“a poor, frightened, hungry woman came into camp with her clothes hanging in rags and tatters, with bare and bleeding feet, and a wild look in her eyes”

A 3rd cousin of mine five times removed, Priscilla Aylette BUCKNER (May 6, 1821 Kentucky- May 13, 1908; buried Mount Holly Cemetery in the Lambert Reardon Lot, Little Rock, Pulaski Co., AR), wrote a wonderful genealogical & personal memoir that provides great glimpse into life in early America, as well as sharing some rather incredible stories.

A daughter of Simeon & Nancy (WATSON) BUCKNER, Priscilla married, Mar. 7, 1839 in Arkansas, Lambert Jeffrey REARDON (1813 Easton, Talbot, Maryland – Oct. 24, 1854; Mount Holly Cemetery), son of Lambert REARDON & Ann JEFFREY.[1]

This blog post is not meant to serve as a biographical sketch of either Priscilla or her husband; rather, as an introduction so to speak, to her 1901 book.[2] 🙂

REARDON, Priscilla Aylette (BUCKNER); Tuley, Katherine Edmondson, Reminiscences of the Buckner family (Chicago, 1901)_COVERREMINISCENCES of the
by Mrs. Priscilla Aylette [Buckner] Reardon

Compiled, Enlarged and Edited
by Katherine Edmondson Tuley (Chicago, 1901).


“Two months ago when these chronicles (the work of several summer vacations) were nearing completion, I was much pleased to learn that Mr. Wm. D. Buckner [i.e., William Dickinson BUCKNER (Aug. 4, 1856 VA – Aug. 27, 1938; buried Graham Cemetery, Orange, Orange Co., VA) of the Virginia stock, of which ours is a branch, had for ten years been collecting data for a history of the family, which, with our assistance he wishers to put into book form as soon as possible. It was a great relief to me, as I had felt that before putting this brief chronicle into your hands, I ought to go further back into the genealogical account of Thos. Buckner’s Virginia ancestors, and this involved more time and labor than I felt able to bestow. About the same time Mr. Buckner, hearing of the work I was doing through Dr. Dibrell of Little Rock, wrote asking for the use of my manuscript for his first book to which I replied that I would feel honored if I might contribute to his work even in the smallest degree. I understand that Mr. Buckner is a Civil Engineer and has taken up this family history for the mere love of it in the interims or business;— that he has employed the services of a reliable genealogist and author. Mr. Stuart C. Wade of 152 W. [unreadable] street, New York,—and that Mr. Buckner has made himself responsible for the printer’s bills for the forthcoming book. The gratitude we owe him for the work he has thus instituted and carried on, (so far, alone), will no doubt be a strong inducement to each of us to lend a hand according to our respective means, helping to bear the expense of the research—on the principle that ‘Many a Mickle Makes a Muckle.’

“Our dear kinswoman’s reminiscenses were [sent?] me some years ago with no thought save of entertaining my husband and myself.  I have tried to arrange them in some sort of chronological order, and have woven through them, in and out, much matter gathered from various letters of hers, and delightful talks with her, together with some matter of my own, and facts and dates from other members of the family. To her also we owe a debt of gratitude for the graphic pictures she has given us of the past, and the light thrown on that portion of the family life coming under her observation. She deserves the first place among our western Buckners as ‘the family historian’ of our branch per se. I hope her delightful reminiscences if I have not spoiled them in the telling— may serve to increase your desire to avail yourselves of the more complete knowledge to be gained in Mr. Buckner’s book of our Virginia and English relatives beginning with the Rev. Wm. Buckner, Chaplain to the Archibishop of Canterbury 1632, and coming down to those of the present day.

“Katherine E. Tuley.


“MY children have often urged me to write what I can remember of my own early days and the stories told me by my grandmother Hannah Burton Buckner, and by my own father and mother. My father, Simeon Buckner was the seventh child of Thomas Buckner, who was born in Virginia, probably about 1765 or ’66 I think, since he married Hannah Burton in 1787, who was also a Virginian by birth. Eight years later,—in 1795 they gathered together their little ones and goods and chattels and emigrated to Kentucky. Other children were born to them, twenty in all. They owned a fine farm in Jefferson county, not far from Louisville. [I remember? grandmother as a beautiful old lady, always dressed in black, wearing spotless white cap, with high crown and ruffles around the face, sitting by the open fire-place, with its tall, brass andirons, and red painted hearth—and I remember the reflection of my face in the shining brass of the andirons and fender. I remember aiso the ‘Love Apples’—or tomatoes, which grew in her garden, and later, it was at her table that I first ate them cooked, and what a dainty and well furnished table she kept. At the time of which I speak grandfather Buckner was dead, and the three youngest children Aunt Louisa, Uncle Eliphalet and Aunt Helena were living with her, and Uncle Eliphalet was studying law.

“I was her oldest grandchild, and I think a favorite one, for I was an absorbed listener to her stories. You can fancy us sitting round the fire, while she told this story which was as nearly as I can remember, about as follows:


” ‘When our family emigrated from Virginia to this country, we traveled in emigrant wagons, those big covered things sometimes called “Schooner” wagons. The country was full of Indians, most of them hostile to the whites, who were taking possession of the hunting.grounds, and some of them had old grudges to settle after their encounters with Simon Kenton and Rogers Clark, and so the men of our party were well armed and constantly on guard. When we camped at night the wagons were arranged in horseshoe form, the wheels chained together, the cattle in the center and the men [unreadable] by night, taking turns, two at a time. The roads were awful, and we crawled along, the feet of horses and oxen sticking in the mud at every step. Sometimes we would hear the whoops and yells of Indians, which terrified the women and children almost to death; for there were several families of us traveling together for mutual protection. We had been wittiin the borders of Kentucky some time, when at one of our camping places, a poor, frightened, hungry woman came into camp with her clothes hanging in rags and tatters, with bare and bleeding feet, and a wild look in her eyes which made us afraid of her.

