From Priddy Meeks's Journal
Harrisburg, Washington County, Utah Territory, October 22, 1879
My father, Athe Meeks, being inclined to new countries, left South Carolina and moved to what is now called
Grayson County, Kentucky, on the Spring Fork of Shortcreek. I was then about two or three years old. He had
a great range to hunt in, not knowing the distance to any inhabitants West. He lived there twelve years, then
moved to Indiana, four years after the country was surveyed by the Government. He passed the inhabitants ten miles
before he located, at the mouth of Lake Drain, where it emptied into Little Pigeon Creek, where he intended to
build a grist mill. There in the month of April, 1812, the Indians killed him; shot him in his own door, and
wounded my brother, Athe, through the arm and knee, but he got well.
Indiana Story of Athe Meeks (Died 20 Apr 1812, Luce, Spencer, Indiana)
Earlier in the territorial history, was a incident known as the Meeks Tragedy. The Meeks family, being a frontier
family, had settled in this area and long before statehood. At this time, farming was hard and most foods were
hunted or trapped. This was before formal treaties had been made though agreements were made between the settlers
and the Indians. The Meeks family had this sort of loose agreement concerning the areas to be hunted.
One morning, around sunrise, the Indians rode to Athe Meeks’ Cabin to discuss a problem with the Meeks hunting
on land that was not agreed upon. Athe Meeks thought that there would not be a problem since the tribe of Chief
Set-te-down was ordered in 1807 by the United States Indian Agent to report to Vincennes agency at once.
But Chief Set-te-down was determined on revenge before leaving his old hunting grounds. Making a noise at the
front door of the Meeks, Sr. drawing him to open the door so they could have a clear shot at him. As he open
the door, the Chief shot him dead. In a cabin about 100 yards from his father’s, a son woke up and ran out just
to have another Indian attack him with a tomahawk. At this time, a married son, William Meeks, came out of his
cabin to see his brother being attacked by the Indian. Having a loaded rifle in hand, William Meeks took aim and
shot the Indian, knocking him off his horse. While reloading, the other Indians grabbed the wounded Indian and rode off, leaving his gun behind.
The only Officer in the southern Indiana Territory was Sheriff Uriah Lamar. Sheriff Lamar took the gun to the
Indian Villiage of Chief Set-te-down, to see who’s gun it was. None of the Indians claimed to know to whom it
belonged. William Meeks then identified the Indians who were at their cabins and the Indians were taken to the
only jail, at James McDaniels Tavern.
The Indians were to be detained until a Judge could be brought from Kentucky to hear the case, one of the Indians
being Chief Set-te-down. Due to the sensitive nature of the treaties with Tecumseh, Territorial Governor Harrison
decided that the Indians should be transferred to the reservation which was six miles from Vincennes.
Before the Indians were to be moved, the guards, being friends of William Meeks, decided to kill Set-te-down.
One guard, though, refused. With time running out, the other guards developed a plan to have the Chief killed.
They were to make sure that they would be low on drinking water so the man who objected to killing Set-te-down
would leave to get more water. When he left to go draw some water, a guard named Smithers (pronounced Smothers) who had lived in Kentucky and
had his mother, father, and brothers and sisters killed by Indians, loaded a gun to shoot Chief Set-te-down. But
his gun failed to fire. Then William Meeks took his gun and drew aim at the chief. The chief rose from his cot and
said, "white man kill me this night". This time the gun fired and Chief Set-te-down life was blotted out. The next
morning the remaining Indians were tied together by rope and forced to start on their walk to Vincennes. During
the trip, each of the remaining Indians were killed, all except the wife of Chief Set-te-down.
She came to visit the grave of her fallen chief for years afterwards.