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Border Settlers of 
Xorthw estern 
\ ir^inia 

r — ^'«^i.i^lWx.SVl 



For description of the border dress see pages 34, 145 and 244; also Note 8, Chapter I; Note 9, Chap- 
ter IX; Note 2, Chapter XII, and Note 6, Chapter XVIII. 




I ROM 1768 ro 1795 

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oriii.R \()ri:i) scoi'i's of thi-; (;ri:.\i" woods 


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I-ii I MiMui.K 1)1 nil. Wisconsin Siaik Hi.mukkal Sociltv; Mkmhkr 

OK THK Washington Statk I'nivkrsity Historical Socikty, 

AriiioR OK ' TiiK Crimk A(;ainst iiii Vakimas." 

liy Wii.i.iAM Klsky Connki-lky 



By [. P. Mac I.KAN, Pii. 1). 

VVIU.ISIII.I) rOR Jt In, I. J. C. M,iniORTi:R 




TSl NIW imK 


ASron, LCMox ano 


R 1916 1^ 



J. C. McWhorter, Buckhannon, W. Va. 


To 1 1 1 i; M i; M o k ^- of 

BKirnil.K WU IM.AVM.Vn-: ok golden tllll.DHOOD 


Chapter I 

First Permanent Settlement in the Trans-AIle^'hcny. Pringle Brothers of 
the Sycamore — Their History — I'"uf;itives and Hunters — Employed by Simpson 
the 'irapper — Brink's Settlers to the Buckhannon \'allcy. Jesse Hughes the 
Indian Fighter — Nationality — Personal Appearance — Dress and Habits. 
Other Settlers, Hunters and Explorers — What Became of Them? — Military 

NoTKS — South Branch of the Potomac. — Indian Names: — Delaware, — 
Shawnee. — Iroquois. Monongahcia, Meaning of. The Pringle Sycamore. The 
Hunting Shirt. 


Dearth of the Written Record. Withers' Recognized. Authority. Frag- 
mentary Narrative. Who Wrote Border Warfare? — .Xulhorship Disputed. 
Claim of William Hacker and William Powers — Were They Wronged of Title? 
Powers Commander of Scouts — His .\bility as Chronicler — .Achievements of 
Hacker — His Educati«jn. Partisan Writers Unjust to the Indian. Incidents in 
Modern Border Wars — Suppressing Facts. 

NoTKS — The Hacker Family. Captivity of Mrs. Cunningham. Simon 
Girty. The Bonnetts as Indian Spies. Other Scouts. Military Records. Fraud- 
ulent Pension Claims. 


Printed Record of Jesse Hughes — Sagacity as Scout — Fatal .\mbuscade — 
Determining a Coward — .\lone in the Wilderness — Kills an Indian — The 
Turkey Decoy — Is the Hughes Turkey Story a .Myth? 

NoTKS — Tragedies — Capt. Shaylor at Fort Jcflferson. 


The Hughes l''amily — Birth I'lace — Traditions of Jesse — Father Killed — 
A Deadly \'ow. Thomas Hughes Lieut, of Scouts — Bravery of — His Pathetic 
Death — .\ Country's Ingratitude. Other Hughes. Dogs in Indian Warfare. 
Marriage of Jesse — .\ Noble Wife — Settles on Hacker's Creek — Cabin in the 
Wilderness — .\ Dangerous Bed-fellow — Poisonous Reptiles — Jesse Shoots an 
Indian Hunter. 

Notes — Woodson's Memoranda of the Hughes Faniih' in Powhatan Co., 
\'irginia. French Huguenots. Lowther Killed. The Washburn Family. Trage- 
dies. Romance. Lewis Wetzel. McClcllan the Ranger. ^ Military Records. 
Singleton, Pension Agent — Unjust Ruling — Wages of Scouts — I^and Laws — 
Tomahawk Claims — Unreliable Data of Settlements. Rattlesnakes. 


Indian Settlements on Hacker's Creek. Discovery of Prehistoric Interest. 
Mysterious Finds: — \illagc Sites — L'nusual Remains — Burial Grounds — 
Mounds — .\ncient .\rt — Indian Fields — .\sh Circles. 

Notes — Superstitions — Buried Treasure — Ghost Stories. 

8 Table of Contents 

Chapter VI 

Shawnee Towns on Hacker's Creek — Wi-ya-ni-pe, Birth Place of Tecumseh; 
Old Chlllicothe. Shawnee Cist Burial. Tecumseh's Pipe — W'i-ya-ni-pe, tlie 
Indian's Paradise. Wild Fruits — Game — Fish. Alexander West, Scout and 
Hunter — Bear Fight in the Dark. Wild Boars. Hunting Stories — Dangerous 
Joke — A Fearful Tragedy. John Hacker First Settler — Chases Buffaloes — 
Exploration. Dearth of Bread — Pathetic Incident. Deadly Cold of the Moun- 
tains. Death of a Guide. — A Mountain Tragedy. 

Notes — Traditions of Alines. The Shawnees — Summary of History. 
Statesmen and Warriors. Descendants of Tecumseh. 

Chapter \ II 

The Stroud Family Murdered by Shawnees. Delaware Settlement on Little 
Kanawha. Captain Bull Friend of the Whites — His Village and People 
Destroyed — Treachery of the Settlers — Names of the Murderers. — Pathetic 
Story of Capt. Bull. 

Notes — Gaulouise the Trapper. The Delawares — Their Home — Tribal 
Status — Story of the "Woman." Renegade White Kills Indians — Shawnees 
not the Aggressors. 

Chapter \'III 

Terrible Culmination to the BuUtown Massacre — Unrestrained Fierceness of 
the Borderers — Jesse Hughes and Capt. \\'illiam White Leaders — Indians Dis- 
covered at Indian Camp on the Buckhannon — The Surprise and Butchery — A 
Wounded Indian's Greeting — The Leaden Reply — Were the Mctims Buried.? 
An Aged Nimrod's Gruesome Find. Interesting Tradition. Abundance of Game 

— A Bear Shambles. 

Chapter IX 

John Cutright, Scout of the Buckhannon — An Indian Aloccasin Maker — 
Confusion of Names — Indian Incursions — Shoots Indian Horse Thief — Wounded 
by an Indian — Primitive Surgery — Revolutionary Soldier — Declaration for 
Pension — Services as Scout and Soldier — Branded an Impostor — Honesty 
Proven — Ability as a Warrior — Errors Corrected — Personal Appearance of 
Cutright — Hatred for the Red Race — Attempts to Kill Indian in Time of Peace. 

Notes — Virginia Hard Pressed for Troops — Loss in Battle of Germantown 

— Appalling Destitution Among the State Soldiery. Disputed Boundary Between 
Virginia and Pennsylvania — Hauteur of the Mrginia Minute Man — Efficiency 
in Indian Warfare — LTnrellability in Open Battle. — British Estimate of the 
"Shirt Man." 

Chapter X 

Requisites of a Scout Leader — Capt. White, Chief of Buckhannon Spies — 
Ancestry — Associate of Col. Crawford — Kills Indians in the Glades — Impris- 
oned — Liberated by Mob — Status of Border Society — A Romance of the Wilder- 
ness — An Indian Runner — Cunning Ruse — Mysterious Captive — Insatiate 
Venom — Indian Camp Surprised — Desperate Chase — Sickening Scene — An 
Indian's Revenge — Death of Capt. White. John Fink Killed. Timothy Dor- 
man, Renegade. Buckhannon Fort Abandoned. Jacob Bush, Scout and Soldier — 
In Clark's Campaign 1781. Incidents — Drink of Whiskey for Brain of a Deer. 
Descendants — Lieut. Jacob Westfall — Military Record — With Gen. Clark — 
Lochry's Defeat — Failure of Expedition. "Flight of 1770" — Doubtful Narra- 
tive — Shaver the Spy — Kaskaskie Campaign — Wounded in Battle — Suffered 

Notes — Lieut. John White Killed. — Deserters or Indians? Outrages by 
Settlers Laid to Indians. Col. John Sevier. Capture of Capt. White and Petro — 

Table of Contexts 9 

Lscapc of Wliilc — Fate of Pclro — Mrs. White W'iinesscs Killing of Husband. 
Monument to White and Fink. Treaty of Fort Stanwix. Indian Claims to the 
Trans-.MIcgheny. — Twenty ^'ears War. 

Chaptkr XI 

Cause of Duninore's \\ ar. Stcjrm Brewing — Facts Perverted. Boone in 
Kentucky — I.onj; Hunters — Indians Killed — Connolly's Warning. — Creasap's 
Declaration of War — Massacre of Logan's Family. Death of Bald Eagle — Kill- 
ing of Cat Kye — Number of Friendly Indians .Murdered — Indian Law of Reprisal. 
Storm Bursts on \irginia Border — BlfK)dy Sequel — .Murder of Cornstalk — 
\'engeful Sliawnees. Jesse Hughes Defender of the Border — Hacker's Creek 
Invaded by Indians — West's Fort Besieged — Fort .Abandoned. — Beech Fort — 
Hughes .Memorable Night Run — Signal Cry from the Hill — Dangers of the 
Night Trail — Panthers — Wolves — .\ Daring Feat — Hughes Chased by Three 
Indians — Remarkable Endurance. 

NoTKs — ^ Character of the Kentucky Settlers. Franklin on War 1774 — 
Indians .Murdered East of Mountains — Sympathy for Logan. D.i\ id Sleeth the 
Scout — Accusation of Singleton. Jackson's Block House. 

Chai'I m .\l I 

Indian Raid in Tygart's Valley — Six Families Destroyed — Col. Lowther 
in Pursuit — Indians Surprised — \ Deadly \'olley — Capl. Bull .Mortally 
Wounded. Jesse Hughes — Fiendish Deed — .\ Ghastly Joke. West and the 
"bellow Bf>y" — Indian Horse Thieves — Two are Shot — Indian Idea of Justice 

— Retaliatory \'engeance — Martha Huyhes Captured. .Attack on the West 
Families. Leonard Sch(K)|craft. Renegade — Heartrending Scene. West in 
Clark's Expedition 1781 — Declaration for Bountj- Lands — Personal -Appearance. 

Notes — Moccasin Making. X'ision of the Red Doe. Story of a Forty 
.Nincr. — Poison for Indian Cattle Thie\es. Gen. Clark — Difftculties Encountered 
in Procuring Troops — Contemplated Foray Against Moravian Indians. John 


"^riie Schoolcraft Family — Its Fate — Five Brothers Swept into Captivity — 
Three Turn Indian — Career as Warriors — Two Unaccounted for — Mystery 
Solved — Schoolcraft the Hunter — The Phantom Deer. — Schoolcraft the Scout. 

— Services along the Ohio. Indian .Ambuscade Near \\ heeling. — Mason and Ogal 
Companies Wiped Out. Simon Giriy. W heeling Threatened — Village Burned. 
Col. Broadhead's .Allegheny Expedition — Scouting in Monongahela County. 
Wheeling in the Revolution^ — Besieged by Indians and British — Col. Zane's 
Defense of His Cabin — Choice or Surprise.' — Testimony of Jacob Scott — 
Swiftness of Indian Descent — Length of Siege. Scouting in Kentucky — Cam- 
paigning with Gen. Clark. 

NoTKS — Superstitions of the Wilderness — The Silent Trailing Dog — Sin- 
gular Song from the Darkness. Pigeon Roosts — Slaughter of Birds. Last 
Great Flight. Col. Broadhead's Coshocton Expedition — Lawlessness of the 
Borderers — Executing Prisoners — Village Destroyed — Lewis Wetzel Toma- 
hawks a Chief — Massacre of the Unarmed. 

Chapter XIV 

Jesse Hughes — Trapped by Two Indians — Cunning Ruse and Escape — 
Search for Lost Child — Kills Wounded Indian — Remarkable Flcetness of Indian 
Athlete — His Tragic Death. Indian .Motives. Lone Indian Shot by West — 

10 Table of Contents 

His Miserable Death. — Indian Rock — Indian Spring. Flat-boating on the 
Monongahela — Hughes Attempts to Kill Indian Child — Barbarity of Combat- 

Notes — Conquest of Primitive Races — Similar Throughout World — 
Exterminating Australian Blacks. 

Chapter XV 

Buckhannon River — Name a Mystery — Conjecture of Writers. Indian 
Habitations — Village Near the Pringle Camp. Stream Named for Buckonga- 
helas, Delaware War Chief — Name Corrupted — Indian Ghost Story — Char- 
acter of Buckongahelas — Washington of His Tribe. 

Notes — Buckhannon River — Earliest Mention — John Buchannon Mis- 
sionary. Ancient Remains — Mounds — Effigy Pipe. Indian Plurality of 

Chapter XVI 

Frontier Posts — Construction — No Adequate Description. Buckhannon 
Fort — Size and Character — Ruins — Mill — Traces of Dam and Race — 
Burned by Indians. Invasion by Indians — Battle of the Narrows. — Hughes 
Kills Indian Leader. Cutright — New Shotpouch. The Regers as Scouts. 
John Bush Builder of Buckhannon Fort — Thrilling Adventures with Indians. 
Other Bushes — Confusion of Names — Desperate Encounter — Heroic Woman 
: — Conflict with a Bear — Death of Bush. 

Notes ^ — Intended Forays Revealed by Indians. The Reger Flint-Lock 
Rifle. Virginia Militia Regiments Revolutionary War — Field of Action. Size 
of Frontier Rifles. Bush Land Claims. 

Chapter XVII 

Capt. George Jackson — First Military Company of Buckhannon. Col. 
Wm. Darke's Emergency Regiment — British in Virginia — Siege of Yorktown — 
Jackson in Gen. Clark's Expedition — Col. of Militia — Memorable Night-Run — 
Col. Lowther's Rangers — Thomas and Elias Hughes Officers — Jesse Hughes 
Subaltern — Indian War Paths — Canoe Travel — Portage — Hughes and West 
— Scouting Tour — Bear in "Town" — A Great Hunt — The Spoils. Memorial 
Names — Joseph Hall. — In Dunmore's War — Old Camp Unearthed. Henry 
Jackson Surveyor — A Surveying Party — Camp Alarmed — Hughes Discovers 
Indians - — Camp Abandoned — War Party Raids on Cheat River — Intercepted 
by Lowther's Rangers — Uncompleted Survey — Notable Land Suit — Settle- 
ments on West Fork River — The Halls. Wm. Strange — Lost in Mountains — 
Fruitless Quest — Gun and Skeleton Found — Traditions — Mrs. Strange — 
Twice Widowed by Tragedy — Marries Joseph Hall — Descendants. Mollohan 
Lost — Unsolved Mystery. 

Notes — The Jacksons — Streams Named by Scouts — Kanawha and Monon- 
gahela Portage — Indian Remains. Col. Duvall — Commander of Scouts — 
Available Military Force. Simon Girty in Settlements — Two Children Killed — 
Mythical Indian Town. Incident of Seneca Trail. 

Chapter XVIII 

Forts on the Ohio. Cattle Drover's Camp Attacked by Tecumseh ■ — Account 
by Withers — By Hildreth. Death of Carpenter — Others Killed. Jesse Hughes' 
Narrow Escape — Rapid Flight — Indian Respect for Dead — Escape of Negro 
Captive — Hughes in Foot Race — Charging Gun while Speeding. Traditional 
Account of Carpenter Tragedy — Expedition of Revenge. — Shawnees Attacked 

Table of Contents 11 

on Shade River — Hughes Saves Indian Baby — Doubtful Xarrativc. Hunters 
Attacked — Death of Coleman. 

Notes — Red Stone and Marietta Road — Tecumsch — First War Path — 
Abstinence from Food. Peter Wai^'Koner Captive. Indian Dress Adopted by 


\\ apgoncr Massacre — Hughes Gives .Alarm — Tecumsch — Prisoners Object 
of Raid — Indian Parental Ixjve — Kscape of Marauders — Kighty Miles without 
Food. Peter W agg<)ner — Captive Twenty \'ears — Found in Ohio — His Indian 
Family — Persuaded Home — Promised Return — Detained — Grows Restive — 
Despondent. .Attempts N'iolence — .More Strictly Guarded — .Marries White 
W oman — Stories of Captivity — Traits — His Indian \\ ife \ isits Settlements — 
Her Fate — Death of Peter — Captive Sisters. 

NoTKS — Waggoner Family in Xiririnia. Chillicothe Destroyed by Ken- 

Chaptkr XX 

Hughes Last Defense c)f Border. Carpenter Tragedy on F.Ik River. Folly 
of Adam O'Brien — The Big and Little Indian. — ^ Superior Skill as Warriors — 
Cunning Ruse — Outwitted by Hughes and Killed — John Carpenter — Soldier 
of Revolution — In Battle u{ Ciuilford Court House — Border Scout — House 
Burned by Indians. N'irginia .Militia at Frontier Forts. Desertion. The Car- 
penters' in Dunmorc's War. 

Notes — .Adam O'Brien — I Vih* \ irgir.ia Bordermen — Love of Wilderness 
— .Adventure — Companion Killed. Jeremiah Carpenter Captive of Shawnee. 
Pleasing Episode in Indian Life. Traditions — Omen of the R^d Diit. Jesse 
Hughes Avenger. Carpenter's Gun. Bell Decoy. — Settlers Killed. 


Wayne's Defeat of Indians. — Receding of the Border. — Jesse Hughes Grows 
Restive — Follows Indians to the Wabash — .Adventure at N'incennes — Chills 
and Fever — .Moves to Kentucky — Wanders Back to the Ohio — Settles in 
Jackson County (West) N'irginia — Game and Fish — Was Hughes a Long Hunt- 
er? — Tradition of Morgan — Dead Indian Flayed — Hughes Kills P'riendly 
Indians. War Paths — Haynes Cave — Concealed Rifles — Fate of Drunken 

Notes — Remarkable Pioneer 1K>um- — Defensive Features — One Hughes 
a Ix)ng Hunter — Character and .\chievements of Ix)ng Hunters — Prominence of 
Hughes Family. David .Morgan — .Atnxrious Deed — .Morgan's Descendants in 
Oregon War — Hereditary Depravity — .Mutilating Dead Body of Indian Chief — 
Facts Suppressed. — Debauchery of Northwestern Tribes. Description of Haynes' 
Cave — Indian Sagacity. 

Chapter XXII 

Closing Scenes in Life of Jesse Hughes — Review of Eventful Career — 
Judge Brown's Eulogy — Country's Ingratitude — Loss of Home — Dotage of 
Old .Age — Hunts Imaginary Indians — Dies Alone in the Woods — Where is the 

Old Scout's Grave.' — Irony of Fate — Jesse Hanshaw Death of Mrs. Hughes — 

Relics of the Hughes. 

Notes — Boone — Hughes — Kenton — Lives Compared. Drouillard. French 

12 Table of Contents 

Chapter XXIII 

Genealogy of Hughes Family — Thomas, Sr. — Jesse — Thomas, Jr. — 
Elias — No Peers as Scouts on Virginia Border — Sudna — Marriage to Col. 
Lowther. Job — - Bibbee's — Descendants of Jesse. — James Gandee — Descend- 
ants of Elias. 

Notes — Hughes' Race of Warriors. Transformation of Names. 

Chapter XXIV 

Elias Alias Ellis Hughes — In Battle of Point Pleasant — Who Was the Last 
Survivor? — Samuel Bonifield — Incidents of the Battle — Hughes Defender of 
Border — Career as Told in Declaration for Pension — Rare Unpublished History 

— Captain of Spies — No Equal as Leader — Captured Indian Ornaments — • 
Gen. Wilson's Tribute — Marauding Indians Killed — Remarkable Elk Chase. 

Notes — A Ghastly Tradition — Camp Site of Gen. Lewis Army — Historic 
Tree — Boy Homesteader. 

Chapter XXV 


Elias Hughes Moves to Ohio — Career in Western Country — Printed Rec- 
ords — John Ratliff, Indian Fighter — Companion Hunters — Kills Two Indians — 
Builds Blockhouse — A Night of Peril — Interesting Unpublished History — 
"Last of Border Warriors" — Sketches — Thrilling Adventure — Lieut. War 
1812 — Character — Personal Appearance — Traditions — Death — Burial Under 
Honors of War. 

Notes — By Canoe to the Muskingum — On Foot to Licking River — Forty 
Mile Walk at Eighty — Record War 1812 — Death of Sons in'War — Siege of 
Fort Meigs — Capt. Samuel Brady — Monument to Hughes. 

Chapter XXVI 

Col. William Lowther of Nutter's Fort — Commander of ?\lilltia and Scouts — 
Residence — Descendant from Ancient Family — Nationality — Prowess in Days 
of Knighthood — Family Coat of Arms — Skill as Leader — Old Cabin — Explor- 
ation of Little Kanawha — Hardships of Wilderness Life — Touching Incident — 
A Mother's Tears — The "Starving Year" — "God Has Sent This" — Lowther 
in Clark's Expedition 1781 — Best Record not in Annals — Interesting Testimony 

— Companions in Arms. The Bonnetts. Jacob Bush. Sotha Hickman, Noted 
Scout and Hunter. Nutter Family — Builder of Nutter's Fort — Its Location. 

Notes — Col. Lowther's Slaves — An Interesting Story — Wild Life of the 
Pioneer. — Education. Richards' Fort — Disputed Location — Stockades — The 
Richards as Settlers. Scarcity of Bread — Indian Pemmican. 

Chapter XXVII 


Printed Record of Col. Lowther — Distribution of Scouts — Commissioned 
Captain of MiHtia — Charged with Misconduct — Senior Officer — Merits of the 
Scouts. Capt. Bogart. Capt. McCullock. Indians at Neal's Station. Arrest 
of Lieut. Biggs. Indians Kill Whites. Dearth of Ammunition — Scarcity of 
Rations. Scouts Unpaid — Pay Roll of Scouts. Descendants of Col. Lowther — 
Records War 1812 — Genealogy. 

Notes — Charges Against Capt. McCullock. Alexander Lowther — Soldier 
War 1812. 

Table of Contexts 13 

Chaptkr XX\ 111 

Henry McWhorter — Pioneer Millwright of Wests lort — Nationality and 
Clan Affinity — Three Noted Brothers — Remarkable Strength — Battle with 
Keel Boatmen — Henry a Minute Man Revolutionary War — Battle of White 
Plains — Building the Chevaux-de-frise Across the Hudson — Contractor Turns 
Tory — Pilots British Ships Through Gap — Battle of Fort Montgomery — Mud 
Kort — Barracks Burned. McWhorter Moves to Pennsylvania — Enlists Against 
Indians — Marries — Moves to Hampshire County, \'irginia — To Hacker's 
Creek — The Old Cabin — Packing Salt Across Mountains — Comrade Freezing 

— Warmed with Beech Limb — Builds Mill — Capacity of a Mountain "Corn 
Cracker" — Act of Charity. Waggoner Tragedy. Death of Henry. John 
McWhorter — Boy Life in Wilderness — Eccentricity of Character — Hunting 
Deer with Bucket — Capt. War 1S12 — Public Career — .\musing Anecdotes — 
A Scathing Rebuke. Other McWhortcrs — Incidents — Genealogy — Soldiers 
Civil War. 

N'oTKS — McWhorter — Modes of Spelling Name — The Family in New 
York — Minute .Men — Obstructing the Hudson — Family in Pennsylvania — 
Soldiers Revf)lutionary War. Joseph Kester — Revo!utionar\- Soldier. 

Chapter XXIX 


The Regers — Early Pioneers — Nationality — Founder of Family in Vir- 
ginia — Soldiers in Revolution — Wonderful Hunters — Terrible Conflict with a 
Bear — Scouting (m the .Monongahela — Bitten by Rattlesnake — Thrilling Com- 
bats with Bears - Carrying Eight Bushels Salt — Tossing .Man in .\ir — The 
Hercules of the Border — Cowing a Bully — "Wallowing" Two Men at 80 — 
Descendants in War 1S12-186I — Battle with Indians — Entering Bear's Den — 
Notice of Bozarth Tragedy — .\dvcnture with Wolves — .Mysterious Quarry — 
Chasing the Devil — Superstitions — Occult Healing. Genealogy. 

NoTKS — Col. Wm. Russel in Revolution — On the Border. Col. Silas 
Zane — Revolutionary Record. Siege of Fort Henry. Bozarth Children Captives 

— A "Brave Boy" — "Forenash Plantation." Ludicrous Incident — Kentucky 
"Col." Hunting 'Prouble — Hurled Over Rail Fence. — Hunter's .Attachment for 
His Dog — A Touching Scene. F^ntcring Den of Panthers — Gen. Putnam's 
Achievement Eclipsed. Bl<K)dy Run — Origin of Name. 

Chapter XXX 


Jacob Brake Indian Captive — Life .\mong Northwestern Tribes — Pontiac's 
War — Return from Captivity — Knows of Copper Mime in Michigan — Com- 
pany Formed to Develop Ore — Brake Pilots Party Through Wilderness — 
Arrives .Near the Mine — .\ngcred — Refuses to Reveal Location — Brake of 
Noble Birth — Father a German Baron. Tory Uprising on Wappatomaka — John 
Claypole Leader — Brake's .Mill Rendezvous — Militia Overawed — Tories Scat- 
tered by .Morgan's Riflemen — The Baron's Estate Destroyed — Returns to 
Germany. Genealogy. 

Notes — Mary Harris Indian Captive. Brake Family. First Census of 
V^irginia. Augusta County Militia on Border. Col. Paston's Appeal for Aid 
in Suppressing Tory Element. 

Chapter XXXI 


Cozads — Settlers on Cheat River — Nationality — Different Forms of Name 

— Jacob Cozad, Sr., Moves to Hacker's Creek — Indian Incursion — Jacob, Jr., 

14 Table of Contents 

and Three Brothers Captured — Youngest Killed — Cozad Tree — Bark Inscrip- 
tion — Flight and Escape of Indians — Jacob's Alarm Halloo — Knocked Senseless 
with Rifle — Saved by Squaw — Brothers Freed at Treaty of Greenville — Jacob 
Remains Prisoner — Found by Brother. Incidents in Indian Life — Indian 
Superstition. — Jacob Rescues Child — A Mother's Gratitude. Battle of Fallen 
Timbers — Rage of Indians — Jacob Condemned to the Stake — • Preparation 
for Death — Secreted by Strange Squaw — Spirited Away. Indian Nurser)^ 
Song. Huntercraft. Hardships. Spartan Training of Boys. Jacob's After 
Life — Marriage — Settles on Hacker's Creek — Baptist Minister — Sweat Doc- 
tor. Comments. Indian Veneration for Rattlesnake — Serpent Worship — 
Pictographs — Petroglyphs. 

Notes — Indian Women Taking War Path — Modern Instances Cited. 
The Wahk-puch of the Yakimas. 

Chapter XXXII 

The Hursts' — Revolutionary Soldier Head of Family — Dies on Cheat 
River — Widow Moves to West Fork — Life in the Woods — John Hurst Soldier 
War 1812 — Antipathy for Reptiles — Den of Rattlesnakes — Narrow Escape — 
Panthers — Hair Whitened by Fright — Adventures — -Price of Two Charges of 
Powder — Wolves — Dangerous Night Prowler — A Close Call. Daniel Hurst — 
Soldier 1812. Stock Driving Across Mountains — Slave Whipping — Taming a 
Slave Overseer. 

Notes — Poisonous Snakes — Fabulous Size of Rattler — Death from Bite 
— The Copperhead — Extermination. 

Chapter XXXIII 


James Belt — Typical Mountaineer — Eccentricity of Character — ■ Born 
Orator — Stickler for Truth — Midnight Lecture in Down-pour. Recreant Jack 
Condemned to Hang — Funeral Oration on Mountain — Timely Reprieve. Tan- 
glefoot and Stump Speaking. Land of Milk and Honey. Soldier War 1812 — 
A Martinet — Traits of a Napoleon — Cat vs. Batrachian. Sam — War-horse 
of the Valley — "Pards" in the Fray — Charging the Enemy — An Army on the 
"Knob" — Peace to The "Pards." 

Chapter XXXIV 


Witchcraft and Black Art — Superstitions of Early Settlers — Witch Spells — 
Gun and Shotpouch Effected — Witch Doctors — Status with Bordermen — 
Modern Belief in Occult — Human Steed — Strenuous Night Journey — Sumptu- 
ous Repast — Malicious Persecution — Destroying the Witch — Bewitched Sugar 
Orchard — Achievements of Elkanv Roby — Potency of the Silver Bullet and 
Muttered "Spell." 

Chapter XXXV 

Carnivora of West Virginia — Present Range of Black Bear. The Timber 
Wolf — Early Practical Extinction — Former Packs Swarming the Great Woods — 
Cunning Ferocity. A Narrow Escape. Woman Pursued. Hunter Lost. The 
Panther — Sly Fierceness. Bozarth Stalked — Rescued by Dogs. Sleeping Baby 
Saved by a Fice. Unarmed Settler Attacked — Decisive Combat in the Dark. 
Heroic Woman. Mail Carrier's Thrilling Adventure — An Eye Dual — Lonel}^ 
Ride — A Scream from the Darkness. The Masked Camp Fire — A Surprised 

Table of Contents IS 

PantluT. A Scared Darkey — Lucky Knifi- Thrust. Hunter Pursued — Saved 
by Random Shot. .\ Startled Irishman. .\ Gamboling Panther Killed. The 
Last Bear. A Darinji Woman. Humorous Bear Story. The First Buck. A 
Modern Nimrod. 

Nori ■; — Ruse nf Wolf in Securing; Prey — Deer Herded by Wolves. 


-AiM'i Nm.\ 1 

Draper Correspondence — Rare Collection of Letters on liorder History of 
I'pper .\Iononi;ahela — Li^ht on Disputed Points — Contribution by Col. Westfall 
— B) David Snntli — .Vulhorship i»f linrJer Warfare — Hacker and Powers Let- 
ters — Jacksons as l*ioneers. 

NoTKS — Stroud Tragedy — Battle of Point Pleasant — First Shot — Lieut. 
Fropp — If'itliers .Account of Killing' Capt. White — Other Incidents — John 
Hacker — Hezekiah Hess — Soldier Revolution — Descendants — Henry Ilinz- 
man - Record Re\'ilutionary \\ ar — Geneaiofjy — Rev. Wm. G. ILicker. 

Appendix 2 

BufLilo in Western X'irginia — Bibliography by Draper — .Additional Data — 
Distribution Throughout Trans-Allcghcny — Last Buffalo and F'lk in West Vir- 
ginia — Gazetteer. 

.\i'i'i.Nmx } 

.Archaeological Kxamination of Indian Camp — Relics — Huinan Remains — 
Fire Hearths — Flint Implements — .\sii Camp — Wh>' Named — Legend of 
the Lost .Mine — Ruins — Strange Rock Inscriptions — What are 'I'hcy.' — Old 
Map — .Mysterious Cave — Buried Treasure — The Swift Mines — Where 
Located.' — Swift's Journal — The Judge Apperson Copy — Connelley's Letter. 

NoTKS —Tragedy of Powell's .Mountain. Civil War. 

-Appendix 4 

Concerning Tory Uprising on Wappalomaka — Petitions for E.xecutivc Clem- 
ency for John Claypole — Jacob Brake and Others — Brake's Mill — Baron 
John Brake. 

House Occupied by Author, 
Just After Marriage to Miss Ardelia Swisher 


Jesse Hughes was a pioneer in Xorihwestern \'irginia, that 
region so designated in early annals and now principally included 
in the State of West \'irginia. It was, at the time he came into 
it, a wilderness. It was a country of hills and clear streams and 
magnificent forests. It abounded in beautiful valleys, precip- 
itous bluffs, rugged cliffs, and rolling uplands stretching away 
to greater elevations, ending finally in some watershed composed 
of steep and lofty ranges, outlying flankers of the Alleghenies. 
These ranges are spread out without regularity or order. The\- 
arc ever-present. They are formed, fashioned and separated by 
the swift streams flowing by their bases to the larger tributaries 
of the Ohio. Trees cover them to their summits. Sometimes 
the countr\' bears a park-like appearance; and again it becomes 
choked with thickets of bushes, brambles, vines and enormous 
greenbriers. Often the tops of the ranges are covered with 
immense masses of sandstone, from which innumerable fragments 
have scattered over both mountain and valley. It is a country 
of moods. In winter, when the trees arc stripped and their 
branches bare, groan and creak in the north wind, it has a bleak 
and savage aspect. In summer it is full-leaved, delicately-lined, 
and lies blushing and plentifully-promising in a flood of sunshine. 
In autumn it is glowing, gorgeous, magnificently colored, sullimc. 
1 he changing hues of the land create an cn\ironment which 
begets the spirit of mystery. The dweller therein is lifted above 
himself — charmed. Something akin to worship rises in his 
heart as he views from some mountain-top his native land l\ing 
spread below him robed in colors more varied and beautiful than 
queen or princess ever wore. The mountaineer who wanders 
from this land ma\- see vast plains covered with waving harvests, 
and a thousand hills covered with grazing cattle; he may live 
where rolls old ocean; he may prosper in the riches of this world; 
he may attain fame and greatness and power; but his heart is in 
the romantic hills and enchanted valleys stretching down from 
the .Mleghenies toward the great river which flows out to lose 
itself in roaring breakers and washing tides, and which so fitl\- 
typifies human life. 

18 Preface 

When Jesse Hughes and those who came with him arrived in 
this mystic wilderness, it was a solitude well-nigh tenantless. 
Indian tribes claimed it for a hunting-ground. They roamed 
over it in quest of game. They hunted through its mazes for the 
settler who dared defile it with axe and plow. In the contest for 
the land Jesse Hughes bore a part far beyond that of the average 
settler. He was one of those woodsmen in whom was concentra- 
ted the hardihood, the daring, the fierce and uncontrollable spirit 
of our barbarous ancestors in the fens and on the swamp shores 
of Northwestern Europe. The wild life of the great woods 
appealed to him. It suited his rancorous humor. It was in accord 
with the fountains of his life. He gloried in it. It was war, 
danger, adventure. His life was forfeit every minute, but the 
knowledge of this fact stimulated him like wine. The hunt for 
those who would slay him became his ruling passion, the sole end 
for which he lived. On the trail of the wild Indian his soul hard- 
ened to iron and his nature grew more savage than that of the 
man he hunted. He was grim, cruel, relentless, and bloodthirsty. 
But he was the product of the age in which he lived. Nature 
makes no mistakes. Every emergency produces the men to cope 
with it. In the conquest of the great valley of the Mississippi such 
men were a necessity, and they were developed by the westward 
migration of the white man. They were the warriors of our 
advancing lines — heroes now and evermore. 

William Elsey Connelley. 


The friends of Mr. McW liorter, ulio are acquainted with his 
work among the Indians and his researches into tlie archives of 
\'irginia, as well as his explorations in the held of archaeology, 
urged upon him that it was simple justice to the reader that a 
personal sketch should be included in the present volume. Hav- 
ing been acquainted with the author for over twenty years, 
knowing his venerated father, and more or less familiar with the 
sturd\' and honorable characteristics of the family, the pleasure 
of writing this sketch devolved upon me. The reader should 
realize what one may accomplish when the mind is willing though 
obstacles may intervene. 

Mr. McW horlcr is an unassuming man, without scholastic 
learning, thomughl)' honest in purpose and always willing to listen 
to others. W hen his mind is decisively made up he acts without 
an}' thought of reward or encomium. In the services he ren- 
dered the Indians of the Stale of Washington he incurred the 
enmit)' of one of the most thoroughly organized gangs of land 
robbers in the history of this country, whose territories were 
strongK' entrenched in the Indian Department. Single-handed he 
coped with them. His only guide being that of simple justice. 
In every move he outwitted all, though some of the shrewdest 
law\'ers were at work. W hile his movements were silent, he 
did not disguise the fact he had determined to stand between 
them and the Indian. However, it is better for the narrative 
to reveal the truth. 

Lucullus Virgil, son of Rev. |. M. McWhorter, M. D., was 
born in a log cabin built by his great uncle, Thomas McW horter, 
on the ancestral home, on McKinne\'s Run, a tributary of Hack- 
er's Creek, in Harrison County, (West) Virginia, January 29, 
1860. The following March his parents moved to Buckhannon 
Run, an upper branch of Hacker's Creek, in Upshur Count)-. In 
this isolated little valley, with six brothers and two sisters he grew 
to manhood, inheriting all the mountaineer's love of freedom and 
clan affinity. Many of his habits were solitary. The hills, woods 
and limpid streams were inexhaustible sources of pleasure. He 
lamented the passing of the native forest with its indigene life. 

20 To The Reader 

His pro-primitive disposition and proneness for the wild, pre- 
cluded the collegiate course and West Point Cadetship which 
were open to him. Four months of dreaded winter schooling 
until twenty-one years of age was all that his nature could endure. 
He chafed at restraint; and his distaste for text books was sur- 
passed only by his infatuation for some of the poets, Indian and 
pioneer history, traditions and mountain folk-lore. He reveled in 
the legends of the wilderness. The hunter stories of the first 
settlers which he heard in childhood were never forgotten. The 
thrilling adventures of Jesse Hughes and his associates with the 
red warriors of the forest appealed to him as nothing else could. 
These tales of a past epoch eventually culminated in the pages 
of Border Settlers. 

Unlike most of our pioneer annals, the reader will find this 
work strikingly non-partisan. The author has endeavored to 
give events without discriminating in favor of his own race. To 
him the aggressors in the Trans-Allegheny wars were too palpable 
to admit of controversy. Upon this point he is likely to be assailed, 
for he has crossed some recognized authorities; but his position is 
strongly entrenched with facts. Justly loyal to his own racial 
affinities, he has, from early childhood been noted for his Indian 
sympathies. While yet in his early teens he prevailed on his little 
sister to bore his ears, preparatory to a life with the red men. 
The culminating set-back to this Utopian dream was when, in 
anticipation of a visit to the parental home of a noted preacher 
from Ohio, his more "civilized" brothers forcibly applied the 
shears to his flowing locks. As he grew older, filial duty alone 
stayed his nomadic proclivities; but with each recurring flight 
of the wild geese the inherent longing for the boundless open was 
almost unendurable. Indian Summer affected him inexplicably. 
The murky haze was from the smoke-flues of the invisible wigwams 
of the spirit Indians which haunt the Monongahela hills. The 
autumnal winds soughing in the trees scattering the crimson foli- 
age, was a funeral dirge for the primitive life forever gone. 

Early in life Air. McWhorter read MacLean's: The Mound 
Builders; published in serial form in The Star in the West; which 
found its way into his mountain home. The reading of this 
work had a very marked effect on his future career. Those old 
Stars were treasured for years and from their perusal a new world 
was unfolded, and there came a longing for delving into the past. 

To The Rkader 21 

Other archaeological authors were studied, w hicii in time led to a 
practical examination of the various Indian remains in the Hack- 
er's Creek valley, with a correct tabulation of all data obtained. 
(Iraves, mounds, stone-heaps and village sites were explored and 
their histor)- revealed. \o antiquities in the valley that he did 
not visit and note. Caves and aboriginal rock-shelters in other 
localities were investigated and their secrets wrested from them. 
But in all these excavations his veneration for the ancient was 
such that even the most lowly grave was invariably left restored 
to its former state. .None could accuse him of undue desecration 
or vandalism. He became an expert on flint and stone imple- 
ments. Thousands of relics were collected with accurate history 
of their hnding: constituting the finest aggregation of antiquarian 
objects ever secured in central West \'irginia; a region not rich 
in ancient remains. These in later years were placed intact and 
permanentU' in the .Museum of The H'tst I'irj^^iniu Historical and 
Antiquarian Society. Charlestf)n; since created T/ie Department 
of State Archives and History. In 189.^ he was one of three who 
originated and published The .hchaeologist, an illustrated journal 
intended to meet the primary needs of the archaeological student. 
This publication was suspended three years later. 

In 1S*)7. the home farm was disposed of and the author soon 
after settled near the historic Fort Jefferson, in Darke County, 
Ohio. In the spring of l'X)3, he consummated his life-long desire 
to "go west," by moving with his famil>' to .\(jrth Vakima, \\ ash- 
ington; where he continued for a lime in the live stock business, 
which he had previously been f(jllowing. His delight was Devon 
cattle. His father and himself brought the first of this active 
breed into Central West \irginia. He held to them in Ohio, 
and selected the cream of seven different herds and took them to 
Washington. He and his two sons had, when they disposed of 
their business, the nucleus of the best herd in the United States. 
They exhibited throughout the Northwest and the Pacific Slope. 

In his new home, situated (.m\\ a few miles from the \'akima 
Indian Reservation, he found opportunity for the field study of 
ethnology, which he had combined with archaeology. He soon won 
the friendship of the tribe. He joined in their social gatherings 
and festivities. He camped with them in the mountains, participat- 
ing in their feats of strength and testing the splendid efficiency of 
the sweat-house and the icy river bath. He mingled with them 


To The Reader 

in their primitive worship, for which he has inherent respect. 
He has been instructed in the mystic rites of the "medicine dance," 
and the touching simphcity of the "feast of the new food;" a 
ceremony of invocation and thanksgiving to Ale-yay -wah, the 
Supreme. He has been welcomed at the "funeral feast," where 


the grief and respect for the memory of the dead is attested by 
wailing and the distribution of presents. Looked upon as one 
of their number, they have sought his counsel. As one aged 
warrior expressed it "He has ears and he hears straight. He has 
but one tongue and he talks from his heart." So great was their 

To The Reader 23 

confidence in him, that Yodm-tee-bee^ "bitten by a grizzly bear," 
a strong clan Chieftain, adopted him into his tribe; conferring 
upon him all the honors of a councilman, under the name of a 
deceased sub-chief: Ile-mene-Ka <can, "Old Wolf." This name 
in Klickitat, a tribe amalgamated with the Yakimas, is Ilal-isk 
llo-sat. At a later day, Too-skas-Pot-thah -nook, "Seven Aloun- 
tains,"the last surviving son of the great War Chief, Ozchi, adopted 
him in lieu of a deceased brother, Ko-tcih -zvi-nat, "rain falling 
from a passing cloud," a noted warrior of his day. 

Chief ^ oomteebce's newly made clansman soon became aware 
that his people were being systematically looted; that their right 
to the reservation streams for irrigation purposes, without which 
their lands are worthless, had been appropriated by the white 
settlers; and tiiat later this wrong had been arbitrarily sanctioned 
by an unfair ruling of the Secretary of the Interior, leaving the 
Indians entireh' unprovided for. Also that through Congressional 
legislation, steered by local "promotors" and land grabbers, three- 
fourths of all allotments within a large area were to be sold under 
a law that was equivalent to confiscation; permitting the allottees 
to hold twent\' acres each only, for which they were to pay for a 
water right on such terms and at such price as the Secretarx' of 
the Interior might provide. This appalling robbery, which if 
consummated meant ruin for the victims, he saw hanging over the 
"\ akimas. .Acting upon his own \olition and without legal advice, 
he went secreth- intcj the hght with the determination that if the 
game could not be defeated, he would in any event expose the 
conspiracy which he surmised to be far-reaching and powerful. 
His conjecture proved true and the odds against him were heavy. 
But casting his lot with that of ^'oomteebee, the "leader of the 
hostiles," and enjoying the full confidence of that determined, 
primitive-minded Chieftain, he well knew what danger lurked 
ahead should he fail to break the mighty combine and the tribes- 
men be driven to the "last ditch." He kept his own counsel, but 
when the time came for the Indians to be approached by the 
Government officials for the purpose of securing the contracts 
necessary for the consummation of the crime, he acted promptly. 
Mounted on U'ild Eye, "The (jrey Cayuse," he struck the Reser- 
vation trails night and day; warning his red brothers against sign- 
ing any papers that might be presented to them. Chief Yoom- 
teebee sent out other runners and soon the entire tribe was awake 

24 To The Reader 

to the impending danger. They refused to sign, and the pet 
scheme to ensnare the 1 akimas was foiled, nor did the despoilers 
know for a time from whence came the blow. 

The first skirmish had been won and the lines of the enemy 
thrown into confusion. This, however, only augmented the 
ominous menace of an actual tragedy should the tide turn. On 
March 10, 1910, Chief Yoomteebee died of pneumonia, leaving 
the tribe in mourning and the "hostiles" without an aggressive 
leader. New measures, covert and subtile were launched by the 
opposition and the fight continued. Wild Eye-, an integral factor 
in the battle, covered hundreds of miles, traversing obscure trails 
in the darkness of night; and on one such occasion crossing a 
swollen reservation stream on a rude Indian bridge of round 
poles, the loose timbers half floating on the flood, giving at every 
step of the faithful steed. Often for days and nights the rider did 
not remove his clothes, eating when he could and sleeping when 
and wherever weariness demanded a rest. He was always wel- 
comed at the Indian's lowly home, but many times his bed was a 
blanket and a pile of straw in the open or the bare ground. The 
haunting appeal of Chief Yoomteebee, "You are now my brother. 
You must always stand by my people and help them," ever 
urged him on. During the thickest gloom of the trouble, Rev. 
Stwire G. \\ aters, who had been elected Head Chief of the Tribe, 
said, "I have been praying that the Lord would send a good 
man to help us, and he has heard me." 

For three years, single-handed he kept up the struggle, balk- 
ing every effort of the "system." He then successfully invoked the 
aid of the Indian Rights Association. Air. Brosius, the agent for 
this powerful, philanthropic body, entered the contest with spirit. 
He looked to the legal and strategic feature at the National Cap- 
itol, while Mr. McWhorter kept guard on the Reservation. Judge 
Carroll B. Graves, an eminent attorney of Seattle, was employed, 
and in the end a victory was won, insofar as recovering free water 
for one-half of the land involved and preventing the jeopardizing 
of any part of the allotments in question. Mr. Brosius said that 
if it had not been for "The Grey Cayuse" and rider, the Yakimas 
would have been despoiled of water rights to the value of several 
millions of dollars. The most effective and characteristic of the 
tribal petitions were drafted by Air. AlcWhorter. 

The white owners of 20,000 acres of deeded Indian lands 

To The Reader 25 

shared equally with the tribesmen in the fruits of this triumph, 
but strange to say they blindly stood in with the opposition, or 
held aloof until the last stages of the struggle. Mr. McW'horter 
did this work, ignoring alike intimidating threats and warnings 
of social ostracism; spending months of time and considerable 
money without any expectation of compensation or reward; nor 
did he ever solicit or receive a dollar for the sacrifice which left 
him tinancially crippled. 

In r^i.v Mr. McW hortcr published his "Crime Against the 
\ akimas," a strongly written pamphlet of tifty-six pages, illus- 
trated, selling forth the flagrant wrongs heaped upon this tribe 
and the strenuous fight made by the chief men for tardy justice. 
It is a fearful exposure of an attempt at despoiling the Nation s 
li (ird> . wherein (lovernmenl officials, speculators and political 
cohorts under the cloak of philanlhrt)pic motives were combined 
to deliver the final <o»//> dc maifrr to a helpless remnant of a race 
upon whose neck the heel of the conqueror has ground for the last 
four centuries, in the introduction, by .\Ir. William 1'!. Johnson, 
known and dreaded b>' the lawless whiskey vendors who haunt 
the western Indian reservations as "Pussie Foot," in part, says: 

"^ ears ago .\lc\\ horter began mingling with the \ akima 
Indians. He earned their confidence. He fought their battles. 
He aired their wrongs in public. He spent his time and money 
in efforts to secure for them a square deal. He was formally 
adopted intf) their tribe by Chief \ 66m-tee-bee, and is known 
among them as He-mcne Ka-wan (Old Wolf). And, while he 
is an adopted member of their tribe and has participated in tribal 
affairs as a member of their council, he has never sought or received 
one (.loUar of benefit irom such membership. 

"Four years ago, when I began operations in Washington, 
suppressing the liquor traffic among Indians, as chief officer of the 
Indian service, I first crossed this man McW horter's trail. I 
found him stirring them up to protest against the issuing of saloon 
license at Toppenish. I found the Indians under his influence, 
protesting against the issuing of saloon licenses at W apato, at 
Parker and other places. I found him stirring up the \akimas 
to petition the Secretary of the Interior, asking for the removal 
of the white man's saloon from their midst. 

"In March. 1*M1. a bill was introduced into the W"ashington 
-senate to destroy the splendid state law against selling liquor to 

26 To The Reader 

Indians. The news came to me immediately over the wire and I 
telegraphed to many persons of influence in that state, asking 
assistance in defeating the infamous proposal. It was L. V. 
McWhorter who played the card that defeated the liquor grafters. 
He rode the Yakima Reservation for two days. The result was, 
that, representing five hundred Indians, he sent a telegram to the 
sponsor of the bill protesting and imploring that it be withdrawn. 
And it was withdrawn, as the hundreds of scoundrels who have, 
since been convicted under this law can testify. 

"Because of my interest in my own race as well as my interest 
In the Indian, I rejoice that the following pages have been written, 
and written by one so well qualified to tell the sordid story as 
Mr. McWhorter. If the remainder of the white race were like 
him, there would be no 'Indian problems.' " 

During these years of friendly contact with the Yaklmas, 
McWhorter obtained many of their traditions and folk-lore stories, 
to which he is constantly adding. These, with much obscure 
tribal history, because of the native eloquence of oratory which 
he carefully preserves, will, if ever published, constitute a valuable 
contribution to our Indian literature. Not the least interesting 
of his manuscripts is the personal narratives of a number of the 
warriors of Chief Joseph's Band, Nez Perce War, 1877. Some of 
these cover previous tribal wars, and the thrilling experiences of 
the grim fighters, told in their own way, reveals the Indian char- 
acter as seldom found in border history. The lack of money 
alone has prevented the completion of these researches and their 
publication In book form. 

J. P. MacLean. 

Franklin, Ohio. 

February 22, 1915. 


Border Settlers, begun in 1896, has been written under adver- 
sity during such time as could be spared from keeping the tradi- 
tional wolf from the door. The volume is a growth from an 
original design to write a biography of Jesse Hughes, the great 
Indian Scout of Western Virginia. Whatever its merits, it is the 
product of an incentive to place in tangible form some of the 
unpublished records, history and traditions of the pioneers of the 
most interesting region of our entire western border. In some 
instances widely scattered authorities have been drawn from, in 
the belief that a complete, though condensed history so far as 
practicable, was desirable. Comparatively, the printed record is 
meagre; but the field was found rich in unchronicled lore. 

Nowhere in the Anglo-Saxon conquest of the New World is 
there a territory so fraught with dramatic traged}', personal 
prowess and adventure, as the Trans-Allegheny. For more than 
twenty years, embracing the Revolutionary struggle, amid the 
dark mazes of this mighty wilderness, the Red and the White 
warriors met in deadly conflict. It was a warfare cruel, fierce 
and unrelenting; where mutual wrongs and implacable race hatred 
ever whetted anew the murderous scalping knife and rendered 
unerring the aim of the deadly rifle. The sombre dales of the 
Monongahela and the deep glens of the Kanawhas' witnessed 
many a tragic scene. The set purpose to found new homes in the 
wilderness was met with a grim determination to maintain those 
homes long established to the westward, by holding, if possible, 
this natural barrier against the invader. 

By instinct and training the contestants stood fairl\- matched. 
Baring the torture stake, the status of the "Advance guard of 
civilization," was scarce above that of the Red guard of barbarism. 
The isolation of the settlers' cabins was responsible for the man>' 
dreadful massacres of innocence; while the segregation of the Indians 
alone secured them from the ravages of a like warfare. \\ hen 
the opportunit}- afforded, entire families, bands anel \illagcs were 
ruthlessly destroyed. The wolf and the vulture e\er hovered in 
the wake of the Red and the White forayer. The war whoop 
and the border yell were alike s\non\-mous of death: — a call for 
the carrion creatures to assemble in feast. 

28 Prelude 

The antipathy of the Indian for the "Long Knives" was well 
founded. Nowhere in the early annals can we find such reckless 
dare-devil bravery as displayed by the Virginia frontiersman; 
where every settler was a warrior. And nowhere has the chronicler 
dealt more unfairly with the memory of the forest ranger. If 
zeal in the extirpation of the Indian is to be considered a virtue, 
then many of these bordermen were entitled to canonization. 
Jesse Hughes and his two noted brothers: — the peers of Boone, 
Brady, Kenton, the McColloughs', Wetzels' and the Zanes', have 
but small space in the annals, while the names of others of scarce 
less ability are practically unknown. In the present work, many 
of the deeds of these scouts are, for the first time, made public. 

Pathos and tragedy are the component parts of the early 
history of this region. Domestic life held but little cheer. The 
warrior-settler engaged so constantly in scouting and the chase, 
was not only necessarily improvident, but his meagre wages for 
military services were often in arrears. On the wife and the mother 
devolved the heavier burden of providing for the family. It was 
not enough that she spin and manufacture clothing, but the 
"corn patch" and the "truck patch" were usually the product of 
her toil, aided, perhaps, by the children. Unceasing danger and 
hardships were her portion, and her worth has never been appre- 

A descendant of one of the oldest and most noted pioneer 
families of the upper Alonongahela, writes me. 

"In writing the record of the wilderness heroes, do not forget 
that it was our old grandmothers who cooked for all the people 
around open wood fires when they attended church in their cabin 
homes: that there were as many noble women as there were 
noble men, true heroines, who with but few pleasures to mitigate 
the monotony of their hard, arduous lives; they toiled without 
murmur or complaint. Their courage, industry, patience and 
self-denial, were the beautiful as well as the pathetic side of the 
pioneer life in those trying days. They were the real foundations 
of the great civilization of our land. Do not forget our grand- 

This is true; and the historian has failed to recognize the 
actual part of these grandmothers in the settlement and develop- 
ment of the Trans-Allegheny. When life in the boundless woods 
threatened to revert husband, father and son to hopeless barbar- 

Prf-mde 29 

ism, it was iheir influence which checkmated the scductixe "call 
of the wild." Peace to Tiikir Mi.mor^-. 


The following is a list of the names of men for whose military 
records search was made among the archives of the War Depart- 
ment, and the Pension Office, Washington, 1). C". With the 
exception of a few soldiers of the War of 1812, which are so designa- 
ted, all were for services during the Revolutionary War, either 
Continental Troops or State Militia; which latter included frontier 
scouts or rangers. Many of these never applied for pension; 
some dying before the pension laws covering their case were 
enacted. The prospect of a record through the widow's chiim 
was an incentive for the examination. 1 am indebted to Laura 
(jertrude Rogers, of W ashington C"ii\ , tor the splendid results 
obtaincLl. which arc full}" set forth in the course of this xohime. 
It was found that not a lew of the bra\est defenders of the border 
were left entirely without the pale of an\' pensioning legislation. 

Bail)', Capt. Minter; Bent, Belt or Broadbelt, James (War 
1812); Biggs, Lieut. Joseph; Bonnett, Jacob; Bonnett, Lewis; 
Bonnett, Peter; Bozarth, Cap. John (War 1812); Bozarth, (jeorge 
(War of 1812); Brake, Jacob; Brown, John; Bush, Jacob; Bush, 
John; Butcher, Paulcene. 

Carpenter, Christopher; Carpenter, Jesse; Carpenter. John; 
Connells, Col. John (W'^ar 1812); Cotteral, Thomas; Cutright, John; 
Cutright, Benjamin; Cutright, Peter. 

I)a\'isson, Hezekiah; Dorman, Timothy; Drennen, Thomas; 
Duval. John P. 

Flesher, Adam; Llesher, Henry; Forenash, Jacob. 

Green, Cjeorge; Gregory, Capt. Joseph. 

Hacker, John; Hacker, W illiam; Hall, Joseph; Hess, Hezekiah 
(1776-1812); Hicks, Sotha; Hinzman, Henr>'; Hughes, Jesse 
(for widow's claim); Hughes, Elias; Hughes, Thomas; Hughes, 
Job; Hughes, Charles; Hughes, Charles (War of 1812); Hughes, 
David (War of 1812); Hughes (i\n\ name \'oluntcer from Licking 
Co., Ohio. War 1812) ; Hurst, William; Hurst (an\- name); Hurst, 
John (War of 1812); Hurst, Daniel (War of 1812); Hurst, William 
(War of 1812). 

Jackson, John; Jackson, Cieorge; Jackson, Kdward; Jackson, 
Henry; Jenkins, Bartholomew. 

30 Prelude 

Kester, Joseph; King, Col. William (3rd U. S. Rifles, War of 

Lowther, William; Lowther, Robert; Lowther (any name); 
Lowther, Alexander (War of 1812); Lowther (any name. War of 
1812); Lynn, John. 

Martin, Stephen; McCan, Paterick; McColloch, or McCul- 
lough. Major John; McWhorter, Henry; McWhorter, Alexander 
(Knox Artillery Brigade); McWhorter, Capt. John (War of 1812); 
McWhorter, James; McWhorter, John; McWhorter, Gilbert; 
McWhorter, Robert; McWhorter, William — New York, New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania, War 1776; AlcWhorter (any name); 
Morgan, (any name); Morrison, James. 

Nutter, Christopher; Nutter, Capt. Thomas. 

O'Brien, Adam. 

Powers, William; Powers, John; Pringle, Capt. Samuel; 
Pringle, John. 

Radcliff, William; Radcliff, John; Reeder, ; Reger, 

Anthony; Reger, Philip; Reger, Jacob; Reger, John; Robinson, 
Major Benjamin; Runner, Elijah; Ryan, John; Ryan, . 

Schoolcraft, John (mentioned by Withers); Schoolcraft, 
John (scout about Wheeling); Scott, Andrew; Scott, Jacob; Scott, 
Robert; Sevier, Col. John; Shaver, Paul; Sleeth, David; Smith, 

Waggoner, John; Waggoner, William; West, Alexander; 
West, Edmund; West, Joseph; Westfall, Jacob; White, Capt. 
William (for widow's claim); Wilson, Col. Benjamin. 

Zane, Col. Ebenezer; Zane, Col. Silas. 

It is with pleasure that I acknowledge valuable assistance 
from Mr. William Elsey Connelley, the late lamented Prof. Virgil 
A. Lewis, Hon. Hu Maxwell, Hon. W. B. Cutright, Mr. Henry 
Haymond, Dr. J. P. MacLean, Judge Wm. S. O'Brien, Miss Minnie 
Kendall Lowther, Prof. H. R. Mcllwain of the Virginia State 
Library; and Dr. R. G. Thwaites and Miss Annie A. Nunns, of 
\\'isconsin State Historical Society. Aside from the preface and 
notes written by Mr. Connelley, his counsel and suggestions were 
invaluable in the final arrangement of material. Second only to 
Mr. Connelley in this respect was Mr. J. Scott McWhorter, Attor- 
ney, Lewisburg, W. Va. Other sources of help are duly credited 
where given. -. ^- tv 4- tt- 


North Yakima, Wash., Ma\-. 1914. 



Photograph of The Pringle Sycamore, March, 1915 
courtesy of mr. and mrs. u. i. jenkins 


The first permanent settlers to enter the Trans-Allegheny of 
Western X'irginia, came from the W'appatomaka, (I) and were led 
hv Samuel Pringle. Samuel and his younger brother John were 
soldiers in the British garrison at Fort Pitt, which they, with 
William Childers and Joseph Linsey deserted in 1761. (2) They 
tied first to the wilds of the Monongahela, but subsequently 
sought the glades at the head of the Youghiogheny, where they 
encamped about one year. In 1762 they ventured to the Looney's 
Creek settlement but almost immediately Childers and Linsey 
were arrested. The Pringles escaped to their old haunts where 
they remained in the employment of John Simpson, a trapper, 
until some time in 1764. 

As the glades were now being invaded by hunters from the 
W'appatomaka, the trio resolved to retreat further west. By such 
move Simpson would find better hunting and the Pringles would 
he more secure from detection and arrest. \\ hile executing this 
resolution and after crossing the Cheat River at the Horse Shoe 
(bend) the trapper and the fugitives parted company as a result 
of a disagreement. Simpson proceeded to the mouth of Elk 
Creek, near the present site of Clarksburg, where he erected a 
camp and continued until permanent settlements were made on 
the western waters. He then disappeared, in all probability 
going to Kentuck}'. He appears to have been a man of fierce 
temperament. One Cottral, or Cottrell, met death at his hands 
in an altercation over two gallons of salt. The Cottrals were, 
however, known for their great fighting qualities. 

The Pringles kept up Tygart's \'alley, and reached the 
Buckhannon River (1764), where they took up residence in a 
hollow sycamore tree at the mouth of Turkey Run. (3) Here 
they resided until late in the autumn of 1767, when they had 
remaining but two charges of powder. Leaving these with 
Samuel, John recrossed the mountains for a supply of ammunition. 
While there he learned that peace had been declared with both 
French and Indian, and that they now could return in safety to 
the settlements. After some delay he hastened back to the 
wilderness camp to find his brother reduced to the verge of 
(1) See page 415. (2) p. 415. (3) p. 416. 

32 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

despair. One charge of powder Samuel had lost in a vain en- 
deavor to kill a buck, but with the other he brought down a fine 
buffalo; otherwise he must have succumbed to the ravages of 
hunger. The continued absence of John had induced the belief 
that he had been apprehended and imprisoned. 

The brothers, no longer fugitives, now determined to return 
to the Wappatomaka. The sequel was the rapid colonization of 
the Trans-Allegheny. Subsequently John settled in Kentucky. 
The time of his removal' to the Blue Grass region is not known, 
but it was at an early date. No mention of him is found in con- 
nection with the settlements of the upper Monongahela after 
1768; nor is it believed that he ever took up actual residence after 
abandoning the camp in the Sycamore. 

One John Pringle was a settler on Chaplin's Fork, Kentucky, 
in 1780. He came with a fleet of three boats from the Wappato- 
maka, and in an encounter with the Indians, led by Simon Girty, 
Pringle's boat alone escaped. He married Rebecca Simpson, a 
sister to a John Simpson, from whom she inherited slaves in 
1825. (4) 

Samuel Pringle settled permanently on the Buckhannon, and 
was prominent in the border wars. From sworn statements 
preserved in the Government Pension Office, it would appear that 
Samuel Pringle was at one time during the Revolution, captain 
of a band of scouts, but as no claim for pension on account of his 
Revolutionary service was made, we find no actual record of his 
military career. (5) His wife, Charity Cutright, was the daughter 
of Benjamin Cutright, and a sister of John Cutright, Jr., the 
noted scout of the Buckhannon. A family tradition has it that 
Samuel and Charity were married before the fugitive brothers 
made residence in the Sycamore, where Mrs. Pringle joined her 
husband in 1767, guided by a path blazed by John when he first 
sought the settlements. Another account says they were not 
married until after the return of the brothers to the Wappatomaka, 
although a warm attachment had sprung up between the young 
couple, while the deserters were at Looney's Creek in 1762. It 
is more than probable that the marriage was consummated during 
the brief stay of Pringle at Looney's Creek, and that the devoted 
wife actually traversed the wilderness path to her absent husband. 

The children of Samuel and Charity were William, John, 
Samuel, Elizabeth and another daughter whose name is not 

(4) See page 416. (5) p. 416. 

Border Sktti.krs of Northuksthrn \ ir(,ini.\ 33 

recalled. Their descendants arc numerous in the Buckhannon 
counti}', while some are scattered through sections of Ohio and 
I ni-liana. {(>) 

The claim that the Pringles, as soldiers in the Royal Army, 
only came to America during the French and Indian wars, can not 
be accepted as fact. It is not probable that such men would have 
deserted and fled to a wilderness fraught with known dangers 
with which they were unqualified to cope. Border Colonial 
troops, as in the Patriot Army of the Revolution, chafed at restraint 
and discipline, and often deserted. The Pringles evinced a con- 
summate skill in woodcraft, not attributable to the raw European 

It is a remarkable coincidence that a \\ illiam Pringle resided 
in Philadelphia, who had two sons named John and Samuel, 
born in 1728 and 1731 respectively. 

It is not improbable that this family removed to the Virginia 
border and that the sons were identical with those of later renown. 

Momentous events were destined to follow in the wake of 
these wilderness refugees. In the autumn of 1768, several adven- 
turous and prospective settlers under the guidance of Samuel, 
visited the region of the Pringle refuge, and so well pleased were 
they, that the following spring they returned, selected lands, 
cleared small fields, planted crops and built cabins preparatory 
to bringing their families. After the crops were "laid by," the 
men returned to the settlements, and in the fall when they came 
back to harvest their corn, they found it entircl\- destroyed 
by buffaloes. This delayed the removal of the families, or at least 
a greater part of them, until the winter of 1770. 

With Pringle's band of prospectors of 1769, came a )-outh of 
about nineteen — Jesse Hughes. He was of Welsh extraction, 
slight in his proportions, and light and active in his movements. 
He possessed a form as erect as that of an Indian, ani.1 had endur- 
ance and fleetness of limb that no man of his day surpassed. His 
height was about five feet and nine inches, and his weight never 
exceeded one hundred and forty-five pounds. He had thin lips, 
a narrow chin, a nose that was sharp and inclined to the Roman 
form, little or no beard, light hair, and eyes of that indefinable 
color that one person would pronounce grey, another blue, but 
which was both — and neither. They were piercing, cold, fierce, 
and as penetrating and restless as those of the mountain panther. 

(6) See page 416. 

34 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Said one who knew him: "Hughes had eyes Hke a rattlesnake." 
It has been averred, and without contradiction, that Jesse Hughes, 
Hke the famed "Deaf Smith" of Texas, could detect the presence 
of an Indian at a considerable distance by the mere sense of smell. 
He was of an irritable, vindictive, and suspicious nature, and 
his hatred, when aroused, knew no bounds. Yet it is said that he 
was true to those who gained his friendship. Such was Jesse 
Hughes in character and appearance when he arrived in that 
country destined to become his future home, and where he became 
the noted hunter, the great scout and famous Indian fighter of 
Northwestern Virginia. 

In an interview with an intelligent and reputable lady, now 
deceased, who, in her childhood, had known Jesse Hughes, and had 
been intimately acquainted with some of his family, I was given 
this vivid description of the characteristics and personal appear- 
ance of the great Indian fighter: 

"Hughes' countenance was hard, stern and unfeeling; his eyes were the most 
cruel and vicious I ever saw. He was profane and desperately wicked. He was 
very superstitious, and a firm believer in witchcraft. (7) He told horrible stories 
of how witches would crawl like spiders over the naked bodies of babies, causing 
them to cry out from pain and misery; and he would conjure to counteract the 
witches, and offer incantations to overcome their evil influence. His temper was 
fierce and uncontrollable, often finding vent in the abuse of his family. In a 
drunken brawl near West's Fort, he and a Mr. Stalnaker nearly killed Ichabod 
Davis, his neighbor, leaving the unconscious victim for dead. Hughes fled from 
the settlement, but returned after Davis recovered. He never worked, but spent 
his time in hunting and scouting. His clothing was colored in the ooze made 
from the bark of the chestnut oak; he would wear no other color, this shade har- 
monizing with the forest hues and rendering him less conspicuous to game and 
Indians. When scouting, his dress consisted only of the long hunting shirt, (8) 
belted at the waist, open leggins, moccasins, and a brimless cap; or a handkerchief 
bound about his head. Thus dressed, he was ever ready for the chase, or the trail 
of the Indian foe." (9) 

When further questioned as to his traits of character, the lady 
bluntly closed the interview by saying, "I would not tell all I 
know about Jesse Hughes for this much gold," designating the 
amount she could hold in her doubled-hands. "There are," she 
continued, "too many of his descendants living about here." Nor 
could she be induced to speak further on the subject. 

His mode of dress, as above described, has been amply veri- 
fied from other sources. When Indian incursions were expected, 

(7) See page 416. (8) p. 416. (9) p. 417. 


Jesse Hughes wore his hunliiig shirt both day aiul night, without 
regard to weather. 

Mrs. Catharine Sinuns-Alhnan reineniber(.\l that when she 
was a htile girl, Jesse Hughes came to her father's house on 
Hacker's Creek, one mile below West's Fort, early one morning, 
and ordered them to run to the fort. Upon that occasion his dress 
consisted of the hunting shirt and moccasins onh'. He was riding 
a pony without a saddle, and mounted her mother behind him, 
and with one of the children in his arms, galloped to the fort. This 
incident occurred while Hughes li\ed at the mouth of Jesse's Run. 

At the end of his cabin, Hughes erected a "lean-to," where 
at all times he kept his pony ready for instant use in case of an 
Indian alarm. 

Of the pioneers who came with Pringle into the i>uckhannon 
country, Jf'ilhers says: 

"The others of the party (William Hacker, Thonias and Jesse Hughes, John 
and William Radcliflf and John Brown) appear to have employed their time exclu- 
sively in hunting, neither of them making any improvement of land for his own 
benefit. Vet they were of considerable service to the new settlement. Those who 
had commenced clearing land, were supplied by them with an abundance of meat, 
while in their hunting excursions through the country, a better knowledge of it 
was obtained, than could have been acquired, had they been engaged in making 

"In one of these expeditions thej- discovered and gave name to Stone Coal 
Creek, which flowing westwardly, induced the supposition that it discharged Itself 
directly into the Ohio. Descending this creek, to ascertain the fact, they came to 
its confiuence with a river, which they then called, and has since been known as 
the West Fork. After having gone some distance down the river, they returned 
by a different route to the settlement, better pleased with the land on it and some 
of its tributaries, than with that on Buckhannon." (10) 

The hunters evidently returned to the settlement by wa\- of 
Hacker's Creek. The Indian name for this stream signifies 
"Muddy Water." 

The Pringles had nc\er crossed the di\ide, to any of the 
waters falling into the West Fork, and knew nothing of the topog- 
raphy of the countr}'. Of the six who comprised this band of 
explorers, the three first named became prominent in the border 
annals. The Radcliffs settled on Hacker's Creek, (1 1 ) and we 
find that William Ratliff (Radcliff) claimed land there prior to 
1781. John subsequently gained notoriety for murdering Indians 
on the Ohio frontier, (12) but we find nothing definite concerning 

(10) Sec page 41 S. (11) p. 41 S. (IJ) p. 4 IX. 

36 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

the later life of William. One William Radcliff was a pensioner 
of the Revolutionary War, whose certificate for eighty dollars per 
year was issued May 16, 1833, at which time he was a resident of 
Lewis County, Virginia. His original declaration for pension is 
missing, and the only narrative of his services that we find is from 
Special Pension Agent, W. G. Singleton, in his report to the Com- 
missioner of Pensions, after a re-examination of Radcliff in 1834. 

Singleton's Report: 

"In a conversation between Radcliff and Weeden Hoffman, Radcliff states 
that he only served six months in the war and that he only claimed six months' 
service in his declaration. 

"On July 30th I saw Radcliff and received from him the following narrative 
of his services in the Revolutionary War. In his sixteenth or seventeenth year of 
age, he served as substitute in the place of Adam Harpole for two months, and 
marched from Hardy County, Virginia, under he don't recollect whom nor where 
to, and immediately after the defeat of Cornwallis at Little Fort, Virginia, he 
marched from Hardy County to Winchester, Virginia, under Gapt. James Stephan- 
son, and served under him at latter place for two months, guarding the British 
prisoners. Capt. Stephanson's company, except five or six men including him- 
self, were discharged at the end of two months, at which time Capt. Jas. Berry 
came to Winchester with a company. Himself and the four or five men above 
mentioned were attached to Capt. Joseph Berry's company and served under 
him, guarding the prisoners for two months. Then Capt. Berry's company (except 
the five or six men including himself above mentioned) was discharged; then the 
five or six men including himself were attached to Capt. James Simeral's com- 
pany and served under him two months. A Colonel Kennedy commanded at 
Winchester thinks he went to Winchester about October 1st and got his discharge 
about May 20th, which was signed by Col. Joseph Holm's captain. Wamsley 
with his declaration expects that the narrative now given is the same given to 
Wamsley by contract. Wamsley was to have the half of the first pay drawn." 

(Signed) His 

Witnesses: William X Radcliff. 

Nathan Goff. Mark. 

Note: "The statement of Radcliff is untrue in all particulars except as to 
the contract with Wamsley. This is one of the cases upon which suit has been 
instituted. The original papers are missing." 

November 1, 1834. -W. G. Singleton. 

This pensioner could hardly have been the William Ratliff 
of the Buckhannon exploring party of 1769. According to his 
declaration to Singleton, he was only sixteen or seventeen at the 
time of Gen. Cornwallis' surrender in 1781. This would make 
him but twelve years old at the time of the exploration in question. 

BoRDF.R Settlers of Northwestern \'ir(;ini.\ 37 

Nothing is known of the subsequent history of John Broun, a 
member of the exploring party. It has been surmised that both 
WilHam RadcHff and Brown settled on the West Fork. (13) This 
is true of RadclifT, for Hacker's Creek is a branch of the West Fork, 
but I doubt if this supposition can be verified in Brown's case. 
No trace of his history can be found subsequent to his advent into 
the Buckhannon settlement in 1769. One John Brown was a 
resident on the waters of the West Fork, about the close of the 
Revolution, but his record precludes the inference that he was of 
the exploring party in question. 

In the application for pension as a Revolutionary soldier, 
made in Lewis County, Aug. 7, 1833, it would appear that Brown 
was born in 1764, and was raised in Hardy County, Virginia. 
March 1st, 1781, he volunteered from Hampshire County, in the 
Virginia Militia under Capt. Michael Stump, and marched to 
Fredericksburg, Va., and from thence, under orders of Gen. George 
Weedon, to Richmond, where they encamped on the hill where the 
capitol now (1833) stands. He was in the command of Col. 
William Darke, under Gen. Porter Muhlenberg. They continued 
in camp about three weeks, when the enemy entered the city, and 
the \'irginia troops retreated to Raccoon Ford, where they were 
joined by Gen. Anthony Wayne. The Americans then turned and 
drove the British back to Richmond. Wayne's army encamped for 
seven days near Bacon branch, preparing to make an attack, but 
on the morning of the intended assault, there was a dense fog, 
which enabled the enemy, whom Brown believed was commanded 
by Lord Cornwallis [correct], to escape towards New Kent Court 
House. The Americans pursued and came up with the enemy 
near New Kent, and the two armies skirmished for two days, 
alternately pursuing and retreating. Wayne was then joined by 
Gen. Lafayette, and the British retreated towards their fleet. 
The American forces went to W illiamsburg, and later to ^ ork- 

About October 1st, 1781, just prior to the surrender of CJen. 
Cornwallis, Brown received his discharge from Capt. Anderson, 
and returned home, having served seven months. 

Brown then moved to (now) Lewis County, West \ irginia, 
where he was still living in 1833. On November 1st, 1781, he 
was ordered out as an Indian spy by Col. Benjamin Wilson, under 
Capt. Christopher Carpenter, and spied in that part of \ irginia, 

(13) See page 41S. 

38 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

which in 1833 comprised Wood, Nicholas, Harrison and Lewis coun- 
ties. He continued under Carpenter until August, 1782, when he 
left his company, and was commissioned an Ensign of Spies under 
Colonels Lowther and Wilson, and was in command of Indian 
spies from August 1st, 1782, to June 1st, 1783, when he ceased to 
act as an Ensign. Brown was allowed 3146.66 per year. 

Subsequently, there were doubts as to Brown's integrity and 
his right to a pension; and adverse testimony was taken by W. G. 
Singleton, U. S. District Attorney, Virginia, Nov. 4, 1834. 

John Waggoner, of Lewis County, had known Brown all his 
life. They had, when young, resided in Hardy County, and 
afterwards were neighbors in Lewis County. He (Waggoner) had 
never heard of Brown doing service as a soldier in the Revolution, 
nor did he believe that he did. Henry Flesher, of Harrison 
County, stated that Brown came to western Virginia after the 
close of the Revolution, at which time he was not quite grown. 
Flesher was of the opinion that Brown had been a soldier. Isaac 
W^ashburn, of Harrison County, had known Brown from his earli- 
est recollection. Brown and himself had been posted or stationed 
at Brown's Fort (built by Brown's father) after the close of the 
Revolution. Brown was then a young man of twenty years or 
more. Edward, a younger brother of John Brown, stated "That 
his brother John was in service as a soldier of the Revolution for 
three months, but he thinks not longer." 

The testimony most damaging to the claimant was that of 
William Powers. Mr. Powers was a man of integrity, and his 
statement is interesting. It reveals the military and social status 
of the Trans-Allegheny during the Revolution. 

I quote as reported by Singleton. 

Wm Powers resided in w. V^a. now Harrison Co. all the time except 1 
year during the Rev. war Knew Brown in Hardy county in 1778-1779. he 
Powers was at school there at that time. Brown settled in w. Va. where he 
now [1834] lives in 1785 removed from Hardy county in that }^ear, knows noth- 
ing of Browns Rev. service. Brown was an Indian spy after his removal to the 
west in 1785 as before stated. Brown was not in the settlement (w. Va) in 
1782, 1783, 1784 as stated by him he could not have been without his (Powers) 
knowledge, there were but few in the settlement at that period, every man 
engaged in defending the country was known to each other. Powers knew every 
man able to bear arms, and almost every woman and child, the settlement to 
which he refers is embraced in the present limits of Harrison, Tyler, Lewis and 

Border of Xorthwestern \'ir(;inia 


the n. part of Kcnhawhas co. havinp heard Browns staleiiieiu read Mr Powers 
states confidently that Brown is mistaken. 

"Capt. Copelaw also argues browns statements are false. * * * * 


W . (i. SlN(;i.ETON 

Nov. 4, 1834." 

Mr. Singlcloii in transmiitine this testimony, spoke deroga- 
tory of Brown's character, and adversely to his right to a pension. 
He also submitted a statement from Brown of his military services, 
which were at variance, in some respects with his hrst declaration. 




It is astonishing when we reaHze how little there is recorded 
of the actual border life of Jesse Hughes, and other noted scouts of 
Northwestern Virginia. Especially is this true when we remember 
that Mr. Withers wrote his Chronicles of Border Warfare in the 
midst of the very scenes of some of the most daring escapades and 
bloody achievements of border strife; and this, too, while many of 
the principal actors in the tragedies were still living. It is but 
natural that we should expect a reasonably complete record of 
local events; but, unfortunately, we find the record as preserved 
for us woefully deficient. A careful perusal of the excellent work 
in question, reveals the fact that a greater part of that section of 
it which deals with local affairs is not so complete, nor are the 
events so carefully portrayed, as is that part which treats of the 
matters pertaining to more distant localities. It cannot be denied 
that the first part of the volume, which sets out the general history 
of the more distant settlements, is more complete, more concise, 
and far more minutely written than the latter portion, which 
deals with events largely local. Dr. Thwaites recognized this 
deficiency. In the Editor s Preface to the revised edition he says: 

"The weakness of the traditional method is well exemplified in Withers' 
work. His treatment of many of the larger events on the border may now be 
regarded as little else than a thread on which to hang annotations; * * *" (1) 

There must have been a cause for this deficiency, which 
becomes very apparent when we read Dr. Lyman C. Draper's 
Memoir of Withers, and the letter from Mr. Bond set out below. 
Dr. Draper tells us that: 

"* * * Mr. Withers got nothing whatever for his diligence and labor in pro- 
ducing it [Border Warfare], save two or three copies of the work itself. He used 
to say that had he published the volume himself, he would have made it much 
more complete, and better in every way; for he was hampered, limited and hur- 
ried — often correcting proof of the early, while writing the later chapters." (2) 

The letter from Air. Bond is in response to an inquiry, and is 
as follows: 

(1) See page 418. (2) p. 418. 

BoRDKR vSktti.krs oi- Xortiiwkstf.rn \'|R(;INI.\ 41 

■'Lost Crkik, W. \'.\.. January 23, 1898. 
Mr. L. V. McW'iioRTKR, 
Mason, Ohio. 

Dear Sir: 

"Your letter received, and in rcpl\ will say; 1 am a jirandson of William Powers, 
one of the men who got up Border Warfare; William Hacker (3) was the other. 
This work lay dormant in their hands for man\- years. Hacker passed awav first. 
Powers purchased Hacker's interest in the work, and ii lay in his hands until 1831, 
when Joseph Israel, an editor in Clarksburg, bought the manuscript and arranged 
for its publication by employing Alexander Scott Withers to prepare it for the 
press. Accordingly Mr. Withers took up the work, and after he had it about half 
completed some friend told him that he was likely to get nothing for his labor, and 
that Israel was poor and could not raise the amount of money agreed upon. Mr. 
Withers did not want to leave the work in that condition and said, 'I will dispose 
of it in some shape.' So he ran through the most notable and prominent features, 
leaving the balance entirely out. 

"Now from this time on you and all others will sec that the second part of 
Border JVarfare is rather incomplete and scattered as compared to the first part of 
the volume. 

"This is the history that my grandfather gave me of the work from his own 
lips. .My grandfather lived on a farm adjoining Jane Lew [West Fort], about 
three miles from Withers' office, and was there several times while Withers was 
preparing the work, and he told me these things himself. 

"I am the only man that can give this history, as I am the only one living who 
took any account of these things. 1 am now in my eighty-second year. 

"In regard to Jesse Hughes, my grandfather told me that they had hunted 
Indians together, and were in the volunteer company pursuing the Indians on the 
Little Kanawha, when John Bonnett was killed; that Jesse was the best trailer 
among the whites and could trail with an_\" Indian on the border. Jesse's brother 
Ellis was also a noted scout. While he could not trail with Jesse, he was the 
greater with the rifle, and could hit an Indian under any and all circumstances 
within the range of his rifle. He was a dead shot. (4) 

"\\ hen hunting, Kllis could get more game than Jesse at long range, but at the 
end of the day Jesse would have as much, but he would get it by slipping upon it 
unawares. In this, as in trailing Indians, he had no equal." 

^'ours trulj', 

Levi Bond. 

Here, then, we have the soluticjii to the mystcr\- of the incom- 
plete and defective character cjf the histor\- in e]uestion. Tliis 
very apparent fault is lamentable. It is the incidental details 
that give interest to local histor\-. There is little wonder that Mr. 
Withers became discouraged and lost interest in his noble but 
arduous task. A less energetic and patriotic man would have 
dropped the work entireh' when it became apparent that there 
would be no compensation for his labor. All honor to .Mr. \\ ithers! 
(3) See page 41S. (4) p. 418. 

42 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Yet, William Hacker and William Powers, the true authors of that 
part of the history in question, have never received the recognition 
and credit due them for the invaluable service they rendered in the 
preservation of this record. To them we are indebted for most 
of the narrative of border strife in and about Clarksburg, West's 
Fort, Buckhannon and adjacent settlements. The character of 
Mr. Bond is above question, and his account of the origin of Border 
Warfare has long been an open secret with many of the older 
inhabitants of that region. (5) 

William Powers was born in Frederick County, Virginia, 
November 9, 1765. He came with his father, John Powers, to 
Simpson's Creek, a tributary of the West Fork, where, in 1781, a 
certificate of homestead entry was granted "John Powers, 400 
acres on Simpson's Creek, adjoining lands of James Anderson, 
to include his settlement made in 1772." William Powers at a 
very early age became a scout of prominence. In March, 1781, 
when but fifteen years old, he enlisted for nine months (during 
the scouting season) in Captain Joseph Gregory's Company of 
Indian spies; place of enlistment, Monongalia County, Virginia. 
March 2, 1782, he re-enlisted for the same length of time, in the 
same company. During this time, he was stationed at Power's 
Fort (probably named for his father) on Simpson's Creek, and 
was engaged in spying from that fort to the Ohio River and over 
the territory that afterwards comprised the counties of Ohio, 
Tyler, Wood, Lewis, Harrison, and Randolph. In March, 1783, 
he was made ensign of a company of scouts until the first day of 
September, following. During this enlistment he was engaged 
in scouting throughout Monongalia County. It is singular that 
Withers has not even mentioned William Powers' name in con- 
nection with a single incident of the frontier. This, however, 
is true of other deserving pioneers, and is much to be regretted. 
Powers was one of the scouts who searched for the marauding 
Indians that desolated the home of Thomas Cunningham (6) 
on Bingamon Creek in 1785; and was with Colonel Lowther's 
party in pursuit of Indians on the Little Kanawha, in 1787, which 
resulted so fatally to John Bonnett. 

He was also with Colonel Lowther in 1781, in his pursuit and 
attack on the Indian Camp on the Hughes River, when the Leading 
Creek captives were rescued. These events will be more fully 
treated elsewhere in this volume. 

(5) See page 418. (6) p. 418. 

Border Settlers oi- NOriiiw kstikn \ irgima 43 

Powers was connected with many other thrilling occurrences 
of border strife. 

It was within a feu da\s after Powers' hrst cnHstnient, 17X1, 
that the Indians came near Booth's Creek and killed Capt. )ohn 
Thomas, wife, and six of their children, carrying off the remaining 
child, a small hoy, prisoner. (7) 

Powers, in his declaration for pension, October 1st, 1833, 
states that it was in 1781 that John Owens and John Juggins 
were killed h\- Indians on Bocnh's Creek, in (now) Harrison 
County. Withers says that this tragedy occurred in June, 1780. 
(8) Powers also states that it was in 1782, that the Indians killed 
James Owens, and took prisoner Cilhcrt Ilostead (Hustead) in 
the same region. This is again in contradiction of Withers, who 
gives the dates of these transactions as 1778. (9). 

In March, 1783, he enlisted for the third time, am.! was 
elected f.nsign, or Second Lieutenant of scouts, h\- his com- 
paiiw On April 4th he niarched from Powers Fort to the 
mouth c)t Bingamon Creek, in now Harrison Countw where 
he "stationed part of his men on the site of an old Indian town;" 
the remaining ones he stationed "at the mouth of Jones Run, a 
branch of Ten Mile Creek, about thirl\- miles from Bingamon 
Creek." These men he left to make regular scouting tours, 
while he traveled from station to station in the capacity of com- 
mander. During this season Indians came to the neighborhood of 
Simpson Creek and stole several horses belonging to Major 
Benjamin Robinson, who with others made a fruitless pursuit of 
the marauders. This was e\identl\ the Major Robinson men- 
tioned b\- It'ithrrs. (lOl Powers disbanded his men in Septrmber, 

Powers' discharge papers, with his commission of Mnsign, 
were all misplaced, or lost in a fire which destroyed his house with 
its contents. John Brown and John Schoolcraft both testified to 
the good character and \eracit\" of William Powers, who also 
gave as reference Alexander W est and .Adam I'lesher. Powers was 
granted a pension, but in April, 1840, John II. Hays, of McW'hor- 
ter's Mills, Lewis Countw \ irginia, contrixed to ha\e it slopped 
b}- reporting to the Pension Office that Powers was not entitled 
to a pension. In his protest Ha\s mentions the "Messrs. Bonnetts, 
(11) .\dam blesher, Lle/.ekiah Hess and se\eral others" who had 
been granted pensions for services similar to those of .Mr. Powers, 
(7) See page 419. (8) p. 419. (9) p. 419. (10) p. 419. ( 1 1 ) p. 41'A 

44 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

but later their names had been dropped from the list, and they 
required to refund the amounts paid them. 

Notwithstanding Hays had declared to the Pension Office his 
ability and intention of proving his charges by affidavits, only 
one, that of Phoebe Cunningham, was submitted. Her testimony 
was "that she was acquainted with William Powers since the close 
of the Revolutionary War and believes that he was about thirteen 
years of age." Sworn to April 1st, 1840, before James Malone, 
Justice of the Peace for Lewis County, Virginia. In October of 
the same year, in response to an inquiry. Powers received official 
notice that his pension was stopped, but it seems he took no 
immediate steps to have his name restored. 

On the 16th of December, 1846, the following testimony in 
behalf of Powers was forwarded from Weston, Lewis County, 
Va., to the Commissioner of Pensions: 


"I have been acquainted with William Powers for more than 30 years. He 
has acted as Sheriff for Lewis County, Va., and has discharged the duties of a 
Justice of the Peace in Harrison and Lewis counties for more than 30 years. He 
stands well before the community where he is acquainted, as an honest and upright 
man and I believe that any statement he would make under oath or otherwise 
would be believed by those who are acquainted with him. I will add that John 
H. Hays is a man of bad character, and not to be relied on." 

(Signed) J. McWhorter. (12) 

A similar letter was signed by Weedon Hoffman, Minter 
Bailey, Levi Maxwell, William L Bland, John Lorentz, and 
Thomas Bland, all men of unquestionable repute. At length 
the case was referred to the Secretary of the Interior with the fol- 
lowing result: 

"Department of the Interior 

October 28, 1850. 
J. L. Edwards, Esq., 

Commissioner of Pensions. 

"I herewith return the papers in the case of William Powers, Esq., of Lewis 
County, Va., and I am of the opinion that his name should be restored to the 
Pension roll under the Act of June 7, 1732, at S80.00 per annum from the period 
when he was last paid. 

"From examination of papers I can find no ground for the action of the Pen- 
sion Office, but on the contrary the U. S. District Attorney for the Western District 
of Virginia who was especially charged with an examination of the case, reported 
in writing that Mr. Powers was entitled to his pension, and recommended his con- 

(12) See page 420. 

Border Settlers of Ncjrtii western \ irgima 45 

tinuancc, whilst the individual who was instrumental in his beinj; stricken from the 
roll is shown by the records of Lewis County to have committed crime for which 
he was indicted by the Grand Jury, and is rcturncil by the Sheriff as a fu^.'itivc 
from justice. I am, very respectfully 

"\'our obedient servant, 

Alex. H. H. Stuart, Srcy." 

Thus, after a period of ten years, the name of William Powers 
was restored to the pension roll. The offense for which Ha\'s 
was indicted was forgery, commit ted August 1st, 1K41. lie 
moved to the Northwest and was never apprehended. It is 
probable that he located on Military Bounty Lands, for it is found 
that in 1841 he was negotiating for 4000 acres due Captain John 
Bail)', or heirs, as a Revolutionary soldier, Virginia Line. 

M\' father, who is still living, (13) was well acquainted with 
\\ illiam Powers, and testifies to his good character and veracity, 
lie recalls the trouble that Powers had with his pension and its 
final adjustment. Ha\-s, he says, was a man of very bad repute, 
and fied to the then remote Northwest. His place of refuge was 
never known. 

\\ illiam Powers was well educated for his da}', and his wide 
experience on the frontier, where he "knew every man able to 
bear arms," and practically ever}' woman and child in the upper 
Monongahela settlements, well qualified him for the role of local 
historian. He was sometimes called "Major" Powers, but if he 
was entitled to that distinction, it was doubtless as major of 
militia at a later day, as no mention of such rank is found in the 
earl}" records. The "Major Power" referred to by Jfilhcrs (\4) 
was evidently the Major Powers who settled in (now) Barbour 
County, West \'a., in 1776. 

William Powers was about five feet six inches in height, well 
built, spare and very erect, even at cight}'-nine. His com- 
plexion was light with dark hair. He married Hannah Stout, a 
sister of Dr. Hezekiah Stout, and settled near West's Fort. He 
dictl June 6, 1856, and was buried under the honors of war in the 
Broad Run Cemeter}', Lewis Count}', \\ est Va. His wife is also 
buried there. Their children were: 

Thomas, married Millie Hart; John, married Percella Chen- 

verout; Ezekiel, married Miss Jones; Benjamin, married 

Miss Stout; William, Jr., married Charit}' Paxton, second 

wife. Miss Lightburn, sister to (jen. Joseph Lightburn; 

(13) See page 420. (14) p. -120. 

46 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Sarah, married Abel Bond; Prudence, married Richard Bond; 
Margaret, married EH Vanhorne. 

Abel and Richard Bond were brothers; sons of Richard Bond, 
a son of Samuel Bond, native of England, and whose descent can 
be traced to the nobility of knighthood. Levi Bond, whose 
letter appears in the first part of this chapter, is a son of Abel 
Bond and Sarah Powers. He was born April 3, 1817. A shoe- 
maker by trade, on his ninety-seventh birthday he nailed the 
soles on a pair of boots without experiencing any material fatigue. 
He is, at the writing of this paragraph, October 10th, 1914, still 
living and bids fair to pass the one-hundred milestone. 

His younger brother, Augustine P. Bond, born in 1832, went 
west with his parents in 1845. Settling in Wisconsin, he crossed 
the plains in the Spring of 1864, and spent the Summer in a mining 
camp at now Virginia City, Montana. With a fleet of flat boats 
he returned in the Fall, fighting Indians for seven hundred and 
fifty miles down the Yellow Stone and Missouri Rivers, to Yank- 
ton, Dakota. His experience on the western frontier has been 
similar to that of his noted grandfather of the Trans-Allegheny. 

Touching the Grigsby tragedy mentioned by Withers, (15) Mr. 
Bond writes me: "Bettie, the wife of Charles Grigsby, whose 
home was raided on Grigsby's Run, a branch of Rooting Creek, 
June, 1777, was buried with her infant where killed near the top of 
the ridge on Lost Creek, opposite the village of that name. The 
grave was never marked. I stood by the side of her grave in June, 
1898, — 121 years after her death — and it was then just as it 
was seventy years ago when I first saw it; a slight depression in 
the ground. Her little child had been dead some time when the 
mother was killed, but she still carried it in her arms." 

William Hacker, Jr., it is claimed, was the first white child 
born on Hacker's Creek, but I am inclined to believe that his 
birth occurred on the Wappatomaka, just prior to the parents 
settling on the Western waters. In either event, he grew to 
maturity amid the tumult of border forays, and doubtless partic- 
ipated in the defense of the settlements during the later years of 
Indian hostility. He was a man of more than ordinarv ability, 
and considering his environments, was well educated. He was 
schoolteacher, minister and magistrate, and in the discharge of 
these diversified duties throughout the settlements, he had unsur- 
passed facilities for collecting historical data. 

(15) See page 420. 


Equipped as these men were for their task, it is reasonable 
to suppose that their work would he replete and thorough, but 
necessarily biased h\- partisanism. 

While it is evident that Mr. W ithers cast aside some of the 
material placed at his disposal, we are not to infer that he came 
into possession of every event of historic interest. The darker 
side of the border story, as seen from the standpoint of the 
Indian, was perhaps never revealed to him. When we remem- 
ber thai Mr. Powers was an acti\-e scout and Indian hunter, 
and that one of the Hackers, at least, was notorious for his 
murder of peaceable Indians (16) and that both were associates 
of others who were engaged in deeds of shocking barbaritw we 
need no longer wonder that so little was chronicled touching 
certain events that appear in their best light when buried in the 
blackness of oblivion. The same motive that prompted the good 
old lady to declare that "not for a handful of gold" would she 
speak further, was more patent in the earlier days than at the 
present time. 