” ‘We gave her food, and some articles of clothing and allowed her to take a good sleep, before she told her story.

” ‘She said she had been captured by the Indians the year before, who kept such close watch on her, that it was impossible to escape. During that time she had to perform the hardest labor, and was often beaten when her strength failed. A few days previous the Indian braves had gone on a big hunt leaving her guarded by an old Indian, who kept close watch on her. To put him off his guard she pretended to be cheerful and contented. When he finally fell asleep she made her escape noiselessly and in all haste. She had no idea which way she should go to reach the neartst settlement, but ran on in frantic haste to escape pursuit. For several days she subsisted on roocs and berries, and was growing very weak when she came to a swamp, there hearing the whoops of the Indians in pursuit she crawled inside of a big hollow log lying in the swamp and prayed fervently for deliverance. She heard the Indians running, and one of them stood on the log within which she was concealed, whooping and calling. At last she heard them going a way, and after a long time, when all was quiet, she crawled out and walked for hours till she came to a road which she followed till it parted in two directions. Fearing that one of them might lead her to the Indian camp, she hid in the bushes and prayed to be directed. Soon a little bird came chirping and fluttering about her, then flew off up one of the roads. Believing the Lord had sent the bird to guide her, she followed that road till it brought her to our camp. We were the first white people she had seen for a year and she cried for joy—poor thing.  For awhile she journeyed with us, theft with our assistance, she finally reached her home and kindred.’

“The farm which Thomas Buckner selected was in a beautiful and fertile region twenty miles from what is now the city of Louisville, but which must have been a small town then as it was founded in 1778, only seventeen years before grandfather emigrated to Kentucky. On that farm his children were raised, and later I myself was born there. I have heard some of the aunts and uncles say it was a busy community, where besides the farm work, in which grandfather and the bigger boys took part, as well as the negroes, there was the weaving, spinning, dyeing, knitting and sew-‘ng to be done for that large family of whites and [blacks?]. The shoemaker in those days traveled from farm to farm making and repairing shoes for the family, for his board and wages, and he must have found the Buckner farm the most profitable one in that region. Uncle Ben one of the youngest sons used to tell of how the mischievous ones, of whom he was the leader, would beg the shoemaker to put ‘squeaks’ in father’s mother’s and [unreadable]other’s shoes, that the children might have warning of their approach, when they were in mischief. For all that they grew up a fine looking, energetic and capable set of men and women much respected in the communities in which they lived. After my father and mother had settled in Louisville, a distant cousin of the family called Col. Nick or Nicholas Buckner used to come to our house and he told us many stories about the Indians. He was a great Indian fighter, and hated ‘the red devils’ as he called them, and we children were spell-bound listeners to his tales. He had a dramatic way of acting them out, taking aim with his gun at an imaginary foe in a way which thrilled us to the marrow. One of these was about the…


“Not far from the Buckner farm was a beautiful spring of water called the ‘Chineworth Spring’ from the family who owned the place. One day a report reached Col. Nick that a party of Indians had been seen near Chineworth place. In great haste he started with his company of Indian fighters, armed with shot guns and rifles for the Chineworth farm. No Indians were found at the Spring, but when they reached the cabin, seeing no signs of life about they pushed open the door and there to their horror saw Mr. Chineworth on the floor dead, and his murdered children around him—all had been scalped. One child only had escaped death. Pursuing their search they found in another room this child, a little girl, trying to kindle a flame by blowing on a few coals left in the fireplace. With sobs she told of hearing the dreadful cries and blows, and knew that the Indians were killing them all and had slipped out ot bed on the side next the wall and hid behind the bed curtain, by which means she escaped the tomahawk and scalping knife of the Indians who passed through the room without seeing her. Being asked about her mother she said ‘They are all dead but me!’ Pursuing their search they found in the yard traces of blood, following [unreadable] they reached the spring house, a rude cabin built over the outlet to the spring in which milk and butter were kept. Here they found Mrs. Chineworth covered with blood from a wound in the body, and her head scalped. She said the Indians drove a spear through her body as she ran, which pinned her to the earth, and taking her scalp left her for dead. Bye and bye she returned to consciousness and managed to pull the spear from her body, then swooned again; but finally crawled on hands and knees to the spring, bathed her wounds and with a piece of her skirt managed to bind them up and waited for help.”[2]


😮 OMGosh. am I going to just leave you hanging here?! Well, yes, actually, that’s the plan… 😉  For the rest of the book, go to Archive.org via the link in my Endnotes below… 🙂  (You can resume the story at page 10 of either the full-book-view top of the url-page below, or, the pdf version.)


1. FindAGrave.com, memorials no.  90324204, “Priscilla Aylett Buckner Reardon,” at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=90324204 , created by P. V. Hays; and, no.  6689587, “Lambert Jeffrey Reardon,” at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6689587 , created by “K.”

2. REARDON, Priscilla Aylette (BUCKNER); Tuley, Katherine Edmondson, Reminiscences of the Buckner family (Chicago, 1901); online at Archive.org at https://archive.org/details/reminiscencesofb00rear , accessed July, 2016.  Downloadable in several formats.  Not in copyright per Archive.org.


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