NO MORE TEARS is the story of sadness, mistakes, tragedy and survival. Woven into this great American saga of the Trail of Tears is a love story between a remarkable, beautiful and passionate Indian maiden (Lushanya) and a brave, honorable Indian trader’s son (John Henry) who are caught in two clashing worlds. It illustrates the difficulties of two lovers torn between two seemingly irreconcilable worlds. Theirs is a love story that has never been told.
No More Tears
1811, Northwestern Section of the Chickasaw Nation, Western District of Tennessee
At the time of which we speak, it was an early October morning of unusual beauty as Jeremiah Wesley and John Henry Lee went whistling along a path toward the Hatchie River, with a view of spending the day in the delightful amusement of hunting.
They were two of those bold, daring and adventurous spirits, whose father, through whose veins coursed the proud blood of the cavaliers, at the risk of life and fortune had bid adieu to the endearments of his many aristocratic friends of Virginia and all the realities of civilized life and had become a resident of a dense and howling wilderness to seek a home among the Chickasaws.
A little up the bank a mocking bird on the topmost branch of a tiny poplar tree was singing a melody to his mate close by, while the river, reflecting crimson clouds and a purple sky, seemed like heaven itself inverted. At this very moment, as they rambled through the forest, with sunlight filtering through, one might indeed imagine that it was peaceful throughout the land.
Having enjoyed the day without interruption and with considerable success and with the twilight of evening coming on, they gathered their load and turned toward home. They had proceeded but a few yards when they were startled by the rustling of dry leaves. On looking around they saw at no great distance, to their utter astonishment, 12 warriors, decked out in war paint and brandishing weapons. They had crept closely upon them, and with so much caution that the brothers had not until this instant been made aware of their presence.
They perceived at once that their intentions were hostile and that the warriors were so close upon them as to render escape impossible. Their intention appeared rather to take them prisoners than gain possession of their scalps, as they could easily have shot them before they became aware of their presence.
This idea suggested itself to them immediately, and they resolved to escape, or die in the attempt, for they were well-aware that if captured they would be forced to become an adopted member of the nation by the marriage of some dejected Indian woman – it being customary with the Creeks to force their prisoners to marry some unfortunate female of the tribe, who had, either by accident or the chances of war, become a widow. Once in their domain, all effort at escape would be fruitless.
Being well-armed with rifles and guns, the brothers darted forward, intending to make their escape at every hazard. A shower of tomahawks hurled through the air after them. Gaining ground on the Creeks, they took cover behind a fallen tree. As they did, Jeremiah Wesley twisted and fired with accuracy – one Creek warrior dead. A fusillade of enemy lead answered – no more tomahawks – scalps became their mission.
A hostile warrior charged without fear of danger, and the warrior fell, as John Henry fired with precision lead of his own. Two dead, ten still fighting.
In the exchange of gunfire, Jeremiah Wesley sustained a flesh wound to his left shoulder, blood spattering across his face, temporarily blinding him. Clearing his vision, the wound was not serious enough to halt his defensive posturing, enabling him to reload with only minor grimacing.
An undeclared truce ensued as each side reconnoitered. The aggressors took the opportunity to deploy to new battle positions, more advantageous to their mission. As they did, the disconsolate fighters kept a wary eye on their enemy. On their flank two warriors charged, firing their weaponry. Defensive fire tumbled the two – eight to go. As Jeremiah Wesley surveyed the battle field, a deafening report from the center of the battle line echoed through the forest floor. A sickening thud thus followed as Jeremiah Wesley, gray and gaunt, collapsed into John Wesley’s arms, gray matter oozing from a head wound.
“Talk to me. Say something. Are you okay?” John Henry screamed. He had no time to think, while glaring over the tree trunk, firing a round at a maniacal, charging warrior. Killing him, the others retreated a short distance for cover – confused and discouraged.
Struggling to open his eyes, he moaned, with blood streaming down, “Kill them all, or else they will kill our mama and papa.”
“Mama and papa are okay. You can’t let them down. We have to skin and clean the game. We got firewood to cut. You can’t die. I won’t let you,” John Henry advised, one staccato sentence after another.
Jeremiah Wesley moaned, “I see the hereafter before me. Take good care of them. They’ve been so good to us. Tell them I’m sorry and that I love them. I’ll see you in Heaven.” His dying voice ceased, trailing from a whisper to nothing.
“Don’t talk like that. I’m not going to let you die. Not now. Not like this. You can’t leave me, not like this. We were to marry beautiful maidens and have children.”
With this last utterance, Jeremiah Wesley shuttered his eyes and took his last breath, dying in his brother’s arms. He couldn’t move for a time, only caressing his brother and rubbing the blood from his cheek. He kissed him gently and mumbled the Lord’s prayer, as he could think of no one else greater to call upon. Finally, he loosened his brother from his entrusting arms and lowered him slowly to the ground, whispering, “I love you. I love you.”
With no time to grieve he directed his attention immediately toward the combatants. A bullet grazed his side, wounding him slightly. He returned fire, taking the life of another warrior. Making a wild dash, he used every effort his six-foot frame could muster. He was as fleet as a deer; they, likewise. His pursuers, realizing that he was gaining ground, fired, hoping to disable or kill him, but without effect. He made use of every stratagem, with success. He wheeled and dropped another warrior.
The pursuing Creeks split off, two taking a circuitous route, with a view of stopping his retreat. A close chase ensued for nearly a mile, but he was at length forced to pause and take breath. At this instant a warrior sprung up in front of him. He raised the rifle to his shoulder, intending to clear a passage in that direction, when a bullet struck the butt of it, glanced off and wounded him slightly under the arm, his rifle falling to the ground. Retrieving it immediately, he twisted on hearing a yell of defiance and fired his rifle. The warrior tumbled forward while in the act of firing his own. Immediately, he dashed for freedom, and a short distance away grabbed hold of a vine, swinging across a ravine filled to the brim with flowing water. Landing on the other side, he commenced firing at the bewildered Creeks – killing another. They, realizing that he was now in a position to finish them off, retreated into the approaching darkness.
Alone without his brother to comfort him, John Henry wept, saddened over the death of his brother and concerned with his predicament. Should he leave him and hurry home to check on the safety of his mama and papa, with the chance wolves might feast upon his fallen brother? Or should he take him home and thus slow his travel, with the chance the retreating warriors might take out their vengeance on his mama and papa?