiend had never struck consternation to their hearts.”

A more poetic epitaph has never been written, and as I walked through the small cemetery and read the words on Loretta’s and Abraham’s markers, one could almost hear the British cannon, the screams of battle and see the bloody scalping that Loretta had been forced to witness, not so long ago.

It makes one wonder of the many other stories that are stilled and forgotten, lying just below the surface.

1 Comment

  1. Tami Reed

    August 10, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    There are hundreds of thousands of stories below our feet! The history of the Columbia Township people is amazing. That is why local cemeteries are one of my favorite “haunts” for photographing and history finding. Thanks! Tami “GraveWalker” Reed 😉

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