The partisan writer cannot give just treatment to those who 
are opposed to his own conception of right and wrong; nor is it 
to be expected that the hand that wields the sword will pen an 
unbiased version of the fra}-. Charit\-, the one potent element 
of impartiality, is never found in the acrimonious flow of "gun 
powder ink," and unfortunate are the people who must depend 
upon the enenn- of their race for a true chronicling of their 

Our border annals have all been recorded h\- white men. 
Strong racial affinit\-, animosity and hatred of the Indian have 
colored the record and prevented a fair statement of the facts. 
The Indian, hardl\- regarded b)- the earl\ settlers as human, has 
ever been presented in the most terrible and hideous character 
that imagination could conceive. As thus pictured, his supremest 
passions were nturder, plunder, torture and re\enge. On the 
other hand, his white foe, often equally savage and more cruel, 
has been extolled as a hero moved with a holy zeal to protect 
home and country- against "savage" incursions and to ad\ance 
civilization and Christianity. His acts of revolting barbarity 
have been excused, obscured, suppressed, and the result is a partial 
and one-sided history. From i'l\inouth Rock to the Golden Gate 
this has been true. The "Custer Massacre" and the "Battle (.') 
(16) See page 420. 

48 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

of Wounded Knee" are modern incidents illustrative of this point. 
When in 1876, General Custer and his command were annihi- 
lated in a square up and down fight on the Little Big Horn by the 
strategic Sioux, and this too, when the challenge had been given 
by Custer himself the event was heralded abroad as a horrible 
Indian massacre by Sitting Bull's horde of merciless savages. 
The fact that the patriotic Sioux were in reality fighting for their 
homes and the right to even exist was not considered, or at least, 
was thought of as a matter of minor importance. 

On the field of the Wounded Knee in 1890, United States 
soldiers having the advantage in numbers of more than four to 
one, and of rapid-fire machine guns, shot to death more than 
ninety men and boys, fifty women and young girls, and eighteen 
helpless children, several of them infants. This event was pro- 
claimed to the world as a "Great Indian Battle," despite the fact 
that the Sioux had surrendered and were hemmed in by a cordon 
of troops who had partly disarmed them before the firing began. 
All the ghastly details will never be known. I have it from good 
authority, from one who was present when the outbreak occurred, 
that when the action began, all the Indians save not to exceed 
forty-five had surrendered their guns. Many were sitting on the 
ground smoking. They were without a leader. Their Chief, 
Big Foot, at the time lay dying in his tepee with pneumonia. At 
the first crash of the guns, the dying chieftain feebly raised himself 
on his couch, only to fall back riddled by a score of bullets. Here 
is one of the incidents that went to make up the "great battle." 

A mounted soldier pursued a little Indian boy. Perhaps the 
lad was five or six years old. Seeing that he could not escape by 
running, he made frantic and piteous efforts to conceal his little 
body in the sand. The soldier fired at him but missed. 
Another trooper came to his assistance, dismounted, kneeled, 
and shot the little fellow through the hips! The troopers rode 
away in pursuit of other "hostiles." When the relief party came 
the dying boy was found and carried to the agency buildings. 
The story leaked out. Some time afterwards a large red-haired 
cavalryman was discovered at the edge of the camp stabbed 
through the heart. He was the soldier who had shot the Indian boy. 

During the Bannock uprising in 1878, a party of United 
States soldiers pursued a band of hostiles into a canyon on Snake 
River and indiscriminately slaughtered them all, men, women, 


and chiklit'ii, iiRluLliiii: babes in arms. A soldier lalally shot a 
Bannock warrior; he sprang troni his horse and with a savage 
sweep of his knife disemboweled ihe d\ine Indian. Then seizing 
the scalp-lock and placing his foot on the liuiian's neck, proceeded, 
with the help of liis knife, to tear the scalp from the head of his 
writhing victim. After the battle (.') some of the soldiers found 
an Indian baby \"et unharmed, perhaps placed in some shelter by 
its mother before stricken to death in that charnal glen. This 
babe, which could scarce sit alone, was placed on a boulder at 
some distance for target practice. W hile the soldiers were dis- 
cussing among themselves as to who should have the first shot, 
an Indian armed onl\' with a "pepper-bo.x" pistol was discovered 
hiding in a nearb\' thicket. The infant was left for a time, and 
an attempt made to dislodge the warrior. With his antiquated 
weapon he killed one of his assailants, deterring the others from 
rushing upon him. Tlicn a howit/cr licaNily charged witli grape- 
shot was turned upon this lone Indian and the discharge tore him 
into fragments, which the soldiers carried out one by one. These 
brave soldiers of a civilized and Christian nation, again turned 
their attention to the "hostile" upon the boulder. Xo less than 
a half dozen rifle balls one after another were sent tearing through 
its tender body. The officer in charge of these troops "could not 
see very well," consequently "knew not what was being done." 

A late ex-soldier of repute said to me "I was a pri\ate in a 
West \ irginia Regiment, Federal .\rniy during the C"i\il War, 
and at the close of that struggle, my term of enlistment not being 
expired, was sent with others to hght Indians on the Kansas 
frontier. One day we captured ti\e warriors, members of a band 
which had been committing depredations, and our commandant 
determined to treat them to a severe death. Rude frames were 
constructed by nailing four poles together. In these the prison- 
ers were laid, their feet and hands extended and securely tied to 
the side timbers. The frames were then set up and braced, 
leaving the \ictims suspended by the lashings. The\' were gi\en 
neither food nor drink and at the end of three days all were dead. 
No, they made no outcr\', not even a moan, but died like sullen 
dogs. As a warning to other Indians, the frames with their 
ghastly settings were left standing." 

Jim W'alsie, a Warm Springs hulian of integrit\\ gave me 
the following incident: *'Long time ago [in the sixlies| I was 

50 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

scout for government in war with Snake Injuns. One day troops 
found small party Snakes in Blue Mountains, Oregon. Our com- 
mander, Captain John, a white man, says: 'Snakes bad people, 
kill um all. Kill Snake man, Snake woman, little gal, little boy 
and little papoose.' Then soldiers surround Snakes and shoot all 
dead. Then they scalp Snakes; and one man say I scalp a woman. 
It is a lie; I no scalp woman." 

For actions like the above there was no excuse; but our 
occupancy of the country was a conquest which meant the destruc- 
tion of the Indian tribes to whom the soil by right belonged. 
Every act, however cruel and unjust, which tended to hasten that 
result was supposed to be in the interest of the white man. These 
deeds were justified by a large element on the frontiers, and if 
any man raised his voice in protest he was accused of being against 
his race and its known policy. For these reasons, the revolting 
actions of the white men were modified in the accounts of them, 
and when possible they were kept secret. Much of what we have 
has been distorted by the historian. True accounts of many 
incidents of border history have been lost or never written because 
those who condemned them feared the vengeance of the more 
savage scouts. Life on the border tried men's souls. It gave to 
some the outlet for a venomous passion for blood. Many deeds 
were too dark for the printed page. These were held in the mem- 
ory, related around the cabin-hearth and the hunter's camp-fire 
with bated breath, and thus became the tradition of the border 
days. The record is incomplete, and it is now impossible ever to 
make it complete. 

On the other hand, atrocities committed by the Indians were 
occasionally suppressed. The motive was merciful, that the 
family of the victim be spared unnecessary anguish. 

John Harper was a soldier of the Revolution, and served 
seven years as a private, Virginia troops. He came to the North- 
western Territory in 1800, and settled on Mill Creek, near Cincin- 
nati. His son, James Harper, was born in Berkley County, 
Virginia, 1786. He enlisted for the war of 1812, and served on the 
Northwestern frontier with General Harrison. In company with 
fourteen other soldiers, he was sent with a dispatch to an outlying 
post, with strict orders not to fire on Indians, if any were met, 
unless attacked. While en route a few Indians presented them- 
selves, and were fired upon, when they fled. The soldiers pursued. 



and fell into an ainhuscade. Only a few escaped. Harper, when 
last seen by his companions, was captured with one or more 
Indian scalps at his belt. He was carried to some point on the 
Lakes and burned at the stake. Througli commiseration for his 
parents, the tragedy was never made public. 

This story was given me by Mr. John Dclaplane of Fort 
JeflFerson, Ohio, an immediate descendant of the Harper family, 
and is here published for the first time. 



There is considerable mention of Jesse Hughes in the annals of 
the early settlement of Northwestern Virginia, particularly In 
those portions relating to the Indian wars of the period. But 
taken all together there is not enough to give the reader any 
accurate idea of Hughes and the important part he played in the 
settlement of the central regions of the present State of West 
Virginia. It will, however, aid the reader much when combined 
with what has been preserved herein and published for the first 
time. For this reason I have decided to reproduce in this chapter 
the extended reference to him found In the History of the Early 
Settlement and Indian Wars of Westered Virginia, by Dr. Willis 
DeHass, Wheeling, 1851. Another reason for this quotation Is 
that this work is so very rare that it cannot be consulted by the 
average reader. It is a work of high order and has been an author- 
ity for more than half a century. A few references to Hughes 
from other sources will be found in this chapter. 

Jesse Hughes 

"One of the most active, daring and successful Indian hunters in the mountain 
region of Virginia, was Jesse Hughes. He has not inappropriately been styled the 
Wetzel of that portion of the state, and in many respects, certainly was not unde- 
serving of that distinctive appellation. Jesse Hughes possessed in an imminent 
degree the rare constituents of courage and energy. These qualities, so essential 
in those days of savage warfare, gained for him the confidence of the sturdy men 
by whom he was surrounded, and often induced them to select him for the post 
of leader in their various expeditions against the enemy. A4any are the tales of 
adventure which the people of West Fork and Little Kanawha relate of this notable 
personage. A few of these we have collected and now give. 

"Hughes was a native of the region to which his operations were chiefly con- 
fined. He was born on the headwaters of the Monongahela, and grew to manhood 
amid the dangers and privations which the people of that section of Virginia 
endured during the long years of a border warfare. Early learning that the rifle 
and tomahawk were his principal means of maintenance and defense, he became 
an adept in their use and refused to acknowledge a superior anywhere. Passion- 
ately devoted to the wood, he became invaluable to the settlements as hunter and 
scout. A man of delicate frame, but an iron constitution, he could endure more 
fatigue than any of his associates, and thus was enabled to remain abroad at all 
seasons without inconvenience or detriment. Many were the threatened blows 
which his vigilance averted, and numerous lives of helpless settlers his strong arm 
reached forth to save. The recollection of his services and devotion is still cherished 

Border Setti.krs oi XoRTiiwKSTiiRN \ ircima 53 

with a lively feeling of admiration bv tlu- people of tlic region with wliicli his name 
is so intimatch' associated. 

"The following incidents illustrative of his career, we derive from sources 
entitled to every credit. The one which immediately follows is from an old and 
intimate friend of Hughes (Mr. Renick of Ohio), to whom it was communicated 
by the hero himself, and afterwards confirmed by Mr. Harness, who was one of 
the expedition. The time of the incident was about 1790. 

"No Indian depredations had recently occurred in the vicinity of Clarksburg, 
and the inhabitants began to congratulate lliemselves that difficulties were finally 
at an end. 

"'One night a man hearing liic fence of a small lot, he had a horse in, fall, 
jumped up and running out saw an Indian spring on the horse and dash off. The 
whole settlement was alarmed in an hour or two, a company of twenty-five or 
thirty men were paraded, ready to start by daylight. They took a circle outside 
of the settlement, and soon found the trail of apparently eight or ten horses, and 
they supposed, about that many Indians. The captain (chosen before Hughes 
joined the company) called a halt, and held a council to determine in what manner 
to pursue them. The captain and a majority of the company were for following 
on their trail: Hughes was opposed, and he said he could pilot them to the spot 
where the Indians would cross the Ohio, by a nearer way than the enemy could go, 
and if they reached there before the Indians, could intercept them and be sure of 
success. But the commander insisted on pursuing the trail. Hughes then tried 
another argument: he pointed out the danger of trailing the Indians: insisted that 
they would waylay their trail, in order to know if they were pursued, and would 
choose a situation where they could shoot two or three and set them at defiance; 
and alarming the others, the Indians would out-travel them and make their escape. 
The commander found that Hughes was like to get a majority for his plan, in 
which event he (the captain) would lose the honor of planning the expedition. 
Hughes, by some, was considered too wild for the command, and it was nothing 
but jealousy that kept him from it, for in most of the Indian excursions, he got 
the honor of the best plan, or did the best act that was performed. The commander 
then broke up the council by calling aloud to the men to follow him and let the 
cowards go home, and dashed off full speed, the men all following. Hughes knew 
the captain's remark was intended for him, and felt the insult in the highest degree, 
but followed on with the rest. They had not gone many miles until the trail ran 
down a ravine where the ridge on one side was very steep, with a ledge of rock 
for a considerable distance. On the top of this cliff two Indians lay in ambush, 
and when the company got opposite they made a noise of some kind, that caused 
the men to stop: that instant two of the company were shot and mortalh- wounded. 
They now found Hughes' prediction fully verified, for they had to ride so far 
round before the\- could get up tiic cliff, that the Indians with ease made their 

■"The}- all now agreed that Hughes' plan was the best, and urged him to pilot 
tlicm lo the ri\Gr where the Indians would cross. He agreed to do it; but was 
afraid it might be too late, for the Indians knew that they were pursued and would 
make a desperate push. After leaving some of the company to take care of the 
wounded men, they put off for the Ohio river, at the nearest point, and got there 
the next dav shorth- after the Indians had crossed. The water was still muddv. 

54 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

and the rafts that they crossed on were floating down the opposite shore. 
The men were now unanimous for returning home. Hughes soon got satisfaction 
for the insult the captain had given him: he said he wanted to find out who the 
cowards were; that if any of them would go, he would cross the river and scalp 
some of the Indians. They all refused. He then said if one man would go with 
him, he would undertake it; but none would consent. Hughes then said he would 
go and take one of their scalps, or leave his own. 

"'The company now started home, and Hughes went up the river three or 
four miles, keeping out of sight of it, for he expected the Indians were watching 
them to see if they would cross. He there made a raft, crossed the river, and 
encamped for the night. The next day he found their trail, and pursued it very 
cautiously, and about ten miles from the Ohio found their camp. There was but 
one Indian in it, the rest were out hunting. The Indian left to keep camp, in 
order to pass away the time, got to playing the fiddle on some bones that they 
had for the purpose. Hughes crept up and shot him, took his scalp and made 
the best of his way home. 

"The following characteristic anecdote goes far to illustrate the great dis- 
cernment and instantaneous arrangement of plans of this shrewd and skillful 
Virginia hunter. 

"It is a general belief that the Indian is exceedingly cunning; unrivalled in 
the peculiar knowledge of the woods, and capable, by the extraordinary imitative 
faculties which he possesses, to deceive either man, beast or fowl. This is true to 
a certain extent; but still, with all his natural sagacity and quick perception of a 
native woodman, the Indian warrior falls short of the acquired knowledge of a 
well trained hunter, as the following case serves to illustrate. Jesse Hughes was 
more than a match at any time for the most wary savage in the forest. In his 
ability to anticipate all their artifices, he had but few equals, and fewer still, 
superiors. But, to the incident. 

"At a time of great danger from the incursions of the Indians, when the 
citizens of the neighborhood were in a fort at Clarksburg, Hughes one morning, 
observed a lad very intently fixing his gun. 'Jim', said he, 'what are you doing 
that for?' 'I am going to shoot a turkey that I hear gobbling on the hillside,' 
said Jim. 'I hear no turkey,' said the other. 'Listen,' said Jim: 'there, didn't 
you hear it? Listen again.' 'Well,' says Hughes, after hearing it repeated, 'I'll 
go and kill it.' 'No you won't, said the boy, 'it is my turkey; I heard it first.' 
'Well,' said Hughes, 'but you know I am the best shot. I'll go and kill it, and give 
you the turkey.' The lad demurred but at length agreed. Hughes went out of 
the fort on the side that was farthest from the supposed turkey, and passing along 
the river, went up a ravine and cautiously creeping through the bushes behind 
the spot, came in whence the cries issued, and, as he expected, espied a large Indian 
sitting on a chestnut stump, surrounded by sprouts, gobbling, and watching if 
any one would come from the fort to kill the turkey. Hughes shot him before the 
Indian knew of his approach, took off the scalp, and went into the fort, where 
Jim was waiting for his prize. 'There now,' says Jim, 'you have let the turkey go. 
I would have killed it if I had gone.' 'No,' says Hughes, 'I didn't let it go;' and, 
taking out the scalp, threw it down. 'There take your turkey, Jim, I don't want it.' 
The lad was overcome, and nearly fainted to think of the certain death he had 
escaped, purely by the keen perception and good management of Jesse Hughes.' (1 ) 

(1) See page 420. 

BoRDKR Settlers oi .Northwestern \ ir(;inia 55 

"Jesse Hughes, as we have already stated, was often of invaluable service to 
the settlements along the upper Monongahela, by advising them of the approach 
of Indians. On one occasion, a considerable body of the common enemy attacked 
a fort near Clarksburg, and but for the energy and fearlessness of Hughes might 
have reduced the frail structure, and massacred every one within it. This daring 
man boldly went forth for succor, and succeeded in reaching a neighboring station 
in safety. Immediate!}' a company of men left to relieve the besieged, when the 
Indians, fearing the superior numbers, retreated in haste. (2) 

"Hughes' scouting expeditions were not always confined to the extreme upper 
regions of the Monongahela. He often visited the stations lower down, and spent 
much of his time at Prickett's fort, also at the stockade where Morgantown now 
stands, and many other settlements in the neighborhood. He was a great favorite, 
and no scouting party could be complete, unless Jesse Hughes had something to do 
with it. We regret that our limits will not allow us to give more incidents in his 
very eventful life." 

Mr. Luther Ila\niond, who is still li\ing at Clarksburg, says 
that William Powers, while on his death-bed, told him that the 
incident of Hughes and the turkey never occurred at Clarksburg; 
that he knew the settlement from the beginning, and that the 
story was a mistake. Powers had an impression that he had 
heard a similar story as occurring east of the mountains. Mr. 
Haymond says that Powers was well posted on events happening 
on the frontier after his arrival. 

Mr. James Stanley Gandee, a son of Jesse's daughter Massie, 
often heard both his mother and his Aunt Rachel Cottrell tell the 
Hughes turkey story. There never was any doubt about its 
authenticity. As related by them, the occurrence was substan- 
tially the same as recorded by Dellass, but the place was West's 
Fort, instead of Clarksburg. The lad who first heard the turkey 
and who was preparing to go shoot it, was James Tanner, a brother 
to Jesse's wife, and was then some fourteen or fifteen years of age. 

I was told by Mrs. Mary Straley, of Hacker's Creek, 
who had known Jesse Hughes and some of his family, that 
the boy who figured in the turkey story was Jim McCullough. 
Mrs. Straley seemed to have no doubts regarding the credibility 
of the story, but did not state where it occurred. She was well 
informed on the early history of the Hacker's Creek settlement, 
and was a woman of high integrity. 

It must be borne in mind that Jesse Hughes never took up a 
residence at Clarksburg, although he spent much of his time 
about the fort there. His scouting expeditions extended all over 
the Virginia border and western Pennsylvania. 

(2) See page 421. 

56 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

That William Powers should have heard a similar story east 
of the mountains cannot militate against the authenticity of the 
Hughes' story. Border lore abounds in such incidents. (3) 

/. Lewis Peyton (4) gives the following on Jesse Hughes, 
evidently epitomized from DeHass: 

"One of the most active, daring and successful Indian hunters in the mountain 
region of Virginia was Jesse Hughes — sometimes styled the Wetzel of his portion 
of the State. He was born on the headwaters of the Monongahela, Va., about 
1768, and early became skilled in the use of the rifle and tomahawk. He was a 
man of iron constitution, and could endure extraordinary privations and fatigue. 
Many anecdotes are told of his encounters with the red men and of the invaluable 
services he rendered to the white settlements on the Monongahela. Jesse Hughes 
was more than a match at any time for the most wary savage in the forest. In 
his ability to anticipate all their artifices, he had few equals and no superiors. 
He was a great favorite, and no scouting party could be complete unless Jesse 
Hughes had something to do with it." 

Jesse Hughes is mentioned frequently in Withers'' Chronicles 
of Border Warfare^ referred to hereinbefore, and which will be 
duly noticed in the course of this history. 

(3) See page 421. (4) p. 421. 


In Dotiiphatfs Expedition, by William 1'!. ConnclIc\', there 
is a biographical sketch cf Colonel John Taxlor Hughes, a nieniber 
of the expedition of Colonel Alexander \\". Doniphan in the Mexi- 
can \\ ar. Colonel Hughes became the historian of the expedition. 
He was a gallant soldier, and was killed at the battle of Inde- 
pendence, Missouri, in the Ci\il War. Of Colonel Hughes, the 
biogi"a[^hical sketch sa}"s: 

"His fatlicr was Samuel Swan Hughes, the descendant of Sleplicn Huphes 
and his wife Klizabcth Tarlton Hughes. Stephen Hughes came to .Maryland from 
Wales, probably from Carnarvonshire, but possibh- from Glamorganshire. The 
date of his arri\al in .Vmerica has not been preserved. His son .\bsalom moved to 
Powhatan County, \'irginia, where he intermarried with tlie daughter of a planter 
whose name was also Hughes, and whose Christian name was eiliier Da\ id or 
Jesse — most probably Jesse. He lived on Hughes Creek, in that counts', and was 
a man of character and influence; inan\' of his descendants live yet in \'irginia 
and West \'irginia, and some of them live in other parts of the United States. 
Joseph, the son of .Absalom Hughes, married Sarah Swan. He moved to Kentucky 
about the year 1790, and settled in Woodford County. There his son, Samuel 
Swan Hughes, married Nancy Price, daughter of Colonel William Price, a \'ir- 
ginia soldier of the Resolution." 

Jesse Hughes, who li\ed on the stream then known as Hughes 
Creek, in Powhatan County, \ irginia, was related by blood to 
Stephen Hughes, auel had preceded him from Wales to America. 
The Hughes and Swan families were pioneer families in \ irginia, 
and in their migrations the\- kept well together, members of them 
often intermarr}'ing. .And from the intermarriage of Stephen 
Hughes with his kinswoman, the daughter of Jesse Hughes, in 
Powhatan Countx, \ irginia, Jesse Hughes, the famous pioneer 
and woodsman ot Western \ irginia, was probabK' descended. (1) 

The date of the birth of Jesse Hughes is not known to be of 
record, and cannot be fixed with accurac\'; and the place is also 
uncertain. Dellass and Peyton agree as to the place; but Peyton 
alone gives the date. Evidently they are both in error. The 
citation heretofore made to the work of Jf'ithers shows that Jesse 
Hughes was an acti\e hunter in the Buckhannon settlement in 
1769. This was the first permanent settlement established on 
the waters of the upper Monongahela, and we find him there but 

(1) See page 421. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

one year later than the date given by Peyton as that of his birth. 
It is well nigh impossible that he should have been born on the 
waters of the Alonongahela. The Blue Ridge marked the western 
frontier of Virginia as late as 1763. (2) The few settlements scat- 
tered beyond that boundary towards the Ohio, the westernmost 
of which was on Looney Creek, a tributary of the James, (3) 
were not permanent, and were almost all destroyed by the con- 
spiracy of Pontiac. 

Jesse Hughes was born about the year 1750. It might have 
been a year earlier or later, though it is not probable that it could 
vary a year either way from that date. As to the place of his 
birth, the evidence at hand indicates that it was east of the Alle- 
gheny Mountains, perhaps on the waters of the 
Wappatomaka of the Potomiac. Susan Turner 
Hughes, the widow of George W. Hughes, a 
descendant of Jesse Hughes, told \\'illiam E. Con- 
nelley, October 6, 1902, at Henry, Grant County, 
West Virginia, that: "Old Jesse Hughes was born 
right over here on Jackson's River, close to the 
Greenbrier county-line. I have passed the place 
myself, in company with my husband, who pointed 
out the place, which is in a fine river bottom. 
He was born in the winter, and the wolves were 
starving in the woods because of the deep snow. 
The night he was born they came into the yard 
and fought the dogs and ran them under the house and fought 
them there, and were only driven out by burning gunpowder 
on the hearth." Airs. Hughes could not give the date of his 
birth, but said he was "A right smart chunk of a lad at the time of 
Braddock's battle." 

If Mrs. Hughes was right, Jesse Hughes must have been born 
in Allegheny County, Virginia. Complete reliance cannot, how- 
ever, be placed upon the information given by her; for some things 
which she related of Jesse Hughes, while they may be the local 
traditions of the country, could not be reconciled with known 
facts. Her description of the man and his cruel and bloodthirsty 
course towards the Indians coincides perfectly with what is known 
to be true. She said: "Old Jesse Hughes had eyes like a painter 
[panther] and could see at night almost as well as one. He could 
hear the slightest noise made in the forest at a great distance, 

(2) See page 422. (3) p. 422. 

Coat of Arms 


and he was always disturbed by any noise he could not account 
for. He knew the ways of cver>' animal and bird in the wof)ds, 
and was familiar uilh the sounds and cries made h\ them. :\n\- 
unusual cry or action of an animal or bird, or any note or sound 
of alarm made by either, caused him to stop and look about until 
he knew the cause. He could go through the woods, walking or 
running, without making any noise, unless the leaves were very 
dry, and then he made very little. He was as stealth\- and noise- 
less as a painter, and could creep up on a deer without causing it 
any fright. And he could outrun any Indian that ever prowled 
the forest. He was as savage as a wolf, and he liked to kill an 
Indian better than tt) eat his dinner." 

If Jesse Hughes was born on Jackson's River, the shiftings 
common on the disturbed border must have caused his parents 
to move to theW appatomaka settlements, for he came into western 
Virginia with hunters from that region. Thomas Hughes, who 
was killed on Hacker's Creek by the Indians in April, 1778, (4) 
was Jesse's father; but no record or tradition indicating that 
he had settled on this stream, has ever been found. In 1781 a 
certificate was granted "Edmund West, assignee to Thomas 
Hughes, Senr., 400 acres on Sicamore Lick run, a branch of the 
West Fork [Harrison County] opposite Thomas Heughs [Hughes] 
Junr's land, to include his settlement made in 1773, with a 
pre-emption to 1,000 acres adjoining." This is the earliest record 
that I have found regarding the settling of Thomas Hughes, Sr., 
on the upper Monongahela waters. With some of the Radcliffs 
he settled on Elk Creek near Clarksburg, and his famil\- still 
resided there in the fall of 1793. A family tradition has it that 
when the Indians ambushed and killed their father, who was then 
"quite old and bald-headed," Jesse and Elias solemn!}' pledged 
themselves "to kill Injuns as long as the\' lived and could see to 
kill them." Most terribly was that awful pledge redeemed. It 
will be seen, however, that both had killed Indians before the 
tragic death of their father, which event intensified, if possible, 
their hatred of the Indians, but was not the cause in which this 
hatred originated. (5) 

I have not been able to find any printed record showing that 
Jesse Hughes was an enrolled Sp)- or Ranger on the border. 

An inquir}- to the Bureau of Pensions, Washington, I). C, 
elicited the reply that "a careful search of the Rexolutionar}- War 
(4) See page 422. (5) p. 424. 

60 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

pension rolls fails to show a claim for any Jesse Hughes other 
than Survivor's File No. 9594." This was the Jesse Hughes, of 
Fluvanna County, Virginia, mentioned further on in this chapter. 

Jesse Hughes, the scout, died prior to the Act of Congress, 
June 4, 1852, pensioning the soldiers of the Revolution, and if his 
services were pensionable, his widow, who survived him several 
years, never applied for same. 

An inquiry made to the War Department failed to disclose 
any record of military enlistment by our Jesse Hughes. This, 
however, is true of others who were contemporary with Jesse, 
and who were known to have regularly enlisted in some branch 
of the military. 

To a like inquiry to the Virginia State Library, Richmond, 
came the responses that, "neither the Muster Rolls of the State 
troops, nor the claims for Bounty Lands of that period, contain 
any record of the Jesse Hughes in question." 

The Thomas Hughes who accompanied Pringle's Band of 
settlers to the Buckhannon, in 1769, was Jesse's younger brother, 
born about 1754. His inordinate passion for sport and adventure 
lured him to this Eldorado of the hunter. He afterwards settled 
on the West Fork River, and was the same Thomas Hughes whom 
we find on Hacker's Creek, and who hastened to the rescue of the 
Flesher family when they were attacked by the Indians in 1784, 
near where the town of Weston (6) now stands. 

The homestead register of Monongalia County shows that 
in 1781, Thomas Hughes was granted a certificate for "400 acres 
on the West Fork, adjoining lands of Elias Hughes, to include his 
settlement made in 1773." The records of 1780 show that Thomas 
Hughes assigned to Thomas John {?) his claim to 250 acres on 
Ten Mile Creek (Harrison County), "to include his settlement 
made in the year 1772." Whether this assignor was the senior or 
junior Thomas Hughes, is not known, but the logical inference is 
that it was the latter. The date of the assignment is not of 

Although Thomas Hughes, Jr., was one of the most capable 
and persistent scouts on the Virginia frontier, the only reference 
that we find to him in history, is his connection with the Flesher 
occurrence in 1784. 

In 1833 or 1834, Hughes applied for a pension, and we have 
a glimpse of his border life in the meagre record preserved in the 

(6) See page 424. 


GoverniiK'iU Pension Office al \\ ashinuinn. llughes was illiterate 
and his name always appears with the customary "X." His 
original application, or declaration with accompanying papers, 
has been destroyed, but from the fragmentar\' record we learn 
that he was a resident on the \\ est Fork of the Monongahela in 
1774, and from that year until 1779 he was, even," year, activeK- 
engaged in scouting from the West I'Ork lo thr Ohio Ri\"er, under 
Captain William Lowther. His consummate skill in woodcraft, 
his braver}- and caution, soon won for him a subaltern leadership. 
He was subsequently commissioned a Lieutenant of Indian Spies 
in Capt. Lowther's Company, a trust he did not resign until the 
spring of 1784. After this, he continued on ranging excursions 
to the different torts until the close ot the Indian War in 1795. 
During this service, he was stationed at W est's Fort, and at Rich- 
ards' Fort on the West Fork. 

In 1 7S(), Lieutenant Hughes was riding a pathwa\' about 
midway between the West and Richards' Forts, when he dis- 
covered an Indian mounted on a horse, recognized to be that of 
Adam O'Brien's. (7) 'Lhe Lieutenant sprang from his horse and 
fired at the Indian wounding him, when he fled. Hughes was 
determined if possible to recapture the stolen horse, and in com- 
pan\' with Alexander West pursued the Indian, tracking him b\' 
the blood. They found the tracks of several Indians, but lost 
the trail entireh- at the West Fork River. It was supposed that 
the wounded Lulian, perhaps d\"ing, had been sunk in the n\'er 
by his comrades. 

In the affidavit of John Cartwright (Cutright), who in 1S34 
testified for Hughes, it would appear that llughes was in some 
regular military expedition against the Indians, from which he 
returned in 1784. Cutright declares that after this, although he 
was stationed at the Buckhannon I'"ort. he and llughes went 
spying and ranging together until 1795, and that Lieutenant 
Hughes lost much property through Indians. 

W illiam Powers, Alcxamler West and .Adam l"'lesher also 
testified for Hughes in his claim for pension, while John 
McW'horter. L P- Nouched for the integrit}' of these witnesses. 

W . C. Singleton, Special Pension Agent, who investigated 
Hughes" claim for pension, reported under date of January 2nd, 
18.i5, "I understand from Hughes' Agent, James M. Camp, that 
his (Hughes) mind is entirely gone, and from other sources that 

(7) See page 424. 

62 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

he is a maniac and has been confined for years. Christopher 
Nutter, WilUam Powers and others tell me that he did good 
service, but was in no regular service, so therefore is not entitled 
to pension." Hughes was refused a pension on the grounds that 
his service was rendered in the Indian Wars, and not in the War 
of the Revolution. (8) 

The munificence of an appreciative and "grateful country" is 
pitifully portrayed in its sentiment toward this time-wrecked 
veteran of twenty years of incessant warfare. As a scout Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Hughes was surpassed only by his two renowned 
brothers. The life of the wilderness spy was arduous, and fraught 
with constant danger. His wages were meagre (9) and those 
who were thus employed throughout the long border wars, seldom 
laid up a sustenance for old age. 

Lieutenant Hughes died in October, 1837, in Jackson County, 
West Virginia, where he moved, perhaps, soon after the treaty 
of Greenville in 1795. Mrs. Hughes died three months previous 
to the death of her husband. They left only one child, Thomas, 
whom it appears was still living in 1854, aged seventy-one years. 

There is no family tradition that connects Charles Hughes 
(10) who was engaged in the repulse of the Indians at West's 
Fort on Hacker's Creek in 1778, with the family of Jesse Hughes, 
though they were together in that engagement. It is quite prob- 
able that two Hughes families, closely related, were represented 
in the pioneers who settled on Hacker's Creek, and the name 
seems to have disappeared from the settlement in that beautiful 
valley at an early date. 

In 1781, a certificate was granted "William McCleery, assignee 
to James Hughes, for 400 acres on Spring Creek [tributary to the 
Little Kanawha] to include his settlement made in 1774." I 
know nothing of the antecedents of this James Hughes. 

In an early day one Edward Hughes, then a boy, came with 
some men from the Greenbrier settlements to the mouth of Morris 
Creek, since known as Hughes Creek, on the Great Kanawha. I 
know nothing of this lad's parentage. He seems to have been 
the only one of the name who came from Greenbrier with the 
party, who apparently were hunters. They built a small fort 
on a cliff by the creek, where they could reach the water by letting 
down a gourd with a grapevine. The boy experienced many hard- 
ships. At one time he was left alone for several days at the fort, 

(8) See page 424. (9j p. 425. (10) p. 425. 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \'ir(;ini.\ 63 

and subsisted on parched corn, and a few lish tliat he caught in 
the creelv. He was captured b)- the Indian-s while fishing on 
Peters Creek, a tributary of the (Pauley River, now in Nicholas 
County, and was carried to the Indian towns on the Muskingum. 
He remained with his capturs for more than two \'ears, during 
which time he learned their language. He ascertained that the 
(jreat Kanawha joined the Ohio somewhere below where they 
then were, and determined to escape. He secreted a quantity 
of dried venison, and waited for a full moon. He then fled to the 
Ohio River, where he constructed a raft of dry timber, and floated 
down to the mouth of the Great Kanawha. During the vo\-age 
he never approached the shore, but when tired nature demanded 
a rest, he anchored his raft in mid-stream with a stone attached 
to a grape-vine. 

He abandoned his raft, and following up the Kanawha, and 
after much suffering reached the little fort on the cliff. \\ hen he 
left the Indians he took with him a coat neath' made from a 
bear skin. The fore-legs formed the arms, and the neck and head 
formed the collar and head-covering. It was soft, pliable, and 
comfortable in the most storm}' weather. I^dward Hughes mar- 
ried and settled near where Summersville, in Nicholas County, 
now is. He never used intoxicants, and was devotedly Christian. 
He was buried on the mountain side, overlooking the site of the 
little fort in which he had spent so many of his solitary days. (11) 

In 1770, a Thomas Hughes, born in 1753, and who married 
Elizabeth Swan, settled on the west side of the Monongahela, 
near the mouth of Muddy Creek, (12) now Carmichaels, Cjrcen 
County, Pa.; but he was of another family, though perhaps 
a blood relation of Jesse's father. Thomas Hughes, of Carmich- 
aels, had a brother John, who was a Captain of the Pennsyl- 
vania Rangers during the Revolution, lie was killed by the 
Indians near Louisville, Kentuck}-, in 17S(). This famil\- also 
hailed from Virginia. 

A Thomas Hughes resided in now Kanawha Count)', West 
Virginia, in 1 791 . 

.\ Thomas Hughes was Pa\'master of the 7th \'irginia Regi- 
ment from Januar\' 1, 1777, to Ma\ 1, 1778. He receix'ed a 
militar}- land bt)unty in 1783. 

It may be of interest to note that the Jesse I lughes of l''lu\anna 
County, \ irginia, previoush' referred to. in the spring ot 1776, 

(11) See page 425. (12) p. 425. 

64 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

at the age of twenty, enlisted as a private in Roger Thompson's 
company of minute men, which was attached to Meredith's Regi- 
ment in eastern Virginia, and then to Morgan's riflemen in west- 
ern Virginia. In the fall of 1776, Hughes enlisted in William 
Pierce's Company of Harrison's artillery. He fought at Mon- 
mouth and Newport, was stationed at Providence, and was dis- 
charged in 1779. He volunteered as a lieutenant in Joseph Hay- 
den's Company in 1780 and was at the battle of Camden. In 
1781 he was drafted as a lieutenant of militia, but was seized 
with smallpox and did not join the army until the day after 
Cornwallis' surrender. He was, no doubt, closely related to the 
ancestors of Jesse Hughes of pioneer fame, for the locality from 
which he enlisted is very near the ancestral home of the Hughes 

The Muster Rolls in the War Department at Washington 
show that one Jesse Hughes served as a matross in Captain 
William Pierce's Company, First Artillery Regiment, Continental 
Troops, commanded by Colonel Charles Harrison. He was 
enlisted December 31, 1776, for three years, and was discharged 
December 20, 1779. Neither his residence nor the place of his 
enlistment is of record. This matross was the Jesse Hughes of 
Fluvanna County. In 1837, he was allowed a Bounty Land 
Warrant for three years' service as private in Continental line. 
The First Continental Artillery Regiment was assigned to the 
State of Virginia by Act of Congress approved October 3, 1780. 

In 1778, a Jesse Hughes, a matross in Col. Charles Harrison's 
Virginia and Maryland Regiment of Artillery, Company No. I, 
was returned as "sick in Virginia," along with Sergeant John 
Hughes of the same company. (13) There were several other 
Hughes among the Virginia troops, but they have no place in 
this story. 

John Hughes, of Lancaster, Pa., under date of July 11, 1763, 
wrote to Colonel Bouquet an elaborate and detestable plan for 
hunting down the Indians with savage dogs, .in the true Spanish 
way. (14) While this man was perhaps no relation to our hero, 
the two would probably have been in complete accord on the man- 
ner of procedure in dealing with the Indian question. 

In 1770 or 1771, Jesse Hughes was married to Aliss Grace 
Tanner, and settled on Hacker's Creek, about one mile above 
where West's Fort was afterwards built, and at the mouth of a 

(13) See page 425. (14) p. 425. 


Stream which has since been known as Jesse's Run. Here he 
built his cabin on the site of an old Shawnee village. This was 
embraced in a homestead certihcate, issued in 17S1 to "Jesse 
Hughes for 4(X) acres on Hacker's Creek, adjoining lands of 
Kdmund West to include his settlement made in 1770." (15) 

In this lonely cabin, standing, as it did, on the western out- 
skirts of the most western (16) and remote settlement on the 
Virginia frontier, this young couple experienced man\' thrilling 
adventures incident to border life in the virgin wilderness. The 
wife possessed the sterling qualities of rugged and noble woman- 
hood. Endowed with that fearlessness and energy of character 
which a life of constant peril on the border engendered, she was 
admirabh' fitted for the companionship of her half-wild, yet 
renowned husband, whose savage temper was not conducive to 
domestic happiness. It was in this cabin that the\' had a thrilling 
experience with a rattlesnake. 

One night Jesse was awakened from a sound sleep by feeling 
a li\ing creature trying to work its wa}" upward between his throat 
and the close-fitting collar of his homespun shirt. The contact 
of a cold, whip-like body with his own, caused him to suspect 
instantly the nature of his bed-fellow, and fully aroused him to a 
sense of his danger. W ith that rare self-control and presence 
of mind that served him so well in more than one instance of 
deadly peril, he softly spoke to his wife, waking, and telling her 
of the threatened danger, and directing her to get out of bed with 
their child, and remove the bed-clothing. This she did so gentl\' 
that the restless intruder, who was still endeavoring to force its 
broad flat head under the obdurate shirt-collar, was not disturbed. 
The covering removed, with a single lightning-like movement, 
Jesse bounded to the floor several feet away. A huge \ellow 
rattlesnake fell at his feet. With an angry whir-r-r-r it threw 
itself into the attitude of battle, but was soon dispatched. The 
next morning Jesse went prospecting for snakes, and found in the 
end of a hollow log which was built into his cabin, hve copperheads 
and one rattlesnake. (17) 

From his advent into the Buckhannon settlement in 1769 to 
the year 1778, we find no mention of the name ot Jesse Hughes 
in border annals. 

But it is not to be supposed that so restless and daring a man 
would remain inactive while such scenes of bloodshed were being 

(15) See page 425. (16) p. 426. (17) p. 427. 

66 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

enacted about him. His insatiate passion for Indian blood pre- 
cludes this idea, and investigation proves the fallacy and adds 
strength to the statement of Mr. Bond, that the chronicle of 
Withers is but a partial and fragmentary history. 

While living on Hacker's Creek, and within rifle-shot of his 
own door, Jesse consummated a deed, which, for needless and 
unprovoked treachery, was scarcely surpassed by the Indians in 
all their ravages of the Virginia border. He arranged a meeting 
with a friendly Indian for the ostensible purpose of spending a day 
in hunting. To reach the place of rendezvous the Indian had to 
cross Hacker's on a "foot-log," a tree felled across the stream to 
form a means of crossing. The time of meeting was appointed for 
an hour when the sun should reach a certain point above the tree- 
tops. Long before that time Jesse stealthily repaired to the spot 
and concealed himself in a position which commanded an unob- 
structed view of the foot-log, and there awaited the coming of his 
unsuspecting victim. At the appointed hour the Indian issued 
from the deep tangle of the valley forest. An eye gleamed along 
the barrel of the deadly rifle, the Indian reached the middle of the 
log, a report of the rifle reverberated through the valley, and the 
lifeless body of the Indian fell forward into the stream. 

Hughes claimed that the Indian approached in a suspicious 
manner, wary and watchful, and that he felt justified in killing 
him. It is not at all probable that an Indian brought up amid the 
dangers of the wilderness, would traverse a forest path other than 
with every faculty alert to hidden danger. His very training 
would preclude this and his caution was no evidence that he 
intended treachery. Had he meditated evil, he would more likely 
have followed the course pursued by Hughes. 

Not only did Hughes engage in Indian killings not chronicled 
by Withers, but he was a leader in the terrible massacre of the 
BuUtown Indians, an account of which must form a separate 
chapter of this narrative. 


At no very remote period prior to the advent of the white 
man into the Trans-Allegheny region, Hacker's Creek had been 
the scat of an Indian population of no mean magnitude. Indeed 
the evidence of a very ancient occupation of this valley by man is 
not wanting. In the present work it is impossible to enter as 
deeply into this interesting subject as would be desired, or as 
personal observation might warrant; but as it is expedient that 
the reader have some idea of the condition of this valley in its 
primitive state, brief mention on the most salient points of what 
is known on the subject will be made here. 

About the year 1896, Samuel Alkire, a great-grandson of 
Jesse Hughes, in the line of his daughter Martha, excavated a well 
for stock-water on his home farm some three miles below^ the 
village of Berlin. The well was dug in a broad, sloping draw, 
near the base of the hill bordering on the right of the valley. At 
the depth of twenty feet the workman, Charley Tenny,of Jane Lew, 
came upon a perfectly sound and well preserved spruce, or pine pole, 
to which some of the bark still adhered. This pole, about three 
feet in length, was firmly imbedded in a strata of blue clay, and 
with it was a quantit}- of pine cones, twigs and other debris of the 
forest, which, at some remote period, had been lodged there by 
the action of water. In removing the pole from its bed the work- 
man, with his mattock, severed it near the middle. Mr. Alkire 
was present and saw the pole and cones taken out. One fragment 
was claimed by Mr. Tenny, but the other, together with several 
of the cones, was carcfull\- preserved bv Mr. .\lkire, who believed 
them of scientific value. These he kindly placed at my disposal, 
and upon examining the timber, was astounded to find that it 
showed several distinct and well-defined knots where small limbs 
had been severed with some kind of cutting tool. These protu- 
berances were smoothly trimmed and of uniform ridge-shape, like 
that produced by severing a limb with sloping cuts from two oppo- 
site sides. The end showed similar cuts whore it had been dis- 
severed in much the same way. It was impossible without the 
aid of a glass to determine the character of the incisions; whether 
made b\' a Hint or a steel implcnieiit. Vet, owing to the texture 

68 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

of the wood in a young growth of this kind, time and other potent 
factors would have a tendency to smooth away and obHterate 
any slight irregularity or uneven surface left by the edged tool; 
or they may have been polished away by the ancient artisan; in 
which case a glass would have proved of little or no value in deter- 
mining the primary nature of the marks in question. Be this as 
it may, it is unfortunate that within a few hours after this very 
interesting relic came into my possession, and before it could be 
given a crucial examination, it fell into the hands of some thought- 
less boys who forever destroyed its archaeological value by whittling 
away every vestige of the traces left by the cutting implement of 
the unknown workman. The pole was partly carbonized and 
hardened; and was flattened to an oval shape, attesting to both 
age and the enormous pressure to which it had been subjected. 
When first found it was about the size of the fore-arm, but in 
drying had shrunk to nearly half its original size. 

Owing to the location of this draw, where naturally we should 
expect a rapid accumulation of drift and soil washed from the 
hillside by every rain, the depth at which these objects were found 
would have slight weight in computing their age. But the fact 
that nowhere in this valley or its tributaries does there grow^ pine 
timber of any kind, nor does there exist any evidence that such 
trees ever did grow there, makes this find important. The mere 
finding of the limb would in itself signify little, as it might have 
been transported from other regions in quite recent times; but 
the discovery of pine cones in quantity, evidently washed there 
from a forest growing contiguous, Is indeed puzzling. It Is vain 
to speculate as to the time required for the passing of one variety 
of forest trees and the production of an entirely different species 
in its place, even if such was the case in this instance. Are we to 
take the discovery of this mysterious relic with its Interesting 
surroundings as proof that In this valley man antedated, by vast 
ages, the primitive forest with which it was so densely clothed 
when the white man first set foot in its sylvan beauty.'' Or shall 
we accept Mr. Alkire's humorous solution of- the riddle — "that 
some old codger, living here at some time, had planted evergreen 
shade trees about his domicile, and had trimmed a branch from 
one of them for a bean-pole, and that the well had been sunk in 
the old man's bean-patch." This theory would appear as logical 
and rational as those often advanced by archaeologists in support 

BoRDKR Settlers oi Northwestern \'irgima 69 

of their pet hobbies. Let the deduction be as it may, importance 
is attached to the discover}', and the loss of the rehc is greatly 
deplored. Facts outweigh theory, and quite often what seems 
of no consequence proves of greatest value to the archaeologist 
in arriving at truth. But sometimes objects of recent origin are 
found under circumstances indicating great antiquity. 

On Kinchelo Creek, Lewis County, West Virginia, several 
years ago in sinking a well, a fragment of pine board having 
wrought-iron nails driven into it was found at a depth of twenty- 
one feet from the surface. The location of this well was not at 
the foot of a hill or near any existing water-way, where a rapid 
burial would be insured by either landslides or the accumulation 
of flood sediment. How it came there is a mystery. I examined 
a fragment of this relic, and certainly no one could claim for it a 
remote origin. 

Nearly one hundred years ago, while a well was being sunk at 
the old Henry McW'horter cabin, then occupied by his son Thomas, 
on McKinney's Run, (1) two and one-half miles from Jane Lew, 
at a depth of six feet below the surface was found a six- or eight- 
pound solid-shot cannon ball. It is scarcely necessary to comment 
on the probale age or history of this find, further than to say that 
there was no military post in that region, and the early settlers 
possessed no artillery of any kind. The fact that the relic was 
found within one-half mile of the old Indian \-illage site on the 
Davis farm would suggest that it had been carried there b\- Indians 
from some distant post prior to the settlement of the countr\-. It 
is not known what became of the ball; it disappeared several 
years ago. 

Scattered through the valley of Hacker's Creek and its tribu- 
taries are to be met evidences of former Indian occupation. On 
every hill and in every glen are found those mysteriousK' pitted 
"cup-stones" that have been given so much notice by archaeolo- 
gists. In addition to the isolated graves and numerous ancient 
camps, the valley is dotted over with sites of old abandoned 
villages, with their contiguous burial grounds. Because of their 
superior location and the absence of timber, these village grounds, 
or "Indian fields/' were favorite places for homes with the first 
settlers. In the main valley of Hacker's Creek there arc no less 
than seven Indian \illage sites; and there is one on .McKinne\''s 
Run, and one on Jesse's Run. That on Jesse's Run is not of very 

(1) See page 427. 

70 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

great extent. The one on McKinney's Run Is quite large and 
occupies a "flat" or second bottom. This old site is on the farm 
of Rev. Samuel Davis and in connection with it there is quite an 
extensive Indian burial ground. To secure this city of the dead 
from vandalism, Mr. Davis has planted a cherry tree on each 
separate grave. 

Numerous stone relics have been picked up on this field. In 
an early day, Samuel Stalnaker discovered the skeleton of an 
Indian in the crevice of a small ledge of rock on the border of this 
field, and near a drain which flows between the Davis and the old 
McWhorter farms. The bones were never disturbed, and the 
spot has long since grown over with grass and obliterated. On a 
high point, or ridge, on the last named farm, two or three graves 
were found. One of them examined by my father, contained two 
skeletons, that of a very large man, and a girl about twelve years 
of age. Both were in sitting posture. The man's jaw had, several 
years previous to his death, been broken, but was neatly healed. 
No relics were found, and the remains were replaced, and the 
graves filled. 

West's Fort, now the present site of the residence of Alinor C. 
Hall, was once an Indian village. On a beautiful elevation, or 
second bottom, at the mouth of Jesse's Run, was an extensive 
village, and perhaps the very last in the valley that v/as occupied 
by the Indians. It was here, in a little dell which ran through 
this village ground, that Jesse Hughes built his cabin. 

Another Indian village was located on a promontory-like 
flat, which extends out into the valley, on the farm of the late John 
Alkire. Here settled Samuel Bonnett, brother to John Bonnett 
who was killed on the Little Kanawha, hereafter noted. His 
old hewn-lcg house is still standing, though it is rapidly crumbling 
to decay. Just up the valley, on the opposite side of the creek, 
on a fine elevated bottom was another village of considerable 
proportions. Here can still be seen the remains of one of those 
mysterious earth-wall enclosures met with in the Ohio Valley. 
This earthwork, in former years, was reverently preserved by the 
then owner of the land, Air. David Smith, who has been referred 
to elsewhere in this volume. When he transferred the title to 
other parties, with commendable sentiment he stipulated that 
this pre-historic work should never be desecrated or disturbed. 
But in time the estate fell into the hands of those whose sole 

Hordi:r Settlers ok Nortiiw estlrn \ ircima 


incentive was money, and as this ancient monument stood in the 
way of crops, it was sacrificed. Its encircling' moat was filled with 
logs and its walls k'\elcd by the plow, it was the most porten- 
tious aboriginal remains in the valley. 

Near here stood "Miller's Fort," a strongl>- constructed 
dwelling, built near the close of Indian hostilities, and which 
never figured in the defense of the border. Willi no i>lacc in the 
annals, the structure lives in tradition onlw 

On an elevation south or southeast of where the \illage with 
its mysterious monument stood, is an Indian burial ground of 
considerable magnitude. In one of the gra\-es opened there in 
1890, was found a small fragment of bright blue home-spun woolen 
cloth, which had been interred with the dead body of the Indian. 
This points to the occupation of the valle\- within historic times, 
and a comparati\-eh- recent burial. l'nforlunatel\-, this cloth 
was lost. Another grave }-ielded a fine stone bird-head pipe, and 
a polished slate gorget; and another, a well-made celt, slightl}- 
damaged on the poll. In a gra\e which I opened and where 
"bundle burial" had been resorted to, there was found a clay pipe 
and a broken clay vessel with the usual rounded bottom, which 
contained the fragment of a turtle, or tortoise shell, brittle from 
decay, and evidently the remains of a food-offering to the dead. 
Both pipes arc of ancient t\-pe. 

Next comes the Indian \illage ground where John Hacker^ 
the first settler on the creek, built his cabin. (2) It is the most 

Site ok John Hackkr's Ri;sii>i;m. i 
Photograpliod I'MO 
Old zvrll and joundation of cliimnt-y. (Modrni horn in background.) 

(2) See page 427. 

11 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

beautiful section of the valley, and about one mile, or over, below 
the present village of Berlin. 

Many interesting relics have been picked up in the "Indian 
fields" on the old Hacker farm. When a boy, I often rode horse- 
back to a corn mill near this place, and soon learned to watch for 
"flints" along the clay banks of the road. The fragment of an 
engraved sandstone tablet, a fine "chungky" stone, and a small 
copper pendant were, among other things, in the hands of nearby 
farmers, who refused to part with them. Grooved stone relics 
were seldom met with in any part of the valley. 

Marked traces of an aboriginal occupation are found on the 
high creek bottom, on the old Cozad farm, now occupied by Mr. 
George Lawson. Not only stone implements, but iron or steel 
tomahawks have been found there. This farm was made historic 
by an Indian raid in 1794. (3) 

Several miles up the creek, just below the mouth of Rover's 
Run, (4) and where Mr. William Kelly now resides, was another 
Indian village. On a high ridge above this village, and contiguous 
to the valley, was a stone-heap, perhaps three by eight feet, 
eighteen inches high, and enclosed with a curbing of rude slabs of 
sandstone planted on edge. With Mr. T. A. Law, I examined this 
interesting stone-heap, and found a small bed of ashes one foot 
below the original surface, and near the center of the enclosure. 
In the ash-bed was a flint spear-head, which showed traces of the 
heat to which it had been subjected. Over the ash-bed was a 
sandstone slab about twelve inches square and one inch thick, 
which had been broken into fragments by the fire. 

Two other curbed stone-heaps were examined, apparently of 
the same age and of about the same dimensions as the 
first described. One of these was on the ridge dividing Jesse's Run 
from Hacker's Creek, on the farm of George Goodwin, and con- 
tained nothing. The other was at Berlin, on the farm of Mr. E. 
H. Bonnett, on the "flat" just above the old Hebron Church. 
This one was carefully opened by Professor G. F. Queen, and 
yielded nothing save a few flint chips and some charcoal. Most of 
the stone of this mound had previously been removed and used in 
repairing the public road. At no other place in America have 
similar remains been found, and it is lamentable that they have 
not been preserved. 

Far up the mountain on the left-hand side of Rover's Run, 
(3) See page 427. (4) p. 427. 


and adjacent to Bear Knob, several years prior to these investi- 
gations, I examined an interesting effig}'-like figure of Indian 
origin. It consisted of a single boulder, weighing perhaps three 
hundred pounds, lying on the surface, with a short row of small 
stones extending not unlike the arms of a rude cross from about 
the middle on either side. The stones were removed and an 
exca\ation of six feet failed to reveal any sign that the earth had 
ever been disturbed. (5) 

A few miles up the creek from where stood the village last 
mentioned, and on the farm of my maternal grandfather, the late 
)ohn W. Marple, is the trace of an Indian habitation of extraor- 
dinar\' import. It occupies a second bottom on the right-hand 
side of the valley, at the mouth of a small run which flows down 
from the hills and enters the creek on the south. On the west 
looms Bear Knob seven hundred and fifty feet above this old 
village ground. Here can still be seen the outlines of a great ash- 
circle. It is perfect in contour, save on the northeast side, where 
gentlv sloping ground has caused the ashes to work down the 
incline and thus broaden the circle slightly. Where normal, it is 
one hundred and eighty feet in diameter. A belt of dark ashes 
sixty feet wide, encircles a clear inner space sixty feet in diameter. 
This circle was thickly strewn with fragments of bone, mussel 
shell, flint chips, scraps of potter}', perfect and broken arrow 
points and stone relics. I saw this field plowed during the '80s, 
at which time the measurements were made. The arrow points 
then secured were mostly of rude workmanship. The fragment 
of a "chunkey" stone was picked up; but not of the least 
historic import was the finding of a clay pipe stem, of Caucasian 

The field on which this ash-circle is located was cleared about 
the year 1821, by Mr. John Warner and a companion. It was then 
covered with a growth of young sugar-trees measuring some 
twelve inches in diameter; which would denote that the occupancy 
by the Indians had been comparatively recent. There were but 
two large trees on it, one a yellow poplar and the other a black 
walnut; each measuring five feet "across the stump." One stood 
in the north part of the field and the other in the south part. Both 
were outside of the circle. Mr. Wainer informed me that when 
they cleared this "Indian Field," he could have picked up a bushel 
of broken arrow points, which were sometimes used as gun flints, 

(5) See page 428. 

74 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

and that the ground was literally covered with fragments of bone 
and mussel shell. Also that there were numerous remnants of 
stone implements, but not many in perfect condition. Pieces of 
pottery were abundant. Many years afterwards, among other 
things, he found in an adjoining field a finely carved stone pipe, 
slightly broken. The material was hard, compact, brown sand- 
stone highly polished. It is not known what became of this pipe. 
Some forty years later a perfect steatite "banner stone," perfo- 
rated, was plowed up near the same place. 

Stone filled graves are found along the rocky base of the hill 
west of the "Indian Field," and near where these last relics were 
found. North of these graves, a small mound was located in the 
first bottom. This mound I opened in 1880; and a flint spear 
head, a broken arrow point, a small piece of steatite paint-stone 
and a single bit of charcoalwas all that was obtained. These, 
with the "banner stone" and hundreds of other interesting relics 
were collected from the village sites and burial grounds of the 
Hacker's Creek Valley and various parts of the State. (6) 

There is said to be an ash-circle similar to the one described,^ 
on Rooting Creek, a branch of Elk Creek, (7) only a few miles 
north. These circles are unusual in American, or Old World 
antiquities. Locally, they are associated with past strange reli- 
gious rites and occult practices. (8) 

Ancient Stone Pipe 

Foujid 171 a ploughed field near JVillow Grove, Jackson 
County, West Virginia. In the McWhorter Collection, 
Museum of Archives and History, Charleston, W. Va. See 
The West Virginia Historical Magazine, 1901 , Vol. I, No. 4. 

(6) See page 428. (7) p. 428. (8) p. 428. 


The tradition that 'recmiisch was horn on Hacker's Creek, s(j 
brief1\- alhided to in a note suppHcd hy ine for the hitc edition of 
dhronic/t's of Border ff'arjarc, is as follows: 

Sometime after the Treaty of (jreenville, so the stor\' goes, 
Tecumseh was in the settlements of the I'ppcr Monongahela and 
visited Hacker's Creek. While there, in a conversation with a 
Miss A'litchel, Tecumseh declared that he was born on this creek; 
either at the village where Jesse Hughes afterwards settled, or at 
the one where John Hacker, the pioneer, located. He was also 
authority for the statement that the Indian name for Hacker's 
Creek signified "mudd\- water." In Shawnee -.cixa-kakami is 
muddy water, as applied to a lake or pond; while :vi\a-nipe 
designates flowing mudd\- water, or river; and if Tecumseh was 
rightly reported, his tribe called this romantic stream If i\a-nipt\ 
'Ihe same cognomen applies to the West Fork of the Monongahela, 
of which Hacker's Creek is an important tributar\-. Doubtless, 
the name, primarily, applied to the larger stream and extended to 
the smaller with some differentiating term. 

Tecumseh was born about the year 1768, just one year pre- 
ceding the Pringle cokmization of the l'i">per Monongahela. The 
\illage at the mouth of Jesse's Run was occupied b\- Indians 
within historic times, as attested by the fact that brass buttons of 
an old style, and other objects of European manutacture, ha\-e 
been found intermixed with various Indian relics. After heavy 
rains large quantities of lead bullets have been picked up on a 
clay bank near where stood the cabin of Jesse Hughes. Tradition 
says that when the Indians wanted to clean their rifles they dis- 
charged them against this bank, or at marks placed there. The 
early settlers resorted thither for their lead. There is also a tra- 
dition that there resided near West's Fort, a hermit-like hunter 
who knew of a lead mine on a small stream that enters Hacker's 
Creek troni the soutli, in what is now the Alkire settlement above 
the mouth ot Jesse's Run. This gri'/,'/.led nimrocl obtained all the 
lead he reejuired from this "mine," but he would never divulge its 
location to his fellow-countr\ men. Dressei.! in buckskins and the 
traditional nuccasins. his step was light and trackless. Cunning 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

as a fox, he was often traced to the high ridge south of the creek, 
where he would disappear. Later he would return with a supply 
of lead. (1) Traditions of lead mines were current in nearly every 
Virginia settlement. In all probability the mysterious hunter 
obtained his lead from some such source as the claybank deposit, 
and was loth to share his failing store with his neighbors. 

It is known that the Ohio Indians frequented this region as 
hunters after the white settlers came, and it is not improbable 










m^^ ' ^^ ^^Nk.^S^ 

JB^H m 




Tecumseh — The Greatest of Shawnees 

From a ■pencil sketch made about 1812. There is no true portrait of Chief 
Tecumseh in existence. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution. 

that Tecumseh was born here while his people were on one of 
those excrrsions. Drake says that Tecumseh was born on the 
Scioto River, near where is now Chillicothe. (2) Other authorities 
state that he was born on Alad River, a few miles north of Old 
Chillicothe, claiming that his parents and relatives were on a 
hunting expedition at the time, and were encamped on Mad 
River. Col. Hatch contends that Tecumseh was born near the 
mouth of Clearwater, on the upper point of its junction with the 
Great Miami River. (3) 

The Chillicothe, "Chi-la-ka-tha" one of the four divisions of 
the Shawnee tribe, (4) always occupied a village of the same name. 

(1) See page 429. (2) p. 430. (3) p. 430. (4) p. 430. 


As the Shawnees retreated westward before the whites, several 
villages of this name were successfully occupied. (5) To designate 
Tccunisch's hirthi^lacc as "Old Chillicothe" is misleading. Tiicre 
was an Old Chillicothc in each of the following counties in Ohir): 
Ross, Pickawa>-, Clark, Green and Miami. 

Old Chillicothe in Ross County, was the capitol of the Shaw- 
nees at the time of Tecumseh's birth, and it was evidently the 
home of his family. Such being the case, historians would suppose 
that he was born there; and in the absence of definite information, 
give that town the honor of his birthplace, though he may have 
been born at some distant and transient hunting camp. The 
Indians were, then, as they are now, accompanied b\- their women 
even when going to remote localities to hunt. 

At the two villages on Hacker's Creek mentioned by Tecum- 
seh, there have been found the stone cist graves believed to be of 
Shawnee origin. Such graves are located in the midst of, or con- 
tiguous to these village sites, while those constituting the burial 
grounds on the hillsides and the ridges, are the common stone- 
filled graves of a different tribe. The summit of Buck Knob (6) 
which overlooked the villages on McKinney's Run and at the 
mouth of Jesse's Run, is such a burial ground. Without entering 
into a discussion as to the probabilit}' of which of these tribes 
were the last to abandon a continuous occupanc\- of the valley, 
or whether they were contemporaneous, summing up the facts. 1 
regard this claim of Hacker's Creek to the honor of being the 
birthplace of Tecumseh, supported as it is by his own statement, 
worthy of consideration and probabK- correct. Let Virginia then 
add to the long list of her warriors, patriots and statesmen, the 
name of Tecumseh; really Tikamthi, or Tecumtha, the "meteor" 
or "shooting-star;" the "crouching panther," "I cross the path, 
or way." Even if born at Old Chillicothe or on Mad River, 
Tecumseh was still a Virginian; for all that part of the territory 
Northwest of the Ohio River belonged to \'irginia until after the 

There was a tradition on Hacker's Creek which declared that 
Tecumseh in one of his incursions into the valley, lost his pipe — 
usually an adjunct to the Indian Warrior's equipment — and 
with it much of his prestige as a war chief. He and his followers 
spent many moons in a fruitless search for the missing talisman. 
I remember that more than thirty }ears ago there was found on 

(5) See page 430. (6) p. 43 2. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Jesse's Run a stone pipe of "strange and peculiar workmanship." 
This revived the old story of Tecumseh and his missing pipe; and 
many supposed that the pipe found was the one lost by this 
renowned chief. It is not known what became of the pipe. 

A Hacker's Creek Pawpaw Thicket 

Photographed September, 1914, by Master Joe Reger McWhorter. 

{Fruit of the Gods.) 

Primitive Wiya-nipe must have been a veritable paradise for 
the red man. Beyond doubt it is today the garden spot of central 
West Virginia. It has a milder winter climate than the Buck- 
hannon region and the high mountain sections of the State. The 
soil from the creek bed to the summit of the surrounding hills is 
generally fertile and productive. The first settlers found the 
valley clothed with a heavy growth of timber. Here the nut- 
producing varieties: — the chestnut, shell-bark hickory, black and 
white walnut, the beech and white oak, grew to perfection on 
both bottom and hillside. The fruit was of superior size and 
quality. The hazel nut grew in abundance, while the uplands 
were covered with the persimmon; the service, or june-berry; the 
black and red haw, the mulberry and wild cherry. Plums of a 
most excellent flavor flourished along the banks of every stream 
and favored localities of the higher altitudes. Crabapples were 
also plentiful. The less fertile portions of the ridges were covered 
with the shrubs of the wild gooseberry and the huckleberry, 
beneath which was often found patches of the aromatic winter- 

BoRDiiR Settlers of Northwestern \ ir<;im.\ 79 

green. On every v^ariety of soil of the uplands grew mountain 
grapes of varied size and flavor; while the low marsh and swamp 
lands were canopied with a matted tan^l*.' '>! the fox grape, large 
and luscious. A small winter grape, rather acrid and less pala- 
table, was also found on the lowlands. The pawpaw, the fruit of 
the gods, attaincLl to [icrfection aiii_l supcialuuKlancc in this valle\' 
of valleys. Blackberries, raspberries and elderberries flourished 
in open and fertile ground, usually among the fallen timber. 
Occasional!)- wild strawberries were met with on the hiuh ridges 
and points where the timber was scattering; but the>- were not 
plentiful. The sugar tree, whose sweet-producing qualities were 
so universally made use of by the Indian, stood dark and thick 
over most of the bottom land and the rich north coves. Sassa- 
fras, and spice, the root-bark of the one and the twig of the other, 
used in preparing food drinks were plentitul. Medicinal barks 
and herbs were multitudinous. A fragrant variety of plant used 
in the preparation of kinnikinick, or Indian smoking tobacco, was 
in abundance. Its lea\'es, when brewed, proiluce a drink scarce 
inferior to the best of imported teas. 

The forest teemed with all the game native to the Ohio \ alle\', 
while the waters swarmed with excellent tish, turtles, frogs and 
mussels. The following incident will illustrate the profusion of 
the hnn}- tribe in this stream at the time of the settlement of the 

One evening Henry McW horter, the pioneer millwright of 
W est's Fort, and his two oldest bo\'s, prepared faggots or torches 
from sli\crs ot dry wooel and went "tish-gigging." W alter, a 
small lad, having no gig, did not go with them. After the\' had 
gone, from a board he fashioned a rude paddle — a poor substi- 
tute for a gig — aiul taking a torch went into the ripple below 
the mill dam. He said afterwards that had the tish been stones 
he could have walked across the creek on them, so plentiful and 
of such good size were they. He soon secured all the tish that 
he could carry — more than was caught b\' his father and brothers. 

Even at a much later date this creek afforded superior fishing 
grounds. Walter, when grown, and his son, m\ talin-i-, then a 
lad, went gigging below the bridge at jane Lew. Walter was an 
expert at spearing hsh and prided himself as such. He saw what 
he supposed was a "chunk" ot water-soaked wood l\ing in the 
rifiple and lightl\- set his gig on it as he was passing l-)\'. W hat 

80 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

was his surprise and chagrin, when with a splash the supposed 
"chunk" flashed from under the spear and was off Hke a shot for 
deep water. The fisherman could never get over the loss of that 
fish, which he estimated to be not less than four feet in length. 

Buffalo, elk, deer, bear and innumerable small game abounded 
throughout this region. One old hunter whom I remember seeing, 
declared that in traversing less than one mile of the dividing ridge 
between Bridge Run and the left-hand fork of Buckhannon Run, 
starting at the head of the latter stream, he secured five deer. 
Many are the tales of hunting adventures that have been handed 
down from the early settlers of this valley, and a few of them are 
here given. 

Alexander West shot an elk on Hacker's Creek, but the shot 
did not prove fatal, and the elk made off. West followed, finding 
that the animal often lay down. His better plan would have been 
to let it lie, but he expected to find it dead. It continued to get 
up and travel, however, and West followed it to the present site 
of West A-lilford, on the West Fork River, where he killed it. He 
dressed the meat and hung it on trees out of the reach of wolves, 
and returned home. The next day he went with a pack horse and 
brought it in. 

W'est was "coon hunting" on the right-hand fork of Alclvin- 
ney's Run, when his dogs engaged a bear down in a very deep 
hollow. West soon heard his favorite dog howling with pain, 
and like the true hunter he started at once to the rescue. With 
drawn knife he plunged into the depths of the narrow gorge, the 
sides of which reverberated with the fierce snarls and deep growls 
of the savage combatants. It was very dark, and West could 
distinguish nothing but a white spot on one of his dogs. He 
fearlessly approached the struggling mass and felt for the shaggy 
coat of the bear. Feeling along its side he located the fatal spot 
over the heart, and buried the long blade of his hunting-knife 
between its ribs, which ended the fray. 

Bears frequently made forays upon the herds of swine belong- 
ing to the settlers. Knowing the fighting qualities of the full- 
grown boar, the pioneer always had one at the head of his herd. 
These long tusked savage brutes seldom came out of a battle with 
a bear with any serious injury. One night \\'est heard a commo- 
tion among his hogs and went out to investigate. He found that 
a two-year-old bear had attacked the pigs, and in turn had been 


set upon and killed by ihc old boar. The pigs were unhurt. 1 Icjgs 
were turned loose in the woods and were semi-wild, oft times 
entireh' so and were \er\' daiiircrous. W Ik-ii iii i.leicnse of young 
broods, or molested when in bands, the\' wtnild not hesitate to 
attack, man; and frcquenth- hunters and ginsengers experienced 
thrilling ad\entures with them. 

West was a great hunter and often led the settlers in the 
annual hunts for the purpose of securing their winter's meat. On 
one of these occasions a compan\' of several men went iiitu the 
Mountains of Randolph Countw The party pitched camp, and 
earl\- in the hunt killed two hne elk. That night the "marrow- 
bones" were cut out and roasted for supper, .\fter the repast 
and while sitting around the camp tire, one of the men in a spirit 
of hilarity, pulled a large tick from one of the dogs and wrapping 
it in a "wad" of tobacco, handed it to a companion, a large athletic 
fellow, "ter chaw." The unsuspecting victim did "chaw," but 
soon found that the "quid" contained something not altogether 
"terbacker." Upon learning the nature of the rude joke thai had 
been plaved on him, he seized one of the heavy marrow-bones 
and would have brained the thoughtless joker, had not W est 
interfered and prevented the fight. 

-Alexander W est related an occurrence near his father's house 
on Hacker's Creek. Some boys one Sunday, stealing out an old 
musket, went in quest of ad\enturc. In a iiearb_\- cornticld the\' 
shot and killed a bear. This bear was dressed and as usual, the 
meat divided among the settlers. Soon there was a savory "bear- 
pork" simmering over the glowing fires in the great open chimneys 
of more than one cabin home. The dogs gnawing at the offal, 
shook from the maw the mangled fingers of a human hand. Notice 
of the ghasth- find was at once given out, and the partly cooked 
meat thrown awa>-. A search was instituted, and in another 
part of the field was found the half-eaten body of a man. .Ml 
around was the evidence of a fearful conflict. .Most o{ the corn 
on an acre of ground had been trampled down in a territic life- 
and-death struggle. The victim was an eccentric fellow, of pow- 
erful build and strength, who often spent da\s and nights in the 
woods. On this occasion he had been absent several da\s but 
nothing was thought of it. 

Of buffalo on Hacker's Creek, there is but one mention by 

82 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

the early chroniclers. Withers, (7) in speaking of the first settlers 
on the Buckhannon River, and the stream in question, says: 

"At the close of the working season of 1769 some of these adventurers, went 
to their families on the South Branch; and when they returned to gather their 
crops in the fall, found them entirely destroyed. In their absence the buffaloes, 
no longer awed by the presence of man, had trespassed on their enclosures, and 
eaten their corn to the ground — this delayed the removal of their families 'till 
the winter of 1770." 

It has been noted in the preceding chapter that John Hacker, 
the first settler on the creek bearing his name, was one whose 
crop was destroyed. This occurred during his absence on the 
Wappatomaka for his family, and is history; but the sequel is tradi- 
tion. There are few now living who have ever heard of Hacker's 
long pursuit of the destroyers of his sole means of bread; but the 
landmarks of that chase will remain indefinitely. I am indebted 
to Mr. John Strange Hall, of Walkersville, West Va., for the 
following account of the hunt, as given him in manuscript by 
Mr. Jackson Arnold, who got it direct from Hacker's children. 

"As soon as Hacker had installed his family in their new 
home, with the usual equipment of a hunter he took up the trail 
of the bufi^aloes. It was a small herd, two full grown and a young 
calf. Bufltalo and elk were not numerous on the upper waters of 
the Monongahela, and were never found in large droves. They, 
however, gave names to numerous licks and streams. (8) 

"The band which Hacker followed, was moving leisurely 
south for the winter, and ranging up and down the streams. It 
consumed time to find the various crossings; hence the short 
marches and many camps made by the huntsman. All the waters 
crossed, or followed by trail, with the licks and camps were so 
accurately described that subsequent hunters easily recognized 
them. Hacker's first camp was at the mouth of (now) Curtis 
Run, a branch of Little Skin Creek, where he dined on a turkey. 
The second was 'Crane Camp,' on a tributary of the West Fork. 
Here in addition to the deer killed at a lick where the buffalo had 
halted, Hacker shot a crane; hence the name of camp and stream. 

"The trail followed the right-hand branch of the river to its 
source, and Hacker was, so far as known, the first white man to 
look upon the upper waters of the Little Kanawha, known at its 
mouth as the first great tributary of the Ohio below Fort Pitt. 
In the glades above the falls of the creek, he met with more abun- 

(7) See page 433. (8) p. 433. 


dant and fresher signs of buffalo. In addition to the grass, the 
crab apples and thorn berries attracted the game. 

"The third camp was noted for its durability. A rain storm 
coming up, the hunter sought shelter in a dry and comfortable 
cave in a cliti, where he again regaled himself on a fine turkey 
killed on the river boltoin. This cave, or rock-shelter, has since 
been known as Hacker's Camp, and was subsequently occupied by 
hunters and ginseng diggers. The stream is known as Hacker's 

"The fourth camp was at Buffalo Lick, where Hacker shot and 
crippled a buffalo cow. She had just come up from the lick 
where the others were, and all Hcd over a well-beaten path toward 
a gap in the mountain. The trail was followed but a short dis- 
tance, when evening coming on, the hunter returned to the lick. 
It was at the source of a ravine, circular in form, rock bottom and 
about two rods in diameter. Several small springs issued from 
the biutfs, differing in taste, but none of them palatable. Here 
the sign of buffalo, elk and deer surpassed all that Hacker had 
ever seen. The brackish, or saline properties of the water allured 
the animals from a great distance. 

"Buffalo Fork, an affluent of the Back Fork, or Right Fork of 
Little Kanawha, and Buffalo Lick are names given by Hacker. 
Following the trail through the gap, a scene of rugged grandeur 
opened to the hunter's view. A boisterous stream rushed through 
the deeply wooded canyon. From the trend of the mountains, he 
rightly conjectured that it did not belong to the system on which 
he had been traveling, which proved to be the Little Kanawha. 
He had dropped onto the waters of Flk, a trilnilar\- <>f the Great 

"A few miles up the stream, the mountains receded, enclosing 
a beautiful valley. Here Hacker secured the cow previously 
wounded. She was standing in a clump of bushes near a lick. 
The sound of the rifle startled the others, now joined b\- another 
herd, and all fled towards the great Buffalo Lick at the forks of 
Elk River, which is now a noted health resort, the Webster Salt 
Sulj-'hur Springs. 'I'hc arduous chase was ended. The grim hunt- 
er's wrath was appeased and he prepared to return with the 
spoils. The robe was removed and a small amount of choice 
parts selected and cured b\- the hre to carr\' home as jerk. 

"Hacker made a 'tomahawk-entrv' at the lick where the 

84 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

cow was killed, embracing the bottom land. For years it was 
known as Hacker's Lick, but in time the lick lost its value and 
now the locality with its village bears the name of Hacker's Valley. 
This is a branch of the Holly River, so named by Hacker from the 
groves of this evergreen which adorned its banks. 

"The return trip was by short stages, the camps being at the 
mouth of Buffalo Fork, Crane Camp, and Little Skin Creek, at 
each of which Hacker made a 'tomahawk-entry.' The latter 
was the only one to which he secured a title. Here, early in the 
last century his son Jonathan became the first settler of Skin Creek. 
After several years he sold the place to Rev. John Hardman, and 
moved to Crane Camp. He soon learned that he had no title to 
the land, it being covered by a large patent. The abandoned 
cabin in the wilderness became the abode of spooks." 

It is noteworthy that Mr. Hall places the removal of Hacker's 
family to their new home in the autumn of 1769. From all evi- 
dence this is correct, but it is very probable that they subsequently 
returned to the Wappatomaka, and that their permanent removal 
to Hacker's Creek was not until the following fall, or even later. 

Hacker reported the existence of the artificial earth mounds 
at the mouth of Buffalo, where the village of Cleveland now stands 
in Webster County. There were ten or twelve of these, the largest 
in quite recent years measured about live feet in height and some 
twenty feet in diameter. He attributed them to Indian origin, 
which is doubtless correct. This pursuit of the buffalo stands 
unique, and has no rival in geographical discovery made in a single 
chase for game on the western waters. The incentive was revenge. 

A pathetic story illustrative of the hardships incident to a 
life on the border has been handed down by the older settlers of 
this region. A few years after his settlement on Hacker's Creek, 
John Hacker returned to the Wappatomaka for salt and other neces- 
sary articles, and upon his departure for home his friends prepared 
provisions for his return journey. He saved some biscuits from 
his food and upon his arrival home gave one to his little boy, 
William, who was then about five years old. The child examined 
it closely and then began rolling it over the rough puncheon floor 
of the cabin. The little fellow had never seen bread other than 
that made from the coarse meal of Indian corn crushed In the 
rude mortar, and he imagined that in the strange object he 
possessed a new toy. It is said that Hacker wept over the incident. 


Hacker, in one of his trips across the mountains for salt, was 
caught in a bitter storm on the bleak and cold Alleghenies. He 
made camp for the night, but from some cause was unable to 
kindle a hre with his flint and steel. His case was most desperate, 
and realizing the danger in which he stood, he had recourse to a 
most ingenious method of keeping warm. Standing his two pack 
horses side by side, he lashed them securely together. Then 
wrapping his blankets about him and stretching himself upon 
their backs, he spent the night in warmth and comfort. 

The inadequacy of the flint and steel as a fire-producer 
undoubtedly resulted in more than one tragedy in the early settle- 
ment of the country. Hacker was fortunate in possessing means 
hv which to avert death by freezing. Not all were so fortunate, 
as is shown by the following occurrence in the same range of 
mountains nearly one hundred years later. It also evidences 
with what astonishing tenacity the simple, contented hunter folk 
of this vast mountain region held to the primitive customs of their 
forefathers. The incident was told me in a hunter's cabin on the 
Greenbrier River in Pocahontas County in 1877, near the scene of 
the tragedy, which happened only a short time before. 

A hunter had guided a party across the mountains. \\ inter 
was at hand. There was the appearance of snow, and a snow- 
storm in those mountains is accompanied with a humid cold that 
penetrates to the marrow and kills, unless fire can be had at once. 
The hardy guide, against the protests of friends, started on foot 
alone to return by the unfrequented trail through that wilderness. 
A terrible and blinding snowstorm swept the mountains, followed 
by the most intense cold. The poor guide became bewildered, 
wandered from the path, and was soon lost in the vast, desolate 
forest. His onl\- means of producing fire was the flint and steel. 
These failed, and after hours, no one will ever know how long, he 
sat down at the root of a tree with his rifle resting between his 
knees and his arms folded across his breast. In this position a 
rescuing party, one of whom was Robert Carr, who told the story, 
several days later found him with bowed head, in frozen slumber. 
The poor fellow's knuckles on both hands were badly cut by the 
flint in his una\'ailing attempt to strike fire. 


The Stroud family, living on Gauley River a few miles south 
of Bull Town, was murdered by a band of Shawnees from Ohio, 
in June, 1772. (1) Bull Town was an Indian village at a salt 
spring on the Little Kanawha, about a mile and a quarter below 
the present Bull Town postoffice in Braxton County, West Vir- 
ginia. It was a Delaware (2) settlement, consisting of five fam- 
ilies, colonized from the Unadilla River, New York, about 1768, 
by Captain Bull, a Delaware chief, the chief man and ruler of the 
village. These Indians "were in habits of social and friendly 
intercourse with the whites on Buckhannon and on Hacker's 
Creek; frequently hunting and visiting with them." (3) Adam 
Stroud was absent from home at the time of the murder of his 
family. The Shawnees drove off his cattle, taking a trail that led 
in the direction of the Delaware settlement, though there never 
was any evidence that the Shawnees went to Captain Bull's 
village. The trail leading towards the village was discovered by the 
white settlers, which was eagerly taken as proof that the Delawares 
were guilty of the murder. William White, William Hacker, John 
Cutright, Jesse Hughes, (4) and one other whose name is now 
forgotten, five of the most desperate men in the Buckhannon and 
Hacker's Creek settlements, set out for the Delaware village to 
avenge the death of the Strouds. (5) There are no known circum- 
stances that justified the acts of the settlers at Bull Town, and 
there is every proof at hand to show that it was murder committed 
in treachery and cold blood. The fact that the trail of the Stroud 
murderers "led in the direction of Bull Town" cannot be taken as 
evidence of the guilt of the hapless Delawares. If they were the 
perpetrators of the crime, what became of the Stroud cattle.? So 
far as history or tradition tells, the cattle were never found. If 
the destroyers of the friendly Delawares "found clothing and other 
things known to have belonged to the Stroud family," (6) in their 
possession, why did they not bring some of those articles to view 
in the "remonstrating settlement" in vindication of their honor, 
and to convince the people that just retribution at their hands had 
fallen upon the guilty parties.'' 

Men capable of such crimes on the border were clever in 

(1) See page 433. (2) p. 433. (3) p. 435. (4) p. 435. (5) p. 435. (6) p. 436. 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \ ir(;inia S7 

framing excuses to justify their actions. Their unsupported state- 
ment that such articles were found at Bull Town, in the absence 
of the articles, which should have been brought to the settlements 
and exhibited, cannot be accepted. And if such articles had been 
found and carried to the settlements, and there exposed to public 
view, ihc circumstances woukl have fallen far short of proving 
the guilt of the Delawares. They might have been obtained by 
barter or bv gift. Or the Shawnees might have desired to cast 
suspicion on the friendly Delawares, and this supposition may 
account for their taking a trail in the direction of their village. 
This would enable them to escape suspicion and make their 
escape, leaving the Delawares to bear the consequences of a crime 
of which they were innocent and ignorant. Friendly Indians 
were always in more or less disrepute with both the settlers and 
their own people. The slaughter of the unfortunate Moravian 
Indians at Gnadenhutten ten years later is a case in point. 

Just how the village of Bull Town became such an easy prey 
to the fury of the bordermen is not known. Circumstances con- 
nected with the outrage strengthens the belief that they, like 
their unfortunate relatives at Gnadenhutten, were the victims of 
craven treachery. Notwithstanding the supposition that there 
had been some fighting between these men and the Indians, it is 
now known that there was no fight. Christopher T. Cutright, 
commonly known as Uncle Stuftle Cutright, a son of John Cut- 
right, one of the men of the expedition, gave me personally an 
account of the tragedy and its awful sequel at Indian Camp. He 
told the story as revealed to him by his father. It conforms 
strongly with the traditionary account given by the Hacker family. 
(7) \\ hile not going into the minute details of the massacre, it 
was stated explicitly, as a fact, that there had been no fight, and 
that the Indians, one and all, were put to death, their bodies 
thrown into the river, and their homes desolated. 

It has been conceded by historians that Captain Bull was 
killed in the general destruction of his people. But such was not 
the case; if the word of John Cutright, previously quoted, and one 
of the principals in the massacre, is to be regarded as reliable. 
To his positive testimony a verifying traditional account is still 
current among the old settlers of that region. 

Mr. Cutright's statement was, that sometime prior to 
the massacre, death entered the lowly hut of Captain Bull and 

(7) See page 436. 

88 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

robbed him of his Httle child. The body was tenderly buried 
somewhere in the deep shades of the primeval forest. The parental 
affection in the Indian bosom is strong, and the grief of the stricken 
parents was most poignant. From their white neighbors came 
no show of respect, no condolence or expression of sympathy. 
So keenly was felt this heartless indiiference, that Captain Bull 
despaired of ever living in harmony and social friendship with 
the usurpers of his country, and in bitter anguish and desolation 
of spirit the chieftain exhumed the body of his child, and with his 
immediate family rejoined his tribe in the country north of the 
Ohio. (8) The other five families remained, and were all sacrificed. 
We shall find Capt. Bull again on the Virginia border, but 
not as a peaceful village builder. 


(8) See page 4.^6. 


Against the avowed purpose to kill the Bull 'lown Indians, a 
"remonstrance of the settlement generally," sa\s Withers^ was 
made. (1) Evidently this "remonstrance" was formal and feeble. 
Xo concerted action was taken to enforce order or to stay this the 
most deliberate and fiendish crime ever enacted on the border t)f 
the Upper Monongahela. A not altogether groundless dread of 
incurring the wrath of the five bordermen, who would likely brook 
no interference with their plans, ma\' have justified to some small 
extent the indifference manifested by the settlers. But both the 
sequel and previous circumstances point an accusing finger, and 
the investigator is constrained to belie\e that the settlers generalK' 
were in direct sympathy with the acts of the merciless five, and 
felt little or no concern for the safety of their red friends on the 
Kanawha, or how they fared at the hands of the murderous foe. 

\\ hile at Bull Town, the whites learned from the Delawares, 
that there was at that time a party of thirteen Indians, a hunting- 
party from be\-ond the Ohio, at Indian Camp, fourteen miles above 
the fort at Buckhannon. It is not probable that this information 
could have been obtained had not the settlers professed friendship 
and hidden their intentions for a time after their arrival at the 
village. Having secured this information, and their passions 
aroused by the scenes of their inhuman blood-letting at the Dela- 
ware town, the\- returned to the settlement and made rapid and 
grim preparations for the slaughter of the unsuspecting part\- at 
Indian Camp Rock. The sympath)' (.') expressed for the Bull 
Town liKliaiis found no utterance in bchalt ot the doomed thirteen 
at Indian Camp. These were unconscious ot treachery, and were 
enjoying the solitude of their ancient rock camp in the wilderness 
of the Buckhannon. Vet the\- were markei.1 as the ne.xt \ictims 
of the fierce bordermen. 

Before marching against this new cam}"", the settlers were 
reinforced by volunteers who must ha\e been acquainted willi 
their intentions. Among these were Samuel Pringle, James 
Strange and John Truby, from the Buckhannon settlement, and 
several others whose names are unknown at this daw Truby's 
son had been killed by Indians some \ears before. With their 

(1) Sec pauc \ib. 

90 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

force thus augmented, the company, under the leadership of 
White, set out for the Indian camp, and arrived in the immediate 
vicinity in the night, perhaps a short time before the break of day. 
Indian Camp is situated on Indian Camp Run, in an amphi- 
theatre-Hke valley on the land now owned by Lothrop Phillips in 

Indian Camp 
Photographed by Professor G. F. Queen, 1892 

an outcropping of carboniferous sandstone. This rock camp is 
of natural origin. The entrance is some fifty feet wide by about 
twelve in height, and it has a cavity or room running back a dis- 
tance of twenty-six feet. The roof slopes uniformly from the 
front to the rear, and it is from four to six feet in height at the 
back of the cave. It faces east, and the first rays of the sun 
penetrate its inmost depths. This cave, or "rockhouse," as such 
overhanging rocks were called by the early settlers, is so sheltered 
that the fiercest storms lodge neither snow nor rain beneath the 
roof. It would be difl[icult to conceive a more perfect, natural 
shelter from the weather, and it is not surprising that it was a 
favorite resort of the Indians, and became such for the white 
pioneer scouts and hunters. An early settler lived therein with 
his family one entire summer, while he was erecting his cabin. 
Large congregations assembled there for public worship in post- 

Border Settlers of Northwestkrn \'ir<;ini.\ 91 

pioneer days. In later years it has been put to the more ignoble 
use of a stable for domestic animals. 

The entrance to the camp is flanked on both sides by huge 
fragments of sandstone, about which grew tangled thickets of 
laurel, vines and brush; much of which still remained when I last 
visited the locality in 1893. This afforded an effective covering 
for an ambushing foe. \\ ilhiii the immediate entrance there is a 
large block of stone bearing some resemblance to a rude altar. 
From this point the ground falls in a gentle slope to Indian Camp 
Run, several rods to the east. 

It was at this stream that the settlers halted, while Captain 
White and Jesse Hughes stealthily reconnoitered the camp. After 
observing the position of the Indians and noting the best mode of 
attack, they returned to the company and prepared for the assault. 
The men were divided into two bands, one of them headed by 
White and the other by Hughes. These approached the camp 
from opposite sides, in the uncertain light of early dawn, and soon 
found the Indians astir, preparing their morning meal. White 
was in position first, and Hughes was to give a whistle, the signal 
of attack; to be answered by White. It seems that the light was 
too uncertain to aim with accuracy, and at the risk of discovery 
they awaited the tardy approach of day. They had command 
of the entire entrance, and there was no escape for the Indians. 

As the shadows dispersed before the broadening rays of 
morning, the stillness was suddenh' brtjken by a shrill whistle, and: 

"Wild as the scream of the curlew, 
From crag to crae the signal flew." 

The recesses of the cavern and the adjacent cliffs and forest 
resounded with the roar of heavy riflery and the exultant yells of 
the bordermen as they sprang forward to complete the work of 
death. But there was little need for the knife or tomahawk. So 
deadly had been the volley that but one Indian, unarmed and 
badly wounded, escaped from that grotto of death. He was 
scarce able to hobble to the sheltering pit of an uprooted tree near 
by, where his relentless pursuers soon followed him. He greeted 
them with a friendly and supplicating "How." To this amicable 
salutation Captain White replied: "Damn you: you want pow- 
der and lead," and having reloaded, he dispatched his victim 
with ancnher shot. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Thus perished this band of friendly Indians, in time of peace 
and without provocation. Their destruction was the blackest 
of crimes. 

The number of settlers engaged in this massacre is not known, 
but the fact that every Indian was either killed or disabled at the 
hrst fire would indicate that the "remonstrating settlement" 

Ash Camp 
(Queen, 1892) 

must have been represented by many of its best riflemen. The 
victims were left where they fell, to gorge the voracious wolf, and 
the carrion birds of the air. John Cutright's statement was to 
the effect that the dead Indians were left unburied, but others said 
that they were interred in the loose debris of the camp floor. 

An aged nimrod, born in 1801, who resorted to this camp 
during the first quarter of the century, related to me the following 

"Game of all kinds was most abundant in the wilderness 
region surrounding both the Indian, and Ash Camps. These 
camps were favorite rendezvous for the hunter. In a season's 
hunt of about one month, at Ash Camp, I killed seventy deer 
alone, to say nothing of the bear and turkey secured. I killed 
eleven bear around Indian Camp in one day. Hunting throughout 
that country was superb; but my associations with the latter 

Border Sf.tti.krs of Northwkstkrn \'ir(;ini a 93 

camp was not of a contiiuicd plcasanl nature. W hen 1 tirsl \isitcd 
it, there was a low, niouiid-hke ridge some tifteen feet in length 
arid eighteen inches high, near the center of the room, and imme- 
diately back of the large block of sandstone which stands at the 
entrance. I sometimes pillowed my head against the sloping 
base of the mound, wholly unconscious of the gruesome objects 
hidden beneath. 

"One da}' a pouring rain prevented hunting, and in idle curi- 
osity I began removing the dirt from one end of the mound, and 
was soon startled to find the skeleton leet of a human bodw \\y 
interest was aroused and 1 continued the excavation, and discovered 
that the mound was full of human bones, representing, as I esti- 
mated, no less than eighteen bodies. l"he_\' had been buried on a 
level with the original fioor of the camp. In this bone-heap, I 
found numerous fragments of crockery, and a fineh' polished, hard 
stone "bleater." This bleater was perfect, and beautifull\ made. 
It was used by the Indian hunter to imitate the bleat of a fawn, 
and was evidenth' of Indian manufacture. \\ ith it I could mimic 
the cry of a tawn to perfection. It was afterwards broken and 
lost through accident. I prized it highh." 

The "fragments of crocker}'" alluded to b}' the old hunter, 
was evidenth' that of steatite vessels, pieces of which were found 
there in after }'ears. Shreds of crude Indian potterx' were strewn 
all through the floor accumulation of the camp. 

It is hardh' probable that so nian\' bodies could have been 
interred in the manner described and escaped the ravages of wild 
animals. It was a custom of some of the tribes to bury onl\' the 
bones of their dead in a common, or final resting place. 'I his 
manner of sepulchcr, known as ''bundle burial," is sometimes met 
within this region. If the find in question was not of this nature, 
which I am inclined to believe is the case, then it was e\'idently 
the bones of the slain Indians, inhumed b\' the whites in later 
years. (2) 

The discovery of these skeletons was regarded as proof of the 
tradition that during the border wars, a band of thirteen Indians 
returning from a raid in Tygart's \'alle}' late one season, were 
snowbound at Indian Camp, and starxed to death. The great 
abundance of game in that region would have been a guarantee 
against such a tragedy, even if it were probable that an unprec- 
edented storm should have occurred at the lime of year that we 

(2) See page 436. 

94 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

know the Indian incursions took place. The deep snow would 
have facilitated, rather than retard the success of the hunter. I 
knew a hunter in the Cheat Mountain, who, with a comrade, dur- 
ing a remarkably heavy snow and within a few days' time killed 
forty deer, many of which were clubbed to death. The animals 
are helpless in the snow, while the men properly equipped, travel 
easily over the surface. 

