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The next narrative is an excerpt from the History of Indiana, War of 1812, Pigeon Roost Massacre written by Indiana historian, George Cottman.  It contain more details than the first.  Again, I have highlighted the part about Jane Biggs.

History of Indiana, War of 1812, Pigeon Roost Massacre


Centennial History and Handbook of Indiana

by George S. Cottman


Almost simultaneous with the Fort Harrison attack occurred the most diabolical event in our Indiana history - the "Pigeon Roost" massacre. What was known as the Pigeon Roost Settlement consisted of several families that made a little community in what is now Scott County. This settlement, founded in 1809, was separated from any other by several miles, and was confined to about a square mile of territory (Dillon, p.492). On the third of September 1812, this settlement was attacked by a band of about a dozen marauders, said to have been Shawnees, who, scouring the locality and going from cabin to cabin, murdered within a space of an hour, twenty-two persons, sixteen of them being children and five of them women. Prior to this general killing, two men, Jeremiah Payne and Isaac Coffman, were shot in the woods. Most of the cabin homes were burned down. The victims, besides Payne and Coffman, were Mrs. Jeremiah Payne and her eight children, Mrs. Richard Collings and seven children, Henry Collings and his wife, Mrs. John Morris, her only child, and her mother-in-law (Dillon, p 492. Dunn's account in "True Indian Stories" varies slightly from this).

[Cheryl Chandler notes an error in the above information as Jeremiah Payne and his wife Sarah ran to safety and are buried in Washington County with some of their children. She believes that Jeremiah's brother Elias, his wife Kesiah (Bridewater) and their children, were the ones killed in the massacre. Jeremiah and Sarah (McCoy) Payne were her 4th great-grandparents and their later years are mentioned in a book about John McCoy (Sarah's brother in Clark County) which includes his diaries, they are in a number of the census counts for Washington County taken years after the massacre and they are mentioned in the history of the Silvercreek Baptist Church in Clark County where Sarah's father was minister for a time.]

A spirited fight at the house of William Collings, in which three Indians were killed, probably prevented a greater slaughter, as the check to the savages enabled the rest of the settlement to escape to blockhouses that stood within a few miles. Some of these escapes were attended with risks and horrors equal to any to be found in the Indian annals of Kentucky, The wife of John Biggs, fortunately for her, had gone into the woods to look for their cow, having with her their three children, one a babe in arms. On her way home she discovered the savages about the empty cabin and took flight toward one of the blockhouses, but the Indians, believing the missing family was in the vicinity, began searching the adjacent forest. At one time they passed so near Mrs. Biggs that their footsteps were audible. At this critical moment the baby began to cry and to check it she was obliged to press her shawl over its mouth. When the searchers had passed she made the dreadful discovery that the infant had been smothered to death. With the dead child in her arms and the two living ones clinging to her she spent the night in the wilderness, arriving at the blockhouse about daybreak. A Dr. John Richie took his sick wife on his back, and together they spent the night in the woods, as did Mrs. Beal and her two children, who hid in a sinkhole until after dark, then made their way to one of the protecting strongholds which they reached at two o'clock next morning.

   Below is an excerpt: 

  Extracted from the account of John Dillon. History of Indiana, 1859
  pp 492-494 and "Pigeon Roost Massacre" by Lizzie D. Coleman 1904.

  As printed in "The Collings, Richeys and The Pigeon Roost Massacre"

  compiled by Constance A. Hackman, Leona M. Lawson and Kenneth

  Scott.    Used by permission of Constance Hackman and Alice Scott


      Notice here that writer gives Jane's full name, (given name,

     maiden name and married name) leaving no doubt about

      who she is. 

               As they say, "It's all in the name."

Below are reproductions of online articles written about the Pigeon Roost Massacre that took place in southeast Indiana shortly after the beginning of the War of 1812 (officially began in June 1812). This war pitted the US Army versus the British and American Indian Alliance.  You can find more information about the War of 1812 on the internet.  This first article below is an "almost" first-hand account by a Rev. Beggs who apparently talked to some of the survivors of that massacre and to members of the Clark Co., Indiana Militia who came to investigate afterwards.  "Geary" was apparently one of the militia.  It is interesting to note that the Muster, pay and receipt rolls of Indiana territory volunteers or militia of the period of the War of 1812 show that John, Joseph, Robert and Samuel Biggs, all enlisted to assist the war effort in defense of their homeland, Indiana Territory (not a state yet).   The four brothers probably were not at home with their families at the time of the massacre.  Jane Collings Biggs, the wife of John Biggs, (highlighted) was living with her brothers and the other families who had migrated to Pigeon Roost from Nelson Co., Kentucky.


