MURDOCH GILLIS' SON MISSING IN GUM SWAMP
Fayetteville Observer, Tuesday, August 19, 1834, Issue 898; col. B
Transcribed and Posted by Myrtle Bridges
April 12, 2011
A circumstance of intense interest occurred recently in the neighborhood of Laurel Hill, NC. A son of Mr. Murdoch Gillis, we are
informed about five years old, wandered from his father's house on the morning of Wednesday week. The distressed parents with their immediate
neighbors instantly commenced a vigorous search for him, but without effect. On the succeeding Thursday and Friday the woods, including a
section called Gum Swamp, was scoured to an extent of from ten to fifteen miles by the whole neighborhood. Some traces of the little sufferer
were occasionally seen. The impression of his footsteps, broken bushes where he had apparently endeavored to relieve his extreme hunger by
eating the green buds and twigs, a half demolished May apple, etc., with appearances of having soon disburdened his stomach of its nauseous
contents,--were the various means by which he was followed no less than three times across Gum Swamp run-passing over on logs not at all used
for crossing, being dangerous and difficult of access; one person, in attempt to pass over one of these logs, fell into the water. Friday
evening came; three days of unremitting exertions had passed, and the agonized parents had yet no tidings of their child! There remained
now little hope of finding him alive.
On Saturday morning the search was renewed with increased energy. Between two and three hundred persons had collected, many coming from
ten to fifteen miles. They were resolved to make one more faithful effort, to leave not a rod of ground un-trodden, which promised the least
hope of success. The exertions were continued with not better success until nearly sunset on the evening the fourth day of the child's wanderings.
---His father was the foremost to descry him, in an old field, ten miles from home, and having walked probably not less than twenty-five miles,
without a mouthful of food during the whole four days. His frame was so emaciated and weakened that he could scarcely drag his little limbs
along; still he was walking on, looking for his father's house. On seeing his parent, the child burst into a hearty laugh, and fell into his
arms, excessively delighted to see him. Some one presented him a biscuit which he devoured instantly, but it caused sickness and vomiting.
The boy was conveyed home by his rejoicing parents, and though very feeble was doing well. (From the Cheraw Gazette)
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