Not only were deer plentiful, but this region was a favorite 
wintering quarters for bear; nor were they usually hard to locate. 
"Bear Den" rocks are located at the mouth of Indian Camp Run. 
In 1893, a middle-aged gentleman who was raised near Indian 
Camp, told me that when a boy he knew his father to have at one 
time sixteen bears in his cabin thawing them out so he could skin 
them and dress the meat. As bear hunters the woods Indians 
have always excelled. Evidently the starvation story originated 
with those who engaged in the killing at Indian Camp, and was 
told for the purpose of covering up their crime. 


The memories associated witii John Cutright, the scout, more 
than any other of his companions, are inseparably connected with 
the region around Buckhannon and Indian Camp. He was at 
an early age a hunter of renown, and the Indians occasionally 
sought his companionship. Soon after the massacres narrated in 
foregoing chapters, Cutright one day was plowing corn in a field 
adjoining the forest; when an Indian suddenly appeared on the 
summit of a large rock at the edge of the woods, apparently alone 
and unarmed. As Cutright approached him, he held up to view 
an unfinished pair of moccasins, in broken j-'.nglish he said, 
"Howl Injun no hurt white man. Injun make him white man 
moccasin, (jood Injun. ( iood white man. White man big hunter. 
Injun big hunter. \\ hitc man go with Injun, hunt. Get heap 
deer, heap bear. Ugh I" But Cutright having no desire for 
Indian companionship and fearing treachery, declined the invita- 
tion and continued his plowing. The Indian remained on the 
rock industriously at work completing the moccasins, and con- 
tinued to importune the noted hunter by repeatedly ejaculating 
"Good Injun; good white man! Go hunt." Cutright at last 
became alarmed at the persistence of the strange moccasin-maker, 
and unhitched his horse from the plow, mounted its back and 
galloped home. The Indian disappeared as silently as he came. 

In 1781, a certificate was granted "John Cutright, Sen., 4U(,) 
acres at the mouth of Cut right's Run, to include his Settlement 
made in 1770, with a preemption of 1000 acres adjoining." 

It has been supposed generalK- that this settler was John 
Cutright, the scout, which is error. IVithers, in speaking of the 
emigrants who arrived under the guidance of Samuel Pringle, sa>s, 
"Among them were John and Benjamin Cutright, who settled on 
the Buckhannon, where John Cutright the younger, now [] 
Hves." (1) 

"John Cutright. the younger," was the scout; and a son of 
Benjamin. The settlement was made at the mouth of Cutright's 
Run, and it was here that the scout was accosted by the friendly 
moccasin-maker. Cutright's Run empties into the Buckhannon 
River, some four miles above the present town of Buckhannon. 
(1) See page 4.^6. 

96 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

By the side of a large stone near the mouth of the run, charred 
corn is still turned by the plow. This was burned by the Indians 
on one of their incursions into the settlement. 

Local tradition says that one night the Indians stole a horse 
from John Cutright, Junior. Following the trail next day Cut- 
right found the horse tied to a sugar tree on Cutright's Run, about 
three miles from Buckhannon. Not caring to venture too close 
until he learned something of the location of the enemy, he secreted 
himself at a distance. He soon saw an Indian running across the 
valley. Taking careful aim, he fired and the Indian fell. Cut- 
right dashed to his horse, sprang upon its back, and with a whoop 
of defiance, galloped away. This tree was still standing in 1894, 
and was often pointed out to the traveler by Cutright's descendants. 

At another time, Cutright and a companion had been hunting 
on French Creek and were on their way home. Cutright was 
mounted, with a deer slung across the pommel of his saddle. 
While crossing a stream, they halted to let the horse drink, and 
were fired on by two Indians. Cutright was severely wounded, 
the ball entering his breast, and coming out through his back, 
striking in its passage, however no vital point. He spurred up 
his horse and fled toward the fort, while his companion in the 
retreat held the Indians back. After a short running fight, one 
of the Indians was killed, and the other then abandoned the pur- 
suit. When Cutright had ridden some distance, he grew faint and 
found it was impossible to retain his position in the saddle, and so 
dismounted and stretched himself on the ground, where his com- 
panion soon after found him. From the bullet hole the blood was 
pouring, and to stop it a small sour-gum was cut and stripped of 
its bark. Over the end of this a handkerchief was placed and 
forced into the wound. The stick was then withdrawn, leaving the 
handkerchief in place. This stopped the hemorrhage, and Cut- 
right was placed on his horse, his companion mounting behind 
and supporting him in the saddle. In this manner, they made 
their way in safety to the fort. 

The two foregoing stories may have had their origin in an 
occurrence set forth in Col. Westfall's letter, (2) this volume. 
But evidently Cutright was wounded during some excursion with 
William Hacker, who dressed his wound in the way described. 
Owing to Hacker's skill in rude surgery, he was known in the 
settlements as "Surgeon Hacker." (3) 

(2) See page 436. (3) p. 436. 

Border Settlers oe Xortiiw estern \'ir(;ine\ <V 

Jolin Culri,eht developed inlo cjiie of the most dariiij,' scouts 
on the \'irginia border. He was also a soldier of the Revolutionary 
War. In his original declaration for pension made August 7, 1832, 
in Lewis County (\'irginia), it would appear that he was born 
near Moorefield, Hampshire (now Hardy C'oiiiiu-, \'irginia), in 
1754, but he had no record of his age. In .\Ia\-, 1778, he volun- 
teered for a term of eighteen months as private in Capt. James 
Boothe's Compan\- of Indian Spies, at West's Fort on Hacker's 
Creek. He spied throughout most of (then) Monongalia County, 
until Capt. Boothe was killed on Boothe's Creek June, 1779. (4) 
After the death of Capt. Boothe he continued spying under the 
Company's Lieutenant, Edmund Freeman, until November, 1779, 
when his term of enlistment expired. Lieutenant Freeman left 
for Kentucky without officially discharging any of the Company. 

"The Indian hostilities continuing, Capt. George Jackson 
was required to raise a company to spy in the same territorv of 
country which Capt. Boothe's Company- had been sp\-ing." Cut- 
right joined this company as a private, a few days after his service 
under Capt. Boothe and Lieutenant Freeman had expired. Jacob 
Brake, an ex-Indian captive, (5) was Lieutenant of this company, 
and the afterwards notorious Timothy Dorman was Ensign. Cut- 
right continued in the service until the latter part of 1781, and 
was in "several skirmishes with the Indians." David W. Sleeth, 
who was in service with Cutright, testified that he once saw Cut- 
right wounded by an Indian. Jacob Cozard [Cozad], a clerg}'man, 
and Alexander West, the scout, both testified in behalf of Cutright. 
His claim was allowed and on Ma\- 18, 1833, a certificate was 
issued granting him eighty dollars a year, dating from March 4, 
1831, including back pay. 

Cutright was afterwards examined by Special Pension Agent 
Singleton, who sent the following report to the Commissioner of 

"July 3, 1834. Saw Cutright at his home, and received from him the state- 
ment here following: Says he will be 79 years old in August next, born on south 
branch of Potomac; was brought west of the .Mleghany mountains when S years 
old and settled on the place where he now lives. He enlisted under Capt. Booth 
for twelve months. Joined his company at Nutter's Fort in the Spring; in the 
Fall removed to West's Fort. Remained there until his time expired. That was in 
the year in which Capt. Booth was killed, and bejore the war of the Revolution had com- 
menced. After the commencement of the war of the Rev. and whilst residing 
at Buckhannon Fort (Lewis Co.) he was drafted for an IS mos. tour. He 

(4) See page 436. (5) p. 436. 

98 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

refused to go. A Col. Wilson who then resided in Tiger's Valley sent a guard of 
men after him, caught him, tied him and marched him to Staunton. (6) A Ser- 
geant Lack commanded the guard. On reaching Staunton, he enlisted under a 
Capt. Matthews for two years. Matthews enlisted 6 men including himself. 
They were sent on under Sergeant Samuel Warner to join Washington's main 
army then at the White Plains. They set out from Staunton in the summer, went 
through Winchester, Reading, Philadelphia; on getting to Phil, rested 4 days 
in the Barracks, set out again and pushed on without stopping until they 
joined the main army at the White Plains. The original number 6 was neither 
increased or diminished on the march above mentioned. Joined the main army 
in July. The army marched from the White Plains to West Point and from there 
to Middlebrook where it went into winter quarters. Remained there till warm 
weather. When part of the army (himself included) about 100 in number went up 
the North river as a guard. Gone at least 2 weeks. Can't recollect who com- 
manded the guard ■nor the navie of any officer that was along on that occasion. On 
returning was sent to a bridge on the North river where a colonel's (don't recollect 
his name) baggage had been broken down as a guard, remained there about a month. 
Think there were 10 or 12 of them. They were under the command of Ser- 
geant Campbell. The main army marched from Middlebrook but can't recollect 
where. It got back to West Point where his time expired and where he got his 
discharge and returned home. His discharge was signed by a Colonel, whose 
name he don't recollect. On his way home met General Washington who also 
signed his discharge. Can't recollect the years in which the service above described 
was done. 

"I have been unable to procure any evidence in reference to this man. Com- 
paring his statement here given with his declaration it ma}- be readily discerned 
whether or not he is an imposter. 

W. G. Singleton, S. A." 

Owing to the marked discrepancies between his original dec- 
laration and his statement to Singleton, Cutright's name was 
stricken from the pension roll, along with several others, from 
Lewis County, who were not entitled to pensions. (7) Subsequent 
investigation evoked the fact that Cutright had never enlisted in 
Capt. Jackson's Company, of Scouts. Mr. Johnson F. Nowlan, 
Neulan or Naulon (name uncertain), who was Cutright's agent or 
attorney, visited him at his home and drew up his declaration for 
pension, and unknown to the scout, who could neither read nor 
write, and for the purpose of strengthening his case, added that 
part of it which alleges service with Capt. Jackson. For this 
work, Cutright was forced to pay to the unscrupulous attorney, 
eighty dollars from the first money drawn. 

It now devolved upon Cutright to substantiate his Revolu- 
tionary record, as it had developed that those w^ho served as 
border scouts alone were not entitled to pension. 

(6) See page 436. (7) p. 438. 


Oil August 20, 1835, Solomon Ryan tcstituxl in l)clialf oi 
Cutright, corroboraling tiie stalcnicnt of the old soldier to 
Singleton. The following testimony is of historic interest, and I 
give it unabridged: 

"Li;\vis County \'a. 

"Susanna Stalnakcr, in the 70th year of her age appeared before me the sub- 
scribed, one of the Commonwealth's Justice of the Peace for said county, and 
being sworn as the law directs, sayeth that she believes that it was about the year 
177.S. John Cutright was taken from the fort on Buckhannon, where she then 
lived, as a soldier draughted from Capt. Samuel Pringlc's Company for a term of 
IS months against the British, and to the best of her recollection it was 2 
years before he returned, and the next spring after his return he was wounded by 
the Indian, (8) when on pursuit of them when they had committed depredations 
near the place where they were then posted. She also remembers hearing some 
one that returned from taking them to Staunton say that the above mentioned 
Cutright being dissatisfied with his officers, he enlisted for two >'ears' service, at (9) 

Staunton, Augusta Co. (\'a.) ,, 

1 icr 

(Signed) Susanna X Stai.naker 


Sworn to .August 18.^5. Wim.iam 1'owkks, J. P." 

Cutright was restored to the pension roll, but at the reduced 
rate of )54.3.33 per year from March 4, 1834, until his death, 
March 8, 1850. 

It will be noted that Cutright could not recall the years in 
which his service in the army occurred, nor is it probable that the 
date can at this time be fixed. Washington had his headquarters 
at White Plains during the summer and autumn df 177S, and 
seven brigades of the American Army were quartered at Middle- 
brook the winter of 1779-80. (10) During a part of this period, 
Cutright, according to his original declaration, was an enlisted 
spy on the border. It is possible that he was with some contin- 
gent of the American Army wintered at Middlebrook in the later 
years of the war. Comfortable log cabins were built for the sol- 
diers during the previous encampment, and the\- ma\- have been 
in use afterwards. 

In a statement made in July, 1838, Cutright was under the 
mipression that his company was commanded b\' Capt. John 
Lewis, under Col. Matthews, whose given name he could not 
recall. With a \iew of possibly determining the exact (.late of 
Cutright's Revolutionary service, and the regiment to which he 
was attached, a search was made of the Revolutionary Muster 

(8) See page 4.^8. (9) p. 4.>8. (10) p. 439. 

100 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Rolls of the Virginia State troops, preserved in the Virginia State 
Library, Richmond, with negative results. To an inquiry to the 
War Department, Washington, came the reply: 

"The records show that one John Cutright served as a private in Captain 
Machen Boswell's Company, 2nd Virginia State Regiment, commanded by Colonel 
Gregory Smith, Revolutionary War. The date of his enlistment has not been 
found of record, but his name appears on the muster rolls of the company covering 
the period from September, 1778, to February, 1779. He was discharged March 
6, 1779. The company to which he belonged was at various times commanded 
by Captain John Lewis. No record has been found of any other man of the same 
or similar name as a member of any Virginia military organization in service in 
the war of the Revolution." 

Gregory Smith was commissioned Captain in Seventh Vir- 
ginia Regiment, February 7, 1776, and resigned 28th November, 
1776. He was made Colonel of the Second Virginia Regiment 
from 1777 to 1778. Machen Boswell was commissioned First 
Lieutenant Second Virginia Regiment, 6th October, 1777, and 
was promoted Captain 15th September, 1778, and served to- 
February, 1781. 

W^hile there is much confusion in the dates and records, a 
close study of Cutright's narratives precludes a logical inference of 
any premeditated attempt at deception. The discrepancies 
reveal a faulty judgment, but not the willful prevaricator. His 
rating at the Pension Office for veracity was Jirst-class. In his first 
declaration, no mention is made of his career in the main army, 
nor did he at any time allude to the important fact that he had 
been wounded while on duty as a spy. When compared with 
the actual events in his life, the scout's narrative is one of com- 
mendable modesty. Profoundly illiterate, his capabilities were 
measured solely in his skill as woodsman, scout, and warrior. 
His faculty for delineation was limited, and his conception of 
dates most vague. He could narrate the incidents in his career, 
but could not intelligently connect them with contemporary 
events. He was a maker of history, but not a chronicler, and 
more eloquent with his rifle than with his tongue. 

I am inclined to believe that there were two John Cutrights 
from the Western border who served with the Virginia troops in 
the Revolution, and that it was not John Cutright, the scout, who 
enlisted under Col. Gregory Smith, but was perhaps, his uncle. 


John Cutright, Sr., who also fou^hl in the battle of Point 
Pleasant. (11) 

We find a certificate of marriage of John Cutright and Deborah 
Osborn in Randolph County, Virginia, in 1799, but whether this 
was a later marriage of the Senior Cutright is not known. There 
is a tradition current among the Cutrights on the Buckhannon 
River that there were two branches of the famil\ in that region, 
and that John Cutright and Deborah Osborn were the grandpar- 
ents of Knoch Cutright, who, it is averred, had Indian blood in 
him. There was a Peter Cutright in a skirmish with the Indians 
on Hacker's Creek in 1780, (12) hut I know nothing of his ante- 
cedents. He was, in all probability, of the same family. 

V.vvov has crept into history regarding Cutright's age, and the 
\car of his death. Both Border Warfare, and History of Upshur 
County, If. la., state that he died in 1852, at the age of 105 years. 
According to Cutright's own declaration, he was born in 1755. 
In the testimoiu' of John Lcmmons in behalf of Rebecca Cutright, 
widow of John Cutright, when she applied for her husband's pen- 
sion, we find that John Cutright died (Frida}) March 8th, 1850. 
The widow at the time was too infirm to appear in court. Airs. 
Cutright was a daughter of John Truby, and married John Cut- 
right January 2, 1788. Isaac Edwards, D. D., was the officiating 

Hon. \\ . C. Carper, of Buckhannon, West Va., is perhaps 
the onh- man now living, (1908) who remembers seeing John 
Cutright. It was in 1838 when Mr. Carper was about twelve 
years of age that Cutright came to the Carper homestead on 
Turkey Run. Mr. Carper writes me: "The old scout came upon 
the porch, when he and I were alone for a short time, and I dis- 
tinctly remember his appearance. He was about five feet nine 
inches high and heavily built, complexion dark, eyes dark, and 
his hair was then white. He told me that he once stopped under 
a walnut tree near where Point Pleasant Church now stands on 
the head of French Creek, 'to crack walnuts, and then a damned 
Injun shot nic.' He showed nu- where the ball had entered under 
his arm, and glanced around the ribs and came out under the arm 
on the other side. Cutright added, 'I stuck a chaw terbacker in 
the bullet hole.' At this juncture of the conversation, my father 
came up and began to talk to Cutright on the subject of religion. 
The veteran Indian fighter seemed averse to this topic and abruptly 
(11) See page 439. (12) p. 439. 

102 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

said, 'Ad, quit talking about religion; it is all damned nonsense.' 
"This," concluded Air. Carper, "is the only time I ever saw Cut- 
right, and the above subjects all that I ever heard him talk about." 

Christopher Cutright, when interviewed by me, in commenting 
on the deeds of his father and associates, said, "When Billy 
[William] White and Jesse Hughes went on an Indian killing they 
killed all with whom they came in contact, not even sparing 
women and children." When asked which of these two noted 
scouts was the most desperate and cruel in his forays against the 
Indians, came the laconic reply, "It was about buck up." "And," 
mused the old man, "my father was about as bad as they were, 
and Samuel Pringle, of the sycamore tree, who married my father's 
sister, was scarce better." 

He then related an incident of the Pringle brothers. \\ hile 
Iving in the sycamore, they went in a canoe to an Indian village 
some miles below them on the river, and stole a bag of jerked 
buffalo. He gave the details of their narrow escape from detection 
and pursuit. Then again referring to his father's animosity 
towards the Indians, he told the following story: 

Many years after the last Indian depredation in that country, 
a solitary Indian passed through the settlement late one evening 
and was seen by his father. Despite the fact that the scout was 
so aged and infirm that he could only walk with the assistance of 
a cane, his old-time hatred was aroused to that degree that he 
hobbled to the gun rack and took down his ancient flint-lock, and 
would have shot the Indian had not his family restrained him. 
That night the old gun was secreted and its owner closely guarded 
until the Indian disappeared from the neighborhood. (13) 

(13) Sec page 439. 


In the early setllenienl ot our counlry, each comimuiily, 
blockhouse or fort had its recognized chief or headman, who was 
counsellor and adxisor in threatened danger, and leader in all 
movements against the conmion foe. 'i'hese men attained their 
places because of their superior wisdom and cool judgment in 
those emergencies constantly arising on an exposed and dangerous 
frontier. The matter of right or wrong weighed little in the everts 
connected with the Inciians. He was fittest to lead, who had the 
strongest determination to avenge an outrage upon the community, 
especialh' if it had been perpetrated by the Indians. The Duck- 
hannon settlement possessed these recjuisites in the perse n of 
Captain William W hite, who came from Cedar Creek, Frederick 
Count), \ irginia. Reference to Captain White in border annals 
is meagre, and nothing is known positive of his antecedents 
further than that he was a descendant of Dr. \\ hite, of Frederick 
County, who was the ancestor of the \\ hite famih' of that region. 
Major jc)hn White and Major Robert W hite, also of Frederick 
County, were prominent in the defense of the border. (1) From 
the best information to be had, they all were of the same famih'. (2) 

It is not known how Capt. W illiain White came by his mili- 
tary title, but he bore it in 1 76S anil was e\cr after distinguished 
by it. A search of the Muster Rolls on tile in the War Department 
(which are, however, very incomplete) and of the records of the 
Bureau of Pensions, Washington, failed to show an\- history of 
enlistment or military service of Captain W illiam W hite, of the 
Buckhannon, in the Revolution. An inquiry to the \ irginia 
State Librar\', Richmond, elicited the reply: "The Rexolutionary 
Muster Rolls here on file reveal no enlistment of the W illiam 
White in question.'' Usually, each settlement elected its own 
captain, and in this way W hite may have come b}' his title. Such 
an election was being held at Bush's I'ori when the Schoolcraft 
famih' were massacred in 177*^. These elections were not always 
confirmed by commissions. 

Captain \\ hite and Colonel W illiam Crawford were personal 
friends, and White was identified with many expeditions con- 
ducted by that famous officer against the Indians. He was also 

(1) See page 439. (2) p. 439. 

104 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

in the battle of Point Pleasant under Colonel Sevier. (3) With 
his experience in the field was coupled the superior skill of the 
scout, the spy and the woodsman. Back of these qualities was 
a strong constitution, a fearless nature and a relentless hatred for 
"everything Injun." The red flame of war had no terrors for 
him, neither had the white wing of peace any restraint for his 
insatiate thirst for Indian blood. Captain White's schooling was 
savage, and he proved an apt scholar. Just prior to Dunmore's 
War, he killed a peaceable Indian on the Wappatomaka. 
For this, he was imprisoned at Winchester, but an armed m.ob of 
his infuriated friends soon set him at liberty. (4) 

While visiting Colonel Crawford at "The Meadows," in the 
Alleghenies in 1768, White in company with an Irishman went 
hunting in the glades, where they found two Indians. According 
to the story of \\'hite and his companion, the Indians, "the moment 
they discovered the two white men, flew behind trees and prepared 
for battle." The Indians were both killed, for which White and 
the Irishman were arrested and placed in the Winchester jail. 
Immediately, Captain Fry at the head of an armed mob of fifty- 
five or sixty men, urged on by a throng of cheering spectators, 
forced the jailor at the muzzle of a loaded rifle to surrender the 
prison keys. The door was thrown open and the prisoners liber- 
ated. (5) 

It is not at all probable that the two Indians killed by White 
and the Irishman were at the time on the warpath. It must be 
said that most of the victims of murder on the border, from the 
close of Pontiac's War to the Dunmore War of 1774, were Indians. 
Nor do we find that any of the murderers ever received just 
punishment. The stories of the two releases of Captain \\ hite 
from the Winchester jail are two accounts of the same transaction. 
Thev portray most vividly the character of the man and the sen- 
tim.ent of the people. The work of the mob was only a repetition 
of the one that had previously released from the same prison, for 
a like crime, the red-handed Judah, (6) and was an emphatic 
approval and endorsement of the crimes which led to Dunmore's 
War. In these and like occurrences, we have an unconscious por- 
trayal of the true status of border society. 

The exact date of White's arrival in the Buckhannon settle- 
ment cannot be determined, but it was sometime between 1769 
and 1771. Nor did he come unknown. Alost, if not all, of the 

(3) See page 439. (4) p. 449. (5) p. 440. (6) p. 440. 

Border Settlers oiXorthwestern \ ir(,ini.\ 105 

settlers had been his associates on the "Branch" and they recog- 
nized his superior ability in woodcraft. lie was the ideal frontiers- 
man and woodsman, aiul although 1 ha\c been unable to find where 
he ever served as captain in the Buckhannon settlement, he w'as 
the recognized head scout of the colon)'. It would appear, how- 
ever, from the declaration of Jacob Bush and Jacob W estfall that 
White was a lieutenant in Captain (jcorge Jackson's Compan\- of 
Volunteer Militia, 1781. (7) 

It is to the indefatigable efforts of Colonel Menr\- F. W'cstfall, 
a grandson of Captain W hite, that we are indebted for much of 
the heretofore unwritten history of this renowned scout on the 
western \ irginia border. Colonel W'estfall got his information 
direct from John Cutright and others who were boon companions 
and associates of Captain W hite. 

B}" If ithers he is mentioned four times; the first, in the inci- 
dent of his imprisonment ant.! release; second, his part in the mur- 
der of the Bull Town Indians; third, his capture by the Indians 
on the Little Kanawha, and his escape and return to the settle- 
ments; fourth, his death at the hands of the Indians near Buck- 
hannon Fort, in 1782. Even in these accounts there are verv 
indefinite statements, especially as to the identity of Captain 
White as the man who was captured on the Little Kanawha. It 
would be inferred that the captive was a resident of Tygart's 
Valley, (8) but at that time he was a member of the Buckhannon 

W hite's ability to detect the presence of Indians had no equal 
in the settlement. He once discovered two Indians hiding under 
the river bank near the fort, and succeeded in killing one of them. 
At another time, while White was temporarily absent, an Indian 
entered the settlement under ihc following circumstances: 

It was at the time of the Revolution, and a young lady of the 
settlement had a lover in the person of an officer in the British 
army. These young people became acquainted during a brief 
visit of the officer to that region just prior to the war. The 
object of his visit is not known, but it was evidently in the interest 
of the military. During his short stay a warm friendship sprang 
up between the officer and Captain White, and when the time 
arrived for the guest to depart for Fort Pitt, the Captain accom- 
panied him. On their way the}' saw a bear, and White, through 
deference, permitted his young friend, who was a novice in hunt- 

<7) Sec page 440. (8) p. 440. 

106 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

ing, to have the first shot. The ball disabled the bear but did not 
kill it. White withheld his shot and urged his now excited com- 
panion to reload quickly and kill the bear before it recovered 
sufficiently to make an attack or to escape. He did so, but when 
he again attempted to recharge his rifle, he found that his ramrod 
was missing. Thinking that in his hurry he had dropped it, he 
looked about but could not find it. The discomfited hunter 
became puzzled, when White, who had been regarding him with 
amusement, laughingly pointed to the now lifeless body of the 
bear, from the side of which protruded the end of the splintered 
ramrod; showing that it had not been withdrawn before he made 
the second shot. From a young hickory, White deftly shaped a 
new ramrod for his friend, who begged that the incident be kept, 
from his companions at the fort. 

After the breaking out of the war, the young officer was 
assigned duty on the Canadian border, but ready means for com- 
municating with the forest belle was at hand. An active young 
Indian warrior agreed to carry an exchange of letters, the com- 
pensation to be ten gallons of rum. After receiving a description 
of the young woman, he fastened the letter securely to his person 
and started fully armed on his long journey to the south. Arriv- 
ing in the Buckhannon settlement, and knowing the dangers that 
beset him, he lurked and hid for two or three days, watching for 
an opportunity to deliver the letter. 

One morning the girl had occasion to go from the fort to a 
nearby cabin, the path leading through a stretch of wood. After 
proceeding a short distance, she was startled to see a half-naked 
Indian step suddenly from behind a tree, immediately in front of 
her. In his belt hung a tomahawk and scalping knife, his left 
hand grasped a long rifle, while his right hand, which was extexided 
to her, held a sealed package. Before she could recover from her 
fright sufficiently to utter a cry, the warrior, with a peaceful 
gesture and friendly "How!" handed her the package and in 
broken English said, "Squaw be no fraid. Injun no hurt. Me 
come from white chief. Him send good talk. Me come get 
squaw's talk when moon wake up," pointing to the brow of the 
eastern hill. He then glided into the thicket and was lost to view. 

It happened that day that some men who were scouting 
about the woods, discovered the presence of the Indian and gave 
immediate pursuit. The warrior proved very athletic and soon 


outstripped his pursuers. He disappeared over the river bank 
just below the mill dam, where all trace of him was lost. y\ftcr 
an exhaustive search of several hours the pursuit was abandoned. 
The Indian, it was supposed, despairing of escape, and for the pur- 
pose of saving his scalp, had plunged into the river and was 

In the uR'antinR', the young woman had jM"eparc(.l her com- 
munication, keeping the mission ot the Indian secret. She was 
sorely grieved when she learned of his tate, tor he was the only one 
b}' whom a letter could be forwarded. Night came on, and most 
anxiously did she await the appointed time of meeting. Just as 
the moon gleamed over the brow of the wood-crested hill, she 
stealthily repaired to the tr\st. Like a wraith the Indian elided 
from the shadow of the thicket and came silently to her side. She 
handed him the package containing her "talk," also a small bag 
filled with jerked venison and parched corn. W ith a grunt express- 
ive of appreciation, the warrior turned and started on his journey 
to the distant north. In due time he reached his destination, 
delivered the letter and received the promised rum, on which he 
and his friends became "gloriousl}' drunk." Of the sequel to 
this story, nothing is known. 

The next day, when Captain \\ hite returned to the fort and 
was told of the Indian and his m}-sterious disappearance, he 
chided the men, and declared that if they would go with hini to the 
river he would show them "whar tir Injun was hid." Proceeding 
to the river bank. White pointed to the sheet of water pouring 
over the mill dam, and exclaimed, "It \'o' had looked behind thar' 
yo' would have found yer Injun." An examination of the prem- 
ises proved that his judgment was correct. The wily Indian, 
hard-pressed, had darted through the cataract of water, where he 
rested in safety on the apron or plattorm of timbers built at the 
foot of the dam. 

There is a tradition in that countr\, handed down through 
the descendants of Captain \\ hiti- and llu' Cutrights, to the effect 
that in the early }-ears of the setllenieiit there were captured near 
the tort at Buckhannon an liulian and a frenchman, who were 
loitering about the countr\'. They were held in captivit\'. The 
Frenchman was ot a morose disposition ani.1 \ ery melancholw 
He would not bathe, but took great pride in (.Iressing his hair, 
which was very long and abundant. lie refused food and died of 

108 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

starvation. Nothing could be learned of his past history, but it 
is supposed that he was a renegade from the Northwestern wilder- 
ness. As to the fate of the Indian, the tradition is silent. He 
was probably put to death. 

About the death of Captain White there hovers a tinge of 
romance. There is also revealed a trait of Indian character not 
often met with in our border annals. With the Indian the spirit 
of retaliation was an unqualified principle, an inherent right; but 
it mattered not on whom the avenging hatchet fell. The life 
forfeited by an innocent member of the offending tribe or family 
was regarded as a just compensation for a life taken. This mode 
of warfare was honorable with the Indian. With the settlers the 
principle was regarded just, so long as Indian met Indian, if they 
themselves did the shooting; but when waged by the Indian 
against the border it was held in utter detestation and horror. 
While the Indian however, was content with the reprisal of scalp 
for scalp, the venom of the average borderer was insatiate. 

Under no circumstances was Captain W^hite ever known to 
show mercy to an Indian. With some of his associates he was 
hunting, when they surprised a small body of Indians. They 
fired and killed several, while a few escaped by flight. One active 
young warrior fled with \\ hite in hot pursuit, tomahawk in hand. 
The fugitive was driven to a precipice, over which he leaped. 
White jumped after him, both sinking to their waists in a quag- 
mire, from which they were unable to extricate themselves. The 
young Indian, who was wholly unarmed made frantic efforts to 
escape, while W^hite made strenuous attempts to strike him with 
his tomahawk. In the struggle the warrior inadvertently flung 
out his arm towards White, who seized his hand, and drawing his 
helpless victim within reach, sank the hatchet in his head. 

That heartless blow sealed the doom of Captain W'hite. The 
father of the victim was among those who escaped, and he seems 
to have sworn vengeance against the murderer of his son. For 
several years this stern warrior lurked about the settlement, trail- 
ing W^hite with the relentless tenacity of a sleuth-hound. Finally, 
on Friday evening, the 8th of March, 1782, he shot White within 
sight of the fort, and in the presence of several of its inmates. (9) 
The avenger attempted to secure the scalp of his victim, but was 
prevented by the rescue party that hurried from the fort. This 
was one case where an Indian was satisfied with the death of the 

(9) See page 440. 



guilty parly only. Thai W hitc "was lomahawked, scalped and 
lacerated in a most frightful manner,"' is a mistake. (10) The facts 
are given here. The upturned roots of the tree under which it is 
said that \\ hite was shot is still to be seen. This tree stood on 
the opposite side of the river from the fort. 

The death of Captain White, coupled with the capture by the 
Indians at the same time of Tinioth\' Dornian, a degenerate rene- 
gade of whom the settlers stood in dread, resulted in the temporary 
abandonment of the Buckhannon settlement. (11) 

There is strong evidence that W hite was betrayed or lured 
to death bv Timoth}" Dorman, and that the latter was not cap- 
tured, in the true sense of the word, but went willingly with the 

ScKNi: OF Cai'iain W ii.i.iam \\ iiiik's Death 
Miss Joscpliiiic MacA\<iy, Phoiou'raplicr, 1909 

Looking east across the Buckhannon River from where the fort stood. Tradition 
has it that Capt. White zvas killed either in the low gap where the prostrate tree lies, 
or to the left under the high ridge, where can be seen the stump of an upturned tree. 
Both are indicated by X . In either case, he evidently succeeded in reaching a point 
near the river before falling from his horse, where he was met by the rescue party from 
the fort. See Col. IVestfalTs letter, Jppendix /, this J'olume. 

(lO) See page 441. (11) px 441. 

110 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Captain White was buried in what is now the Heavner Cem- 
etery at Buckhannon, and by the grave of John Fink, (12) who 
was killed by Indians the preceding February. Capt. White's 
grave is marked by a rude flagstone, which bears his name with- 
out dates or other inscription. According to Withers, Fink was 
killed February 8, (Friday) 1782. The rough sandstone at his 
grave is inscribed with this legend: 

"Here lieth the bo — John Fink who was killed by Indens in 
1782, Feb. the — th" 

Where the dash occurs after "bo," the stone is broken and 
missing. The inscription evidently read "body of." Part of 
the inscription is very dim and almost illegible, the date of the 
month being entirely so. 

Col. Westfall, several years ago, endeavored to induce the 
citizens of Buckhannon to erect a block of granite over the neg- 
lected graves of Capt. White and John Fink. The Colonel did 
not live to realize his cherished hopes. (13) 

The Capt. White and Fink Monument. 

This cut zvas contributed by the Elizabeth Zane Chapter 
D. A. R. With its transmission, Mrs. Clara Du^Iont Heavner, 
Regent, writes me. 

"It is owing to the patriotism of a little boy that the last 
resting place of Capt. White and Fink can now be identified. 
Elias Heavner, was born in Pendleton County, Va., April 9, 1805; 
and came with his father, Nicholas Heavner, 2nd, who in 1815 
settled on 400 acres purchased of George Jackson, on the Buck- 
hannon River, including the site of Bush's Fort. When but eleven 
years old, Elias, impressed with the story of the killing of these 
pioneers, unassisted procured from the river bed, irregular flag 
stones and with childish simplicity carved in rude lettering, 
"KILLED BY THE INDENS" along with additional legends 
which you already have, and set them up at the neglected graves; 
which until then were unmarked. Some of the -inscriptions were 
defaced during the Civil War by relic hunters. These stones we 
have cemented to the base of the monument." Elias Heavner 
died October 10, 1884. He was the father of Maj. J. W. and 
Clark W. Heavner, of Buckhannon, West Va. 

(12) See page 441. (13) p. 441. 



The Captain White and Fink Monument 
illustration contributed by the elizabeth zane chapter, d. a. r. 


Jacob l^ush, referred to earlier in this chajMer in coiinccticjii 
with Jacob W'cslfall, was a brother of John Irtish, who built the 
fort at Buckhaiinon. It is not knnwn at what time he came to 
the settlements, but is supposed to be tiie same Jacob Bush, who 
in 1781 received a ijrant for "400 acres on the West Fork, about 
two miles below the main fork of said river, to include his improve- 
ment made in 1777." He was a man of intelligence and veracity, 
and his declaration is of historic \alue. It is liere ,ui\-en in full: 

"\ A. Lewis County 

"On November 7, 1S32, personally appeared in open court, etc., Jacob Bush 
who makes the following statement: That he entered the U. S. service under the 
following named officers and served as herein stated. In the spring of 1778 (does 
not recollect the precise time), he volunteered in Capt. Samuel Pringle's company 
of Indians spies, he joined the company of Capt. Pringle at the Buckhannon Ft. 
then in the county of Monongalia, \'a. and continued in the service as an 
Indian spy under Capt. Pringle until in the fall of 1779 when he was discharged. 
While under Capt. Pringle he was engaged in spying from the Buchannon Fort, 
then in the county of Monongalia, now in the county of Lewis, to the headwaters 
of the West Pork and the Little Kanawha rivers, and frequently witnessed the mas- 
sacre of the Indians, and was required lo pursue the savages to the Ohio River; 
his lieutenant's name he thinks was W'cslfall. he thinks Capt. Pringle's Co. 
bclontrcd to Col. -Morgan, Regiment of militia in Monongalia Co., \'a., he 
thinks Capt. Pringle gave him a discharg:' but cannot be confident, if he did 
it is lost; he was in the service under Capt. Pringle as an Indian sp\' about eighteen 
months; when he entered the service under Capt. Pringle he resided on Buc- 
hannon river in Monongalia Co., Va. In April or May, 1781, according to his 
present recollection but cannot be confident, as a substitute for his brother 
John Bush at the Buchannon Fort in Monongalia Co., Va., he joined Capt. 
Jackson's Co. of militia, VVm. White was Lieut., the ensign's name he has 
forgotten. He was marched soon after from Buchannon F'ort to the Fort at 
the mouth of Elk creek. Shortly after he was marched to Morgantown and 
there joined Col. Morgan's reg. and shortly after was marched to the "New 
Store" on Monongalia River about 15 miles from Pittsburg, and there joined 
General Roger Clarke's army; stayed there a considerable length of time preparing 
boats and provisions for the campaign, descended the river to Pittsburg where 
the whole arm}- got in boats and went down the Ohio river to its Falls, Louisville, 
that in descending the river he was frequently required to act as a hunter. The 
hunting part\' he thinks was commanded by a Col. Green. One day while engaged 
as a lumter he discovered two deer on the north side of the Ohio river. (The 
hunters were advised not to hunt on tiiai side of the river for fear they might be 
misled b\- the Indians.) Declarent however, persuaded the others to land him 
and he killed the 2 deer. Declarent presented Genl. Clarke with the brain 
of one and he received it with expressions of kindness and treated declarent to 
"whi;:key." That he with Genl. Clarke's army arrived at the falls of the Ohio 
according to his recollection in August, 1781. and continued there some time. W^iile 
near the Bear Grass F'ort five officers were killed, three of whom he thinks were 

112 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Captains; when the news arrived at the fort about 30 men were ordered out to 
destroy the Indians responsible for the deed. He was one of the party. The 
party with 2 friendly Indian guides proceeded to the place and found the dead 
bodies. They pursued the Indians to a place where it crossed the Ohio about 
five miles above the Falls. The party there gave up the pursuit and went back 
for the bodies which they buried at the Falls. He with many others became sick 
with the fever and was unable to return home after he was discharged which was 
in the fall of 1781. He remained sick all winter and reached home sometime the 
following spring making his whole service two years and six months. He thinks he 
received a discharge for this last service, but if so it has been lost. He resided at the 
said Buckhannon Fort when he substituted for his brother in Capt. Jackson's Co. 

Jacob X Bush." 

Alexander West and David Sleeth both testified for Jacob 
Bush and their affidavits are of more than casual interest. 

"Va. Lewis Co. — to wit: 

"Alex. West, a man of unquestionable veracity, personally appeared before the 
subscribed Justice of the Peace in and for said County and made oath that in May, 
1781, he with Jacob Bush of Lewis County joined Capt. George Jackson's Company, 
and knows that said Bush marched and joined General Clarke's Army and with it 
descended the Ohio River to its Falls and was there discharged, said Bush got sick, 
at the Falls and when the Army was discharged was unable to return home; he 
thinks said Bush did not get home until sometime in the spring or early part of 
the summer of 1782. His 

Alexander X West. 

"Sworn to and subscribed before me this 5th day of November, 1832. 

(Signed) John McWhorter, J. P." 
"Va. Lewis Co. — ss 

"David W. Sleeth, a man of veracity and truth, personally appeared before the 
subscribed Justice of the Peace in and for said County and made oath that he 
recollected that Jacob Bush of Lewis County served as an Indian Spy under Capt. 
Samuel Pringle for a considerable time, from his knowledge of said- Bush's services 
under said Capt. Pringle he supposed that he must have served under said Pringle 
about 18 months, is confident he was in said service upwards of a year. He 
also recollects that in the spring of 1781 said Bush substituted for his brother 
John Bush in Capt. George Jackson's Co. and was marched from the Buck- 
hannon Fort, and it was understood joined Genl. Clarke's Army near Pittsburg 
and descended the Ohio River to its Falls; he recollects that said Bush did not 
return from said service until in the spring or early summer of 1782. He has 
known Bush for many years ever since about the year of 1776; he has always been 
esteemed a man of veracity and truth. 

(Signed) David W. Sleeth. 
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 7th day of November, 1832. 

Samuel Z. Jones, J. P." 


This affidavit is accompanied with a brief from Mr. Jones 
stating that "what Sleeth says is entitled to full confidence." 

Jacob Bush was born in Hampshire County, Virginia, 1756. 
In the fall of 17S2 he married Margaret Swan, on the South 
Branch, where they lived until the fall of 1785, then moved with 
their two oldest children, Peter and "Susan," to now Lewis County, 
West Virginia. Jacob Bush did not live to reap any benefits from 
the pension due him; but died Nov. 28, 1832. 

The law required that the widow, to be entitled to pension, 
should have been married to the soldier prior to 1794. Mrs. Bush 
proved her marriage and was granted eighty dollars a year, to 
commence March 4, 1831. Margaret Bush died July 28, 1847, 
at the age of ninety or ninety-one years. Her surviving children 
who drew the money due their mother were Peter, born 1783, 
Henry, Jacob, John, George; Elizabeth married Stump; Margaret 
married Stump; Barbary married Fisher; Susannah married Simp- 
son. Before her death another son, Michael Bush, died, leaving a 
widow and two children, Mary and Adam Bush. 

Declaration of Lieutenant Jacob Westfall. 

W'cstfall stated on oath: 

"That he entered the service of the U. S. under the following named officers 
and served as herein stated. General George Rodgers Clark, Commander in Chief. 
In the regiment of Col. Zecheriah Morgan, commanding a regiment of volunteers. 
Major William Louder (who became unhealthy and obtained leave to return home 
in about one month after he joined the regiment), Adjutant John Maughen, Cap- 
tain George Jackson, first Lieut. Jacob Westfall, this applicant; 2nd Lieut. William 
Whight, Ensign Hezekiah Davidson who acted as Quartermaster Sergeant. Cap- 
tains in said regiment William Breene (very eligible), Johnston, Whaley, Stewart. 

This applicant left home on June 20th, 1781, and he at Morgantown on 

the 29lh day of the same month and served a term of six months. The regiment to 
which applicant belonged marched from .Morgan Town in the State of Virginia to 
the New Store (as it was then called) on the Monongalia river, and there served Gen- 
eral Clark with Col. Crocket's regiment of regular troops. The applicant resided at 
the time he entered the service as above in Tigers Valley, Monongalia County, 
now Randolph County, Virginia. The object of this expedition as this applicant 
was informed by General Clark was to march to Detroit which was in the possession 
of the British, and if possible to take that place. The two regiments took water 
on board of boats at the New Store, the 20th of July, and descended the river and 
landed four miles below Fort Pitt and continued there for some days collecting 
provisions. .After leaving the encampment below Fort Pitt, we did not land 
again until we arrived at Whiting when a council was held, the conclusion of which 
was to continue down the river to an island below the mouth of the Little Ken- 

114 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

haway river and wait the arrival of Col. Laughery who was expected on with 
200 men. After landing on said island and remaining a few days, several men 
deserted and a council was held and the idea of marching to Detroit was abandoned, 
as the force was considered by us to be insufficient. It was then determined by 
the general and officers to continue down the river to Kentucky and raise an 
additional force of Kentucky militia and march out against some of the Indian 
towns. Major Cracroft was left with some men to guard some boats of provisions 
until Col. Laughery should arrive. Col. Laughery came on some time afterwards, 
and after descending the Ohio River about 15 miles below the mouth of the Great 
Miami river, he was discovered by the Indians with his boats between an island 
and the main land and the whole detachment was either killed or taken prisoners. 
Gen. Clark continued down the river to the Falls of the Ohio where a two [days'] 
council was held with the Regular Volunteer and Kentucky Militia officers, and it 
was then and there concluded that to raise a sufficient force and march against 
the Indian Towns, the season would be too far advanced for the volunteers to 
return home to the state of Va., the distance being too great. The applicant was 
not engaged in any battle, there being none fought during the campaign. The 
Indians killed several persons belonging to the Army outside of Col. Laughery's 
detachment. The applicant recollects the names of the following officers in Col. 
Crocket's Regiment of Regulars, to wit: Major Wales, -Captains Tipton and 
Chapman (who were both killed by the Indians in Kentucky), Young, Carney 
and Chenny (or Chenry). The applicant has no documentary evidence of his 
claim, his commission having long since been lost, worn out or destroyed, and 
does not know the residence of anyone who served on said campaign who is now 

(Signed) Jacob Westfall" 

Lieutenant Jacob Westfall was born October 10, 1755. He 
was the builder of Westf all's Fort, Randolph County (West), Va., 
and was an active partisan during the border wars. His declara- 
tion for pension was executed September 1833, in Montgomery 
County, Ind., but he was then a resident of Putnam County, Ind. 
He was awarded J580.00 a year. Lieut. Westfall died March 5, 
1835. He was married in Tygart's Valley, 1777; had one son, 
Cornelius. His widow, Mary Westfall, applied for pension from 
Boone County, Ind., November 13, 1838, aged 80 years. 

Since the foregoing was written, Cutright's History of Upshur 
County, West Va., has been published; from which the following 
wherein Capt. White and John Cutright figure prominently, is 

"Flight of 1770 and Pursuit of Indians." 

"Many of the most thrilling incidents in the pioneer settlement of the waters 
of the Buckhannon, are like unto the common laws of England, unwritten, tradi- 
tional, handed from generation unto generations in fireside stories. Therefore, 

B(jRUER Si;tti.i:rs of NoRTHW I.SII KN \ IRiJIMA 115 

many must be the names of heroes lost in the oblivion of l)_\>;one jcars because no 
one cared, peradventurc was not able, to enroll them on the annals of the past. 
Such a chapter is the following: We know it only through traditional sources. 
Paul Shaver tells it to Colonel Henry K. VVestfall, in 1821, and he in turn 
converts it into notes and communicates it to older citizens now living. 

"Soon after the first settlement of the year 1770 had been made on the Tygarts 
X'alley, Buckhannon and West Fork Rivers and ilicir tributaries, and before many 
inroads and invasions had been made by the merciless savages on these pioneers 
for the purpose of killing and scalping men, women, and children, or carrying them 
into captivity, arrangements were made by which spies or scouts were sent out 
to watch the movements and approach of the Indians, and to report same to the 
settlers. Indeed companies of these scouts or spies were organized and commanded 
by proper officials and were obliged to serve alternately b_v squads. Such military 
organizations were obtained in the summer of 1770, when a detachment of six 
men were sent out from Randolph County to spy on the maddened Indians. Four 
of this small company were, \\ iiiiani \\ iiitc, 'Thomas Drenncn, Paul Shaver and 
John Cutright, the other two are unknown. 

"John Cutright was young, a mere boy, small of size, but not a drop of cowardly 
blood coursed his veins. The scouts went through the boundless forests follow- 
ing the meandcrings of the Little Kanawha River to its conjunction with the 
Ohio. They descended this latter stream as far as the mouth of the Great Kanawha. 
.\fter a season of inspection, scouting and spying near the famous battle grounds 
of Point Pleasant they began their homeward journey, passing through the track- 
less wilderness country now embraced in Mason, Jackson, Roane, Calhoun, Gilmer, 
Bra.xton and Lewis Counties. They reached the headwaters of the Little Kanawha 
River without having seen an\- trace of the sa\agc. Game being bountiful along 
this ri\er, they resolved to spend a few days on a lumt. They pitched their camp 
on Stewart's Creek. Indian Summer was now on and the weather was all that 
could be desired by our scouts (now turned hunters). They ne%er forgot ihem- 
sehes so much as to neglect watching the trail, leading up the little river near 
where they were camping, and over to the settlement on the West Fork. 

"One e\ening after having spent a full day hunting deer, several of which 
they had killed and the haunch of one they were now roasting in their camp fire, 
they heard a noise, at first supposed to be calling of turkeys going to roost. Cut- 
right thinking that a variety of meat would be spice to their simple life, seized 
ills gun saying he would get a turkey for supper. He walked very briskly toward 
where the turkey calling was heard; he had not gone far before the turkeys were 
answering each other in different directions. This fact appealed to the strong per- 
ceptive faculties of White and aroused his suspicion that all was not right. He 
called to Cutright to return and let him go and discover the roosting place of the 
turkeys. He went but a short distance before he returned with the thrilling news 
that they were nearly surrounded by a band of Indians. The situatit)n was dan- 
gerous and the camp fire by means of which the savages had located them was 
put out. An escape must be now effected or in a short time the scouting party would 
be attacked. White was the leader, and the rest were his followers. 'l'he\- stole away 
and traveled at a rapid gait over rocks, hills, and small streams for four miles before 
a halt was made. On the summit of a ridge they stopped to reconnoiter and to 
ascertain whctlicr thc\' were pursued or not. Hearing and seeing no signs of the 

116 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

pursuing Indians they rested there for an hour, during which most of the party 
went to sleep. White alone being awake and on the lookout. Suddenly he called 
to his companions, the 'Indians are upon us.' He heard the whine of a dog. 
They took to their heels again until out of sight of danger then walked on for 
several miles until they came to a creek of considerable size (most probably Leading 
Creek). Knowing the keen scent of the Indian canine and the impossibility of 
being traced in water they waded up this stream a mile and a half or more, coming 
out on the same side they had entered the stream. They now ascended a hill 
some distance to its summit, then turned down the stream, keeping about a half 
mile from it and going about the same distance. Here they halted once more for 
the purpose of rest and observation. The Indians must have pursued them un- 
comfortably close, for soon White detected their approach again. This time they 
descended the hill, crossed the stream behind the Indians, ascended the opposite 
elevation and took a course along the ridge which led in the direction they wished 
to go to find the path leading over onto the West Fork. The path could not be 
found and White concluded that in the darkness they had missed it. They decided 
to wait the coming of day. To afford themselves the most advantages, they 
ascended a high bluff to await the action of the pursuers. Again they were driven 
from their resting place out into the darkness of the night and forced to travel 
until about sunrise, when they determined to stop, and if the Indians were not too 
many to give them battle. The most suitable position around them was selected 
and here they had to wait but for a short time before three Indians were seen on 
the neighboring hill. Seventeen others joined these three shortly afterwards and 
all seated themselves upon a fallen tree resting and talking and counseling. Pres- 
ently they separated, twelve forming the pursuing party, eight returning. Six 
white men confronted by twelve red men ready for battle would be an easy prop- 
osition to wager money upon. Other things being equal superior numbers will 
win. Therefore our scouting party took themselves to flight rather than fight. 
Cutright being a mere boy and having traveled all day and night, now showed 
sign of great fatigue, but the others urged him on. White carried his gun and two 
others assisted him up the steepest hills, hoping thus to be able to bring him to 
the Buckhannon River where they thought the Indians would discontinue their 
pursuit. Cutright held out until the river was reached, when exhausted and crying 
he lay down and could not go farther. He said to his companions that he could 
welcome a natural death, but to be tomahawked and scalped by the savage was 
too hard to bear. 'Save yourselves by flight, but leave me to my fate,' was the 
answer to the urgent appeals of his companions to proceed. But White said, 
'No John, we will never leave you; if one is left all will stay, fight and die together.' 
White being a man of wonderful strength and endurance gave his gun to one of 
his companions, took Cutright upon his back and bore him beyond the river. Two 
other companions carried him to the summit of the river hill opposite the mouth 
of a run which was then named Cutright's Run, and which afterwards was John 
Cutright's home. Here all the party fell asleep, but White and Drennen, who 
stood on guard watching to see the pursuers cross the river. Soon three Indians 
approached the river on the opposite side and began to cross the stream. A 
battle was imminent and necessary. Drennen rushed back and aroused his com- 
panions. All returned except Cutright, who was too exhausted to do anything. 
They took their position and waited orders from White to fire. At last the moment 

Border Settlers of Northwestern V'irginma 117 

came. ri>c three Indians were in a n.)\v. The report of the riHes rang out upon 
the air, two of the savages were killed and the third was anxious to retreat, but he 
was not to make his escape for White snatched the gun which had failed to fire 
and shot the Indian just as he leaped the bank of the river. 

"Now for the first time it was known to a certainty why the Indians were 
able to follow the trail so well. They had a dog which went in advance of his red 
master. This dog fell into the hands of the victors and became the property of 
White, who used him to good account afterwards, for it is said that White exchanged 
the same dog and gun for the Heavner farm, upon wiiicli the Buckhannon or 
Bush Fort was afterwards erected." 

I remember having seen a fragment of this narrative in the 
West/all Manuscript. The date, 1770, is not compatible with 
the general supposition that there was peace on the border from 
the closing of Pontiac's War in 1765, to the breaking out of open 
hostilities in 1774. There was peace, but the wanton aggression 
and murdering propensities of the borderers kept the Indians in 
a foment of unrest. The settlements made on the Upper Alonon- 
gahela, a region justh- regarded b}- the Indians as their domain, 
and which should have been recognized as such by the Colonial 
(jovernment, (14) was not unknown to the bordering tribes. 
There was never any serious attempt by the colonial or state 
authorities to prevent the settlement of the Trans-Alleghen\- in 
accordance with stipulated treaty agreements. The King's edict 
of 1763 warning settlers from the western waters, was not enforced. 
The proclamation of 1766 by Gov. Penn of Pennsylvania, and 
Gov. Faquier of \'irginia, forbidding "His Majesty's subjects" 
from settling west of the mountains, may well be termed farcical. 
In 1769 the garrison at Fort Pitt "attempted" to remove all 
intruders to the eastern side of the mountains, but the soldiers 
were withdrawn, and the settlers returned without further moles- 
tation. Back of this pretense at justice, can be seen the set 
intentions of the colonials to gain speedy possession of this cov- 
eted domain. The Ohio Company, organized 1748, had for its 
object the settling of the Trans-Allegheny, and as early as 1750 
their surveyor, Christopher Gist, had penetrated to the falls of 
the Ohio. The tribes beheld these encroachments with increasing 
alarm, and evidently scouts from their own towns kept close 
watch upon the movements of the aggressors. It may have been 
such a band with whom the whites on this occasion came in con- 
tact; or it may have been a hunting party only, who, finding the 
intruders so far from the settlements gave chase with disastrous 

(14) See page 441. 

118 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

results to themselves. But it can hardly be conceived that an 
organized body of scouts "were sent out from Randolph County 
to spy on the maddened Indians" in 1770; Randolph County 
was not formed until 1787, nor was this region at that time haunted 
by "maddened Indians." The strangest part of the story is that 
a "war" party of twenty Indians on the trail of six armed foemen, 
should of its own volition dwindle to three in number, and yet 
continue the pursuit. The narrative as a whole is not in accord 
with the known principles of Indian warfare. 

That some such occurrence took place there can be no doubt. 
Col. Westfall was acquainted with both Paul Shaver and John 
Cutright, and possibly others of the bordermen. The narrative 
is interesting in more ways than one. Shaver, one of the actors, 
was, on his own declaration granted a pension as a soldier of the 
Revolutionary War, from 1776 to 1780, but was at the instance of 
W. G. Singleton, Special Pension Examiner, afterwards dropped 
from the pension roll as too young for military service during that 
struggle. If Singleton's charges are true, then it is hard to con- 
ceive how a man of Colonel Westfall's judgment could be so misled 
as to seriously consider Shaver a full fledged scout in 1770. 

Shaver's Declaration. 

"On this 12th day of Oct. 1833, personally etc., before me, James M. Camp, 
J. P. for Lewis County, Va., Paul Shaver, aged 74 years, makes the following 
statement. That in the year 1776 in April of that year he was ordered out as an 
Indian spy by Col. Warrick under Capt. Maxwell. He spied in Randolph Co. 
from April 1776, till Nov. 1776, himself and John Elliott detected the Indians at 
three different times during that summer and each time they retreated without 
making any attack, but once stole some horses and escaped with them, two of the 
horses belonged to Runyon. He was discharged in November 1776, having served 
more than six months in the service as an Indian spy (a private) in Capt. Maxwell's 
Company of Indian spies. Then in the spring of 1777 in April of that year he vol- 
unteered as a private in a company of Virginia Militia, most of whom were drafted, 
but declarent volunteered to make up a company under Captain Stuart for the 
defense of the Western Waters. When Capt. Stuart's Company was raised they 
were marched from what is now Randolph County to West's Fort in what is now 
Lewis County. There were ascertained a number of Indians in the neighborhood 
or distant about thirty miles on Salt Lick, some of whom in May 1777, appeared 
in the neighborhood of West's Fort and killed and scalped one woman. Airs. Free- 
man. A few of Capt. Stuart's men in pursuit came in sight, wounded one Indian 
who got into thick woods with his fellows and prevented further pursuit. Capt. 
Stuart with his company marched to Salt Lick Creek, the Indians had dispersed. 
Capt. Stuart and company returned to West's Fort thence to Lowther's Fortj 
from that place, now Harrison County, 6 miles from where Clarksburg now stands, 

Border Settlers of Nokthw esti-.rn \ ir(;im.\ 119 

Capt. Stuart detached declarcnt and 10 others as Indian spies to spy in what is 
now Lewis and. Harrison till November, and then return to Weslfall's Fort in Ran- 
dolph, to which place he had marciied with his other men. He spied in said tract 
of country till sometime in Nov. 1777. Then went to Westfall's Korl, from thence 
to Warrick's Fort where he joined his Captain & conipan)' and was in .Nov. 1777 
discharged, having ser\cd more tiian six months this tour as a private militia man 
and Indian spy. He then, in 177S, in the spring with several others migrated to- 
what is now Kentucky, settled near where Louisville now stands. He was, in July 
177S, drafted to go a tour of three months against the Indians in Illinois County 
as it was then called, was marched under Captain .\ndrew Kincaid. The whole 
under G. R. Clark did not succeed in bringing the Indians to a fight. Returned 
in the fall of 177S to Louis\ille ha\-ing ser\ed his draft of .^ months — was 
discharged. Then sometime in the winter of 1778 and 1779 Col. Clark conceived 
the notion of again marching against the Indians in the Illinois County as we 
then called it, declarenl volunteered to go a tour of six months under Capt. Christy; 
they started, he thinks, Feb. or March 1779, Ijune 1778] from Louisville, marched 
to a place called Kaskaskias, there lhe\' completely surprised the garrison, he 
thinks, took the British General or Governor prisoner. Here declarant was sta- 
tioned with other militia troops a short time whilst Gen. Clark prepared and sent 
some mounted men on horses taken at Kaskaskias higher up the county and took, 
as he then heard, three other Indian towns. Col. Clark understood by some means 
that a large force was concentrating, he stationed his militia and others, some at 
Kaskaskias and other towns. He soon drew in his troops to Kaskaskias and 
appealed to all to volunteer longer, declarenl with the other troops did so. He 
was placed under his o\d Capt. Kincaid stationed at Kaskaskias as a private 
militia man agreed to slay till the war was settled in that quarter. Col. Clark 
with some men proceeded in Feb. (1780) as affiant thinks up the Wabash River 
to Fort Vincent as we then called it, but now Fort St. \'incent or V'incennes. He 
took that fort which was defended by Col. Ilaniillon and Indians and British. 
He, dcclarent, continued in thai Illinois Counl\' as a volunteer militia (a pri\'ate) 
under Capt. Kincaid, the summer of 1780 till No\ ember of that \ear, when he with 
other militia troops was marched to Louisville and discharged in No\ember 1780. 
In this campaign he was more than eighteen months in service from February or 
March 1779 till November 1780. He received a wound in battle at a place called 
Andersontdwn which had healed up (in his right leg) now again broke out and so 
continues to this da\'. He ser\ed more than two and one-half years in the Revolu- 
tionary War. He lives more than thirty miles from Lewis County Court House, 
is too infirm to attend court, has no clergyman residing near him. He knows of 
no person whose testimon\- he can procure who can testify to his services as a 
soldier of the revolution. 


Paul X Shaver." 


Shaver stated that he was horii in Pendleton County, \ a., 
in the vear 1759. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

"Leaven Nichols, and David S. Cox botii testify that Paul Shaver is believed 
in the neighborhood to have been a soldier in the Revolutionary War and that he 
has a good reputation and character. 

(Signed) David S. Cox 
Leaven X Nichols 
(Signed) James M. Camp, J. P." 

John Mitchell and Henry Flesher testified to W. S. Singleton 
July 1834, that Shaver was too young to have been in the war, and 
he was dropped from the pension roll as a fraud. From all the 
evidence gathered. Shaver certainly suffered an injustice at the 
hands of the over-zealous Pension Examiner. He evidently saw 
service on the border during the Revolution, but he could not 
have^figured in the "Flight of 1770." 



Man)' pi\)inincnt writers insist that Uunmore's War was 
inevitable; the actual beginning of the Revolution, and that hos- 
tilities were precipitated by the murdering propensities of the 
Indians alone. Not a few, however, charge that these conditions 
were created at the instance of Gov'ernor Dunmore and his lieu- 
tenant, John Connolly, who, for self-aggrandizement or as emissa- 
ries of the British (jovcrnment, foreseeing the coming struggle, 
sought to engross the attention and resources of Virginia in a dis- 
astrous Indian War. Pages have been written in support of these 
accusations, and it would redound to the honor of the \ irginias 
could the\' be verified. But it should be remembered that the 
conflict of 1774 was pureh' \ irginia and Indian, waged on the 
Western Virginia border, and it is there that we are to look for the 
immediate, if not the primal, cause of the trouble. It is note- 
worth)' that the long list of murders committed on peaceable 
tribesmen in the white settlements east of the mountains, prior to 
the outbreak, did not provoke the war. Roosevelt summarily 
settles the cause and statu quo of the Dunmore W ar in a single 

"Nor must we permit our s\'mpath\" for tlie foul wrongs of the two great Indian 
heroes (1) of the contest to blind us to the fact that the struggle was precipitated 
in the first place, bj' the outrages of the red men, not the whites; and that the 
war was not only inevitable, but was also in its essence just and righteous on the 
part of the borderers. Even the unpardonable and hideous atrocity of the murder 
of Logan's family, was surpassed in horror by many of the massacres committed 
by the Indians about the same time. The annals of the border are dark and 
terrible." (2) 

This sweeping attempt at vindication of the borderers, reek- 
ing with acrimony for the Indians, might be convincing, did it 
contain a single instance of a "massacre committed b\' the Indians 
about the same time," that even approached in horror the murder 
of Logan's family. Our Indian conquests have all been "just 
and righteous" in the eyes of the average white man. 

Prof. Maxzcell in discussing this topic, says: 

"* * * The first act of hostility was committed in 177.^, not in West Virginia, 
but further south. A party of emigrants, under the leadership of a son of Daniel 
Boone, were on their way to Kentucky when they were set upon and several were 

(\) See page 442. (2) p. 442. 

122 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

killed, including young Boone. There can be no doubt that this attack was made 
to prevent or hinder the colonization of Kentucky. Soon after this, a white man 
killed an Indian at a horse race. This is said to haye been the first Indian blood 
shed on the frontier of Virginia by a white man after Pontiac's War. In February 
1774, the Indians killed six white men and two negroes; and in the same month, 
on the Ohio they seized a trading canoe, killed the men in charge and carried the 
goods to the Shawnee towns. Then the white men began to kill also. In March 
[1774] on the Ohio, a fight occurred between settlers and Indians, in which one was 
killed on each side, and five canoes were taken from the Indians. John Connolly 
wrote from Pittsburg on April 21, to the people of Wheeling to be on their guard, 
as the Indians were preparing for war. On April 26, two Indians were killed on 
the Ohio. On April 30, nine Indians were killed on the same river near Steuben- 
ville. On May 1, another Indian was killed. About the same time an old Indian 
named Bald Eagle was killed on the Monongahela River; and an Indian camp on 
the Little Kanawha, in the present county of Braxton, was broken up, and the 
natives were killed. This was believed to have been done by settlers on the West 
Fork, in the present county of Lewis. They were induced to take that course 
by intelligence from the Kanawha River that a family named Stroud, residing 
near the mouth of the Gauley River had been murdered, and the tracks of the 
Indians led toward the Indian camp on the Little Kanawha. . When this camp was 
visited by the party of white men from the West Fork, they discovered clothing 
and other articles belonging to the Stroud family. Thereupon the Indians were 
destroyed. A party of white men with Governor Dunmore's permission destroyed 
an Indian village on the Muskingum River." (3) 

Here is a sinister array of aggressive crime on the part of the 
Indians, with justified retaliation by the whites. Unfortunately 
for its object however, the events are not given in chronological 
order. The killing of young James Boone and five of his compan- 
ions, emigrants under the leadership of the elder Boone, had 
been preceded in Kentucky by desultory fighting between adven- 
turous white men and Indians. It is significant that John Findlay 
who was the first to enter the wilds of Kentucky, was never dis- 
turbed by the red man. It was not until Boone, in company with 
Findlay and four others, in 1769, repaired to that region, and after 
spending several months in killing game, were they molested. 
Boone and Stuart were surprised and captured. Many writers 
insist that during their captivity, the camp of Boone and Stuart 
was broken up by Indians, and their companions killed, scattered, 
or returned home. But it would appear from the investigations 
of others, among them Dr. Thzvaits, that the' returning prisoners 
found the camp and its occupants unmolested. In the meantime 
they were joined by Squire Boone and Alexander Neely, whom 
Squire had found on New (Great Kanawha) River. (4) 

(3) See page 442. (4) p. 442. 


The famous Limir lluiitc-rs had ahcaLly iiuadcd this prinic\al 
wilderness and were shiughlerinj^ its teeming game by the thou- 
sands. This wasteful destruction of their sustenance, a gift from 
the (ireat Spirit, enraged the Indians, and in conse(.]uence the 
aggressors, hunters and explorers met with armed resistance. 
The Long Hunters shot buffalo, elk and deer for their skins, 
and Indians ior their scalps. 

Boone and his part\- were in reality Long Hunters. During 
the summer of 1770 while encamped on the Red River, Alexander 
Xeel\' killed and scalped two Indians wIkimi he found at a Shawnee 
\illage on a tributary creek. (5) 

Stuart (also spelled Stewart) alone of ijie part\- was killed hv 
the Indians, but whetlier prior or subsequent to the murder of the 
Shawnees by Xeely, writers differ. Roosevelt declares that in the 
death of Stewart, "the Indians had wantonh' shed the first blood." 

(6) But the elucidation b\' Dr. Tlvicaits is conclusive that Stuart 
was killed after Jour oj Boone's party had left for the settlement and 
that "Neeh', discouraged by his [Stuart's] fate, returned home." 

(7) This is positi\'e ex-iilence that Boone's part\- in rea]it\' "wan- 
tonly shed the first blood." It is obvious that Xeeh- killed the 
two Shawnees bejore he "became discouraged and returned home." 

The Indian killed at a horse race was a Cherokee, at W atauga, 
a settlement supposed!)- in \'irginia, but located within the Cher- 
okee lands, Xorth Carolina. Watauga, like the early Trans- 
.Alleghen}' settlements, was outlawed, so far as State or Colonial 
(k)vernment was concerned. The murder was committed at a 
triendl}' gathering of both Indians and whites, in celebrating the 
signing of a treaty between the Cherokees and the settlers of 
\\ atauga in 1772. (8) This crime has been excused on the grounds 
that the men implicated had lost a brother in the attack on Boone's 
emigrants in 177.V This is error, the friendly Cherokee was killed 
a year previous to the Boone tragedy. In the face of these facts, 
who were the aggressors in Kentuck}'.' (9) 

No serious troubK' with the Cherokees resulted from the 
W atauga outrage; nor was that nation invoK'ed in Dunmore's 
\\ ar. It is averred, however, that the attack on Butler's trading 
canoe, near Wheeling, in l'"ebruar\ , 1774, containing three white 
men, in which one of the part\- was killed and another one wounded, 
was by a few outlaw Cherokees. If so, the act may have been 
provoked by the Watauga tragedw 

(5) Sec page 442. ((.) p. 442. (7i p. 442. (S) p. 442. CM p. 442. 

124 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

The other occurrences cited by Mr. Maxwell are well known 
to the reader of border history. Withers, (10) states that the 
Bull Town Massacre occurred in the summer of 1772. The same 
authority fixes the death of Bald Eagle not only prior to this crime, 
but also to the Indian murder for which Capt. White was impris- 
oned at Winchester, and subsequently liberated by the infuriated 
populace. This last crime, as shown in Chapter X, of this vol- 
ume, Kercheval states, occurred in 1768. This places the murder 
of Bald Eagle, according to Withers, (11) previous to the settling 
of the Upper Monongahela in 1769, which is error. The death 
of Bald Eagle evidently occurred between 1770 and the destruc- 
tion of the Delaware Village on the Little Kanawha, in 1772, 
which was two years previous to the retaliatory and incipient 
outbreak of the few tribesmen on the Ohio. Then came the 
ill-timed warning of the fiery Connolly and the "planting of a 
new war post and a solemn declaration of war" by Creasap and 
his followers at Fort Henry. Immediately Creasap's band made 
two attacks on friendly Shawnees on the Ohio, killing three and 
wounding two others. The massacre of Logan's people swiftly 
followed, and the war was on. 

West Virginia points with pride to the tenth of October, 1774, 
when at Point Pleasant was fought the "First Battle of the Revo- 
lution," wherein "was the first blood shed in defense of American 
Liberty," in a "just and righteous" war. This sounds well, but 
in reality the Dunmore War was one of conquest; its prelude a 
lurid chapter of aggressive wrong on the part of the whites which 
can reflect no halo of State or National glory. (12) 

The brutal murder of Bald Eagle is deserving of more than a 
passing notice. His status, not only with his own race, but with 
the whites was high, and in his death is reflected the true character 
of the lawless ruffians who overran the Trans-Allegheny at this 
time. Withers says of this crime: 

"The Bald Eagle was an Indian of notoriety, not only among his own nation, 
but also with the inhabitants of the North Western frontier; with whom he was 
in the habit of associating and hunting. In one of his visits among them, he was 
discovered alone, by Jacob Scott, William Hacker and Elijah Runner, who, reckless 
of the consequences, murdered him, solely to gratify a most wanton thirst for 
Indian blood. After the commission of this most outrageous enormity, they 
seated him in the stern of a canoe, and with a piece of journey-cake thrust into 
his mouth, set him afloat in the Monongahela. In this situation he was seen 
descending the river, by several, who supposed him to be as usual, returning from 

descendmg the river, by several, who suppose 
(10) See page 442. (11) p. 442. (12) p. 442. 


a friendly hum willrttic wliitcs in ihc upper seltlcnu-nts, and who expressed some 
astonishment that he did not stop to see them. The canoe floating near to the 
shore, below the mouth of George's Creek, was observed by a Mrs. Province, who 
had it brought to the bank, and the friendly, but unfortunate old Indian decently 
buried." (13) 

Veech says lliat Bald Magic was killed, perhaps, at the mouth 
of Cheat River; was ff)uiKl at Provance Bottom by Mrs. W illiani 
^'ard Provance. who had hini buried on the Fayette (Pa.) 
shore. (14) 

The murder of Bald Kaglc had a parallel of which the partic- 
ulars were never chronicled. 

One Ryan and Eli Morgan, brother of David .Morgan of 
border fame, killed an Indian named Cat Eye, and thrusting a 
corn cob into his mouth, propped him up in his canoe and sent him 
adrift on the Monongahela. This crime was evidently one of the 
many committed by John Ryan, told by U'ithers: 

".At ditfcrciu periods of time, between the peace of 1765. and the renewal of 
hostilities in 1774, three Indians were unprovokedly killed by John Ryan, on the 
Ohio, Monongahela and Cheat Rivers. The first who suffered from the unrestrained 
licentiousness of this man, was an Indian of distinction in his tribe, and known by 
the name of Capt. Peter; the other two were private warriors. And but that 
Governor Dunmore, from the representations made to him, was induced to offer 
a reward for his apprehension, which caused him to leave the country, Ryan 
would probably have continued to murder every Indian, with whom he should 
chance to meet, wandering through the settlements." (15) 

To this long list of recorded murders suffered by the friendb" 
tribesmen at the hands of the borderers in the two years preceding 
Dunmore's War, must be added the massacre of the thirteen at 
Indian Camp, as depicted in a previous chapter of this volume. 
The summary is startling. If we allow but four to each of the 
five families destroyed at Bull Town, which is a very low estimate, 
then the grand total of peaceable Indians, including many women 
and children, who fell victims to white fury on the extreme western 
border of \'irginia, from Bull Town to Wheeling in the time men- 
tioned, is fifty-eight. This does not include those killed on the 
Wappatomaka by Judah, Harpold and others, nor the many slain 
throughout the settlements east of the mountains. (16) This num- 
ber 1 have carefully computed from the meagre accounts at hand; 
but it is hardly possible that the Indian Camp .Massacre was a 
solitary instance of unchronicled slaughtering by the white*. It 
is significant that in every instance noted by the historian of the 

(13) See page 443. (14) p. 443. (15) p. 443. (16) p. 443. 

126 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

day, the killing was so open and flagrant that concealment was 

There could be but one sequel to this wanton, drunken satur- 
nalia of crime. The ties of blood and clan are very strong in 
Indian systems of kinship and government, and the law of retalia- 
tion arises from these ties. In addition to murder, the white 
settlers were constantly making inroads upon the lands of the 
tribes in utter disregard of treaty stipulations. In view of these 
facts, it is a matter of wonder that hostilities were not commenced 
long before the outbreak actually occurred. Surely were the 
Indians "slow to anger." 

But they were at last aroused; though not until their people 
had been wantonly murdered in plain view and under their own 
eyes in more than one instance by Greathouse and others. Logan, 
"the friend of the white man," lost his entire family. (17) Then 
the warriors took up the hatchet, and the Trans-Allegheny was 
compelled to drain the bitter cup of its own filling. For more 
than twenty years from the massacre of Logan's people, April 30, 
1774, the border from Fort Pitt to the Falls of the Ohio suffered 
from Indian forays, (18) the most sanguinary of which fell upon 
the Virginia frontier. There were brief respites during this period, 
but no year went by without the striking of a blow — in most 
cases by the fierce Shawnee. This warlike tribe was rendered 
still more implacable by the betrayal and brutal murder of their 
mighty leader Cornstalk (Keigh-taugh-qua) and three of his chiefs, 
his son EUinipsico; Red Hawk and another whose name is 
unknown, at Point Pleasant in the "bloody year," 1777; and for 
which his avenging warriors swept with fire the wilderness settle- 
ments. (19) In this long interval of strife, as usual in warfare, the 
innocent suffered far more than the guilty. 

During this period, Jesse Hughes was the recognized chief of 
the Virginia scouts. He lived in the center of the field of the 
border strife; yet it was in the year 1778 that his name appears in 
the annals of this war for the first time. This, I believe, is the 
fault of the chroniclers rather than of inactivity on the part of 
Hughes. There is little or no doubt that he was constantly 
engaged in war-like enterprises during the whole of this period of 
the silence of the annals. A well-founded tradition says that he 
was in the Battle of Point Pleasant, which is more than probable. 
A man of his propensities would not ordinarily remain inactive at 

(17) See page 443. (18) p. 443. (19) p. 443. 


ht)nie while such an uiKk-rtakin^ as the iiuasion of the Indian 
countrx' was bcinir cxecutCLl. It is doubt tul if an\' of the several 
expeditions against the ()hio Indians duiinu the period mentioned 
was unacconipani(.'d h\ Jesse Huijhes. 

An Indian alaiin in June, 177S, sent the settlers on Hacker's 
Creek and the adjoining countr\' into West's Fort. About tiie 
middle of that month, three women who were gathering greens in 
an adjacent field, were attacked b\- four Indians and a Mrs. Free- 
man was killed and scalped. The Indians tired but one shot, but 
this and the screams of the women brought the men from the Fort. 
Se\eral inettectual bullets were sent after the warrior who was 
scalping Mrs. Freeman. The Indians were driven off, and the 
firing gave warning to the men who were out of the fort at the 
time. Among the latter was Jesse Hughes, who for once, seem- 
ingly, was without his gun. The following account is from the 
work of If'itlwrs: 

"Jesse Hiiglies and Jolin Sclioolcrafl (who were out) in makini: tlieir way to 
the fort, came very near two Indians standing by the fence looking towards the 
men at West's, so intenth', that the\- did not perceive an\' one near them. 
They, however, were observed by Hughes and Schoolcraft wlio, avoidint.' them, 
made their way in, safely. Hugiies immediately took up his gun, and learning the 
fate of Mrs. Freeman, went with some others to bring in the corpse. While there 
he proposed to go and shew them how near he had approached the Indians after 
the alarm had been given, before he saw them. Charles and Alexander West, 
Chas. Hughes, James Brown and John Steeth (20), went with him. Before they 
had arrived at the place, one of the Indians was heard to howl like a wolf; and 
the men with Hughes moved on in the direction from which tlie sound proceeded. 
Supposing that they were then near the spot, Jesse Hughes howled in like manner, 
and being instantly answered, they ran to a point of the hill, and looking over it, 
saw two Indians coming towards them. Hughes fired and one of them fell. The 
other took to flight. Being pursued b\ the whites, he sought shelter in a thicket 
of brush; and while they were proceeding to intercept him at his coming out, he 
returned b>- the way he had entered, and made his escape. The wounded Indian 
likewise got otT. When the whites were in pursuit of the one who took to flight, 
they passed near to him who had fallen, and one of the men was for stopping and 
finishing him; but Hughes called to him. 'he is safe, — let us have the other,' and 
they all pressed forward. On their return, however, he was gone; and although his 
free bleeding enabled them to pursue his track readily for a while, yet a heavy 
shower of rain soon falling, all trace of him was quickly lost and could not be 
afterwards regained." 

The chagrin which Hughes fell for his failure to secure at 
least one ot the two scalps that were almost within his grasp may 
be conjectured. That his aim was not deadly, and his allowing 
(20) See page 444. 

128 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

the fallen Indian to escape because of his zeal to capture the flee- 
ing Indian who baffled his pursuers by doubling on his track like a 
fox, was most humiliating to the pride of this renowned woodsman 
and his skilled companions. There was a superstition rife among 
the early settlers to the effect that if, in loading his rifle, the hunter 
accidentally let fall the bullet, and had to pick it up from the 
ground to put in his rifle, it would certainly miss the object shot 
at, no matter how careful and true his aim. This was a common 
belief in the woods of Virginia and Kentucky as recently as thirty 
years ago. Perhaps Jesse dropped his bullet. 

Owing to its isolation and weakness, the Hacker's Creek 
settlement was a favorite point of attack by the Indians during 
this period. Withers says: 

"The settlement on Hacker's Creek was entirely broken up in the spring of 
1779 — some of its inhabitants forsaking the country and retiring east of the moun- 
tains; while the others went to the fort on Buckhannon, and to Nutter's Fort, near 
Clarksburg, to aid in resisting the foe and in maintaining possession of the 
country." (21) 

Again, speaking of the year 1780, he says: 

"West's Fort on Hacker's Creek was also visited by the savages early in this 
year. The frequent incursions of the Indians into this settlement in the year 
1778, had caused the inhabitants to desert their homes the next year, and shelter 
themselves in places of greater security; but being unwilling to give up the improve- 
ments which they had already made and commence anew in the woods, some few 
families returned to it during the winter, and on the approach of spring, moved 
into the fort. They had not been long here, before the savages made their appear- 
ance, and continued to invest the fort for some time. Too weak to sally out and 
give them battle, and not knowing when to expect relief, the inhabitants were 
almost reduced to despair, when Jesse Hughes resolved at his own hazard, to try 
to obtain assistance to drive off the enemy. Leaving the fort at night, he broke 
by their sentinels and ran with speed to the Buckhannon Fort. Here he prevailed 
on a part of the men to accompany him to West's, and relieve those who had been 
so long confined there. They arrived before day, and it was thought advisable 
to abandon the place once more, and remove to Buckhannon. On their way the 
Indians used every artifice to separate the party, so as to gain an advantageous 
opportunity of attacking them; but in vain. They exercised so much caution, 
and kept so well together, that every stratagem was frustrated, and they all reached 
the fort in safety." (22) 

From the foregoing it would appear that West's Fort was 
abandoned not only in the fall of 1779, but also in the spring of 
1780. It was during one of these abandonments, perhaps the last, 
that the fort was burned by the Indians, and the settlers then 

(21) See page 445. (22) p. 445. 



built a new fort, but nut on the silc ol the old. it was located 
some five hundred yards or more from West's Fort, and about 
seventy-five yards east of where the Henry McW'horter house 
now stands. It was erected on a high bottom, fir "flat," which 
at that time was rather marshy, and covered with beech trees. 
The building was constructed entirely of beech logs, and was 
locallv known as "Beech Fort." (23) 

I'm IIdMI Ol- P>I..\CK JKFF AM) Ills MaMMY. ■■AiNt'" I'.MII.V 

Photographed 1S98, Kindness of Mr. Gu\- .\lkire 

This cabin stood on Jesse's Run, less than a mile from where Jesse Hughes settled 
in 1770 or 1771 . During a heavy snow storm in ISOQ or IQW) the roof of Jejfs cabin 
collapsed, burying himself and "Mammy'' in its ruins. They were removed to the 
county infirmary, where they both soon afterwards died. 

The daring ieat of Jesse Hughes upon this occasion, so briefly 
alluded to by fFit/iers, and doubtless referred to b\- Dtl/ass, 
already quoted, was as follows: 

A large force of Indians jiad inxested the tort and gathered 
up all the live stock in the settlement. The despairing inmates 
could see the camp fires of the Indians, who, relying upon their 
superior numbers and the weakness of the garrison, taileLl to 
exercise that ele^ree ot \igilance and caution for which tlie\' are 

(2.S) See pajie 44.v 

130 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

noted. However, they posted sentinels about the fort and the 
fords of the creek and other passes, while the main body of 
warriors regaled themselves around the camp fires. Hughes 
experienced great difficulty and much personal danger in break- 
ing through the Indian investment. While gliding along a narrow 
path, he heard foot steps approaching. He stepped aside, when 
nine warriors passed in Indian file; "so close" said Hughes, "that 
I could have punched them with my ramrod." 

When leaving the fort he told the inmates that if he succeeded 
in eluding the foe he would, upon gaining the hillside beyond the 
Indian encampment, "hoot like an owl." The hoot of the owl 
was a night signal in vogue with both Indian and scout. In 
crossing the creek Jesse was compelled to wade through a deep 
eddy about half-way between the fort and the mouth of Jesse's 
Run, near where he would strike the trail. 

As time dragged, the forlorn and despairing band in the little 
fortress listened most eagerly for the signal of hope from the hill- 
side. How they must have rejoiced when at last through the 
darkness from afar there came across the night-shrouded valley 
the melancholy cry of the bird of shadow and gloom. (24) To them 
it meant succor and speedy rescue; but to the wily Indian it was 
ominous of approaching danger, and during the night they broke 
camp and disappeared. When Hughes returned with the rescuing 
party not a warrior could be seen. 

The difficulty of this achievement can be better understood 
when it is known that the distance between the two forts was not 
less than sixteen miles, all a dense forest; and as the Indians were 
in the settlement in force, he must have avoided to some extent 
the beaten trail, thus making the passage far more laborious and 

The frightful dangers that beset the path of Jesse Hughes on 
this heroic night-run were not confined to the hostile Indians 
alone. The stealthy panther, noted for its fierce nature and prone- 
ness to unprovoked attack on human beings, lurked among the 
dense thickets on every hand. Packs of gaunt gray wolves — ■ 
huge timber wolves — the scourge of the wilderness, prowled the 
forest. The Buckhannon or Hacker's Creek mountain at the 
point traversed by Hughes was infested with these savage brutes 
long after this incident. (25) 

Once durins the Indian incursions into this region the settlers 

(24) See page 445. (25) p. 445. 

Border Sr:TTLERS of Xorthwestern \ irginia 131 

on Fink's Run, a iribulai)' of the Buckhannon, took refuee in 
West's Fort. \\ hy the settlers should, in this instance, have gone 
to West's Fort instead of the Buckhannon, (26) which was only 
three or four miles distant, cannot be surmised, unless it was after 
the latter fort had been abandoned in 1782, when Captain William 
White was killed. So precipitate had been their flight that they 
left some young calves penned from their dams. This was not 
discovered until they had reached the fort, which was at least 
twelve miles from their homes, and was liable to lead to calamity, 
for should the stock escape the wasting hands of the Indians, the 
calves would starve and the cows be hopelessly ruined from 
inflamed udders. In this dilemma, Jesse Hughes came to the 
rescue. He volunteered to go and liberate the calves. This was 
courting death, but he successfully accomplished it. 

On his return to the fort he crossed the mountain previously 
referred to, to the waters of the right fork of Buckhannon Run, 
now on the farm of the late G. W. Swisher. Here seeing a deer, 
the instinct of the sportsman overcame the caution of the scout, 
and he shot and killed it. Proceeding to flay it, he had just com- 
pleted that work, when the report of a rifle rang through the 
forest, and the bullet passed through the crown of his coon-skin 
cap, scarceh' missing his head. 

Snatching up his rifle and the recking deerskin, he sped 
down the valley, towards the fort. Reaching Hacker's Creek 
proper, the trail left the lowlands and striking the hill to the right, 
passed around the head of a small stream known as Redlick Run, 
and along the meandering ridge between Hacker's Creek and 
Jesse's Run. Hughes did not slacken his pace until he reached 
the low gap in the ridge where Mr. Eben Post now lives. Here 
the woods were open, and he paused and glanced back over the 
trail. A quarter of a mile away three Indians were racing down 
the slope in hot pursuit. A ver\' large warrior was in the lead. It 
was at this point in the race that Hughes first noticed that he was 
carrying the deerskin, showing that under certain circumstances 
the bravest may suflfer from excitement and panic. The first 
impulse of Hughes was to secrete himself and shoot the big Indian 
when he came within range, for he felt he had nothing to fear from 
the remaining two. Being much niore fleet of foot he could have 
reloaded and shot them at his leisure; for Jesse Hughes like his 
great contemporary, Lewis Wetzel, could load his rifle while 

(26) See page 445. 

132 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

running at full speed. This, however, was not an unusual feat 
among the Virginia bordermen. But fearing that the report of 
his rifle might draw others to the chase, and that he would be 
intercepted before he could reach the fort, he let discretion be 
the better part of valor, and again fled before his rapidly advancing 
pursuers. Out the long ridge like a hounded stag the scout 
stretched himself to the trail, followed by the grim avengers of a 
hundred wrongs. 

"Fate judges of the rapid strife; 
The forfeit, death — the prize is life." 

There were yet several miles to be covered before the fugitive 
could hope to reach a refuge, and if other Indians should be lurk- 
ing along the path his chances of escape were precarious in the 
extreme. Never before, perhaps, had the wonderful physical 
endurance of the veteran scout been put to such a test; and like 
the wild Seri, impervious to fatigue, onward he sped; and onward 
came his relentless pursuers. The hound-like tirelessness of the 
borderman enabled him to maintain the distance that was early 
established between him and the Indians. He gained the fort in 
safety, carrying the deerskin that had so nearly cost him his life. 

The distance covered in this race for life was no less than nine 
miles, and it was over ground so rough that it must have taxed 
the endurance of the participants to the utmost. The course 
followed was an old Indian trail, which was also used as a bridle 
path by the pioneers. Few such races were run, even on the 
frontiers, and perhaps no other was so long and persistent; and 
winning it would alone entitle Jesse Hughes to a high rank in 
that host of pioneers who achieved fame on the border. 


In 1781, \vc tind thai Jesse Hughes and his brother Elias 
were members of Colonel Lowther's Compan\\ which went in 
pursuit of the Indians who had captured Mrs. Alexander Roney 
and her son, and Daniel Dougherty, all of Leading Creek, Tygart's 
\'alle\-. The history of this foray and the incidents immediately 
preceding the connection of Jesse Hughes therewith, I quote from 
f Cithers: (1) 

'"In the same montli (April), as some men were rcluriiiiig Id Cheat Ri\er 
from Clarksburg (where they had been to obtain certificates of settlement rights 
to their lands, from the commissioners appointed to adjust land claims in the 
counties of Ohio, Youghioghany and Monongalia) they, after having crossed the 
X'alley River, were encountered by a large party of Indians, and John Manear, 
Daniel Cameron and a Mr. Cooper were killed — the others effected their escape 
with difficulty. 

"The sa\-agcs then mo\'ed on towards Cheat, but meeting with James Brown 
and Stephen Radcliff, and not being able to kill or take them, they changed their 
course, and passing over Leading creek (in Tygarts V'alley), nearly destroyed the 
whole settlement. They there killed .Alexander Roney, Mrs. Dougherty, Mrs. 
Hornbeck, and her children, Mrs. Buffington and her children, and many others; 
and made prisoners, Mrs. Roney and her son, and Daniel Dougherty. Jonathan 
Buffington and Benjamin Hornbeck succeeded in making their escape and carried 
the doleful tidings to I-'riend's and Wilson's forts. Col. Wilson immediately 
raised a company of men and proceeding to Leading Creek, found the settlement 
without inhabitants and the houses nearly all burned. He then pursued after 
the sa\ages, but not coming up with them as soon as was expected, the men became 
fearful of the consequences which might result to their own families, b)- reason 
of this abstraction of their defense, provided other Indians were to attack them, 
and insisted on their returning. On the second day of the pursuit it was agreed 
that a majority of the company should decide whether they were to proceed farther 
or not. Joseph Friend, Richard Kettle, Alexander West and Col. Wilson were 
the only persons in favor of going on, and they consequently had to return. 

"But though the pursuit was thus abandoned, yet did not the savages get 
"tf with their wonted impunity. When the land claimants, who had been the 
first to encounter this party of Indians, escaped from them, they fled back to 
Clarksburg, and gave the alarm. This was quickly communicated to the other 
settlements, and spies were sent out to watch for the enemy. By some of these, 
the savages were discovered on the West Fork, near the mouth of Isaac's creek, 
and intelligence of it was immediately carried to the forts. Col. Lowther collected 
a company of men, and going in pursuit, came in \iew of their encampment, 
awhile before night, on a branch of Hughes' River, ever since known as Indian 
Creek. Jesse and Elias Hughes — acti\c, intrepid and \igilant men — were left to 

(1) See page 446. 

134 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

watch the movements of the savages, while the remainder retired a small distance 
to refresh themselves, and prepare to attack them in the morning. 

"Before day Col. Lowther arranged his men in order of attack, and when it 
became light, on the preconcerted signal being given, a general lire was poured in 
upon them. Five of the savages fell dead and the others fled leaving at their 
fires, all their shot bags and plunder, and all their guns, except one. Upon going 
to their camp, it was found that one of the prisoners (a son of Alexander Roney 
who had been killed in the Leading creek massacre) was among the slain. Every 
care had been taken to guard against such an occurrence, and he was the only 
one of the captives who sustained any injury from the fire of the whites. 

"In consequence of information received from the prisoners who were retaken 
(that a larger party of Indians was expected hourly to come up), Col. Lowther 
deemed it prudent not to go in pursuit of those who had fled, and collecting the 
plunder which the savages had left, catching the horses which they had stolen, 
and having buried young Roney, the party set out on its return march home — 
highly gratified at the success which had crowned their exertions to punish their 
untiring foe." 

To the foregoing, Withers adds the following note: 

"As soon as the fire was opened upon the Indians, Mrs. Roney (one of the 
prisoners) ran towards the whites rejoicing at the prospect of deliverance, and 
exclaiming, 'I am Ellick Roney's wife, of the Valley, I am Ellick Roney's wife, of 
the Valley, and a pretty little woman too, if I was well dressed.' The poor woman 
ignorant of the fact that her son was weltering in his own gore, and forgetting for 
an instant that her husband had been so recently killed, seemed intent only on 
her own deliverance from the savage captors. 

"Another of the captives, Daniel Dougherty, being tied down, and unable 
to move, was discovered by the whites as they rushed towards the camp. Fearing 
that he might be one of the enemy and do them some injury if they advanced, 
one of the men, stopping, demanded who he was. Benumbed with cold, and 
discomposed by the sudden firing of the whites, he could not render his Irish dialect 
intelligible to them. The white man raised his gun and directed it towards him, 
calling aloud, that if he did not make known who he was, he should blow a ball 
through him, let him be white man or Indian. Fear supplying him with energy, 
Dougherty exclaimed, 'Loord Jasus! and am I to be killed by white people at last!' 
He was heard by Col. Lowther and his life saved." 

Captain William White and John Cutright were with Colonel 
Lowther on this occasion. Christopher Cutright, son of John, 
gave me the following particulars of the affair, as received from 
his father. 

The whites discovered the Indians in camp in the evening, 
and they hid in a ravine until the next morning. When it was 
about daylight, Mrs. Roney arose and replenished the fire, and at 
that moment the whites opened fire on the Indians, killing and 
mortally wounding seven of their number. Young Roney was 

Border Settlers oi Xokthwestern \ ircixia 135 

killed, and Dougherty, in his frantic attempts to convey to the 
attacking party his identity, exclaimed, '^Cant ye sae that Fm a 
white mon?'^ When the whites rushed upon the camp, one of the 
Indians struggling in the agonies of death was recognized as 
Captain Bull, the founder of Bull Town on the Little Kanawha. 
Jesse Hughes seized the dying chieftain and dragged him through 
the camp hre so recently replenished by Mrs. Roney, "^chile he 
tvas yet kicking.''' Not satisfied with this, he then tla\-ed from the 
thigh of the dead chieftain pieces of skin, with whicli he repaired 
his own moccasins which had become badl\- worn during the pur- 
suit. (2) "Upon the return of the company to the settlements," 
said Mr. Cutright, "Hughes, as a joke, threw his moccasins with 
their ghastly patches into my mother's lap." 

The body of young Roney was sunk in the river, or creek, 
near the scene of his death, which occurred close where the Indian 
Creek schoolhouse now stands. 

Colonel Lowther was accompanied on this expedition by one 
of his sons, a lad about sixteen years old, who assisted in the attack 
on the Indian camp and its subsequent massacre. Boys of those 
days had early schooling in the savage warfare of the border. (3) 

On the evening before the Leading Creek settlement was 
destroyed, Alexander West was at Friend's Fort. Late in the 
evening. West and Joseph Friend were sitting on the porch and 
saw what West declared to be an Indian skulking near the fort. 
West started to get his gun, but Friend detained him and declared 
the figure to be one of his "yaller boys." "Yaller boy the mis- 
chief!" exclaimed West, "It's an Injun." West and Friend had 
each a very fierce dog, and not altogether satisfied as to the iden- 
tity of the stranger, they attempted to set them on the slave boy 
or Indian. But the dogs flew at each other, and during the con- 
fusion that ensued, and while the men were engaged in separating 
the dogs, the unknown person whose mysterious movements had 
caused the uproar vanished into the nearby forest, and night com- 
ing on, the pursuit was abandoned. 

