Robert's father was Robert Reed (Sr.) of Donegal, northern Ireland, born circa 1730; Robert's mother was Mary (Polly) (Pomeroy) Reed. By 1800, Robert (Sr.) was decease and his wife Mary, age 45 or over, was living in Fairfield Township with one female under 10 and one male age 16 and under 26. Both Robert (Sr.), and Polly are buried in the West Fairfield Cemetery, Fairfield Township, Westmoreland County.
Robert Reed (Sr.) along with Charles Clifford, James Clifford, Isaac Stimmel and James Flack came to the Ligonier area in circa 1759 and built a fort. For 16 years these families lived and prospered in this area. The Indians were kind and all was well. But when the War started, the British incited unrest with the Indians. The British convinced many Indians that the settlers were there to take their land and kill them. Also the British taught the Indians to "scalp" and sell the scalps to the British for money. It was after this the men of the fort had to work as someone stood guard.
It was in this season that Robert Jr's daughter Mattie Reed began to work along with her brothers to plant, harvest and in general, did hard manual work. Mattie grew to be extremely strong for a woman. One of the past times of the people was to have foot races or other competitions of physical strength. Mattie and one other boy (a couple of years older) were always the favorites to win in these foot races.
It was 1778, a very dangerous year with the British and the Indians, one day Mattie, a female companion, Mattie's brother George, and another young man walked two miles away to pick berries at another farm. Just as they met a Mr. Mc Dowell from Fort Ligonier, the group of five were attacked by Indians. The British had given the Indians guns to fight the settlers promising the Indians protection, and money. George was shot right away. A bullet hit Mr. Mc Dowell's rifle laying across his shoulder. The rifle blasted into numerous small particles of metal which they needed to pick out of his face and neck. And the girls began to run. Mattie ran so fast she left her companion in fear for her own life.
A young warrior was in pursuit of Mattie. He ran and ran and could not keep up with Mattie. So he started to his Indian hooping and hollering which usually intimated the settlers so much that they were weakened by fear. But Mattie explained with every holler, it just caused her to run faster. She did not want to be killed or even worse fate at that time, captured and imprisoned by the Indians. Finally others from the fort came to Mattie's rescue having heard the gun shots and the Indians' hollering. Mattie explained what had happened and the men went out to investigate. George was dead and the young lady, Becky Means, was dead and scalped. The other male companion was captured and taken to be a prisoner of the Indians. Mattie became a heroine, later married and had many children.
For three more years the British continued to incite the Indians. But after the war the Indians and Colonist resumed their peaceful ways. The before-mentioned prisoner of the Indians, was returned home. The story he told was interesting. The warrior whom had chased Mattie was humiliated the rest of his life. It seems this warrior was engaged to the Indian chief's daughter. But when he came back labeled as the "no-warrior out ran be a "pale-faced" squaw, the Indian princess was disgusted and refused to marry him. The returning white man having spent three years in captivity explained how the dishonored warrior spent the rest of his time in menial tasks and shunned by the rest of the tribe.
This story was taken from THE REED FAMILY A History of the DESCENDANTS of Robert Reed Sr. by J.P. Lytle of Home, PA printed at the INDEPENDENT OFFICE Marion Centers, PA; 1909 but was first published in THE LIGONIER ECHO Volume IX, no. 37