Read THE GORDON SCOUTS of An Ohio Woman in the Philippines, free online book, by Emily Bronson Conger, on

The Gordon Scouts were a detachment made up of volunteers from the Eighteenth U. S. Infantry. They were under direct command of Captain W. A. Gordon and Lieutenant A. L. Conger. The captain lost health and was sent home; thus the troop was, for about a year, under the command of Lieutenant Conger. It would not be proper for me to tell of the wonderful expeditions and the heroic deeds of the Gordon Scouts. No one was more generous in praise of them than General Del Gardo, now governor of the Island of Panay. He told me often of his great esteem for my son and of the generous way in which he treated his prisoners and captives. Surely men were never kinder to a woman than these scouts were to me; they most affectionately called me Mother Conger and treated me always with the greatest respect and kindness. I hope some day the history of this brave band of men will be written, with its more than romantic campaigns and wonderful exploits, marches, dangers, and miraculous escapes. Few men were wounded or disabled, notwithstanding all the tedious marches in most impenetrable swamps and mountains, with no guide but the stars by night and the sun by day, and no maps or trusted men to guide them. I recall the bravery of one man who was shot through the abdomen, and when they stopped to carry him away he said, “Leave me here; I cannot live, and you may all be captured or killed.” They tenderly placed him in a blanket, carried him to a place of safety, and, when he died, they brought him back to Jaro and buried him with military honors. He was the only man killed in all the months of their arduous tasks.

If I have any courage I owe it to my grandmother. I will perhaps be pardoned if I say that all my girlhood life was spent with my Grandmother Bronson, a very small woman, weighing less than ninety pounds, small featured, always quaintly dressed in the old-fashioned Levantine silk with two breadths only in the skirt, a crossed silk handkerchief with a small white one folded neatly across her breast, a black silk apron, dainty cap made of sheer linen lawn with full ruffles. She it was who entered into all my child life and who used to tell me of her early pioneer days, and of her wonderful experiences with the Indians. In the War of 1812, fearing for his little family, my grandfather started her back to Connecticut on horse back with her four little children, the youngest, my father, only six months old. The two older children walked part of the way; whoever rode had to carry the baby and the next smallest child rode on a pillion that was tied to the saddle. In this way she accomplished the long journey from Cleveland, Ohio, to Connecticut. When she used to tell me of the wonderful things that happened on this tedious journey, that took weeks and weeks to accomplish, I used to wonder if I should ever take so long a trip. I take pleasure in presenting the dearly loved grandmother of eighty-one and the little girl of ten.

While my dear little grandmother dreaded the Indians, I did the treacherous Filipinos; while she dreaded the wolves, bears and wild beasts, I did the stab of the ever ready bolo and stealthy natives, and the prospect of fire; she endured the pangs of hunger, so did I; and I now feel that I am worthy to be her descendant and to sit by her side.