West ever alert and cautious, wished to alarm the settlers 
that night, but Friend insisted there was no danger and that they 
wait until morning. West reluctantly acquiesced. That night 
or early the next morning occurred the Leading Creek massacre. 
Six families were destroyed. When the news of the disaster 
reached West he became furious, and condemned himself for not 

(2) Sec page 446. (3) p. 446. 


h5 o' 




















:^S -5 

s s s -« -^ 

-fe ^, 











f^ T s ^ 



"S S f~H 


g ^ -o to 

'^ J^ 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \'irci\i.\ 137 

acting upon his own judgnienl. If he had, it is probable that the 
tragedy would have been averted. 

From the date of the Leading Creek massacre and the killing 
of Captain Bull cm Indian Creek, to 1787, a period of six years, no 
mention is made of Hughes by the historians of his time. 

In 1787, we find the Indians again in the Hacker's Creek 
settlement. The eldest daughter of Jesse Hughes was taken cap- 
tive, and several of the settlers were killed. This tragedy was 
only the sequel of that which directly preceded it. and so closely 
are the incidents connected that 1 gi\e them both as set out by 
Withers. (4) 

"In September of this year, a party of Indians were discovered in the act 
of catching some horses on the West Fork above Clarksburg; and a company of 
men led on by Col. Lowther, went immediately in pursuit of them. On the third 
night the Indians and whites, unknown to each other, encamped not far apart; 
and in the morning the fires of the latter being discovered by Elias Hughes, the 
detachment which was accompanying him fired upon the camp, and one of the 
sa\'agcs fell. Tlic remainder taking to tlii.'hl, one of them passed near to where 
Col. Lowther and the other men were, and the Colonel firing at him as he ran, 
the ball entering at his shoulder, perforated him and he fell. The horses and 
plunder which had been taken by the savages, were then collected by the whites, 
and they commenced their return home, in the confidence of false security. They 
had not proceeded far, when two guns were unexpectedly fired at them, and John 
Bonnett fell, pierced through the body. He died before he reached home. (5) 

"The Indians never tliought the whites justifiable in flying to arms to punish 
liicni for acts mereh' of rapine. They felt authorized to levy contributions of 
tliis sort, whenever an occasion ser\ed, \icwing property thus acquired as (to use 
their own expression) the 'only rent which (6) they received for their lands;' and 
if when detected in secretly exacting them, their blood paid the penalty, they were 
sure to retaliate with tenfold fury, on the first favorable opportunity. The murder 
of these two Indians by Hughes and Lowther was soon followed by acts of retribu- 
tion which are believed to have been, at least immediately, produced by them. 

"On the 5th of December, a party of Indians and one white man (Leonard 
Schoolcraft) came into the settlement on Hacker's Creek, and meeting with a 
daughter of Jesse Hughes, took her prisoner. Passing on, they came upon 
E. \\ est, Scnr., carrjang some fodder to the stable, and taking him likewise 
captive, carried him to where Hughes' daughter had been left in charge of some 
of their party. — Here the old gentleman fell upon his knees and expressed a 
fervent wish that they would not deal harshly by liini. His petition was 
answered by a stroke of the tomahawk and he fell dead. 

"They then went to the house of Edmund W'est, Jun., where were Mrs. West 
and her sister (a girl of eleven years old, daughter of John Hacker) and a lad of 
twelve, a brother of West. Forcing open the door, Schoolcraft and two of the 
savages entered, and one of them immediately tomahawked Mrs. West. The 
boy was taking some corn from under the bed, — he was drawn out h\- the feet and 

(4) See page 446. (5) p. 446. (6) p. 446. 

138 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

the tomahawk sank twice in his forehead, directly above each eye. The girl was 
standing behind the door. One of the savages approached and aimed at her a blow. 
She tried to evade it, but it struck on the side of her neck, though not sufHcient 
force to knock her down. She fell however, and lay as if killed. Thinking their 
work of death accomplished here, they took from the press some milk, butter and 
bread, placed it on the table, and deliberately sat down to eat, — the little girl 
observing all that passed, in silent stillness. When they had satisfied their hunger, 
they arose, scalped the woman and boy, plundered the houses — even emptying the 
feathers to carry off the ticking, — and departed, dragging the little girl by the 
hair, forty or fifty yards from the house. They then threw her over the fence, and 
scalped her; but as she evinced symptoms of life, Schoolcraft observed 'that is not 
enough', when immediately one of the savages thrust a knife into her side, and they 
left her. Fortunately the point of the knife came in contact with a rib and did 
not injure her much. 

"Old Mrs. West and her two daughters, who were alone when the old gentle- 
man was taken, became uneasy that he did not return; and fearing that he had 
fallen into the hands of savages (as they could not otherwise account for his absence), 
they left the house and went to Alexander West's, who was then on a hunting 
expedition with his brother Edmund. They told of the absence of old Mr. West 
and their fears for his fate; and as there was no man here, they went over to Jesse 
Hughes' who was himself uneasy that his daughter did not come home. Upon 
hearing that West too was missing, he did not doubt but that both had fallen into 
the hands of the Indians; and knowing of the absence from home of Edmund 
West, Jun., he deemed it advisable to apprise his wife of danger, and remove her 
to his house. For this purpose and accompanied by Mrs. West's two daughters^ 
he went on. On entering the door, the tale of destruction which had been done 
there was soon told in part. Mrs. West and the lad lay weltering in their blood 
but not yet dead. The sight overpowered the girls, and Hughes had to carry 
them off. Seeing that the savages had but just left them, and aware of the danger 
which would attend any attempt to move out and give the alarm that night, 
Hughes guarded his own house until day, when he spread the sorrowful intelligence, 
and a company were collected to ascertain the extent of the mischief and try to. 
find those who were known to be missing. 

"Young West was found, — standing in the creek about a mile from where he 
had been tomahawked. The brains were oozing from his head, yet he survived 
in extreme suffering for three days. Old Mr. West was found in the field where- 
he had been tomahawked. Mrs. West was in the house; she probably lived but 
a few minutes after Hughes and her sisters-in-law had left there. — The little girl' 
(Hacker's daughter) was in bed at the house of old Mr. West. She related the 
history of the transactions at Edmund West's, Jun., and said that she went to- 
sleep when thrown over the fence and was awakened by the scalping. After she 
had been stabbed at the suggestion of Schoolcraft and left, she tried to recross. 
the fence to the house, but as she was climbing up, again went to sleep and fell 
back. She then walked into the woods, sheltered herself as well as she could in 
the top of a fallen tree, and remained there until the cocks crew in the morning. 

"Remembering that there was no person left alive at the house of her sister 
awhile before day she proceeded to old Mr. West's. She found no person at home, 
the fire nearly out, but the hearth warm and she laid down on it. The heat pro- 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \ irgima 139 

duced a sickly feeling, which caused her to get up and go to the bed, in which 
she was found. — She recovered, grew up, was married, gave birth to ten children, 
and died, as was believed, of an affection of the head, occasioned by the wound 
she received that night. Hughes' daughter was ransomed by her father the next 
year, and is yet living in sight of the theatre of those savage enormities." 

Jesse Hughes and W illiani Powers were also on the expedition 
with Colonel Lowther when Bunnell was killed, lliey followed 
the Indians to the Lilllc Kanawha Ri\er, where ihe two Indians 
were slain. Bonneii, in utter disregard of W est's remonstrance, 
had stepped aside from ihe parl\' to a spring and had knelt there 
to get a drink. As he rose, he received the fatal shot. The 
return march of ihe parly was necessarily slow, encumbered with 
a dying man. It is not likely that Bonnett was buried any great 
distance from where he was shot. 

Mr. Levi Bond heard his grandfather, \\ illiam Powers, tell 
the incidents of this tragedy as follows: Three of the Indians 
were killed. When they were fired upon in camp, only one of 
those who escaped had a gun. The whites felt that on their 
retreat some one of their number would be shot by this Indian, 
and that the victim would in all probability be the one in lead of 
the party. Bonnett declared that he had just as well die as any 
of them and stepped to the front. Powers was placed at some 
distance in the rear, to guard against pursuit. When he heard the 
gun report, he knew that some one of their party had been lired 
upon, and possibly killed. He saw the fleeing Indian, but at too 
great a distance for a shot, so he gave chase. Powers was a swift 
runner and gained on the warrior, who resorting to strategy, 
dodged and hid from his enemy. After peace was declared, an 
Indian told of his shooting the white man at the head of the party, 
and that he in turn was pursued by a "little white devil" and 
barely escaped. Powers said, that in this expedition, as in all 
others, Jesse Hughes led in the trailing. 

The daughter of Hughes, who was captured at the time of 
the West tragedy, was his eldest child, Martha. She was then 
fourteen years old. \\ hen captured she was returning home from 
the house of John Hacker, where she had gone to get a pup. 
Hacker lived about four miles up the creek from where Hughes 
lived. If'ithers says she was "ransomed by her father the next 
year,'' but as a substance of fact she did not return home until 
1790 and was a prisoner two years and nine months. Her father 

140 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

secured her release at Sandusky Plains after the treaty of Fort 
Harmer, January 9, 1789, which made it possible to secure the 
release of Indian captives. 

There is a tradition current among Jesse's descendants in 
Jackson County, West Virginia, to the effect that another daughter, 
Nancy, was captured by the Indians and held in captivity three 
years. In this short time she became thoroughly Indianized, and 
her father failed to recognize her when he went to bring her home. 
Personal decoration, paint, rings on every finger and in her lip, a 
complete Indian dress, so changed her appearance that only the 
closest questioning in reference to the time and place of her cap- 
ture enabled Hughes to determine her identity. This is merely 
a distorted and fanciful version of Martha's capture. Hughes 
recognized her as soon as he caught sight of her in the Indian 

The name of the Hacker girl, who figured in this tragedy was 
Mary. Tradition says that she was stabbed seven times by an 
Indian, who was afterwards killed; his body ripped open, filled 
with sand and sunk in Hacker's Creek on the David Smith farm. 
Mary Hacker married a Mr. Wolf and settled on Wolf's Run in 
Lewis County. She never fully recovered from the effects of the 
scalping and her death was caused from a nasal hemorrhage. 

Barring a few burnings at the stake, there is hardly a more 
pathetic tragedy in the annals of the border wars than the toma- 
hawking at West's. The despairing appeal of the old man, who 
with advancing age, had lost much of the nerve and energy of 
hardy manhood, the utter helplessness of Mrs.. West, the pulling 
from beneath the bed of the little boy and his brutal tomahawking, 
the ineffectual attempt of the little girl at concealment and her 
instinctive efforts to evade the murderous blow — all this makes 
a scene of pathetic woe. The long night of agony for the two 
little children cannot be fully imagined. Contemplation of the 
boy wandering aimlessly through the icy waters of the creek, with 
skull bared from scalping, his brains oozing from the ghastly 
wounds in his forehead, and chilled by the cold winds of December, 
is most heartrending. The little girl dragged by the hair, faUing 
to "sleep" when thrown over the fence, her awakening from the 
excruciating torture of the process of scalping, the relentless 
thrust of the murderous knife, the feeble and unsuccessful attempt 
to reach the house, the going to "sleep" the second time, the piteous 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \ irginia 


turning to the solitude of the woods for shelter, the arrival at the 
house and curling down upon the warm hearth, the sensation of 
sickness and the climhiiig inld the lonely bed make up a story 
that fills the heart with sadness. It certainly must have been 
anvthing but comforting to Colonel Lowther, Elias Hughes and 
their followers, if thc\- realized the situation, to reflect that to 

The Historic Barn on the Edmund West, Sr., Homestead 
(Queen, 1894) 

their o\-er-zeal in protecting a few miserable horses by shooting 
two fleeing Indians, was this awful tragedy due. And the greatest 
pity of all, retaliatory vengeance fell upon the innocent and 

The Edmund West, Sr., homestead was covered by a grant 
issued in 1781 to "Edmund West, 400 acres on Hacker's Creek, 
adjoining lands of William Ratcliff, including his settlement made 
in 1773." This was the present Straley farm, about one mile 
above Jane I,ew. The old barn, of which a cut is given, is still 
standing. The left iTjom, or left end of this barn, was built by 
Edmund \\ est, Sr., and is doubtless the stable referred to by 
Withers, where Mr. West was captured while "carrying fodder." 

Tradition sa}s that West's Fort was built by Edmund West's, 
Sr., two sons, Alexander and Edmund, Jr. This I believe to be 
a mistake. According to Withers, (7) the fort was standing in 
1778. At that time Alexander West was but eighteen \-cars old, 
and there is e\'er\' reason to belie\e that the fort was built at the 

(7) See page 447. 

142 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

breaking out of Indian iiostilities in 1774. Summing up the evi- 
dence at hand, Edmund West, Sr., was the builder of West's Fort, 

Charles West, mentioned by Withers^ (8) was also a son of 
Edmund West, Sr. The elder West and several of his family are 
buried near the old fort. 

The appellation, "West's Fort" should never have been 
changed. The village that sprang up there was, in after years, 
known as "McWhorter's Mills." In 1829, Fields McWhorter 
was appointed Postmaster at McWhorter's Mills. (9) At a later 
day, Lewis Maxwell, a wealthy bachelor, who owned large tracts 
of realty in the immediate vicinity, contrived to have the name 
changed to Its present form, Ja7ie Lew, in honor of his mother, 
whose maiden name was Jane Lewis. This name is unhistoric 
and inappropriate. 

Alexander West, who figured so prominently in the early 
history of Hacker's Creek, was born in Aconach County, Virginia, 
August 11, 1760. He came with his father, Edmund West, Sr., 
to Hacker's Creek just prior to Dunmore's War. In May, 1777, 
and before he was yet seventeen years old, he enlisted in Capt. 
James Booth's Company of Rangers and Spies, and served thirteen 
months as scout In (then) Monongalia County, Virginia. Before 
the term of enlistment had expired, Capt. Booth was killed by 
Indians near his own house on Booth's Creek, consequently none of 
the company w^ere officially discharged. 

In May, 1781, Alexander West volunteered in Capt. George 
Jackson's Company, which marched to Fort Pitt and joined Gen- 
eral George Rogers Clark in his attempted expedition against 
Detroit. It had been Clark's Intention to leave Fort Pitt in flat, 
boats for the Falls of the Ohio about the middle of June, 1881, but 
disappointment in procuring men and supplies retarded the 

The invasion of Virginia by Lord Cornwallis prevented the 
acquisition of Virginia State troops as promised, and the success 
of the expedition eventually devolved upon new volunteers and 
raw levies from the more western counties of Virginia. This sup- 
port, as the sequel shows, was precarious and unreliable. While 
clamorous for the reduction of that Important post, which would 
in a measure insure peace to the harassed border, the settlers 
in the main were averse to engaging in an expedition which would 
take them so far from their homes, which were In constant need 

8) See page 447. (9) p. 447. 

Border Settlers of Xortmwestern \ irgima 143 

of protection. Consequently, accessions to Clark's army came 
in slowlv. Drafts upon the se\-eral counties for men proved futile. 
The boundary line dispute between \'irginia and Pennsylvania, 
was a prime hindrance to the acquisition of troops, cither by 
enlistment or tlrafting. Gen. Clark and his methods were bitterly 
opposed b}- the Pennsylvania adherents. They impugned his 
right to forcibly take men from the controverted territory; and in 
some instances armed resistance was narrowly averted. The 
\'irginia Volunteer Militia was not susceptible to strict military 
discipline, and could be held together only by "ties of confidence 
and affection to their leader." (10) 

It was doubtless in the hope to escape these drafts, made on 
the ninth of the preceding February, that the settlers of Monon- 
galia and Ohio Counties engaged in an expedition against the 
friendly Moravian towns on the Muskingum in the Spring of 
1781. (11) 

r^inalh-, (Jeneral Clark embarked with onl\- four hundred 
men instead of two thousand as first intended. On the fourth of 
August, he was at Fort Henry, where he expected to be joined by 
one thousand militia from the East of the mountains. Only two 
hundred and fifty of this troop materialized, and half of these 
deserted after drawing a supply of guns, blankets and clothing. 
Those remaining were in a state of mutiny for several days. The 
expedition was abandoned at the Falls of the Ohio, where after 
a service of seven months West received a discharge signed by 
Ceneral Clark, and he returned home. 

In his declaration for pension, made September 4, 1832, West 
states that his military discharge [paper] was torn to pieces by the 
Indians sometime in 1785, at which time they killed his father, 
brother and brother's wife and destroyed all their papers, ffltliers 
states that the West tragedy occurred December 5, 1787. This 
is evidenth- correct, for Edmund West. Jr., and Ann Hacker were 
not married until 1787, the year that the young wife was killed. 

When applying for pension, Alexander West was vouched for 
by David W. Sleeth and Jacob Bush, and afterwards by John 
Talbot (clergyman) and Daniel Stringer. On July 18, 1833, he 
was granted a pension of ^66.00 per annum. He also applied for 
"bounty lands" granted b}- \'irginia to her state troops, but his 
claim was refused on the grounds that he had only served seven 
months in the military. 

(10) Sec page 447. (11) p. 447. 

144 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

In the Virginia State Library, Richmond, is preserved the 
following endorsements to West's claim for bounty land: 

"Endorsed. H. E. West and Alex. West, Rep. 29, Jan. 1833. March S, 
1833. Submitted to the council of State & advice required, John Floyd. Rejected 
March 24, 1833, J. F. 

"Harrison County! 

^r ^ TO wit: 

Virginia J 

"This day Christopher Nutter appeared before Edward Stewart, a Justice 
of the Peace in and for Harrison County, and made Oath that Alexander West, 
a resident of Lewis- County, volunteered under Capt. George Jackson sometime 
in May in the year 1781 and marched to fort Pitt. Was there attached to the 

army commanded by Gen. Clark; from fort Pitt we descended the Ohio 

River to the falls thereof and served the whole campaign or the term of seven 

"Given under my hand this 21st day of November, 1832. 

Christopher Nutter 

"Sworn to before me this day and year above written. 

Edward Stewart, J. P." 

"Lewis County! 
l\T 1 f TO wit: 

[VirginiaJ J 

"This day Jacob Bush appeared before John McWhorter, a Justice of the 
Peace in and for said county of Lewis, and made oath that,Alexander West, a resi- 
dent of the said county, volunteered under the command of Capt. George Jackson 
some time in May in the year 1781, in the county of Monongalia then, but now 
the county of Lewis, and marched in company with this affiant to fort Pitt. Was 

there attached to the army commanded by Genl. Clark. From fort Pitt 

we descended the Ohio river in boats to the falls thereof and served the whole 
Campaign under Genl. Clark, or the term of seven months. Given under my hand 
this 23rd day of November in the year 1832. 

Jacob X Bush. 
"Sworn to before me this day & year above written. 

John A/JcWhorter." 

I have been unable to find anything further touching West's 
bounty land claim. 

Alexander West was married twice, but no record of his first 
marriage has been found. His second wife was Mary Straley. 
They were married January 24, 1796, by Joseph Cheuront. They 
settled near the home of West's father. 

When the Baptist church on Broad Run, Lewis County^ 
was organized, W'est became a charter member. He was buried 
there, his death occurring in June, 1834. On April 12, 1851, a 

BoRDFR Settlers of Northwestern N'ircinia 


pension certificate was issued to his widow for }^66.{X) a \'ear from 
March 4, 1848. 

Regarding the personal appearance of West, Editor Thzvaites 
gives the following note: 

"Alexander West was prominent as a frontier scout. Rev. J. M. McWliorter, 
who saw him frequently, gives this description of him: '.\ tall, spare-built man, 
very erect, strong, lithe, and active; dark-skinned, prominent Roman nose, black 
hair, very keen eyes; not handsome, rather raw-boned, but with an air and mien 
that commanded the attention and respect of those with whom he associated. 
Never aggressive, he lifted his arm against the Indians only in time of war.' West 
died in 1S34. His house of hewed logs is, with its large barn, still standing and 
occupied by his relatives, about a mile east of the site of West's Fort." (12) 

Bakn" HuiLr HY Alkxan'dkr Wkst 
Photographed March, 1910 

Ilacker^s Creek is seen on the right. 

In addition to the foregoing, my father writes me under date 
June l'^, 1899. "Some things that occurred when I was quite 
young were so vividly impressed upon my mind that time has 
never erased them; none inore so than the sight of Alexander West. 
Long frame, broad across the shoulders, muscular with no surplus 
flesh. He wore the old-fashioned plain blue linse\- hunting shirt, 
cape and belt and fringed in front of same color. His vest and 
pantaloons were of like rnatcrial and he wore a black wool hat and 
moccasins. I remember the color of the horse that he rode. He 
and his wife stopped with n\\ parents for dinner when on their 

(12) See page 44S. 

146 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

way home from church held in an old log school house, where I 
got my first schooling. It was built before my earliest recollec- 
tion. West was very fleet-footed and but few could outstrip 

The log barn built by Alexander West is still standing, but 
his house, which stood on the present site of the residence of the 
late Lyman Straley, was torn down several years ago. 

One Alexander West, was, in 1781, granted a certificate for 
"400 acres on the head of Brown's Creek, adjoining land claimed 
by Charles Wolf, to include his settlement made in 1772, with a 
preemption for 1000 acres adjoining." 

If this settler was Alexander West the scout, he was, at the 
time of this "settlement," but twelve years old; which is not 
improbable. Many of these early "settlements" and "improve- 
ments" were made by mere boys, who were grown before it was 
possible to secure titles to homesteads on the western waters. 

The earliest census of Virginia shows but one Alexander 
West in Monongalia County. In 1782 his family consisted of 
three; and in 1785 it numbered five persons. (13) 

(13) See page 448. 


The histor\- of the Schoolcraft family, of u hich Leonard, wlio 
figured in the West traged)' was a member, forms a pathetic page. 

It has been general!)' supposed that but one family of this 
name settled on the waters of the Upper Alonongahela. This is 
an error, as evidenced b\- the record of homestead entries. In 
1781, John Schoolcraft was granted a certificate for "400 acres 
on Stone Coal Run [creek] adjoining lands of Henry Flesher, to 
include his settlement made in 1775." In the same \'ear, James 
Schoolcraft obtained certificate for "400 acres on the main fork 
of Fink Run, adjoining lands of John Schoolcraft, to include his 
settlement made in 1774." A certificate was also granted to 
Matthew Schoolcraft for "400 acres on Land Fork [evidently 
Sand Fork, in Lewis County] of the Monongahela, to include his 
settlement made in 1774." 

Austin Schoolcraft was killed b}' Indians near the iiuckhan- 
non Fort in 1780, and his niece taken captive. (1) 

Hie first notice that we have of the name is when John 
Schoolcraft and Jesse Hughes came in close contact with the 
Indians who killed Mrs. Freeman on Hacker's Creek in 1778. (2) 
The famih' of wliich John was the head, came from central New 
York, (3) and is supposed to have settled on Fink's Run, near 
the Buckhannon Fort, in 1774 or 1775. This supposition is 
strengthened by the knowledge that he owned, or claimed hmd 
on that stream, and that he was identified with the Buckhannon 
Fort. But evidently he was the same Schoolcraft who made the 
homestead entry adjoining the lands of Henry Flesher. 

Fate seems to have been against this devoted famil\-. In 
the spring of 1779, Leonard, a son sixteen years of age, was cap- 
tured by the Indians near Ikickhannon I'Ort and carried into 
capti\'it\-. In the autumn of the same year, the Indians surprised 
and killed Mrs. Schoolcraft and eight of her children, and carried 
two of the small bo\s away captives. In April, 17S1, the last of 
the children, three boys, Matthias, Simon and Michael, visited a 
pigeon roost on Stone Coal Creek, where passenger pigeons con- 
gregated in vast numbers. (4) 4'his was, perhaps, on a small 
stream, known as "Pigeon Rocjst," which, however, as claimed 

(1) See pat'c 44S. (2) p. 44S. (3) p. 44,s. (4) p. 448. 

148 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

by a local resident, did not acquire its name until during the Civil 
War. While returning to the fort, they were fired upon by the 
Indians; Matthias was killed, and the other two were made prison- 
ers. (5) Thus, within two years, this family of sixteen was entirely 
broken up. Nine of the children and the mother were killed, five 
boys were swept into captivity, while the father disappeared from 
the annals of the border. (6) There were many such instances on 
the frontier, and these were in a measure responsible for such 
characters as Jesse Hughes, William White, John Outright, Lewis 
Wetzel and many others. According to Withers, Leonard "turned 
renegade," and eight years after his capture we find him in the 
Hacker's Creek settlement in the role of an Indian warrior. Pris- 
oners who returned from the Indian country reported that three 
of the brothers had turned Indian and took part in the forays 
against the settlers. (7) 

A local tradition worthy of credence accounts for the two 
brothers, John and Jacob, so completely lost sight of. They 
were carried away when the family was massacred and were held 
in captivity until nearly grown. Then they escaped under the 
following circumstances: 

The lads took kindly to their forest life and often accom- 
panied the Indians in their hunting expeditions. In time they 
were entrusted with guns and a limited amount of ammunition, 
for which they were required to account at the close of each day's 
hunt. After determining fully to attempt an escape they con- 
trived occasionally to conceal a small quantity of ammunition. 
The vigilance of the Indians was such that after several weeks they 
had only a few bullets and charges of powder cached. To this 
they added a supply of jerk, and one morning they left the Indian 
encampment for the ostensible day's hunt, but going in a direction 
opposite to their cache, and intended retreat. They soon changed 
their course and after securing their hoarded supplies, set out on 
their long journey to the settlements, following a well-beaten 
Indian trail. All that day and night was spent in travel. The 
following morning found the fugitives so fatigued that rest was 
a necessity. That their escape had been discovered and they 
were being pursued was obvious, but the wary lads baffled their 
enemies by clever stratagem. 

With an apparent design of concealing their trail, they entered 
a stream along which they had been traveling, and wading up its 

(5) See page 448. (6) p. 448. (7) p. 449. 

Border Settlers oi Nurhiwestern \ ir(,ima 149 

bed for some distance, then doubled and carefully passed down 
the creek and gained the shore far below where they had left it. 
In traveling up the stream they were careful to leave an occasional 
light footprint, or other signs by which they could be trailed, hut 
when retracing they avoided everything whereby the ruse might 
be detected. 

In a secluded place, they slept for several hours; then moved 
farther and secreted themselves in a cavern in a bluff commanding 
a good view of the trail, where the_\' kept constanth' on the look- 
out. Towards sundown, a small band of Indians passed in pur- 
suit. The following evening, the baffled warriors repassed on 
their return home. That night the b()\-s continued their flight, 
making a detour and striking the trail several miles ahead. Dur- 
ing their entire journey they exercised the greatest caution, never 
camping near the path, nor did they kill any game. 

In due time, they reached one of the settlements, supposedly 
\\ est's Fort. As they approached, they narrowly escaped being 
hred upon by some of the settlers who mistook them for Indians. 
The lads held their reversed guns aloft and made other demonstra- 
tions of peace, when they were received. They made known the 
story of their captivit\' and escape, and afterwards proceeded to 
the W'appatomaka, where it seems that their father had gone some- 
time after the destruction of his family. 

Nothing is known of John after his return from captivit)-. 
Leonard, Simon and jMichael always remained with the Indians. 

Jacob married a Miss Parsons, a daughter of Charles Parsons, 
who was killed b}' Indians while descending Shade River in Ohio. 
Their children were Aaron, James, John, Alary, Ann and Permelia. 
.Aaron settled in Gilmer County, (West) \'irginia, and was a noted 
hunter. He killed the last wolf seen in that region. This wolf, a 
lonely survivor of his race, had taken refuge in a secluded retreat 
known as "The Devil's Den," and had succeeded in eluding the 
best hunters and dogs of the surrounding countr\\ Schoolcraft 
eventually outwitted the wary animal and took his scalp. 

My father, when a boy and carrying the mail through Gilmer 
County in the early forties, witnessed a tight between this nimrod's 
two dogs and a yearling bear; which, being chased, had taken 
refuge in a tree. Schoolcraft, who was hunting his cattle, was 
without a gun, and he struck bruin with a rock, causing him to 
drop to the ground where he was immediateh' set upon hv tiie 

150 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

dogs. They were well trained and knew their business. One 
seized the bear by the side of the head while the other fastened 
onto its ham; holding themselves in such position that the quarry 
could get at them with neither tooth nor paw. But Schoolcraft 
fearing that the bear might tear loose and disable the dogs, dis- 
patched it with his knife. Aaron Schoolcraft moved to Spruce 
Creek, Ritchie County (West), Virginia, in 1852. 

There was a William Schoolcraft on the Upper West Fork 
River in an early day. He was a son of one of the pioneer School- 
crafts, and was a schoolteacher and a noted hunter. He had been 
trained in the superstitions of the border, and told weird stories 
of the woods. One was his own experience with the ''''Phantom 
DeerT This ghostly denizen of the Monongahela and Little Kan- 
awha wilderness had often been seen and unwittingly fired at by the 
old hunters. I am indebted to Mr. John Strange Hall for the story. 

Mr. Schoolcraft stated that while hunting one day, he saw 
a large buck standing on a point, or narrow ridge, beyond a deep 
gulch that separated him from it. The range was long, but there 
was no way of a closer approach without alarming the game. The 
hunter was a dead shot, and determined to fire from where he 
stood. He did so, and was surprised to find that the deer remained 
motionless. He repeated the shot, with the same result. Cha- 
grined at his failure, he again took careful and deliberate aim, and 
at the report of his rifle, the deer vanished. Reloading his gun, 
he went to where the deer had stood, but the most careful search 
failed to reveal any signs of the game. The deep snow lay smooth 
and unbroken by track or trail. Thinking that he might be mis- 
taken in the location, he went back to the place from which he had 
fired, and placing his feet in his former tracks, he could see his 
trail in the snow to where the deer had stood. He now knew that 
he had been firing at the ""Phantom Deer." A strange uncanny 
feeling crept over the hunter; he hastened away, and hunted no 
more that day. (8) 

The following is the declaration of one John Schoolcraft for 
pension as Revolutionary soldier: It covers some of the most 
stirring incidents in the border strife, and I give it unabridged. 

"Lewis County 

"On this 2Sth day of July, 1833, personally appeared in open court before the 
Justice of the County Court of Lewis Co., now sitting, John Schoolcraft a 

(8) See page 449. 

Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 151 

resident of Freeman's Cr., in Lewis Co., V'a., aged 76 years, who being first 
duly sworn, etc. 

"In the month of February near the last of that month in the year 1777, in 
the county of Ohio, he volunteered under Capt. Bilderbock as an Indian spy, and 
from Hollidays Fort he traversed the counties bordering on the Ohio r. from 
Wheeling fort to Ft. Pitt watching the approach of the savage enemy and notify- 
ing the garrisons at Boilings, Hollidays, Wheeling Ft. etc., of threatened danger 
of the Indians, but notwithstanding all the vigilance of the Indian spies, the frontier 
settlements in the counties of Yahogany, Ohio and Monongalia suffered severely 
by the desultory warfare of the Savages. About September 1 of this year a 
body of about 400 Indian warriors lay in ambush near Ft. Wheeling showing 
a few of their warriors only to the Garrison. A few men under Captain Mason and 
Ogal marched out from the Ft. to attack them and soon found themselves enclosed 
by a savage body of Indians and nearly every man perished except Capt. Mason 
and Capt. Ogal, the former of whom was badly wounded. The Indians led on 
by Simon Girty immediately after appeared before the Ft. threatening its 
destruction. Intelligence of this invasion soon reached Holliday and Boilings 
Forts and declarent under command of Capt. Bilderbock and Col. Swearingen 
with a few men who volunteered, embarked in a large canoe and proceeded during 
the night down the Ohio r. About daybreak [they] discovered the little 
village of Wheeling on fire. (9) After precautionary measures disembarked 
and finding the enemy had abandoned the siege proceeded to the ground where 
Mason and Ogal's companies were slain, found them cruelly mangled; buried them 
and soon after returned to Hollidays Ft. and resumed his business of spying 
through the counties aforesaid, which lie continued until Dec. 1, 1777; was then 
dismissed having served nine mos. as an Indian spy under the immediate com- 
mand of Capt. Bilderbock, subject to the orders of Col. Andrea Swearingen. During 
this year's service he became acquainted with Cols. Swearingen, Shepherd, and 
Gane (?) (10) who commanded at Ft. Pitt, and CoJ. David W^illlamson who 
commanded at Ft. Red Stone in Washington Co., Pa. In the spring he believes 
about the last of Feb. or Mar. 1 in the year 1778, he again volunteered as an 
Indian spy at the said Hollidays ft. under the command of the said Bilderbock, 
was engaged during the spring and summer and fall of this year in spying in 
the said country which now compose the counties of Ohio, Brooke and Washing- 
ton. He also made several excursions on the n. w. side of the Ohio. An expedi- 
tion was made under Genl. Mcintosh into the Indian towns of Muskingdon and 
prevented them from carrying on their savage warfare as in the year '77. Genl. 
Mcintosh this year built and garrisoned Ft. Mcintosh at the mouth of Big 
Beaver Cr. and Fort Lawrence [Fort Laurens] on the Tuscarora [Tuscarawas] R., 
the latter visited in the beginning of winter in this year '78 found it garrisoned with 
a few hundred men commanded by Col. Gibson. Toward the last of December '78, 
the danger from incursions of the Indians ceasing, declarent was again dismissed, 
having served nine mos. as an Indian spy as a private. In the month of April, 
1779, he again entered the service of the U. S. as an Indian spy by order of Col. 
Zane under command of Capt. Mason and from the fort at Wheeling spied through 
the whole country bordering on the Ohio, now Ohio, Brooke and Tyler Cos., 
and also on the opposite side of the Ohio, and on Nov. 30, 1779, was dismissed, 
served this year seven months as a private Indian spy. In June 1780 he again 

(9) See page 450. (10) p. 450. 

152 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

volunteered under Capt. Mason, marched from Wheeling to Ft. Pitt, there joined 
the regulars under Capt. Broadhead, was from thence marched up the Allegany 
;r. to its fork, then up the North fork thereof to the Munsie Towns; destroyed 
their towns, their corn, and cut off a party of warriors that were on their march to 
"Westmoreland Co., then retraced their steps to Ft. Pitt, from thence counter- 
inarched to Wheeling where he believes in the last of August a large force under 
•Col. Broadhead, Col. Zane, and Col. Shepherd rendezvoused, soon afterwards 
inarched toward the Indian villages in the forks of Muskingdon River, arrived 
at White [Eyes] plains towards the last of September, here discovered 2 Indians, 
fired at and wounded them, pushed on rapidly to Coshocton, took it by surprise, 
was in consequence of a great rise in the Coshocton prevented from penetrating 
farther into the Indian settlements, destroyed their village and corn and then 
returned to Wheeling where he arrived in November 1780. (11) Served in the 
campaign up the Allegheny to Coshocton under Capt. Mason and Col. Zane, was 
in Nov. discharged, having served five months as a private volunteered in 
the militia of Ohio Co. 

"In the year 1781 declarent moved to Monongalia County. In the spring 
1782 volunteered under Capt. Christopher Carpenter as an Indian spy, ranged 
the country from McCans Ft. on the west fork river, where he was stationed,. 
to the Ohio through the country now composing the counties of Harrison, Lewis, 
Wood and Tyler, was on the last of Nov. 1782, dismissed, having served not 
less than seven mos. as a private Indian spy. 

"In the spring 1783 he was engaged as an Indian spy, served under Capt. 
Carpenter at McCans Ft. until peace was declared and for many years afterwards, 
but which is not necessary here to mention. In the Rev. War he served 
as an Indian spy including the campaign to the Munsie and Coshocton villages 
more than three years. He has no documentary evidence by which to prove his 
services and knows of no person living whose testimony he can procure to prove 
same. He was born near Moorefield in Hampshire, now Hardy County, Va., 
on Feb. 13, 1757, lived there until the year 1774, when he moved to West 
Augusta, now Ohio [County], lived in Ohio [County] until the year 1781, then 
moved to the west fork of Monongahela r. in Alonongalia, afterwards Harrison^ 
now Lewis Co., Va., has lived in Lewis ever since. 


(Signed) John X Schoolcraft" 


Then followed a short statement vouching for Schoolcraft, 
signed by P. McCan and James Brown. 

In 1834, W. G. Singleton, Special Pension Agent, investigated 
Schoolcraft's case and gave the following report: 

"Christopher Nutter aged 74, John Reger aged 66, William Powers aged 70, 
John Neely and Nicholas Carpenter have all known John Schoolcraft from a boy 
and concur in saying, that he is too young by many years to have been in the 
war of the Rev. (12) 

Respectfully reported, 
July 1834. W. G. Singleton, S. Agent." 

(11) See page 450. (12) p. 451. 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \'ircini.\ 153 

B\' rcferrint,' to the border annals, it will he toiind that School- 
craft is very correct in regard to the time and places of the events 
referred to in his declaration, which bears on its face the impress 
of truth, llis dates are not so nearl\- cimfused as in man\- of the 
printed records. 

Wheeling, or Port llcnr\-, pla\ed an important part in the 
Rcx-i'lution. Of the two notable sieges which it withstood, unfor- 
tunately the greatest chaos prevails. There are fanciful descrip- 
tions of events connected with its investments which really never 
did occur. (13) If'ithers, as a recognized authority, is largely 
responsible for this; and now it appears as though he derived much 
of his information from traditions in the Zane family. I'he 
renowned defense of his cabin b_\- Col. h'.benezer Zane and his few 
followers, and the "gun powder" exploit by Elizabeth Zane, or 
Molly Scott, or both, has been attributed to both of the sieges. 
The preference is with that of 1782. Dellass, McKnight and others 
favor this date, while Albach is only one of many who agrees with 
Lossing that these events took place in the siege of 1777. (14) Of 
the siege of 1782, which was the last engagement of the Revolu- 
tion where the British Hag was in evidence, Ifithcrs, (15) in part, 

"In the first of September, Jt)lin l,\iiii (a celebrated spy and the same who 
had been with Capt. Foreman at the time of the fatal ambuscade at Grave cr.), 
being engaged in watching the warriors paths, northwest of the Ohio, discovered 
the Indians marching with great expedition for Wheeling, and hastening to warn 
the inhabitants of the danger which was threatening them, swam the river, and 
reached the village, but a little while before the savage army made its appearance. 
The fort was at this time without any regular garrison, and depended for defense 
exclusively on the exertions of those who sought security within its walls. The 
brief space of time which elapsed between the alarm by Lynn, and the arrival 
of the Indians, permitted only those who were immediately present to retire into 
it, and when the attack was begun to be made, there were not within its palisades, 
twenty effective men to oppose the assault. The dwelling house of Col. Ebenezer 
Zane, standing about forty yards from the fort, contained the military stores 
which had been furnished by the government of Virginia; and as it was admirably 
situated as an outpost from which to annoy the savages in their onsets, he resolved 
on maintaining possession of it, as well to aid in the defense of the fort, as for the 
preservation of the ammunition. Andrew Scott, George Green, Mrs. Zane, Molly 
Scott and Miss McCullough, were all who remained with him. The kitchen 
adjoining was occupied by Sam (a negro belonging to Col. Zane) and Kate, his 
wife. — Col. Silas Zane commanded in the fort. * * * 

"When Lynn gave the alarm that an Indian army was approaching, the 
fort for some time having been unoccupied by a garrison, and Col. Zane's house 

(U) See page 451. (14) p. 451. (15) p. 451. 

154 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

being used as a magazine, those who retired into the fortress had to take with 
them a supply of ammunition for its defense. The supply of powder, deemed 
ample at the time, by reason of the long continuance of the savages, and the repeated 
endeavors made by them to storm the fort, was almost entirely exhausted, a few 
loads only remaining. In this emergency it became necessary to replenish their 
stock from the abundance of that article in Col. Zane's house. * * * " 

Withers^ story of Elizabeth Zane's successful run from the 
fort to her brother's house to bring powder for the garrison, and 
the more plausible claim that the heroine was Alolly Scott, w^hose 
family was in the Zane cabin, who ran to the fort to bring powder 
from the magazine store room, is here omitted as having no direct 
connection with the present narrative. (16) Although the descent 
of the Indian Army was swift, it would appear from the foregoing 
that Col. Zane with only three men and four women, including 
the slave man and his wife, remained in his cabin from choice; 
and that such action was necessary for the protection of the mili- 
tary supplies stored there. It is hard to conceive why an abun- 
dance of ammunition should be kept in this isolated and weakly 
garrisoned dwelling, while the fort was so scantily supplied with 
this most essential means of defense. It is not reasonable that 
such disposition was deliberately planned by men with the experi- 
ence of the Zanes; but was rather the result of surprise. This view 
is strengthened when we consider that there were not to exceed 
twenty men at the fort, and that the Indian force was known to 
be great. About three o'clock that afternoon the trail of, sup- 
posedly, two hundred warriors had been discovered near the fort, 
and Capt. John Boggs was immediately sent to alarm the settlers 
and bring re-enforcements. Added to this the fact that the walls 
of the stockade were not in condition to withstand a heavy assault, 
it certainly appears very unmilitary to have divided the strength 
of the defense by retaining possession of the outstanding cabin. 
Capt. Boggs had not proceeded more than one mile and a half 
before he heard the boom of the fortress swivel gun and the sound 
of a rifle, attesting that the attack had begun. Soon after his 
departure, Ebenezer AlcColloch on his way from VanMeter's 
Fort on Short Creek, had reached within half a mile of Wheeling 
when he was deterred from venturing nearer by the heavy firing 
around that stockade. (17) The report of Col. Zane himself 
denotes with what rapidity the enemy moved. 

(16) See page 451. (17) p. 451. 

Border Settlers ov Xorthw estern \ irginia 155 

'Wheeling, September 17, 17X2. 
Sir: — 

*'0n the evening of the lltli instant, a body of the enemy appeared in sight 
of our garrison. They immediately formed their lines round the garrison, paraded 
British colors, and demanded the fort to be surrendered, which Was refused. About 
twelve o'clock at night they rushed hard on the pickets in order to storm, but were 
repulsed. They made two other attempts to storm before day, but to no purpose. 

"About S o'clock next morning, there came a negro from them to us and 
informed us that their force consisted of a British captain and forty regular soldiers 
and two hundred and sixty Indians. The enemy kept a continual fire the whole 
day. About ten o'clock at night, they made a fourth attempt to storm to no 
better purpose than the former. The enemy continued around the garrison until 
the morning of the 13th instant, when they disappeared. Our loss is none. 
Daniel Sullivan, who arrived here in the first of the action, is wounded in the foot. 

" I believe they have driven the greatest part of our stock away, and might. 
1 think, be soon overtaken." 

(Col. Ebenezer Zane to Irvine.) (18) 

But the strongest evidence that the inmates of Zane's cabin 
did not remain from choice, is that contained in the declaration 
for pension, of one of its defenders, Robert Scott. While Scott 
gives the date of the siege (as remembered) 1778, and the house 
that of "Lane," there can be no doubt that it was the siege in 
question, whether 1777, or 1782; and that Lane appears instead 
of Zane, through a misunderstanding of the recorder. Scott's 
declaration was given in Cjallatin County, Kentucky, and is of 
such moment that I give it unabridged and in the original. 

"On October 15, 183.3, personally appeared before me, etc., Robert Scott 
aged 69 years, who upon oath makes the following statement: That he entered 
the U. S. service under the following named officers and served as herein stated, 
that is to say in very early times his father moved from Pa. where declarent 
was born, to the fort at Wheeling in Va. and carried declarent and family with 
him, that he continued at said fort until early in the spring of 1781, that whilst 
he was at the fort at Wheeling the Indians were very troublesome, and during 
the Rev. War the said fort was attacked whilst the declarent was there on two 
different occasions. Upon the last occasion, deponent thinks it was in 1778, there 
were only about 15 persons in this fort and declarent was in the house of Mr. 
Lanes with his family, just on the outside of the fort, and the descent of the 
Indians was so sudden and unexpected that the persons in the house were 
compelled to remain in it and make the best defense they could; he states he 
assisted in its defense actively and the siege of the house and fort continued 
about three days, and the Indians retired without taking either. That although he 
was quite a boy at the time, his services continued to be required to assist in 
defense of the place and frontier immediately adjoining until he moved from 
there in the spring 1781, — that he was not idle nor indeed could he be, for self- 

(18) See page 451. 

156 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

preservation required the utmost vigilance of all. He states that in Mar., 1781, 
as well as he remembers, having moved from Wheeling to Jefferson Co., Ky., 
he entered the service of the U. S. as a private volunteer soldier under Capt. Floyd 
at Floyd's station on Bear Grass in Jefferson Co., Ky., and he there remained 
as a part of the garrison of the fort at that place from the month of Mar. 1781 
till Aug. 1781, embracing a period of five months, during all which time he served 
faithfully as a part of the garrison of that place and in scouting parties against 
the Indians. 

"He further declares that in Aug. 1781, he again entered the U. S. service 
as a private volunteer soldier upon a tour of six months in Capt. Floyd's Company 
and joined Genl. Clarke at the Falls of the Ohio upon an expedition to Vincennes, 
that he marched with the troops upon said expedition and continued with' them 
until his return, actively engaged in the service and upon the return of the expedi- 
tion to the falls of Ohio he there was kept in garrison till the expiration of his 
said term of service; he then returned to Floyd's Station where he was again im- 
mediately enrolled under Capt. Floyd as a part of the garrison of that place 
where he continued under Capt. Floyd actively employed against the Indians 
until Dec, 1782, that he was engaged in many skirmishes and scouting 
parties against them during his service and encountered much hardship, difficulty 
and fatigue and danger, and that in the year 1782 he served as above named after 
the expiration of tour under Genl. Clarke no less than nine months. (19) 

"He continued at the fort at Floyd's Station during the winter 1782 and 
spring 1783, and that in April 1783 he was again enrolled under Capt. Floyd as 
a volunteer soldier and continued at the said fort as a part of its garrison not less 
than six months ending in Oct. 1783, that there was not as much disturbance 
during the year 1783 from the Indians as there was the preceding year, but that 
his services were as unremittant during this year as any other year. 

"He states that during the Revolution he was young and he is now old and 
his memory does not serve him in relation to the minute circumstances of his 
service, but he knows he did not serve as a private soldier against the Indians 
in the war of the Revolution less than 26 months, and for that service he claims 
pension. He states that he has no documentary evidence and that he knows 
of no person who can testify to his services. 

(Signed) Robert Scott." 

"John Foster and Frederick Coghill testified that Scott was 
reHable and believed by the neighborhood to have been in the 
Revolutionary War. 

In all his enlistments Scott was a volunteer. After going to 
Kentucky, he lived in Jefferson County, in the midst of Indian 
troubles for about ten years and then moved to Henry County, 
same State, where he resided for about six years. Then he went 
to Gallatin County, where he still resided in 1833. He was granted 
a pension of 330.00 a year. Born in Pennsylvania, 1764. 

(19) See page 452. 


W'c come again to a period of several years, in which we hear 
nothing of Jesse Hughes. This, however, is true of many of his 
noted contemporaries during the same interval. 

Jesse Hughes went hunting for service berries near his home 
on Hacker's Creek, and at the same time, two Indians were hunt- 
ing for Jesse. Finding a tree loaded with berries, he was soon 
ensconced among its branches regaling himself with the delicious 
fruit; when suddenly two warriors appeared under the tree and 
exultingly exclaimed that they "had him," and laughing at his 
predicament, called to him to "come down, give up; Injun no 
hurt." Realizing that he was trapped, and in order to gain time 
to formulate some plan of escape, he effected a nonchalant air, 
and requested that they would allow him to eat a few more berries 
before descending. At the same time he began to break oiT small 
branches ladened with berries and toss them to his captors. The 
Indians, desiring to take him prisoner, and wishing to show their 
good intentions towards him, complied, and were soon enjoying 
the rich fruit. The tree stood on the brow of a steep bluff, or 
deep gully, and Jesse, with ever}' faculty alert, cautiously and 
slowly drew the Indians away from the tree by skillfull}' dropping 
the branches further and further down the declivity. At last 
getting them as far awa}' as possible or prudence would allow, he 
suddenly leaped from the tree, landing in an opposite direction. 
Before the astonished braves could fire upon him, Jesse had van- 
ished like a flash over the brow of the bluff, and was soon lost to 
sight in the deep forest. The Indians, knowing from experience 
the utter futility of pursuit, made no attempt to recapture him. 

A Mrs. Straley, who lived near West's Fort, related that 
when she was a little girl she went to hunt some sheep that had 
strayed from home, and getting lost on the West Fork, she 
remained all night alone in the wilderness. Next morning, get- 
ting her bearings, she started home, and met fesse searching for 

Somewhere on the waters of the West Fork River, two 
Indians were tired upon by the settlers, and one killed. The 
other badly wounded, made off. A part}- went in pursuit, and 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

found him lying in a tangle 
of brush. As they ap- 
proached, he greeted them 
kindly, and the men were 
inclined to mercy, but Jesse 
Hughes who came up a little 
later, tomahawked and 
scalped the helpless warrior, 
accompanying his work 
with many profane exple- 
tives. This was a distinct 
incident from the Morgan- 
Indian tragedy at Pricket's 
Fort in 1779, referred to 
elsewhere in this volume. 

It was during this pe- 
riod that Jesse went very 
early one morning, to bring 
in a horse which had been 
in a pasture some distance 
from his cabin. 
He arrived at the edge of the field just as day was 
breaking. Ever cautious, the wary scout paused to reconnoi- 
ter the premises before venturing into the open. Peering 
through his leafy screen, Jesse saw his horse, a spirited black, flying 
across the field pursued by a young Indian. The scout, who had 
on more than one occasion measured speed and endurance with 
fleet-footed warriors, was amazed and startled to see this Indian 
outstrip the frantic steed. But, owing to the dread in which the 
horse of the white man held Indians, this wild runner could not 
seize or fasten upon the coveted prize. It was yet too dark for 
Hughes to use his rifle with any degree of accuracy. So, from, his 
place of concealment, he watched this chase in the dusk of the 
departing night. But the day grew, and soon the silence was 
broken by the crash of the scout's deadly rifle, and before the 
answering echoes had ceased to reverberate through the valley, 
the swiftest runner of the Monongahela was lying still in death. 

One cannot but feel regret at the tragic death of this bronzed 
athlete, who was seemingly alone and bent on no bloody designs 

Indian Spring 
Photographed by Mr. Percy E. Lawson, 1906 

BoRDKR Settlers ok Nortiiw i:sii;r.\ X'irgima 


against the st-tt Icmciil 
nierelv come 

IJke the untamed llighlander, he liaJ 

"To spoil the spoiler as we may, 
And from the robber rend tlic prey." 

He was apparent!}' tr}'ing to collect in his own way the poor 
tithe regarded as justly his from the robber-like usurpers of his 

Indians sometimes came into the settlement alone. It was 
not uncommon for a young brave to go singly in quest of horses or 
scalps. If successful, his reputation as a warrior was assured. I 
have often heard the northwestern tribes narrate incidents of this 
nature. The one shot through the shoulder by West in the held 
just st)ulh of the old Henry McW horter cabin, near "Beech Fort," 
(1) was a straggler of this kind. This Indian, badly wounded 
made off, and as was afterwards learned by following his trail, he 
stopped at a spring on the hillside, on what is now the Nicholas 
Alkire farm, about two miles up Hacker's Creek, near the mouth 
of Life's Run, and bathed his wound. 

This spring has since been known as Indian Spring. After 
dressing his wound, the Indian went perhaps a mile further, and 
crept into a cleft in the rocks, where his dead hod}- was afterwards 
found. This ridge-cliff, known as 
"Indian Rock," is on the farm 
now owned b}^ Jesse Lawson, on 
Life's Run, a branch of Hacker's 

The settlers on the upper 
waters of the IMonongahela often 
went in canoes and flat-boats to 
Fort Pitt, where they exchanged 
skins, furs, jerked venison, and 
other products of the wilderness 
for ammunition and necessaries. 
Jesse Hughes and Henr}' McW hor- 
ter made a trip together. One 
da}- the}- jnit ashore where a 
number of children were pla}'ing. Anoihir \ ii;\v of Indian Spring 
among them a little Indian bo}-. IMiotograplied I'^IO 

(1) See pape 452. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

The incident which followed I will give in McWhorter's own 

"The instant that Jesse caught sight of the little Indian boy 
his face blazed with hatred. I saw the devil flash in his eye, as 
feigning great good humor, he called out, 'Children, don't you 
want to take a boat ride.'" Pleased with a prospective glide over 

Indian Rock — Looking East 
Photographed 1910 

the still waters of the Alonongahela, one and all came running 
towards the boat. Perceiving Hughes' cunning ruse to get the 
little Indian into his clutches, I picked up an oar, and gruffly 
ordering the children away, quickly shoved the boat from the 
bank. When safely away, I turned to Hughes and said, 'Now, 
Jesse, ain't you ashamed.'" 'What have I done.'" he sullenly 
asked. 'What have you done.'' why, you intended to kill that 
little Indian boy. I saw it in your every move and look, the 
moment you got sight of the little fellow\' 'Yes,' he said, 'I 
intended when we got into mid-stream to stick ray knife in him 
and throw him overboard.' When I remonstrated with him about 
this, he said, 'Damn it, he's an Injun!' " 

Brutal.'' Yes; but let us not deal too harshly with the mem- 
ory of Jesse Hughes, whose only schooling was that acquired upon 
a bloody frontier. Naturally such a training was void of sentiment. 
It contained not the elements of charity or mercy. It was narrow, 
cramped and selfish. It saw only the smouldering ruins of the 
settler's cabin, its scalped inmates; the helpless. swept into captiv- 

HoRDFR Settlers of Xortiiwkstkrn Xircinia 


ity, with visions of the gauiulet and the torture stake. The 
whites beHeved their own actions justifiable and in the interests 
of their civiHzation. The conquest of a country has always 
brought about the possibility of barbarous conditions, (2) and but 
comparatively few of our frontiersmen have possessed the sturdi- 
ness of purpose to avoid the inhuman actions prompted by them. 
But there were two sides. The Indians were cruelly wronged. 
They were deceived, defrauded and treacherously dealt with. 
Their lands were encroached upon, in gross violation of solemn 
treat}' rights. Their game was destroyed. Friendlies were shot 
down without provocation, and entire families and bands of 
hunters were murdered, in the fastnesses of their own domain. 
There were schemes promulgated, and I believe employed, by 
those high in authority, for the indiscriminate destruction of the 
Indians, far more hellish than those ever dreamed of by the (3) 
wilderness warrior. We should be just and place where they 
belontr the various causes for the brutalities enacted on the border. 

Indian Rock — Looking West 
Photographed 1910 

(2) See page 452. {?>) p 452 


The first permanent settlement on theUpper Alonongahela was 
in 1769, on the Buckhannon River. This colony, from the earliest 
records that we find, has always borne the name of the stream on 
which it is located. The name is supposed to be that of some his- 
toric white person — but who.^ (1) There is no one of a similar 
name to be found in connection with, the first years of the settle- 
ment. Records bearing the date of 1781 show that the river then 
bore practically the same name as at present. This has been 
spelled in various ways at different periods, -some of the modes 
being Buchanan, Buckanon, Buck-Hannan, Buchannon, Buck- 

While a few of these forms may be due to carelessness or 
ignorance on the part of the writers, not all of them are so. There 
are no logical grounds for supposing the name to be that of a white 
person. The origin of most of the prominent topographical names 
of that region can be accounted for, but history is silent as to the 
source of the name of this stream. The fort at Buckhannon was 
built by John Bush in 1773, but it has usually been referred to by 
the early chroniclers as the "Buchannon Fort," or the "Fort at 
Buchannon." There can be but one conclusion — the river was 
named prior to or contemporary with the settlement made there 
in 1769. The only knowledge that we have of the origin of the 
name is contained in a statement left by John Cutright, the last 
surviving scout of western Virginia. Cutright secured his infor- 
mation directly from Pringles of the sycamore, the first known 
white men to enter the Buckhannon Valley. 

"While the Pringles were domiciled in the mighty sycamore 
at the mouth of Turkey Run," said Cutright, "there was an Indian 
village located at or near the mouth of the river. The chief of 
the Indians of that village was Buck-on-go-ha-non, renowned in 
the border v.'ars of the times. The first white settlers conferred 
the name of this chief to the beautiful stream on which he lived." 

It has been conceded by historians generally, and maintained 
by pioneers universally, that in the region between the Allegheny 
Mountains and the Ohio River, in the present bounds of West 
Virginia, there were a few villages inhabited by bands of those 

(1) See page 452. 

Border Settlers of Xortiiw kstkrn X'irginia 163 

tribes living principalh' north (»t the Ohio. Most of these villages 
were deserted upon the approach of the white settlements, and 
the inhabitants joined their people in the country northwest of 
the Ohio River. A few, however, remained until the settlements 
had grown numerous. 
IVithers says: 

"Between the .\lleghen\' niouiUains and the Uliio River, within ihe present 
limits of Virginia, there were some villages interspersed, inhabited by small numbers 
of Indians; the most of whom retired northwest of that riv'er, as the tide of emi- 
gration rolled towards it. Some however remained in the interior, after settle- 
ments began to be made in their vicinity." (2) 

The same writer in giving the causes that led to the destruc- 
tion of the Tygart and Files settlements near Beverly in 1754, 

"The difficulty of procuring bread stuffs for their families, their contiguity 
to an Indian village, and the fact that an Indian war path passed near their dwel- 
lings, soon determined them to retrace their steps." (3) 

Again in depicting the imminent perils that constantly hov- 
ered around the lonely retreat of the Pringles: 

"In the vicinit)' of a savage foe, the tomahawk and scalping knife were ever 
present to their imaginations. "(4) 

By some writers, however, these Indian habitations are termed 
"Mythical," but I find no good reasons for such inference. It is 
evident from personal observation, that there were Indian habita- 
tions of some magnitude in portions of this region, especialh' on 
Hacker's Creek, in quite recent historic times. This topic has 
been briefly noted in Chapters V and VI of this volume. 

The summary by irithers does not necessarily denote a long 
continuous occupancy by Indians, (5) but it certainly is conclusive 
that there were resident Indians in that region contemporary with 
Tygart, Files and the Pringles. Xot onh' were the latter in close 
proximity to an Indian village but, as shown in the ninth chapter 
of this volume, they even forayed against their red neighbors. 

The distance from the T}'gart and Files settlement to the 
mouth of the Buckhannon is only about thirty-five miles, and it is 
more than probable that somewhere in the lower part of this 
valley was located the village referred to by U'itlwrs, and was the 
same where the Pringles purloined the bag of dried buffalo meat. 
Evidently this settlement was transient, that of a periodical hunt- 

(2) Sec page 453. (3) p. 453. (4) p. 453. (5) p. 453. 

164 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

ing band, and was doubtless composed of Delawares living on the 
Miami and White Rivers in Ohio and Indiana, whose chief and 
head warrior was Buckongahelas. (6) 

This chieftain was a fearless warrior, and tradition credits 
him with having led some of the war parties against the Virginia 
border. This may be true; he opposed the settling of the Trans- 
Allegheny, but nowhere can there be ascribed acts of cruelty in 
the warfare of this lofty-minded chieftain. With his ability as a 
warrior, was coupled a humane heart and a noble purpose. He 
sought not the injury of non-combatants, nor did he rejoice in the 
effusion of blood. He struck only in the defense of his outraged 
people. His prowess was felt in the French and Indian War of 
1763. He assisted the British in the Revolution (7) and helped 
Little Turtle plan his attack on St. Clair. He was a signer of the 
Treaty of Greenville and other subsequent treaties. With the 
earlier exploits of this great warrior fresh in the minds of the set- 
tlers, and the fact that his village was pitched on the banks of the 
river, it was natural that this stream should have been given his 
name. From Buckongahelas to Buckongehanon and Buckonhan- 
non would have been an easy transition for the uneducated and 
careless speaking pioneers. As time went on and new settlers 
came and records were made, it was an easy matter to still corrupt 
the fine old Indian name to the English Buchannon, Buckhannan 
and finally Buckhannon. 

So deeply has the name of Buckongahelas become woven into 
the legends and traditions of the Virginia border, that to this day 
his name is mentioned in connection with. a supernatural appari- 
tion which is said to occasionally startle the inhabitants of the 
Roaring Creek and Middle Fork countries. (8) 

The following story has recently (1903) gone the rounds of 
the press. The reader will notice the slight variation in the name 
of the chief, and the usual exaggeration in the portrayal of Indian 

"That most daring, vindictive and determined of Indian chiefs, Buch-on- 
ga-ha-la, whose violent and murderous bands alarmed, terrified and exterminated 
whole settlements through this state 125 years ago, on and after an occasion of a 
savage raid, like the destruction of the Bozarth family or the wholesale murder of 
all the whites on Files Creek, made his camp fires frequently on the waters of 
Roaring Creek and Middle Fork, where he said evil spirits dwelt. Middle Fork, 
a settlement near Belington, reports a very troublesome ghost. It appeared to 
a party of young folks who were out enjoying the fine sleighing the other evening 

(6) See page 454. (7) p. 454. (8) p. 454. 

B()1<1)1:K Sl'.TTl.KRS Ol XdRTllW KSTERN \ IR(iINI.\ 165 

and frightened ladies, gentlemen and horses out of their wits. 'I'his giiost has 
the right of way between the battle field of Rich Mountain and the bridge over 
the Middle P'ork River. The nocturnal visits of this frightful unearthly appari- 
tion have occurred as far back as the oldest settler of Roaring Crock can remember. 
Buchongahela, the Indian chief who commanded the war parties from Ohio that 
made the raids on the settlements of Virginia, said that the evil Manitou inhabited 
the wilderness of Roaring Creek and Middle Fork." 

It is hardly necessar\- to say that Buckongahelas could not 
have led the warriors who destroyed the Bozarth family. This 
chieftain, with his followers arrived at Greciu'ille, June 21, 1795, 
and remained there, participating in the treaty that was made 
August 3, of that year. The Bozarth tragedy did not occur until 
mid-summer, and the raiding warriors returned onl\' in time to 
deliver up their prisoners at that treat}'. (9) 

Buckongahelas was present, hut did not sign the treat}' made 
at Fort Mcintosh, Pa., in 1785. He signed the treaty of June 7, 
1803, at Fort Wayne, Indiana; and the treat}' of August 18, 1804, 
at V^incennes, Indiana; with wliich his name disappears from the 
border annals. lie is supposed to have died soon after the 
Treaty of Vincennes. 

It is hard to conceive of a more lofty spirit than possessed by 
this proud, virtuous chieftain. At the Treat}' of Fort Mcintosh, 
he wholly ignored the other peace dignitaries, and stepping up to 
General Clark, took him by the hand and spoke: 

" I thank the great spirit for having this day brought together two such great 
warriors as Buckongehelas and General Clark." * * * 

"This man possessed all the qualifications of a hero; no Christian knight was 
ever more scrupulous in performing all his engagements than the renowned 
Buckongehelas." (10) 

"Buckingehelas, a very distinguished war chief of the Dclawares, lived some 
years subsequent to my agency for that nation, died on White River Indiana 
prior to the final removal of the tribe to the S. W. of Missouri. My impres- 
sion is that this chief had no male descendants in a direct line living at the time 
of his decease, he probably had no superior as a warrior and orator. I first remem- 
ber to have seen this chief about the year 1800 when on a visit to the President 
of the United States." (11) 

"Buckingehelas is doubtless the same as quoted b\- Ileckwelder by Broadhead 
and others, as we had but one Washington so the Delawares had but one Buck- 
ingehelas, a great warrior, chief and councillor, whose prowess in war and wisdom 
and actions in peace overshadowed that of all others, his name descended to no 
other." (12) 

"Buckingehelas is said to have somewhat resembled Franklin in his physiog- 

(9) See page 4.U. (10) p. 4=;4. (Ill \\ 4=:4. (12) p. 454. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

nomy. He was about 5 feet 10 inches high, strong, & of powerful muscle. 
Universally esteemed & greatly lamented. 

"Buckingehelas figured conspicuously in the French War of '63. About 80 
when he died." (13) 

Early in the eighteenth century, there was, among the Sen- 
ecas, a very old warrior, whose name was Buck-in-je-hil-lish. He 
was a great councilor, and one day attended a war council, and 
declared that none but the ignorant made war, and the wise men 
and the warriors had to do the fighting. For this reflective speech, 
and because of his unprecedented age, and that he could give no 
good reason why he had not died, he was pronounced a witch, and 
sentenced to be tomahawked by a boy, which was immediately 
done. (14) This tragedy took place about the time that Buck- 
ongehelas, the Washington of the Delawares, was born; or when 
he was a very small lad. 

(13) See page 454. (14) p. 454. 


It is regrettable that so little is known in regard U) the dimen- 
sions and characteristics of the forts erected on the Virginia border. 
Barring, perhaps, Fort Henry at Wheeling, it is doubtful if there 
is at this time sufficient data to insure a lucid reproduction of any 
one of the several forts which stood between the Alleghenies and 
the Ohio. The early historian evidently did not regard it of suf- 
ficient importance to give a minute description of those important 
places of defense. Constructed entirely of wood, they have long 
since crumbled to dust. So complete has been their demolition, 
that in most cases there remains not a vestige of their ruins. 

John Bush built his fort at Buckhannon on land now owned 
b} Major J. \V. Heavner. It is not probable that it was more 
than a blockhouse when first constructed, but after the breaking 
out of Dunmore's War it was enclosed by a stockade. This 
stockade was of logs, one end planted firmly in the ground. Large 
quantities of stone once marked the site of this fort. Since owned 
by Alajor Heavner, not less than one hundred and fifty wagon- 
loads have been hauled from its ruins, and it is not known how 
many were previously removed. For what purpose such quanti- 
ties of stone were used, can only be conjectured. The stockade 
could not have been reinforced by a secondary, or interior, wall of 
earth and stone. It was not built to resist the assaults of artillery, 
for none were employed by either of the combatants along this 
region of the frontier. 

In Chapter XXI reference is made to the vast amount of 
stone used in the chimney and in "chinking" the Tanner house 
near W'est's Fort. This fort-like house was erected for a private 
dwelling, yet was sufficiently strong to resist the assaults of the 
Indians. In the construction of a fort where it was expected at 
times that an entire settlement would take refuge, the building 
would be on a more colossal scale. If Bush's Fort was built with 
two such chimneys as that of the Tanner house — which is not 
improbable — it would be easy to account for this stone, to say 
nothing of that used for the foundation and chinking. It is to be 
regretted that the ruins of this fortress were not left inviolate to 
future generations. 

168 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Cut 1 — Site of the Buckhannon Fort and Little Indian Knob* 
Miss Josephine L. MacAvoy, Photographer, 1909 

The fort stood on a slight eminence or flat on the north side 
of the valley, but the location could hardly be termed strategic. 
The palisade is supposed to have enclosed a half acre or more of 
ground, which would include the most of the flat. This flat is 
flanked on the north by "Little Indian Knob," shown in Cut 1. 
The foreground is the fort site, completely commanded by 
the knob. 

The figure on the brow of "Little Lidian Knob" {Cut 1) is 
that of a six-foot man. Just over the summit, on the east side of 
this knob, is still to be seen a slight depression where once grew 
a large poplar tree, behind which an Indian stood one morning, 
gently tinkling a bell taken from a cow for the purpose of decoying 
some one from the fort. A young girl went to bring the supposed 
cow, and escaped capture only by the opportune discovery of the 
ruse. From this incident the knob was named. 

The party shown on the right {Cut 1) is standing in a depres- 

*Owing to the loss of negatives (Cuts 1 and 2), it was impossible to give better 
illustrations. The party standing in the old well depression (Cut 1) is not visible. 



sion which was evidently the fort well. A cellar scjme fourteen 
feet h\- twenty feet in size was located about twenty-eight feet 
southeast of tlie well. This cellar is supposed by some, not to 
have been within the stockade, and was the "outbuilding" where 
a few of the settlers were forced to take refuge from Timoth\- Dcjr- 
iiian and the Indians after the fort was burned in 1782. (1) It is 
hard to conceive, however, why a store room of this class would 
be constructed without the enclosure. It was built in the side of 
the hill just below the brink of the fiat, and walled with cobble- 
stone. There is a graded entrance way on the south. The ruins 
of this cellar are shown in Cut 3. The location of the well is desig- 
nated by a stake in the background, where the horse is standing. 

There was a spring under the western flank of "Little Indian 
Knob," and about twenty-eight steps north of the center of the 
fiat, or fort site. At present this spring is little more than a marsh, 
or wet bog. 

Cut 2 taken from the same point as Cut 1 (southwest part of 
the fort site) shows the Heavner Cemeter}' and "Big Indian Knob" 

(.'«/ J — Big Indian Knuis and mil IIl.vwnlk Clmlilkv, I.udkinl; \\ Lsr i ku.\i 


MacAvoy, 1909 
• 1) See pace 454. 

170 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

to the west. This point, jutting out from the main ridge, com- 
mands a fine view of the entire country, and it was here that the 
Indians sometimes came to spy on the fort, hence the name. 

The fort stood about two hundred and seventy-five paces 
from a point on the river where a mill was built, supposedly by 
Col. George Jackson. The date of its erection is not known to 
me. Withers speaks of a mill there in 1782. (2) The dam was 

Cut 3 — Ruins of the Old Cellar, Buckhannon Fort 
MacAvoy, 1909 

constructed of logs and stone, and within the memory of the pres- 
ent generation itwas in a fair state of preservation. Traces of it are 
still seen at low water mark just below the Heavner Ford. Marks 
of the "race" are plainly visible in the north bank of the river. 
On the south side, the river sweeps the rocky base of a precipitous 
hill. This mill was evidently destroyed at an early day, probably 
immediately after the fort was burned, or as soon as the whites 
completely abandoned the settlement, after Capt. White was 
killed in 1782. It was not rebuilt, the settlers going to Nutter's 
Fort for their grinding until Henry McWhorter built his mill at 

(2) See page 454. 


W esl'sFort, about 1790. !"'or iiian\- \cars llic IJuckhaniion country 
patronized the McW hortcr mill. 

, In the early nineties there was an occurrence of some magnitude 
at the Buckhannon Fort, which has never been chronicled. Withers 
declares that this settlement was exempt from Indian incursions 
from 1782 to 1795, when the Bozarths were killed. (3) This is a 
mistake. That the incident did occur is conclusive, and evidence 
of a trustwDTth}- character places it near the close of Indian hos- 
tilities on the border. John Cutright, one of the actors, gave the 
facts to Colonel Henry W'cstfall, whose manuscript was destroyed 
b\- tire. 

Through scouts, said the Westfall manuscript, word reached 
the settlements that a large body of Indians were advancing 
against the Hacker's Creek region, and a party left the Buckhan- 
non Fort for the purpose of aiding West's Fort, where the settlers 
took refuge in case of an attack, or raid. When the party had 
reached the place now occupied by the Baptist Cemetery, about 
one and one-fourth miles below where the fort stood, they encoun- 
tered a band of Indians. The meeting was a mutual surprise, 
and immediately all on both sides "treed." A sharp skirmish 
ensued, and two Indians were killed; one said to be the chief, was 
shot by Jesse Hughes. John Cutright was in this fight, sporting 
a brand-new shot-pouch, which was badly rent by a ball and its 
contents scattered on the ground. The Indians were routed, and 
in the short pursuit made by the whites, Cutright was left behind. 
\\ hen the party came back, he was sitting on a log stolidly mend- 
ing his damaged shot-pouch, embellishing his crude work with an 
occasional emphatic expletive. None of the whites were killed. 
This anecdote of Cutright is similar to that reported by Dellass, 
of the German, Phouts. (4) 

A tradition handed down in the Reger family, declares that 
it was Jacob Reger, Jr., a scout, who anticipated the Indians in 
this raid, and by his prowess and heroic exertion prevented what 
might have been a repetition of former tragedies. Through the 
kindness of Mrs. Lee A. Heavner, of Buckhannon, I am enabled to 
give this traditionary account of the fight, as found in a manuscript 
among the papers left by her father, Rev. John Reger, a grandson 
of John Reger, Sr., who was in the skirmish with the hulians. 

"It was near the close of Indian hostilities on the border and in a time of com- 
parative peace," says the tradition, "when Jacob Repcr, Jr., who was scoiitinp 

(3) See pape 4.vv (4) p. 455. 

172 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

on the Ohio River, came one day upon the trail of a considerable body of Indians, 
who had but recently crossed to the Virginia side. This discovery aroused his 
suspicions to the highest pitch. Cautiously advancing, he came suddenly upon 
an Indian sitting with his back against a tree, sleeping, or given over to abandon 
and ease s-afe in false security, Reger was a man of most wonderful strength, 
backed with courage utterly devoid of fear. Prompted b^' the hope of learning 
the goal of the war party, as he believed it to be, he conceived the idea of cap- 
turing the recumbent warrior. 

"Stealthily approaching, he sprang upon and securely fastened the astonished 
brave before he could make any resistance or outcry. Reger then made him under- 
stand that if he would reveal the destination of the Indians his life would be spared; 
if not his scalp would soon dangle at the white man's belt. With certain death 
hovering over him should he refuse to comply, the captive declared that the ob- 
jective point of the party was the Buckhannon settlement. (5) Reger was endowed 
with the highest sense of honor, and not deigning to violate his compact to spare 
the life of his prisoner, he disarmed him, and covering him with his rifle, compelled 
him to swim to the Ohio side of the river. 

"Reger then made rapid strides for the settlement, and on the evening of 
the second day arrived at West's Fort greatlj^ exhausted. In consequence of 
recent heavy rains, the intervening rivers and creeks were flooded, and had to be 
crossed by swimming. 

"Jesse Hughes volunteered to go on to the Buckhannon Fort that night and 
in the meantime West's Fort was put in the best possible state of defense. Upon 
the arrival of Hughes at the Buckhannon Fort, preparations were immediately 
made for a stout resistance. There were about thirty men soon gathered at the 
fort, including several from Clarksburg, among whom was Elias Hughes. A 
well within the stockade insured plenty of water, and the magazine was stocked 
with ammunition. Elias Hughes was chosen commander; and the scouts sent 
out soon reported that Indians, to the number of forty, were advancing by way of 
Brushy Fork Run. A hurried council of war was held, and it was determined to 
ambush the Indians, and the spot chosen was where a ravine or drain breaks into 
the river where the Baptist cemetery now is. 

"A desperate conflict ensued, the result of which for a time hung in the balance, 
each party fighting from behind trees. An attempt by the Indians to flank their 
enemy under cover of the river bank was detected by Jesse Hughes, and frustrated. 
The Indian chief, in animating his warriors by personal bravery, exposed himself 
to Jesse's aim and he fell to rise no more. Jesse was most active in the fight, 
flitting from tree to tree like an evil bird of the woods; he seemed to anticipate 
every move of the enemy. 

"John Reger, brother of Jacob, was also a conspicuous figure in this battle. 
Observing that with great regularity bullets from a certain point whistled uncom- 
fortably near, he soon located his disagreeable neighbor, and silenced him with a 
shot. (6) When their chief fell, the warriors made a dash to recover his body, 
but were driven back and routed," 

"This battle," concludes the tradition, "was the bloodiest 
fought on the Buckhannon, and the last attempt of the Indians 
against this fort." 

(5) See page 455. (6) p. 455. 

Border Settlers of Xorthwestern \ ir(;ini.\ 


I'A'idcnU}' llicrc is irulh in lliis traLlilion, l)ul in ihc lapse (A 
lime, error has crept in as to the magnitude of the affair, and the 
original point of attack as intended by the Indians. The narrative 
agrees with the manuscript version of Colonel \\ estfall, who got 
it from John Cutright, that there was a tight at the place men- 
tioned, perhaps the only one of importance that ever took, place 
in that settlement. It would be in keeping with the character of 
Jacob Roger to have spared the capti\c Indian, as alleged. He 
never shed human blood when it was possible to avoid it. (7) 

The Pifkk Mill 
Kindness of Dr. E. B. Alkire 

Built on the Buckhannun River, six miles below Buikluiniioii, //'. J'a., about 
1834. JVas in use until the beginning of the present century. Dismantled in l'M)S 
and rebuilt as a fishing camp near the original location. 

But little is known of the life of John Bush, who gave his 
name to the fort at Buckhannon. In 1781 he received a certificate 
for 200 acres on the Buckhannon River to include his impro\ement 
made in 1773. JVulwrs gives two incidents in connection with 
John Bush. In speaking of events when the Buckhannon settle- 
ment was broken up in 1782, (8) he says: 

"While some of the inhabitants of that settlement were enj.'agcd in niovin>r 
their property to a fort in Typart's \'a!!c)' (the others reniovini: to Nutter's Kort 

(7) See page 458. (S) p. 45S. 

174 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

and Clarksburg), they were fired upon by a party of savages, and two of them, 
Michael Hagle and Elias Paynter, fell. The horse on which John Bush was riding 
was shot through; yet Bush succeeded in extricating himself from the falling 
animal, and escaped though closely pursued by one of the savages. Several 
times the Indian following him, would cry out to him, 'Stop, and you shall not be 
hurt — if you do not, I will shoot you,' and once Bush, nearly exhausted, and in despair 
of getting off, actually relaxed his pace for the purpose of yielding himself a prisoner, 
when turning round he saw the savage stop also, and commence loading his gun. 
This inspired Bush with fear for the consequences, and renewing his flight he 
made his escape. Edward Tanner, a mere youth was soon taken prisoner, and 
as he was being carried to their towns, met between twenty and thirty savages, 
headed by Timothy Dorman, proceeding to attack Buckhannon Fort. Learning 
from him that the inhabitants were moving from it, and that it would be abandoned 
in a few days, the Indians pursued their journey with so much haste, that Dorman 
had well nigh failed from fatigue. They arrived however, too late, for the accom- 
plishment of their bloody purpose; the settlement was deserted, and the inhabitants 
safe within the walls of other fortresses." (9) 

In dealing with occurrences on the border the spring following 
General Harmar's campaign against the Indians in September 
1790, the same writer says: 

"On the 24th of April, John Bush (living on Freeman's Creek), having very 
early sent two of his children to drive up the cattle, became alarmed by their 
screams, and taking down his gun, was proceeding to learn the cause of it, when 
he was met at the door by an Indian, who caught hold of the gun, forced it from his 
grasp, and shot him with it. Bush fell across the threshold, and the savage drew 
his knife to scalp him. Mrs. Bush ran to the assistance of her husband, and with 
an axe, aimed a blow at the Indian with such force that it fastened itself in his 
shoulder, and when he jumped back his exertion pulled the handle from her hand. 
She then drew her husband into the house and secured the door. 

"In this time other of the savages had come up, and after endeavoring in 
vain to force open the door, they commenced shooting through it. Fortunately 
Mrs. Bush remained unhurt, although eleven bullets passed through her frock 
and some of them just grazing the skin. One of the savages observing an aperture 
between the logs thrust the muzzle of his gun thro' it. With another axe Mrs. 
Bush struck on the barrel so as to make it ring, and the savage on drawing it 
back, exclaimed 'Dern you.' Still they were endeavoring to force an entrance 
into the house, until they heard what they believed to be a party of whites coming 
to its relief. It was Adam Bush, who living close by and hearing the screams of 
the children and the firing of the gun, had set off to learn what had given rise to 
them, and taking with him his dogs, the noise made by them in crossing the creek 
alarmed the savages, and caused them to retreat, taking off the two children as 
prisoners. A company of men were soon collected and went in pursuit of the 
Indians; but were unable to surprise them and regain the prisoners. Thej^ how- 
ever, came so nearly upon them, on the Little Kenhawa, that they were forced 
to fiy precipitately, leaving the plunder and seven horses which they had taken 
from the settlement; these were retaken and brought back." (10) 

(9) See page 458. (10) p. 458. 

Ijordkr Settlers oi- Wjrtiiw i:stkrn \ ir(,ima 175 

The hero in ihc hrst incidciil here- related was undcmbtcdly 
John Bush of the Buckhaniujn; hut the Freeman's Creek tragedy 
deals with another personage. Cittright, however, would luu'e it 

"The same John Bush, after whom the fort on Buckhannon River was named, 
removed after some years of residence in this section to Freeman's Creek, Lewis 
County, and there on the 24th of April, 1791, met his death at the vile liands of 
the Indians." (11) 

"^riiis unquestionably is error. There were two fantilies of 
Bush's in the early settlements of the Upper Alonongahela, one 
of which was small of stature, wiry and active, the other was of 
heavy build and less sprightly in movement. (12) John Bush of 
the Buckhannon was certainly of this first family. His desperate 
flight when pursued by the Indian, entitles him to the distinction 
of being fleet-footed. John Bush of Freeman's Creek belonged 
to the second family, very large and flesh}'. He was not killed in 
the fight depicted. Abram Reger, referred to elsewhere in this 
volume, who was well acquainted with the facts and the parties, 
gave the following version of the occurrence to his grandson, Mr. 
J. S. Hall: 

"Busii was a large, heavy built man, simple natiired, but very passionate. 
The Indians came upon him while at work near the house, and before he was 
aware of their presence, one of them gained possession of his gun, which he had 
left onl\- a few feet away. Before the Indian could shoot, Bush knocked him 
down, and ran for the house. As he neared the door, another Indian grappled 
him and the first warrior having recovered, came up and shot him through the 
hips. Mrs. Busii, a \ery muscular woman, ran out with an axe and split the 
head of the Indian who had hold of her husband, whom she then drew into the 
house and fastened the door. In the meantime an elderly lady in the room came 
running up, retarding the movements of Mrs. Bush, who threw her aside with 
such violence as to do her serious injury. 

"The Indians fired several ineflFectual shots through the door, and then with 
their tomahawks began chopping a hole through the shutter. They soon had an 
opening through which one of them thrust his head, and was instantly killed by 
Mrs. Bush with an a.xe. Another Indian shoved his rifle through a crevice in the 
cabin wall, but before he could fire Mrs. Bush struck the muzzle a heavy blow 
with her axe, and drove the breech of the gun against his shoulder with sucli force 
as to partly disable him. 

"Bush was laid up for the winter, his wife gathering the crops and doing all 
the outdoor work. Meat was scarce in the cabin, owing to the husband's inability 
to hunt. With the opening of spring, Bush was able to go into the woods, where 
he shot a bear, which was lean and gaunt from its long winter f.istini.'. The animal 

(11) See p.ige45S, (12) p. 45s. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

made off, and Bush followed in pursuit and came up with it in a ravine. He had 
no other bullet and approached the bank too closely, which giving way precipitated 
him to the bottom where the bear had laid down in a dying condition. The 
animal instantly seized him by the heel and notwithstanding he belabored it on 
the head with a heavy stone, it continued crunching his foot until dead. It is a 
noteworthy fact, that a bear when fighting only snaps with its teeth, unless in the 
last throes of death when it grapples and holds on until life is extiiict. Bush 
was again disabled, but Mrs. Bush brought the bear home and dressed the meat." 

The bullet which Bush received in the encounter with the 
Indian was never extracted. The wound healed, but broke out 
several years afterwards and finally resulted in his death. 


George Jackson was captain of the first military company 
organized in the Buckhannon settlement. I'he date of this organ- 
ization and its object has been a matter of conjecture. It is 
thought by some to have originated at the call of Col. William 
Darke, when he recruited his "Hampshire and Berkeley Regi- 
ment'' in the Spring of 1781. This was an emergency regiment 
raised to oppose the invasion of Virginia b}' the British. This 
regiment was at the siege of "\'orktown and the surrender of (gen- 
eral Cornwallis in the following October, and was one of the guard 
which conducted a contingent of the vanquished army to the 
prison barracks near W inchcstcr, Virginia. 

It is not probable thai Capt. Jackson participated in the 
campaign against ^ orktown. He recruited a compan\' from the 
settlements in Ma}', 1781, and joined General Clark at Fort Pitt 
in his attempted expedition against Detroit. 

The first military company at Buckhannon was a band of 
Indian spies, organized in 1779. George Jackson was Captain of 
this body. He is said subsequently to have had general command 
of the various bands of spies in the settlements, and was succeeded 
in this rank by Col. Lowther. Later, Jackson was a Colonel in 
the militia, and is inseparably connected with the carh' history of 
the Upper Monongahela. He is mentioned by If it hers on several 
occasions, and his memorable night run from Buckhannon to 
Clarksburg for assistance when some of the settlers were besieged 
in an out-house in 1782, (1) was characteristic of the energy and 
daring courage that made him a leader among men. 

He was a member of the First \ irginia Assembh' in 1788 
which ratified the Federal Constitution. His long subsequent 
public career is of record and need not be repeated here. He was 
an associate of the Hughes, but could not vie with them in Indian 

The two brothers of Jesse flughcs, Thomas and Flias, were 
both commissioned officers in Col. Lowther's Company of Rangers 
and Spies, and from the following story, which was gleaned from 
a source worthy of credence, it would appear that Jesse was also 
a subaltern officer in the same company. 

(1) Sec page 45!>. 

178 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Sometime in the early nineties, Colonel Lowther ordered 
Jesse Hughes to take such men as he deemed necessary and scout 
from the Buckhannon Fort by way of French Creek and the head- 
waters of the West Fork to the falls of the Little Kanawha; from 
which point, if no Indian sign was discovered, he was to proceed 
to the mouth of Leading Creek, up which stream he was to return 
to the settlements by way of Polk Creek. Usually the scouts 
would strike the Ohio River near Wheeling, there construct a raft 
by which to descend the Ohio to the site of Parkersburg, examining 
all the Indian trails leading to the settlements. If signs of Indians 
were discovered, they would immediately strike for the settle- 
ments and give warning of the threatening danger, but if none 
were found they would scout over the Indian warpath that fol- 
lowed up the Little Kanawha and Leading Creek on their return 
home. This more northern territory, on the occasion of which 
I write, was doubtless patrolled by other efficient scouts residing 
on the Upper Monongahela. (2) 

The route laid out for Jesse Hughes covered the several 
Indian trails leading from the Little Kanawha to the Upper Mo- 
nongahela. The principal path was up Leading Creek and down 
Polk Creek (3) to the West Fork. There were, however, a few 
less frequented and more secluded paths among the labyrinth of 
small streams flowing from the divide between the headwaters of 
the Little Kanawha and the West Fork. One of these led up Oil 
Creek from the Kanawha and passed down the small stream known 
as "Indian Carrying Run" on the opposite side of the divide to 
the West Fork. The distance between the headings of these two 
tributaries is only a few hundred yards and was known as "Indian 
Carrying Place." This was the only point where the Indians 
"portaged," or "carried" between the Kanawha and the Monon- 
gahela, hence the name. The "Carrying Place" is on "Indian 
Farm," (4) where Arnold Station now is. 

The war parties from Ohio, in their forays on the western 
Virginia border, never traveled by water. The topography of the 
country and the nature of its streams precluded the idea. By 
placing a few sentinels along the streams traversed, the settlers 
could have effectively guarded against surprise, and have easily 
intercepted the Indians in their flight. Canoe voyages were 
doubtless resorted to on some of these western streams by the 
Indians when raiding the settlements east of th-e AUeghenies, prior 

(2) See page 458. (3) p. 458. (4) p. 459. 


to the settling of the I'pper Mononuahehi. At that period tliey 
were iinnume from pursuit west of the mountains, where tlie canoe 
would have been a safe and easy mode of travel. The Little 
Kanawha from its mouth to the "portage" referred to, afforded 
a direct highway of some tifty miles. 

"Canoe Run," which flows into the West Fork about one-half 
mile below Roanoke, in Lewis Count)', derived its name from the 
scouts finding an Lidian canoe moored under some willows in or 
near the mouth of this stream. 

"Indian Cap Run," which enters the river from the east, 
between Jacksonville and W alkersville, took its name from an 
hidian cap, or head-dress, found on the western trail near its 

\\\ \\ alkers\ille, about one hundred and tift)' \'ards from the 
forks of the river, and just above the road, a block of sandstone 
juts from the hillside, on which is carved "1780." The date is 
legible, though crudch' executed. It was found there by the 
scouts, who attributed it to Simon Girty. But the handiwork 
could hardly be that of Simon Girty personally, who could neither 
read nor write. (5) 

In the scouting expedition referred to, Jesse Hughes thought 
that a small party would be sufficient, and selected Alexander \\ est 
to accompany him. They traversed the route designated without 
finding an Indian sign. They reported at Clarksburg, and in 
general council it was apparent that no Indians were lurking on the 
border. \\ inter was fast approaching, and there was but little 
probabilit}' of further hostilities that Fall. Colonel Lowther com- 
mended the scouts highly for their celerity and faithfulness, and 
dismissed them for the season. Colonel George Jackson, who 
was present, also praised their splendid work. 

While out, the scouts had noted that the beech mast in the 
bottoms and low hills ab(»ut the head of French Creek was liea\ y, 
and that the region was full of bear. A hunt was planned by the 
two scouts and the colonels. Hughes and West then proceeded 
to West's Fort, and sent a dispatch to notity ihe IJuckhannon set- 
tlement of the result of their scouting. W ithin a few days they 
were joined at West's h\ the two officers, and the next day the 
company left for the hunting grounds. The first night they 
stayed at an old Indian camp, known to Hughes only, who had 
been there on previous occasions. Here they saw an abun- 

(5) See page 459. 

180 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

dance of deer, which at that time held no attraction for them. 
The next morning they crossed the divide to French Creek, where 
they found all the bear sign reported by the scouts. (6) The 
ground had been scratched over for miles, such as they had never 
seen before; but the sign was all old, and not a bear could be 
found. They had evidently gone to the rough mountainous 
regions of the Kanawha, the Holly, and the Buckhannon for winter 
quarters, as very few bear wintered in the more open hills of the 
West Fork. 

Hughes and West desired to follow the bear, but it was neces- 
sary for Colonel Jackson to return home, and reluctantly they 
decided to accompany him. They recrossed the mountain and 
spent the night at their former camp. The deer, so unattractive 
the evening before, now engaged their attention, and they deter- 
mined to spend the day shooting. They divided their party: 
Hughes and West were pitted against the two colonels. They 
were to hunt for a wager, the prize being all the deer skins taken. 
No fawns were to be counted, and if a shot failed to bring down 
the game it was to deduct one from the party who fired it. All 
bullets in the shot-pouches were counted, and for these the hunter 
must account at the close of the day. It was agreed that the two 
officers were to hunt below, while the scouts were to hunt above 
the camp. 

Everything arranged, the hunt began, and in the evening 
when the game was tallied and the bullets all accounted for, the 
score stood nineteen for Hughes and West, and twenty-one for the 
colonels. The next morning the game was skinned, such ven«ion 
selected as was desired, and the camp broken. It was then sug- 
gested that the stream, on a branch of which they were encamped, 
was yet unnamed, and it was unanimously agreed that it should be 
called "Skin Creek," in commemoration of their remarkable hunt. 
As Jesse Hughes had piloted them to the camp, and to him alone 
was known the sylvan retreat, they called this tributary "Hughes 
Fork." These names they still bear. 

Afterwards, Joseph Hall, who came from England, and who 
was a corporal in Lord Dunmore's expedition in 1774, acquired 
title to a tract of land on Hughes Fork, including the camp site. 
Hall learned that Jesse Hughes also claimed this land by "toma- 
hawk improvement." He met Hughes in Clarksburg and enquired 
regarding his claim, offering to pay him for any right he might 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \'irgixia 181 

hold to the land. Hughes replied, "I did have a claim to that 
land; I camped there two or three times, and had a great hunt. 
I marked some trees expecting to acquire a title to the land. But 
I have," he continued, "more of such claims than 1 have use for; 
and I hear, Joe, that you now have a wife, and will need the land." 
Hall told him that he not only had a wife, but also a little curly- 
headed boy. Hughes rejoined, "In that case, I would give the 
land to the boy if I had a patent ff)r it." He then described the 
old Indian camp — a spring, and a beautiful location for a house. 

Joseph Hall's son, Jonathan, settled on this land in 1820. 
Ten years later he cleared the site of the old camp, near which he 
built a new residence. The fire hearths of the camp, three in num- 
ber, were unearthed b}- the plow. They were about two rods 
apart, and in the form of a triangle. They indicated long use, 
the ashes and burned stone extending considerably below the sur- 
face. Nearby were two dark spots in the soil, each about sixteen 
feet in diameter. These proved extremely fertile, the corn grow- 
ing much more luxuriantly there than on the surrounding soil. 
The unearthing of the old camp was witnessed by Jonathan Hall's 
sons, the youngest of whom, John Strange Hall, is still living, and 
occupies the ancestral homestead. To Mr. Hall I am indebted 
for most of the particulars contained in this chapter. 

Alexander West's son, Charles, settled on Hughes Fork of 
Skin Creek, on land said to have been "tomahawked" by his 
father during this hunt. 

Some time prior to the close of Indian hostilities on the border, 
Henry Jackson, the great land surveyor, who executed several of 
the large surveys in (now) central West \'irginia, received warrants 
for thirty-five thousand acres, to be laid off in five thousand acre 
tracts. This was the celebrated Bank's Survey, destined in after 
years, like man}' others of that day, to figure prominentK' in the 

A surveying party consisted of the surveyor, two chain-bear- 
ers, a "marker," and a cook, who helped as "packer;" also two 
hunters, who supplied the camp with meat and acted as scouts. 
Such an outfit was a recognized scouting party in time of Indian 
hostilities, and was often attended by regular Spies or Rangers 
employed by the State or Federal government. 

Jackson selected a new field for his operations, and pitched 
camp on Leading Creek in (now) Gilmer County. He arrived 

182 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

there in the evening, and marked a black gum tree for a corner. 
He then set his compass and noted that the Hne determined on 
would cross the creek three times. After this he rested for the 
day. Supper over, Jesse Hughes, one of the hunters, announced 
that he and his comrade would go down the creek about two miles 
to a famous lick and kill a deer for breakfast. Before starting 
they heard the howl of a wolf. This was answered by another in 
the general direction of the lick, but apparently some distance 
apart. The calls were repeated occasionally and seemed to 
approach each other. Jackson declared these were Indian signals, 
and that they must return at once and alarm the settlements. 
Hughes rebelled. He would not "run from Injuns until he saw 
Injuns to run from." He then added that he could approach the 
lick from the bluff and see any object near it without danger of 
discovery. Jackson reluctantly permitted Hughes and his com- 
panion to go, but first exacted a promise that they would not fire, 
no odds how fair an Indian mark they might see. If the signals 
heard were from Indians it was evident that others were in the 
immediate vicinity, and it was of the utmost importance that the 
presence of the whites be kept secret. The scouts set out, and 
soon returned with the intelligence that two Indians were watch- 
ing the lick, armed with bows and arrows. (7) Thewhites returned 
to West's Fort that night, and spread the alarm. 