1812, September 3

The Shawnees led by Missilimeta ravage the Pigeon Roost settlement in southern Indiana, killing 20 whites. 


Pigeon Roost Massacre

Account by: Reverend Stephen R. Beggs


When the news came of the "Pigeon-Roost massacre", nearly all the settlers north of us fled across the Ohio, leaving their effects behind. Returning, they built a fortification around my father's house, which was of stone. Here they remained for days, in constant expectation of the Indians. Several block-houses were built to the north of us, the occupants of which would flee to our fort on every fresh alarm. The "Pigeon-Roost massacre", of which I spoke, occurred at a settlement of that name, formed in 1809, and which, confined to a square mile of land, was five or six miles distant from neighboring settlements. 

On the afternoon of the third of September, 1812, Jeremiah Payne and a man by the name of Kauffmann, were surprised and killed by a party of Indians while at work in the woods, about two miles from the settlement. The Indians then - Shawnees, ten or twelve in number - attacked the settlement about sunset, and murdered one man, five women, and sixteen children. The bodies of some of the victims were burned in the cabins where they were slaughtered. Mrs. John Biggs alone escaped with her three small children, reaching a settlement six miles distant near daylight.

A number of the militia of Clark County proceeded to the scene of the massacre, where they found only the mangled and half-consumed bodies of the dead, and the ruins of the houses; and the remains were all buried in one grave.  

“It was really one of the last Indian massacres in Indiana,” Geary said. The Pigeon Roost settlement was comprised of a group of about 12 families who moved from Nelson County, Ky., to settle in Indiana, according to Geary. The massacre occurred during the War of 1812 when the majority of the settlement’s men were gone off to war, he said. In a vulnerable state, the remaining settlers were caught off guard. “This area was pretty well settled by 1812 and people didn’t think they’d ever have to deal with Indian attacks again,” said Geary. 


NOTE to this Article from Family Records: Elias Payne, his wife Kesiah, and their seven children were among this number.

About sundown, Jane Collings Biggs had taken her children, one just a baby, with her to bring up their cow. Returning to edge of the woods, she saw Indians surrounding her house. Jane hastily retreated into the woods to hide and save her children. The Indians fired the cabin and took to the woods hunting for the occupants. Jane could hear the footsteps and voices of the Indians. In the midst of this danger the baby began to cry and Jane reportedly covered its mouth to prevent it from giving away their position. [ Many reports of the day, as well as later ones, reported that the baby had smothered and died. Direct descendants of Jane Collings Biggs have reported that this report was in error.] After the Indians had passed by, Jane and her children turned their footsteps to her father's house for help. Leaving the children hidden near the road, she went to the house and found the door partially open. Smelling gunpowder she hurried back to road with her children and started for the blockhouse at her brother Zebulon's five miles away. She and the children arrived safely at the blockhouse in the morning. How she escaped the Indians at her father's house remains a mystery.

Below from Wikipedia: I show this because it mentions some of the names    and tells the relationships of Jane Collings Biggs' family.

William Collings' actions during the attack have been the subject of conjecture. One account has him killing four Indians singlehandedly and then holding off the remainder of the attackers with broken or unloaded rifles. Another version has Collings and his youngest son sneak out the back of his cabin and hide in a nearby cornfield, until they finally were able to escape to Zebulon Collings' blockhouse.


The wife of John Biggs, a sister of William Collings, heard the war party approach her cabin, and fled with her three children to hide in a thicket. The raiders could tell the cabin had just been evacuated, so they burned it and searched for the family. As one of the Indians approached the thicket, the youngest child began to whimper, and Mrs. Biggs stuffed her shawl into the infant's mouth to keep it from betraying their hiding place. When the raiding party moved on, the Biggs family was able to reach Zebulon Colling's blockhouse, but the infant had died of suffocation.

At the right is a part of an
Indiana map from a road
Atlas which shows the
location of the Pigeon
Roost State Historic park. 
The map also shows the
park's proximity to Clark
Co. and some of the towns
mentioned in the lives of
the Biggs, Cairns and
Miller families.

The reader can find the
complete versions of the
stories on this page and
many more by searching
 the internet.  If you have
comments, questions or
additions about these
pages, please contact me


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