The Killing of William Goble

Daniel (5) Goble's son, William (6) Goble, married Rhoda Parkhurst about 1780 probably in New Jersey. William and Rhoda had five children: Samuel (7) Goble born October 26, 1781 probably in New Jersey; Ebenezer (7) Goble born January 27, 1787; William (7) Goble born November 22, 1789 in a fort in Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky; John (7) Goble; and Nancy (7) Goble. William pioneered and farmed in Kentucky and later moved to White's Station near Columbia, Indiana and Fort Washington (which later became Cincinnati), Ohio. William was killed by Indians in August of 1793 during an attack on Beasley's blockhouse. A letter was written to recall the event by Dr. Ezra Ferris of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. A typed version of the September 25, 1851 letter follows:

"Mr. Hibbon,

After the attack on Mr. Beasley's blockhouse, with the exception of stealing a few horses, the new settlements were but little disturbed by Indians until the close of summer. Sometime about the last of August, 1793, as Mr. Moses Prior and his brother-in-law, Mr. Goble, were digging some potatoes to take the next morning to General Anthony Wayne's camp on the mouth of the Big Miami. The men expected to sell the potatoes to the soldiers. The two men supposed they heard turkeys calling in the woods on a side hill a little above the place where they were working and Mr. Goble said he would go and shoot one.

About this time, Mrs. Prior had gone to the bank of Mill Creek to milk the cows. She took her second child with her, leaving the youngest sleeping in the cradle, the oldest being with his father in the field which was close by.

Mr. Goble had left but a short time, when Mr. Prior said he heard the report of a gun and supposed he had shot at a turkey, but as he did not hear any fall, concluded he had missed and commenced working again, but almost instantly turned his eyes in that direction and saw a number of Indians armed with guns and tomahawks, rushing out of the woods, making their way with all possible speed towards his house. In the confusion and hurry of the moment, he forgot his little boy, and ran toward the house, but finding himself cut off from that retreat, he thought of his son, and turned around to try to save him, when he saw him already in the possession of the Indians. He then retreated across the creek to Captain White's blockhouse, where he found Mrs. Prior.

Mrs. Prior had been more fortunate than himself for on hearing the alarm, and seeing the Indians already in possession of the house, she seized the little boy she had with her, and plunged into the creek, where the water was up to her shoulders and making her way with him to the blockhouse before her husband had arrived there. The Indians entered Prior's house, killed the infant in the cradle, and destroyed the building and some other property, then crossed the creek and made a regular attack on the blockhouse.

The Indians took their first stand behind some trees at what was supposed rather beyond the reach of gunshot from the blockhouse and sent an Indian with Prior's oldest son in his arms, held in such a position that would endanger his life if the white people shot the Indian. In this way the Indian approached within speaking distance, and summoned them to surrender, promising as a condition to spare their lives but finding his summons was disregarded, he soon stepped backwards keeping the boy between himself and danger, until supposing he was beyond the reach of their bullets, he took little Jack by the heels, and with a swing, beat his head against a tree and killed him.

Some people in the blockhouse who saw him perform this brutal act, shot through a port hole and killed the Indian. Seeing one of their number fall, the Indians seemed more determined to rescue his dead body than to make any further attempt to take the station. And approaching from tree to tree, they made a rush, and seized the body of the dead Indian, and commenced bearing it away, but in the attempt, a second Indian was killed. They, however, succeeded in bearing them both away a short distance and then disappeared.

As soon as it was supposed they were gone, one of the men at the station started for Cincinnati and Columbia to give the alarm, and ask for assistance; fearing they might return again and renew the attack. Early the next morning they were sufficiently reinforced by the militia from both places, who were always ready to go when called for.

Among those who went to their assistance from Cincinnati was Mr. Stephen Ludlow, one of our most enterprising farmers, living at this time in the neighborhood of Lawrenceburg, and who is still actively engaged in superintending his farming operations. Mr. Ludlow was the first man who found the bodies of the two Indians killed where they had been left in Captain White's cornfield.

The militia, in their search, found the remains of Mr. Goble, who had been shot, and of Mr. Prior's two children. This was considered by the white people a very bold attempt on the part of the Indians. To attack White's station, within nine miles of Cincinnati, Ohio, and five of Columbia, Indiana, with several other stations further advanced into the country, filled with inhabitants and the new settlements with consternation than any former attempt they had made."


There is another accounting of this incident in a History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio page 41, which identifies the man killed as Andrew Goble.

Return to Goble Stories

Copyright © 1997-1999 by Evelyn Goble Steen, All Rights Reserved
This page last updated on December 7, 1998
Send Feedback to