The Indians evidently discovered signs of the surveying 
party and its hasty retreat, for they passed by the immediate 
settlements and committed depredations on Cheat River, carrying 
off some plunder. Colonel Lowther had his scouts and rangers 
out watching, and succeeded in intercepting the Indians in their 
retreat, killed a few of them and recovered the stolen property. 

Jackson never went back to complete his work. In due time, 
however, the Bank's Survey was- properly returned, neatly plotted, 
and showing the crossings of the chief streams. It was forwarded 
to the Governor, who issued the patent. In later years Lewis 
Maxwell became owner of the Bank's Survey, and spent years in 
search of Jackson's beginning corner. Finally the place was 
located where the three crossings of the creek were visible, but no 
marks of survey were ever found there. However, in following 
one of Jackson's imaginary lines, a tree was found with an old 
"line mark." This, Maxwell claimed, had been placed by Jack- 
son. In the meantime, later patents for the land had been dis- 

7) See paee 460. 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \'irgini.\ 183 

covered, and Maxwell hrou^dil suit for possession. The case was 
tried at Glenville, Gilmer County, and lasted two weeks, consum- 
ing the entire term of court. The main point involved was the 
identity of Jackson's beginning corner, although many other 
points were contested. The defense offered to prove that the 
mark found on "Jackson's line" was one of Jesse Hughes' toma- 
hawk claims, antedating the Bank's Survey; but the Hughes' 
claim had never been carried into grant, and the court ruled 
against the introduction of such testimony. The case was decided 
for the defense. 

Mr. J. S. Hall was present at the trial, and after the case was 
settled, Mr. Enoch Withers, an attorney for the defense, told Mr. 
Hall that there was an old veteran of Jackson's party still living, 
who could point out the exact spot of the gum tree corner, but it 
was not to the interest of the defense to divulge his name. 

Henry Jackson told the particulars of the survey and scare 
by the Indians to his young nephew, George Jackson Arnold, (8) 
a grandson of Col. George Jackson, who figured in the Skin Creek 

Xo actual settlements were made in the upper part of the 
West Fork Valley until after the treaty of Greenville in 1795. 
Col. Jackson was the first to enter this field. He secured a large 
boundary of land where Jacksonville now stands, in Lewis County; 
also a smaller tract at the forks of the river. In 1797, he settled 
four families by the name of Collins on his larger tract, giving 
each fifty acres of choice land. They were to remain until the 
colony was permanent and open a "Bridle Path" to the Flesher 
settlement, at Weston. 

These settlers were hardy and gave their names to the town- 
ship known as "Collins Settlement." The Collins were after- 
wards followed by the Bennetts: William, Joseph, Abram and 
Jacob, who came over the Seneca Trail (9) from the Upper Poto- 
mac. The Bennetts were fruit growers and propagated trees from 
seed brought from the Potomac. They left numerous descend- 
ants in the country. 

The "Ireland Settlement" at the extreme head of the right- 
hand fork of the river, was named for Andrew Wilson, a son of 
Erin, who was the first settler there. He voted for James K. Polk 
for President when one hundred and fourteen years old, but died 
the following year. 
(8) See patre 460. (9) r- 460. 

184 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

In 1781, a certificate was issued to "Joseph Hall, 400 acres on 
the east side of the West Branch of the Monongalia River, in 
the right of residence, to include his improvements made thereon 
in 1771, with a preemption right of 1000 acres adjoining." 

Joseph did not settle on the West Fork of the Monongahela 
until several years after his "improvement" of 1771. He was 
born in England in the year 1745. His father, Jonathan Hall, 
was a land owner, or tenant proprietor, and like his ancestors, a 
farmer. Joseph was a younger son, and under the English laws 
could not inherit any of the ancestral acres, so he was educated for 
the mercantile business and entered the employment of an uncle. 

In 1764, this uncle closed up business, and accompanied by 
Joseph, came to Alexandria, Virginia, and became one of the 
leading merchants of that place. In 1774, Joseph volunteered in 
Governor Dunmore's expedition against the Indians, and was made 
a corporal in Dunmore's division. 

After the return of this wing of the army, the feeling against 
the Governor and the British Government became intense, and 
caused an estrangement between the merchant and his nephew. 
The former was favorable to opposing British interferences in 
colonial affairs, while Joseph advocated passive measures. As 
the Revolutionary storm thickened, patriot and loyalist parted 
■company and Joseph rented a farm of Lord Fairfax on Patterson 
Creek, in now Mineral County, West Virginia, where with a 
partner he carried on farming for ten years. In the meantime, 
liis views changed regarding governmental affairs, and he rejoiced 
in the downfall of the British rule. 

In 1784, in company with Jacob Forenash and James Morri- 
son, old comrades in Dunmore's War and who had worked for 
him, he came to Harrison County and purchased two hundred 
acres on Peor's Run, in now Upshur County, West Virginia. He 
•employed Fecknash and Morrison to build a house and clear and 
cultivate this land under his supervision. For many years. Hall 
spent the most of his time at Clarksburg, assisting the Surveyor 
and the County Clerk. He entered numerous tracts of land, 
which involved him in lawsuits with but little compensation. 

Among his early acquaintances at Clarksburg were three 
Englishmen, whose names were Hall, but they could trace no 
family relationship. One of these settled in now Alarion 
County, one on Hughes River and the other on Elk Creek. 

Border Settlers ok Northwestern \ ircunia 185 

Sonic of the descendants of the latter intermarried with the 
Rejjer family. (10) 

Joseph Hall was educated in advance of those around him, 
and was useful in imparting knowledge to his neighbors. He died 
in 1825. 

In Januar\' 1796, Joseph Hall married Ann Strange, nee Hitt. 
Traged\' had twice widowed this woman. Her first husband, 
Joel Martin, a soldier nt t iir Rc'\( >hiti()n, ilied at the siege of "\ ork- 
town, 1781. Her second husband, William Strange, was lost on 
a surveying expedition in the mountains and his skeleton only 
found a great man\' \ears afterward. The following is an account 
of this incident, as given by Adkinson: 

Strange Creek. 

".\bout the year 1790 a surveying party came from what is now Upshur 
County, to Elk and Holly Rivers, for the purpose of making a survey, which is 
known as the Budd Sur\cy. i\mong their number was a man by the name of 
William Strange. Old Jerry Carpenter, who was the first adventurer in the upper 
Elk region, was employed to conduct the party. The lower line of the survey 
was to begin with the left-hand fork of Holly river, about six miles above its 
junction with main Holly river; thence in a southwesterly direction, crossing the 
mountains, to main Holly; thence o\er another mountain to Elk river, to a point 
near Carpenter's settlement. .\t that day there was no settlement in that section 
except Carpenter's, and they were obliged to carry their provisions and cooking 
utensils on a pack horse. Mr. Strange was a very indifferent woodsman, and to 
him was assigned the duty of taking the pack horse from one camping place to 
another. He was directed by the party to take the pack horse down the path 
on the left-hand fork to its mouth, then up main Holly river to a certain creek, 
where they met him the first night. They then directed him to go down Holly 
to its junction witli Elk river, then up Elk to Carpenter's settlement, where they 
would meet him the second night. The path down Holly was on the left-hand 
side. -About a half or three-quarters of a mile above its mouth the path forked, 
one path crossing the river and going up Elk, the other passing on down Holly 
for a short distance, and then bearing off to the right, ascending the mountain, 
passing through a long chestnut flat, and striking Elk some miles below. Owing 
to the dense growth of timber on his left. Strange, while passing by the ford on 
Holly, took the right-hand path, and failed to discover the junction of the rivers. 
A short distance below the junction. Elk came in view, and still believing it to be 
the Holly, he abandoned the path and attempted to follow the river shore. After 
having gone a short distance, he was unable to proceed further in consequence of 
impassable narrows, and was forced to retrace his steps to the path, which he 
followed down to the chestnut flat, where he became utterly confused, and 
tied his horse to a bush. 

"The surveying party reached Carpenter's settlement that night, and as 
Strange's non-arrival created uneasiness among a portion of the party Carpenter 

(10) See page 460. 

186 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

immediately explained the mystery by stating that he had evidently been misled 
on account of their failure to inform him where he would have to cross the river. 
Early next morning they started in search of him, crossed Holly and followed the 
tracks of the horse until they found it tied to the bush before mentioned. Strange 
had wandered away from the horse, and while Carpenter was endeavoring to 
discover his trail one of the party fired his gun to let Strange know that they were 
near him. Carpenter reprimanded the party, and warned them against a repeti- 
tion of the act; telling them that Strange, in his bewildered condition would take 
to flight, believing them to be Indians. After searching for some time, a few 
miles distant they found where he had been lying in the brush, and from the direc- 
tion he had taken, he had evidently fled at the noise of the gun, as suggested by 
Mr. Carpenter, who was an experienced and adroit Indian hunter. They followed 
his trail for perhaps five or six miles below, where, in the wildness of the forest, 
they lost all traces of him. 

"Nothing was heard of Mr. Strange for a number of years, when there was 
found, about forty miles below, on a branch of Elk, the bones of a man at the 
foot of a beech tree. The name of Strange and the following couplet had been 
cut in the bark of the tree: 

'Strange is my name, and I'm on strange ground, 
And strange it is that I can't be found.' 

"This branch, before that time known as Turkey Creek, from this incident, 
has ever since borne the name of Strange Creek. It is a few miles below Birch 
river, and is now the location of the Elk River Iron Works, in the County of 
Braxton, seventy miles from Charleston. 

"It is also stated that the rifle of Mr. Strange, with his shot-pouch hanging 
on its ramrod, was found leaning against the tree at the root of which his bones 
were lying. 

"I must conclude, from this remarkable circumstance, that 'Strange creek' 
was well and appropriately named." (11) 

Adkinson errs in fixing the Strange tragedy in 1790, as attested 
by the birth record of two of his children given in a later paragraph 
of this chapter. Strange was lost in the autumn of 1795 subse- 
quent to Wayne's Treaty with the Indians, of which the surveying 
party were wholly ignorant. This date is not only supported by 
family tradition, but it is coincident with a survey made in that 
year by Henry Jackson, for whom Strange was "cook and packer." 

After a fruitless search for the missing man, Jackson returned 
home without completing the survey, but the im.aginary lines 
were afterwards laid down and a patent secured covering the 
grant. Jackson, be it said, seldom ran all the lines of any of his 
surveys, but they were always properly patented; such was the 
case when he surveyed Joseph Hall's estate on Skin Creek, not- 
withstanding Hall was present. 

(11) See page 460. 


Upon the return of Jackson's party, others went in search of 
Strange, among them a Mr. Loudin, one of Jackson's luinters, 
and Philip Reger. 

The beech tree bearing W ilharu St range's name stood near 
the head of the creek, and was discovered by some hunters, who 
being famihar with the story of Strange, gave it his name. It is 
erroneously spoken of by some contemporaries as "Stranger's 
Creek." Mr. John Strange Hall, a grandson of Mrs. Strange, and 
well informed regarding his family history, in response to an 
inquiry, says: 

"Mr. Fitzwatcr, tlie tirst settler on Big Buffalo, a tributary of the lilk River, 
found a gun under a shelving rock, with the stock so badly damaged that it fell 
to pieces when handled. Nothing was ever known touching the history of this 
gun, but it was supposed by many to have belonged to the unfortunate Strange, 
who placed it there before succumbing to death." 

I am indebted to Mr. Cnddcon M. Heavner of Buckhannon, 
\\ est X'irginia, for a traditional version of the tragedy: 

"Mr. Strange was in the mountains with a Mr. Hall and a \Ir. Reger," writes 
Mr. Heavner, "and was directed to take the pack horse to a certain gap, where 
they were to join him later. Perhaps Reger and Hall did not make the place of 
rendezvous as soon as expected, but when they came up the horse was found tied 
to a bush with the pack lying near, but Strange was not there. He had gone off 
in an opposite direction and a heavy snowstorm was raging, and his trail could 
be followed only a short distance. They searched during several days, but found 
no trace of the missing man. Many years after, about five miles from there, his 
remains were found by the side of a log with his gun at his side. On a beech tree 
near by were engraved these words: 

'William Strange is my name. 

And in these strange woods I must remain.'" 

Mr. Heavner saj's that he has also understood that Strange 
tied the abandoned pack horse near where the town of Pickens, 
West \ irginia, now stands, and that his remains were found on 
Sugar Creek, Braxton County. 

The story was told Mr. Heavner by his mother, Mary, whose 
step-grandfather was Mr. Strange. She was the oldest child of 
Stephen, son of Joel Martin who died at Yorktown. Joel was not 
a regular enlisted soldier but when Virginia was invaded by the 
British under Gen. Cornwallis, he took his gun and went out with 
the patriot troops, never to return. His brother William was an 
enlisted soldier in the Revolution, and is said to have been killed 
at the siege of Yorktown. Joel Martin left two children, Joel, 

188 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

born July 26, 1778, Stephen, born April 14, 1781. Stephen never 
saw his father. This coupled with the fact that he pressed his 
hand into the throat of a dying wolf thereby hastening its death 
by suffocation gave him the power to cure the thrash in children, 
as more fully described in Chapter XXIX, this volume. 

Doubtless the story as told by Heavner, that Strange was 
with Hall and Reger when last seen, originated in the following 

William Strange had a hunt with Jacob Reger, Sr., and 
Joseph Hall; and he got lost, but was near his home and there was 
no tragedy. Reger was too old to hunt at a distance and he pro- 
posed to Hall that they hunt the divide between Pecks Run and 
Turkey Run. This region was no longer the resort of the younger 
hunters who went far afield for game. William Strange's farm 
lay on their route and he joined them. As the latter had had but 
little experience in hunting, he was directed to take the ridge and 
upper benches to a "crossing" in a low gap where he was to watch 
for deer which might break cover, and where they would later 
join him. 

Reger took the Pecks Run side while Hall crossed to the 
Turkey Run side, hunting on the lower benches and hollows, or 
ravines. After a time. Hall hearing the report of Reger's gun, 
recrossed the ridge and helped the old hunter hang up a large doe. 
They then proceeded together to the appointed rendezvous where 
they found Strange anxiously awaiting them. He had heard 
Reger's shot, and had succeeded in bringing down one of three deer 
which had been startled and broke for the accustomed pass. 
Strange had been tramping snow so long around the old oak where 
he was stationed, that he had decided that the other hunters had 
returned home and he was about to follow suit. 

After a short rest. Strange picked up the fawn which he had 
killed and started to lead the company, but he took the path 
towards Turkey Run. When called back, he insisted that he was 
right and pointed to his recent tracks, showing that that was the 
direction from which he came. But as his comrades moved off 
in the opposite direction, he reluctantly followed, protesting that 
they were going wrong; and not until they reached Hall's farm 
and saw his house was he convinced of his error. Strange was 
joked about this until the tragedy in the wilderness a few years 
later when he was lost never again to be seen alive. Other stories 

Border Settlers ok Xorthwf.stern \'irgim.\ 1S9 

of like nature were related of William Strange, attesting his utter 
lack of woodcraft. 

William Strange was born in Fauquier County, Virginia. 
His children were: 

Eliza, born September 22, 1784; James, born October 18, 
1787; John, born November 15, 1789; Sarah, born July 26, 1792, 
married Enoch Hall, of the Elk Creek family of Halls; Margaret, 
born July Uth, 1794. 

Mrs. Hall, nee Hitt, was an estimable woman, and her mar- 
ried life with Mr. Joseph Hall was ideal. She died in 1810 leaving 
two children by her last husband; Jonathan, born November 8, 
1797, and David, born March 4, 1800. They inherited their 
father's estate on Skin Creek. 

A unique feature of Joseph HalTs residence was the stairway, 
which was carved in one piece from a large poplar tree. 

A tragedy not unlike that of Strange occurred about 1S15. 

George Mollohan who lived with his son, James, on Birch 
River, left one day to visit his son John, w-ho resided about sixteen 
miles distant and near where Sutton now stands on the Little 
Kanawha; all within the present bounds of Braxton County. 

.\bout ten days after the old gentleman's departure, a settler 
from the Little Kanawha came to Birch River and James Mol- 
lohan inquired about his father. He was informed that Mr. 
Mollohan had not been at his son John's, nor had he, in coming 
over the path seen any trace of him. Moreover, John had 
requested the informant to tell his father to pay him a visit. 

\n unavailing search was immediately instituted for the 
missing man. The only trace ever found of him was his gloves 
placed in the forks of a bush, and, at no great distance, his horse 
feeding in the bottom lands. This incident is here given for the 
first time. 

George Mollohan. settled in Cjreenbrier County, in 1780. (12) 


When forts were built along the Ohio, Indian incursions into 
Virginia became less frequent. The garrisons of these forts and 
the settlers who gathered about them created a demand on the 
settlements on the Western Aionongahela for beef and milk cows. 
In 1791 we find Jesse Hughes with Nicholas Carpenter, in his ill- 
fated enterprise undertaken to supply this demand at Fort Har- 
mer at the mouth of the Muskingum. The ensuing brief account 
of this occurrence is taken from Withers. (1) 

"In the month of September, Nicholas Carpenter set off to Marietta with a 
drove of cattle to sell to those who had established themselves there; and when 
within some miles from the Ohio river, encamped for the night. (2) In the 
morning early, and while he and the drovers were yet dressing, they were alarmed 
by a discharge of guns, which killed one and wounded another of his party. 
The others endeavored to save themselves by flight; but Carpenter being a cripple 
(because of a wound received some years before) did not run far, when finding 
himself becoming faint, he entered a pond of water where he fondly hoped he 
should escape observation. But no! both he and a son who had likewise sought 
security there, were discovered, tomahawked and scalped. George Legget, one 
of the drovers, was never after heard of; but Jesse Hughes succeeded in getting 
off though under disadvantageous circumstances. He wore long leggins, and 
when the firing commenced at the camp, they were fastened at top to his belt, 
but hanging loose below. Although an active runner, yet he found that the pur- 
suers were gaining and must ultimately overtake him if he did not rid himself 
of his incumbrance. For this purpose he halted somewhat and stepping on the 
lower part of his leggins, broke the strings which tied them to his belt; but before 
he accomplished this, one of the savages approached and hurled a tomahawk at 
him. It merely grazed his head, and he then again took flight and soon got off. 

"It was afterwards ascertained that the Indians by whom this mischief was 
effected, had crossed the Ohio river near the mouth of the Little Kenhawa, where 
they took a negro belonging to Captain James Neal, and continued on towards 
the settlements on West Fork, until they came upon the trail made by Carpenter's 
cattle. Supposing that they belonged to families moving, they followed on until 
they came upon the drovers; and tying the negro to a sapling made an attack on 
them. The negro availed himself of their employment elsewhere, and loosening 
the bands which fastened him, returned to his master." 

The following more elaborate description of the foregoing 
tragedy is given by Hildreth. (3) 

"The year 1791 was more fruitful in tragical events than any other during 
the war, in the vicinity of Marietta. After that period the attention of the Indians 

(1) See page 460. (2) p. 460. (3) p. 461. 

B()ri)i:k Settlers of Northwestern \'ir(;ini.\ 191 

was more occupied with the troops assembled on the borders of their own country, 
or already penetrating to the vicinity of their villages. The United States troops 
stationed at the posts within the new settlements, drew a considerable portion of 
their meat rations from tlic inhabitants of the western branches of the Monon- 
gahela, about Clarksburg, especially their fresh beef. Several droves had been 
brought from that region of the country in 1790 and '91 and sold to Paul Fearing, 
Esq., who had been appointed Commissary to the troops. A considerable number 
of cattle, especially milk cows, were also sold to the inhabitants of Marietta. 
Among those engaged in this employment was Nicholas Carpenter, a worthy, 
pious man, who had lived many years on the frontiers and was well acquainted 
with a forest life. I4c left Clarksburg the last of September, with a drove, accom- 
panied by his little son, ten years old, and five other men, viz: Jesse Hughes, 
George Legit, John Paul, Barns, and Ellis. On the evcnint: of the 3rd of October, 
they had reached a point six miles above Marietta, and encamped on a run half 
a mile from the Ohio, and since called 'Carpenter's run.' The cattle were suffered 
to range in the vicinity, feeding on the rich pea vines that then filled the woods, 
while the horses were hoppled, the leaves pulled out from around the clappers of 
their bells, and turned loose in the bottom. After eating their suppers, the party 
spread their blankets on the ground and lay down with their feet to the fire. No 
guard was set to watch the approach of an enemy. Their journey being so near 
finished, without discovering any signs of Indians, that they thought all danger 
was past. 

"It so happened that not far from the time of their leaving home, a party 
of six Shawanese Indians, headed as was afterwards ascertained, byTecumseh, (4) 
then quite a youth, but ultimateh' so celebrated for bravery and talents, had 
crossed the Ohio river near Bellville, on a marauding expedition in the vicinity 
of Clarksburg. From this place they passed over the ridges to 'Neil's Station,' 
on the Little Kenawha, one mile from the mouth, where they took prisoner a 
colored boy of Mr. Neil, about twelve years old, as he was out looking for the 
horses early in the morning. It was done without alarming the garrison, and they 
quietly proceeded on their route, doing no other mischief; pursuing their way up the 
Kenawha to the mouth of Hughes' river, and following the north fork, fell on to 
the trail from Clarksburg to Marietta. This took them about three days. There 
was no rain, and the leaves so dry that their rustling alarmed the deer, and they 
could kill no game for food. Their only nourishment for that period was a single 
tortoise, which they divided among them, giving Frank, the black boy, an equal 
share. (5) As he was much exhausted and discouraged, they promised him a 
horse to ride on their return. These circumstances were related by Frank after 
his escape. 

"Soon after leaving the north fork of Hughes' river, they fell onto the trail 
of Carpenter's drove, and thinking it made by a caravan of settlers on their way 
to the Ohio, they held a short council. Giving up any further progress towards 
Clarksburg they turned with renewed energy and high spirits upon the fresh large 
trail, which they percei\ed had very recently been made. So broad was the track 
made by the cattle and four or five horses that they followed it without difficulty, 
at a rapid pace all night, and came in sight of the camp fire a little before day- 
light. Previous to commencing the attack, they secured Frank witli leather 
thongs to a stout sapling on the top of an adjacent ridge. The irampiini: of the 

(4) See page 461. (5) p. 461. 

192 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

cattle and the noise of the horse bells greatly favored the Indians in their 
approach, but as there was no sentinel there was little danger of discovery. 
Tecumseh, with the cautious cunning that ever distinguished him, posted his men 
behind the trunk of a large fallen tree, a few yards from the camp, where they 
could watch the movements of their enemies. 

"At the first dawn of day Mr. Carpenter called up the men, saying they 
would commence the day with the accustomed acts of devotion which he had 
long practiced. As the men sat around the fire, and he had just commenced 
reading a hymn, the Indians rose and fired, following the discharge with a terrific 
yell, and rushed upon their astonished victims with the tomahawk. Their fire 
was not very well directed, as it killed only one man, Ellis from Greenbrier, and 
wounded John Paul through the hand. Ellis instantly fell, exclaiming, 'O Lord, 
I am killed!' The others sprang to their feet, and before they could all get their 
arms which were leaning against a tree, the Indians were among them. Hughes 
who had been an old hunter and often in skirmishes with savages, in his haste 
seized on two rifles, Carpenter's and his own, and pushed into the woods, with 
two Indians in pursuit. He fired one of the guns, but whether with effect is not 
known, and threw the other away. Being partly dressed at the time of the attack. 
his long leggins (6) were only fastened to the belt around his waist and were loose 
below, entangling his legs, and greatly impeding his flight. To rid himself of this 
encumbrance he stopped for a moment, placed his foot on the lower end, and tore 
them loose from his belt, leaving his legs bare from the hips downward. This 
delay nearly cost him his life. His pursuer then within a few feet of him, threw 
his tomahawk so accurately as to graze his head. Freed from this impediment 
he soon left his foe far behind. Christopher Carpenter, the son of Nicholas, now 
living in Marietta, says he well remembers seeing the bullet holes in Hughes' 
hunting shirt after his return. 

"In the race the competitors passed near the spot where Frank was concealed, 
who described it as one of the swiftest he had ever seen. John Paul, who had been 
in many engagements with the Indians, escaped by his activity in running. Burns, 
a stout, athletic man, but slow of foot, was slain near the camp after a stout resist- 
ance. When found a few days after his jack knife was still clasped in his hand, 
and the weeds trampled down for a rod or more around, showing he had resisted 
manfully for life. George Legit was pursued for nearly two miles, overtaken and 
killed. Mr. Carpenter, although a brave man, was without arms to defend him- 
self, and being lame could not run rapidly. He therefore sought to conceal him- 
self behind some willows in the bed of the run. He was soon discovered, with 
his little boy by his side. His captors conducted him to the spot where the black 
boy had been left, and killed both him and his son. What led to the slaughter, after 
they had surrendered, is not known. He was found wrapped in his blanket, with a 
pair of new Indian moccasins on his feet, and his scalp not removed. It is supposed 
that these marks of respect were shown him at the request of one of the Indians 
whose gun Carpenter had repaired at Marietta the year before, and had declined 
any compensation for the service. He was by trade a gunsmith. This circum- 
stance was told to C. Carpenter, many years after, by one of the Indians who was 
present, at Urbana in Ohio. It is another proof of the fact, that an Indian never 
forgets an act of kindness, even in an enemy. 

"Tecumseh and his men, after collecting the plunder of the camp, retreated 

(6) See page 46L 

Border Settlers of Xorthwk.stkrn \ ir(;im.\ 193 

in such haste, that they left all the horses, which had probably dispersed in the 
woods at the tumult of the attack. They no doubt feared a pursuit from the 
rangers at Marietta and Williams' station, who would be notified by the escape 
of their prisoner, Frank, who in the midst of the noise of the assault contrived to 
slip his hands loose from the cords, and hide himself in a thick patch of hazel 
bushes, from which he saw a part of the transactions. .After the Indians had 
left the ground, he crept cautiously forth, and by good fortune took the right 
direction to Williams' station, opposite to Marietta. A party of men was sent 
out the next day, who buried the dead as far as they could liicn be found. Frank 
returned to his master, and died only a few years since."' 

Colonel Joseph Barker assisted in burying the bodies of Car- 
penter and his men. (7) 

From the foregoing it would appear that Hughes had adopted 
the Indian mode of dress so popular with the half-wild hunters and 
scouts in the latter years of the Indian wars on the \ irginia border. 
Tradition says that Hughes was surprised by the Indians near the 
Buckhannon Fort when entangled \vith loose leggins, and with 
difficulty effected his escape. Doubtless this story had its origin 
in the Carpenter occurrence. 

A single instance illustrative of Hughes' wonderful fleetness and 
dexterity with his rifle will demonstrate to what a fearful strait he 
must have been reduced that he should in his flight cast aside a 
loaded gun. After he had moved from Hacker's Creek, and was an 
old man, he returned on a visit. A Mr. Bailey, of Freeman's Creek, 
then a lad, remembered seeing him and witnessing the feat at a 
house-raising on Broad Run, in what is now Lewis County. When 
the house was completed the assembled young men engaged in 
athletic sports, hopping, jumping and foot-racing, as was custom- 
ary in those days. One athlete excelled all competitors in fleet- 
ness, and the old scout offered to run with him. The conditions 
of the race stipulated that Hughes with cmpt\- rifle in hand was 
to have ten paces the start of his adversar}'; and if successful in 
charging his piece before caught he was to be declared winner. 
Arrangements were accordingly made, and after the contestants 
had been properly placed, the signal was given and they sprang 
forward. One was an aged man, on whose visage the "shadows of 
the evening" were settling. The other, strong in the prime of 
youth, exulted in the mounting vigor of manhood. Swift was the 
race, but the chief of the Monongahela scouts proved himself. 
He charged his rifle, and whirling about, could easily have shot 
his rival before being caught. 

(7) See page 461. 

194 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

The following traditional sequel to the Carpenter tragedy is 
an extract from a manuscript by the late Mr. S. C. Shaw, of Park- 
ersburg, West Virginia. Mr. Shaw spent considerable time in 
collecting traditions from old papers and the descendants of the 
border pioneers. He died only a few years ago. 

"At the first volley from the guns of the Indians, Carpenter and three of his 
men fell dead. Hughes, the only one to escape death, was slightly wounded, but 
by his extraordinary activity and fleetness succeeded, after a long and at times 
close chase, in making his escape to Neal's blockhouse at the mouth of the Little 
Kanawha. The colored boy, Frank, whom the Indians had taken prisoner and 
tied to a tree with deer sinews during the attack, succeeded with his teeth in sever- 
ing his bonds, and though closely pursued made his escape to the fort. When 
Hughes and the boy appeared at the blockhouse and told the story of savage 
cruelty and murder, Isaac Williams, (8) a noted scout, immediately took charge 
of a party which started in pursuit of the Indians. Arriving at the scene of the 
tragedy, they found the body of Carpenter and his three men lying by their camp 
fire, scalped and mutilated. They buried their dead, and struck the trail of the 
Shawnees leading towards the river. Owing to a heavy rain, they lost the trail 
somewhere near the point on which St. Alary's, the county seat of Pleasants 
County, now stands, and the pursuit was abandoned. Williams' party, consisting 
of Jesse Hughes, Malcomb Coleman, Elijah Pixley and James Ryan, now held a 
council of war and unanimously agreed to avenge the death- of Carpenter and his 
party on the first Indians that fell in their way. 

"Williams led his party of avengers across the Ohio at a ford near Willow 
Island and immediately took up their silent march towards the head of Shade 
River, where they learned from the scouts belonging to the Bellville blockhouse, 
a small party of Shawnees were encamped on a hunt. The scouts went into camp 
on the Little Hocking, early that evening, leaving one man on guard to be changed 
at midnight; and rested until two o'clock in the morning, when, after a hasty meal 
of dried venison and parched corn, they again took up the line of march. Arriv- 
ing within three miles of where they had been told the Shawnees were camped, 
Williams and his party went into hiding beneath a mass of thick undergrowth 
lining a small stream between two wooded hills. Soon after being here ensconced, 
the report of fire arms nearby startled them. Peering through the branches of 
their bushy canopy the scouts silently listened and waited. A few minutes later 
a large buck broke cover on the hillside and came bounding down the slope in a 
straight line for the thicket in which they were concealed. The scouts supposed 
that the Indians were in pursuit, and were fearful that the buck would bring 
about their discovery. Fortunately for them, while the game was fifty j^ards 
away, a rifle rang out on the still morning air, and the buck sprang high and fell 
dead. An instant later three Indians ran down the hill, and began dressing the 
carcass. From their head dress and general appearance, the scouts recognized 
them as Shawnees, and knew that they were near the camp for which they were 
looking. The whites remained motionless and were undiscovered by the Indians, 
who, after completing their task, moved off with their spoils. The whites kept 
in hiding all day with one of their number constantly on the lookout. 

(8) See page 46L 


"On the banks of ihc Shade River, three miles dist;iiU from the hiding place 
of the whites, was a small creek which emptied into the larger stream. A huge 
rock stood back fifteen or twenty yards from the bank, and in front, and between 
It and the river, stood four brush wigwams. The Indians had brought three of 
their squaws with them to cure the meat, and with them three Indian lads, ranging 
from four to eleven years of age. The band of warriors or hunters consisted of 
four men. That night about midnight the scouts approached within two or three 
hundred yards of the Indian camp when Jesse Hughes went forward to ascertain 
their exact number and location. Hughes soon returned with the information 
given above, having arrived at this knowledge from the number of lodges and 
the equipment about the lodges. W Irii Hughes reported, Williams divided his 
forces, sending Hughes with two men to follow under the bank of the creek until 
opposite the camp; and then followed by the remaining hunter, Williams cautiously 
crept up until he was directly behind the rock referred to. The cry of the whip- 
poor-will was Hughes' signal that his force was in position, and a minute later 
Williams and Pixley crept from behind the rock and up to the nearest wigwam. 
So silent was their approach that even the keen-eared Shawnees had no suspicion 
that an enemy was near. The moon was in the full and even under the shade of 
the trees objects were plainly discernable. Williams and Pixley waited near the 
first wigwam until they saw Hughes, Coleman and Ryan close up to another, 
then raising his hand as a signal, dashed into the wigwam with a fearful yell, and 
before the sleeping Indians could spring to their feet, they were upon them. The 
scouts had rushed with tomahawk in hand, and almost in a second two Indian 
warriors and a squaw were tomahawked. While this tragedy was being enacted, 
Hughes and his companions were holding another carnival of death within a few 
>ards. Veils and cries of pain rent the air, and instantaneously the remaining 
Indians were out of their wigwams with weapons in their hands. Heretofore the 
whites had refrained from using their rifles, but after they had exterminated the 
occupants of two wigwams first attacked, they sprang out with their rifles, and 
before the panic-stricken Indians could recover their presence of mind, the rifies 
of the whites began to crack, and at each shot an Indian fell. Nine of the party 
were killed. The remaining Shawnee yelled with terror and fled to the forest. 
Fearing an ambuscade, the scouts quickly reloaded their guns and then looked 
over the field of battle. 

"One little Indian boy, not over four years old, was discovered concealed 
under a pile of furs and hides in a corner of one of the wigwams, where he had 
crawled when the whites made their attack. 

"Although doubtless frightened at the sight of the first white faces and heavy 
beards he had ever seen, the boy did not so much as whimper when Pixley picked 
him up and was about to dash him against a tree. Hughes, near Pixley at the time, 
begged him to spare the boy; but Pixley, whose brother and son had been killed 
and scalped by the Shawnees several months before, at first refused to spare him, 
but after a good deal of persuasion Hughes at last succeeded in getting possession 
of the lad. 

"Four horses, a large amount of fresh meat, a lot of furs and three good 
rifles were found and taken possession of. The dead Indians were scalped, the 
horses loaded with the captured plunder, and then fastening the Indian boy securely 
to the back of one of them, the scouts began their retreat. Thc\' followed the 

196 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

banks of the Shade River to its mouth, at what is today the town of Murrayville. 
From that point, they travelled several miles up the Ohio to a ford where they 
crossed, and arrived at the Bellville blockhouse. The little Indian prisoner 
was taken away a few days later by Jesse Hughes, and an old manuscript says 
that he lived many years among the whites in a settlement called Bulltown, dying 
at the age of nearly one hundred years, a devout Christian, greatly loved and 
respected in his community." 

The date (1785) and some of the details as given in the origi- 
nal unabridged version of this tradition are so conflicting, and the 
story of Hughes saving the little boy, an act so foreign to his known 
nature, serve to cast doubt on the story. Some parts of it may be 
true; evidently much of it is untrue. It was published in the 
Pittsburg Post several years ago, and copied by the press, and is 
given for what it is worth. 

It is said that the colored lad's name was Frank Wykoff, and 
that he was caught by the Indians one mile above Neal's Fort 
while fishing at the mouth of the Little Kanawha; that his captors 
tied his hands behind him, and packing a heavy load of food and 
utensils on his shoulders, compelled him to keep pace with them. 
But it is not probable that the Indians were encumbered with 
utensils or much food on a war expedition. 

The companions of Jesse Hughes in this traditional expedi- 
tion of revenge and plunder were well known on the Virginia 
frontier. In February, 1793, we find that Malcom Coleman, 
Elijah Pixley and James Ryan, accompanied by Coleman's son 
John, left the fort at Belleville, Ohio, in a canoe on a hunting trip 
up Big Mill Creek, in what is now Jackson County, West Virginia. 
They camped at or near where Cottageville now stands, and in a 
few days had all the venison and bear meat their canoe would 
carry. Their return home was delayed by the freezing of the 
creek. Pixley and young Coleman returned overland to the fort 
for a small supply of flour or meal and salt, expecting to return in 
the forenoon of the third day. On that fatal morning, the elder 
Coleman and Ryan rose early and prepared breakfast. While 
returning thanks at the beginning of the meal they were fired on 
by a band of Indians in ambush, and Coleman was instantly 
killed. Ryan was slightly wounded, but fled and in due time 
reached the fort. A party immediately returned to the camp, 
only to find Coleman scalped and stripped of his clothing and the 
camp plundered. (9) This occurrence was strangely coincident 
with the Carpenter tragedy. 

(9) See page 461. 


When the- Waggoner family, (1) on jcssc"> Run, was massa- 
cred in Ma_\', 1792, it was Jesse Hughes who carried the news of 
the tragedy to West's Fort and alarmed the settlers. Colonel 
John McW horlcr, then a lad eight years of age, was out hunting 
the cows not far from his father's home near the fort, when hear- 
ing the rustling of underbrush and glancing up, he saw Jesse, rifle 
in hand, running towards the tort. As Jesse passed the astonished 
lad he ejaculated, "Heel it to the fort, ye' little devil; Injuns 
after \e'I" The little fellow did "heel it," endeavoring to keep 
pace with the scout, hut to no purpose. The fleet-footed trailer 
disappeared as suddenly as he came to view. 

This raid on the \\ aggoner family by Tecumseh and his two 
w^arriors, with its subsequent history, and the story of the tragedy 
as told by the Indians in after years, dimly reveals an incentive 
to these border forays not usually attributed to the Indian by the 
historian. That these incursions were primarily of a partisan 
and revengeful nature, cannot be gainsaid, but that occasionally 
thev were prompted by motives of a different character is also 
certain. The carrying into captivity of small children over long 
and dangerous wilderness paths by the fierce warrior, is significant. 
I have elsewhere spoken of the strong parental feeling which 
sways the Indian bosom. The vacant seat at the fireside of the 
wigwam was as deeply mourned as in any home on earth. A 
longing to repair the broken circle, often led to the adoption 
of a stranger by the bereaved famih' or tribe. Preferably the 
adopted one was a child, although often grown or matured parties 
were acceptable. To fill these vacancies, young children of likely 
appearance were kidnaped from the settlements. (2) That these 
adoptions were successful, we need only refer to the pathetic 
scenes enacted at the several treaties where these captives were 
surrendered. Often it was necessary to force them from their 
foster parents. (3) The grief caused by these separations was 
always mutual. The running of the gauntlet by the prisoner 
before his adoption was, to use their own phraseology, "like how 
do you do," a hearty but rough initiation into Indian society. (4) 
The ceremony of adoption was serious, and assumed a religious 

(1) See page 461. (2) p. 462. (.i) p. 462. (4> p. 462. 

198 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

phase. The eradication of every drop of white blood from the 
veins of James Smith when he was adopted by the Caughnewagos, 
was highly symbolical, and a beautiful portrayal of primitive sim- 
plicity and sincerity. (5) 

In Border Warfare^ (6) will be found a very concise account 
of the Waggoner tragedy, and reference here to the published 
account will be made only in connection with some of the. incidents 
heretofore not of record. 

The attack was made on Monday evening. The Indians, 
led by Tecumseh, in their flight passed over the bench land between 
Buck Knob and Jesse Hughes' cabin, near the present site of the 
old Tanner house. They crossed the small stream which heads 
towards McKinney's Run and flows between Jesse's cabin and 
the old Indian village site on the promontory, near where it 
empties into the creek. On the right and near the road now lead- 
ing up this little vale, was in former years a spring, shaded by two 
beech trees. This was near the source of the stream. The 
Indians with their prisoners passed between these trees, against 
which they leaned their rifles while they quenched their thirst 
at the spring. I have been at this spot quite often. One of the 
trees is still standing; but the spring, it is said, has ceased to flow, 
except during the wet spring months. From here they crossed 
the little valley, and passed over the ridge onto McKinney's Run, 
on the farm lately owned by Rev. Mansfield McWhorter, a grand- 
son of Henry McWhorter. There on the hillside, just under the 
brow of the ridge, finding that Mrs. Waggoner (who was in no 
condition to travel) and the two smallest children were an imped- 
iment to a necessarily rapid flight, the Indians tomahawked and 
scalped them. 

In the meantime, Waggoner, who had escaped to Hardman's,. 
a neighbor living about half a mile away, spread the alarm. Hard- 
man lived about one and one-half miles from Jesse Hughes, the 
fleet-footed, who ran to the fort with the news. A rescue party 
immediately hastened to the Waggoner place, and started in pur- 
suit of the Indians. The pursuers fully acquainted with the coun- 
try, and under the skilled guidance of West and Hughes, pressed 
the Indians hard, and at one point nearly intercepted them. As 
subsequently learned, the red warriors, alert to the perils of their 
position, kept one of their number constantly scouting in advance. 
By a code of signals, this scout kept his two comrades informed 

(5; Sej page 462. (6) p. 462. 

P>c)ri)i:r Settlers of XoRTinvESTERN \'irgini.\ 199 

of conditions ahead. j\t one time, they observed the scout com- 
ing towards them, making signals by an undulating or ducking 
posture of the bod\-, in unison with the downward and outward 
sweep of the arm. They immediately stopped and the scout 
hurried towards them. The}- were being intercepted by the 
whites. A hasty council of war ensued, then changing their course, 
they made off at an increased rate of speed. The whites pursued 
them to the mouth of Kinchelo Creek, where night coming on and 
finding that the Indians were out-traveling them, the chase was 
abandoned. Hcnr)- AlcW'horter was one of the party, and helped 
to carry the dead to the fort. He often spoke of the appearance 
of the bodies where the tomahawking took place, but never men- 
tioned that they were "mangled in the most barbarous and shock- 
ing manner" as stated by Withers. 

Peter Waggoner, the only surviving boy, remained with the 
Indians more than twenty years, or until near the close of the War 
of 1812. He was then seen and recognized by Mr. Peter 
Booher, (6) with a band of friendly Indians, on Paint Creek, (7) 
a tributary of the Scioto River. Booher was a neighbor of Mr. 
Waggoner, and had gone to Ohio to take up land. He recognized 
the son by the strong resemblance to the father; and immediately 
communicated with him, telling of his discovery. Mr. Waggoner, 
in company with his neighbor Mr. Hardman, soon visited the 
Paint Creek Indians with the \iew of inducing his son to return 
home with him. W hile on Paint Creek, an old Indian, claiming 
to have been one of the raiding party, by signs and broken English 
gave Mr. Waggoner the following incidents of the destruction of 
his family. 

The warrior first held up two fingers; pointed to the sun, and 
then to the western horizon, signifying that the sun was two hours 
high when the\- made the attack. He declared that it had been 
their intention to take the mother and all the children captives; 
and that the killing of the boy at the house was accidental. The 
warrior struck him for the purpose of rendering him senseless, and 
to prevent him from making an outcry; but the blow was too heavy, 
killing him instead. Mrs. Waggoner and the two smaller children 
were slain because it was learned that the}- were being pursued, 
and these captives could not travel as fast as was necessary to 
effect an escape. Tecumseh, who, it will be remembered, visited 
Hacker's Creek after the Treat\- of Green\illc, in conversation' 

(6) See page 462. (7) p. 462. 

200 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia. 

with a Aiiss Mitchell told practically the same stor}'. He also 
declared that they had been watching the Waggoner family for 
some time, waiting until the children were large enough to travel. 
If we can place credence in any part of their words, and if we are 
to judge from all the circumstances connected with this unhappy 
affair, there was surely a motive back of the perpetration, not 
born of levenge. 

Peter was married to an Indian woman and was the father 
of two children. He was very much attached to his little family 
and refused to leave them. His father pleaded that he go home, 
if only for a short visit. His wife opposed his going, saying that 
he would never return. Mr. Waggoner was obdurate and finally 
Peter agreed to accompany him and promised his wife that he 
would return in so many "moons." She was disconsolate, but 
when she found that he was determined to go she said in broken 
English, "Go, me no see you more." The poor woman's words 
were prophetic; Peter was doomed never to keep the promise so 
sincerely made. 

When the time came for his return to his Indian home, he 
was zealously guarded by his relatives and friends, who allowed 
no opportunity for his escape. He became restive, and grew des- 
perate in his determination to go. In an altercation with his 
father, who was sitting at the loom weaving, Peter suddenly drew 
his bow, it is said, and let fly an arrow with deadly aim. The mis- 
sile struck the old man a glancing blow on the head, inflicting a 
scalp wound, and knocked him from the loom. Peter was nov/ 
more closely confined, and after the allotted moons had passed, 
he was afraid to return, having failed to keep his word. Every 
influence possible was brought to wean him from his Indian attach- 
ments and in time he became more reconciled. His long hair was 
cut, and he was induced to discard his earrings and Indian garb 
for the habiliments of civilization. In 1814, he married Catherine 
Hyde, a widow, whose maiden name was Hardman, and raised a 
family of children; but he was always melancholy and often 
lamented having left his Indian family. 

With the return of each succeeding "Indian Summer," Peter 
would languish for the wild free life of the wilderness. If ever 
the Great Spirit looked kindly upon his red children, it was at 
this season of the year, when all nature is indescribably dreamy, 
pleasant and sad. The ripening of wild grapes and nuts, the 

Border Settlers of Xorthuesterx \irgixia 201 

maturing of corn; the harxest and feast time of the Indian. Tlie 
season of the great annual Iniffalo hunt, when this animal was in 
l^rimest C(jndition; all this, like a call fmm the past, appealed to 
I'eter's primitive nature. 

Of his Indian life, he was ver\' reticent, and would seldom 
speak of it to his white friends. Occasionally however, V-^. would 
become communicative with young boys, and getting r few of 
them together, he would relate to his eager listeners some wild 
hunter stories and tales of forest life. He once told of a fierce 
encounter that he had witnessed between a large panther and a 
bear. The panther would leap upon the bear and hght fiercely 
for a few minutes, and then spring up against the side of a tree, 
w here it would cling and rest. Then it would again leap upon the 
hear an^l the deadh' combat would rage until the [^anther, to 
escape the crushing embrace of his antagonist, would repeat its 
former tactics, and seek shelter of the tree. Thus the battle 
raged until both animals were badly torn and exhausted, then the 
bear walked away and the panther stayed in his tree. 

At another time, he was with a hunting party, and becoming 
lost, wandered two days and a night in the wilderness before he 
was found. He had traveled in a zigzag course, often describing 
a complete circle. Peter was fearful lest the Indians should think 
that he was tr\-ing to escape and would deal harshly with him, but 
when he spoke to them about it, they only laughed and said, "No 
think lun 'way, him go too clooked. Him lun 'way, go stiate." 
Colonel James Smith had the same experience when a captive. (8) 
This coincidence is not remarkable, for it is well known that a 
person lost in the wilderness will usually travel in a circle. Xone 
would know this better than the Indians, hence practically the 
same comment by the red hunter's in each case. 

Peter settled on Hacker's Creek, and in a measure adapted 
himself to his changed mode of life. He appears to have at first 
regarded the most arduous toil in the light of amusement. His 
first experience in plowing was in rooty ground with a "one-horse 
shovel plow." Most \ irginia farmers know what this mode of 
plowing means both to muscle and temper; it is hardly conduci\'e 
to pious reflection. But with Peter it was novel, and when the 
plow would strike a root, he would go lightly into the air with a 
long, loud "cr// 0-0-0/).'" He never lost his Indian mode of speech. 
His words were few, but expressive; and so strong is the law of 

<8) See page 462. 

Peter Waggoner 
From a ferrotype, 1876. Courtesy of Albert W. Swisher 

Border Settlers of Xori iiw estern \ ir(;im a 203 

herediu' that nian\- of his descendants to the third generation 
retain to a degree the short speech of their Indiani/.ed ancestor. 

Owing to his long Hfe with the primitive people, Peter was 
simple, honest and upright, lie was not a warrior among his 
adopted people, but was a hunter of renown. W hen he first 
returned to the settlement, he was an expert with the bow, as 
well as the rifle. He often taught the boys of the neighborhood 
how to fashion the bow, and gave them lessons in the use of this 
primitive weapon. For man}' years there was among his descend- 
ants a small brass barrel pistol brought by him from Paint Creek, 
lie could give the war-whoop of his tribe anel emulate its several 
dances, although he could seldom be induced to perform them. 
He never k^st the traits of alertness acquired in his forest life. 
W hen about his work he was watchful ani.1 prided himself on his 
ability to detect anyone attempting to approach him unawares. 

One of his grandsons told me that he had often tried to sur- 
prise his grandfather when at work, but never succeeded. Once 
under favorable circumstances, he approached within a few rods 
of the old man before he was discovered. "Hey," he ejaculated, 
"tried to slip on me; didn't do it, though." Only once did any- 
one ever accomplish this feat, although it was constantly 

When i^eter was quite an old man, he was husking corn "on 
the stalk" against the hillside where the grain stood thick and 
luxuriant. A neighbor who was to help him, with great caution 
came upon him unawares, and placed his hand on his shoulder. 
The old man was startled and deeply humiliated. His Indian 
pride was touched; he felt disgraced. "Hey," he exclaimed, in 
a voice choked with emotion, "Vou slip on me. ^ ou first man 
ever slip on me." Waggoner all that day seemed not himself, 
but would at short intervals refer to the incident with such feeling 
that the joker regretted his thoughtless act. 

A short time after Peter's return, an Indian woman passed 
through Hacker's Creek, inquiring for him. She could only speak 
imperfect English, and with difficult}' made herself understood. 
She" was Peter's Indian wife, who had come in search of him. 
None would tell of his whereabouts, nor was he ever informed of 
her presence in the settlements. She seemed parth' demented, 
and sang wild, mournful melodies in her native tongue. At one 
place, where she was granted a night's lodging, she chanted and 

204 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

danced the greater part of the night. With the primitive Indian 
dancing, in such cases is an invocation, or worship, but not amuse- 
ment. What became of this lone woman, no one ever knew. 
When last seen, she had passed beyond the settlement and was 
wending her steps eastward. Hints of a darker nature in time 
leaked out. It was said that she met death at the hands of some 
of Peter's relatives or friends. Whether such was her fate, or if 
in time she wandered back to her people, her story is a pathetic 
one. She was a young widow when Peter married her, the wife 
of a sub-chief of his tribe, who had died or fallen in battle. Peter 
was his adopted brother and, it was said, by a recognized tribal 
custom he married the widow. This may have been true, but at 
this day it is only tradition. Peter held some position of authority 
in his tribe, and as the chieftaincy is usually hereditary with the 
Indian, it is probable that the mantle of the deceased brother fell 
to him. 

Let those who judge harshly of the capacity of the Indian 
bosom for love, think well of the desolation in this poor, faithful 
woman's heart. Let those who would approve of the forcible 
detention of that husband and father from wife and little ones, 
dependent on his rifle for meat and raiment, go learn their first 
lesson of charity at the shrine of Moloch. 

Peter died at his home on Millstone Run, a branch of Hacker's 
Creek, February 26, 1879, in his ninety-third year. This would 
place his capture at six years of age, instead of eight, as Withers 
has it. He was buried in the Harmony Cemetery, near Jane Lew. 
He was the last survivor of tragedy on the Virginia border. 

The two captive sisters, Mary and Lizzie Waggoner, were 
both older than Peter. Mary, the eldest soon escaped to the 
vicinity of Detroit and continued there until the Treaty of Green- 
ville, August 3, 1795. Lizzie remained with the Shawnees until 
after the treaty, where her father in company with John Hacker 
and Jacob Cozad attended and brought her and other captives 

Mary, in 1800, married Jacob Wolfe. She is buried on Polk 
Creek, in Lewis County, West Virginia. Lizzie married John 
Hardman. I do not know where she is buried. 


The last traditional account that we have of Jesse Hughes as 
defender of the border on the Upper Monongahela was in the fall 
of 1793. It was really the sequel of the following incident: (1) 

"In the spring of 179.i, a parly of warriors proceeding towards the licadwaters 
of tlic Monongahela river, discovered a marked way, leading a direction which 
they did not know to be inhabited by whites. It led to a settlement which had 
been recently made on Elk river, by Jeremiah and Benjamin Carpenter and a 
few others from Bath county, and who had been particularly careful to make 
nor leave any path which might lead to a discovery of their situation, but Adam 
O'Brien (2) moving into the same section of country in the spring of 1792, and 
being rather an indiflFerent woodsman, incautiously blazed the trees in several 
directions so as to enable him to readily find his home, when business or pleasure 
should have drawn him from it. It was upon one of these marked traces that the 
Indians chanced to fall; and pursuing it, came to the deserted cabin of O'Brien, 
he having returned to the interior, because of his not making a sufficiency of grain 
for the subsistence of his family. Proceeding from O'Brien's, they came to the 
house of Benjamin Carpenter, whom they found alone and killed. Mrs. Carpenter 
being discovered by them, before she was aware of their presence, was tomahawked 
and scalped, a small distance from the yard. 

'*The burning of Benjamin Carpenter's house, led to a discovery of these 
outrages; and the remaining inhabitants of that neighborhood, remote from any 
fort or populous settlement to which they could fly for security, retired to the 
mountains and remained for several days concealed in a cave. They then caught 
their horses and moved their families to the West Fork; and when they visited 
the places of their former habitancy for the purpose of collecting their stock and 
carrying it ofT with other property, scarce a vestige of them was to be seen — the 
Indians had been there after they left the cave, and burned the houses, pillaged 
their movable property, and destroyed the cattle and hogs." 

The following traditional account is still preserved by the 
descendants of the Carpenters (3) on Elk River. 

Jeremiah Carpenter was born at Big Bend, Jackson River, 
in Bath County, Virginia, and was there taken prisoner by a band 
of Shawnees when but nine }ears old. He lived with the tribe at 
Old Town, opposite the mouth of the Great Kanawha until he 
was eighteen, when he was exchanged and returned to Jackson 
River. From that place he m()\ed lo I'.lk Ri\cr, in what is now 
Braxton County, West \ irginia, settling about a quarter of a mile 
above Dry Run. Into that region the Indians came every spring. 

Adam O'Brien had blazed a trail from the site of the present 

(1) See pa L'e 4^.2. (2i p. 4'.2. (3i p. 4'o. 

206 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

town of Sutton to the Salt Spring, the name by which the white 
people spoke of the Indian Bull Town. O'Brien went there to 
make salt. Bull Town being on the old Indian war trail, a party 
of two Shawnee warriors followed the blazed path made by 
O'Brien, to Elk River, and there saw chips floating down the stream, 
which to them was proof that settlers had erected buildings above. 
They followed the river. There were two brothers, Benjamin 
and Jeremiah Carpenter. Benjamin's cabin was lowest on the 
river, at the mouth of Holly, twelve miles above Sutton. The 
two Indians, one large and the other small, came first upon the 
cabin of Benjamin. At the time, he was across the river burning 
logs in his clearing, assisted by his mother and little sister, who 
had come that day to visit him. His wife was sick in bed, and the 
Indians tomahawked her, making no noise. The big Indian took 
Carpenter's gun from the rack over the door, and seated himself 
in the corner of the cabin, the little Indian concealing himself on 
a bank above the house. Carpenter came across the river to 
assist his wife if she should want any aid, and also to prepare din- 
ner. But he stopped at the river bank, and took a deer skin from 
the water where it had been soaking in the process of dressing, and 
began work upon it. While about this business the little Indian 
shot at him and missed him. He ran to the house to get his gun, 
and as he reached up to take it down, the big Indian shot him in 
the side under the arm, and killed him. They then scalped Car- 
penter, took his gun, powder-horn and shot-pouch, and left that 
region. Carpenter's mother concealed her little girl in a hollow 
stump, and ran for her husband, but when he arrived at the cabin 
of his son, the Indians were gone. 

The following fall, at a fort on the West Fork of the Monon- 
gahela, possibly at Clarksburg, the Indians killed and devoured a 
cow belonging to Jesse Hughes. They carried away with them 
a bell which the cow wore. One afternoon they rattled this bell 
in the woods on the mountain-side above the fort. Some said to 
Jesse Hughes that his cow was coming back. He knew, however, 
that she had been killed, and replied that he would "make that 
bell ring for something in the morning." That night he secreted 
himself in the woods on the mountain above the point where the 
bell had been heard the previous afternoon. As soon as it was 
light enough to shoot, he again heard the bell, and cautiously 
made his way towards it. He discovered two -Indians, one large. 

l)<)ki)i:R Setti.krs ()i Xorthwestkrx \ ir(;ixia 207 

the other small. The bi^' Indian was standing up with his gun 
ready for instant use, and the little Indian was walking about on 
his hands and knees, with the bell on his neck, rattling it in imita- 
tion of a cow browsing in the woods. (4) Hughes shot the big 
Indian, and the small one ran. Jesse threw down his empty gun, 
seized that of the dead Indian, pursued and soon came up with 
the little Indian and shot him. The gun carried by the big Indian, 
and with which Hughes killed the little Indian, was the gun of 
Benjamin Carpenter. The gun, powder-horn and shot-pouch 
were returned to the Carpenter family. 

The story of this occurrence, as told b\ the ininiediale descend- 
ants of Jesse Hughes, is as follows: Hughes was visiting his par- 
ents on Elk Creek, near Clarksburg. One evening the cow did 
not come home from the woods as usual, nor could she be found. 
The next morning Jesse's mother heard the bell in the woods, and 
told her daughter to go and bring the cow home. Jesse, hearing 
the order, stepped into the yard and listening attenti\eh- to the 
bell for a moment, told his sister that he would go and bring the 
cow. Taking his rifle, he went into the woods opposite to where 
the bell was still rattling, and making a circuit, came near the 
bell on the side furthest from the house. When getting near 
the object of his search, the odor of broiling meat was wafted to 
his nostrils. The Indians had killed the cow, and had been roast- 
ing the beef over the camp-tire. Cautiously advancing, he saw 
an Indian rattling the bell in such a manner as the noise produced 
b\- a belled cow when feeding. The Indians had gone some dis- 
tance from their camp towards the house, and were waiting to 
see if anyone would come to get the cow. Hughes shot the Indian 
who was ringing the bell. 

In this version no mention is made of Jesse killing more than 
one Indian, nor of the big and little Indian and Carpenter's gun. 
The last version is correct as to the place and circumstance of 
Jesse's exploit; but there is every reason to believe that the Car- 
penter version is correct in its relation to Carpenter and the two 
noted Indians. 

Karl}- in the nineties there were two Indians on the border who 
were well known to the rangers and scouts of Fort Harmer, and other 
posts on the frontier. I/ildreth, (5) says of these famous warriors: 

"There were among these Indians two whose footprints (6) were well known 
to the rangers. One of them left a track eleven inches long, the other not more 

(4) See page 467. (5) p. 467. (6) p. 467. 

208 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

than seven or eight. They were known as the big and little Indian. They were 
men of great subtlety and caution; often seen together by the spies, yet never but 
once within reach of their rifles. Joshua Fleehart, (7) a noted hunter, and as 
cautious and cunning as any savage, got a shot at the big Indian as the two lay 
in camp below Bellville. The ball cut loose his powder horn, which Joshua took 
as a prize, and wounded him in the side, but he escaped." 

It is probable that these were the warriors killed by Hughes. 
No mention of them is found in the border strife after this time. 
The killing of Carpenter was cunningly planned and executed 
and they would have succeeded in their decoy with the bell, but 
for the keen discernment of Hughes. Instead, they met a tragic 
death at the hands of this renowned scout of the Monongahela. 

On file in the Bureau of Pensions, Washinton, is the brief 
military record of John Carpenter, a soldier of the Revolution and 
an Indian spy on the Virginia border. He was born in Botetourt 
County, Virginia, in 1764. In September, 1780, he enlisted from 
his native county for six months in Captain John Bowles' Rifle 
Company, Virginia Alilitia, and marched by way of Albemarle 
Court House, Virginia, to headquarters near Guilford Court House 
in North Carolina, where he joined the main army under General 
Green. Carpenter participated in the fiercely contested battle 
of Guilford, March 15, 1781, which was the principal event during 
the term of his enlistment. He was discharged in April, and in - 
Alay of the same year, he enlisted as a private in Captain David 
May's Company, Virginia Militia, and was sent to various points, ■ 
including Williamsburg, Richmond and Raccoon Ford on the 
Rappahannock River in Culpepper County, Virginia. There 
General Wayne joined forces with the Marquis LaFayette. Car- 
penter was at the siege of Yorktown and the surrender of Lord 
Cornwallis the following Autumn. He was a member of the guard 
which conducted a detachment of British prisoners to the Win- • 
Chester Barracks, near Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia. 

At the expiration of his term of service, he was discharged 
by his Lieutenant, Wallace Astre, or Aster (name illegible). He 
then returned home. In December, 1781, he enlisted for one year 
under Captain John AicCoy to defend the Virginia frontier border- 
ing the Ohio River, and was marched to West's Fort on Hacker's 
Creek under orders of Col. William Lowther. He became actively 

(7) See page 467. 

Border Settlers of Northwestern \ irc.inia 209 

engaged in spying thn^ughuul ihc region cnibiaccd between the 
Upp^er Monongahela settlements and the Ohio Ri\-cr. He 
reported at Bush's Fort on the Buckhannon and at Neal's Station 
at the mouth of the Little Kanawha, as well as at West's Fort. 
He was not at all times under ihe immediate orders of Colonel 
Lowther, but was sometimes moved by orders from Colonel 
Wilson and other subaltern officers as occasion and country 
demanded. He was frequently engaged in recovering stolen 
property carried off b>- the Indians. In Januar\-, 1782, he was 
discharged by Colonel Lowther and returned home. 

\u March, 1783, he enlisted as a private Lidian spy in Captain 
Peter Hull's Company and was sent to where Lewisburg now 
stands, in Greenbrier County, where he scouted throughout 
the adjacent country. At the expiration of his term, he received 
his discharge from Captain Hull. This ended his services as an 
enlisted militiaman, but subsequently performed many services 
of value to the frontier. 

It is not known just when John Carpenter settled on Hacker's 
Creek, but he resided there in 1832, when he successfully applied 
for a pension as a Revolutionary soldier. He evidently was living 
on the Trans-Allegheny border in 1792, at which time he speaks of 
his house being burned by the Indians. It is very probable that 
he was at that time a resident of Hacker's Creek. That the 
State Militia east of the mountains was sometimes assigned to 
duty on the L'pper Monongahela border is apparent from If addell, 
who states that at a county court martial, held October 27, 1779, 
"Ensign James Steele reported the desertion of sundry men from 
their station on the west fork of Monongahela, they being sub- 
stitutes for Augusta militiamen. Many other substitutes were 
returned on the same day by Ensign Robert Christian for desert- 
ing from his command at Buchanan Fort." (8) 

This last desertion may or may not have been the fort at 
Buckhannon, but that reported by Ensign Steele must have 
occurred at West's Fort on Hacker's Creek, or Nutter's Fort at 

It is not known that John Carpenter, the scout, and the set- 
tlers on the Elk River were of the same family, but it is very prob- 
able that they were, as they hailed from the same region. Bath 

(8) See page 467. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

County was formed from Augusta, Botetourt and Greenbrier 
Counties in 1791. 

Among the volunteer troops who served in Dunmore's War 
from Botetourt County, were Richard Willson Carpenter, Thomas 
Carpenter, Soloman Carpenter, Jeremiah Carpenter and John 
Carpenter, all privates. The name is given as Carpender. (9) 

Thomas was wounded at the Battle of Point Pleasant. 

(9) See page 467. 


The border had receded: the fix)nlier was no longer Trans- 
Allegheny; it was Trans-Ohio. Wayne's defeat of the Indians at 
Fallen Timbers in 1794 had effectually secured the Virginia 
settlements from Indian forays. The Twenty Years War, pro- 
voked b\' the white man, had closed; and a new era had dawned 
for the Trans-Allegheny. Peace fearfully bought had settled 
over the romantic Monongahela and the beautiful Kanawhas. 
The plumed warrior, the untutored patriot of the Northwestern 
wilderness, had succumbed to the inevitable, and was again facing 
the sunset. Life on the Upper Monongahela was now tof) tame 
for the sanguine spirit of Jesse Hughes, the pioneer, ranger, Indian 
fighter. He grew restive, and chafed under the inactive life 
forced upon him. \\ ith the dying echo ot the last war-whoop of 
the painted warrior among the hills of Virginia, Jesse Hughes 
appears to have made preparations to follow him toward the west. 

In the fall of 1797 or 1798, he sold his land to his brother-in- 
law, James Tanner, (1) and turning his back on the scenes of his 
many daring adventures and marvellous escapes, struck into the 
wilderness of the Northwest. W ith his lamih' and live stock, he 
moved overland to or near Vincennes. But the child of the high 
forests of the AUeghenies could not flourish in the swamp woods 
of the Wabash. His family suffered from chills and fever, and 
this made him resolve to return again to his old paradise. Little 
is known of his life in that marsh country, and I can give but one 
occurrence ot interest. 

The Indians were in the habit of coming to the tort with turs 
and hides to barter for goods and rum. One da\', a drunken 
Indian amused himself by approaching people unawares and biting 
them on the shoulder. Observing this, Jesse remarked "If that 
Injun bites me, he will never bite another man." \'ery soon the 
Indian came upon Hughes, and closed his teeth on the scout's 
shoulder. Hughes, whirling, struck the Indian, and at the same 
time kicked him in the stomach, knocking him trom a high plat- 
form or porch, killing him instant)). The Indians said that the 
fall killed their brother, and the\- did not attempt to molest 
Hughes in the least. 

(1) See page 4<)7. 

212 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

From Vincennes, Hughes moved by land to eastern Ken- 
tucky, where he remained until the spring of 1799 or 1800, when 
he moved again, overland, to what is now Jackson County, West 
Virginia. On this trip they camped at the mouth of Twelve Pole 
Creek, Wayne County, West Virginia, where, "setting his hooks," 
said his daughter Massie, then twelve years old, "my father 
caught the largest catfish I ever saw." He continued up the Ohio 
until he reached the mouth of Turkey Run, just above the present 
town of Ravenswood, Jackson County, West Virginia. Here 
he built a cabin and settled down for a few years. His main sup- 
port, as in years past, was his rifle. Finding that the game was 
disappearing in that locality, and that it was more plentiful back 
from the Ohio River, he moved eight miles up Big Sandy Creek, 
and settled one mile north of where Sandyville is located. Here 
he entered a tract of land, built his last cabin, and seemingly 
settled to spend the remainder of his days in the seclusion of this 
sylvan retreat. But, as the sequel will show, he was doomed to 

The record of his career in this region is extremely meagre. 
No early history of Kentucky has ever been written, and the 
annals of the southwestern part of West Virginia is not so replete 
as the other portions of the State. The passing of the pioneer, 
and the great changes wrought in the latter section by the Civil 
W' ar, which was followed by an inroad of strangers, has had much 
to do with the loss of traditions pertaining to the early days. 

Tradition on the Big Sandy River says that in previous times, 
Jesse Hughes scouted and hunted all over eastern Kentucky; 
that he was an associate of Alatthias Harman of Ingles' Ferry 
on the New River, and that he or his father was one of the famous 
"Long Hunters." (2) On one occasion he swam Red River, hold- 
ing his rifle and shot-pouch high and dry in one hand. This was 
either a tributary of the Cumberland River in Tennessee or a 
small contingent of the Kentucky River in eastern Kentucky. 
Red River is spoken of by the "Long Hunters," who first came 
upon it in 1769. (3) 

By his immediate descendants in Jackson County is pre- 
served the following story of Jesse Hughes: 

Among the associates of Hughes were one Morgan and one 
Straley. Morgan's two children were captured by five Indians 
in a cornfield. And Jesse and the father went in pursuit, and at 

(2) See page 469. (3) p. 470. 


ni^ht came upon the Indians and iheir captives, sleeping at the 
foot of a sN'caniore tree. I1ie\- shot two of the warriors, and 
rushing in, tomahawked the other three before they could recover 
from their surprise or offer an\' resistance. One of the Indians 
they flayed, and tanning the skin, manufactured it into shot- 

I'he scene of this incident is lost, but it could not have hap- 
pened after Jesse left Hacker's Creek. The fact that Morgan 
and his two children were such conspicuous figures in the tragedy, 
gives strength to the inference that the story may have had its 
origin in the famous fight near Prickett's Fort, in 1779, between 
Morgan and two Indians in defense of his two children, and its 
ghoulish sequel. (4) As has been shown, Hughes was often at 
Prickett's Fort, and no doubt engaged in the stirring scenes 
enacted around that fortress. The revolting outrages perpetrated 
upon the bodies of the two dead warriors would have been in keep- 
ing with the savage instincts of Jesse and his border associates. 

For Jesse Hughes the day of actual conflict had passed. The 
red warrior no longer haunted the Virginia wilderness, but desul- 
tory bands of friendly Indians, degraded by the vices of the white 
man's civilization (5) still lingered round their former homes and 
the graves of their people. These spent much of their time in 
wandering about through the white settlements and often indulged 
in drunken carousals. Against these beings, Jesse continued to 
glut his insatiate thirst for Indian blood. He had doubtless m.any 
opportunities for waylaying the unsuspecting tribesmen who occa- 
sionally passed over their primitive thoroughfares in this region, 
living as he did on the old Indian path, locally known as the 
"Interior Trail." This led from the Little Kanawha to the Salt 
Licks on the Great Kanawha, and crossed the warpath running 
from the Ohio up Sand Creek. This latter was a noted trail, 
which crossed from Sand Creek to the headwaters of Reedy 
Creek, Spring Creek and Henry's Fork, all tributary to the Little 
Kanawha; also Mill Creek flowing directly into the Ohio, and 
Pocotaligo and its tributaries feeding the Great Kanawha. 

Jesse's awful vow of his younger days, "to kill Injuns as long 
as he lived and could see to kill them," was fearfulh- and savagely 
kept in the eventide of life. The laws for the protection of life 
were inefl'ective on the border and were seldom enforced when the 
victim was a "despised redskin." Too often have the minions of 

(4) See page 470. (5) p. 472. 

214 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

the law winked at, or shielded the blighting hand raised openly 
against the peaceable Indian. His daughter Massie used to tell 
that Hughes once killed three Indians and hid their bodies in a 
cave, since known as Haynes' Cave. (6) 

Several years after Jesse settled on Sand Creek, he was visited 
by one of his former associates from Hacker's Creek. Accompan- 
ied by this friend, Jesse repaired to a secluded part of the forest 
and took from the cavity of a hollow beech tree eight rifles, the 
property of peaceable Indians whom he had secretly murdered. 
Another version of this tradition is that it was not Jesse, but his 
brother Elias, who displayed the hidden rifles as trophies of his 
prowess on the Licking River, in Ohio, where he settled in 1789. 
But some of Jesse's immediate descendants declared that Jesse 
alone was the founder and sole proprietor of the Beech Tree 
Museum. Elias Hughes, as hereafter shown, had a like collection 
of arms in a hollow sycamore. 

At one time, Jesse Hughes, in company with a few compan- 
ions, and at a rendezvous somewhere near the Ohio River, sat 
about a camp fire. They were joined by an Indian, who had a 
club foot. After carefully scrutinizing their visitor, Hughes 
remarked to one of the company: "I have tracked that old devil 
all over Northwestern Virginia." Subsequent conversation with 
the red hunter verified this statement, (7) it was evident that 
Hughes would not deal gently with the Indian, who with a 
deformed foot, had been so successful in evading him in the forest. 
The weary Indian accepted an invitation to spend the night with 
the hunters, and after partaking of food furnished him, wrapped 
himself in his blanket and lay down by the fire to sleep. The 
next morning when the party arose, Hughes was gone, and the 
lifeless body of the Indian was found to have a knife plunged to 
the hilt in his heart. 

When an old man, Jesse spent much of his time fishings 
always armed with his tomahawk, from which he was inseparable. 
Upon one occasion, he went fishing along the Ohio accompanied 
by one of his little grandchildren. In the afternoon, they came 
upon five Indians sleeping on the river bank, a tell-tale jug lying 
empty near them. Scanning the recumbent forms a moment, 
Hughes remarked, "They are drunk;" then went on with his 
fishing. But angling for the finny tribe no longer held charms 
for him. He became restless, going from place- to place, yet ever 

(6) See page 472. (7) p. 473. 

Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 


hovering about the objects that had so roused his lagging propen- 
sities. He was the hereditary foe of the Indian in peace and in 
war, and the sight of these inebriated wretches had fanned to 
flame that hatred which ever rankled in his bosom. 

Finally, as the day waned, he turned to his little companion 
and said: "Go along home. I will come soon." The lad wended 
his way homeward, leaving the old man still lingering near the 
sodden slumbering Indians. As the shades of night settled over 
the beautiful river and its forest-clad shores, Jesse Hughes 
returned home, but the five wretched Indians were never again 
seen or heard of. They had in some mysterious way disappeared; 
but what had been their fate.'' Had they aimlessly stumbled into 
the dark gliding Ohio, to be forever swallowed up by its murky 
tide.'' Charity for the memory of the grizzled scout would suggest 
as much, but the probability is that he first tomahawked his help- 
less victims, and then threw their bodies into the river. In fact, 
there is Httle doubt that this was the doom of these intoxicated 


We now come to the closing scenes of the turbulent career of 
Jesse Hughes. The swirling storms of threescore years had swept 
his path, leaving on his brow the heavy touch of time's relentless 
hand. His auburn locks were thin and grizzled. His lithe form 
was not so erect, nor his eagle eye so keen as in former years, when, 
daring the dangers and fearful privations incident to border life, 
he traversed the deep forests of the Monongahela wilds, meeting 
and challenging the skill and endurance of the most wily of his 
hereditary foes. He had laughed at danger's toils, and played 
"toss up and catch" with death in a hundred daring adventures, 
and always won. The great object of his life had been revenge. 
With death ever at his elbow, he had successfully run the grim 
gauntlet of war, striking down in his passage the warrior, the 
mother, and the child. And now, as the shadows were falling to 
the east, they thickened and became black, and the sunset of life 
was overcast with bitter disappointment, gloomy reflections, 
sorrow and despair. Touching the pathetic ending of the life of 
this remarkable borderman. Judge R. S. Brown, in his Centennial 
address delivered at Ravenswood, West Virginia, July 4, 1876, 

"Jesse Hughes, brother of Thomas, before spoken of, was the son of Thomas 
Hughes who settled on the Monongahela River in 1776, and was soon after killed 
by the Indians, leaving a large and helpless family in the wilderness. (1) Jesse 
grew up in the school of hardship to be a brave, handsome, active man. The 
stories of the murder of his father and other kindred and friends embittered him 
against the Red Man, and terrible was the retribution he visited upon them. 

"His name was a terror to the savage foe and a household word of comfort 
to the scattered settlers on the Buckhannon River, Hacker's Creek, and elsewhere 
where he visited with the brave and chivalrous spirit of the knight-errant to ward 
off the savage blow. Always on the alert and courting danger at every point, 
he pursued the savage with the pertinacity of a bloodhound and never stopped 
short of his prey. Hughes' River, a large navigable stream north of us, was so 
named in honor of his exploits. (2) He was justly regarded as the peer of the Zanes, 
McCoIloghs and Wetzels. A history of the deeds of this brave man in defense 
of his people would fill a volume. When the Indians fell back Jesse Hughes 
followed them, first to the Muskingum, and then to the Wabash, and only after 
their complete surrender to General Wayne did he make peace. (3) 

"He came back here and settled on the Sandy (4) where Mr. J. S. Dilworth 
now lives near [Sand3'\'ille], where he obtained a patent for a piece of land, and 

(1) See page 473. (2) p. 473. (3) p. 473. (4) 473. 

Closing Days or Jesse Hughes 217 

made improvements. He was the first settler on that creek. He planted an 
orchard and cleared some land for a home in his old age; but after living there 
many years he found his land was long previously granted to John Allison, so 
Jesse Hughes, the hero of a hundred bloody battles in defense of his country and 
his race, like his great friends Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone, (5) was a homeless 
wanderer at the age of seventy-nine years. He went to live with his son-in-law, 
George \V. Hanshaw, on the farm now owned by Mrs. VV. S. Proctor. Worn out 
with toil and exposure and stung with the ingratitude of his countrymen, he wan- 
dered one day with his gun in the woods, and there, alone in a leafy grove, just 
on the run (6) near where we are met, he died. He was buried here on the bottom 
but no stone marks the spot where reposes the dust of the brave pioneer." 

After the loss of their home, Jesse and his wife li\-eiJ for a 
time with their son, Thomas, who resided on the Ohio just below 
Ravenswood. Afterwards they made their home with their daugh- 
ter, Nancy Aj^nes Hanshaw, who lived at the mouth of Turkey 
Run, perhaps on the site of Jesse's former home. Here Jesse died, 
as narrated by Judge Brown in the last of September or the first 
of October, 1829. 

In his old age he became ver}- childish, and at every noise 
imagined that Indians were around. Then, taking down his rifle, 
he would go out and look for them. It was, perhaps, in one of 
these sallies against an imaginary enemy, that the old scout met 
death in the lonely, silent woods. His death was a fitting one. 
He had spent most of his career in the wilderness — a part of the 
wild savage life about him. Oft had he heard the reverberating 
echo of his deadly rifle answered by the moaning cadence of the 
sobbing wind, wailing in the gloomy forest a sad requiem over the 
dying warrior who had fallen a victim of his vengeance. Again 
had he listened in superstitious awe to the demoniacal shrieking 
of the might}- Manitou whirling and crashing in fury through the 
deep fastnesses of the sombre mountains, as if in protest against 
the withering hand of the pale-face lifted so unremorselessly 
against the red children of his wooded domain. 

At last, in the beauteous mellow of the Southern autumn 
day — in the dreamy haze of the soft Indian summer — there 
alone under the trees he loved so well, death came to the old 

The grimness of the irony of fate is reflected in the closing 
career of this, the greatest of the pathfinders of western Virginia. 
Of all the vast regions that he had been so active and ruthless in 
wresting from the rightful owners, not an acre did he possess. His 

<3) See page 473. (6) p. 474. 

218 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

very grave is lost to the second generation of his family. No one 
knows where Jesse Hughes was buried. I have tried through 
every available source to locate the grave of the renowned scout, 
but without success. 

Jesse Hanshaw, his grandson and namesake (line of Nancy), 
was born in 1831, at the home where his aged grandfather had 
died two years before. The cabin in which Mr. Hanshaw was 
born stood on the present site of the residence of W. S. Proctor, 
who still owns the farm. The place at that time consisted of two 
cabins, and was known as "Beggar's Town." Mr. Hanshaw 
declared that his mother pointed out to him the place where his 
grandfather was buried, and that this was on their home-farm, 
now owned by Proctor, and above Turkey Run, on the upland in 
the old orchard. He believes that he might be able to locate the 
spot, though no stone marks the grave. In 1893, while digging a 
post-hole near his residence, Proctor found a human skeleton, 
which may have been that of Jesse Hughes. The location where 
this skeleton was found — on the high ground back of where the 
Hughes cabin stood — corresponds with that given by Mr. Han- 
shaw, as pointed out by his mother. 

There is an old burial ground between the road and the river, 
on the lower part of A. J. Rolif's farm, which adjoins that of Mr. 
Proctor, where repose the remains of some of the oldest settlers of 
that region, and it has been suggested that Jesse Hughes might 
have been buried there. Another tradition says that he was buried 
near "Hughes' Eddy," (7) below Ravenswood. But I am inclined 
to believe that Mr. Hanshaw is right in his location of the grave of 
the old scout. There is no doubt that Mrs. Hanshaw knew where 
her father was buried, and her son should know, within a reason- 
able degree of accuracy, the location of the grave. 

After the death of Jesse Hughes, his wife lived with her daugh- 
ter Massie, at Gandeeville, Roane County, (now) West Virginia, 
where she died in January 1842. She was buried at Gandeeville, 
and at this writing her grave is shown only by a crude stone. It 
is hoped that the numerous descendants of this pioneer mother 
will mark with an enduring and appropriate monument her last 
resting place, before it, like that of her renowned husband, is lost 
to the world forever. 

A few years ago, the old rocking-chair that belonged to Mrs. 
Jesse Hughes was still preserved by some of her immediate descend- 

(7) See page 474. 

Closinc; Days of Jesse Mixuies 


ants in Jackson Count)', West X'irginia. What became of this 
chair is not known to me, but it is, in all probability, still in pos- 
session of some of the family in that region. 

Mr. Samuel Alkirc of Hacker's Creek, was once in possession 
of an old gun charger that belonged to his great-grandfather, Jesse 
Hughes. This charger was finely carved from a prong of the antler 
of a deer, and evidenth' measured out death to more than one 
Indian in the wikls of the Monongahela. Unfortunately, this 
interesting relic, perhaps the last memento of the great scout, was 
lost about thirt\- years ago, by a squirrel hunter, on lower Hacker's 
Creek, which had been the theatre of the most turbulent scenes 
in the wild life of Jesse Hughes. 


Thomas Hughes, Senior — Settled on Elk Creek, in (now) 
Harrison County, (West) Virginia, and killed by Indians on 
Hacker's Creek in 1778. It is not known where he was born, 
but the evidence is cogent that the most of his life was spent on 
the border, (1) and that his removal to the Upper Monongahela 
was from the Wappatomaka. The majority of the pioneers of the 
country in which he settled came from that region, and there is 
strong proof, in the birth of his son, Elias, that he resided there 
in 1757. 

It is not certainly known whom Thomas Hughes, Senior, 
married. I have been unable to find any record touching that 
phase of his life. Some of the older descendants of his son Elias 
think that his wife's maiden name was Baker. 

The number of children, their names, and the dates of their 
births, are not with certainty known. The names of some of 
them, however, are known. 

Jesse Hughes was born in 1750, settled on Hacker's Creek 
in 1771-72; married Miss Grace Tanner the year of his settlement 
there; became one of the most famous scouts and Indian fighters 
of all the west; moved to the Wabash in the fall of 1797 or 1798; 
moved thence to eastern Kentucky the following fall, exact 
location not known; moved thence to western Virginia in the 
following spring, and settled at the mouth of Turkey Run, in 
what is now Jackson County, West Virginia; afterwards settled 
on Sand Creek, same county, near where Sandyville was after- 
wards built; died at the mouth of Turkey Run, just above the 
town of Ravenswood, in the Autumn of 1829. 

Thomas Hughes, Junior, was born about 1754; settled on 
the West Fork about 1775; was an active scout during the entire 
border wars, and was Lieutenant of a Company of Spies. He 
afterwards settled in Jackson County, W'est Virginia, where he 
died in October, 1837. His wife died three months previous. 
Her name is unknown to me. They left one child, Thomas, born 
1774, who was still living in 1854. 

Elias Hughes was born in 1757, in now Hardy County, 
Virginia. He was called "Ellis" Hughes by many of the early 

(1) See page 474. 

Genealogy of The Hughes I'\\mii,y 221 

settlers, the name "I'.Uis" being applied as the result of the 
inattention of the pioneers to the exactness in speaking names. 
(2) He came to Harrison County while only a boy and grew up 
to be a scout and Indian fighter second only to his brother Jesse. 
W as in Battle of Point Pleasant and subsequentl)' commissioned 
a Captain of Spies. He married Miss Jane Sleeth. In 1797, 
moved to the Muskingum in Ohio, and the next year to Licking 
County, Ohio. Was Captain of Militia ami commissioned Second 
Lieutenant, Col. Rennick's Regiment Mounted Ohio Volunteers, 
War 1S12. Died near Utica, Ohio, December 22, 1844. His 
wife died in 1S27. 

SuDN.A, daughter of Thomas Hughes, Sr., married Colonel 
William Lowther, who settled on Hughes' River, and w-as a pioneer 
in Northwestern Virginia, and active in the protection of the 
settlers from the attacks of the Indians. 

Job Hughes — History of this son not known to me. He 
married Mar}- Hamm, 1791, in Harrison County, (West) \'irginia. 
Died and was buried in Jackson County, now West Virginia. 

Another Son was killed by the Indians. His name is not 
known, nor can it at this time be determined where or when the 
tragedy occurred, but it must have been on the western waters. 

Another Daughter, name not know^n to me, was married 
to Joseph Bibbee, who settled on the Ohio River below the present 
town of Ravenswood, in what is now Jackson Count}', \\ est 
\ irginia. 

A marriage license was granted in Harrison County, Virginia, 
in 1795, to William Bibby and Deborah Hughes. William was 
a brother of Joseph Bibbee; Deborah may have been the daughter 
of Thomas Hughes, Sr. Tradition among the descendants of 
William Bibby, or Bibbee, in Jackson County, West Virginia, 
says that the Bibbee brothers either married sisters or cousins. 
\\ illiam Bibbee was a noted hunter and killed the last buffalo in 
now Jackson County, West \ irginia. 

In the same year (1795) Benjamin Cox and Mary Hughes 
were married in Harrison County, Virginia. 

Descendants of Jesse Hughes. 

Martha, born in December, 1773, captured by the Indians, 
December, 1787; returned from captivity, December, 1790; mar- 
ried Jacob Bonnett in 1792, a brother to John Bonnett who was 

(2) See page 474. 

222 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

killed on the Little Kanawha, and lived all her life near West's 
Fort, now Jane Lew, just below the main road and opposite the 
present Methodist Episcopal Church, where she died in December, 
1834, and was buried at the old Harmony Church Cemetery on 
Hacker's Creek. Her grave is marked by a plain sandstone slab, 
on which is the following inscription: 

Martha, Daughter of Jesse Hughes 

Born December, 1773 

Made Prisoner by the Indians Dec, 1787 

Returned from Captivity, 1790 

Married Jacob Bonnett, 1792 

Died Dec, 1834 

Aged 61 Years. 

Martha left a long line of descendants on Hacker's Creek. 
Some of the best families of the valley, including the Bonnetts 
and the Alkires. To the late Elias Bonnett, a grandson of Martha, 
and to his son, Henry G. Bonnett, I am especially indebted for 
some of the incidents in the life of Jesse Hughes. 

Rachel, married William Cottrell; lived on Hacker's Creek 
near the mouth of Life's Run until the death of her husband, when 
she moved to Spring Creek, six miles from Spencer, Roane County, 
West Virginia, where she died; buried near Spencer. The old 
Cottrell cabin of hewed logs is still standing on Hacker's Creek, 
just below the pike, and near the bridge spanning the creek, on 
the road leading up Life's Run. 

SuDNA, married Elijah Runner; lived and died near Sandy- 
ville on Big Sand Creek, Jackson County, West Virginia. 

Elizabeth, married James Stanley; lived and died on Mud 
Run, a tributary of Big Sand Creek, Jackson County, West 

ALa.ssie, born on Hacker's Creek, in 1786 or 1787; married 
Uriah Gandee; lived for a time near Sandy ville, Jackson County; 
in 1824 moved to where Gandeeville now is in Roane County, 
West Virginia; her husband died in 1855, when she went to live 
with her son, J. S. Gandee, where she resided until her death, 
May 30, 1883. She was buried on the home farm near Gandee- 

Nancy Agnes, married George W. Hanshaw; lived at the 
mouth of Turkey Run, above Ravenswood; later moved above 
the mouth of Straight Fork on Big Sand Creek,- Jackson County. 

Genealogy oi- Thi: Hi?ghls Family 


LouRANEY, married Uriah Sa\re; lived at the mouth of 
Groundhog Run, on the Ohio River, in Meigs County, Ohio. (3) 

Thomas, Hved on the Ohio River below Ravensuood, where 
he died. I do not know who he married. 

W'lLLLAM, married a Miss Statts; lived and died on Mill 
Creek, three miles below Ripley, in what is now Jackson County, 
W est Virginia. 

Jesse, married Susana Mock in 1800. His history is unknown 
to me. 


Photographed 1909 

Originally this cabin stood near the right-hand bank of Hacker's Creek, on the 
opposite side of the valley. The logs were hewed after they were placed in the walls. 
A spacious fireplace occupied nearly the entire right end of the room. A narrow 
vent, not unlike a porthole, is concealed by the conspicuous board fust to the right of 
the only door. There are no other openings or windows. 

The above are the children of Jesse Hughes, the scout, ranger, 
pioneer, and famous Indian fighter. 

It is said that in size, features and complexion, W illiam 
Hughes was almost an exact counterpart of his noted father. 

Massie, the daughter of Jesse Hughes, who married Uriah 
Gandee, had twelve children, to wit: Sarah, Jesse, William, 
George, Cynthia, Grace, Lucinda, Samuel, Mar\' (who died when 
nine years old), a child unnamed that died in infanc\', Martha, and 
James Stanley. Of this family ten li\cd to maturit\'; but two 
are now living: Samuel, born l''ebruar\' 24, 1S24, and James 
Stanley, born July 27, 1X32. 

(3) See pag; 47^. 

224 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

The Gandee children, Hke those of many other post-pioneer 
famiUes of Northwestern Virginia, were reared in the woods with- 
out the advantages of education. James Stanley, the youngest, 
named for the husband of his Aunt Elizabeth, did not attend 
school more than ninety days all told. He learned to write, and 
the rudiments of arithmetic, after his first marriage. He was 
married twice, and true to the traditions of his forest clan, reared 
many children to the honor of his country — twenty-one in all — 
eighteen of whom are still living. Mr. Gandee has filled many 
positions of trust in his county, from constable to high sheriff, and 
was for several years president of his township Board of Educa- 
tion. He laid out the town of Gandeeville on the old home farm 
in Roane County, West Virginia. 

To Mr. Gandee, more than any other person, am I indebted 
for facts and incidents connected with the Ufe of Jesse Hughes. 
Pertaining to genealogy and family history, Mr. Gandee is the 
best informed of any of the immediate descendants of the cele- 
brated scout. His opportunity for obtaining data regarding the 
biography of his grandfather was, perhaps, unsurpassed, by any 
person now living.. His grandmother made her home with his 
parents from 1827 until her death, January 1842, and his mother 
resided with him during the last quarter century of her life. 

Descendants of Elias Hughes. 

Elias Hughes married Miss Jane Sleeth. I am unable to 
give the names of their children in the order of their ages, but 
will set them down as furnished by Mrs. Pansy Hall Thatcher, 
a descendant of Elias Hughes. The names are as follows: 

Margaret (married Jones), Mary (married Foster), Susanna 
(married Leach), Sudna (married Marlin), Jane (married Hight), 
Sarah (married Davis), Kate (unmarried), Thomas, Henry, Job, 
Elias, David, John and Jonathan (the youngest). Two others 
died while quite young. 

Mrs. L. Bancroft Fant, of Newark, Ohio, writes me that one 
daughter married Ratliif. 

Records in the U. S. Treasury Department show that the 
pension due Elias Hughes at the time of his death was paid to his 
children as follows: Susanna Leach, Margaret Jones, Sarah 
Davis, John, Elias and Jonathan Hughes, and Sudna Marlin. 

Jonathan Hughes was born January 14, 1796, in Harrison 

Genealogy of The Hughes Family 


County, Virginia, and came with his parents to Ohio in 1798. 
In IS 15 lie was apprenticed to a carpenter and joiner in Mt. 
Vernon, Ohio. On June 9th, 1S17, he married Lavina Davis, who 
was born June 14th, ISOO. They had hve children: Clarinda, 
born December 7th, 1818; Louisa, born November 17th, 1820; 
James M., born March 31, 1827; Adaline N., born December 7th, 
1829. James moved to Indiana. 

Jonathan Hughes "never drank whiskey as a beverage, never 
tasted tobacco but once, never smoked a cigar, never voted the 
Democratic ticket but once, and that was for Jackson. Mr. Hughes 
is a strong prohibitionist." (4) 

(4) Sec page 475 


Elias Hughes survived his two noted brothers, Jesse and 
Thomas, several years, and was among the last of the Virginia 
frontiersmen. As a scout, he excelled in some respects either of 
his two brothers. He rose to the rank of captain and was the recog- 
nized champion rifle shot on the western waters. Like many of 
his contemporaries, the border annals contain but little of his 
early life. Withers mentions him in connection with four inci- 
dents only; three of these are quoted in the preceding pages of 
this volume, and the other will be given in the course of this sketch. 
More is known of his subsequent life in Ohio, where he moved 
soon after the Treaty of Greenville. 

In many instances historians have dealt confusedly with his 
personality. I have had occasion to mention that while his given 
name was Elias he was generally known as "Ellis." Under this 
double sobriquet he went through life to the grave and passed into 
history. For even a vague conception of the deeds of this great 
borderman, various historical works must be consulted, where 
the reader becomes mystified by this diversity in his name. Owing 
to these conditions, it has been deemed desirable to reproduce 
here in a concise form, all that could be gathered concerning his 
life. Lewis says: (1) 

"Belonging to General Lewis' army was a young man named Ellis Hughes. 
He was a native of Virginia, and had been bred in the hot-bed of Indian warfare. 
The Indians having murdered a young lady (2) to whom he was very much attached, 
and subsequently his father, he vowed revenge, and the return of peace did not 
mitigate his hatred of the race. Shortly after Wayne's treaty with the Indians 
in 1795, he forsook his native mountains, and in company with one John Ratcliff 
removed north of the Ohio, where they became the first settlers in what is now 
Licking County, in that State. Hughes died near Utica, that County, in March, 
1845, at an advanced age, in hope of a happy future, claiming and accredited by 
all who knew him, to be the last survivor of the battle of Point Pleasant. He was 
buried with military honors and other demonstrations of respect." 

The following paragraph is found in connection with the 
Battle of Point Pleasant: 

"The admittedly last survivor of those who personally participated in this 
memorable fight was Mr. Ellis Hughes, one of the remarkable family of border 

(1) See page 475. (2) p. 475. 

Elias HiGHEs 227 

settlers and Indian tigliters of that name. After Wayne's treaty, he and a neigh- 
bor, Radcliff, removed to Ohio, and were the first to settle in (now) Licking County. 
Hughes died in 1K4.\ near Utica, aged in the nineties." (3) 

The L.ast Slrvivor. 

"It is adniittcd by all that the last survivor of the battle of Point Pleasant 
was Ellis Hughes, who died at Utica, Ohio, in 1>S40, aged over ninety years." (4) 

The Last Survivor of the B.\ttle of Point Pleasant. 

"The assertion has been made, and I have never heard it disputed, that the 
last survivor of the battle of Point Pleasant was Ellis Hughes who died in 1840, 
at Utica, Ohio. This is clearly a mistake. There was certainly a soldier in that 
battle who survived Ellis Hughes several years, and who died in February, 1848, 
in that portion of Randolph County which became Tucker County in 1856. 

