Catherine Stewart


"Katie and her older half-brothers were in a field pulling flax before the family left Kentucky, taking the usual precaution of carrying with them a loaded rifle, which leaned against a tree conveniently near their work. Although a child of tender years, she could shoot a gun almost as well as her older half-brothers. As the children proceeded with their work, unknown to them two Indians crept up close to them, concealed by the bushes and timber which surrounded the clearing. They first made their presence known by firing a shot at the boy which struck him in the hip, and he fell. A second Indian sped toward him for the kill. The boy, acutely aware of his danger, was strong and active. Instantly he grappled with the Indian and warded off the fatal blow for the moment. Katie, watching, also aware of the danger, instantly seized the rifle and, as the second Indian ran from the woods to aid his companion, she shot him and he faltered. As he fell, she raised the gun by the barrel and advanced to where the two were grappling on the ground. With the gun butt, she clubbed the Indian over the head and killed him before he succeeded in knifing her brother, thus saving her brother from instant death and herself from a horrible fate, all of which happened in much less time than it takes to tell the story."

During the Civil War, when her son-in-law Andy Gunnoe and his raiders visited Wyoming County, they were scavenging for food and anything else they could get their hands on. When they visited where Catherine was staying, she would be on her rocker on the front porch. Unknown to the raiders, underneath the rocker was the family coffee supply, which they never found, covered by her long skirts.

Her picture can be found on page one of the Photo Album and the story of her life is in the Stewart Genealogy Report.