"Samuel Bonniheld was born .Xpril 11, 1752, where Washington City now 
stands. * * * 

"In the summer of 1774 Samuel Bonniticld went on a visit to Fauquier County, 
Virginia. At that time Governor Dunmore was preparing for a campaign against 
the Indians in Ohio, and Bonnifield joined the army, although he was not a citizen 
of \'irginia. When the march began for the west, he found himself under General 
Lewis. They marched to Lewlsburg in Greenbrier County. Here Bonnifield 
first met Isaac Shelby, with whom he formed an intimate acquaintance, and of 
whom he afterwards frequently spoke. The army proceeded to the mouth of the 
Gauley, and from that point a portion made canoes and went by water to the 
Ohio. Among these was Bonnifield. His reminiscences of the battle of October 
10, contain a few minor details which I have never seen published. He relates 
that he and Isaac Shelby were behind the same log, and had, for some time, been 
trying to discover the spot from which occasional bullets had been coming which 
apparently had been fired at them whenever they showed themselves. Finally 
Bonnifield made the discovery; but at that moment his gun was empty, and he 
therefore pointed out the head and face of an Indian some fifty yards distant, 
protruding from behind a log. Shelby took careful aim, fired, and when the 
Indians yielded ground shortly after, they found the warrior lying behind the 
log, shot through the head. 

"None of the published accounts of the battle which 1 have seen mention 
the fact that the retreating Indians were observed while in the act of crossing the 
Ohio. Bonnifield speaks particularly of seeing them crossing in large numbers. 
To him the sight seems to have furnished amusement; for he related with much 
merriment how a dozen or more Indians would set out from shore on a single log, 
how the log would roll and careen despite their efforts to steady it; how one by 
one they would fall off, and strike out swimming for the Ohio shore, while the 
log perhaps would float away without a passenger." (5) 

"Ellis" Hughes, of the foregoing citations, and Elias Hughes, 
the scout, were one and the same person. In the Census of Mo- 
nongalia County, Virginia, 1782, he is listed as Elias Hughes at 
the head of a family of hve. In the Census of Harrison County, 

(3) See page 475. (4) p. 475. (5) p. 475. 

228 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Virginia, 1785, he appears as Ellis Hughes at the head of a family 
of six. Both enumerations included parents. (6) 

Elias Hughes came early to the western waters. The record 
of homestead entries in Monongalia County, 1781, shows that 
he was granted "400 acres on West Fork [river] adjoining lands 
of James Tanner, to include his improvement made in 1770." (7) 
He assisted in the building of Nutter's Fort and was closely identi- 
fied with the border wars, which intervened from the Battle of 
Point Pleasant to the Treaty of Greenville. We get a glimpse 
of his career during this period, from the evidence which he sub- 
mitted with his claim for pension as a Revolutionary soldier, 
heretofore unpublished. 

In his deposition, executed August 23, 1832, he states that 
as near as he could recollect he was then about seventy-five years 
old. He entered the service at the commencement of the war, 
and was commissioned a captain of spies under Col. Benjamin 
Wilson, and served as such for about two years. Col. Lowther 
then took command, and he was under him with the rank of captain 
for over a year; when it appears that Col. Lowther left the service. 
Hughes was under the impression that the colonel resigned, but 
was not positive. Col. George Jackson then took command of 
the scouts and Hughes continued in service until the close of the 

Hughes states that when Col. Jackson assumed command, 
owing to some new arrangement in the disposition of the Indian 
spies, he did not retain his commission as captain. According to 
the then regulation, the services of the spies were no longer required 
in companies. They were separated in bodies of two, and bounda- 
ries assigned over which they were to scout. They met at certain 
points, reported their observations and carried any appearance of 
the enemy to the nearest stations. 

In his petition, Hughes was vouched for by Jacob Riley and 
Stephen McDougal, but he was not granted a pension. 

In 1834, Hughes made a second declaration, which is so 
fraught with historic interest that I give it in full: 

' The State of Ohio 
Licking County 

"Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, a Justice of the Peace 
within and for the County aforesaid, Elias Hughes, who being duly sworn deposeth 
and saith that by reason of old age and consequently loss of memory, he cannot 

(6) See page 475. (7) p. 475. 

Ki.iAS Hughes 229 

minutch enter into a detail of his services in tlic Revolutionary War. Deponent 
saith, however, without fear of contradiction, that he served as a ranger and spy 
during the whole of the Revolutionary War, from the year 1775 to the year 1783, 
and also prior and subsequently thereto, that his first engagement against the 
Indians was at the battle of Point Pleasant on the Big Kanhawa in the year 1774, 
that his last services were performed in the year of Wayne's treaty with the Indians, 
in the year 1795 (as he thinks), in the neighborhood of Buchannon against a 
party of 22 Indians by pursuing them and giving the alarm to the settlement — 
that said Indians succeeded in getting off with Mrs. Bozarth (wife of John Bozarth) 
and two of the children as prisoners, who were delivered up to General Wayne 
after the treaty. 

"Deponent saith that after the declaration of war in 1775, he volunteered in 
the service in the Virginia States troops (he thinks), under one Captain James 
Booth under whom, to the best of his recollection, he continued to serve up to 
the year (in the spring) of 1778, when his father Thomas was killed by the Indians 
on Hacker's Creek, V'a. Deponent states that about that time one Stephen 
Ratcliff or Ratlift who held a commission as Captain (under Col. or Major Lowther) 
left the service and went back on to the south Branch of the Potomac. Deponent 
saith that he was then commissioned by Col. Benjamin Wilson as a captain to 
supply the vacancy occasioned by reason of the said Ratcliff leaving the service. 
Deponent states he well recollects that his commission was printed but by whom 
it was signed he cannot saj% but under the impression that it was signed by the 
Gov. of \'a. Deponent states as he has before stated in his original 
declaration that he served not less than three years as captain of the Rangers 
or spies, that he may perhaps he mistaken (from the great length of time which 
has elapsed and from loss of memory which he is sensible has failed him very 
materially), in the order and disposition of arranging Col. Benj. Wilson and 
Col. Wm. Lowther as officers of the Rev. at the time he was so engaged 
and serving under them as aforesaid, he is, however, satisfied that they were the 
two principal leaders in the commencement of the Revolution in West Augusta 
Co., Va., and whether they did or did not at that time hold commissions under 
the Government as Col. or Major he cannot say positively (they have at least 
subsequently acquired those titles); he is satisfied however that they either assumed 
or had in fact such authority delegated to them by the Government that they 
took upon themselves the organization and disposition of the troops in that section 
of the country and of paying off the soldiers, recommending the appointment of 
officers, etc., and that he did in fact hold a commission and served as a captain 
in the Rev. for not less than three years as before stated. (Deponent 
states on having his memory refreshed that he is mistaken in saying (as stated 
in his original declaration) that he was commissioned as captain at the commence- 
ment of the War, that it was not until the spring of 1778 (as he thinks). 

"Deponent states that from his youth, he always had a fondness for his gun 
and that his principal occupation was that of hunting from the time he was able 
to carry a gun up to the time of the Rev., that a number of years before 
the time of the Rev. (does not recollect the year) he removed with his 
father in the neighborhood of Clarksburg, V'a., together with several other families, 
John Hacker, Wm. Hacker, Samuel Pringle, Wm. Ratcliff, John Cutright & 
John Hacker with their families, that on the breaking out of war, his services 

230 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

being required, he of clioice volunteered his services as he has before stated, that 
his name is mentioned in the Border Warfare, a worlc published by Alex. Withers, 
at Clarksburg, 1831, and in which a part of his services is detailed (though not 
generally or particularly). Deponent states that his services may be computed 
as follows, viz: as a private from the year 1775 up to the year 1778, as a captain, 
from 1778 up to the year 1781, and from the year 1781 up to the year 1783 as a 
private. Deponent states he has sent on to Virginia in order to prepare the testi- 
mony of witnesses who served with him and by whom he expected to be able to 
prove his services both as a private and as captain in the service, but in consequence 
of the death of Alexander West and the absence of David Sleith, his most important 
witness, he has not been able to establish his services as satisfactorily as he expected 
to be able to do. Deponent states positively from his own knowledge that he 
has actually served as above stated, that he did service faithfully during the whole 
of the Rev. War without any interruption, and that he also served after 
the peace of 1783 up to the year of 1795. Deponent states that he is unable to 
say whether he will be able to procure any further testimony in regard to his 
services than that which is attached to his original declaration, to wit, the testimony 
of Wm. Powers, Esq., and Jesse Lowther — that he does not know at this time of 
any person living within his knowledge (except David Sleith) whose testimony 
will be material. Deponent states that for three years past, he has been entirely 
blind and from his limited means he is unable to be at further expense in order 
to establish his services. He hereby proposes to submit to the Department his 
original and amended declaration with the testimony accompanying the same 
with a view that the same may be acted upon giving the department a discre- 
tionary power to grant him a pension as captain or private, as the evidence \n 
the case may in their discretion seem to justify. , . 

Elias X Hughes 
Sworn and subscribed to Dec. 5, 1834. 

M. M. Caffer, Justice of the Peace." 

The foregoing declaration was followed by several lengthy 
testimonies among them one from Tarah Curtis, a clergyman, all 
speaking highly of Hughes as a man of veracity and whose state- 
ment could be relied upon. Some of these affidavits are of more 
than passing interest, of which a full synopsis is here given. 

Under date of September 8, 1834, before John Mitchell, J. P., 
William Powers, of Harrison County, Virginia, states that he 
was then sixty-nine years old, and that he first became acquainted 
with Elias Hughes in 1774 at the building of Nutter's Fort, near 
where the town of Clarksburgh now is; that he thought Hughes 
was then seventeen years old, and resided with his father at a 
place now called Westfield, in Lewis County, Virginia. From 
that time to 1796, he was more or less acquainted with Hughes, 
and for a portion of the time participated with him in the scenes 

Elias Hughes 231 

of warfare then going on between the whites anei Indians on the 
western frontier of Virginia. 

Powers could not state from personal knowledge of Hughes 
service from commencement of the Revolution, 1776 to 1783, as 
he was not in the same company of spies, but frequently met him 
in connection with the discharge of his duties during that period. 
He states that he was present at one time in the spring of 1781, 
when Colonel Lowther with sixteen others, of whom Elias Hughes 
was of the number, returned to Clarksburgh with five Indian 
scalps, a great quantity of plunder and two prisoners, whom they 
had taken and rescued from the Indians. Powers further states 
that after the peace between C^reat Britain and the United States 
in 1783, the war with the Indians did not subside for a number of 
years; consequently a force was necessary to be kept up for their 
mutual defense against the Indians. He states that by this 
means he and Elias Hughes were thrown together on numerous 
occasions (from the year 1783 up to the year 1795), and he had 
an opportunity of forming a pretty good opinion of the character 
of Hughes as an Indian warrior; that he believes the country in 
those days did not contain a more vigilant, brave and efficient 
soldier; that from all that he had seen and heard of Elias Hughes, 
he was, when his services were needed to go on an expedition, at 
all times ready to go at a moment's warning. 

September 10, 1834, Jesse Lowther, before John Davis, J. P. 
for Harrison County, Virginia, states that he was then sixty-one 
years old; born in Harrison County, Virginia, w^here he resided 
ever since, and w-as well acquainted with Elias Hughes from the 
time that he was capable of knowing any person, and the most 
that he could relate respecting said Hughes as an Indian warrior 
was information derived from his father, William Lowther, and 
others; that during the Revolution he was too young to partici- 
pate in the scenes of warfare then going forward on the western 
frontier of Virginia. Lowther states that he well recollected at 
one time that Elias Hughes was engaged with his father, William 
Low^ther, then a Major, in March 1781, with fifteen others pur- 
suing a party of fourteen Indians, who were then retreating from 
Randolph County, where they had been murdering and plundering 
a number of inhabitants. His father and other men pursued the 
Indians from Arnold's Fort, sometimes called Lowther's Fort, 
to Indian Creek, a tributary of Hughes River, where they over- 

232 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

took and killed five of the Indians and returned with their scalps 
to said fort, having rescued two of the white prisoners, Daugherty 
and Mrs. Roney, whose son was accidentally killed during the 
attack on the Indians. Mr. Lowther well remembered that the 
plunder taken from the Indians at that time, when shared to each 
man, amounted to £14 17 s. 5d.; that amongst the plunder 
taken were nine guns, six silver half-moons, one whole moon and 
one war club and spear, a number of "Tom Hawks" and scalping 
knives, silver arm bands, earrings and nose jewelry, one cap con- 
taining 44 silver broaches, a number of (as he thinks) Kowaknick 
pouches (of otter skins) and paint bags. 

Lowther states that as far back as his recollection extends, 
and from information derived from his father and others, Hughes 
was from the first among the foremost to go forth against the 
Indians when his services were required, and understood that he 
was Captain of Spies, but at what period he could not tell. He 
further states that he has been at Hughes' house in Ohio since he 
left Virginia, and is satisfied that he is the same identical Elias 
Hughes mentioned in his original declaration made in Licking 
County, Ohio, August 23, 1832, now here exhibited No. 4776. 

Mr. Davis, Justice, adds that Jesse Lowther's statements are 
entitled to credit. 

In an affidavit, February 25, 1842, before John Moore, J. P., 
Licking County, Ohio, General Thomas W. Wilson, son of Colonel 
Benjamin Wilson, deceased, who figured prominently in the border 
wars of western Virginia, states that he was then 38 years old, 
and up to the time he was twenty-two years of age he continued 
to reside with his father in Harrison County, Virginia. He had 
frequently heard his father relate many incidents relative to 
border warfare, in which Elias Hughes played part. His father 
always spoke of Hughes in the highest terms, as a brave and 
efficient soldier and spy, and in whom he had the most implicit 
confidence; that from his peculiar sagacity and knowledge of the 
Indian character combined with his personal activity, persever- 
ance and bravery he ranked him amongst the foremost of the 
Rangers and Spies of his day. 

General W^ilson stated that he had often heard his father say 
that Hughes was appointed Captain of the Rangers and Spies in 
place of one Ratcliff, who was discharged, as he understood, on 
account of his cowardice; that it was necessary for the safety of 

Elias Hlghes 233 

ihc C()Uiur\' ihat said Ralcliti be rcinnxcd, aiul lluirhcs appointed 
in his place; that said Ratclitf was a careless, trilling, cowardl}' dog 
and not to be depended upon. Hughes recei\ed his appointment, 
as the (jeneral thought, on Sunday morning before da\light, and 
started upon the scout and pursuit of Indians, and thought it 
was the same trip that he returned with the scalps of seven Indians. 

The (jeneral had heard man\" circumstances and anecdotes 
told of Hughes hv those of his actiuaiiitances, in relation to his 
encounters and exploits among the Indians in the time of the Revo- 
lution, and that from the character given him by all he was highly 
distinguished for his braver}', and must have contributed much 
to the defense of the countr\' during the war of the Revolution. 

The pursuit and defeat on Hughes River of the warriors who 
desolated the Leading Creek settlement in 1781 had no parallel 
on the western waters. The number of Indians killed has been 
variously estimated, ff'ithers, as previously quoted, placed this 
loss at five, which number is confirmed by the testimony of Jesse 
Lowther, Gen. \\ ilson, who got his information from Col. Benja- 
min Wilson, states that the number slain was seven. This tallies 
with the report of John Cutright, who participated in the affair. 
(8) The Indians were so adroit in their movements, that they 
were seldom anticipated, or punished in these border forays. 

Comparatively few incidents in the Virginia frontier life of 
Elias Hughes have been preserved. I am indebted to Rev. Daniel 
Cj. Helmick for that which immediately follows: 

Elias Hughes and one Brown, for whom Brown's Creek in 
Harrison County, West Virginia, was named, were hunting in 
the vicinity of Lost Creek near the \\ est Fork River, when Hughes 
shot and wounded an elk, which made off. There was a rivalry 
between the two men as to their personal endurance; to settle 
which it was agreed that they give chase until the game was over- 
hauled, or one, or both of the hunters ready to say "quit." The\' 
immediately started at a swinging trot, but the proverb that a 
"stern chase is a long chase" was to be amply verified. Hour 
after hour went by with no let-up to that relentless trot. 

The quarr\- was finally overhauled on lower Turke\' Run, 
or Peck's Run in (now) L'pshur County. Hughes did not suffer 
materiall}' from this remarkable run; but not so with Brown. The 
tendons of his lower limbs were badl}' strained, which contracting 
into corded knots, disabled him for several days. 

(8) See page 475. 


The memory of Elias Hughes in later years is inseparably 
connected with that of his kinsman and associate, John RatcliflF, 
who accompanied him to Ohio. The following biographical sketch 
of these two bordermen is by Isaac Smucker: (1) 

Our Pioneers 
Capt. Elias Hughes and John Ratcliff. 

"Elias Hughes and John RatHff were our first settlers, and closed their lives 
here, hence their names are as much interwoven with the history of Licking County 
as is the name of General Washington with the history of the United States, or as 
are the names of the Presidents, Lincoln and General Grant, with the history of 
the late rebellion. And to attempt the production of a history of our country 
without making Hughes and Ratliff prominent actors therein would manifestly 
issue in failure. 

"Elias Hughes was born near the South branch of the Potomac, a section of 
country which furnished Licking County many of its early settlers and most useful 
citizens. His birth occurred sometime before Braddock's defeat in 1755. Of his 
early life little is known, until in 1774, we find him a soldier in the army of General 
Lewis, engaged in the battle of Point Pleasant. Gen. Lewis, you are aware, com- 
manded the left wing of the army of Lord Dunmore, who was then Governor of 
the Colony of Virginia, and successfully fought the distinguished Shawanese Chief, 
Cornstalk, who had a large force of Indians under his command. One-fifth of 
Lewis' command was killed or wounded, but Elias Hughes escaped unhurt in this 
hard fought battle, which lasted an entire day. At the time of his death, which 
occurred more than seventy years after the battle, he was, and had been for years, 
the last survivor of that sanguinary conflict. 

"We next find Hughes a resident of Harrison County, in Western Virginia, 
where his chief eniployment, during the 21 years that intervened between the 
battle of Point Pleasant and the treaty of Greenville in 1795, was that of a 
scout or spy, on the frontier settlements near to or bordering on the Ohio River. 
This service, which was a labor of love with him, he rendered at the instance of his 
State and of the border settlers that had been for a long time greatly harassed by 
the Indians, who had murdered many of the whites on the frontiers, their women 
and children included, under circumstances of atrocity but seldom paralleled. 
Hughes' father and others of his kindred, and also a young woman to whom he 
was betrothed, had been massacred by them. These acts of atrocious barbarity 
made him ever after an unrelenting and merciless enemy of the whole race of Red 
Skins, and in retaliation for their numerous butcheries his deadly rifle was brought 
to bear fatally upon many of their number in after years. It is but an act of 
simple justice to the memory of this veteran pioneer, who was well known as an- 

(Ij See page 475. 

Elias Hughes 235 

Indian hater, and an Indian ivillcr, that llic provocations he had, be fully presented, 
and properly understood. Born and raised on the frontiers, among a rude and 
unlettered people, and untaught and wholly uncultivated and unenlightened as he 
was, it is not surprising that, under all these circumstances, considering, too, the 
horrid aggravation he had, he should have given rather full play to strong and 
malignant passions, and that he should have cherished, even to old age, the harsher 
and more revengeful feelings of his nature. His vindictiveness or sense of justice 
led him to keep accounts about balanced between the whole race of red men and 
himself. This he did fully, so long as the Indians maintained a hostile attitude 
towards the whites — perhaps a little longer. He owed them nothing at the final 

"The treaty of Greenville, commonly called 'Wayne's Treaty,' made and 
ratified in 1795, terminated Indian hostilities, or rather the defeat of the Indians 
the previous year, by General Wayne, in the battle of the 'Fallen Timbers,' near 
the rapids of the Maumee, brought about that result, and hence scouts were no 
longer required. Elias Hughes, like the Moor in Shakespeare, when he reached 
the conviction that 'Othello's occupation's gone,' now finding his services as a 
scout no longer in demand, surrendered his commission of Captain of scouts, and 
directed his attention to more pacific and less hazardous pursuits. And here It 
may be stated that he had been commissioned by that distinguished frontiersman, 
Col. Ben Wilson, the father of our fellow citizen, Daniel Wilson, and of the late 
Mrs. Dr. John J. Brice, as a captain of scouts. 

"In 1796 Hughes entered the service, as a hunter, of a surveying party, who 
were about to engage in running the range lines of lands lying in part, in what is 
now Licking County. The fine bottoms of the Licking were thus brought to his 
notice, and he resolved to leave his mountain home in the 'Old Dominion,' and 
locate himself and family on the uncultivated and more fertile lands of the Licking 
Valley, beyond the white settlements. Accordingly, in the spring of 1797, he 
gathered together his limited effects, and with his wife and twelve children started 
for the mouth of the Licking, most of them going on foot, and the remainder on 
pack horses. This point had been made accessible to footmen and horseback 
travelers by the location and opening in the year before, by Zane and others, the 
road from Wheeling to Maysville; and also of a road previously cut out from 
Marietta up the Muskingum River. (2) John Ratliff, who was a nephew of 
Hughes, came with his wife and four children, with the latter, and in the same 
manner to the mouth of the Licking. Here they remained one year, and in the 
spring of 1798, both families, numbering twenty-one persons, moved in the same 
style to the 'Bowling Green,' twenty miles up the Licking from its mouth, and 
there made the first permanent white settlement In the territory now forming 
Licking County. They erected their cabins near the mouth of the Bowling Green 
Run, about four miles below Newark, on the banks of the Licking, and about 
half a mile, or less, apart. They found the 'Bowling Green' a level, untimbered 
green lawn or prairie, and they at once proceeded to raise a crop of corn. Whether 
the 'Bowling Green' was a natural prairie, or had been cleared by the Indians or 
some white persons, remains an unsettled question. The nearest neighbors of 
Hughes and RatlifF, for two years, lived about ten miles down the Licking, one of 
whom was Philip Barrick, who, in ISOl, moved up the valley and located near the 
'Licking Narrows.' 

(2) See page 475. 

236 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

"The Hughes and Ratliff colony subsisted mainly on the meat of the wild 
animals of the forest, and on the fish caught and 'gigged' in the Licking, although 
a considerable crop of vegetables and corn was raised the first and subsequent 
years. The elk and buffalo had disappeared, but bear, deer, wild turkeys and a 
great variety of the smaller game, as well as fish, were in such abundance as to 
supply the full demands of these early settlers. Berries, wild fruits, nuts and 
other spontaneous productions of the earth also contributed for many years, in 
no inconsiderable degree, to the subsistence of the pioneer settlers. 

"Ratliff, in some particulars, was a different style of man from Hughes., He 
was much more given to the peaceful avocations of life, and for one reared on the 
frontiers, had not been largely engaged in border warfare; although he as well as 
Hughes, was considerably devoted to the chase, to fishing, trapping, bee hunting, 
as well as to the pursuit of the ferocious animals of the forest, and the birds of 
prey that tenanted this wilderness. 

"In 1799, a son was born to Elias Hughes, and he was the only accession to 
the Bowling Green colony in that year. * * * 

"In the year 1801, an event of no inconsiderable importance transpired at 
the 'Bowling Green.' Two Indians came along one night and stole four horses. 
They belonged to Elias Hughes, John Ratliff, John Weedman, a recent emigrant 
(from Pennsylvania), and a Mr. Bland, who lived at the mouth of the Licking, 
but who was at that time visiting Hughes. In the morning after the horses were 
stolen, their owners determined to pursue and kill the thieves, feeling assured that 
they were Indians. Weedman backed out, but Hughes, Ratliff and Bland, being 
well armed, started in pursuit. They were enabled to follow the trail, readily 
tracking them through the grass and weeds. Overtaking them on Owl Creek, 
they shot them. Bland's flint did not strike fire, but Hughes' and Ratliff 's did, 
and those Indians stole no more horses. When the Indians were overtaken and 
it was evident that the horses would be recovered, Bland and Ratliff relented, 
and feeling less sanguinary than when they started on the pursuit, they suggested 
to Hughes to let the thieves escape, after the horses were obtained, but the latter 
was not that style of man. He negatived their proposition in such emphatic 
terms, and in use of such forcible expletives of the profane order as were common 
among frontiersmen in those days, as to soon bring them to the determination 
with which they set out. When Hughes said a thing must be done, and he could 
do it, or cause it to be done, it was done. This was one of the cases — he had his 
way — they had agreed to kill the Indian horse thieves — and they did. Hughes 
knew them and believed them to have been engaged in stealing horses and then 
returning them to their owners for a compensation in skins and furs. 

"This sanguinary transaction necessitated the erection of a blockhouse on 
the 'Bowling Green' as a means of protection against the infuriated friends of the 
defunct horse thieves, who were greatly incensed against those they suspected of 
killing them, but it never became necessary to defend it, the Indians finally decid- 
ing it inexpedient to assault it. One evening, however, after the excitement had 
nearly subsided, two well armed Indians entered Hughes' cabin, and in a menacing 
manner introduced the subject of killing those Indians. Mrs. Hughes seeing that 
trouble might be had with their visitors, quietly sent for Ratliff, who readily 
responded, rifle in hand. Hughes, in those days always carried a butcher knife 
in his belt, and he also had a rifle at hand. Bloody work seemed imminent, but 

I*!lias Hughks 237 

llic Indians, after remaining face lo face with those veteran back-woodsmen all 
night, sometimes in rather spirited discussion, deemed it wise, in the early morning, 
to retire without any hostile act. * * * 

"In 1S02, Elias Hughes was elected captain of the first company of militia 
raised within the present limits of our county. This company he commanded a 
number of years. They had to go to Lancaster to attend battalion drills. Cap- 
tain Hughes had four children born to him after he settled at the 'Bowling Green,' 
making the sum total of his children sixteen. Jonathan is the only one of the six- 
teen now living in Licking County. He was born in Harrison County, Virginia, in 
1796, was brought to the mouth of Licking in 1797, and was two years old at the 
time of his father's reinnvai in 179S Xn tlic 'Bowling Green.' The older children 
liad to walk, on their removal up tlie Licking, but Jonathan and his brother 
David (who also was too young to walk), were brought up in a salt sack thrown 
across a horse. Jonathan was put in one end of the sack and David in the other, 
openings being first cut in the sack for their heads to go through. The sack was 
then slung across the pack saddled horse, and a rider or two, with the other loading, 
put upon him and then started for the 'Bowling Green,' while the others walked 
or came up in a canoe. It would, indeed, be an interesting picture that gave us, 
on canvas, an accurate view of this original colony of emigrants while in motion. 
Jonathan, the salt sack boy of 1798, is now more than seventy-six years old, and 
is the oldest settler of our county— emphatically, our Pioneer. 

"RatlifT's wife died in 1802, and was probably the first white adult person 
that died within the present limits of our county. * * * Ratliff married again, 
his second wife being the daughter of a pioneer by the name of Stateler, w-ho lived 
near the mouth of the Rocky Fork. He also raised a considerable family but 
none of them now live, if living at all, in our county. He had a son in the army 
during the War of 1812, who, after his return from the ai'my, removed to Louisiana. 
He also had a daughter, Mary, who intermarried with a Mr. Evans. Some of the 
issue of this marriage, being grandchildren of John RatlitT, are still living in our 
county, principally, I learn, in Perry Township. 

"RatlifT finally removed to the south side of the Licking near the mouth of 
the Brushy Fork, where he died about theyear 1811. He, no more than Hughes, 
seems to have had nnicli success in the acquisition of property. Indeed, it is not 
probable that either of thetii ever had much ambition in that direction. 

"Capt. Elias Hughes, on all other subjects except Indian warfare, was gen- 
erally of a taciturn disposition, but he was fond of relating his exploits and successes 
as a scout; sitting up whole nights, sometimes, to relate to willing interested lis- 
teners his hair-breadth escapes and adventures, and the thrilling stories, heroic acts 
and deeds of renown in which he had borne apart. He was unassuming, temperate, 
honest, mild-mannered, unpretending, unambitious, but firm, determined, unyield- 
ing, and some thought him vindictive. When he resolved on a certain line of 
conduct he commonly pursued it tu success, or failed only after a vigorous effort. 
Fond of adventure, he displayed in border warfare, in battle, in pursuit of Indians, 
and in explorations of new countries, and in the pioneer settlement of them, the 
energy, bravery, self-sacrificing virtues, that so conspicuously distinguished the 
early pioneers of the Great W'est. 

"In the War of 1812, Capt. Hughes, notwithstanding his age, volunteered 
for the defense of Fort Meigs. On the formation of a company for that service, 

238 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

ho wai elected to conduct the men to headquarters at Worthington for organiza- 
tion. At the election of company officers he was made a Lieutenant, the late 
General John Spencer being p'ccted Captain. He was patriotic to the core and 
- ■ were fis sons, not less than three of them being eng.-.ged in the same war. One 
^f ciiom contracted disease while in the service of his ou.itry, of which hf died. (3) 

"Elias Hughes lived many years on the North F "; k, a few miles abov.j Newark, 
and also for several years at Clinton, in Knox Co". u'y, from whe-^ce he removed to 
Monroe Township, near Johnston. Here, in 1827, Mrs. Hu^'t-' died. (4) She 
had the qualities which admirably adapted her to discharge the dudes of a pioneer 
wife and mother. Her training had been in the Presbyterian faith, and the instruc- 
tion to her children was in accord with . ". Upon her death, most of his children 
having married and removed from the .Muntv. Capt. Hughes became a welcome 
inmate of the house of his son, Jonathjn wh-; uved in Utica. He, you remember, 
was introduced to you as the salt sack 'grant of 1798. 

"For many years Capt. Hughes was a pensioner, regularly receiving from 
his beneficent government the means to enable him to spend his declining years 
in the full enjoyment of all the blessings of life, kindly ministered unto by Jonathan 
and his family, with whoin he spent the last seventeen years of his life. 

"Capt. Hughe^ was the subject of more varied vicissitudes, adverse fortunes 
and experience: m?re diversified than usually fal' to the lot of man, but he met 
them in the heroic sp.r^t -f those who are determinec to encounter them success- 
fully, and meet the steri^ realities of life like men. Enduring as he did, for the 
last sixteen years of his lite, the terrible affliction of total blindness, he was, of 
course, deprived of the enjoyment afforded by v'ews of the glory and grandeur of 
the Creator's works, but he was resigned to this afflictive dispensation of Provi- 
dence, feeling disposed to endure all meekly, calmly, patiently, and to trustingly, 
hopefully 'bide his time.' 

"In his declining years his attention was directed to religious subjects to 
which he gave much thoughtful and serious consideration, and for many years 
he cherished the cheering hopes of a happy future inspired alone by the Christian's 
faith. He died in December, 1844, and was buried with military honors and 
other demonstrations of respect. His age is not certainly known, but the best 
information obtainable makes him at the time of his death about ninety years old. 

"Such was the life and career, thus imperfectly sketched, of one of the most 
remarkable men that ever lived in our county. His was a life full of privations, 
adventures, hardships, toils, exposures, excitements, anxieties — a life providentiall}^ 
preserved through so many years of constant peril, and of exposures to unusual 
hazards and dangers. It is one of our chief duties, as a Pioneer Society, to pre- 
serve from the oblivion the recollection of the heroic deeds and achievements of 
cur pioneer settlers, and to keep fresh and green in our memories, and in the mem- 
ories of those who are to come after us, the sufferings and noble deeds of the self- 
sacrificing men and women who first settled in these forests, erected cabins, cleared 
the land, and converted the wilderness into fruitful fields, and made comfortable 
and pleasant homes for their descendants, the men and women of the present 
generation. And none of all the meritorious pioneers of our county are better 
entitled to this service at our hands than Capt. Elias Hughes and John Ratliff, 
and their wives and children, who composed the colony of twenty-one that made 
the first settlement in the territory that now forms Licking County." 

(3) See page 476. (4) p. 476. 

Elias Hughes 239 

"In 1820 an Indian squaw of the Stockbridge tribe was shot near the county 
line, between Utica and Martinsburgh. She was taken to Mt. Vernon where she 
died. One McLane shot her, and was sent to the penitentiary for it. He and four 
others named McDaniel, Evans, Chadwick, and Hughes (not Elias) were engaged 
in chopping, when this squaw and others of the tribe came along and camped near 
them. The diabolical proposition was made and accepted that they should play 
cards, and that the loser should shoot her. McLane was the loser, and did the 
shooting. His confederates, or at least some of them, were tried and acquitted. 
In Norton's History of Knox County it is stated that 'Hughes shot this squaw, 
simply to gratify his hatred of the Indian race.' How an intelligent man, writing 
history could justify himself for making such a gross mistake, regarding a matter 
on which he could easily get correct information from a thousand residents of this 
county and of Knox, it is hard to conceive. Elias Hughes had neither part nor 
lot in the matter, directly or remotely, but condemned the outrage in unmeasured 
terms. He was not guilty, and this emphatic denial is deemed an act of simple 
justice to Mr. Hughes." (5) 

Hozve (6) says Licking County, Ohio, 

"* * * was first settled, shortly after Wayne's treaty of 1795, by John Ratliff 
and Ellis Hughes, in some old Indian cornfields, about five miles below Newark, 
on the Licking. These men were from Western Virginia. They lived mainly by 
hunting, raising, however, a little corn, the cultivation of which was left, in a great 
measure, to their wives." 

Howe gives the following account of the shooting of the Indian 
horse thieves: 

"Hughes had been bred in the hot-bed of Indian warfare. The Indians having, 
at an early day, murdered a young woman to whom he was attached, and subse- 
quently his father, the return of peace did not mitigate his hatred of the race. One 
night, in April, 1800, two Indians stole the horses of Hughes and RatliflF from a 
little enclosure near their cabins. Missing them in the morning, they started off, 
well armed, in pursuit, accompanied by a man named Bland. They followed 
their trail in a northern direction all day, and at night camped in the woods. At 
the gray of the morning they came upon the Indians, who were asleep and uncon- 
scious of danger. Concealing themselves behind the trees they waited until the 
Indians had awakened, and were commencing preparations for their journey. 
They drew up their rifles to shoot, and just at that moment one of the Indians 
discovered them, and instinctively clapping his hand on his breast, as if to ward 
otf the fatal ball, exclaimed in tones of aflfright, 'me bad Indian! — me no do so 
more!' The appeal was in vain, the smoke curled from the glistening barrels, the 
report rang in the morning air, and the poor Indians fell dead. They returned to 
their cabins with the horses and 'plunder' taken from the Indians, and swore 
mutual secrecy for this violation of law. 

"One e\ening, some time after, Hughes was quietl\' sitting in his cabin, when 
he was startled by the entrance of two powerful and well-armed savages. Con- 
cealing his emotions, he gave them a welcome and offered them seats. His wife, 
a muscular, squaw-like looking female, stepped aside and privately sent for Ratliff, 

(5) See page 476. (6) p. 477. 

240 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

whose cabin was near. Presently Ratliff, who had made a detour, entered with 
his rifle, from an opposite direction, as if he had been out hunting. He found 
Hughes talking with the Indians about the murder. Hughes had his tomahawk and 
scalping-knife, as was his custom, in a belt around his person, but his rifle hung 
from the cabin wall, which he deemed it imprudent to attempt to obtain. There 
all the long night sat the parties, mutually fearing each other, and neither summon- 
ing suflicient courage to stir. When morning dawned, the Indians left, shaking 
hands and bidding farewell, but in their retreat, were very cautious not to be shot 
in ambush by the hardy borderers. 

"Hughes died near Utica, in this county, in March, 1845, at an advanced age, 
in the hope of a happy future. His early life had been one of much adventure; 
he was, it is supposed, the last survivor of the bloody battle of Point Pleasant. 
He was buried with military honors and other demonstrations of respect." 

This was Elias Hughes of border fame. 

The pursuit and shooting of the Indian horse thieves by 
Hughes, "Jack" RatlilT and Bland, is given by Norton (7) and is 
practically the same as Howe's version, but not so elaborate, and 
closes with this statement: 

"Our old townsman, Wm. Mofford, informs us that when improving his farm 
on Mile Run, Wayne Township, he was clearing off' ground on which to build his 
house, and he then plowed up the two Indians killed by Hughes, and also a rusty 
gun barrel, brass guard and other pieces of a gun, which had not decayed. This 
was in 1835, and Jacob Mitchel now (1862) has the old relics. 

"George Conkie gathered up the bones and buried them, and the house was 
built on the spot — the old Peck Place on Mile Run bottom, where Mrs. Acre now 
lives. In early days there was a favorite camping ground for the Indians, about ^ 
where these Indians were killed." 

Norton states that Hughes died in March, 1845. 

Among the Draper Manuscripts (8) are the following commu- 
nications from Col. Robert Davidson, in response to inquiries 
from Dr. Draper. They are here published for the first time. 

"Newark, IQth March, 1850. 
Mr. Lyman C. Draper. 
"Dear Sir, Yours of 23d Nov last to Mr. William Van Buskirk requesting infor- 
mation as to the adventures of his father John Vanbuskirk and others in the border 
warefare along the Ohio River at an early day has been handed the subscriber (as 
an old acquaintance of his fathers) by M"". W™. Buskirk to reply thereto. Last 
week I placed in the postoffice directed to you the Granville Intelligencer contain- 
ing a detailed report of the desperate conflict of Adam Poe, his brother Andrew, 
and others with the gigantic Indean, Bigfoot, and brothers, five in all July 1782 
and next week look for the Newark Gazett of this place containing some notes of 
the adventures of Jno Van Buskirk written and published for your convenience 
and to do some justice to the memory of a very worthy man wom I always esteemed 
as one of the fronteere defenders when I was too young to defend my self. 

(7) See page 477. (8) p. 477. 

Elias Hughes 241 

"If \ ou shall desire it, I can send \()U a more detailed account of Elias Hughes 
who at the age of IS was in the batti at Point Pleasant October 10''' 1774 
and continued from that, emplojed in hunting, spying, and killing Indeans until 
after Gen. Wains Treaty 1794 [1795]. 

"You will pleas excuse my friend Wni. Buskirk in not writing you. In the 
first place he thought the information would come with a better grace from one of 
the early aquantances of his father than from him He is a fine young man but 
reluctant to write would rather attend his saw mill a day than write an hour. 
If \-ou shall wish for an\- mure on the subject the border wariors write to him. 

Very respectfully yours, &c 

Rom . D.wiDsoN. 
Mr. L) Mian C. Draper Ksc) 

Philadelphia County, Pa." 

"Xkw.akk, February 22, 1S51 (9) 

**::{( 9|c 9|c :4c 3^ :te ^ 9)e 

"I wrote some time past to know of Jonathan Hughes wiiere his father was 
born and to what religious denomination he entered But have not yet heard 
from him I presume he has been from home or by other means has not received 
my letter. As to Elias Hughes, it is something uncertain but he considered him- 
self 18 [years] of age when in the battle of Point pleasant, Moutii of Kanawa, 
under Colo. Lewis — I am not positive as to the Religious denomination to which he 
inclined but think it was to the Methodist Episcopal Church. His daughter in 
law M"^*. Jonathan Hughes was my informant as to his vengeance disposition 
not long after his death I was then (in addition to what I knew) endeavoring to 
collect more knoledge of his life and adventures for the purpose of writing the 
obituary notice which soon after appeared in the Newark .Advocate which I sent 
last year. 

"When I saw Gen. Thomas Wedsday last, he enformed me that he would 
[be] in Philadelphia this winter and that he intended to do himself pleasure of 
calling upon you — 

"If I shall soon hear from M^. Jonathan Hughes I shall write again (10) I 
should have remarked on the other side that I think Elias Hughes was born on 
the South branch of Potomac Va. and that his father at an early day moved 
thence to Harrison county, Va. and there was held [killed] by the Indeans. 

".Although I have been acquainted with Dr. Coulter many years I[t] was but 
lately I learned that he knew any[thing] about Capt. Bready But have not the 
least of his statements 

V'ery respectfully \-ours &c 

ROBT. DA\inSO.N'." 

'N. B. Since writing the foregoing Dr. Coulter informs me that he thinks 
Capt Bready was from 30 to 35 years of age when he died. (11 j 

Lyman C. Draper Esq 

Philadelphia Count)-, Pa." 

(9) See page 477. (10) p. 477. (11) p. 477. 

242 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Last of the Border Warriors. (12) 

"Died on the 22nd ult., Capt. Elias Hughes, aged ninety years, at the residence 
of his son, Jonathan, near Utica, O. He was buried with military honors by the 
mihtary of the vicinity. 

"At an early day Thomas Hughes & family moved from the South Branch of 
Potomac to Harrison County, North-Western part of Virginia, where his son, Elias, 
became one of those extraordinary, active and daring spies and soldiers of the day. 

"At the age of eighteen, under the command of Col. Lewis, he was in the 
battle of Point Pleasant, which continued from early in the morning until near 
night before the Indians gave way, October 10, 1774. On returning home he 
joined a company of spies under Capt. Boothe, for the protection of the then 
exposed frontier settlements. 

"At one time, being out spying with a comerade, they examined the localities 
near the steep bank of a run, under smoke of rotten wood to keep off the gnats 
& lay down upon their arms for the night, their moccasins tied to the breech of 
their guns. (13) Some time after, hearing something hke the snapping of a stick, 
& looking in the direction, saw at a distance three Indians approaching. In- 
stantly the whites sprung to their feet, leaped down the bank and over the run. 
The Indians in pursuit, not knowing the place so well, fell down the bank. The 
whites, hearing the splash, stopped an instant, put on their moccasins, raised a 
yell & put off at full speed, leaving the Indians to take care of themselves. 

"Capt. Boothe in time being killed by the Indians, Joseph Ratliff succeeded to 
the command, but lacking, as a soldier, the confidence of the men, left the country, 
and Hughes on a sudden emergency being appointed in his place, under Col. 
Lowther, put off in pursuit of Indians, found them, & returned with 6 or 7 
scalps. (Date not known at present.) (14) 

"In June, 1778, three women were in the field near West's Fort picking greens, 
when they were fired upon without effect by one of a party of four Indians. The 
women screamed and ran for the fort, and one Indian in pursuit speared Mrs. 
Freeman. Being fired upon from the fort without effect, the Indians ran off in 
different directions. They were soon pursued by Jesse Hughes, Elias & others. 
After some time, at a distance they heard the howl like that of a wolf. They ran 
some distance in the direction and stopping at a suitable place, Jesse howled also. 
He was answered, and two Indians were soon seen advancing. An opportunity 
offering, Elias downed one, (15) the other ran. The whites pursued, but he running 
into a small hazel thicket and they round on each side to take him in the outgoing, 
he watching them ran the back way and escaped. In the meantime he who had 
been shot recovered so much as to make off also, and a shower coming on pre- 
vented the pursuit by obliterating the blood on the track. 

"In March, 1781, a party of 14 Indians, nearly depopulated the settle- 
ment upon Leading Creek (Taggart's Valley) and put off. They were pursued 
unsuccessfully by a party from Clarksburg, (16) but in the meantime. Col. Lowther 
& Capt. Hughes, learning by spies that the Indians had been seen near the 
mouth of Isaac's Creek, put off with a party of 17, and on an evening, 
Hughes being alone in advance for the purpose, discovered the Indians on a branch 
of Hughes' River, coolly putting up for the night, apparently not apprehensive of 
pursuit at that distance. 

(12) See page 477. (13) p. 477. (14) p. 477. (15) p. 477. (16) p. 477. 

Elias Hughes 24-3 

■"On the rc-turn to tlie party it became an object of interest, not to risk tlic 
li\es of the prisoners, Mrs. Roney, her little son and Daniel Dohcrty; therefore, 
when it was thought the Indians might be sleeping, the Captain crawled near 
enough to discover the position of Mrs. Roney and Dohcrty, but saw nothing of 
the bo}-. Before day the whole party, in perfect order, crawled close & fired 
upon the Indians, one only escaping. 

Mrs. Roney and Doherty were uninjured, but the boy, having been sleeping 
in the bosom of an Indian was killed by a ball after passing through the Indian's 
hi.;id. 'I'lie plunder sold the 17th of the niontii, pnxluced a dividend of 14£. 17s. 
and 5d. 1(1 each one of the seventeen. 

"In September, 1785, Lowther, Hughes and others, in pursuit of a party of 
Indians who had stolen horses from near Clarksburg, slept near them on the third 
night, not knowing it. Next morning the whites parted, taking different routes. 
Hughes & party soon discovered the Indians, and fired upon them, killing one. 
The rest ran off in various directions, and one coming near Lowther's party was 
shot by the Colonel as he ran. They then started for home, and before going far 
were fired upon, & John Barnet (17) wounded so that he died before reaching 

"At another time (date not known) Hughes and party discovering a party of 
Indians, fired upon them. The Indians ran in different directions: Hughes after 
one, was gaining upon him fast, in a piece of bottom land in which were no trees, 
when the Indian turning quickly about with loaded gun uplifted. Hughes' gun 
was empty, & no tree to spring behind. But instantly springing obliquely to 
the right and left, with a bound, & outstretched arm. flirted the muzzle of the 
Indian's gun one side, and the next moment had his long knife in him up to the hilt. 

"After Gen. Wayne's treaty, Capt. Hughes & family settled upon the waters 
of the Licking, Ohio. The Indians having, at an early day, killed a young woman 
whom he highly esteemed, & subsequently his father, the return of peace did not 
eradicate his antipathy. In the month of April, 1800, two Indians having collected 
a quantity of fur on the Rocky Fork of Licking, proceeded to the Bowling Green, 
stole three horses and put off for Sandusky. The next morning Hughes, Ratliff 
and Blair, going out for the horses, and not finding them, did not return to apprise 
their families, but continued upon their trail, and at night discovered the Indians' 
fire on Granny's Creek, some few miles N. W. of where Mt. Vernon now stands; 
lay down for the night, and the next morning walked up to the Indians as they 
were cooking their morning repast. At first the Indians looked somewhat embar- 
rassed, proposed restoration of the horses and giving part of their furs by way of 
conciliation, to which the whites did not dissent, but were thinking of the whole 
of the furs and future safety of the horses. It being a damp morning, it was 
proposed to shoot off all their guns and put in fresh loads. A mark was made, 
Hughes ostensibly raised his gun to shoot, which attracted the attention of the 
Indians to the mark, and was a signal. Ratliff downed one, Blair's gun flashed, 
but Hughes turning quickly around, emptied his gun into the other Indian's head, 
setting fire at the same time to the handkerchief around it. On returning, they 
kept their expedition a secret for some time. Many more interesting incidents 
might be related, but not with desirable accuracy of the present day. 

"Capt. Hughes' memory failed him considerably the last three or four years. 
Previously his eyesight failed him entirely, but partially returned again. With 

(17) See page 477. 

244 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

patience he waited his coming end, firmly believing that his Redeemer lived, and 
that through him he should enjoy a happy futurity." — Communicated. 

That Elias Hughes continued to murder Indians after going 
to Ohio is undeniable. He once returned on a visit to the settle- 
ments on the Upper Monongahela, and some of his old acquain- 
tances noticing his restless movements and constant watching 
on every side, said to him, "Ellis, I see you're still hunting Injuns." 
"Yes, and I'll hunt 'em as long as I live." "Have you had any 
luck since leaving here.'"' "Not much, but I know where there 
are fourteen guns hid in an old sycamore in my country." 

Through the kindness of Mrs. Pansy Hall Thatcher, a lineal 
descendant of Capt. Elias Hughes, I am enabled to give a personal 
description of the old scout, by two of his granddaughters, who 
were still living in Licking County, Ohio, in 1907. 

Elias Hughes was small in size, of light build, small hands and 
could wear a woman's shoe. His hair was combed down smooth 
and cut off evenly at the shoulder. His hair showed no signs of 
grey, even at his death. His eyes were blue and his face was 
always clean-shaved. He was eccentric in his dress, at all times 
wearing a hunting shirt and refusing to wear a coat. This shirt 
was of blue trimmed in red, and with red fringe around the edge. 
He also refused to have a button on his hunting shirt, tying it 
with small pieces of tape. 

A family tradition says, that "Elias Hughes was lying asleep 
in the house, when he dreamed that his children were in danger. 
When he awakened, a friend, who was in the same house, was 
loading his gun. Elias asked him what he was going to do. He 
said, "I hear a wild turkey; I am going to shoot it." Elias said, 
"I will get your turkey for you." He went out and returned in a 
few minutes with the scalp of an Indian, whom he had found in 
his cornfield near where his children were playing. The Indian 
had imitated the turkey's call in hopes of luring some one from the 

This tradition may be the growth from Jesse Hughes' experi- 
ence with the turkey at Clarksburg, and of David Morgan's 
remarkable dream and combat with the two Indians near Prickets 
Fort in 1778, cited elsewhere in this volume. It is probable that 
EHas Hughes was connected with the revolting sequel of Morgan's 
battle, which might account in part for the story. 

In 1782, Elias Hughes had an adventure with Indians in a 

Ili,i.\s Hitches 245 

cornricld on ihc West Fork Ri\'er, but with uitfcrciit results from 
that of the foreiroiii^ tradition. 

"In August as Arnold and Paul Richards were returning to Richards' Fort, 
they were shot at by some Indians, lying hid in a cornfield adjoining the fort, and 
both fell from their horses. The Indians leaped over liie fence iniinediateh' and 
tomahawked and scalped them. 

"These two men were murdered in full \ icu of the fort, and the firing drew 
its inmates to the gate to ascertain its cause. W hen they saw that the two Richards 
were down, they rightly judged that Indians had done the deed; and Elias Hughes, 
ever bold and daring, taking down his gun, went out alone at the back gate and 
entered the cornfield, into which the savages had again retired, to see if he could 
not avenge on one of them the murder of his friends. Creeping softly along, he 
came in view of them standing near the fence, reloading their guns, and looking 
intently at the people at the fort gate. Taking a deliberate aim at one of them, he 
touched the trigger. His gun flashed, and the Indians alarmed, ran speedily 
away." (18) 

It is claimed that Captain Hughes could read and write, 
although his signature appears in his declaration for pension and 
other statements with an "X." This, however, may have been 
on account of his blindness at that time. Like his brother, Jesse, 
Captain Hughes died in indigency. His life had been devoted to 
the trail and the chase; and his wants measured only by his present 
needs, were supplied from the forest and streams. For two-score 
years his supreme joy had been a saturnalia of blood, and not until 
the loss of his sight and when there were no more "Injuns to kill," 
did his thoughts turn to the "future life." 

Captain Hughes is buried near the center of the cemetery at 
Utica, Ohio. At the interment crossed cannons were discharged 
over his grave, which is yearly decorated with flowers. A gray, 
flat stone marks the last silent catnp of the ""Last of the Border 
Warriors r (19) 

(18) See page 477. (19) p. 477. 


For one who figured so prominently on the Trans-Allegheny 
border, Colonel William Lowther has received but meagre consid- 
eration from the historian. The following brief summary of 
his life by Withers is practically the source from which all subse- 
quent writers have drawn: 

"There was likewise, at this time, a considerable accession to the settlements 
on Buchannon and Hacker's Creek. So great was the increase of population in 
this latter neighborhood, that the crops of the preceding season did not afford 
more than one-third of the breadstuff, which would be ordinarily consumed in 
the same time, by an equal number of persons. Such indeed was the state of 
suffering among the inhabitants, consequent on this scarcity, that the year 1773 
is called in the traditionary legends of that day, the starving year; and such were 
the exertions of William Lowther to mitigate that suffering, and so great the 
success with which they were crowned, (1) that his name has been transmitted to 
their descendants, hallowed by the blessings of those, whose wants he contributed 
so largely to relieve." 

To the foregoing, Withers adds the following note: 

"William Lowther was the son of Robert, and came with his father to the 
Hacker Creek settlement in 1772. He soon became one of the most conspicuous 
men in that section of country; while his private virtues and public actions endeared 
him to every individual of the community. During the war of 1774, and sub- 
sequently, he was the most active and efficient defender of that vicinity, against 
the insidious attacks of the savage foe, and there were very few, if any, scouting 
parties proceeding from thence, by which the Indians were killed or otherwise 
much annoyed, but those which were commanded by him. 

"He was the first justice of the peace in the district of West Augusta — the 
first sheriff in the county of Harrison and Wood, and once a delegate to the General 
Assembly of the States. His military merits carried him through the subordinate 
grades to the rank of Colonel. Despising the pomp and pageantry of office, he 
accepted it for the good of the community, and was truly an effective man. 
Esteemed, beloved by all, he might have exerted his influence over others, to the 
advancement of his individual interest; but he sought the advancement of the 
general weal, not a personal or family aggrandizement. His example might teach 
others, that offices were created for public good, not for private emolument. If 
aspirants for office at the present day were to regard its perquisites less, and their 
fitness for the discharge of its duties more, the country would enjoy a greater por- 
tion of happiness and prosperity, and a sure foundation for the permanence of 
these be laid, in the more disinterested character of her counsellors and their 
consequent, increased devotion of her interests." (2) 

Although an officer during the greater period of the border 

(1) See page 478. (2) p. 478. 

Colonel W illlam Lowthlr 247 

wars and at times, in general command of the military, and accred- 
ited w ith leading many of the pursuits of marauding Indians, 
Withers notes but two such occurrences. These have already 
been cited elsewhere in this volume. Lewis gives the following 
brief of the Colonel's life: (3) 

"William Lowther — Henry, George and William were the sons of Henry Low, 
and were English miners; for their superior skill and meritorious service Uher^ 
was added to the name by royal edict. William had a son Robert, who with his 
wife, Aquilla Rees Lowther, emigrated to America in 1740, and came to the Hacker 
settlement in 1767, accompanied by their son William, the subject of this sketch, 
was born in 1742. The latter married Sudna Hughes, sister of Elias, Jesse,Thomas 
and Job, of Indian war fame, and settled on Simpson's Creek in 1772. Many of 
their descendants are now living in Clarksburgh and the surrounding country. 

"W illiam Lowther became distinguished as a skillful and courageous frontiers- 
man, and for his unselfish devotion to the good of the colonists. The population 
of these frontier settlements increased so rapidly that the supply of provisions 
became insufficient, and the year 1773 was called in the early traditions of the 
section, 'the starving year.' Such were the exertions of William Lowther to miti- 
gate the sufferings of the people, and so great was his success that his name is 
transmitted to their descendants hallowed by their blessings. During the war 
1774, and subsequently, he was the most active and efficient defender of the settle- 
ments in that vicinity, against the savage foe, and many a successful expedition 
against them was commanded by him. He was one of the first justices of the 
peace in Harrison County, also the first sheriff' of Harrison and Wood Counties, 
and a delegate to the General Assembly of the State. He also attained all the 
subordinate ranks in the military service until promoted to that of colonel, and 
by his unassuming good qualities endeared himself to all with whom he became 
associated. He died October 28, 1814." 

Many of Colonel Lowther's descendants deny that the name 
was changed by royal edict as late as set forth by Lewis. Mrs. 
Iva Lowther Peters, of New York, a lineal descendant of Colonel 
Lowther, line of his son William, after devoting several }'ears to 
the stud}" of the family history, is confident that the change, if at 
all, could not have been made so recent as the days of the Colonel's 
grandfather, Henry Lowther. That the name in its present form 
is ancient, and is found in connection with the nobility and law- 
makers of England, cannot be gainsaid; and from a practical and 
social point of view, the authenticity of the story may well be 

Two famih' traditionary accounts of the origin of the name 
and the migration to America are at variance, and are here given 
for the first time. That which immediately follows, is from the 
Draper Manuscripts, and is fraught with historic interest: (4) 

(3) See page 478. (4) p. 479. 

248 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

"Robert Lowther was born in Ireland about the beginning of the seventeenth 
century whose primitive name was Low the Lowther generation in Ireland and 
England were miners to trade and from some extraordinary discovery in the mineral 
business the King of England added "Ther" to their name which made it Lowther. 
Robert Lowther emigrated from Ireland to America he was a quaker and fled 
from the Storms and Persecutions incident to quakers in those Days and Settled 
in Pennsylvania the home of the quakers after a short stay in Pennsylvania he 
emigrated to Virginia and settled in Augusta County there young Wm was born 
who is the subject of our narrative. Wm Lowther was Born in Augusta County 
va who was the son of Robert the quaker he was Born Dec 22d in the year 1743 
and there he receivd his education (5) and when a youth of about seventeen 
years of age he volunteered his services under David Scott to repel the Indians 
from the borders of Augusta County and he was occasionally in that service some 
length of time. 

"we pass over several years of Wm Lowthers life and come directly to his 
emigration to Northwestern Virginia Wm Lowther emigrated with his father 
Robert to Harrison County from Augusty County va in the year 1772 he had 
not been long in that country before he was appointed Capt of a small boddy of men 
to defend the infant settlement of Harrison County va from the fury of savage 
cruelty he defended the settlement with unexpected success with a small boddy 
of hardy Virginians and in a short time Capt Lowthers worth and valure was 
known in the most parts of Virginia and the adjoining states he remained as capt 
several years still repelling the savages with unabating zeal untill George Rogers 
Clark Caled for volunteers in northwestern Virginia and of this call hear the declara- 
tion or surtificate of Wm Powers co compiler of Border Warfare. 

"In the year 1781 General George Rogers Clark caled for volunteers he 
called espesially on Capt Wm Lowther and offered him a commission if he would 
come and join his Legion Lowther acceded to the call and there was a company 
made up of volunteers and joined Clark at fort pitt and Capt Lowther was appointed 
Major of that company George Jackson was appointed Capt of said company 
and during their march down the ohio River many of the volunteers Run off Major 
Lowther finding his company very much weakened they had fallen below his expecta- 
tion and in consequence of which Major Lowther threw up his Commission and 
Clark accepted of it and he returned home 

"and in the year 1787 he was appointed Col of the Northwestern territory 
of Virginia he had the whole command and to superintend all that region I saw 
his commision I heard it red, and he superintended and defended it with vigilence 
and care, and retaind his commission untill Wayns treaty with the Indians at Gran- 
ville given under my hand this 26 day of December 1850. Wm Powers co compiler 
Border Warefare no sooner than he had returned home from Clark's campaign 
than his attention was caled to the defense of his respective Settlement he had 
Forts of defense and Safty built in each respective Settlement he had raingers 
and spies imploid in reconnoiterlng the Country and when the faithless Deviles as he 
frequently caled them would commit murder in the Settlements he would follow 
them in person and frequently overtake them kill and disperse there company 
Such were his ardent zeal and percevearance that the Indians grew very cautious 
and were hard to follow and suffice it to say that there was nothing done in any 

(5) See page 479. 


expedition against the Indians witiiout his presence he was fearless and undanted 
in all his undertakings. 

"he was a man of extraordinary strength and action was of the Billious tem- 
penneni his stature was five feet eleven inches commonly weighed one hundred 
and eightv pounds he was cherry and undismaid amidst the most trying circum- 
stances in life 

"Col Wm Lowther was caled the defender and protector of Northwestern 
Virginia he defended in time of war protected in time of famine and if it had not 
been for his energy and sympathy for his fellow beings in the year 1773 the inhab- 
itants of the infant settlement must have perished with hunger he roamed amidst 
danger and alarm kiled venison elks Buffalow and Bear and tiuis lie supplied all 
their wants 

"Col Will l.owther was a Lyon in time of war and famine a lamb in time of 
Peace and plenty he was kind an affectionate to all his friends and acquaintencies 
his house was the home of the widow and fatherless an asylum for the Preecher 
and wavfaring man the heralds of the cross would frequently call on him in time 
of the Indian war and be very fearful and frequently quote this passage of Scripture 
the wicked flee where no man persueth but the Righteous are as bold as a Lyon 
and they would ask Col Lowther how the passage could be true for they the 
Preechers were feerful but Col Lowther was bold as a Lyon 

"his house was a common house to repair to for his neighbors children to 
have the bonds of matrimony Solemnized he gave to all sheard of his bounty he 
has given some, lasting habitations 

"he cared not for wealth or Personal aggrandizement his purse was not his 
own his Neighbors sheard it with him we will give the reader to understand that 
when Wm Lowther Received his commission as Col his business became very 
extensive he was charged says Powers, to take care of the differant Stations on 
the Ohio River he visited each Station occasionally supplied them with ammunition 
and provision gave directions for defense had raingers appointed to observe the 
movement of the enemy and what could be done by any mortal being in person he 
performd with unabating zeal 

"now suflfer me to say in conjunction with Border warfare he was the first 
justice of the Peace in the district of west Augusto the first Sheriff in Harrison 
and wood [counties] and the first Capt, first major, first Col once a delegate to the 
general assembly of the states and then retired to private life 

"Enough he cries I'm freed from care And toil and pain 
My countrys liberty and peace is gaind 

"we see Col Lowther witii peace and quietude frcmi 1795 to the war of 1S12 
with Great Britian and the united States. 

"I was but a boy of 12 years old and I could see him amidst the multitude 
Animating his country man to enlist in the cause of their country when he could 
do no more he would frequently Sing war Songs tel deed of Bravery and renoun 
all to inspire his countryman with zeal and courage to inlest in the cause of their 
country his youngest son embarked in the cause of his country in 1813 and 14 
the old Col gave him up that he never Should See his face again and so it turned 
out to be for Col Lowther Died before his son returned. 

"as many other men he had his favorites among his children like Jacob of 

250 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

old he had his Joseph and his Benj amine when he died his Benj amine was gon to 
fight the Battles of his country and a few minetes before he expired he caled his 
Joseph unto him laid hands on him and imparted unto him his Benediction 

"Exhorting him to serve the true and living God he died in the full triumphs 
of a living faith in the Salvation of all Adams fallen race. 

"your humble writer would have written more extensively concerning Col 
Wm Lowther but being a relative he feels a dilacy in following through all the 
mianderings of Col Wm Lowthers life it is enough for me to say that CoLWm 
Lowther was one of the first to defend his country from savage cruelty and the 
last to lay down his arms of defense. 

"Wm Lowther Died amids the struggle with Great Britian and the united 
states he Died in the fall of 1814 aged 71 years and ten months. 

"Dear Sir I have gone threw with this little narative you are at liberty to 
correct any errors you may perchance to see amend or abridge as you see proper, 
yours with due respect 

Lyman C. Draper" 

Memoranda by Draper — This statement was mailed at West Milford, Va., 
January 11, 1851, and furnished at my request. 

Mr. Granville S. Lowther, of West Virginia, a son of Elias J. 
Lowther, writes me: 

"The Lowthers are of Scotch Irish descent, whose original name was Low. 
I cannot give dates for this, but during the knighthood days of England it Avas 
customary to appoint days for athletic sports, over which the king and his royal 
court presided. Pitching the quoit, or stone, was among the tests of manhood, 
and one day a stranger entered the arena and selecting a large stone, cast it farther 
than could any of his competitors. The king, astonished at this feat, had the 
champion brought before him and inquired his name. 'Low,' was the reply. 
'Then,' said the king, 'I will add 'ther' and for your valor you shall be called Low- 
ther.' He was afterwards appointed clerk of the King's Bench, as Sir Henry 
Lowther, which position has since been filled by others of his name. 

"Their emigration to America dates back to the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth 
Rock, where two brothers landed. One of them died during the terrible dearth 
of the colony, but the other, Henry, survived, and subsequently removed to Albe- 
marle County, Virginia. There his son, Robert, married Aquilla Rees, and was 
the father of Colonel William Lowther, of whom you inquire." 

It is not known where Colonel William Lowther was born, 
further than it was within the bounds of the territory then known 
as Augusta County, Virginia. It is quite evident that the greater 
part of his life, prior to his removal to the Trans-Allegheny, was 
spent on the Wappatomaka. It is claimed that the birth of his 

Colonel W illlx.m Lowther 251 

son William, Januar\- 11, 1769, was at Moorcticld, in now Hardy 
Count}-, West Virginia. It was in that region that he met his 
wife, Sudna Hughes, whose parents resided there in 1757. It is 
safe to say that with his father, he came from that region to the 
Upper Monongahela, in company with Elias Hughes, Ratliffs and 
other settlers. 

It is notable that Withrrs and L,-:ris diHcr in regard to the 
year of the settling of Colonel Lowther and his father on the 
western border. The error is with Lricis. The first permanent 
settlement on Hacker's creek was not until 1769, and the advent 
of the Lowthers into that region was in 1772, as stated by Jfilhcrs. 

In the homestead records of Monongalia County, 1781, we 
iind that a certificate of entry was granted "William Lowther, 
400 acres on Hacker's Creek adjoining lands claimed by Jesse 
Hughes, to include his settlement made thereon in 1772 with a 
preemption of 1000 acres adjoining." Colonel Lowther was a 
man of resources, and acquired several tracts of land by pur- 
chasing the claims, or improvements of other settlers. In this man- 
ner he secured several thousand acres on the western waters. (6) 

It would be difficult to determine by the homestead records 
just where Robert Lowther actually settled. He must have died 
prior to 1781, when Colonel Lowther inherited title to 400 acres 
at the mouth of Hacker's Creek, "settled" on by his father in 
1775. In 1781, Joseph Lowther, as "Heir-at-Law of Robert 
Lowther," secured a grant for 400 acres on Washburn's Run in 
(now) Harrison County, "to include his settlement made thereon 
in the year 1775." In the same year was granted to — "Samuel 
Rubels, Ass'e, to Robert Lowther, 400 acres on Rubels Mill 
Run, a branch of Cheat River, to include his actual settlement 
in 1770." There was also issued a certificate of title — "Arthur 
Trader, Assignee, to Robert Lowther, 400 acres on Roberts Mill 
Run, adjoining lands of Samuel Ruble, to include his settlement 
made in 1770." These two entries were doubtless made on the 
same stream, Rubels Run, and the variations in the name are due 
to carelessness on the part of the recording clerk. In 18CX), one 
William Lowther was a subscriber to St. John's Parish. Brook 
County (West), Virginia. (7) 

The census of 1782, which however, is \ery incomplete, shows 
that William Lowther and Joel Lowther, both residents of Monon- 
galia County, constituted the only families of this name in the 
(6) See page 479. (7) p. 479. 

252 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

state. Joel's name reappears in the enumeration of Harrison 
County, 1785, but that of WilUam does not. It is very probable 
that Joseph Lowther, who inherited the homestead of Robert 
Lowther on Washburn's Run, and Joel Lowther were one and the 
the same person, and perhaps a brother of Colonel William 

Jonathan Lowther, killed by Indians on Hacker's Creek in 
1778, was a son of Robert Lowther. Thomas Hughes, father-in- 
law of Colonel Lowther, was killed at the same time. This tragedy, 
as narrated by Withers^ has been given elsewhere in this volume, 
but a tradition among the Lowthers gives a different version. 
Hughes and Lowther were on their way from Clarksburg to give 
warning at West's Fort of an Indian alarm, and were shot down 
within one mile of the latter post. The Indians, fourteen in num- 
ber, fled, and Colonel Lowther at the head of a party of settlers, 
gave pursuit. They crossed the Ohio at Blennerhassett's Island 
and overtook the retreating warriors and surprised their camp not 
far from Chillicothe, and killed thirteen of them. The whites 
made a hurried march, and reached the settlements in safety. 

This is purely a mistake. Not even the fierce desire for 
revenge, which would, in this case have prompted Col. Lowther 
and the Hughes' to great exertion, could have carried them and 
their followers so far into the Indian country. 

By referring to Withers, it will be seen that when Hughes and 
Lowther were killed, two of the company, being intercepted from 
West's Fort, fled to Richards' Fort, (8) not only for safety, but 
to give warning as well. This last precaution was unnecessary. 
Isaac Washburn had been found shot and scalped at no great dis- 
tance from Richards, and the alarm spread before the arrival of 
the fugitives. The Indians committed no further depredation, 
nor were they pursued by the settlers. 

In a letter to the Governor of Virginia, March 22, 1793, Col. ■ 
Lowther tells of a party of Indians stealing six horses within about 
seven miles of Clarksburg; and of his pursuing the marauders 
with a company of sixteen men, to the Ohio River, where, being 
re-enforced with five men, went down the river from Williams 
Station, to about four miles below Belleville, crossed the river and 
continued the pursuit fifty miles in the Indian country, came upon 
the Indian camp in daytime. "One we killed and the other got 
much wounded. He dropped his gun in the pursuit, which we 

(8) See page 479. 

Colonel W illlxm Lowtmkr 253 

got, but unfortunately for us he got into the thick bushy woods 
and we lost him. We re-took four of the horses, before we got up 
a party of Indians had left the canip and took off two of the 
horses. My men were so fatigued and our provisions exhausted 
that I pursued no further." 

In following the "ditlerent windings taken b\' the Indians" 
the whites traveled about 186 miles, nearly the same distance to 
return, occupied fourteen days. Captain John Haymond, one of 
the part}', lost a valuable horse; one other horse strayed awa)' in 
the woods, which they expected to recover. 

On the 26th of the same month, the colonel writes the (jov- 
ernor informing hini of great numbers of Indians crossing the 
Ohio, and anticipated a blow. Indians had paid them a visit, 
"as you will discover by my former letter, to the proof of which 
I ha\c sent }i)u the skin of one of their heads." 

The colonel was of opinion that neither "General Wayne's 
army nor the talk of peace can be of any safety to him." 

Col. Lowther could not have remained for any considerable 
length of time on Hacker's Creek. No local tradition connects his 
residence with that settlement. He was closely identified with 
the region about Xutter's Fort during the earliest davs of its 
existence. He resided on a large homestead on the West Fork 
River, about seven miles from Clarksburg, and near one and a 
half miles from West Alilford. What is said to be his main original 
cabin is still occupied by some of his descendants. It is built of 
hewed logs and measures sixteen feet by twenty feet. The joists 
are flattened timbers, three and a half inches by seven and a half 
inches. The fire place is five feet and four and a half inches in 
height. The cabin had at some time been torn down and rebuilt. 
Its age is computed from 1772, the year of the colonel's advent 
into the settlement. This, I believe, is nearly correct. There is 
strong evidence that Col. Lowther did not remain on Hacker's 
Creek more than one }ear, and that he resided in the Clarksburg 
settlement during the ''starving year,'^ 1773. The house is among 
the oldest, if not the oldest, in that part of the state. Lt't it be 
preserved. (9) 

Tradition accredits Colonel Lowther, Jesse Hughes and Flias 
Hughes with the first actual exploration of the Little Kanawha, 
and its main trihutar\-, Hughes River, in 1772, (10) at which time 
Jesse Hughes conferred his own name on the latter stream. The 

<^M See page4Sl. (10) p. 481. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

explorers gave such names to the principal affluents of the tv/o 
rivers as were suggested by some peculiarity or object observed in 
connection with the stream. With a single exception, these names 
have all been retained. Walnut Creek, so named from the great 
number of walnut trees fringing its bank, was the scene of the 
surprise and defeat of Captain Bull's camp, and release of the 

Colonel William Lowther's Original Cabin 
Photographed June, 1908 

Leading Creek captives by Colonel Lowther's Rangers in 1781, 
since which time it has been known as Indian Creek. (11) The 
explorers. It is averred, passed up the West Fork River and crossed 
to the head of the Little Kanawha by way of Sand Creek. 

Another version of this tradition places the explorations in 
1774. The party reached the Little Kanawha by way of the 
Indian trail up Polk Creek and down Leading Creek. After 
striking the Ohio, the Hughes brothers proceeded to Point Pleas- 
ant, where joining the forces of General Lewis, participated in 
the battle fought there in October of that year. Colonel Lowther 
went up the river to Fort Pitt on some business of importance. 

(11) See page 481. 

Colonel W illl\.m Lowther 255 

The following story was told Mr. J. S. Hall, by Colonel 
Lowther's son Jesse, some sevent}'-five years ago. 

"When 111}- father with sc\eral other families settled on the 
West Fork River," said Mr. Lowther, "grain was so scarce that 
it was impossible to buy corn for bread. They were compelled 
to rely on game for food until a crop could be raised. It was 
agreed that my father and Jesse Hughes, the best hunters in the 
party, should furnish provisions while the others cleared and 
cultivated the land. These two hunters not only supplied plenty 
of game and fish for their own people, but they gave assistance to 
others in need on Hacker's Creek. Before the crop matured, 
my grandfather visited us, bringing a knapsack of biscuit. I was 
then a small bo}' and my mother gave me one. I tasted it, then 
threw it down and called for 'jerk.' Mother cried at the thought 
of living in the wilderness so long that her children had forgotten 
the use of bread." (12) 

This incident is very similar to that related of the Hacker 
famil}' elsewhere in this volume. It could not have occurred 
during "starving }'ear, " 1773. which was the year of Jesse Low- 
ther's birth. 

At one time the inhabitants were driven to the fort b_\- Indians 
when provisions were extreme!}' scarce. The inmates were on 
the verge of starvation, when a large turke}' lit on some grape- 
vines near the stockade and Col. Lowther shot it. Under the 
protection of the garrison rifles, Mrs. Lowther ran out and brought 
it in. She said: ''^God has sent this to preserve our lives." 

Colonel Lowther did not confine his military exploits alone 
to the local defense of the border. In 1781 he was identified with 
General Clark's attempted expedition against Detroit, h. rare 
summary of this phase of his life is the evidence submitted b}' his 
children in support of their claim for bounty land due their father 
as a Revolutionary soldier. This record is preserved in the \ ir- 
ginia State Library, and is here produced for the first time. 

From an affidavit before Abner Abbott, Justice of the Peace 
for Lewis County, Virginia, bearing date November 7, 1832, it 
would appear that Jesse Carpenter, aged 70, and Thomas Cottrell, 
aged 73, served as Indian spies under Captain W illiam Lowther, 
about 1778; when they first knew him as an officer. In 1781, 
Lowther went to Pittsburg as a Major and joined Colonel Joseph 
Crockett's Regiment, and descended the Ohio under Cieneral 

(12) Sec page 4Sl. 

256 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Clark. After his return he continued in the command of soldiers, 
issuing orders to Indian spies and subaltern officers; first as Major 
and then as Colonel until the end of Indian hostilities about 1795. 
He was a faithful and vigilant officer during all the years of the 
war that they knew him. Abbott, the Justice, vouched for Car- 
penter and Cottrell as "credible men and their statements entitled 
to full credit." 

To the foregoing testimony was added that of Jacob Bush, 
November 24, 1832. Bush, whose declaration for pension appears 
in Chapter X, this volume, knew Lowther as early as 1779, at 
which time he was captain. He was then promoted to the rank 
of Major, and in 1781 was with Col. Crockett in General Clark's 
campaign. Upon his return was made Colonel, and so continued 
until the close of the Revolutionary War and Indian hostilities in 
1795. He was brave and vigilant during the entire Revolution, 
devoting all of his time and energy to his country's service. He 
died in 1814, leaving children: Robert, William, Elias, Thomas 
and Jesse. Thomas never married and was then (1832) dead. 

Michael Stump, Justice, testified to the good character of 
Jacob Bush, which entitled him to full credit on oath. The testi- 
mony of two of Major Lowther's men is here given in full. 

"Endorsed, Public Document, The Executive Department for the State of 
Virginia, Richmond, Virginia (Weston, Virginia, 11th February), February 23, 
1833, submitted to the Council of State and advice required, John Floyd. 

"Lewis County 1 
-, >TO wit: 

Virginia J 

"Lewis Bonnett aged seventy-one years and Peter Bonnett aged sixty-nine 

years both personally appeared before the Justices of Lewis county court at the 

courthouse now sitting at the February term thereof. And severally declared on 

oath that they voluntarily entered the service of Virginia on the western waters 

about the year 1780 to descend the Ohio river to act for an indefinite period 

against the Indians that they embarked on the West Fork of the Monongahelia 

river, and descended it with many men from what are now Harrison, Randolph 

and Lewis counties. That they were under the command of Major William 

Lowther, captain Jonathan Coburn, Ensign Benj. Sills, they were kept a while at 

Red Stone fort (Brownsville now), thence to Newell's Store (Elizabeth now) and 

about there and Pittsburg and Mature's Island, below Pittsburg, procured boats 

[and] provisions for to descend the river to join General Clarke, proceeded down 

the Ohio as they now think in the spring of 1781. Major Lowther was attached 

to Col. Crockett's Regiment at Pittsburg. When the troops arrived at the mouth 

of the little Kachawa, [Kanawha] Capt. Coburn and these affiants and some other 

soldiers were stationed at Neal's Station to act as Indian [spies] and otherwise as 

circumstances might require to defend the frontier of Virginia here they parted 

Colonel W'h.llam Lowther 257 

with their Major who proceeded on down the river with Col. Crockett's Regiment. 

They saw no more of their Major till after they returned home which was in the 

fall of 1782. They are of the opinion that Major Lowther returned in 1783. 

He came back as a colonel and so continued and conducted or commanded spies, 

rangers and scouts until the close of Indian hostilities about 1794. They knew 

Col. Lowther until his death which was about 1814 in Harrison Co. These 

affiants were well acquainted with Jacob Bush a soldier under Capt. George 

Jackson and Maj. Lowther, he also went on toward Kentucky when they stopped 

at Neal's Station, now Parkersburg. They further certify that Major Lowther 

was a brave and excellent officer they knew him when he was a captain, then a 

Major and lastly a Col.; in this last capacity they often after 1783 acted under 

him as spies. Subscribed and sworn to in open court this fifth day of February 

1833. ,. 


Lewis X Bonnett 

Peter X Bonnett" 
"Lewis County Court 1 mark 

February Term 1833 J 

"This day, Lewis Bonnett and Peter Bonnett, soldiers in the Revolutionary 
War, personally appeared in open court and signed and swore to a Joint Declara- 
tion of the Revolutionary services of the late Col. William Lowther who was a 
Major in Col. Crockett's Regiment, and the Court do certify that it appears to 
them that the said Lewis Bonnett and Peter Bonnett arc respectable men, and 

their statement is entitled to credit. 

A copy teste, 

J. TALBorr, C. L. C." 

"At the request of the heirs of the late Col. W. Lowther, I transmit the fore- 
going statement of two respectable old men in this County. This is (by the heirs) 
offered as additional evidence of the Revolutionary services of Col. Lowther, on 
their applications for his land bounty. Please report to me the result of the 
executive deliberations on this matter as soon as practicable. 

V^ery respectfully, your obt. servant, 

J. Wamslky." 

Bount\' was refused Colonel Lowthcr's heirs, but for what 
cause is not known. The evidence of his service is uncontrovert- 
ible, and is the best record of his border life prior to 1792 extant. 
There was no application for pension in his behalf under the Act 
of 1806, which, however, provided for those only who incurred 
wounds in the Revolution. The incomplete muster rolls on file 
in the War Department contain no record of his military career, 
as evinced in the following communication in response to an 

"The name \\ iUiam Lowther has not been found on the rolls, 
on tile in this office, of any organization of Virginia troops in serv- 

258 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

ice during the Revolutionary War. The records show, however, 
that one William Lowther served as a private in Captain Timo- 
othy Hughes' Company, Colonel James Livingston's Battalion, 
Continental Troops, Revolutionary War. He enlisted December 
22, 1776, to serve during the war; was transferred about June, 
1779, to Captain Dirck Hansen's Company, same battalion, and 
was mustered to January, 1782. No later record of him has been 

In connection with Col. Lowther's military career, might be 
mentioned that of Sotha Hickman, one of the earliest settlers in 
the region of Nutter's Fort. It would appear from Hickman's 
first declaration for pension that he was born on the eastern shore 
of Maryland, June 10, 1748, and enlisted as a scout under Captain 
William Lowther at Nutter's Fort in 1780, and served six months, 
and in 1781, a tour of two months. In 1782 he enlisted for a 
term of six months under Captain Thomas Nutter, same region. 
His second declaration executed in Harrison County, July 17, 1832, 
is of historic value, and is here given in full. 

"Sotha Hickman first being sworn, stated that he entered the service of the 
U. S. as a volunteer under Capt. William Louther of the Va. militia, Lieut. 
John Pacverz (this is very uncertain), the ensign's name not now recollected 
and William More being sergeant in the fall of 1780, that he continued in said 
service until the expiration of six months, the period for which he had enlisted. 
When he entered the service as aforesaid, he was a resident of Monongalia Co., 
that while thus engaged in the service at the time aforesaid, he was in no battle 
or engagement, being employed in watching the frontier and protecting it from the 
invasions and ravages of the combined Indian and British Canadian troops. That 
another time he was called into the militia service of the state aforesaid under the 
aforenamed Capt. Lowther on a report of invasions by the Indians and continued 
in said service, scouting along waters of Ten mile creek and on the West Fork 
river and below and around the now town of Clarksburg, then known as Nutter's 
Fort. That he was again called into service as aforesaid by said officers to repel 
an invasion of the country made by the Indians and punished them for the murder 
committed by them on Booths creek, that while thus out there was no skirmish 
with the enemy, they having immediately retreated and were not to be found 
and that after being engaged in burying those who had been killed, and in pur- 
suing the Indian trail, he returned after the lapse of 5 or six days. That at 
another time he was likewise engaged in repelling an invasion of the country made 
by the Indians and under Captain Lowther, together with Daniel Daripon (?), 
Nathaniel Davisson, Stuffield, Baker, and others and Lieut. Powers, when con- 
siderable mischief had been effected, and when upon coming near to the enemy, 
they were discovered to be too numerous to be attacked by a body of troops as 
small as that under the command of Captain Lowther, only about 24 or 


25 men, and after bur\ing the killed, V <ir 10, tiie\ returned to Nutter's Fort for 
security, where they had to remain until the Indians withdrew from the neigh- 
borhood. That at several other times, he was in like manner called into serv- 
ice and served until the company engaged with him was ordered by the officers 
in command to return into fort or to their homes. He further states that although 
he does not remember now, the length of time which he was those several calls 
employed and engaged in service, yet he feels confident that, independent of his 
tour of duty, for six months as first stated he was nearly if not quite three months 
in actual service. Has no documentary evidence to prove his statements, and the 
last persons he knew of who could substantiate his claim, were a Douglas near the 

Ohio River and a Greeorv in Greenbrier Co. of \'a. . 


(Signed) Sotha X Hickman" 


Christopher Nutter testilied that Hickman was a soldier 
under Captain Lowther at the time he (Nutter) was. Hickman 
was granted a pension of ^40.66 a year. 

The Douglas referred to by Hickman was e\idcntl\- Levi 
Douglass, who was a boon companion of his during the border 

These men, while trapping on the Little Kanawha, were cap- 
tured and taken to the Indian towns on the Scioto River. One 
night they managed to elude the Indians while they were feasting 
and dancing and by traveling at night, succeeded in effecting their 
escape. Hickman was a great sportsman and came near being 
shot by Indians while gigging fish with others one night in the 
West Fork River, near Nutter's Fort. The Indians surprised 
them from the bank, and attempted to fire on them, but owing to 
a heavv fog, the priming in their guns had become wet, which 
caused them to "flash in the pan." The whites dropped their 
torch, and escaped to the opposite side of the ri\-er. 

Notwithstanding all residents in the Trans-Allegheny capable 
of bearing arms during the Revolutionar}' and Border wars, were 
enrolled in some branch of the militar\-, and engaged acti\el\ m 
repelling invasions or making expeditions into the enemies' coun- 
try, local histor\' has done but little towards preserving their 
identity. The names of man\- are lost forever. The fragmentary 
muster rolls of both Virginia and the War Department are woefully 
deficient in records of the border militiaman. The names of some 
of them, however, are found in the archives of the Pension Office, 
and in the Claims for Bounty Lands on file in the Virginia State 
Librar\-. Although research in these departments is ofttimes 

260 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

attended with disappointment, occasionally a narration of historic 
value is unearthed. Such is that of Christopher Nutter whose signa- 
ture often appears in evidence against those who were dropped from 
the pension roll subsequent to their re-examination by Singleton. 

Nutter made two declarations for pension, one July 16, 1832, 
the other the 22nd of the following December. From these 
documents it would appear that Christopher Nutter was born in 
Sussex County, Delaware, January 21, 1760, and while yet an 
infant, his parents moved with him to Augusta County, Virginia, 
where they remained until 1769, and then removed to "Featt" 
[Fayette] County, Pennsylvania. In March, 1772, they moved 
to West Augusta, now Harrison County, West Virginia, where 
young Nutter lived during the rest of his life. 

He was residing in Nutter's Fort in 1780 when he volunteered 
as a militiaman under Captain William Lowther and served six 
months, ostensibly as scout. In the latter part of May, or first 
of June, 1781, he volunteered under Captain George Jackson in 
General George Rogers Clark's campaign to "serve during the 
war." He left the village of Clarksburg and descended the West 
Fork and Monongahela to Pittsburg, and from there down the 
Ohio to its Falls, where Louisville now stands, at which point they 
landed August 19, 1781. He continued in service "under Captain 
George Jackson, George R. Clarke and Zachariah Morgan, a 
colonel, until after the surrender of Cornwallis," when he was dis- 
charged, as he remembered, in the same year at Louisville. He 
was released from further duty because of his indisposition, but 
all those of Jackson's company capable of service were continued 
on the roll until after their return to Clarksburg. 

During this tour, Nutter states that he was with some con- 
tinental troops, regiments not recalled, but he remembered Cap- 
tain Tipton, an officer by the name of Chevay [very illegible], 
another of Blue, and a major, as he believed, by the name of 
Wales, who were considered of the regular troops. Captain Tip- 
ton and Chaplain were killed near the mouth of Bear Grass, in 
going to Floyds and Sullivans stations. Nutter was in no battle, 
but a skirmish took place at the Sandy Island below the Falls while 
he was in service in which Captain Johnson of the militia and 
Benjamin Wright were killed, and Jonathan Wright, Michael 
Umbels, two men named Blair and Armstrong, with others were 

CoLONKI. \\l 1.1.1 \M 1.()\\T11I;R 261 

Xutlcr's subscqueiU niilitar\' service was on the \ iiginia 
frontier. In 17S2 he \-olunleereJ in CafUain 'I'honias Nutter's 
Company and served six months, and in 1783 he again volunteered 
for a like term in Captain Christopher Carpenter's Company, 
during which time he was still a resident of Nutter's Fort. He 
was called out several times by William Lowther, first as Captain 
and then as Major, and served during his several enlistments as 
private not less than two years. 

Matthias Winters, James Radcliff, Joseph Morris and Richard 
Hudkins testified in behalf of Nutter, and his service was proven 
by Jacob Bush and Alexander West who were with him in General 
Clark's campaign. He was granted a pension of eighty dollars 
a year. He died February 21, 184-5. 

Christopher Nutter married Rebecca Moorhead, June 28, 
1785, in Harrison County, Virginia. Mrs. Nutter died October 
16, 1861. The records contain no list of children. 

In 1781, the Land Commissioners of Monongahela County 
issued to Christopher Nutter a certificate for "300 acres on Suds 
Run, a drain of Flk, to include his improvement made in 1772." 
Nutter was only twelve years old when he made the "improve- 

The Pension Ofiicc contains no record of Captain Thomas 
Nutter. Jfitlwrs (13) says that in 1772 Thomas Nutter settled 
on Elk in the vicinity of Clarksburg, near the Forge-Mills, and 
that John Nutter settled on the West Fork, "near the place now 
owned by Adam Hickman." 

Thomas Nutter was granted a certificate for "400 acres on 
Elk, adjoining lands claimed by Sotha Hickman, to include his 
settlement made in 1775." It was on this tract that Nutter's 
Fort was built in 1774; and Captain Thomas Nutter, whose name 
it bore, certainly liv^ed there at that time; and there is no reason 
for supposing that he was not settled there in 1772, as stated by 
ffithers. Surely arc these early land records an anomaly, like 
unto the riddle of the Sphinx. 

Nutter's Fort stood about two miles from Clarksburg, on the 
Buckhaniion Pike, and "the trolley line now passes directly over 
the site of the old fort." Captain Nutter preempted 1,CX)0 
acres adjoining his settlement right, and both tracts were sur- 
veyed in 1785. The new Fair Grounds are located on this land, 
and some of it is still occupied by Nutter's descendants. 

(13) See page 482. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

I have not found when John Nutter was granted a home- 
stead but the records show that he claimed lands on Simpson's 
Creek in 1781. 

In the same year a certificate was issued to Mathew Nutter 
for "300 acres on east side of Elk, to include his settlement made in 

The census of 1782 shows that Thomas, Christopher, Mathew 
and John were then residents in Monongahela County, Virginia; 
and all are listed in the enumeration of Harrison County, 1785, 
with the exception of Mathew, whose name nowhere appears. 

LowTHER Coat of Arms. 


\\ c have a elinipsc of Colonel Lcnvlher's military service 
subsequent to 1791, in the following excerpts from the Virginia 
State papers: (Volume \ .) 

Letter of Wm. Lowther to the Governor. 

AIoRGANTOWN, June 7, 1792. 
"D'r Sir: 

"Agreeable to your request as to my part, as far as relates to my conduct, I 
will endeavor to give as near as my memory will serve at present, which is as 
foiloweth, to wit: I have under my command by order from the Executive (in 
Harrison County) one Insign, two Sergeants, two Corprils, and forty privates. 
I was authorized to appoint two Scouts by the Executive, which I have complyed 
with. And by a letter received from Capt. McMachan of Ohio country was to 
appoint one more in addition to the two. Capt. McMachan also appointed one 
in conjunction with the one I appointed by his orders, which four scouts is now 
under my command, two of which I have at the mouth of the Little Kanaway, 
the other two on the frontier of the West Fork Settlement. The Rangers, I thought 
proper to submit the distribution to a council of officers of Harrison, who advised 
me to station them in three detachments, which I have Done along the West Fork 
settlements, about forty miles, with a small deviation to wit: the little Kanaway, 
being an exposed part of the county, and a small station near the mouth, I sent 
a sergeant and eleven men with the two Spyes or Scouts as above mentioned. In 
Randolph County, I have under my command a Lieutenant, two Sergeants, two Cor- 
porals, and Twenty-five privates, the distribution of which I also left to a Council 
of the Randolph County Officers, which they have done as foiloweth: The Lieu- 
tenant and fifteen privates including the Sergeant and Corporal in the upper end of 
the valley, and a Sergeant and eleven men at Buchannon settlement. The two 
Scouts I was authorized to appoint for that county I have also made and is now 
under my command with the rest of the Rangers of that place, &c. 

"I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and Humble Serv't." (1) 

William Lowther to the Governor, 

"January 25, 1793. 
"D'r Sir: 

"I received your commission of Captain by the Hand of Hazekiah Davison, 
which I do accept and find myself happy in having it in my power to render service 
to your excellency and my suffering fellow citizens. 

"I gave the vanity to flatter myself that past services has been pleasing, which 
shall and ought to be motives to Induce me to gain a continuation of yours and 
my fellow citizen's favor. 

"Notwithstanding I have been informed that complaints were to be lodged 
before you against Lieutenant Whitman and myself, how far the malitious haste 
proceeded in laying complaints before you, I know not; but is suspicious they have 

(1) See page 482. 

264 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

had some effect against Lieutenant Whitman, particularly as I hear he is Discon- 

"We were both hard Threatened by one of our Scouts which we turned out of 
service for his ill conduct, and Docked him part of the time he pretende to 
serve. I have Reason to believe that some of our Delegates from this District were 
active in doing Mr. Whitman an Injury to the woundin of his carructor and Pri- 
vate feelings. 

"Sir, should complaints have appeared before the Executive or any of the 
Gentlemen of your counsell, I heartily wish they may be made publick, so that Mr. 
Whitman may have It in his power to do himself Justice before you or a court of 
law. The Bearer, Mr. Wilson, is able to give you information as Touching the 
Premises. I presume it will be out of my Power to engage all young Experienced 
men as Requested by your letter and none but those that are acquainted with the 
use of the Rifle I wish to enlist. I wish you to Discourse with the Bearer on this 

"I have made some progress in the Engagement of men, but find by those 
who has been service last year they wish to receive their pay for past services 
before they make any new engagements, which Difficulty I hope will be removed 
upon the Return of Mr. Wilson, who by me is Empowered to settle my accounts 
and Receive the money for the year 1792. 

"By a former letter I requested you to write if the money was Ready but 
as you did not write, I take it for granted you are fully prepared. 

"I am with Regards, Your very Humble Serv't." (2) 

John Jackson to the Governor. (3) 

"Buck Hanan, January 25, 1793. 

"I think it my duty to Infirm you that the conduct of Capt. Wm. Lowther, 
extremely blamable for some time past Instead of attending to his duty, he im- 
ployed his time in Gambling, Rioting, &c. he treated the men under him in such a 
manner that it is thought he can git no others to ingage. Instead of paying his 
men thar wages would seek occasion to purchase Clames on them and then stop 
the money. I conceive that only the Intrust, but Reputation and dignity of the 
commonwealth suffers, tis certainly an Imposition to have a man in public office 
who disregards the public Intrust. During all the time he has been in service 
he has not visited the Different stations, but has Imployed himself in amusements 
of various Kinds. If the Information which this gives is Doubted, it may be known 
from many." 

This accusation was sent to the governor by Capt. Bogart, 
together with a letter commending John Jackson. 

Letter of James Wood to the Governor of Virginia, June 
14, 1793. 

"June 14, 1793. 



"On my arrival .in the Mongelia district, I found that Capt. Lowther, Ensign 
Brown, and Ensign Davidson had not enlisted the quota of men assigned to them. 

(2) See page 482. (3) p. 482. 

COLONLI. \\ Il.l.l \M l.owrill.R 265 

Tlic two ensigns declined their appointments and 1 nominated Jolinatliaii Cobuin 
and Bartholomew Jenkins to succeed them. These gentlemen have completed 
their quota since the men have been mustered, and are now in service. If this 
nomination should meet the approval of the Executiv-e, I flatter myself, they will 
be commissioned after visiting all the exposed parts of the western frontier, review- 
ing the three companies, and mustering such as had not been mustered. I made 
tlie disposition which will appear in the inclosed instructions given to Captain 
Lowther. the Senior officer in the district. The scouts which have been emploj'ed in 
the different parts of the frontier have great merit; they have discovered and fired 
on several parties of Indians on their way to the Frontier at different times, and 
who immediately retreated with precipation, and without doing any mischief, 
if my proceedings should be approved by the Board, I shall think myself amply 
compensated for my trouble. 

"I have the honor to be with the greatest respect. Sir, 

Y'r mo. ob't serv't." 

June 14th, 1793. Capt. James Wood's Instructions to Cap- 
tain W ni. Loutlier (enclosed in above letter). 

"Ohio, 28tli May, 1793. 

"From my observations on the frontier of this district, I am confirmed in 
my opinion that to afford the best protection to the Inhabitants, will be to have 
a respectable force judiciously posted on the banks of the Ohio, in order to effect 
this purpose, I have placed Lieut. Willis' detachment of Captain Bogard's com- 
pany at Hilliday's Cove, at the Mingo Bottom, and at the mouth of Shoal Creek. 
Captain McCollock with his company will occupy the posts on the west bank of 
the Ohio, above the mouth of Wheeling, opposite the mouth of Grave Creek, at 
the mouth of Fish Creek, and at Martin's station at the mouth of Fishing Creek. 
1 wish it was in my power to establish a post at the mouth of Middle Island, but 
there is no Inhabitants, nor possibility of subsisting the men with con\cnience, 1 
must be satisfied at present with posting twenty-five men at the mouth of the 
Little Kanawha, either Captain Bogard, Ensign Coburn, or Ensign Jenkins must 
take post at this place. In your quarter, I hope the scouts already appointed 
with thirty men to be divided and posted at the mouth of Freeman's Creek, at 
Salem, or at the mouth of Ten Mile Creek, will be adequate; those small Detach- 
ments you will be pleased to post immediately. A sergeant & ten men I think 
will be necessary to the Upper end of Tigris \^alley, and the same number in the 
Buchannon Settlement, those you will post in the manner you may suppose 
most likely to render service. I have nominated Johnathan Coburn & Bartholo- 
mew Jenkins to succeed Ensigns Brown and Davidson; they both raised their 
quota of men, which will enable you to make the disposition I have mentioned, 
and which I trust will be made as soon as possible. With respect to the detach- 
ment of your company at present commanded by Lieutenant Evans, I mean them 
to be posted in the most advantageous manner for the protection of the exposed 
parts of Monongalia County; as there is no scouts employed on that Frontier at 
present, it will be necessary for Lieut. Evans to keep small Patrols constantly in 
his front — you will be pleased to direct him where to take post, and how to emplo\- 

266 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

the men -under his command. Ensign Morgan with his detachment is to join 
Capt. McColloch's company on the Ohio, where he will receive his instructions. 
You will be pleased to issue your orders for his immediate march; the two scouts 
in the valley may be discharged as soon as you appoint two others, who are to be 
attached to the little Kanawlia Station. To you as senior officer on this frontier, 
will be Confided the Command, superintending, and direction of all the Posts 
within the district of Monongalia; and to you the Junior officers will be directed 
to make their reports; and to communicate all material occurances which may 
arise within their respective commands. As you are the officer on whom the 
responsibility will be fixed, you are to take your own station at the place where 
you may think most likely to answer the objects of your command. A report of 
the State of the frontier, and of the different posts under your superintendency 
you will make as frequently as opportunity offers to Winchester, where your dis- 
patches addressed to the Governor will be forwarded by the Post Master, Mr. 
George Norton; or if more convenient to you, forward them to the Postmaster at 
Pittsburg, from whence there is a regular post via Philadelphia to Richmond etc. 
* * * (Nothing of importance follows.) 

"I have the honor to be with real esteem, Sir, 

"Y'r Ob't Servant." 

Col. Bogard to Col. Wm. Lowder, Harrison Co., Va. 

,,.^ „ "October 3, 1793. 

Dear Sir: 

"After my respective compliments to you, I wish to inform you that the 

Indains has been Near Neels Station, and has taken away 3 horses, and 

got three days start of us. But we persude them and they crost the Big River 

at the mouth of Deavil hole, and we followed them to a water called Raccoon creek, 

which ar alowed to be sixty miles, and all the Men Being in bad state of Health, 

we could not follow them any further. From thence we went across the country 

to the falls of Hawking, where we discovered a great deal of Indian sign, whar 

they had been this summer. Also I will inform you that Mr. Jenkins was taken 

very sick at our Return Home. I wish to inform you that the Spyes has seen Line 

of Indians Going up Big Elk River, and I should now be glad that you would send 

word to the Head of the Valley as soon as possible you can, Sir. I will inform you 

that there was a Spye Shot by the Indians at the mouth of Big Cannoway, this 

one was shot through hips, and the other through the arm; the name of the 

latter was Andrew Lewis, and the name of the other is unknown to us." 

John \IcCollock to the Governor, Richmond, Feb. 8th, 

I considered it my duty to arrest Lieut. Joseph Biggs of mj^ company of 
volunteer militia on the charges which I have the honor to enclose. I immedi- 
ately made a report to William Lowther, Esq., as commandant of the rnilitia 
in actual service, in expectation that he would Direct a Court Martial. (4) 
' I have the honor to be, etc." (5) 

P. 179, under date of June 12, 1794, John McCollock writes 
the Governor: 

(4) See page 482. (5) p. 482. 

Colon Ki. William Lowthkr 267 

(1) That the Indians "killed 4 and took three of a family at the little 
Canavvay early in May, and killed one man at Marata the last of May. They 
have killed 4 and wounded 3 men on Allegheny river a few miles above 

(2) "They are so lacking in amnuinilinn they would not be able to follow 
the Indians if invaded." (6) 

Al this time there were many complaints of lack of ammuni- 
tion and supplies, while the IiKlians were very active. Pay was 
more than a year in arrears. 

Chas. Wells to the Governor: 

■•June 13, 1794. 

"I am honored with your letter of the 18th of April, by Mr. Boggs, wherein 
your excellency conceives that 1 complain of Injur)' in furnishing provisions at 
the posts on the River. 

"Your Excellency will please to observe that I did not mean the complaint 
to extend to posts on the River only, the number on the River being increased since 
the time of Messrs Wood's furnishing, and the Rations demanded at each post. 
1 only wished the privilage of furnishing at the posts mentioned in m\' letter of 
the 7th of January. 

"Captain Lowther's inforniaticMi to your I'^xccUency respecting my construc- 
tion of the contract must be very singular, as I have neither seen nor heard from 
Captain Lowther since I undertook the contract, nor do I recollect of mentioning 
m\' opinion to any Gentlemen on the subject. 

"In March last. General Biggs mentioned to me that he had wrote to Captain 
Lowther to meet him at West Liberty to arange the stations before or at the time 
the troops were to be mustered in Ohio; on which account I attended to get instruc- 
tions as to the supply, but was disappointed, and as I have not heard from Captain 
Lowther, or where his detachment is posted, I have drawn the conclusion that he 
has appointed a contractor to supply the posts under his Immediate inspection, 
which perhaps was the object he founded his complaint on. If so, I wish him to 
continue his contractor as the furnishing of his post or posts is not an object with 
me, and I shall account with him or any other person for Quantity of rations fur- 
nished under my contract as soon as the money comes to hand etc. 

"In closing, the Indians continue depredations on our frontiers." 

Cornelius Bogard to the (jovernor; Randolph County, Aug. 
16, 1794: 

"On recei\ing your orders I raised a Company of \ olunteers for the defence 
of Monongalia District. On the 17th of March last I received orders from Col. 
William Lowther to station the troops raised in this County at the head of Tygarts 
Valley and Buchannon river." (7) 

Sept. 4, 1794. John llaymond to the Governor: 

" .Mr. Stilwell, I am informed, is sent b\- Capt. Lowther for money due the 
soldiers on our frontiers. " 

(6) See page 482. (7) p. 4S2. 

268 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

William Lowther to the Governor; Harrison Co., Feb. 21, 

"I rec'd your Excellency's instructions dated the last of December and 
have noted the contents thereof. In conformity thereto you will herewith receive 
the necessary papers and documents, in order that the money may be forwarded 
I discharged the Scouts and Rangers immediately under my command on the first 
of this instant, and as Colonel George Jackson, who was appointed by the Executive 
to muster the rangers of Harrison was on the Assembly, I called upon Capt. John 
McCally to perform that duty which he did. This I thought would be more proper 
than to continue them in service till Colonel Jackson returned, 

"I have sent you also through Thos. Wilson, Esq., Jonathan Coburn's papers 
as well as my own, together with the papers of eight scouts of this county, and also 
two ration abstracts, one for Ensign Coburn, and his men, and one for myself 
and eleven men including our own additional rations as officers. You will dis- 
cover they are made out in our own names, as there was no person who was author- 
ized to furnish us with rations by the Executive within one hundred miles of us, 
except while on the Ohio river, therefore we had to become contractors ourselves. 
I flatter myself the papers are all properly authenticated. If there is substance 
I hope your Excellency will not be so particular as to form. They are indorsed 
and numbered. No. 1 contains my pay abstract, muster rolls of eleven men 
immediately under my own command etc. 

"I beg leave to mention that our scouts and rangers have received no com- 
pensation for their two last year's services whereas, those other counties in the 
district had received a partial payment etc. 

To the Governor, 9th April, 1794. 

" I am of the opinion it would be best to order the three companies des- 
tined for the defence of the Western Frontiers to the Ohio River to be posted at the 
best stations between Holliday's Cove and the mouth of the Little Kanawha; that 
Captain Lowther as Commandant of the whole, fix his own station as near the 
center of his command as possible. That he be instructed to visit the Different 
Posts, to direct the mode of performing the Duty, and to take the most effectual 
measures for protecting the frontier of the Monongalia District; and that he for- 
ward by post, regular monthly returns of the companies under his command. " 

(Signed) " James Wood. " 

Wm. Lowther to the Governor, April 21, 1795. Clarks- 

"Assigning reasons for docking John Jackson 19 days pay as scout for time 
taken in attending to his private business and for his discharge from the service. 

"Pay abstracts for scouts ordered into service under instructions from the 
Executive in the year 1792, Harrison County. 

"Ellis Hughes, Robert Lowther, David Carpenter, Jonathan Coburn, John 
Hall, Thomas Herbert, Watson Clark, William Haymond, Christopher Carpenter, 
Obediah Davison." 

Colonel W illlxm I.owtiilr 269 

W'm. Lowlhcr to ihc Cjovcriujr, Aug. 24, 1795, Harrison 

"From the repealed depredations comiiiittcd by the hostile tribe of Indians 
1 iia\e been under the necessity at sundry times to call out parties of the militia, 
but, by the delay occasioned by that round of order, find it still ineffectual. There- 
fore, by counsel of others with myself, have thought it best to call out a Lieutenant 
and a company for Harrison and Ensign and company for Randolph, and have 
also augmented the number of scouts from six to nine for Harrison and Randolph, 
and keep them stationed in the most exposed part of each county, to be ready 
at any call, and to continue while necessity may require, or until 1 have further 
instructions from your Excellency, and further I flatter myself to meet with 
your approbation in what I have done etc." (8) 

Win. Lowtlier to the (jovernor, Sept. S, 1794. 

"Yours by express came to hand, and I am happy to inform you that the people 
of this county have discovered no disposition to aid or abet the lawless Penn- 
sylvanians, but still continue their attachment to our happy government. 

"In a letter from Gen. Wood, I was desired to forward accurate returns of the 
situation of the Posts, etc. The posts on the river are not yet fixed. I wrote 
different times to Captain Bogard to march to the post assigned for his company at 
Newberry, a few miles above the mouth Great Hockhocking, and he has not 
complied, and I know not the reason, but expect it is owing to alarms in his own 
county. However I learn he is now on his way. 

"I had appointed the mouth of Middle Island for Ensign Coburn's station." (9) 

William Lowther was Colonel of Militia, Randolph County, 
\ irginia, in 1796. 

Robert Lowther, whose name appears on the Moncmgahela 
pay abstract for scouts, 1792, was Colonel Lowther's oldest son. 
William, his second son, also took part in some of the border 
forays just prior to the Treaty of Greenville. Of this son and 
his descendants. Rev. Granville Lowther, D. D., says: 

"My great grandfather, William Lowther, was Colonel Low- 
ther's son and was an old man when I was a child. Some char- 
acteristics of the man are as clear to me as anything of later date. 
In physical appearance, he was about medium height, but very 
muscular, high forehead, prominent nose, firm mouth, greyish 
blue eyes with arching brow, strong, sinew\- and erect; but at 
times a little bent and walking with a cane. Mentally he was 
optimistic, proud, determined, willful, yet lo\-ing and tender as 
a child. He used to take me on his knee and tell stories of his 
Indian adventures until in m\" childish imagination, I could see 
the chase, the trail, the tight ami all the realities of the border 

(8) See page 482. (9) p. 482. 

270 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

conflict. He would tell of how the pioneers lived in log cabins; 
how they dressed in flax and tow-made garments in summer, and 
homespun linsey in winter. He told how he used to work clear- 
ing land, plowing and hoeing corn from before daylight in the 
morning until dark at night, with only an hour for noon, and 
during that hour he would weave on the old hand loom, except 
what time he was at his meals. Alany of the nights were spent in 
burning brush and logs, which tended to economize time and 
advance the interests of the one end in view; the conquest of the 
forest. His example, influence and traits largely stamped the 
character of his descendants. 

To illustrate: "His son, John A. Lowther, was a man of 
superior strength, who with others were out hunting when they 
came upon a herd of wild hogs. The old boar showed fight and 
charged them as they were debating whether to run, climb trees 
or fight. As he came, John sprang to one side, caught the boar 
by an ear with one hand and beat him over the snout with a stick 
until he was subdued. 

"John was for a time sheriff of Ritchie County, and when 
he got his hands on a man neither handcuffs nor other criminal 
appliances were necessary, for he could outrun and overcome any 
man he ever met. He at one time went to arrest a wrongdoer, 
who had taken refuge with two of his friends in a cabin. He 
approached the house and was about to enter, when his presence 
was discovered. The inmates sprang to close the door, but not 
until the officer had thrust his hand through the opening. The 
shutter was slammed against his arm and the combined weight of 
the three men pressed against it. With no apparent effort, Low- 
ther flung back the door, seized his man and walked away. 

"Another son, Alexander Lowther, (10) my grandfather, was 
in temperament nervous, quick and excitable; a man of strong 
will power, who scoffed at the idea of failure. He was hopeful, 
cheerful and sociable, with enough imagination to have been a 
poet, novelist or orator; but living where these powers were not 
in demand, he exercised his imagination in laying plans for the 
future of his children, building machinery and buying almost 
every patent device that agents tried to sell to him. He was 
hospitable to a fault, and for miles in every direction people knew 
that if they reached 'Uncle Alex Lowther's,' about meal time or 

(10) See page 482. 

CoLONKL William Lowthkr 271 

nighl, food or lodging ^^'^'i"*-' ^^ free as llic water from the well. 
In this way, he gave to travellers hundreds of dollars, but gained 
in return the information and sociability they brought into his 
home, for it was before the days of newspapers, railroads or tele- 
graph, and the principal source of information of a public character 
was gained from travellers passing from place to place on horse- 
back. He was never a member of church, inclining to a belief in 
the doctrine of Universalism. When he was approaching death, 
he appeared for a time a little disturbed about his destiny in the 
future, until someone read to him the language of Christ, "I was 
hungered and ye gave me meat; thirsty and ye gave me drink; 
a stranger and ye took me in; naked and ye clothed me." When 
the reading was finished, he seemed at perfect ease and to rest 
his hope of salvation upon it. He was married twice; the first time 
to Miss Sarah Ireland. By this marriage, there were six sons, 
viz: Alexander, William I., John A., Jesse, Archibald, Robert 
and Jackson; two girls, Elizabeth and Sarah. He married the 
second time the widow Neal. There were no children by this 
marriage. He died at the age of 62 years. 

"My father, Jesse Lowther, was a man of smaller stature, 
about five feet ten inches high, but very quick and muscular. He 
is now living at the age of eighty-four years and is still strong. 
(11) He, too, was of the pioneer type, who knew no defeat and 
acknowledged no superior. He was captain of Virginia Militia 
upon the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion. Excitement 
ran high and many reports of raids and invasions from the Confed- 
erates were rife. The colonel had ordered his regiment to West 
Union, West Virginia, to meet a supposed enemy and to guard 
the town. My father mounted a horse and rode it down, gather- 
ing his compan\'. He rode a second one down getting equipment 
and necessary preparations for the journe\' and camp. Then 
they started on a forced march of eight miles across the hills to 
West Union. When about half way, they were met b>- the col- 
onel on horseback, who in anger and excitement commanded: 
'Quick step. Run into town.'' My father retorted 'Run your- 
self. We will be there to assist in any fight you may have on hand 
when wc arrive.' This was insubordination, but he had inher- 
ited the spirit of his ancestors and brooked no intolerance, even 
from his commandant." 

(11) Sec page 482. 

272 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Mr. Granville S. Lowther, previously quoted, a great grand- 
son of Col. Lowther, line of his son Jesse, tells me that soon after 
the Treaty of Greenville, Col. Lowther's boys all immigrated to 
the Ohio, and settled about Marietta, and on the Aluskingum. 
Chills and fever drove them back to their former home, where 
some of them settled on the West Fork near West Milford, Har- 
rison County, which is known as the Lowther "Settlement." 
Others located on Hughes River, Ritchie County, West Virginia, 
and formed there a "Lowther Settlement" where many of their 
descendants still live. 

Col. Lowther, born 1742 or 1743, died October 28, 1814, and 
is buried in the cemetery of his home farm, on the West Fork. 
His grave is marked with a rough stone, which still bears his initials 
(or name,) but all other inscriptions are practically defaced by 
time. There is a movement on foot to mark his grave with an 
appropriate block of granite. His wife, Sudna Hughes Lowther, 
survived her husband several years, and died at the home of her 
son, Elias, in Ritchie County, West Virginia, and lies in an 
unmarked grave on the Flannegan farm, on Hughes River, above 
Berea. Mrs. Lowther is said to have been low in stature and 
dark complexioned. 

There is confusion regarding the relative ages of the colonel's 
children, but Mr. G. S. Lowther has given what is believed to be 
the correct genealogy. Mr. Lowther copied the record with its 
explanatory note from an old Bible now in his possession, which 
belonged to his uncle, Jesse G. Lowther: 

"Robert Lowther, born , 1765; Thomas Lowther, born 

7 day March, 1767; WilUam Lowther, born 27 Jan, 1768; 
Jesse Lowther, born 21 July, 1773; Elias Lowther, born 16 
Sept 1776; this was taken from Grandfather's Bible by me, Jesse 
G. Lowther." 

Colonel Lowther's old Bible cannot be located, and is supposed 
to have been lost some years ago. 

It has been impossible to secure a genealogy of Colonel 
Lowther's descendants, other than that of his two sons, Robert 
and Jesse. 

Robert's children were: William B. Lowther, married 

Coburn; Jesse G. Lowther, married Switzer; Robert J. 

Lowther, married Eliza Highland; Dr. John C. Lowther, 

COLONKI. W 11.1.1 \M I.owrill.R 


married Prichard; jaincs K. l.ou thcr, Jr., married 

Knight; "Peggy," married Thomas Ireland; Susanna, married 
Abraham Morrison. 

The children of Jesse Low t her were: Dr. Jesse Lowlher, 
Dr. Robert Lowther, William Lowther, Uriah Lowther, Klias 
Jackson Lowther, married Miss Celina McW horter; Mary Ann, 
married W illiam Hall; Sarah, married William Xorris; Drusilla, 
married Bradley Morgan; .Millie M., married Daniel Wire; Kliza- 
bcth, married Conrad Kester. 




There was a settler at West's Fort who did much towards 
developing the country, and ameliorating the condition of the 
pioneers. This was Henry McWhorter who was born in New 
Jersey, November 13, 1760. A note in Border Warfare (1) states 
that he was born in Orange County, New York. This data was 
taken from his old gravestone, and is erroneous. The same note 
places the date of his arrival on Hacker's Creek six years too soon. 
Of his antecedents, but little is known. His father, a linen weaver 
by trade, hailed from northern Ireland (date unknown) and set- 
tled in New Jersey prior to the French and Indian Wars. The 
name is Scotch. J. P. AlacLean, Ph. D., an authority on Scotch 
Highland literature and clan history, says, that the family belonged 
to the "Clan Buchanan," located along the eastern shores of Loch 
Lomond, Scotland. The Highland appellation was "Na Canon- 
aich." The coat of arms is given in illustrated clan works. The 
badge was "Bilberry." The slogan was "Clare Junis," this being 
the name of an island in Loch Lomond. 

Mr. George C. AlcWhorter says: "The ]\Ic^^'horter family 
is Scotch extraction. In Scotland the name is now generally 
written McWhirter. In this country it is now written McWhorter. 
The family belonged to Galloway, and at an early day formed 
part of a small clan which bore the name of MacWhorter. Many 
Scotch Lowlanders, and among them some of the MacW^horters, 
emigrated to the north of Ireland. One of these families was cut 
off in the Irish massacre of 1641, save one girl. She married a 
MacWhorter. Of the history of the MacWhorters, except that 
they were Protestants, little if anything is known prior to about 
the year 1700. 

"In the beginning of the 18th century we find Hugh Alac- 
Whorter a prosperous linen merchant of Armagh. In 1730 he 
emigrated, at the solicitation of his eldest son, Alexander, to 
America and settled in the county of New Castle, Delaware, 
where he became a prominent farmer and an elder in the Presby- 
terian Church. By his only wife, Jane, he had eleven children. 
He died in 1748. Of his numerous children the eldest, Alexander, 
who had been educated for the Presbyterian ministry and had 

(1) See page 482. 

Henry McW hortkr 275 

spent two \-ears in the I'niversit)' of Edinburgh, died in 1734 witli- 
out issue: John removed to North CaroHna: Xanc\- married 
Alexander Osborne of North Carolina, and Jane married John 
Brevard of the same state. The descendants of John, Nancy 
and Jane are numerous and have doubtless found their way into 
various parts of the south. 

"The youngest of Hugh MacW horier's children, the second 
Alexander, was born July 15, 1734 C). S. He subsequenth' became 
distinguished as the Rev. Alex. MacWhorter D. D. A sketch of 
his life will be found in the funeral sermon preached by the Rev. 
Dr. Griffin on the occasion of the death of his venerable predecessor 
in the pastorship of the First Presb. Ch. at Newark; also in one 
of the Presb. magazines for 1853. Appelton's Cyclopedia likewise 
contains a biographical notice of Dr. MacWhorter from the pen 
of the late George MacWhorter, grandson of Dr. McW'horter: 
and corresponding member of the Historical Society of New 
Jersey. Alexander MacWhorter, D. D., was born Jul\' 15, 1734, 
O. S.' Died July 20, 1807. 

"In 1758 Dr. MacW horter 'married Mary Cumming, daugh- 
ter of Robert Cumming, of Freei|old, High Sheriff of the County 
of Monmouth; and sister of the late Gen. Cumming of the Rev. 
Army. He left four children viz.: 

"(1) Mary who married Samuel Beebee, a merchant of the 
City of New York. 

"(2) Ann who married the Rev. Geo. Ogilvie, Rector of the 
Episcopal Church at New Brunswick. 

"(3) Alexander Cumming McW horter, born 1771, died 
October 8, 1808. (See account below.) 

"(4) John McW horter who married Martha Dwight of 
Newark, b)- whom he had three children, only one of whom, 
Alargaret McW horter, spinster, is now living. (1865) 

''Alexander C. McW horter (see above) was the first to change 
the spelling of the name. (2) He was a distinguished member 
of the New Jersey Bar and one of the most eminent citizens of 
Newark. Coleman, of the New York Evening Post, at the time 
of Mr. McW horter's death wrote and published a very fine obituary 
of him. Alex. C. McW horter married Phoebe Bruen of Newark, 
and sister of the late Matthias Bruen of Perth .\mboy, N.J." (3) 

"Mc\\'hortcr, George Cumniinjr, of Oswego, New York, president and com- 
piler of the Oswego City Library, holds several prominent lay positions in the 

(2) See page 482. (3) p. 4S.S. 

276 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Protestant Episcopal Church; son of George H. of Oswego, N. Y., B. at 
Newark, N. J., June 18, 1795, D. at Oswego, N. Y., June 1, 1862, for many years 
a prominent citizen of Oswego, author of Handbook of the New Testament, Church 
Essays, etc., a prolific writer for the press, held several positions of honor and 
trust, member of Prot. Epis. Ch. (m. Feb. 9, 1819, Margaret T., dau. of John 
Lawrence, judge advocate-general of the Rev. Army, and conducted the trial 
of Andre); son of Alexander C. of Newark, N. J., b. there 1771, D. there October 
8, 1808, an eminent lawyer (m. 1790, Phoebe, dau. of Caleb Bruen of Newark, 
and sister of Mathias Bruen, a leading citizen of Perth Amboy, N. J.); son of 
Alexander of Newark, N. J., b. at New Castle, Del, July 26, 1734, d. at Newark, 
July 20, 1807, an eminent Presbyterian clergyman, a friend of Dr. Witherspoon, 
and under him the First Presb. Ch. in Newark was built, he was Chaplin in Gen. 
Knox's brigade, was at council of war before the army crossed the Delaware, . 
intimate with Washington, his portrait by Copley is in Yale Gallery, New Haven, 
Conn. (mar. Oct., 1758, Mary, dau. of Gen. Gumming of the Rev. Army); son of 
Hugh of New Castle, Del., the first of the name in America. The McWhorters 
were a small lowland clan, one went to the north of Ireland, whence a descendant, 
Hugh came to America." (4) 

It is reasonably sure that Henry McWhorter was the son 
of one of the eleven children of Hugh McWhorter, the Hnen mer- 
chant of Armagh, who settled in New Castle, Delaware, 1730. 
Some of the family, as shown, settled in New Jersey and NewYork, 
where their descendants still reside. 

Henry was one of four known brothers, all famous for their 
wonderful physical achievements. He was about five feet ten 
inches high, broad shouldered, weight about one hundred and 
seventy-five pounds; and was endowed with tireless energy and 
endurance. He was fair complexioned, had blue eyes, light hair 
and a Roman nose. His temperament was sanguine, but under 
complete self-control. 

Of his three brothers, Thomas, James and Gilbert, (5) 
all were "mighty men" of prodigious strength and nerve. James 
(Jim) was of ordinary size, but a noted athlete. It is related of 
him, that with his fists alone he knocked out six rugged Keel 
Boatmen, who came to his mother's house, taking liberties which 
he would not tolerate. 

The rivermen entered the cabin at meal-time and boisterously 
took possession of the table. Jim was not staying at home but 
happened to be there on a visit; and hoping to avoid a colhsion, 
did not interfere until a protest from his step-father, an aged and 
infirm Irishman, elicited from the rowdies a tirade of abuse. This 
was more than the fiery Jimmie could endure,' and he perempto- 

(4) See page 483. (5) p. 483. 

Henry McW iiorter 277 

rih ordered the men to leave the premises, lie was greeted with 
a chorus of insulting' jeers and a combined onshiuuhi from the 
crowd. The undauiiled \-oung athlete backed into a corner of 
the room and struck so rapidh" and effectually that the six were 
on the Hoor at the same time. As soon as they were able, 
the\- picked themselves up and went away. The step-father 
proudU' strikin.e the hero on the shoulder, exclaimed: "Och 
fammie an' \'er the b\e fer me." 

(Gilbert was a good-natuiCLl ^nant, who was ne\er known to 
lose his temper but once, on which occasion he "cleaned up the 
ttnvn." So great was his size, that the calf of his let: Hlled the 
thigh of his brother Jim's pantaloons. 

Their father d\'ing prematureh', left the famii}' in penury, 
and the boys were "bound out" to work for their board and 
clothing. Henr\- was apprenticed to a mill-wright, and mastered 
his trade when but sixteen years of age. He then joined the 
Patriot Army as a "Minute Man." These troops were a potent 
factor in the Revolution, and like the "Shirt Man" of Virginia, 
was a unique figure. McW'horter's declaration for pension, Sep- 
tember 4th, 1832, and his re-examination b>- Singleton, December 
7th, 1833, depicts an interesting phase in the career of this class 
of troops. 

He hrst enlisted in Capt. W'isner's Company of Minute Men, 
from Orange County, New \'ork. This was in February or March, 
1776, and the men were immediately marched to Fort Constitu- 
tion, on the North River, and attached to Col. Livingston's Reg- 
iment of State Militia; who also was in command of the fort. At 
the end of four months, and before the term of enlistment had 
expired, the regiment was disbanded. 

In the last of July or the first o\ August, McW horter again 

enlisted from the same County, in Capt. W'isner's Company 

known as The Flying Camp; and hastened to Kingsbridge, over 

Spike-and-Devil Creek, and attached to "Col. Isaac Nichols Regi- 

'- ment; under Cjen. George Clinton." (SM) 

While at this point, several companies were detailed to Long 
Island, but while on the way, McW'horter with others, under 
Lieut. Langdon was stopped at l'"oit Washington, on the Hudson. 
near New York. While here, the Battle of Long Island was fought, 
after which Lieut. Langdon's men were marched back to Kings- 
bridge and rejoined their former companies. 

(S)^) See page 484. 

278 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

The day that the Battle of Long Island was fought, Gen. 
George Clinton hurried to re-enforce the Americans, but the 
ensuing night being very dark, he escaped marching directly into 
the British lines, only by the timely discovery of the danger 
by his scouts. The next day Gen. Clinton returned with his 
forces to his old rendezvous, Kingsbridge. 

Shortly after this episode. Gen. Clinton moved with his troops 
to the White Plains. McWhorter was present but did not partic- 
ipate in the battle fought there October 28, 1776. The wing of 
the army to which he belonged was not brought into action. 
After this battle Gen. Clinton moved to Peach Hills, on the 
North River; where McWhorter lay ill all winter. He was sent 
home on a furlough by Dr. Henry White, and his term of enlist- 
ment expired before he was fully recovered. 

In April, 1777, McWhorter entered from his home County, 
Capt. Totliff's Company for one month as a substitute and served 
at "Peramas Mamaps"(.0 (name not clear) and in May (1777) 
enlisted for three months under Capt. Thompkins, to work on the 
famous chevaux-de-frise ; (6) "which was placed in North River just 
below New Windsor." Capt. Thompkins and one Gray had 
control of this work. Thompkins, it was said, "turned Tory and 
piloted the British ships through the gap that had been left." 

In August, 1777, he again substituted from his home County, 
for a term of three months under Capt. Parsons, and was sent to 
Fort Montgomery, which was under the command of Gen. George 
Clinton. A few days before the Battle of Fort Montgomery, 
McWhorter was detailed to attend a ferry across the North River, 
three miles above the Fort; and thus escaped this engagement. 
Gen. James Clinton had command of Clinton's Fort, and was 
wounded in the British attack upon these strongholds. 

Immediately upon the expiration of this term, McWhorter 
enlisted for one month under Capt. John Decker, of the "Insur- 
gent" Militia of New Jersey, and was marched to Woodley, on 
the Delaware River; where he was detailed on fatigue duty at 
Red Bank Fort. While there Mud Fort was abandoned by the 
Americans, who set fire to the barracks. The next day the Fort 
was taken possession of by the British. 

In March 1778, McWhorter went to Northumberland County, 
Pennsylvania, and volunteered under Capt. Thomas Chaplain, as 
a Ranger to serve against the Indians of that region. During 

(6) See page 484. 

IIenrv McWhortf.r 279 

this time he was frequently employed in guarding the boats carry- 
ing provisions to the army up the Susquehanna River. 

In answer to some further questions by the court, McW hor- 
ter stated. 1. "I was born the 13th day of November in 1760 
in the State of New Jersey. 2. "I have the record of my age in 
my Bible taken from my father's Bible. (7) 3. "When called 
into service I was living in Orange County, N. W Married in 
Bucks County, Pa., (8) moved from there to Hampshire Co., 
Va., in 1786, from thence to Harrison County, but now Lewis 
in the year 1790 where I now live." 

Alexander West, William Powers and several others testified 
in McWhorter's behalf, stating that "as a man of truth he stands 
as high as any man." On this declaration, he was granted a 
pension of 373.33 a year, for twenty-two months' service in New 
York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Line. 

To his second declaration, Mr. Singleton gave this endorse- 

"I'his is a very intelligent and honest man and is entitled to 
all that has been awarded him." 

However, his allowance was reduced to ^560. 00 a year, on the 
grounds that four months of his enlistment had been employed 
against the Indians. Apropos to this is the following: 

"Weston, IVa.,] April 20, 1835. 

"My pension certificate lias been required to be returned for correction and 
as I understand will be reduced from allowance for twenty-two months service 
in the Rev. War, to 18 months on the ground that four months were for services 
against the Indians — it is true that much time was employed against them — 
but whatever of the time I was not engaged against the Indians was employed 
on other duties and it is equally true that the officers under whom I served was 
employed by the Gov. either of the state General Government. I am now very 
old and infirm and must submit to whatever may be done in my case still it seems 
to me that my right to an allowance for twenty-two months service is just as clear 
as it is to eighteen months. 

"Mr. Singleton examined me twice and each time pronounced my claim 
good and states he so reported. I had much rather have nothing than by a false 
statement of facts to receive from the government one dollar unfairly. 

I am with respect, etc.. 

(7) See page 4S4. (S) p. 484. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

On August 1, 1783, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Henry 
McWhorter was married to Miss Mary Fields, a noble woman, 
to whom he owed much for his success in life. She was born in 
1760. From Bucks County they moved in 1786 to Hampshire 
County, Virginia. In 1790 with their little family, they sought 
by wagon a home in the wilds of western Virginia, and settled on 
McKinney's Run, a branch of Hacker's Creek, Harrison County, 
where McWhorter built a cabin and cleared some land. 

The Henry McWhorter House 
Photographed by Professor G. F. Queen, 1894 

Mr. Ned J. Jackson, a noted "Forty-niner," who then owned it, is seen at 
door. The view is fronting the creek on the north. 

Three years later, he moved near West's Fort, and on the 
south bank of the murky "Wiya-nipe," built a house of hewed 
logs, where he resided for thirty-seven years. This house is 
eighteen and a half feet wide, by twenty-four feet long. It is 
substantially constructed, and bears the marked characteristics 
of pioneer architecture. The chimney, like that of the Tanner 
house, described in Chapter XXI, is built inside of the room. 
This was evidently a precaution against a vulnerable point of 
Indian attack. If constructed on the outside it could have been 
demolished and an entrance gained through the opening in the 

Henry Mc WiioRTKR 2S1 

wall which was alwa\s left the height of the fireplace lo guard 
against possible conflagration. This opening was closed most 
substantialh' with stone laid cvenh' with the outside wall. 
After Indian hostilities, the cabin chinine\s were built on the out- 
side of the house; giving more room on the interior. Logs were 
sometimes placed upon the eaves of the cabins, t(j be cast on 
Indians besieging the door. The fireplace is six feet ten inches 
wide and three feet six inches high, with a stone arch. The original 
depth can not be determined under present conditions, as the 
back wall has been tilled in with false work. There are now two 
rooms on the ground Hoor, and a garret room under the roof. 
The building is in a splendid state of preservation, and should be 
kept as hrst constructed. Buih in 1793, it is the oldest house 
showing original construction, in the historic Hacker's Creek 
\'alley, if not in central West Virginia. There is a fine hickory 
grove standing between the house and the pike on the west, 
grown from nuts planted b\- Mr. Ned J. Jackson, during the first 
week in October, 1S57. They produce an excellent quality of 
fruit. Jackson carried the seed-nuts in his hat from Jackson's 
null on the \\ est Fork River. 

After settling in the wilderness, McW horter experienced many 
pri\'ations and hardships incident to frontier life. He often went 
to \\ inchester with pack horses for salt; and once made the trip 
in company with John Sims. On their return it grew desperately 
cold in the mountains. They were compelled to dismount and 
walk in order to keep from freezing. Sims was at length over- 
come by the cold, and sat down by the trail to rest. McW horter, 
well knowing the subtle nature of the threatening danger, had 
been encouraging Sims to greater exertion, and now became 
thorough!)' alarmed for his safety. He urged him not to give in, 
and pointed out the imminent danger of his situation, but to no 
purpose. Sims begged to be let alone. "I am so tired," he 
drowsily murmured, "and so sleepy. You go on and I will come 
soon." McW horter continued to plead with him, but he rapidly 
sank into a state of lethargy. The death stupor was upon him, 
and McW'horter realized that he could be saved only by the most 
heroic treatment. From a beech tree he cut a keen limb, and 
trimrning it of its branches, he applied it most vigorously to the 
lower extremities of his half-conscious companion. It required 
several stinging blows to arouse Sims, who made piteous appeals 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

to be permitted to "take just one little nap." His pleadings were 
answered only by the fierce "swish" of the beech "gad" cutting 
the frosty air as it descended in unabated fury on the suffering 
victim. Finally the pain became unbearable, and Sims starting 
up, made at his relentless tormentor. This was the result for 
which McWhorter had been striving, and he dexterously kept 
beyond reach. Failing in his attempt, Sims again sat down, but 
only to feel a renewal of pain from the beech switch in the hands 

A Mountain Corn Cracker 
Photographed Jan. 1910, especially for this work. Kindness of Mr. J. A. Heaton 

A mountain ''''corn cracker,^'' located in an unbroken forest, on Hickory Knob 
Run, tributary of Bufalo Creek, Clay County. W. Va. This is the oldest mill in that 
region, and is still in service, patrons coming twenty miles to have corn ground. 
Capacity about fifteen bushels a day. The "jolly miller" is Mr. William (Uncle Billy) 
Kyle, 74 years old. 

of the obdurate Scotch-Irishman. Again did he start up in vain 
pursuit of the fleet-footed wielder of the effective "persuader." 
This drama was enacted repeatedly, and until Sims had become 
thoroughly "warmed up," when realizing the certain death from 
which he had escaped, and the danger of the situation, he required 
no further incentive to hasten his lagging steps. The remainder 
of the journey was made in harmony, and without further incident. 
McWhorter crossed the mountains alone on one occasion, and 
camping one night, he wrapped his blanket about him, and lay 
down in the cavity made by the upturned roots of a fallen 
tree w^hich was well filled with dry leaves. The night was cold, 
and he drew the cape of his great coat over his head and slept in 

Hlnry McW iiorter 283 

comfort. riie next morning he fouiul that he was buried under 
several inches of snow. 

Xot of a warlike nature, there is no account of Henry McW iior- 
ter engaging in any of the border forays. His life was devoted to 
peaceful pursuits, and to the betterment of the conditions of those 
around him. There could not be a more useful artisan, nor one 
who was more appreciated in the new settlements than a mill- 
wright. The old sandstone hand mill manufactured a poor qual- 
ity of coarse gritty meal. McW horter as we have seen, was a 
skilled mill-wright, and in the same year he settled at the fort, he 
erected a mill on the creek, just below his residence. This mill 
was built of hewed logs, and the clapboard roof weighted down 
with poles. It was primaril)" for grinding corn only, but in later 
years, when the settlers grew wheat and rye, it was equipped for 
the manufacture of flour also. It was a fine structure for its day, 
and later it was improved by having its roof nailed on. It was 
the first mill built in (now) Lewis and Braxton Counties and for 
man}- years the most accessible to the Buckhannon settlement. (9) 

Mills of a more primiti\'e type are still to be met with in 
certain sections of West Virginia. In 1896, my father noticed 
one of them on the headwaters of the Gauley, in Webster CountA*. 
It stood in the forest, a quarter of a mile from any residence, and 
had no other roof than the overhanging boughs. Although no 
one was in attendance, the mill was "running full blast." One 
or two bushels of corn poured into the hopper kept it grinding 
until noon, when another "turn" would last till night. The 
drooping bough of a neighboring tree came within such close 
proximity to the hopper, that a squirrel could use it as a pathway, 
in carrying oflF the grain. While the "turn" was grinding, the 
miller and his customer were, perhaps, in the forest hunting deer, 
or trout-hshing. This was one hundred and six years after the 
observer's grandfather had built his up-to-date corn mill on 
Hacker's Creek, not more than fifty miles away. 

An amusing incident occurred within the present century 
during a court proceeding in Webster County, West Virginia, 
where the value of one of these "corn crackers," as they are still 
called, was in question. A typical mountaineer was on the wit- 
ness stand. 

"^ ou have seen the mill in question, have you not.'" asked 
the attorne). 

(9) See page 485. 

284 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

"I reckon I hev." 

"You go there to mill occasionally?" 

"I take co'n thar onst in er while." 

"What is the value of this mill?" 

"Hit aint got no valer." 

"You don't mean to say that this mill is of no value?" 

"I 'low thets w'ot I sed." 

"But it must be worth something; what is its capacity?" ^ 

"Hit aint got no kerpasity." 

"What? has no capacity?" 

"I 'low thets erbout hit." 

"Did you not just now say that you go there with corn occa- 

"I aim ter go thar onst every two weeks." 

"Yet you insist that this mill has no capacity notwithstand- 
ing you have grinding done there at least twice a month." 

"I 'low thats ke-rect." 

"Have you not seen this mill in operation?" 

"I kalkerlate thet I hev seed her a humpin' ok-kasionally." 

"Well, how fast can It grind?" 
' "Jes' middlin." 

"Will you tell just how rapidly the corn passes between the 
burs, or grinding stones of this mill?" 

"Bout ez fas' ez a man kin eat." 

"How long could he keep this up?" 

"Ontil he'd starve ter death, I low." 

It would appear from Withers, that there was a mill on 
Hacker's Creek in 1778, when Isaac Washburn, "who had been 
to mill" on this stream, was shot from his horse and killed while 
returning to Richards' Fort. (10) 

This was evidently a "hand mill," even these rude imple- 
ments for manufacturing meal were not common in the settle- 
ments. When a boy I saw a fragment of one of the stones of a 
mill of this kind lying by the roadside near the old residence of 
John Hacker, on Hacker's Creek. (11) Usually corn was crushed 
in crude mortars. 

No patron, man or child, ever left the A-lcWhorter mill either 
cold or hungry. I well remember, when a lad, listening to an old 
man who told how, when a little boy, he would in the dead of 
winter ride horseback, perched upon a grist of corn, all the way 

(10) See page 485. (11) p. 485. 

Henry McW mortkr 285 

from the I'pper Hacker's Creek Valley to this mill. Huw his 
breeches would "scruch" up and leave his legs bare, and by the 
time he arrived at the mill, his shins would be blue with cold, and 
so chilled and numb that he scarce could walk. The old man's 
voice grew tender with emotion, as he added, "Then gran-daddy 
McW horter would take me to the house and get me warm, and 
give me some dinner." 

One year there was a dearth of crops throughout the settle- 
ments, and parties from Clarksburg and other points, offered 
McW horter one dollar per bushel for all the corn stored in his 
mill. He declined the offer, saying, "If I let this corn go, my 
neighbors will suffer for bread." He kept the grain, and let the 
needy settlers have it in exchange for labor, giving the accustomed 
bushel of corn for a day's work, notwithstanding wages were only 
twenty-five cents a day. Money in those days was not plentiful, 
and the virtue of such unselfish generosity by one w-ho was as 
poor as the majority of the settlers cannot be overestimated. In 
1790, a sacrifice of this nature was made by Isaac Williams, the 
founder of Williams Station, on the Virginia side of the Ohio, 
opposite the mouth of the Muskingum. This deed immortal- 
ized Williams. (12) 

For sixty years McW horter was a member of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church; fifty years of this time he was a class leader. 
He was conducting a meeting at West's Fort with armed sentinels 
standing guard, on Sunday, the day preceding the attack on the 
Waggoner family. During that day Tccumsch and his two war- 
riors lay hid in a ravine near the fort. Had the sentinels given 
heed to the alarm of the dogs that continually barked, and dashed 
towards the Indian concealment, the Waggoner tragedy might 
have been averted. It was supposed at the time that the outcry 
among the dogs was caused by wolves. Evidently Jesse Hughes 
was not in attendance at this meeting. 

Henry McW horter was one of the appointed trustees for 
\\ eston, when that place was established a town (then Preston), 
in lanuar)', 1(S18. 

In 1827, McW horter was compelled, through financial embar- 
rassment caused by security debts, to sell his home and mill, and 
return to his former residence on McKinne\'s Run; where he 
died, February 4, 1848. He was buried in the McW horter ceme- 
tcr)' on his farm, by the side of his wife, who died in 1834. For 

(12) See page 485. 

286 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

many years, his grave was marked by a sandstone slab, bearing 
this legend: 

"He first engaged in Freedom's cause. 
And fought for liberty and laws, 
Then counting all earthly things as dross, 
Became a soldier of the cross." (13) 

After coming to Virginia, McWhorter lost all trace of his 
people in the north. It is known, however, that some of their 
descendants at a later day migrated to the southern states. 

The children of Henry McWhorter were three in number: 
John, Thomas and Walter. 

John, the eldest, was born April 28, 1784. Early in life, he 
studied law and without the advantages of an education, soon 
became a barrister of extraordinary ability. As an advocate, 
his logic was hardly surpassed, and his judgment on contested 
points unerring. Not through his long career at the bar was he 
ever known to champion the cause of wrong. Although of a 
reckless nature during his earlier years, his respect for Christianity, 
even in his wildest moods, was proverbial. He has been known 
while at the card-table, to throw down his "hand," and in scathing 
words, rebuke a boon companion for irreverent reflections on 
Christianity. His generosity and kindness of heart were 
unbounded, and he was ever ready with loosened purse-strings to 
relieve the needy and the distressed. He was never married. 
From his earliest childhood he was noted for his eccentricity and 
absent-mindedness; and many are the amusing incidents related 
of him in this respect. 

Like most lads reared in the forest, he was fond of the rifle. 
One morning he was charging his gun preparatory for a deer- 
hunt, when his mother requested that he first bring a pail of 
water from the spring near the edge of the clearing. Hastily 
laying aside his rifle, he snatched a bucket and forgetting his errand, 
strode directly past the spring. Oblivious to everything but his 
expected hunt, he was soon buried in the deep woods of the hill- 
side. Cautiously wending his way, he soon discovered a buck 
standing partly concealed by the intervening brush. While seek- 
ing a point more advantageous for a rifle-shot, the irrepressible 
bucket pending from his arm came noisily in contact with a log 
over which he was stepping. This brought the dreamy lad back 

(13) See page 485. 

Henry McWHortkr 287 

to the realities of life with startling effect, as he saw the alarmed 
buck bound away. 

He was commissioned Captain of Militia and when the W ar 
of 1812 broke out, raised a company of volunteers (14) and with 
this band footed it to Parkersburg, u here they embarked on flat- 
boats for Point Pleasant. There the men were mustered into 
service, and on the 16th of November, 1812, he was commissioned 
Captain in John Connell's First Regiment Virginia Militia. They 
then proceeded on foot to the Alaumee River and were attached 
to Gen. Harrison's command at Fort Meigs, until April 13, 1813, 
at which time their term of enlistment expired. On the return 
trip, which was made on foot, one of the men becoming exhausted, 
the Captain relieved him of his camp baggage, adding it to his 
own burden. 

In 1S14 he was in the recruiting service of the United 
States and March 17, 1814, he accepted a captaincy in Colonel 
William King's Third Regiment, U. S. Rifles; and continued in 
service until the close of the war. He was then commissioned 
Colonel of Militia, and was ever afterwards known as "Colonel," 
and in later years as "Judge." Although his law office was in 
Clarksburg, his interests were centered largely in the southern 
part of the county, now generally embraced in Lewis County. 

With the settlers throughout this region the young Colonel 
was very popular, and when a division of the county was agitated, 
by common impulse they demanded that he represent their cause 
in the coming session of the Legislature. In this race, he had 
strong opposition, but his colleague. Dr. Edward Jackson, had a 
clear field. Under the old constitution of Virginia, all voting was 
done at the count}' seat, where the polls were open three days. 
It was very difiicult to secure a full cast of the votes, scattered 
over so vast a region. But the Colonel was equal to the emergency, 
and at his call, the settlers flocked to the polls from the Kanawah, 
L'pper \\ est Fork, and other remote settlements; dressed in their 
best homespun. Each man carried a rifle, also a knapsack con- 
taining a "johnny cake" (a corruption of journey cake) and 
jerked venison. Mone}' for tavern bills was not dreamed of. 
Hunting en route to the polls was indulged in by many, and no 
small amount of game secured. This was turned over to the 
friends of the candidates, who were expected to entertain the 
voters during their stay at the polls. It was understood that the 

(14) See page 485. 

288 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Colonel was to deliver the voters, while Jackson and his friends 
were to see that they were cared for. 

The opposition, having secured the leading hotel, the home 
of Dr. Williams became headquarters for the Jackson-McWhorter 
party. Here, for three days and three nights, the savory pot 
ceased not to boil, and often during this time Mrs. Williams, in 
doing her work, was compelled to step over the bodies of sleeping 
men, with scarce room to set her foot. Notwithstanding each 
candidate had a barrel of whiskey and tin cup at the polls, and 
after casting his vote, every man was at liberty to help himself, 
yet Mrs. Williams and her family were treated with the highest 
respect by these rough honest woodsmen. Many others found 
commodious quarters by roaring camp fires in the adjoining 
woods, where the appetizing venison roast, the merry jest and the 
wild hunter stories, regaled the passing hours. 

The Colonel was elected, and in 1816, he and Dr. Jackson 
originated the bill that created Lewis County. Buckhannon was 
constituted a town the same year, and the Colonel was one of the 
appointed trustees. He afterwards served in the Upper House 
of the Virginia legislature, and was for many years Prosecuting 
Attorney of Lewis County and Braxton County, residing at 

Mention has been made of his great absent-mindedness. 
This trait grew with years, and the cares of public life. Many 
amusing incidents are related of him in this respect. One was his 
"bachelor day" efforts at tailoring; after fifteen minutes spent in 
diligently sewing a button to his coat, he let go the button only 
to see it fall to the floor. By the roadside near his house, and 
where he had passed hundreds of times, stood a large black gum 
tree, whose branches hung low over the highway. In the autumn 
this tree was laden with dark rich-looking berries of nauseating 
bitterness, but in appearance not unlike the sweet palatable 
black-haw, of which the Colonel was extremely fond. One day, 
with mind deeply engrossed, he rode under this tree, when the 
berries hanging so temptingly near arrested his eye. He snatched 
some of them as he passed by, and emptying his mouth of a "quid," 
filled it with the supposed haws. The effect can be better imagined 
than described, and unlike the traditional Christian, the Colonel 
invoked his God after the feast. 

He was passionately fond of "egg custard," and at a banquet 

Henry McW iiorter 


in ClarkshuiL'. he hclpcLl hinisclt lihcrall}' to what he supposed 
was his favorite dish. The slave-waiter, who was aware of the 
Colonel's weakness, approached and said politely, "Colonel, dat 
am not custard, it am ground hoss-radish." Humiliated at his 
own blunder, and irritated at what he regarded as an imperti- 
nence in the waiter, the Colonel exclaimed,"! reckon I know what 
I am doing." He then lilled his mouth with the fiery portion. 
Tears rolled down his cheeks; but otherwise he endured the 
excruciating torture with the stoicism of an Indian warrior. 

He was notorious for his bad penmanship, irritable temper, 
and emphatic expletives. While Prosecuting Attorney, he one 
da)' presented to the Court an indictment drawn in his own hand- 
writing; so intricate and unintelligible to the clerk did it appear, 
that that dignitary's most scholarly efforts failed in deciphering 
its meaning. The Colonel was called upon for a "translation." 


Application for Pension, May 27, 1781 

Solemnly scanning the document for a moment, a puzzled expres- 
sion came over his face. Utterly unable to read it, he was about 
to lay it down, when becoming irritated at the suppressed tittering 
of the bar, he burst forth, "Now who in hell wrote this, why the 
devil couldn't read it." When informed that it was his own pro- 
duction he bravely declared that "anybody could read it," and 
proceeded to do so without further trouble. Members of the bar 
often amused themselves, and disturbed the dignity of the court, 
by stealing the Colonel's papers when he was deeply absorbed in 
pleading. "Just to hear him rave," they said, and seldom, if 
ever, were they disappointed. His voice, a deep gutteral bass, 
was, unless provoked, low and well mcululated, his language 
sedate and dignified, but on such occasions, he was licensed to 
"swear in open court," which he would do most beautifully. 

A client one day asked him to fight some litigation thivugh 
the courts. The Colonel listened in polite silence as the gentle- 
man unfolded his plan, but it was obvious that he was growing 
indignant at the bra/.en duplicit\- of the plotter. To the anxious 

290 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

inquiry, "Colonel, can I win the case?" came the prompt reply, 
"That depends upon the jury. If you have an unscrupulous or 
fool jury, you are likely to win; but if you have an honorable and 
intelligent jury, they will see at once that the whole scheme is 
based upon damned rascality." The case never appeared in court. 

After withdrawing from the bar, he served as Judge of the 
Lewis County Court under the old regime for several years. When 
old age compelled his retirement from public life, he was ordained 
a local minister in the M. E. Church. It was through his means 
that a small church was built on Rush Run, in Lewis County, 
where he often preached. He died April 14, 1880, and was buried 
near his home on Rush Run. 

Thomas, the second son, born July 15, 1785, inherited a part 
of the home farm on McKinney's Run, and was a prosperous 
farmer. He was a man of sterling worth to his community during 
his short life. He died December 28, 1815, and was the first 
buried in the McWhorter cemetery. 

On Easter morning, 1807, Thomas McWhorter, married 
Delila Stalnaker, daughter of Samuel Stalnaker, Sr., an old resi- 
dent of Hacker's Creek. Their children were Tabitha, married 
David H. Smith; Henry, married Hannah Jones; Salina, married 
Elias J. Lowther; Rulina married Washington Sleeth; Mary, mar- 
ried Hamilton J. Nutter. 

His only son, Henry, was a commissary Sergeant, Com- 
pany E., Third West Virginia Volunteers Cavalry. He was killed 
in a fight at the Gibson house on Greenbrier River, Pocahontas 
County, West Virginia, January 22 or 23 (near midnight), 1863. 
Early in the engagement, he fell mortally wounded, and congrat- 
ulated himself that it was his privilege to die in battle for his 
country. A few moments later he was shot through the heart. 

Two of his sons were non-commissioned officers in the same 
company and saw their father killed. One of them. Fields, was 
captured and sent to Libby Prison, but at the end of three months 
was exchanged and returned to his regiment and promoted to 
Commissary Sergeant. 

At the battle of Sailor's Creek, Virginia, three days before 
Gen. Lee's surrender, he captured a confederate flag and received 
the guns of seven prisoners, for which he was granted a thirty 
days' furlough. For this signal bravery, it is said that he was 
awarded a special medal by Congress, but this I have not verified. 

IIexrv MlW hortkr 291 

He participated in the Battle ot Salem, \ irginia, December 
1863, and on the retreat in crossing a badly swollen stream, a 
four-horse team became stranded and were drowning. General 
Averil ordered McW'horter to swim out and cut them loose, which 
he successfully accomplished. The team was saved, but the 
health of the brave soldier was ruined fore\-er. It was bitter 
cold, and within a few moments after emerging from the icy 
waters, his clothing was frozen stiff. He contracted a severe 
cold, which settled on his lungs, and ultimatch' caused his death 
in April 1877. 

The other son, Rev. John S. .McW horter, M. D., was also in 
the Salem fight where he suffered extremeh' from frozen feet. 
While at Salem he called at a house for a lunch, for which he paid 
the woman fift\- cents. The hungr\' soldier devoured this and 
came near d}ing; the food contained poison. Afterwards he 
contracted kidne)' trouble, followed b\' a severe attack of pneu- 
monia. Finally he was injured by the fall of his horse, from 
which he has never fully recovered. He served as a corporal. 

Walter, the third and last son of Henry McWhorter, Sr., was 
born October 31, 1787, married Margaret Hurst in 1806. He 
inherited, with his brother Thomas, the homestead on AlcKinney's 
Run. Under the old military law, \\'alter was Major of Militia. 
He was a noted athlete, and never met his equal in wrestling, 
jumping or foot-racing. Lithe and acti\e, and fond of daring 
sports, he would toy with a living rattlesnake, avoiding its quick, 
deadly blows with all the ease of an East Indian snake charmer. 
He delighted in hunting, and often engaged in this fascinating 
sport. (15) In one of his hunts he fired at a deer, which fell seem- 
ingly dead. W hen he attempted to knife it, he was "kicked so 
high, that when he landed from his aerial flight, the deer was 
bounding away." 

At another time, he and his son-in-law, Samuel Stalnaker, 
were hunting on the headwaters of the Buckhannon, and found 
where a bear had gone into winter quarters in a cleft among the 
rocks. They succededed in routing bruin, who proved large and 
very fat. The entrance to the den was small, and the animal was 
some time in squeezing through. Stalnaker took his stand in front, 
with rifle levelled to fire the instant that the bear had emerged 
sufficiently, that when shot, it would not drop back into the den. 
The Major stood just over the entrance, with tomahawk raised 

(15) See page 485. 

292 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

ready to strike, should the shot prove ineffectual. Stalnaker 
gave warning that he was "going to shoot." The Major withheld 
the blow, as he afterwards said, "expecting every instant to see 
the fur fly, as the half-ounce of lead crashed into the bear's skull." 
In another moment, he did see the "fur fly," but intact with a very 
lively bear, which wriggled through the crevice and scampered 
away. After the animal had disappeared, Stalnaker was humili- 
ated to find that in his excitement he had failed to draw back the 
hammer of his rifle. 

There was no church in the neighborhood, and the Major's 
house, as with his father, was the recognized place of public wor- 
ship. It was also the free home of the itinerant minister, and 
traveller. His wife cheerfully bore this additional hardship to 
the burden of caring for a large family, without murmur or com- 
plaint. It was the unenviable privilege of the Major's boys to 
cut and haul from the forest a store of hickory wood, for the great 
open fireplace, during the "winter revivals." These revivals, or 
"big meetings," with their "mourners bench," were regarded as an 
essential adjunct to the spiritual welfare of the community. 
Occasionally an amusing feature would bubble up at these meet- 
ings. One poor sinner who had "wrastled" at the altar night 
after night, and concluding that an open confession was the only 
road to salvation, exclaimed in a loud voice, "Lord, why is it that 
I cannot get a blessin' ".^ Then as if in answer to his own inter- 
rogation, he continued, "I know. Lord! I-have-cussed-and-I-have- 
swore; and-I-have-back-bitten-my-neighbors, and, L-o-r-d, how- 
I-have-1-i-e-d !" It is hoped that this penitent found that peace 
of mind which his honest confession merited. 

Walter died August 12, 1860. His wife died December 27, 
1853, from injuries sustained in a fall from the back of a runaway 
horse. Both were buried in the McWhorter cemetery. Their 
children were: 

(1) Dr. Fields McWhorter, married Miss Margaret Kester. 
(16) His second wife was Sarah O. Darr. 

(2) Mary McWhorter, married Benjamin Morris. 

(3) Elizabeth McWhorter, married Samuel Stalnaker, Jr. 

(4) Rev. Eli McWhorter, married Jane Morris. 

(5) Levi McWhorter, married Eliza Alkire. 

(6) Sally McWhorter, married Nicholas Straley. 

(7) Cassandra McWhorter, married William Colerider. 

(16) See page 485. 

Hknrv McWhortkr 293 

(8) Mansfield McW huilcr, died while \uung. 

(9) Thomas McW'horter, died while young. 

(10) Rev. John Minion, M. D., married Rosetta Marple; 
second wife, Phoebe C. Cunningham, nee Hardman. 

(11) Waller, married Ailce\' Lawson. 

(12) Rev. Mansfield (named for his deceased brother) mar- 
ried Sarah Francis; second wife, Sarah Davis. 

(13) Margaret, died before maturity. 

(14) Amy, died before maturity. 

(15) Elsie, died before maturity. 

(16) Gilbert, died in infancy. 

(17) Marion, died in infanc>'. 

Of this famih', only two are now living, Dr. j. M. and Rev. 
Mansfield. The latter was second Lieutenant of Militia and was 
for sixteen years a magistrate and a member of the Lewis County 
Court under the old regime. Both he and Eli, the eldest son, 
were ministers in the M. E. Church. Dr. J. M. espoused the 
Universalist faith, and was the pioneer promulgator of that doc- 
trine in his part of the State. He used to say that when a boy he 
spent days cutting wood for the "big meetings" held by the Meth- 
odists at his father's home and while thus engaged, the preachers 
were remorselessly shaking him over the fiery lake for his unright- 

In May, 1909, at the age of 87, the Doctor visited his boy- 
hood home of which he writes: 

"The old McWhortcr stand in Harrison County is all blotted over with dwel- 
lings, factories and one or two stores. It does not look like the home, when mother 
stood on the high front porch and called us boys to dinner. I took a drink from 
the old well, whose fountain is still pure and cold; but the noise and confusion of 
public life has destroyed the beauty and harmony of our old home. As the world 
progresses the hum and bustle of trade silences the sweet music of domestic life, 
and reminds us that our existence is — 

'but one breath from Times old hoary nostrils blown, 

As scouring o'er the spacious earth, we hear his dismal moan.' 

— a short span, and we too must pass on to the great unknown, silent and 
mysterious." (17) 

During the latter thirties and early forties. Major McW horter 
held contracts for carrying the mail from Clarksburg to distant 
points in Lewis, Gilmer, Braxton, Upshur, Barbour and Randolph 
Counties. The mail was carried horseback, and J. M. and W alter 

,(17) See page 486. 

294 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

did the riding. Alost of the route lay through unbroken forests 
and was fraught with many dangers. The boys were never 
armed, and in a few instances met with thrilUng adventures, one 
or two of which have been recorded elsewhere in this volume. 
Walter was waylaid by two highwaymen in the Cheat Mountain, 
and escaped capture only by his cool bravery and remarkable 
presence of mind. These boys often swam their horses through 
the waters of the West Fork, Little Kanawha and Tygart's Valley 
Rivers, when the "mush ice" was running. They would get up 
at three o'clock in the morning, in the dead of winter, and ride 
fifteen miles for breakfast; that too, with clothing frozen stiff with 
ice from fording the deep unbridged streams. They rode sixteen 
hours out of the twenty-four with only two meals a day. The 
compensation for horse and rider was one dollar per day. The 
savings were applied to a grinding family debt. The same spirit 
of energy prompted these boys, when young men, to engage as 
helpers in driving stock on foot to Baltimore, Maryland, at twenty- 
five cents per day. On the return trip they were allowed one 
cent per mile for walking, with two meals a day. With the money 
earned on these return trips, the older brother, J. M., paid for his 
wedding suit, resplendent with brass buttons, and the cloth costing 
five dollars a yard. He also engaged in freighting with a six- 
horse team from Cumberland, Md., to Clarksburg, (West) Va., 
and from Parkersburg to Beverly, (West) Virginia. 

Walter was instantly killed by a passing train on April 16, 
1901, at a railroad crossing near his own gate. 

Dr. Fields McWhorter, like his father, was a noted athlete. 
He later moved to Sullivan County, Missouri, and was a Fife 
Major in the 23d Missouri Regiment, Federal Army, participating in 
the Battle of Pittsburg Landing. He had two sons in the same army. 

Walter F. McWhorter, sergeant in Company B., 9th 
Virginia Regiment, was killed at the battle of Cloyd's Mountain, 
Virginia, May 9, 1864. He had served during the entire war, and 
was a soldier of more than ordinary fighting ability. It is related 
of him that he was not only daring on the field of battle, but was 
absolutely immune to fear. 

A singular incident is connected with his death. Although 
shot through the heart, he was not instantly killed. The regi- 
mental surgeon saw him fall and hastened to his side. The dying 
soldier asked the surgeon to examine for the ball, which was found 

Henry McW iiortf.r 295 

lodged under the skin at his back. This he requested removed. He 
was informed that it was useless, as he could not live. "I know that," 
he gasped, "but 1 want you to give the bullet to my brother Henry." 
His request was granted, and the conical minnic ball, whose con- 
cave end had collapsed, enclosing a small fragment of the dead 
soldier's vest, is now in the possession of the surviving brother. 

Henry Ci.ay McWhorter enlisted for the entire war, Sep- 
tember 16, 1861, as a private in Company G, 9th Virginia Infantry 
and on the 30th of the same month was mustered in as Second 
Lieutenant of Company B, same regiment. On March 1, 1862, 
he was appointed Captain of Company G, and resigned September 
17, 1863, on account of an accidental wound received December 
8, 1862, on Patterson Creek, Hardy County, Virginia. During 
the balance of the war, he was Chief Clerk of Provost Marshals, 
Enrollment Office (for drafting) at Charleston and Point Pleasant, 
West \'irginia. He was later Speaker of the West Virginia State 
Senate and Judge of the Supreme Court of that State. 

Joseph Marcellus, an older son of Dr. Fields McWhorter, 
filled several positions of public trust. Was clerk of County Court 
of Roane County, West Virginia, State Auditor of West Virginia, 
an eminent barrister and late Judge of Circuit Court of that State. 

He is the oldest great grandson now living of Henry McW hor- 
ter of the Revolutionary War. (18) 

Mary Morris, nee McWhorter, had three sons in the Federal 
Army. Thomas and Walter M. enlisted September 15, 1862, in 
Company E, Third Regiment, West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry, 
and were mustered October 20, 1862. 

Thomas was Second Corporal, Walter was promoted Bugler, 
but as he could not "toot" effectively, he continued a private. 
Both were fearless soldiers and experienced hard service, not only 
on the battle field, but with b us h-zv hackers in the hills of their 
native state. Walter has written an interesting manuscript 
memoir of his personal army life. 

W iLLi.AM H. was mustered March 1, 1864, as volunteer pri- 
vate in Company E, First Regiment, W est Virginia Light Artillery, 
and served to close of war. Flis hearing was greatly injured by 
the heavy detonation of his gun. 

Ervin H., son of Rev. Eli McW horter, was also a volunteer 
private in the same company during the period of W m. H. Morris' 
enlistment. He died soon after the close of the war. 

(18) See page 486. 


The Regers were active men on the Virginia frontier during 
the latter years of the Revolution, and the stormy period that 
immediately followed. They were not of that class of bordermen, 
who were likely to be prominent in the recorded annals of their 
■day. They had not that aggressive temperament which immor- 
talized many of their contemporaries. While brave and fearless, 
and not hesitating to take up arms when occasion demanded, they 
had early learned that "Every human heart is human," and not 
in tradition can we find where they ever caused wanton suffering, 
even to the most deadly of their foes. If they shot fewer Indians 
than did some of their associates, they at least took out more 
grubs and planted more corn. 

Jacob Reger, the principal founder of his family in western 
Virginia, came from Germany. He was married in his native 
country to Barbara Crites, and they with a few of their oldest 
children landed at some port in Virginia, probably about 1765, 
although it has been claimed that their arrival was much earlier. 
It is said that immediately after landing, the children complained 
of hunger and the mother purchased a loaf of bread at a nearby 
bakery. She gave them some of it, but was surprised to see them, 
after tasting it, throw it away. The parents then tasted it and 
they too threw it aside. It was their first experience with corn 
bread. They settled in the Shenandoah Valley, but later moved 
to the Wappatomaka, where they resided until after the close of the 
Revolution. They then moved to Big Run, near the village of 
Burnersville in (now) Barbour County, West Virginia. 

In 1781, a certificate was issued to Jacob Reager (Reger) for 
400 acres on Second Big Run, to include his settlement made in 
1776. Reger made an "improvement" there in 1776, but it is 
known that he did not take up actual residence until sometime 
after 1782. He was still residing on the Wappatomaka, in April 
1782, when Isaac, his youngest child was born. The census of 
1782 shows that he was at that time a resident of Hampshire 
County, Virginia (now West Va.), and was the head of a family 
of eleven. (1) This illustrates the caution that should be exer- 
cised in fixing a positive date of an actual residence settlement, 
based on the date of the Trans-Allegheny homestead certificates. 

1) See page 486. 

I'hl: Rkgers 297 

Jacob Reger had a brother John, who was also a resident of 
Hampshire Count}', \'ireinia, in 1782, at the head of a family of 
four. (2) John Rceer improved, or claimed land on Tygart's 
River. I'he date is uncertain but it was in the earliest settling 
of the country. In 1773, he made an "improvement" on the 
Buckhannon. He at that time entered 4(J0 acres on each side of 
the river, adjoining lands claimed by Timothy Dorman. Leonard 
Reger, a sergeant in Captain William Darke's Company, 8th 
X'irginia Regiment, Re\-olutionar\- War, was doubtless a son of 
til is John Reger. 

Jacob Reger raised a large famil_\' of children, and a notice of 
I hem, it is believed, will be of interest. 

Anthony, the eldest son, was a volunteer in the Patriot Army, 
Revolution. He was commissioned an ensign, April 16, 1777, in 
Captain Silas Zane's Company, 15th \'irginia Regiment, under 
Colonel William Russell. It is not known for what length of time 
the young ensign enlisted, nor can anything be learned of his 
army career. He doubtless saw active service, judging from the 
fighting record of his commanding officers. (3) 

The date of Anthon\' Reger's advent into the Buckhannon 
country is not known. In the census of 1782, one Anthony 
Reger is listed without a family in the enumeration of Hampshire 
County, \'irginia. (4) This was doubtless the young ensign of 
Captain Zane's Company. 

The census of 1784 shows the enrollment of one Anthony 
Reger, as head of a family of ten, in Hampshire County. (5) This 
person is believed to be a brother of Jacob Reger, Sr. According 
to the best information Ensign Reger went to Ohio with his brother 
Jacob, but nothing is known of his subsequent life. He married a 
Widow Simmons. 

J.ACOB, Jr., the second son, was never married. He seems 
to have spent his time in the Buckhannon and surrounding settle- 
ments. He was a noted hunter, and during the later years of 
Indian hostilities, was a scout of recognized ability. In this capac- 
ity he often rendered valuable service to the settlements on the 
Upper Monongahela. One Schoolcraft was his associate and 
boon companion in these hunting and scouting excursions. 

During one of their hunts, Reger's dog attacked a bear near 
their camp in the night. The dog could not be called off, and 
Reger, got up, remarking, "If I don't go and kill that bear, that 

(2) See page 486. (3) p. 487. (4) p. 4S7. (':>) p. 487. 

298 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

dog will follow it all night." Taking his rifle he sallied forth, and 
coming near, he shot the bear through the body, but the wound 
was not fatal. The animal, rendered ferocious with pain, now 
charged his new assailant with fury. Reger was of gigantic 
stature and wonderful strength, but he was no match for the 
enraged brute. It seized him by the hip with its great jaws, and 
hurled him violently to the ground. It then caught him by the 
shoulder and "shook him as a dog shakes a rabbit." Things 
looked desperate for the stalwart hunter, and the fray would cer- 
tainly have terminated fatally for him had not Schoolcraft hurried 
to his assistance, and placing his rifle to the bear's side, fired, 
killing it instantly. Reger was badly hurt. His hip was so man- 
gled, that afterwards in dressing the wound, his brother used a 
razor freely in cutting away the hanging shreds of flesh. 

Tradition says that Jacob Reger, Jr., once owned a tract of 
land on the Ohio, where Cincinnati now stands, but forfeited the 
title through unpaid taxes. He is supposed to have died there.. 

Philip, the third son, was born in Hampshire County, Vir- 
ginia, in 1767. He was still a resident of that county in the 
spring of 1782, when at the age of fifteen he volunteered as pri- 
vate in Captain James Simmerel's Company, Virginia Troops, 
Patriot Army, and served six months or until the close of the Rev- 
olution, the following November. He was employed in guarding 
the Yorktown prisoners confined in the Winchester Barracks, 
Virginia. For this service he was granted a pension in 1832, 

But little is known of Reger's life on the border. He was 
sometimes employed as a hunter in Henry Jackson's surveying 
parties, and also engaged in scouting during the last years of 
Indian hostilities on the border. With Samuel Jackson, he was 
watching an Indian trail on the Upper West Fork waters, and 
while lying concealed in a thicket, was bitten by a rattlesnake. 
Reger soon grew blind, and Jackson, a very strong man, carried 
him and their two guns to the nearest settlement, some ten or 
twelve miles distant. Reger suffered intense agony from the 
wound, but under the application of such remedies as were at 
hand, he eventually recovered. 

Philip Reger was one of the appointed trustees for Buckhan- 
non, when that village was created a town in 1816. He was the 
first Sheriff of Lewis County, and was a Justice of the Peace for 
forty years. He married twice. His first wife was Sarah Jackson. 

Tm: Ri:(;i:rs 299 

His second wife was Mar\- Bozarth, a daughter of John Bozarlh, 
Sr., whose famil}' suffered the last attack made by the Indians on 
the \'irginia border previously referred to in this volume. (6) 

JOHN, the fourth son, who participated in the fight at Buck- 
haniion, was born in Hardy County, \ irgiiiia, Jaiuiar\' 15, 1769. 
He stood six feet two inches in his moccasins, with well-rounded 
and muscular proportions. .\ veritable Hercules, he was re- 
nowned for his enormous pinsical strength, which was unequalled 
on the western frontier. He married Elizabeth West, "Little 
Bettie," as she was called, a daughter of Edmund \\ est, Sr., of 
West's Fort. The wedding took place the year after the bride's 
father was killed by the Indians, December 5, 1787. .At the 
ceremony the bride sported a "store gown" to procure which the 
bridegroom -elect walked from the Buckhannon settlement to 
\\ inchester and back with rifle on shoulder. During the wedding 
festivities, the bride stood in midair on the groom's outstretched 
hand. The newly-wedded couple settled near where Burnersville 
(Barbour County, \\ est \ irginia) now stands, where they resided 
as long as they lived. 

John Reger's nature was as kindly as his physical strength 
was great. I cannot refrain from giving a few incidents in his ca- 
reer on the border, illustrative of the rude, happy-go-luck of those 
days. He could easily swim the flood-swollen rivers in his excur- 
sions, holding his gun, shot pouch and clothing high and dry in 
one hand. He was a noted hunter and many are the accounts of 
his daring feats and great endurance. On one of his hunting 
trips, he killed a yearling bear earh' in the morning and after 
taking out the entrails, he slung the carcass over his shoulder and 
carried it with him during the entire day's hunt 

As a bear hunter he excelled, and once when hunting with 
several others, it was agreed that he should hunt for bear, while 
the rest of the party went for deer. A boy who was with them 
decided to go with Reger; and it was not long before the dogs 
engaged a large bear in a dense laurel thicket, where it had its 
lair. Soon dogs and bear were engaged in a fierce combat, and 
Reger crawling on hands and knees along a narrow winding path, 
shot the bear, but not fatally. With the report of the heavy rifle, 
and the sting of the leaden missile, bruin seemed to realize that 
things were becoming decidedly hot at home, and that he would 

(6) See page 487. 

The Hercules of the Border" 

From a Pencil Sketch, Date Uncertain 
Kindness of Miss MacAvoy 

Tin: Regers 301 

vacate. W ith this sudden impulse, he bolted for the only exit of 
his domicile, which was completely blocked by the muscular form 
of the hunter. None but those who have attempted to penetrate 
the tangled depths of a Virginia laurel bed, can form any concep- 
tion of its density. When bruin turned in retreat the dogs held 
on, and a running tight ensued. The hunter had no time to retreat, 
neither could "he dodge the issue" by stepping aside. His only 
recourse was to throw himself face down upon the ground, and let 
the rage of battle pass over him. This he did, and the bear was 
kept so busy with the dogs, that it had no time for its prostrate 
enemy. Reger escaped unhurt, and when he emerged from the 
thicket, his young companion was nowhere to be seen. Reger 
halloed, and was answered from a nearby gum tree, where the lad 
had taken refuge. 

Perhaps it was during this same hunt that a bear's den was 
found in a rock-cliff. Reger crawled into the cave and guided by 
the gleam of the bear's eyes, shot it. He then backed out from 
the narrow passage and waiting until the death struggle ceased, 
re-entered feet foremost and kicked bruin on the head to ascertain 
if life was extinct. Finding there was no response to his most 
vigorous kicks, he again crawled out, only to re-enter head first. 
He twined a stout hickory withe about the neck of the quarry, 
then came forth and with the help of his comrades drew it from 
the den. (7) 

At another time the dogs engaged a bear in a cavity made b}- 
an upturned tree, and when Reger came to the brink of the pit, 
the earth suddenly gave way beneath his weight and he was pre- 
cipitated onto the struggling mass of bear and dogs. As he went 
down, he caught with one hand a bush growing on the brink, and 
the other arm coming in reach of the bear the enraged animal 
sunk its claws into the sleeve of his strong homespun hunting 
shirt. The dogs had fastened on the bear's hams, and were pull- 
ing with all their might in the opposite direction, while the bear, 
with equal energy, was endeavoring to drag the hunter's hand 
within reach of its fangs. The Herculean strength of the mighty 
woodsman was taxed to its utmost resisting the combined weight 
and strength of bear and dogs. At times the bear was lifted clear 
off the ground by the opposing efforts of hunter and dogs. More 
than once Reger felt the hot breath of the infuriated brute upon 
his hand, so nearly did it succeed in overcoming the iron sinews of 
(7) See page 4SS. 

302 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

the man. Human strength could not long endure the terrific 
strain, and the hunter felt that he would soon lose his hold upon 
the bush. Fortunately for him, one of the dogs let go its hold 
and seized upon the bear's jaw, when it released its hold on Reger's 
arm to box away this tormentor. Reger then soon ended the 
fray with his knife. 

Reger went to Winchester on one occasion with pack horses 
for salt, dressed in homespuns and moccasins. A horse carried two 
bushels of salt weighing eighty-four pounds per bushel. (8) This 
amount (measured) was regarded as a sufficient load for a horse 
whose principal feed consisted of "browse" during its long trip 
through the mountains. While getting ready his salt, Reger was 
ridiculed by some of the town gentry and local toughs. The 
easy-going borderman deigned no reply to their coarse banterings, 
but when his salt was secured, he lightly slung two sacks over his 
shoulder, and taking one in either hand, eight bushels in all, 
walked leisurely to where his horses were tied. This feat gained 
him the admiration of his tormentors. 

The fame of his strength travelled far, and one day, while 
sitting on his porch, a powerfully built stranger accosted him, and 
challenged him to fight. Reger, who was peaceably disposed, said 
that he had nothing to fight for. The stranger insisted and 
became obdurate, stating that he could whip any man that he had 
ever met, and hearing of Reger's prodigious strength, had come 
a long way to fight him and would not be disappointed. Reger 
would not fight, but he suddenly seized the stranger and threw 
him upon the porch roof. The pugilist now expressed himself as 
satisfied, and after partaking of refreshments, he departed without 
further testing the strength of his self-sought antagonist. (9) 

But this good natured Titan was not always so lenient with 
the braggart. During those days, the militia met for muster at 
Beverly, and it was no unusual occurrence at such gatherings for 
a few "ring fights" to take place. There was a stalwart bully by 
the name of Kerns living in Tygart's Valley, who was the acknowl- 
edged champion of the "ring" throughout the surrounding country. 
At public gatherings, musters, log-rollings, house-raisings and wed- 
dings, this redoubted brave would, at an opportune moment, leap 
upon a stump, flop his arms vigorously and crow. This was a 
challenge for anyone to meet him in a "square up-and-down 
fight;" and woe to the hapless aspirant for pugilistic honors who 

(8) See page 488. (9) p. 488. 

Tin: Rkgers 303 

had ihc icnicrity to answer with a like challenge. Rerns had never 
met his match. At one cjf the musters referred to, Reger attended 
with the avowed purpose of accepting the challenge of this woods- 
tyrant, who had so terrorized his community. When Kerns 
learned that the "Hercules of the Border" was on the ground, he 
did not crow. Reger's modest)' forbade an\' exultation over his 
easily-won victory. 

The following incident is related of Reger, and it illustrates his 
good humor and gigantic strength. Reger had made bacon of 
some bear meat which he sold to a Mr. Black at twelve and one- 
half cents a pound. To pay for this bacon, Mr. Black worked for 
Reger in the harvest field at fifty cents a day. The weather was 
hot, the work heavy, and Reger would taunt Black by frequently 
exclaiming in broken English, "Hurrah for de bear pork." It 
was Reger's eighty-second birthday, and as they were returning 
to the field from dinner, Black and Reger's son, both large strong 
men, thought to take advantages of the old man, and "wallow" 
him. Slipping up, each caught hold of a leg, then throwing him 
and whirling him upon his back, both immediately sprang on him, 
one on either side, with arms tightly hugging the old man's shoul- 
ders. For a moment Reger lay surprised, and occasionally ejacu- 
lating, "Poys, you had better let me be," at the same time feeling 
for a secure hold in the waistbands of their strong homespun 
pantaloons. Having secured a satisfactory hold on each, he 
slowly lifted them from him, swung them in mid-air, cracked their 
heels together, then jammed their heads together a few times and 
cast them from him, and laughing, rose to his feet. 

John Reger died May 14, 1844, and was buried in the ceme- 
tery on his home place. He left four children: Jacob, Abram, 
Barbara and Elizabeth. 

J.ACOB, married Permilia Arnold. But ver\' little is known of 
his life., born 1793, married Leah Brake, daughter of Jacob 
Brake, hereafter referred to. He was commissioned lieutenant in 
Captain John Bozarth's Company, \'irginia Troops, \\ ar of 
1812. He was known as "Maje" Reger, but I do not know 
how he came by the title. Most likeh' he was Major of Militia 
after the war closed. Abram Reger had two sons in the Civil 
War. Rev. John \\ . Reger, D. D., who enlisted September 2, 
1861, as private in the 7th Virginia Infantry, Federal Arm)'. He 

304 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

was shortly afterwards appointed Chaplain, and served in that 
capacity with only a brief interval, until the close of the war. 
The latter part of his enlistment was as Chaplain of the Military 
Hospital at Grafton, West Virginia. The other son. Major Albert 
G. Reger, espoused the Southern cause, and at the commence- 
ment of the war was commissioned captain of the "Barbour Greys," 
recruited at Philippi, Twenty-sixth Virginia Infantry. He was 
soon promoted to the rank of Major, and served in this capacity 
until the close of the war. He saw hard service under Generals 
Thomas J. {Stonewall) Jackson and Longstreet. He was a law- 
yer of ability, and served in the State Senate for eight years. 
Another son. Rev. Alfred A., was for many years an able orthodox 

Of the two daughters, Barbara wedded James Teter and 
Elizabeth married Jacob Crislip. In the Teter family is pre- 
served an immense German Bible brought from Germany by 
Jacob Reger, Sr. 

Elizabeth, the fifth child of Jacob Reger, Sr., was married 
twice. Her first husband was Cottrell Talbot, who settled about 
one mile from Burnersville on the Buckhannon River. Talbot 
met a tragic death. He shot and wounded a large buck, which 
took refuge in the river, where it was followed by Talbot's dog. 
The harassed buck turned on the dog, which was no match for 
the enraged animal in the water. Talbot went to the dog's 
assistance and was drowned. (10) Elizabeth's second husband 
was Christian Hall. She left a long line of descendants through- 
out central West Virginia. 

Abram, the sixth child, was born in 1774. He also was a 
man of large stature and great physical strength. Although quite 
young, he was said to have participated in the Indian battle at 
Buckhannon. He was married to Miss Mary Reeder, and they 
reared a large family of children, whose names were: John, 
Isaac, Jacob, Abram, (Rev.) Hanson, Anthony, Mary, Nancy, 
Elizabeth and ^Martha. 

John was Colonel of Militia, and was a skilled hunter. I 
well remember the Colonel, a tall, venerable and kind looking old 
man. He had light eyes and a soft musical voice. Ele often 
visited at my parents, and it was with feelings of av^^e that we 
children listened to the thrilling hunter stories of his younger 
days. He took pride in demonstrating to his young auditors 

(10) See page 489. 

Tm: Rkcers 305 

how supple were his joints, attributing this to his regular diet of 
bear meat during the greater part of his life. 

The Colonel was early distinguished for his fearless nature 
and iron-like nerve. These qualities, coupled uitii an amiable 
disposition, won the esteem of all who knew him, and made him 
a favorite and a leader among his companions in their annual 

Elizabeth Reger married Jonathan Hall. Mr. John Strange 
Hall, of W'alkersville, West Virginia, referred to elsewhere in this 
volume, is a son of this marriage. 

Anthony Reger recently died in Buckhannon, West Virginia. 
He was ninety years old and the last grandson of Jacob Reger, Sr. 

Barbara, the seventh child of Jacob Reger, Sr., wedded 
Samuel Jackson. Many of her descendants still reside in the 

Anna and Mary, eighth and ninth children, married brothers: 
Anna, John Bozarth; Mary, George Bozarth. These brothers 
were the sons of John Bozarth, Sr., whose family was attacked, 
and some of them killed, by the Indians on Fink's Run, in 1795. 
They were the two boys mentioned by IVithers (11) who were 
helping their father haul grain when the attack was made. John 
was a commissioned captain in the \'irginia Volunteers, War of 
1812. It has been claimed that George was a non-commissioned 
officer, same war, but I have been unable to verify this statement. 
Both brothers were identified with the early history of Lewis 
County; both acting justices. With their families they moved 
to Indiana at an early date, and were lost sight of by their Vir- 
ginia friends. 

Isaac, the tenth child, was born on the Wappatomaka, August 
19, 1782. He was married to Mary Magdaline Brake, daughter 
of Jacob Brake, the Indian captive. Isaac inherited the Reger 
homestead on Big Run, but in 1830 sold it, and settled on Upper 
Hacker's Creek, where some of his descendants still reside. Isaac, 
like his older brothers, was a great hunter, and had some thrilling 
experiences in this pursuit. 

When a boy, he went coon-hunting one night, accompanied 
by two hounds, a cur, and a small fice. Most hunters kept a 
fice in their pack, as they proved most efficient in bear fighting. 
They would tree a bear when the larger dogs could not. The 
fice will invariably attack in the rear, and then get away before 

(11) See page 490. 

306 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

the bear can turn or seize it. Bruin can not long endure this 
mode of warfare, and will soon "tree." The noisy fice also excelled 
in treeing the dreaded panther. 

On the night in question, Isaac's dogs were attacked by wolves, 
and getting the worst of it, they fled to their master for protection. 
The wolves pursued, fighting the dogs within a few feet of the boy, 
who stood with rifle ready to fire, had there been sufficient light 
to distinguish wolf from dog. Emboldened by the presence of 
their master, the dogs turned upon the wolves, and drove them a 
short distance, only to be forced back in turn. Thus the battle 
raged, the wolves often coming near, and with such violence that 
the dry leaves were thrown about Isaac's feet. Finally, the dogs, 
badly hurt and exhausted, gave up the fight. The hounds crawled 
into a nearby sink-hole, where their enemies dared not follow. 
The cur remained close to the boy, but the fice had disappeared. 
The wolves hung close around, and the boy, disdaining to abandon 
his hounds, remained on guard until the first rays of dawn, when 
the wolves fled. Isaac, with much coaxing, induced the hounds 
to come from their subterranean retreat. The fice was never 
heard of afterwards, evidently having been devoured by the 

At a later time, when Isaac was about eighteen years old, 
he went coon-hunting, and during his rambles he reached the 
crest of a hill, or knob, where he paused for a short rest. Suddenly, 
the stillness was broken by a wild piercing scream, emanating 
from the hillside just below where he stood. His dogs immediately 
gave pursuit to some object, circling the hill, and baying furiously. 
Soon the chase had reached the starting point; where again there 
came that same wailing shriek, so intense and penetrating, that 
the boy, although inured to the dangers of the forest, felt the 
blood chill to his heart. On sped the dogs in that endless circle, 
and once more at the same point there arose above the deep bellow- 
ing of the hounds that awful scream. A thrill of unaccountable 
terror shook the boy, as again and again the gloomy hill-top was 
circled, and at regular intervals was repeated that frightful cry. 
This was more than he could stand, schooled as he was in the 
superstitions of the woods. He intuitively associated the myster- 
ious being and its ominous cry with the supernatural, and calling 
off his dogs, he hastened from the haunted hill, under the firm 
conviction that they had been chasing the devil. Years after, in 

Till Ri;(;ers 307 

relating' the incident, Isaac said that he had no doubt but that 
the creature was a panther, or some species of wild cat; but for a 
long time he was unshaken in his belief that the t]uarry was his 
Satanic majesty himself. 

Some years after Isaac had settled on Hacker's Creek, a bear 
killed a hog on an adjoining farm, where his son-in-law, John W. 
^larple, settled. Having gorged himself on pork, the bear went 
only a short distance and la\- down. Isaac was notified, and he 
immediately took his rifle, and accompanied by his dogs, went to 
where the hog had been killed. The dogs soon routed the bear, 
which started for "Bear Knob," followed and worried by the dogs. 
When about half-way up the mountain, the bear took refuge in 
a poplar tree, where Isaac killed it with his rifle. This tree was 
felled and sawed into lumber a few years ago. 

Tradition sa\-s that from the foregoing incident Bear Knob 
derived its name. It is claimed, however, that the knob bore its 
present appellation before Isaac Reger settled on Hacker's Creek. 
The early settlers first called it Potato Hill, because of its supposed 
resemblance to a "hill" of this growing tuber. The Knob has 
always been an object of interest, and the resort of Easter Sunday 
parties. It was originally covered with a dense forest, but has, 
in recent years, been cleared, and is now clothed with blue grass 
from base to summit. It is the highest point on the Hacker's 
Creek waters. 

The superstitions of the early settlers is instanced in the fol- 
lowing: Isaac Reger's son, David B., when a small boy, became 
the proud possessor of a young wolf, which he determined to keep 
as a pet. One day while feeding it, the wolf bit him. This so 
angered the boy that he struck it with a mallet, causing its death. 
David's mother, who was well versed in the occult, was standing 
near, and told him to hold his hand in the wolf's mouth while it 
was dying, and he could e\er afterwards cure the "thrash" in 
children, by using the hand thus treated, in washing the afflicted 
child's mouth at a stream of running water. David acted upon 
his mother's suggestion, and until he was seventy-five years old, 
he was called upon to exercise this mysterious art of healing. He 
always performed this dut\' with reluctance, contending that there 
was no virtue in the operation. Strange to say, howe\-er, that in 
every case the treatment was followed b)' a speedy cure. Mr. 
Nicholas Linger, who resided on the Upper W est Fork, acquired 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

in a like manner this power, and was reputed to have successfully 
treated many cases of thrash. David Reger died in 1905, the 
last of seven children. 

Isaac Reger's children were: Philip, died young; Ruth, mar- 
ried John W. Marple; Rebecca, married Nicholas McVany; Lydia, 
married Henry Jackson; Elizabeth, married David T. Wolf; 
David B., married Elizabeth Nealy; Maria, married Nimrod Scott. 



There was a noted character living in the Buckiiannon set- 
tlement at this time. Jacob Brake was captured by the Indians 
on the Wappatomaka when eleven years old, and remained in cap- 
tivity ten years and ten months. It is said that his brother Abram 
was also made prisoner at the same time. Their mother was 
killed there by Indians in 1758 (1) and it is probable that the cap- 
ture was made at the time of this tragedy, but this is not known 
to be true. 

Jacob was adopted into a family of four brothers, one of 
whom was killed in a massacre, or fight, at Romney, Va., and he 
took the place of this fallen brother. The most of his captivity 
was spent in northwestern Ohio, southeastern Michigan and 
northeastern Indiana. After the treaty of 1763, a fur trader 
found him with a band of Indians on White Woman's Creek, (2) 
who promised upon his return to the settlements to notify his 
family; but failed to keep his word. During the years which 
ensued, Pontiac ravaged the entire western border, and not until 
sometime after the restoration of peace in 1765, was Jacob met 
by another trader who carried the news to his people. John 
Brake, Jr., immediately arranged to return with the trader and 
claim his brother under the terms of the treaty. They were to 
meet at Fort Pitt, but John's anxiety caused him to appear at that 
post a month before the appointed time. They at once proceeded 
to the Indian towns and found that a band of hunters including 
Jacob, were to leave the following day on the great annual fall 
hunt. There was but little difficulty in arranging for his release 
and Jacob returned home with his brother. 

Nothing is known of his life during his captivity, only that he 
acquired those inevitable traits of character so peculiar to the 
Indian race. His step was light and noiseless, and in passing 
through the forest he left no visible trail. He was taciturn and 
would sit silently by the fireside drawing solace from his pipe. 
He was subject to fits of savage temper and at one time while 
butchering hogs, he flew into a violent rage and terrorized those 
near him with wild flourishes of his knife and threatening exple- 
tives in the Indian tongue. 
(1) See page 490. (2) p. 490. 

310 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

It is related of Jacob Brake that he knew of a lead, or copper 
mine, perhaps the latter, in Michigan, where the Indians resorted 
for supplies of that mineral. The excavation was kept concealed 
from the whites by refilling and building a camp fire over the dis- 
turbed spot. Brake became acquainted with the mine while a 
captive, and in later years agreed to pilot a party of settlers to the 
locality with the understanding that he was to share in all the 
profits accruing from a commercial development of the mineral. 
A company was organized with Henry Jackson as leader, whose 
object was to survey and "enter" a large body of land on which 
the mine was located. 

The party left Buckhannon, and after several days travel 
through the wilderness. Brake one evening, announced that they 
were within a few hundred yards of their goal. They pitched 
camp, and the next morning Jackson without further preliminaries 
began his survey; when Brake, ever suspicious, became incensed 
and refused to guide them further. It was in vain that Jackson 
and his companions sought to allay his fears of treachery, and to 
get from him the location of the coveted treasure. His Indian 
intuition of the white man's avarice had been fully aroused, and 
he was obdurate and steadfast in his refusal. Jackson and his 
party continued the survey, but in an opposite direction; and 
Brake, as he afterwards declared, taking advantage of their 
absence, went directly to the mine. Completely foiled, the adven- 
turers returned home in disappointment. 

Jacob Brake married Miss Mary Slaughter, sister of Jesse 
Slaughter, and settled near where the present Baptist Cemetery is 
located. His cabin stood on the bank of the river, where North 
Buckhannon now stands. 

In 1781, a certificate was granted to "Jacob Break" [Brake], 
assignee to Samuel Pringle, 400 acres on Buckhannon, adjoining 
lands of Peter Pufenglory, to include his settlement made in 1776." 

Jacob Brake was a Lieutenant in Captain George Jackson's 
Company of Spies, or Rangers, in 1779. His knowledge of Indian 
character fitted him admirably for this position. 

Jacob's father, John Brake, who during the Revolution 
resided about fifteen miles above Moorefield on the Wappatomaka, 
was a German nobleman, a baron, who migrated from Germany 
several years prior to the breaking out of the American Revolu- 
tion. He was the first of the Brake family in Virginia. (3) 

(3) See page 490. 

Jacob Brake, Indian Captive 311 

The (jernian clement in the Colonies in general espoused the 
cause of freedom, but the barcjii remained loyal to King George 
and during the latter years of the war, became noted for his zeal 
and energy in the Tory cause. There is a tradition that the baron 
recei\'ed from King George a royal grant for a tract of land l\ing 
along the \\ appatomaka where he lived, and that this, coupled 
with his love for royalty, was the main or real reason for 
his loyalty to the British Crown. It will be remembered that 
King George was of German descent, and would iiaturalK- feel 
well-disposed towards this German nobleman. 

W hen (jeneral Cornwallis invadei.! \ irginia with his formid- 
able army in June, 1781, the Tory element on the W appatomaka 
became restive and manifested signs of rebellion. Under the 
leadership of John Cla\ pole, a Scotchman, who resided on Lost 
River, a tributary of the South Branch, they raised the British 
flag and refused to be amenable to the Continental authorities. 
The home of the rich baron was the recognized headquarters for 
this band of loyalists. (4) 

A small company of militia from Hampshire County was sent 
to assist the local officers in enforcing order, but finding the Tories 
too strong for them, they withdrew without accomplishing the 
object of their errand. This emboldened the Loyalists, who then 
regularly organized, and made John Claypole commander-in 
chief, and only awaited a favorable opportunity to join the British 
forces. To suppress this uprising, a volunteer army of four hun- 
dred wild mountain riflemen, well armed and mounted, under 
the command of General Morgan, left \\ inchester about the 18th 
or 20th of June and headed directly for the scene of the disturb- 
ance. The army marched by Claypole's, captured that chieftain 
and scattered his followers. Claypole was released on bail, and 
the command passed up Lost River and over the South Branch 
Mountain, dispersing and capturing a few Tories as they went. 
In some instances, the reckless troopers inflicted wanton torture 
on their prisoners before releasing them. One, an aged man, was 
killed by a drunken Irishman. John Payne w^as branded with 
a hot spade and IMathias W'ilkins w^as threatened with hanging by 
having a rope placed about his neck. 

General jVlorgan's objective point w-as the noble baron's, and 
when he reached there, he halted his army. The horses were 
turned into the unharvested meadows and oat fields; and for two 

(4) See page 491. 

312 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

days and nights the men revelled in the best that the splendid 
estate of the baron could produce. His fields were stocked with 
fat cattle, sheep, and hogs, with the usual complement of barn- 
yard fowls. Possessing also a well stocked mill and a large dis- 
tillery, the unrestrained troopers fared most riotously. The 
Tories being subdued and scattered, IMorgan now marched his 
men back to Winchester, where they were disbanded. (5) 

This incipient uprising of Tories was the only one in (now) 
West Virginia during the war, and it was far from serious. Evi- 
dently the most of Claypole's adherents were only half-hearted 
in the movement, for many of them soon after enlisted with the 
Patriots and marched against Cornwallis. (6) 

There is a tradition which says that sometime after the sup- 
pression of the Brake-Claypole uprising, the baron, smarting 
from the humiliating indignities which he had suffered at the 
hands of his enemies, defiantly raised a large British flag over his 
castle-like residence. He was ordered by the Continental troops 
to haul it down, but with the tenacity of purpose which has made 
the German race famous, he refused. The troops tore it down 
and destroyed it. Another version is, that when the baron refused 
to haul the colors down, the troops destroyed his buildings and 
laid his fine estate in ruins. However, this may be, the episode of 
the flag did occur, and with the sequel, that the baron soon after- 
wards went back to his native country, never to return to America. 

For the following genealogical table, I am indebted to Mr. 
Carl Reger, a great-grandson of Isaac Reger. Mr. Reger has 
compiled a very complete and up-to-date genealogical record of 
the Reger-Brake families, but the scope of this work will not per- 
mit of its insertion in full. Mr. Reger also rendered other valuable 
assistance in the sketch of the Reger family. 

The baron, John Brake, had four children. 

(1) Elizabeth, married Captain George Jackson, the oldest 
son of John and Elizabeth Jackson. (7) 

(2) John married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth 
Wetherholt, who died leaving one child, Elizabeth, who married 
Colonel Edward Jackson, as his second wife. John's second wife 
was Catherine Shook. 

(3) Abram, married Miss Davis, whose mother, Sophia, was 
a daughter of the "first John Jackson who settled in this country." 

(5) See page 491. (6) p. 491. (7) p. 491. 

Jacob Brakk, Indian Captive 


(4) Jacob, the captive, niarried Miss Mary Slaughter, as 
before stated, and had h\'e children: 

(1) Leah, married Major Abrani Reger. 

(2) Mary Maiidalen, married Isaac Reger. 

(3) Name unknown, married |(«se[Mi Shreves. 

(4) Abram, married Miss KHzabetli Jackson. 

(5) John, whose wife's name is unknown to me. His 
descendants are numerous in the Buckhanimn countr}-. 

Jacob, the captive, died in 1831. His wife died in 1S30. 
Both are buried in the Heavner Cemetery, Buckhannon, West 


Jacob Cozad, Sr., was born in 1755, and was said to have been 
the fourth Jacob in the direct Hne of the Cozad family. As nearly 
as can be ascertained, he came from New Jersey, perhaps with his 
father, and settled on Cheat River, Virginia, just prior to the Rev- 
olutionary War. The name was originally Cossart, and is Flem- 
ish, belonging to families in Rouen, France, as also in the French 
portion of Belgium. It was pronounced without the final "t" in 
France, and with the "t" made to "d" in Belgium. The name 
appears Cossart, Cosart, Cozard, Cosad, Cozad, and in several 
other forms. The Cozads first settled in this country in New 
Jersey, and were associated with the Buttons, who are said to have 
come from England, and settled in or near New York City. Some 
of the Buttons also migrated to Virginia, where the two families 
remained in close touch for many years. David Sutton, who 
settled at the mouth of Kinchelo Creek, now Harrison County, 
West Virginia, was of this family. He died there, and was buried 
in the Broad Run cemetery. 

The following certificates of land entries were granted to 
Jacob Cozad, Sr., by the Land Commissioners convened at the 
house of Colonel John Evans, near Morgantown, in 1781. 

"... Jacob Cazad [Cozad] ass'ee of Moses Templin, is 
entitled to a preemption of one thousand acres of land in Monon- 
galia County, adjoining his settlement on Cheat River, made in 

"... Jacob Cazad [Cozad] ass'ee to Samuel Sutton, on 
Morgan's Run, a branch of Cheat River, to include his settlement 
thereon 1770." 

"... Jacob Cozad heir of William Drago, 400 acres on the 
head of Drago Run at the right-hand fork, to include his improve- 
ment made thereon." 

At the time, 1770, that these entries were made, Jacob Sr., 
was but fifteen years old, and it is obvious that some of them, at 
least, were made by his father, Jacob the third, whose wife was 
Elizabeth Sutton. 

Jacob, Sr. (or Jacob the fourth), while yet in his teens, was 
married to Miss Mercy Woodward. This couple, at a later day. 

Jac(jb Cozad, Indian Cai'tixk 315 

settled un Hacker's Creek, (1) about one mile below Berlin, where 
Lewis Morrison now resides. Their hewed log cabin, only removed 
within the last few years, stood where Mr. Morrison's wash-house 
is now located. A larpe pear tree, of the sugar variety, which 
stands directly between the roail and the ^ite of the cabin, was 
planted by Jacob Cozad, Sr., soon after settling there. This 
venerable tree measures over sixty feet from outer branch to outer 
branch, and o\-er three feet in diameter, eight feet from the ground. 
It is still vigorous, and produces an abundance of delicious fruit. 

Jacob Cozad, Sr., was a Baptist minister, and was one of the 
early pastors of the Baptist church, organized at Buckhannon in 
1786. (2) He afterwards moved to Fairfield, Ohio, and was min- 
ister of the early Baptist churches near there. He died in Fair- 
held, August 22, 1S27. His wife died in 1S35, aged eighty years. 
They had several children; among them, William, Jacob, Benja- 
min, John, and David; also two daughters, Mary and Mercy. 
\\ illiam became his father's executor. If there were other chil- 
dren, no record has been found of their names. 

\\ hile the Cozads were residing on Hacker's Creek, a tragedy 
occurred which made the famih" historic. A tolerably concise 
account of this occurrence is to be found in JJ^ithers, (3) which is 
deemed unnecessary to copy here. 

On Ju!\- 26, 1794, four of the boys, William and Jacob, with 
two of their brothers, said to have been "Benny" and David, were 
bathing in the creek a short distance below the mouth of Little 
Stone Coal Run, (4) which enters the creek about three-quarters 
of a mile below the present village of Berlin. 

The creek at that time was bounded on either side by a heav\- 
growth of forest, while its banks were lined with willows and tall 
weeds. The boys were enjoying themselves as only healthful 
bo\s can, and doubtless their shouts of hilarity betrayed them to 
some Indians lurking on the ridge just south of the creek. At 
this point the stream skirts the base of the hill, which rises abrupt 
and steep from the creek bed. The Indians could not make a 
direct descent upon the unsuspecting youths, without danger of 
discovery. They therefore descended to the stream a short dis- 
tance above the bathers, and were among them before they knew 
of their presence. One of the Indians caught at Jacob, Jr., who, 
supposing that his assailant was a neighbor boy trying to surprise 
him, exclaimed, "Jake Sleeth, you can't catch me," and immedi- 

1) See page 492. (2) p. 492. (3) p. 492. (4) p. 492. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

ately dived beneath the water. But when he came to the surface, 
he was seized and led ashore. In the meantime, the other boys 
were being secured. A small ravine, densely canopied with weeds, 
broke through the creek bank nearby. Into this one of the lads 
crawled, but was seen and dragged out by an Indian. 

It was the object of the Indians, in this case as always, in 
either entering or leaving the settlements, to avoid the low valley 

r— .^"^^ 

The Cozad Beech Tree 
Photographed by Mr. Kent Reger, October 8, 1898 

and travel on the high ridges as much as possible. They could 
move more readily, discover danger, and avoid the deadly ambus- 
cade. They could also more effectually conceal their trail on the 
dry uplands, where the vegetation was less rank. But in camping, 
when the weather necessitated a fire, they were compelled to seek 
the shelter of some valley, or narrow ravine, where they were 
occasionally surprised by the enemy. In order to regain the ridge, 
the Indians with their captives proceeded up the creek to the 
mouth of Little Stone Coal Run. The boys carried their clothes 
and donned them as they travelled. At this point, the youngest 
of the prisoners, a lad only six years of age, cried piteously for his 

Jacob Co/ad, Indian C"\i'ti\e 317 

mother. One of the Indians seized him h\- the heels am.! killed 
him h\' strikini: his head against the roots of a beech tree. He 
was then scalped, and his bod}' left at the foot of the tree, where 
it was afterwards found, and buried in what is now the Morrison 
Cemetery, on the old Cozad homesteail. 'This lad "s name was 
''Benny." Another, perhaps later son named Benjamin, sur- 
vived his father in Ohio. 

The evident design of the Indians in this raii.1 was to secure 
prisoners. Two days previously they had captured the daughter 
of John Runyan but two of the band carried her away and killed 
her. The remaining four Indians hid in the settlements for two 
days, doing no further damage than shooting one or more of Car- 
der's cattle. The little Cozad boy who was dashed to death 
against the tree was making an outcry which jeopardized the 
safety of the Indians. From their standpoint this weeping child 
had not the requisites of the coming warrior, and this hastened his 

There has been some doubt regarding the identity of the tree 
which figured so prominently in the Cozad tragedy. Mr. J. K. 
P. Maxson, of Berlin, \\ est \'irginia, a grandson of Jacob Cozad, 
Jr., and who was raised in the immediate neighborhood, assured 
me that his grandfather pointed out to him, not only the tree, 
but the heavy spur-root against which he saw the Indian dash 
the head of his little brother. This tree stood in the bottom 
near the west bank of the run before mentioned, and not far from 
the creek bank. The cut here given of this tree is from a photo- 
graph made especially for this work. Mr. Maxson accompanied 
the photographer and designated the fatal root, by thrusting a 
walking-stick into the ground by its side. This stick can readily 
be discerned in the front, and to the side of the center of the tree. 
W hen photographed, this legend, cut in the bark of the tree could 
be read, "Jacob Cozad, 17 — ". The last two figures of the date 
could not be deciphered. The tree at that time was dead, having 
put forth its last coat of leaves the preceding year. It was a 
large tree, but for several years onl\- about twcnt\' feet of its trunk 
had been standing. The primitive forest had been cleared from 
around it, and it stood alone, a silent, decaying monument to one 
of the man\- pathetic tragedies of a century before. 

After killing the little bo_\', the Indians turned westward, and 
climbed the point of the ridge facing the east. While ascending 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

this hill, Jacob conceived the idea of possibly alarming the whites 
by giving a loud and prolonged whoop. This he had no sooner 
uttered than he was knocked senseless with a rifle in the hands of 
one of his captors. Jacob said afterwards, in relating this incident, 
that when he came to his senses, a squaw was dragging him up the 


Scene of the Cozad Tragedy 
Photographed March 20, 1910 

Hacker's Creek is to the right and the place of capture was at the base of the 
or "first bench'' seen in the distance. On the left is shown a sectiofi of the hill up 
which the Indians retreated with their captives. 

The square block of stone marks the exact spot where stood the beech tree against 
the root of which the Indian dashed the head of Benny Cozad. This monument was 
placed March 19, 1910, by Mr. John B. Swisher of Berlin, W. Va., and bears this 
legend, "Benny Cozad, killed by Indians, July 26, 1794." To Mr. Swisher must be 
credited the first patriotic work of this kind in the historic Hacker's Creek Valley. 

hill by one foot, the others of the party having gone on ahead. 
There were but four, some claim only three, Indians concerned 
in this adventure, yet Jacob declared that it was a squaw who 
dragged him by the foot. It is not improbable that occasionally 
women accompanied war parties in raiding the border. (5) 

The solicitude of this Indian woman for the boy, surrounded 
as they were by the most deadly peril, betrays a tenderness of 
heart not usually attributed to the race under like circumstances. 

(4) See page 492. 

Jacob Cozad, Indian C\i'Ti\e 319 

llcjwcver, the fearlessness inanifcsled in the lad's attempt to 
alarm the whites would appeal strongly to his captors and win 
their admiration. They were not likely to deal more harshly b\' 
him than their own safety demanded. The party reached the 
West Fork River that niuht. and camped near where the old 
Jackson mill now stands — the birthplace of "Stonewall" Jackson. 

After arriving at their town on the Scioto River, the Indians 
displayed a fresh scalp which the Cozad boys recognized as that 
of their little brother. It, with others Jacob mentioned, was 
sold. .\l no time <Md the j^risoners dare manifest any signs of 
grief or bewail their condition. They were held at the different 
Indian towns until the Treaty of Greenville the following year, 
when two of them were delivered to their father. He attended 
the treaty in compan\- with John Hacker and John Waggoner, as 
noted in a previous chapter. Cozad was recognized by some of 
the Indians, they having often seen him plowing in his field. 

Jacob, Jr., remained with his captors until the next year, 
when he was found at Sandusky by his older brother and brought 
home. (6) He had been adopted into the family of a chief. One 
day while at work in a cucumber patch with his foster mother, 
some of the little children were playing nearb\'. One of them 
came upon a large rattlesnake and was in imminent danger from 
the reptile when discovered by the child's mother. These Indians 
held the rattlesnake in reverence and wouKl not kill nor molest 
it. But the love and solicitude of the pocjr niother for her 
imperiled child overcame her superstitious veneration for the 
deadly serpent-god, and while she would not injure the reptile, she 
permitted Jacob to kill and conceal it from the other Indians. 
Ever after he was a favorite of the grateful mother, and it was not 
long until she was enabled to show her gratitude in a substantial 

After the crushing defeat of the Indians by Wayne's army 
in 1794, Jacob was condemned by his enraged captors to be burned 
at the stake. Every preparation was made for the execution of 
the awful sentence, and he was permitted to bid farewell to those 
of his friends assembled to witness his death. While passing 
through the throng for this purpose, he felt a light touch upon his 
shoulder, and turning, was face to face with a strange Indian 
woman. She covertU' signed him to follow her, and unnoticed, 
led the way to a wigwam. Here she concealed him among some 

(6) See page 402. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

trunks and covered him with blankets. Soon he was missed and 
a great commotion ensued. Diligent search was made for him, 
many of the Indians coming into the wigwam where he lay, even 
removing the blankets, but their quest was futile. Jacob after- 
wards said that he was fearful lest his presence should be revealed 
by the heavy beating of his heart, such was his anguish and dread 
of discovery. When the excitement had died down, two of his 
foster brothers secretly conveyed him to the Old Delaware TOwn, 
where he remained until after the Treaty of Greenville. He 
never again saw the strange woman who helped him to escape; 
nor was he ever mistreated again after returning to his adopted 
home. The sudden furious outburst against him had been 
prompted greatly by the baleful influence of whiskey, which the 
Indians had procured in quantity. 

Mrs. Cecilia Pifer, of Buckhannon, West Virginia, a grand- 
daughter of Jacob Cozad, line of his son Woodward, often heard 
the old man relate incidents in his captive career. 

When the boys were captured, their father and mother were 
alone at the house. They were asked the number of men there, 
and answered, "Twelve." The leading warrior ejaculated, "Too 
many mans; too many mans." 

Jacob said that his foster father was very fond of him when not 
under the influence of intoxicants. Both he and most of the men, 
if not all of them, were drinking when he was given up to die. 

The captive lad often had the care of the smaller children 
and he learned to sing to the crying pappoose. The following is 
a fragment of the song as remembered by !\Irs. Pifer. The last 
part of it is missing. 


The Cozad Indian Song 

It is noticeable that the last word of this song is almost, if 
not wholly identical with the "Pa-la-wa" of the Turkey clan of the 

Jacob was instructed in the hunter's craft, and often accom- 
panied the hunter bands in the wilderness. . On these trips they 

Jacob Co/ad, Indian Captive 321 

sometimes suffered exceedinj^ly from hunger. Once when reduced 
to the verge of starvation, a wild turkey was shot and Jacob's 
portion was the entrails. He always declared that this was the 
best feast of his life. 

At another time he was made to climb a "bee tree" which 
ihev' had discovered, with instructions to secure and toss the 
honey to the hungr}' baiKJ on the ground. The boy was so fam- 
ished that he first sought to appease his own sufferings; at which 
the Indians called to him in a threatening manner. He replied by 
brandishing his knife at ihcin, which so pleased them that he was 
greeted with laughter and exclamations of approval. 

He was put through the most rigorous treatment to inure 
him to the hardships of the hunter and warrior. 

At one time his head was shaved and then bathed in warm 
water; and after being divested of all clothing, he was sent into the 
intensely cold forest to carry firewood. He said that he never 
suffered with the cold so much in all his life. This seeming cruelty 
was not enforced through any spirit of animosity or ill will, but 
was a part of the schooling of the young Indian boys. 

After returning from captivity, Jacob married Sarah Taylor 
and settled on part of his father's estate, where his son-in-law, 
George Lawson, now resides. The site of his first cabin is now 
occupied b}- Mr. Lawson's garden. The cabin was burned down, 
and Cozad then built a frame house near the site of the first. 
This house is still standing, and is a part of Mr. Lawson's present 
residence. Jacob moved to Fairfield, Ohio, and was living there 
in 1807 or 1808. Later he returned to Hacker's Creek, where he 
resided as long as he lived. By his first wife he had six children, 
Woodward, Jacob, Samuel, David, Mercy and Jackson, all of 
whom, except Samuel and David, lived to be grown, married and 
raised families. 

Jacob survived his first wife, and married Ruby Beeman. 
B}" her he had four children, whose names were Elijah, Frank, 
Clerenda and Elizabeth. Clerenda married Mr. George Lawson, 
whose son, G. C. Lawson, of Meadow Bluff, West Virginia, ren- 
dered material aid in the preparation of this sketch. Elizabeth 
married Mr. John A. Maxson, the father of .Mr. J. K. P. Maxson, 
of Berlin, West Virginia. In later years Jacob, Jr., was again 
left a widower, and again married. His third wife was a Skid- 
more. Jacob Cozad, like his father, was a "Hard Shell" Baptist 

322 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

minister, and preached at Buckhannon and elsewhere. He was 
also a "Sweat and Herb" doctor, having learned this art of healing 
from the Indians during his captivity. He owned slaves, but 
before his death he freed them, willing them one hundred dollars 
each when of age. Cozad died at his home in 1862, in his eighty- 
ninth year, and was buried in the Morrison Cemetery. 

The adventure of Jacob Cozad with the rattlesnake, while 
among the Indians, is interesting and most significant. 

With primitive man, as far back as record or myth extends, 
the serpent has been an object of mystery and veneration. Man 
in the hunter state has ever been a close student of nature. Con- 
stant contact with the living creatures upon which he preyed, or 
contended in the fierce struggle for existence, schooled him in the 
habits of all manner of life about him. His mind incapable of 
grasping and reasoning out the potent elements governing the 
actions of certain animals, birds, and reptiles, he associated them 
with the supernatural. This led to the individual, or tribal 
adoption of the creature as a sub-deity, or totem, and its worship 
as such. The noiseless uncanny glide of the serpent, without vis- 
ible means of locomotion, and its subtile power over its prey, has 
doubtless been a prime factor in placing it among the chosen 
totems of primitive man. There are but few religious systems in 
the world that does not pay in some way, homage to the serpent. 

With the American Indian various animals, birds and reptiles 
were worshiped as emblematic or representative of the Master of 
Life. In many localities the historic Indian has painted, or 
carved the images of these totem-animals upon the smooth surface 
of stone in the neighborhood of his abode. We also find them 
upon the walls of the secluded and sacred temple cave of the medi- 
cine man and prophet. These crude pictographs and petroglyphs 
:speak plainly of mystic and religious ceremonies. They are the 
pathetic record of the strivings of the children of nature to solve 
the mysterious problems of life, and to probe the dark night of 
the future. 

Interesting examples of the petroglyphs may be seen on a 
large fiat stone on Lost Creek, Harrison County, West Virginia. 
Also on the walls of a small cave, or rock shelter, on Two Lick 
Run, same county. In 1888, I brought the existence of this cave 
to the notice of the Bureau of Ethnology, Washington, which 

Jacob Co/.ad, Indian Captixe 


culminated in a thorough examination of it in the same year by 
Professor W. H. Holmes of that Bureau. (7) 

Of serpents, the rattlesnake was the favorite totem of the 
Red Man. We find the conventional form of this reptile etched 
on the shell gorgets, buried deep in the tumuli (A the mound- 
building Indians. This points strongly, if not conclusi\el\ . tf) its 
lotemic significance with that ancient people. (8) 

It is not know n by what tribe Jacob Cozad, Jr., was held cap- 
tive; but it is supposed to ha\-e been the Shawnee, or possibly the 
Delaware. The incident of the rattlesnake implies that his cap- 
tors were worshippers of that reptile. That such was the custom 
in vogue among the Chippeway-Ojibwas, we learn from Henry's 
observance of this practice while a captive with the Chippewas. (9) 

This specie of worship was also observed among the Menom- 
inee, by Colonel McKenney, (10) while encamped on Fox River, 
Wisconsin, in 1827. In this case, however, sentiment was not so 
highly developed as with the Chippewas, but partook more of the 
nature of Fetich ism. (11) 

(7) See page 492. (S) p. 492. (9) p. 492. (10) p. 49 5. (11) p. 4'^.>. 


The Hurst family settled on Cheat River. The head, William 
or Henry, name uncertain but probably the first given, was a soldier 
in the Revolution and served during the greater part, if not the 
entire period, of that conflict. I have been unable to trace his 
military record, as no claim for pension was ever filed and the 
muster rolls in the War Department are very incomplete. From 
the information at hand it would appear that he came from the 
Wappatomaka to the Cheat River. Tradition has it that the fam- 
ily first lived in Hardy County; and later in Hampshire County. 

Hurst died early and his widow, whose maiden name was 
Sims, came with her family to the West Fork country when her 
eldest child, John, was fourteen years old. The widow remarried 
and the children, eight in number, were placed in different families 
to work for their board and clothing. They were John, Kather- 
ine, Nancy, Daniel, Margaret, Samuel, Sallie and William. John 

married Winans; Katherine married John Shall, and moved to 

Ohio; Nancy married a Mr. King, and settled in Harrison County, 
West Virginia; Daniel married Eleanor Powers, nee Davidson; 

Margaret married Walter McWhorter; Samuel married 

Romine, and settled on a branch of McKinney's Run, Harrison 
County; Sallie married John West, a son of Alexander West, the 
scout, and settled on Fink's Creek, in now Gilmer County, West 

Virginia; William married Sigler, and moved to Ohio, and 

later to Missouri; died in 1869. His descendants are scattered 
through the west and Pacific slope. John and Daniel were sol- 
diers in War of 1812. 

John Hurst was a private in Captain John Bozarth's Com- 
pany, Fifth Regiment, Virginia Militia, under Col. Isaac Booth. 
His service commenced August 30, 1814, and expired March 19, 
1815, during which time he was at Norfolk, Virginia. 

This soldier settled on Fink's Creek, in now Gilmer County, 
West Virginia, ten miles from any human habitation and when 
that region was an unbroken wilderness. He completed his cabin 
and moved on the 10th day of April, and carved from the heavily- 
timbered bottom land a corn patch the same season. He grubbed 
and cut down trees and piled the brush in the day time and at 

'I'll I I liRSTs 325 

night would tire the brush hcaj'is and cut ihc trunks into lops by 
the liuht of the blaze. \\ lien tatit'ued, lie would lay down within 
the circle of light where the wild animals would not \'cnture, and 
sleep soundh'. \\ hen refreshed, he would replenish his fires and 
proceed with his chopping anel otttiines the ring of his axe 
resounded throughout the entire night. The held he thus cleared. 
Hurst cultivated in corn for thirty consecutive years, with no 
perceptible diminution ot fertility. Iht- back-water o\-erflow 
from the creek amply replenished the soil. 

Hurst cleared land and shot wild animals during the week- 
days and devoted his summer Sunday's killing poisonous reptiles. 
These latter were very numerous, and the hrst year he destroyed 
seventy of them b}' actual count. One night he arose to give one 
of the children a drink of water, and when he stepped on the 
loose puncheon fioor, a rattlesnake sounded an alarm in the cor- 
ner of the cabin. The intruder was dispatched. 

Hurst's antipathy for these reptiles was augmented in an 
early day. W hen a boy and residing with his parents on Cheat 
River, he was cow hunting one evening during the first warm 
days of spring. He stepped upon a large boulder to listen for the 
bell. A rattlesnake crawled from under the rock, and he struck 
it with a stick. In its dying throes it sounded an alarm, when 
others made their appearance. The lad was soon kept busy 
knocking them from his perch, as they advanced from every side. 
Before realizing his danger he was surrounded, and was nearly 
overcome b\' the nauseating aroma from the loathsome angr\" 
swarm. This odor, which is always perceptible, is greatly 
increased when the serpent is in a state of excitement. Hurst 
was bare-footed, and his only means of escape was by leaping over 
them, which he did, and ran for a small creek only a short distance 
awa}-. But he was not to escape so easily. The reptiles pursued 
him so closeh' and in such numbers, that he was compelled to 
continue his flight across the stream, which at this point was both 
narrow and shallow. Two of the rattlers swam after him, and 
these he killed. 

The habit of the rattler and the copperhead is to congregate in 
dens in the fall, where they hibernate during the winter. These 
dens occur in favored localities, usualh' among the rocks on the 
sunny side of the hill, or mountain. During the first warm days 
of spring, the inmates will make their appearance and bask in the 

326 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

sun. In the early days of the country, and even now in sparsely 
settled and mountainous districts, the reptiles have been seen by 
the hundreds lying in tangled masses about their dens. This 
they continue to do for a few days before scattering throughout 
the surrounding country. It was such a den that Hurst happened 
upon. (1) 

Just before moving to the West Fork, a bear came near the 
Hurst cabin one night and the dog chased it up a tree on the 
river bank. John, who, it must be remembered, was only thirteen 
or fourteen years of age, procured his father's gun and a torch and 
hastening to the spot built a fire with the intention of remaining 
there until morning when he could shoot the bear. In the after 
part of the night a terrific storm burst over the forest and the rain 
descending in a deluge the fire was soon extinguished. The lad 
sought shelter in the house but the faithful dog remained on guard. 
Just before daybreak, bruin came down from his perch when the 
dog, a strong, courageous animal, engaged it in deadly conflict. 
The struggle was protracted for one of its nature. The uproar 
was plainly audible at the cabin and the mother experienced great 
difficulty in restraining the intrepid boy from going to the help 
of the brave dog. Finally the tumult subsided and the dog came 
home badly hurt. Soon as it was light, the lad hastened to the 
scene of the fight and found the sand bar on which it had been 
waged, stained with blood and other signs attesting to the desper- 
ate nature of the battle. The bear had made off leaving a trail 
of blood. This the boy followed to the top of a bare ridge where 
it was lost. 

After settling on Fink's Creek, wild animals and reptiles vied 
in making Hurst's life strenuous. Panthers were so fierce and 
numerous that the children were not permitted to go alone in the 
woods. One autumn day the father left home to secure help for 
a "house raising." Not returning in the evening, George, the 
eldest boy, went to bring the cows from the forest. He had pro- 
ceeded about a quarter of a mile from home when he stepped from 
the path to pick up a few hickory nuts. While thus engaged, a 
small dog which accompanied him and had preceded him some 
three or four rods, gave a yelp of agony. Cautiously peering 
ahead, he saw the dog in the clutches of two panthers. Unob- 
served by the animals, he climbed a dog-wood bush, while they 
carried their prey a short distance up the hillside and concealed it 

(1) See page 494. 

The Hursts 327 

in a small ca\crn in a ledge of rocks. The boy descended from 
the bush and ran home. The dog's body was never afterwards 
disturbed, but eventually shriveled away. Panthers are extremely 
dangerous when guarding their prey. 

Hurst was hunting one day near the summit of a ridge when 
he discovered the partly-eaten carcass of a deer only recently 
killed, and buried in a mound of leaves. W hilc examining the 
find, he was startled by a series of screams emanating from the 
lower slopes of the hill; and looking he saw a large panther charging 
dircctl}- toward him. A steep bluff intervened, and as the animal 
climbed this, it was hidden from view for a moment. Hurst 
sprang to the side of a large tree and raised his rifle. When the 
panther reached the brow of the declivity, still shrieking with rage, 
it paused to locate its enemy; when the rifle rang out and it fell 

Hurst was a splendid marksman. Once while watching a 
lick from a ''blind," he caught the glimpse of a shadowy form 
approach the brow of the bluff just over the lick. It stopped and 
remained motionless, with only a spot of it, some four inches in 
diameter, visible through the dense foliage of the thicket. Hurst 
not knowing what the animal was refrained from tiring, trusting 
to secure a deer. But as the sun sank behind the forest-clad hills 
and no other game in sight, he determined to take a shot at the 
strangely silent visitor on the bluff. At the report of his rifle 
the animal bounded twenty feet through the bushes and disap- 
peared. Upon investigation, the hunter found a large panther 
stone dead. It had only made two or three leaps, the ball having 
passed directly through its heart. It, too, had been lying in wait 
for deer. 

At another time while hunting with a companion, their dogs 
chased an immense panther which took refuge in a lofty tree. It 
walked upon a large limb where it crouched watching its enemies 
on the ground. Hurst declared his intention of shooting it in the 
eye. His companion remonstrated, pointing out the imminent 
danger of an attack should he miss, or slightly wound the animal. 
He should aim at the vital part of its body, where the heavy ball 
would be sure of disabling it. Hurst, self-confident, disregarded 
the warning and fired. The panther toppled from its perch and 
fell lifeless among the dogs. The bullet had entered the eye so 
cleverh- that not even a lash had been damaged. 

328 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Hurst's hair was turned prematurely gray by the following 
incident: He often in the summer time slept alone in the woods, 
preferring the open air to the close cabin. He would build a 
"smothered" fire to "smudge" the insect pests, rake up a few dry 
leaves for a couch and pillowing his head on the root of a shelter- 
ing tree, sleep soundly. One night he was awakened by a stealthy 
creeping noise at no great distance from where he was lying, 
followed by a light tapping in the dead leaves. This was succeeded 
by the same gliding rustle as if some animal was crawling towards 
him. Again it ceased, when once more came that ominous: tap, 
tap, tap, like the measured toll of a funeral bell. This was 
repeated at successfully nearer points, while Hurst lay helpless 
and unable to see the supposed danger. He had not the least 
doubt but that he was being stalked by a panther. The tapping 
was made by its tail as it paused in its approach. Hurst grasped 
his knife, which, with his rifle, was at his side, but dared not move 
for fear of provoking an immediate attack. After a seemingly 
long interval, he discerned a light spot on a dark and dimly out- 
lined body flattened to the ground only a few feet away. This 
proved to be his dog, who forbidden, had followed him and con- 
scious of disobedience, was endeavoring in its mute way to curry 
favor with a displeased master. It is needless to say that the 
faithful animal was greeted kindly. Hurst's hair from this time 
on turned rapidly white. 

Perhaps it was this same dog, whose disobedience upon 
another occasion, was probably instrumental in saving his mas- 
ter's life. Forbidding the dog to follow him, Hurst was watching 
a deer lick where the dog soon joined him, manifesting great 
uneasiness. He was scolded down, but immediately looking up 
into the tree overhead, he bristled his mane and growled. Hurst's 
glance followed and he saw a great panther in the act of leaping 
upon him. Like a flash his rifle went to his shoulder and the 
panther came hurtling to the ground dead. 

Bears were numerous around Hurst's wilderness home. One 
autumn while hunting his winter's meat, he came upon the trail 
of four bears where they had entered a dense laurel thicket, or 
"bed," as usually called. Hurst crawled after them on hands 
and knees, and after much difficulty located the game lying fast 
asleep in a depression made by the upturned roots of a fallen tree. 
Selecting the fattest he dispatched it with a single shot, when the 

Tin: I liRSTS 329 

olhcr ihrce scampered a\\a\-. The (me killed pr()\-ei.l lo he very 
fat, weighing some four hundred pounds. 'I"he hunter exjieri- 
enced hard labor in rolling it from the cavity onto ground where 
the carcass could be dressed. The hams cured as bacon, weighed 
when sold in Clarksburg the next spring, forty pounds each. The 
price was twelve and a half cents a pound. 

Hurst had innumerable adventures with both bears and 
panthers but the folknving was, he afterwards declared, the most 
trying ordeal in his hunter life. He shot and wounded a bear 
near his home and it escaped into a nearby laurel bed. He called 
to his children, George and "Betsy," to bring two young dogs which 
he was training. The children came in haste to see the sport. 
The dogs took up the trail and entered the thicket but immediately 
came out with accelerated speed closely pursued by the enraged 
bear. The children ran screaming to their father and clung 
tightly to the tail of his hunting shirt; while the dogs with true 
canine instinct also sought the protection of their master. Around 
the hunter and children in a narrow circle raced the demoralized 
dogs with bruin growling at their heels. Hurst could not use his 
rifle with safety and the situation began to look desperate. Finally 
clubbing his gun, he succeeded in felling the bear and then dis- 
patched it with his knife. 

But few excelled Hurst as a hunter. The wary turkc\- he 
decoyed to its death by calls upon the hollow wing bone of this 
bird; and the wolf by imitating the peculiar pack-gathering howl 
of this animal. These feats, however, were not uncommon with 
the hunter. 

Wolves were numerous, and Hurst, for years, could keep no 
sheep because of their depredations. One night a band of four 
of them attacked his hogs and in turn were set upon by the dog. 
As Hurst opened the door, a powerful wolf threw the dog at his 
feet. The light from the open fireplace streaming through the 
doorway frightened the pack away. The next morning Hurst 
went in pursuit and trailing them about half a mile, he discovered 
a single wolf standing in the brush, and hred. 1'he animal fell, 
when another one leaped from the thicket and ran down the hill. 
Reloading his gun, Hurst howled and was answered in the dis- 
tance. Repeating the call, he soon had the wolf within rifle 
range, when it, too, was killed. In this way he dispatched a third 
one and then went in search of the one he saw running. He was 

330 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

surprised to come upon its dead body. Unawares to him, it had 
stood in line and beyond the wolf first killed, and the bullet had 
slain them both. Four wolves with three shots before breakfast 
was no mean achievement even in that early day. 

Hurst found a cavern in which a mother wolf had her young. 
He did not disturb them, but just before the puppies were old 
enough to leave the nest, he captured them, letting the old wolf 
escape. This he did for three or four consecutive seasons, realiz- 
ing eight dollars a scalp, the bounty paid by the state. Later, as 
the number of wolves grew decimated, and the injury to the live 
stock industry decreased, the bounty was reduced to four dollars. 
It was not unusual for settlers to "breed" wolves for bounty 
money as did Hurst; nor was it regarded as illegitimate gain. 
There was a large hollow chestnut tree on the farm where I was 
raised, from which for two years young wolves were secured by 
Thomas C. Hinzeman, a local hunter. This was at a later day 
and when the animal was nearing extinction. 

When a young man, Hurst walked through the wilderness to 
the salt works at Charleston and cut wood for the furnace at 
twenty-five cents a cord. He was very athletic and made four 
cords a day. It was practically the only place in the country 
where money was paid for labor and he remained until he had 
earned the munificent sum of forty dollars. When starting on 
his return home he was short of powder, nor could any be pro- 
cured at the works. He left at noon and as he passed the last 
isolated cabin in the settlement, he ofltered the settler twenty-five 
cents for two loads of powder, which was refused. Hurst pro- 
ceeded about a half-mile further when he shot a fawn and encamped 
for the night. He roasted venison for supper and soon his camp 
was invested by wolves. Some of them came so near that he 
heard them gnawing the bones which he had cast aside. A rifle 
shot dispersed them for the night. 

Hurst lay down by his camp fire in repose. Inured to a 
hunter's life he was a light sleeper and far in the night was aroused 
by the approach of stealthy footsteps. An intuition of impending 
danger prompted him without rising to glide beyond the blaze of 
his camp fire. He took shelter behind the upturned roots of a 
tree and with rifle thrust over this effective screen, he watched 
and listened. Soon a dog came into the camp light and was 
recognized as one seen at the cabin where the ammunition had 

The Hursts 331 

been refused him the evening before. Cautious steps drew nearer 
and presently there appeared on the opposite side of the low- 
burning fagots, silhouetted against the dark background of forest, 
the form of his friend of the powder episode. He was carrying a 
rifle and at his belt hung a long murderous-looking knife. The 
sinister design of the night prowler seemed fully manifest. In 
negotiating for the powder Hurst had disclosed that he was from 
the salt works where he had been employed and the stranger, 
right!}' surmising that he had money, had followed him with evil 
intent. For a moment the man stood scrutinizing the deserted 
camp and then turned away. During this brief interval Hurst 
drew careful aim at the intruder and twice did his nervous finger 
touch the trigger. Reflecting, however, that he was in no imme- 
diate danger, he restrained his impulse to fire. Hurst did not 
return to his camp that night, nor did he see or hear anything 
more of his unwelcome visitor. 

The next morning after a breakfast of roast venison, and pre- 
paring a steak to serve for dinner, he set out on his journey. It 
was forty miles to the settlement on Steer Creek, now Gilmer 
County, and he reached there early in the evening. Hurst lived 
to old age and died at his home on Fink's Creek, W est Virginia. 

Daniel Hurst volunteered at Clarksburg, Virginia, as a sub- 
stitute for Thomas Bond in Captain John Bozarth's Company, 
Fifth Regiment Virginia Militia, under Colonel Isaac Booth. 
He was mustered in at Bridgeport, Harrison Count)", Virginia, 
about September 1, 1814. Captain John McW'horter was the 
United States Recruiting officer of that station at that time. 
Hurst with his company, was marched to Norfolk, Virginia, 
where he was honorably discharged in February or March, 1815. 
On the return trip home, which was made on foot, the soldiers 
suffered so intensely from lack of food, that Hurst, who was 
marching in the rear, came one day upon the closely picked bones 
of a dead horse by the road-side. He said afterwards: "I would 
have been glad for a piece of the meat, but those in advance had 
taken every scrap." Hurst afterwards received warrants for two 
hundred and eighty acres of Militarj' Bounty Land. 

On May 31, 1818, Daniel Hurst married Olenor Powers and 
settled on Duck Creek, (2) Harrison County. Later he moved 
to Fink's Creek, Lewis County. In his declaration for pension 
his wife's name is given as Ellen Davison. Hurst was allowed a 

(2) See page 495. 

332 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

pension of $96. 00 a year. He died in Lewis County, West Vir- 
ginia, October 7, 1872. 

Daniel Hurst was a good-natured, sympathetic man but 
often incurred the displeasure of others by his impetuosity and 
readiness to decry any apparent injustice to the weak or unfortu- 
nate. Once, in company with my father, driving stock across 
the miountains, and while in Staunton, Virginia, they were regaled 
with stories of slave floggings by several rough slave overseers. 
One worthy loudly boasted: "I have tied up many a nigger, 
stripped him, and given him a hundred lashes before breakfast." 
Hurst sprang to his feet, his eyes flashing with indignation, and 
shaking a finger in the face of the blustering stranger, burst forth, 
"Yes, and you ought to be in Hell before breakfast. Why, damn 
you, you don't know how to treat a nigger. In our country we 
feed them and keep them as fat and slick as stable horses, and 
when the master wants to shave he calls Sambo and uses his face 
as a mirror. We don't whip slaves, and if you were half as decent 
as the meanest nigger, you would find no occasion to use the lash." 
The boaster quailed before this furious outburst and was content 
to make no reply. 

In the widow's claim for pension she states that her maiden 
name was Eleanor Davidson, and that she married Powers who 
died about fifteen months later; and then she married Daniel 



In the boyhood days of my fatlicr there Hved in his neighbor- 
hood on McKinney's Run, an honest, eccentric, good-natured 
character by the name of James Bent, Belt or Broadbelt; usually 
called "Jim Belt." The variation was owing to the careless mode 
of speaking names in certain sections of the country, and did not 
reflect on the good reputation of its possessor. Jim was a tall, 
handsome, well-proportioned specimen of the Virginia mountain- 
eer; free-hearted and generous to a fault. His voice was like the 
roar of a lion and his soul embraced the universe. Not an habit- 
ual drinker, yet was he better at his cups than the accumulation 
of this world's goods with its accompanying worry and annoy- 
ances. His boast was: "I came into this world with nothing and 
I want to leave it in the same way, with all accounts squared." 
His hope was realized. 

Jim's conscientiousness was proverbial. He decried chican- 
ery in all of its forms; a man should live up to his word and moral 
obligations. \\ hen drinking, his ideas of right and wrong were 
ofttimes somewhat confused. John Fletcher, a neighbor, bor- 
rowed his saddle which he was to return the same evening. On 
that day Jim took a few eggs to Jane Lew, the nearest village, to 
exchange them for a pound of coffee and incidentally got drunk. 
The afternoon came on wet and drizzly, and Jim, ever loath to 
leave genial companions, did not start home until long after night- 
fall. By the time he reached his domicile, the rain had increased 
to a steady downpour, and the night was pitchy black. 

Owing to the inclemency of the weather, and the fact that 
Jim had no horse and could make no immediate use of the saddle, 
Mr. Fletcher did not return it as agreed. This aroused Jim's ire, 
and despite the earnest protest of his patient wife, he tramped a 
mile back over the muddy road and calling Fletcher from his bed, 
berated him roundh' for his negligence and lack of integrity. 
Fletcher took it good-naturedly, closed the door and went back 
to his couch. 

Jim returned home, still "preaching," and on his way back 
was met by a belated neighbor who inquired why he was out so 
late in such a storm, and the cause of his perturbation. \\ ithout 

334 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

halting, the stickler for truth replied: "I am saying curse John 
Fletcher: and curse the man who would not get up at the hour of 
midnight to burn his shirt to see how to curse him: I will curse 
him 'til the end of eternity; and then, curse him, I will double 
my diligency on him." The next morning Jim called on Mr. 
Fletcher with a profuse apology and the offer of his saddle so long 
as he had need for it. 

At a later day Jim's grey horse, Jack, the only one that he 
owned, broke into his cornfield, and he was drunk enough to 
believe that he should enforce the law against the culprit. Placing 
a rope about Jack's neck, he led him to the summit of Buck Knob, 
(1) and seating himself on a log, still holding the rope, there alone 
in the woods, proceeded to preach old Jack's funeral. 

"Well Jack," exclaimed the self-constituted judge and moral- 
ist, "this is a damned pretty scrape in your old days. Your past 
life has been a credit to you and your country. For your previous 
good record I fain would spare you: but you have fallen. Meteor- 
like, you have flashed athwart the way, only to go down in the 
oblivion of night. All too late have you learned that the aeonian 
career of the tiniest atom in the Milky-way, is, far preferable to 
that of the greatest of shooting stars. You have violated the law 
and the morals of the universe cry out against you. Immutable 
Justice demands that your life atone for your wrongdoing. In 
the evening of life, when homage and grandeur should be yours, 
here, on this magnificent mountain top, canopied with the trees 
of the ages, and overlooking the scenes of your youth, are you to 
die in disgrace. You are sentenced to be hanged by the neck 
until you are dead, dead, dead.'" 

Jim now fixed a running noose in the end of the rope about 
Jack's neck, and then bent down a stout sapling to which he 
securely fastened the other end. Then bidding poor Jack an 
affectionate farewell, he let go the bush, which in its rebound, 
threw the executioner over the brink of the summit and sent him 
rolling down the steep declivity. Scrambling to his feet he 
climbed back to the scene of action, but the horse was nowhere 
in sight. The rope breaking, Jack had decided that it was a 
reprieve and galloped away. 

Jim gazed around awe-struck and mystified. "Why, where 
is Jack.''" he exclaimed. "Well, now!" he mused, "perhaps I 

James Belt 335 

was mistaken. Jack, aflcr ail was not so bad. Like Knoch and 
i"",lijali, he has l^cen translated. " 

)im was a soldier in the War of 1812, and served from August 
l-.t, 1814, to September 20th, 1814; as private in Captain Edward 
Digg's Company, \'irginia Militia. He was extremch' proud of 
his militar}' abilit\' and training. 

At log rollings, where the ubiquitous jug alwa\-s appeared, 
Jim would "tea up," and at the close of the day's labor muster the 
men as a company, armed with handspikes and march them 
to the house with all the dignity, pomp and precision of a true 

Like many others, Jim's courage was wanting in some respects. 
Napoleon, the military scourge of Europe, would pale at the sight 
of a cat; while our hero of 1812 stood in mortal terror of a toad. 

One day at a log rolling Jim, during the noon hour, was sent 
to the cellar for a bucket of "hard cider." In anticipation of 
coming joy, he placed the vessel, and as he turned the faucet his 
eye fell upon a large toad ensconced by the side of the barrel. He 
sprang back and stood gazing transfixed at the goggle-eyed mon- 
ster, until a half-hogshead of cider had gushed forth and flooded 
the floor. The proprietor wondering at Jim's delay, entered the 
cellar and in amazement inquired the meaning of such waste. 
Without shifting his eyes the captain of the "hand-spike brigade" 
pointed to the terrible batrachian now sitting "belly deep" in the 
sparkling beverage, and exclaimed: "Do-you-see-that-damned- 

At another time Jim was mowing grass for a neighbor on low 
marshy ground, infested with numerous "spring" frogs. One of 
these on being disturbed sprang against the mower's scythe, which 
caused him to pause in considerable agitation. He resumed work, 
however, until his ankle was struck by another of the leaping 
terrors. This was more than the grim fighter could stand, and with 
an exclamation of dismay, he shouldered his scythe and abruptly 
left the held saying: "The whole earth seems polluted with the 
cursed things." 

Jim, like many others of his day, was wholly uneducated and 
could neither read nor write; but was both pleasing and polite in 
speech and bearing. This, with his nati\e dignity and really 
good character, made him a general favorite with all who knew 

336 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

him. When in his cups he was fond of oratory, and the village 
boys supplying him with a few drinks and "ofhcial documents," 
consisting usually of old almanacs, would mount him on a store- 
box in the street and call for a speech on some topic of vital impor- 
tance. Jim was ever ready to respond to these patriotic appeals, 
and after making some extravagant statements would say: "Now, 
gentlemen, I will prove this by my doc's;" (documents) and pro- 
ceed to quote elaborately from his last year's almanacs. 

Jim possessed not an acre of ground, but when in these moods 
he imagined that he was very wealthy. He "owned" all the land 
from Jane Lew to his home, distant two miles. At such times, 
in his boundless joy, he would hurl his hat high in the air, giving 
vent to a wild throat bursting roar. Then, as he listened in 
ecstacy to the echoes rolling along the wooded hillside, he would 
bellow: "/j" it possible that we are in the land of the living and the 
land that flows with milk and honey?" 

Some of Jim's escapades were pathetic. One day while 
drinking, he conceived the munificent idea of buying a wool hat 
for each of his "six boys." He was, at that time childless and had 
no money, but the unscrupulous merchant well knowing his 
honesty, let him have the goods on credit. The next morning Jim 
went to flailing wheat at fifty cents a day to pay for the useless 
hats, costing one dollar each. 

Jim was a magnificent horseman, and at one time rode as 
mail carrier on the Benjamin Bell contract. His splendid appear- 
ance on his fine cream-colored saddler was remarked by all, and 
was recognizable at a great distance upon the highway. He once 
owned a small bay pony called Sam. Unlike the recreant Jack, 
Sam was the joy of his master's life, sharing his light-hearted pov- 
erty and entering into his military exploits with an intelligence 
and equine affection that was almost human. Jim resided on a 
branch of McKinney's Run. He often went to Jane Lew, where 
he would usually take aboard a cargo of "bust head" before start- 
ing home. Whether from genuine endearment for Sam and a 
deep solicitude for his comfort, or from some other cause, these 
trips were generally made on foot. Some distance below Jim's 
lowly mansion was a bottom field, perhaps one-fourth of a mile in 
length, open to the commons. In this secluded sunlit dale, Sam 
was wont to while away his time nibbling at the short goose-pasture 
found there. 

James Bki.t 337 

Jim, erstwhile meandering home, hilarious with "tangle- 
foot" and swelling with patriotism, when reaching this held, 
would call: ^'' A-t-l-e-n-t-i-o-n: To A-r-m-s:" Recognizing the war 
cr\' of his ''pard/' Sam would respond with alacrity, rushing 
to Jim's side with every nerve tense and ciui\ering with anticipa- 
tion of the coming "fray." 

Throwing himself on Sam's bare back, this grim warrior 
would proceed to marshal an imaginary army in battle array. In 
a stentorian voice that could be heard for a mile, the "general" 
would arrange his forces in divisions, regiments, battalions and 
companies. Then in tones that reverberated among the surround- 
ing hills, would thunder: 

''''C-h-a-r-g-e the E-n-e-m-y:'' With no restraining bit or rein, 
Sam would dash away at the top of his speed for the far end of 
the field. As the cavalcade reached the goal, "M-a-r-k T-i-m-e:" 
would resound above the thunder of hoofs and Sam would imme- 
diately "take up." 

''Right about face:^^ and Sam would wheel and stand motion- 
less while the "general" rearranged his shattered host for the 
counter charge. These maneuvers the "pards" would go through 
by the hour and ofttimes long after nightfall, with perhaps not a 
soul in sight. Often Jim would take Sam to the summit of Buck 
Knob, and there command his "army" so vociferously, as to be 
heard all over the surrounding country. 

Peace to the memory of the "pards." 

Jim died at his residence near Jane Lew, October 11, 1851, 
and was buried either in the Harmony Cemetery or at Broad Run. 

On April 18, 1878, his widow, Mrs. Jane Scarf, nee Sims, 
applied for, and was granted a pension on account of her husband's 
military service in War of 1812. She was then residing near Jack- 
sonville, West \ irginia. In her claim for pension, she stated that 
she believed that her husband's name was Bent. She died April 
3, 1887, aged eighty-four years. 


The belief in witchcraft and auguries was intuitive with the 
border settler. The Witch, and. the Black Wizard were mediums 
of evil spirits, or the Devil, to do secret injury to the human race. 
The baleful influence of these invidious enemies of mankind was 
more to be dreaded than the visible dangers besetting the wilder- 
ness home. The scout and the hunter knew not at what hour a 
"witch spell" cast over his usually trusty rifle, would render it 
impotent in the conflict or the chase. Not only the rifle, and the 
shot-pouch with its contents, but his own person was subject to 
those appalling "spells." Flagrant, or continued "bad luck" was 
always attributable to the malignant "witch spell." These could 
be broken only by negative conjury and necromancy. In every 
settlement there was usually a conjurer, or "witch doctor." These 
gifted persons, successfully combating the malevolency of the 
witch, were regarded as public benefactors. Their status among 
those believing in sorcery, was scarce below that of the good 
Indian "medicine man" with his own people. 

These superstitious fallacies were so strong with our first 
settlers, that it is no surprise that we still find the occult among 
their descendants in the isolated and mountainous districts. It 
is no unusual occurrence at this day for the stalwart mountaineer 
to be saddled, bridled and ridden to some distant town and return, 
in a single night. One unfortunate, living on the headwaters of 
the West Fork of the Monongahela, was subjected to this indig- 
nity. He was galloped to Weston, the county seat, a distance of 
ten miles and back; but in this case the impressed steed fared 
most sumptuously. The gratitude of his invisible rider was 
attested in a generous feed: "Eight big y'ars uv yaller co'n jes' 
like I wus a hoss." The effects of this strenuous night journey 
and the bounteous "feed" were such that it was necessary the 
next day for the jaded "broncho" to tramp seven miles to a 
Witch Doctor, for the purpose of having the "spell" broken. 

I remember an old Virginian, a tenant on my father's farm, 
who was a victim marked for the witches. He could not keep a 
cow: if he did, a neighboring woman, who was said to be part 
Indian, would draw the milk by spreading a table cloth over a 

Witchcraft ^^9 

hollow stump and then "stripping" at the four corners. He lost 
a horse through the machinations of a witch, or sorceress, whose 
enmity he had incurred. The long-suffering victim determined, 
if [X)ssiblc, to rid the community of this Machiavellian curse. He 
would kill the witch. This could be done by burning the dead 
body of the horse, and perforating it with a pointed stick while 
being consumed. Proceeding to carry this scheme into effect, 
and while the "killing" was in progress, the executioner was 
startled to see a shadowy black cat leap from the flames and vanish. 
This was the witch, now destroyed forever. 

But there were others, and the persecution continued. The 
old gentleman was lamed by a "ha'r ball" shot into his leg by one 
of these malicious creatures. These "balls" are composed of hair 
and other foreign material, and are very troublesome. He thought 
to remove it by incision, but was deterred from further effort 
when he felt the point of his jackknife grate on the end of a wire. 
His wife, by using due caution, escaped many of the personal ills 
which befell her less fortunate spouse. In crossing a field, she 
avoided the bars, or gateway', nor would she climb the fence con- 
secutively in the same place. 

This family was not alone in misfortune. A near neighbor 
lost several pigs through the agency of a witch. The proof of 
this was apparent when the skins of the dead porkers turned dark. 
The half-Indian woman was the guilty party, but in this case the 
"execution" by fire and spear proved ineffectual. The "witch" 
lived for many years after. 

In another instance, which came under my observation, a 
farmer dismantled a small log stable and burned it with the body 
of a "bewitched" horse that had died therein, for the purpose of 
annihilating the witch. 

Mr. John S. Hall, who has been referred to often in the course 
of this volume as one well versed in local history and traditions, 
gave me the following story. It dates back within forty years of 
the close of the Virginia border, and is the same occult philosophy 
that swayed the minds of the first Monongahela pioneers. It is 
not unlike others that were told me in childhood by the mountain 
people, and is interesting to the folk-lore student. 

"llie only person exercising the occult in bchalt of some of 
my earliest acquaintances," said Mr. Hall, "was Elkany Roby, 
known as 'Elk\'."' He was a pioneer of Collins Settlement, in 

340 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Lewis County, West Virginia, and at my earliest recollection he 
had reached the zenith of his fame. His summary method of dis- 
posing of witches gave him notoriety. He shot them with a silver 
bullet. Roby's chief work as wizard was in removing spells from 
guns. The old flint locks were very subject to these spells; but 
sometimes the spell was on the hunter. It was the wizard's work 
to ascertain the cause, and apply the remedy. For this purpose, 
the gun was first examined, unbreeched, and every piece scruti- 
nized and cleaned. If no trace of the witch was found, the shot- 
pouch was then examined, which generally proved that the spell 
was on the hunter. Sometimes the witch was found to be young 
and timid, and could be frightened away without resorting to 
drastic means. In other cases the depredation was so great that 
the ow^ner was advised to dispose of the gun to a gunsmith for 
what he could get, and to buy a new one. He was not to sell or 
trade it to anyone in the neighborhood, under pain of the severest 
spell that the wizard could conjure. 

"Roby's execution of a witch was weird and unique. A 
charcoal outline of the witch was drawn on a board, which was 
then set up against a tree, facing the south. Then taking his 
position in front of the witch-board (the witch was invisible to 
the uninitiated) he would load his gun. A charm which he took 
from his mouth was carefully pushed down on the bullet. Then 
muttering an incantation, unintelligible to the few permitted to 
witness the scene, he aimed, and discharged the weapon. Usually 
a splotch of blood would appear on the drawing, which indicated 
that the shot was fatal. Sometimes the process had to be repeated 
before such a result was obtained. If only wounded, the witch 
was liable to return when healed. No bullet mark was ever visi- 
ble on the board, and that the outlined figure should flow blood 
was a wonder. But all is mystery in the occult. 

"When well advanced in years, Roby moved to the Little 
Kanawha, now Gilmer County. The fame of his achievements 
had preceded him, and fortunately he arrived when his help was 
most needed. He had occupied his new home but a few days 
when he was called upon to slay the most malevolent witch that 
had ever visited the community. It was just at the opening of 
the sugar season, and a neighbor found a large 'turn-off' of 
sugar unfit for use. It had a salty taste and a disagreeable odor. 
Even children, so fond of sweets, refused it with disgust. Roby 

\\ ITCH CRAFT .l41 

was suninioiic'd, and after a careful examination of the premises, 
pronounced it the most malicious and diabolical case that had 
ever come to his notice. No mercy should be shown such a witch, 
and he would exterminate it if in his power. If successful, he 
would e.xpect a compensation of hft}- pounds of sugar; this was 
satisfactory to the victim, and Roby proceeded to business. 

"He first directed that the spiles be withdrawn from the trees, 
and the troughs emptied, washed, and set up to drain. While 
this was being done, the wizard returned home to prepare for the 
conflict. In the afternoon he appeared, bearing his trusty rifle, 
and a board on which was drawn in bold lines the figure of a witch. 
This was placed against a noble sugar tree near the center of the 
grove; then calling his patron to witness the operation, the execu- 
tioner took his position in front of the image. He carefully 
charged his rifle, exhibiting the shining bullet before thrusting it 
to its place, with the secret charm added. Then invoking a 
'spell,' he took deliberate aim and fired. As the echo of the shot 
rang through the grove, and the wizard was yet wreathed in smoke, 
the excited patron exclaimed, 'Begosh, yer hit 'er, old man, I see 
blood.' 'Yes,' was the solemn reply, 'I seed the witch drap and 
vanish.' The blood showed a wound near the heart, and conse- 
quently fatal. 

"All hands, including the women, were then called to replace 
the spiles and troughs, the wizard assisting. The next morning 
the disenchanter was on hand to note the result. Pure sweet 
water was flowing and the troughs well filled. The magician took 
charge of the furnace while the family did the outside work. That 
night they had a 'turn-off' to delight an epicure. The salutary 
result of the incantation was complete, and the hero of the occa- 
sion was gratefully invited to take control of the furnace, and 
share in the 'run'. 

"The late William Bennett, of \\'alkers\-ille, a gentleman of 
intelligence and veracity, got closer to Roby's conjuring than any- 
one else. This he accomplished by patronage and flattery. The 
Bennetts were renowned hunters, and for one so distinguished to 
bring his gun for treatment appealed to the old man's vanity. 
After a long and intimate study of Roby and his 'Black Art,' Mr. 
Bennett expressed the belief that Roby was honest and sincere in 
his assumption of magical powers." 


Of the carnivora of West Virginia, the common or Black Bear, 
the Grey or Timber Wolf and the Panther were the principal: and 
the last two by far the most ferocious. Owing to the many game 
preserves established by the different sporting clubs in recent 
years, the first of these animals, which, more properly speaking, 
is omnivorous, have increased in such numbers as to become a 
menace to the domestic stock in their vicinity. The panther is 
still met with in certain remote regions, but the wolf is practically 
extinct. A few are said to haunt the more obscure wilds of the 
Alleghenies and the gloomy recesses of the Gauley Mountains in 
Pocahontas County, but their pack-howling has long since 
ceased to be a source of dread to the belated traveler. In Sep- 
tember 1902, Mr. William E. Connelley heard them one dark 
night in the deep forest between Buffalo Creek and Gauley River, 
in Nicholas County. (1) The last one seen on the waters of 
Hacker's Creek, was about 1854, by Mr. Thomas Boram, on the 
farm where I was raised on Buckhannon Run. The last one killed 
in that section was by Mr. Thomas Hinzman, on the head of the 
right-hand fork of the same stream. 

The settler pursued the wolf with rifle, trap and poison; but 
Doddridge claims that the rabies was the prime factor in their 
extermination. (2) But some of them, at least, escaped all ene- 
mies and died of old age. \\'hen the Hurst family was residing 
on the Cheat River, the children going to the spring one morning 
found a wolf lying dead nearby w^ith no visible marks of violence 
upon it. An examination revealed that it did not have a tooth in 
its head, and that it had succumbed to the ravages of hunger and 
senile decay. 

Owing to the crafty nature of the wolf, comparatively few of 
them fell before the hunter's aim. The strategy by which they 
secure their prey enabled them to flourish in vast numbers through- 
out this uninhabited wilderness teeming with game. Their cun- 
ning in this respect has always been proverbial; (3) and today 
among the western Indians, the success of the most noted hunter 
is usually attributable to the skill or "power" obtained from the 
wolf through the occult. The young Indian whose tutelary is the 
wolf, will be sure to excel as a hunter. 

(1) See page 495. (2) p. 495. (3) p. 495. 

Carnivora oi- W kst Virginia 343 

Singly the wolf is cowardly, but when driven by extreme hun- 
ger it is then very bold. \\ hile my grandparents were living on 
McKinney's Run, a wolf caught a sheep in daylight and throt- 
tled it against the corner of the house. My grandmother hearing 
the disturbance, ran out and chased the marauder away. \\ hen 
banded together in hunting packs, they are exceedingly fierce and 
dangerous. They overran the entire Trans-Allegheny. (4) No 
one was safe alone in the woods at night, or at any time during 
the winter when the wolves were often in a starving condition. 

Treed by Wolves. 

Late one evening Henry Glaze was hunting on the right- 
hand fork of Buckhannon Run, near the base of the mountain and 
not far from the trail which led from West's Fort to the Buckhan- 
non settlement; on land later owned by David Wilson, when he 
discovered fresh wolf sign. The State paid a bounty for the 
scalp of this animal, and with the view of decoying one or more of 
them within rifle shot, he uttered a howl so like that of the wolf 
that ere the echoes had ceased there came an answering cry from 
the woods. This was in tur,n answered at intervals from several 
points in the forest. Elated with his success, the wily hunter 
repeated the cry and was answered at closer proximity. Flach 
successive howl brought a response more numerous and from a 
rapidly narrowing circle. Before the hunter realized his danger 
he heard the swift patter of feet among the dry leaves, and hastily 
dropping his rifle, he had barely time to spring into the branches 
of a large dogwood bush. He was immediately surrounded by a 
cordon of hungry beasts, which, made fearless by numbers, surged 
and snarled at the root of the tree. Safely ensconced in the 
branches of the sturdy dogwood, the hunter gazed down into the 
green and baleful eyes of the hungry pack. The deadly fangs of 
a hundred froth-covered jaws gleamed and snapped in the fitful 
starlight. The sanguine hunter was now himself hunted. Dur- 
ing the entire night the wolves growled and fought beneath him. 
Finally they began to leave, one by one. When the last wolf had 
slunk into the dark thickets the hunter descended and hurried to 
camp, content to return without wolf scalps. 

At a later day, Mrs. Edmonds, who resided on McKinney's 
Run, was coming home from Lost Creek late one evening, and 

(4) Sec paec 496. 

344 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

just as she reached the brow of the ridge dividing those two 
streams, she was startled to find that she was being closely pur- 
sued by wolves. Escape by flight was impossible, so she took 
refuge in a beech tree. There she was held prisoner, until after 
dark, when her family, knowing the danger of the forest path, 
went in search of her with torches. At the approach of the 
lights the wolves vanished. Mrs. Edmonds then descended from 
her uncomfortable perch, and the party returned home in safety. 

A Wilderness Mystery. 

When Lost Creek was first visited by hunters and home seek- 
ers, they discovered signs of some one having been there previously, 
and who seemingly was lost. From this, the stream was named. 
Various trees on which ' T. G." had been carved were found. One 
such stood near a brackish, or "salt" lick which the hunters found 
on a branch of the creek; a great resort for deer. To this day 
this branch is known as "T. G. Lick Run." The letters were 
supposed to be the initials of the unfortunate one, whose coming 
to that wilderness ever remained as deep a mystery as was that 
of his subsequent fate. 

Stalked by a Panther. 

The perils experienced by the early settlers from the panther 
cannot at this day be realized.' Though cautious and stealthy 
to the point of cowardice, this animal, when driven by hunger or 
disturbed at its prey, is extremely fierce and dangerous. Innum- 
erable adventures of pioneers with this animal in the Virginia 
forests could be recounted, of which the following are illustrative: 

One of the Bozarths was cow-hunting near his home one eve- 
ning, and, contrary to the general rule, was unarmed. For the 
purpose of listening for the bell, and a possibly wider view, he 
mounted a large rock where he was stalked by an enormous 
panther; which he discovered in the act of springing upon him. 
Knowing the power of the human intellect over the lower animals, 
Bozarth met its glance with a steady and unflinching eye. This 
cowed, but did not vanquish the foe. It began circling the rock 


to seek an unguarded point from which to attack, but Bozarth 
turned with it and at the same time called loudh' for his dogs. 
Fortunately the\- heard him and coming to the rescue, the panther 
made off. 

A Baby Swkd hv a Fice. 

A pioneer famil\- settled on Cheat Ri\er. One summer 
morning the husband started hunting leaving the wife alone in the 
cabin with her baby sleeping in a cradle near the open door. A 
full-grown panther entered the \'ard, and was carelessly mistaken 
by the mother for a calf. The animal, gaunt with hunger, thrust 
its head in the doorway and sniffed at the unconscious child, when 
a little fice which was in the room, flew at the intruder and chased 
it up a tree. There the little dog bayed it until the woman called 
her husband, who had not yet passed beyond the reach of her 
voice, who came and shot it. 

Combat in the Dark. 

Perhaps one of the most remarkable encounters with the 
panther in the Trans-Allegheny, occurred in the southern part of 
now West Virginia, in the early years of the last century. A set- 
tler was returning home from one of his neighbors in the evening 
just after dark. His path led over a "foot-log," which consisted 
of a tree felled across a stream not far from his cabin. As he 
stepped from the log, a large animal rose from out the shadows of 
the stump, and fastened one paw on his shoulder and striking him 
on the cheek with the other, attempted to seize him b\- the neck 
with its teeth. The man, a powerful athlete, was wholly unarmed; 
but he caught his strange assailant by the throat and struck it 
three heavy blows with his fist. It loosed its hold and with a low 
moaning cry sank to the ground. The man, badly torn about the 
face and shoulder, and bleeding profusely, made his way to the 
house. The next morning he returned to the scene of the combat 
and found an immense panther lying dead where it had dropped 
in the fight. The sledge hammer-like blows had landed directh" 
over the heart, breaking three ribs and causing instant death. 
The animal made no resistance after receiving the first blow. 

346 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Heroic Woman. 

Heroic combats with the panther were not confined to the 
men alone. Tradition and history abounds with the intrepidity 
of the pioneer women, in every phase of wilderness life. One 
winter day a panther entered the yard of a Mr. Gothrup, living in 
now Taylor County, West Virginia, and caught a sheep. In the 
absence of her husband, Mrs. Gothrup seized a rifle and shot the 
marauder, breaking its back. Disabled, the savage animal lay 
writhing in pain, uttering frightful growls and shrieks. Having 
no more powder, Mrs. Gothrup requested a neighbor who was 
passing, to dispatch it with an axe. This honor was declined, and 
the courageous woman took the axe and with a well-directed blow 
ended its misery. 

A Mail Carrier's Thrilling Adventure. 

Panthers continued to be a source of menace to the isolated 
settlers for many years after the border was freed from the raids 
of the red warrior. In 1841, my father, then a lad carrying the 
mail through central western Virginia, had an adventure not 
unlike that of Mr. Bozarth. One bright sunshiny day, while 
riding down Leading Creek, just below the mouth of Camp- 
meeting Run, in Lewis County, he saw what he supposed to be a 
large dog on the hillside above the road, and halloed, expecting it 
to run. At the sound of his voice the animal stopped, looked 
around, and Instead of running away, changed its course and 
came trotting into the road only a few yards ahead of him. There 
it stopped and crouched down. The boy at once saw that it was 
a panther, and fully realized the imminent danger confronting 
him. The animal was large, gaunt, and appeared very hungry, 
but the fearless boy, wholly unarmed, did not for a moment waver 
in his determination to deliver the mail on schedule time. He 
pressed his horse so close to the savage beast, "that I could," he 
afterwards said, in relating the incident, "have struck it with an 
ox-gad." His horse hesitated, snorting with fear and excitement. 
The great cat crouched low, ready for a spring. Its muzzle was 
thrust forward, and its ears laid close to its head. It gave invol- 
untary notice of its intentions to spring by instinctively thrust- 
ing out its immense claws, and nervously twitching its long slen- 
der tail. With these ominous warnings, it would instantly lift its 
head, every muscle drawn tense. But the boy, keen, alert and 

Carm\'or.\ oi- \\ Ksr \ ikcima 347 

well aware of his enemy's one weakness, met its fierce appalling 
e\'e with a calm unwavering gaze. The panther quickly shrank 
back, only to repeat ihc inaneu\ers, hut at each attempt to leap, 
it was held in check by the lad's fearless eye. While this thrilling 
eve duel was in progress, the lad thought tc) frighten his wily 
enenu' with loui.! blasts upon the post-horn, with which all mail 
carriers were equipped, for the purpose of heralding their approach 
to the postoffice. The attempt was vain; the hungr>' beast did 
not for an instant relax its \-igilance, nor abate its attempt to leap 
upon its prey unawares. The boy was still urging his horse for- 
ward, and at length came opposite the animal. Slowly he moved 
on, and at the same time turned in his saddle to keep his eye on the. 
enemy. In this fashion he rode away, leaving the panther still 
crouching in the road. In that position it remained until he had 
ridden several hundred \-ards and passed beyond its sight in a bend 
of the road. 

In December, 1839, this lad was crossing the Cheat Mountain 
with the mail. It was about four o'clock in the morning, and 
very dark. He was on the summit of the mountain, far from any 
human habitation, and where the road on either side was hemmed 
with an unbroken wilderness of sombre hemlock and dense laurel. 
On one or two previous occasions travelers had at this point been 
attacked by a panther, and even in daylight the place with its 
gloomy tangle of impenetrable thicket was calculated to inspire 
the bravest with a sense of loneliness and instinctive dread. As 
the boy, numbed and sleepy with cold, was letting his horse plod 
along, he heard, only a few rods from the road, what seemed the 
hoot of an owl, blending gradually into the dismal howl of the wolf, 
but ending in a wild shrieking scream. The startled boy attempted 
to urge his horse, a very frisk}- animal, to greater speed. To his 
dismay, he found that the bit had slipped from its mouth. The 
horse was laboring through a snowdrift which reached the saddle 
skirts, and the rider could do nothing but let it proceed at a walk. 
He fully expected every instant to feel the panther's claws in his 
back, but from some cause he was not further molested. 

A SlRPRISED P.\Nriii:R. 

Sometime m the first quarter of the last centur\', Stephen 
Martin, referred to elsewhere in this \'olume, was hunting near 
the mouth of White Oak Run, on the .Middle Fork Ri\er, in 

348 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

Randolph County, West Virginia, and camped one night by the 
side of an immense fallen oak tree. Gathering a quantity of the 
thick dry bark, he built a fire, and after eating a repast, lay down 
near it, and under the sheltering side of the log. 

Far in the night, Aiartin was aroused by the stealthy move- 
ments of some animal on the opposite side of the trunk, and 
instinctively he knew that it was a panther. Knowing the terri- 
ble strength and savage nature of his foe, and not daring to move, 
he secured his knife and awaited the assault with some misgiving. 
The fire had died down leaving a bed of extremely hot coals, so 
characteristic of oak bark. This was completely masked by a 
covering of feathery white ashes, which showed conspicuously in 
the darkness. Presently the panther reared up against the log 
directly over Martin, whose keen ear detected in sniffing the air 
trying to locate Its prey. Suddenly it leaped and struck the ash- 
hidden fire with deadly precision. There was a surprised panther, 
and action was decisive. Maddened with pain and fury, it filled 
the forest with the most terrifying shrieks and screams. The 
frenzied animal was a whirlwind of agility, as grappling with its 
mysterious foe the glowing embers were scattered in every direc- 
tion. There could be but one sequel to such contest, and in a 
moment the vanquished cat bounded away, still screaming, into 
the forest. Its cries were heard growing fainter and fainter until 
they finally died in the distance. Martin replenished the demol- 
ished fire and then returned to his couch of leaves, knowing that 
he would not be molested again soon by that panther. 

A Scared Darky. 

Occasionally the actions of these fierce animals in attacking 
man, are strange and eccentric. "Black Wash," a mulatto, was 
a slave, born near the Blue Ridge in Virginia, and with other 
slaves was brought by Thomas McDonnald, to Lewis County, 
(now) West Virginia, about the year 1850. "Wash" was a young 
man, tall and muscular, trusty and a good worker. He was hired 
out to work for Jackson Arnold, on the "Indian Farm" referred 
to elsewhere in this volume. Wash lived alone, caring for the 
stock and doing general farm work. One autumn day he went 
to help a neighbor kill hogs some two or three miles distant. The 
work was not completed until after dark, and Wash was advised 

Carmvora (>i W i:s r \'ir(,ima 349 

in returning home nol lo go (nor the forest path, as a panther had 
recentl}- been seen there; but to tra\el the main road, altliough 
the distance was greater. Wash declared that he had seen 
"Painters" afo', and that he was not afraid of any in the woods. 
Carrying a small piece of meat ani.i his big knife, Wash started 
over the hill path. When in the depth of the woods, a huge pan- 
ther suddenly appeared in the path in front of him. It crouched 
and sprang, going over Wash's heail, w ho struck at it but the blow 
went wild. Thoroughh- frightened. Wash turned facing his nim- 
ble assailant, which again crouched to spring. With eyes gleaming 
like coals of hre, it went into the air, and soared over the head of 
the six-foot man, who this time succeeded in plunging the long 
blade of his knife full l°ngth in its flying body. The animal made 
a peculiar moaning wail as it struck the ground, and vanished 
among the trees. W ash hurried home, and the next morning in 
company with another man, he returned to the place of the attack 
where, following a trail of blood, they came upon the dead bod\- of 
the panther, not more than twenty steps away. The random 
knife blow had passed directly through its heart. 

A Hunter Pursued. 

In the autumn of 1S78 a striking instance of the ferocious, 
craven nature of the panther came under my personal observa- 
tion. A hunting party was rendezvoused on the waters of the 
Greenbrier Ri\er in Pocahontas County, West Virginia; and one 
dark rainy day five of its members were overtaken by night some 
three miles from camp. The forest at this point was a dense, 
pathless tangle of pine and laurel, through which no sunbeam 
could penetrate, even on the brightest of days. The rain was 
a steady downpour, and a thick fog coupled with the pitchy 
night, rendered the otherwise gloomy woods a veritable dungeon 
of blackness. Fallen timber constantly obstructed their steps, 
and the men became separated and considerably scattered as they 
laboriously climbed the prostrate trunks, or crawled under the 
snarls of dripping laurel. They were guided by the occasional 
discharge of a heavy rifle b}' those at the camp, which was termed: 
"Shooting the lost into camp." 

For three hours the drenched and weary hunters struggled 
through this chaos of hidden dangers, and were still a half-mile 

350 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

from camp. Suddenly my older brother, Cyrus S. McWhorter, 
who was several yards in the rear, was startled by the loud crash- 
ing of brush as some large animal charging in great leaps over the 
laurel, came down within four or five feet of him. Several times 
during the evening he had detected stealthy steps following him, 
and he instantly surmised that it was a panther. Turning quickly 
he faced his invisible assailant, and thrusting his rifle towards 
where he knew the animal to be crouching, he fired. The lurid 
flash and report frightened it, and it fled noisily through the thick- 
ets. Soon after this the gleam of a torch carried by a rescue 
party lit up the surrounding gloom, and it was not long until the 
fatigued men were all gathered about a roaring log fire within the 
sheltering camp. The attacking animal was undoubtedly a 
panther, as one had been heard "yowling" in the forest during 
several of the preceding nights. Had the young man attempted 
to flee, even if such had been possible, he must have been killed. 

A Startled Irishman. 

Not far from this same locality and only a few months previ- 
ously a young man named Cofl^, while hunting cattle was over- 
taken by darkness several miles from home. Wearied with the 
day's tramp, he sat down upon a log for a short rest and was soon 
dozing. Presently he became aware of a light measured tap, 
tap, tap, in the dry leaves just back of him; which, in his half- 
somnambulent condition, he attributed to a rabbit. This timid 
little animal has a habit while gamboling at night, of stopping 
abruptly and striking the ground with its hind foot with the result 
as described. The noise was continued at short intervals and at 
closer points; and Coff^, realizing a sub-consciousness of impending 
danger, suddenly turned his head, when a huge panther leaped 
away and ran screaming through the forest. Its cries were heard 
until it passed over a distant ridge. The disturbance in the leaves 
was caused by the nervous twitching, or beating of the panther's 
tail, which invariably accompanies the movements of this animal 
when creeping upon its prey. 

The Last Panther. 

The last panther killed in Lewis County, West Virginia, was 
by John Rifile, on Oil Creek, nearly sixty years ago, just above 

Carnivora ()I \\ i:st X'ircima 351 

where the village of Confluence is now located. The animal had 
committed several depredations and one da\- entered a Held where 
there was a herd of cattle belonging to Alexander Skinner. The 
stock was in mortal terror of the intruder, while the panther seemed 
in the best of humor. It would crouch and snitT alontr the ground, 
gambolling and frisking like a kitten Occasionally it would bound 
towards the cattle, then suddenh' stop and watch the affrighted 
animals run away. This panther had often been hunted with the 
best dogs in the community, but had in\'ariabl\- eluded its pur- 
suers. Finally a noisy flee chased it up a tree and it was shot as 
above stated, llie heroic little dog was killed b\- having its head 
crushed in the jaws of the panther during the death struggle. 

The Last Bi;ar. 

Perhaps the last bear ever seen on the lower waters of Hack- 
er's Creek, was on McKinney's Run, about the }ear 1828. My 
father, who was just "old enough to hoe corn," went into the 
orchard one day during the noon hour, before returning to the 
corn field. He saw what he supposed was a large short-tailed 
dog climb the fence some fifteen or twenty feet away, and go into 
the woods. A dozen years later he saw a bear in a show and then 
for the first time he knew that the big short-tailed dog was a real 

A Daring \\ oman. 

When Hacker's Creek was being settled, a Mrs. Wolf was 
out hunting cows not far from her cabin. A small dog which 
accompanied her, chased a bear up a tree. Having no gun and 
seeing that bruin was inclined to come down, the dauntless woman 
took a penknife, the only weapon that she had, and with hickory 
bark lashed it to the end of a pole and used this as an effective 
"prod" whenever his bear-ship attempted to descend. In this 
way she prevented the animal's escape until her husband came 
and shot it. 

Ill MORous Bear Story. 

When a bo}', an old huntiM- and a neighbor told iiic about 
shooting a bear on the tarni where 1 was raised, on Inickhaniion 
Run, a branch ot Hackers Creek. 

352 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

"I wus a huntin on the north side uv the hill, in yanders- 
cove," said the ancient nimrod, pointing to the deeply wooded 
hillside, "when I run onter a big bar' a raken uv the leaves fer 
mast. I ups with my rifle an' let him have it jest back uv the 
shoulder. At the report uv the gun, he rolled over on his side a 
clawin' at the hurtin' place an' a bellerin': ''Oh Lord! Oh Lord! 
Oh Lord! He didn't see me an' the win' wus ag'in him an' he 
couldn't git me located; but I tell yer that he made the leaves fly 
fer a minit. I hurried, but a-fore I could git a-nuther load down 
the old flint lock, that-er bar' up an' skeedadled an' I see'd nuthin' 
more uv him. Why didn't I wade inter him with my huntin' 
knife arter shootin' him.'' Wall, that-er bar' wus a snorter, an' 
he had a mighty fine hide that I didn't wanter spile; besides, I 
wus purty bizy jest then a ramin' a bullet down my rifle, an' I 
hadn't no time ter spar'. I guess, sonny, yer never see'd a big 
bar' all crazy with hurtin' an' a rantankerin' in the woods, didyer."* 
Wall when yer do, I bet yer don't go a spilen' uv his hide with a 

The First Buck. 

"An' right up yander," continued the old man, designating 
the south hillside, "on the Huckleberry Pint, I killed my fust 
buck; an' he was a whopper too. I wus a little-like shaver, an' my 
dad had never let me go huntin' with the gun. That day arter I 
had begged fer sometime, he give me the flint lock an' two loads uv 
powder an' said: 'If yer don' come back with a deer I won't let 
yer go no more.' Thar' wus snow on the ground but hit wus not 
cold an' the sun wus a shinin' and thawy-like an' I knowed that 
the deer would likely be whar' the snow wus meltin' an' all shel- 
tered from the wind; up thar' whar' yer dad's sheep like ter stay 
on sich days. I wus mighty anxious ter find a deer, an' when I 
come on the upper bench an' looked over the bluff an' see'd 
four a layin' down, my heart give a jump an' I feel sorter qua'r; 
but I took sight at a big buck an' broke his back an' the others run 
away. I finished him with my knife an' I bet yer that Gineral 
Washington didn't feel bigger at the Battle uv Waterloo than I 
did when I went home ter git a hoss an' bring in that-er buck. 
An' I killed one arter-wards, over thar' whar' the wilier tree is a 
growin' by the spring at the foot of the hill on the north side uv 

C\RNI\()R.\ OI W i:ST \ IRGINIA 353 

the bottom. \cv see my dad let me ^o huntin' often arter 1ki\ in 
sich good luck the fust time." 


The followinu interesting letter was a reluctant compliance 
with the rceiuest of my father for a brief synopsis of a hunter's 
career. Bearing no date, it was written in April, 1907, and is the 
record of a typical mountaineer; a simile of the hundreds who have 
spent their lives in killing game throughout the ranges of the 
mightv Alleghenies. In 1889, my father visited Mr. Arbogast, 
and went with him to one of his bear traps some three or four 
miles from his house and up the (jreenbrier River. The trap was 
constructed of logs, and contained a yearling bear, which was 
dead. The hunter had dela\ed his rounds one da\- too long. 

"DiAK I)k. j. M. McWhorter: 

1 will try to answer a few of your questions. I killed first deer in 184S with 
a riiiu lock rifle. About 1852 I had the lock changed to percusion. I killed the 
majority [of deer] with [this] mountain rifle. In 1878 I got a 45-60 Winchester. 
The first fall after I had the [flint] lock changed I killed 8 [deer] next fall 20; next 
[fall] 25. After that I killed from 25 to 30 every fall. 32 was the most I killed 
in one fall. I killed 2 to 5 Red Deer every Summer which w^ere not counted in 
fall hunts at that time. I killed 2 at one shot 3 [different] times. 1 killed 4 a day 
2 [twice] I killed 5 in half day out of six I saw with muzzle loader. I made an 
estimate I have killed between 6 and 7 hundred [deer] 25 was the highest number 

1 sawin one day — I killed and caught several Bear — I shot one wolf and Poisoned 
and caught several others in trap. We have had 8 sheep killed in sight of house 
and many less numbers at difi"erent times by wolves Bear and Panthers. I killed 

2 Panthers [in] one day. My father had a dog that treed 11 panthers that he killed. 
Dog went out on his own accord and treed one. Panther came down and killed 
the dog. Was snow on the ground — was a young dog along with him came back 
next morning wounded by the panther. Father took his back track to where the 
old dog was killed. The panther had carried him into a laurel thicket [and] had 
eat him about half up [and] was laying by the dog. When father followed the 
trail to where the dog was the panther walked away. Father w'ent about 2 hundred 
yards in the thicket. Panther had stopped twice in that distance til he saw 
Father coming, so he thought. Was a soft snow in April which made things plain. 

A Bear came at night when I was a small Boy father was not at home — took 
a small hog from where they lay at night before we had gone to bed; heard it 
squeal as the Bear carried it off. Must have been 200 yards away when stopped 
squealing. The hog bed was about 50 yards from house. Second night after, it 
came back caught a fat hog in pen about 30 feet from house. Father heard it 
squeal went out with gun was too dark to see it He hallooed [and] as it climbed 
over pen he shot at the noise did not hit it. I had a salt lick for deer at the root of a 

354 Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 

chestnut tree; deer and groundhogs dug down through the roots. Went thare 
one morning to salt it — a deer had put its head down between the roots got its 
head fast was dead, and warm yet. I had killed a number of deer thare before 
and after — I killed an eagle that had swallowed about 6 inches of a deer's rib one 
end was broken off slanting very sharp the other end being a joint was round. 
This end was in its craw the other end stuck out about 2}^ inches to one side 
of back bone. The part that stuck out was bleached as white as a bone that 
had laid on ground several years, and wore as smooth as if it had been done with 
sand paper. I suppose in using its wings the feathers wore it smooth. 

I only had one close call in the woods that I know of. Was out hunting 
snow was about a foot deep commenced sleeting in a short time crust on snow 
bore me up and slick as glass. Feet slipped from under me was on a steep hill- 
side. Down the hill I went feet front about 30 yards to a large log, the gun stopped 
against the log. I went over turned head in front about 30 yards run into a bunch 
of dead brush which caught in my clothes by breaking off, the snags caught 
which I think saved me from getting killed or badly hurt. It was about 100 
yards to stream of water nothing in way to stop me. I worked my way back to 
where my gun stopped at log, by breaking through the snow crust with heel of 
shoes. Then used breech of gun to break through crust of snow, until I got down 
to a stream of water which led to river and home. I met Father about half a 
mile from home going to look for me. I was born in a cabin 20 feet from the 
house I now live in, 72 years ago 6th of last Anarch 1907 lived here all the time. 

I wish I had kept a statement of every day's hunt during my life taken down 
every evening. I give this as a true statement &ct. 

Kindest Regards to any one who by chance may read this statement. 

A. M. V. Arbogast. 
Dunlevie Pocahontas Co W. Va. 




Lord Dunmore 
Courtesy of Wisconsin State Historical Society 
Reduced from, an old engraving in JVisconsin Historical Society's Library. 


A published Descriptive List of the Manuscript Collection of 
the Stair Historical Society of IVisconsin, has onl>' recently placed 
the Dr. L\maii C. Draper Manuscripts within the reach of the 
general student of pioneer history. They consist of four hundred 
and sixty-nine volumes, and are the most valuable of their kind 
extant. Research along special lines in this great mass of hitherto 
unclassified material was attended with such cost and uncertainty, 
that it was practically inaccessible to other than the local student. 

Thirty-three volumes consist of data for a series of sketches 
on frontier wars. Two of these. Volumes XX and XXI, are 
devoted entirely to material for a new edition of Withers Chroni- 
cles of Border Warfare. 

This work Dr. Draper commenced in 1890, and was thus 
engaged when stricken with death, August 26, 1891. The vol- 
ume was afterwards completed b\- Dr. Thwaites, and published 
in 1895, by The Robert Clarke Company, Cincinnati. The cor- 
respondence here published for the first time is interesting in con- 
nection with some of the topics treated in this volume. \\ ith but 
two exceptions, the letters bear the date of 1891, and some of 
them within a few days of Dr. Draper's death. The Manuscripts 
were not accessible to me until 1908, and after all but chapters 
31 and 32 had been written; and any reference in previous chap- 
ters to these documents has been inserted subsequent to this 
date. The correspondence is given under catalogue numbers. 


Febry 24tli, 1S49. 
"L. C. Draper Esqr. 

"Sir: I now proceed to answer your Enquires in your 3 Letters to me of Octo- 
ber 17th, 1848 Janry 15 1849 and Janry 22^ 1849. I should have answered you 
sooner but have been waiting to obtain some information on some points whicli 
would have been use to you in getting up the needful information you desire, but 1 
have been unable to obtain the information desired in consequence of the advanced 
age of the persons from whom I expected to Learn the facts of several Transactions 
of importance, but their old age and doted condition of their minds has prevented 
me from doing so. Mr. John Cutright for whom you enquire is one. You first 
enquire about the Bull affair, this place is situated on the Little Kanawha River 
(in the County of Braxton \'a.) now known as the Bull Town salt works, where 
Lick salt is made, David White, the brother of \V'". White was taking [taken] 

358 Appendix I 

prisoner some time previous to the destruction of Bull Town, and was present 
at the taking of Stroud's family in the summer of 1772, this occurence led to the 
destruction of Bull Town, David White knew the property and household fur- 
niture of belonging to the family of Mr. Stroud and after White escaped from the 
Indians he in company with others frequently went to the settlement at Bull 
Town on hunting expeditions, and when he saw the goods and Chatties of Stroud, 
White inform^ the settlement of Buckhannon and it was fully believed amongst 
them that the inhabitants of Bull Town were a harbour and shelter for the un- 
friendly and invading savage foe, and no doubt was the case (1) this enraged the 
white settlement to think that the Indians who professed friendship was a place 
of Refuge for the foe &c. so a party of 5 or more men went and doubtless destroy^ 
the place, kiH the whole party & perhaps throwed the bodies in the River. W™. 
White VJ^. Hacker Samuel Pringle and Andrew Skidmore were four of the party, 
perhaps John Pringle Andrew Friend and David White and Elijah Runner was 
also of the party. Samuel Pringle is one of the 1st. settlers that settled on the 
Buckhannon River who settled at the mouth of Turkey Run about three miles 
from our Town. Pringle resided in this neighborhood untill he died he was up- 
wards of 100 years of age, Hacker also died an old man on his farm on hacker's 
creek (you enquire) what finely became of White, White was a Terror to the 
Indians they had several chances to shoot at him but was afraid to do so for fear 
they would miss their mark and then he would retaliate. White was the stay of 
Buckhannon fort, and was the Leader of many of the scouting parties and the 
parties following and Chastizing the Indians for the depredations committed on 
the Citizens. White being dead when the information was gathered for Co'. 
Wither's cronicle It was therefore gathered principly from the friends of Lowther, 
Sleeth, Wilson, and Hacker and not giving White the Honor due him. White 
was taken prisoner twice By the Indians and managed so as to disguise himself 
and was enable[d] to make his escape at one time in making his escape he kiled - 
an Indian feeding his Horse (2) White took the horse and flew for his safety after 
traveling some distance passing near Other Horses feeding one of White['s] followed 
after the one White was Riding so he took them both away Riding Them by Turns 
the Indians followed him closely for a Long distance one of their dogs over took 
him and the Dog knowing White followed him off also — White fought at the 
Battle of Point Pleasant his Brother David White fought Bled and died in that 
Battle, kiled several Indians on that day, he stated that he had IS fair Shots 
and saw them all fall, he said 5 in One heap. L^. frog was shot By an Indian in sight 
of White the Indian ran up to scalp Frog frog raising and grapling with the Indian 
untill White could single out the Indian from Frog, White then shot the Indian • 
so another ran up and was Shot By White also and so on untill five Indians were 
laid in One heap — after the Battle was over White took some of his company of 
Virginians to the Spot and Shew[ed] them the Heap of Dead Bodies, Frog has 
by this time expired when the white[s'] examined the 5 persons kild. by White 
the features of one of them has the appearance of a white man accordingly he was 
washed and recognized By his Brother Thomas Collet of Tygerts Valley This 
was George Collet (3) that was kiled he encouraged the Indians throughout all 
the fight with Loud Hussaws and was seen firing a Large Gun up into the air and 
crying fight on fight on we will soon whip the white Damnd. Suns of bitches, White 
was in company with John Cutright and others in capturing the Stolen Horses, 

(1) See page 496. (2) p. 496. (3) p. 496. 

Draper Correspondence 359 

at wliicli liiiR- Cutriglit was wounded in tlic side as spoken of b)' Wilher's cronicle 
page 210 (4) — this John Cutright spoken of was John the younger son of Ben- 
jannn[.] John Sen''. I think remo\ed at an early day to Kentucky. He was the 
one that fought at Point Pleasant. John Cutright the younger was a brave man 
and frequently accompanied White in exccrsions through the country spying &c 
at one time. White and Cutright was out on Culrights farm weeding corn one 
would work and the other standing guard, in the c%cning when they went to 
Leave they Turned out their Horse and Salted iiini on a Rock. the\' then left 
for home, the Indians took the Horse before lie had took but a few licks of the 
salt, they no doubt was watching White and Cutright but was afraid to attact 
them, on the next day when they returned to llicir labor ihey found the Horse 
gone and the salt yet Laying on the Rock, they followed the Trail for about 
6 miles when they found the Horse turned Loose with a Bell on him, and found 
first sign of the Indians, they crept up to the Horse stoped the Bell and made 
their way off Cutright on tlic Horse and \\ hitc on foot the\' had not went far 
when Cutright espied a Large Buck he dismounted and in spite of White would 
shoot the Buck, White told him the Indians would be on tiicm before thelyl could 
dress the Deer, so Cutright fired and kili^. the buck. White walked ahead Cutright 
dressJ. the Buck t[h]rowed him on the Horse mounted and Rode on after White 
the Indians follow^, in close pursuit to within one half mile of the fort, when they 
arrived at the fort Cutright, White & several others returned on the trail in hopes 
to Meet the savages on the pursuit and thus be enabled to take them by surprise, 
but not going more than one half mile the[y] found they had discovered them and 
Left the path — no doubt but \\ hite kiled number of Indians, he at one time was 
arrested an[d] took to Winchester Jail and there plac'd in Irons, this act enraged 
the friends of White they raised a company of some 100 or more and march'l. to 
Winchester at the break of day all Black'^. except two of the M"". Fryes who would 
not paint themselves they were the commanders, they went to the Jail & demanded 
the prisoner tiie Jailor refused thc[y] cocked their guns on him and told him to open 
the Door and Release the prisoner the Jailor gave them up the key they took him 
out took him to the smiili sliop cut oiT his Irons S: brought him Home, last of all 
he was kiled by the Indians in sight of Buckhannon Fort, he was betrayed into 
the hands of his enemies by a white man named 'I'imothy Dorman Dorman lived 
about 2 and a half miles from the fort, and while the other inhabitants fled to the 
fort, Dorman remained at home apparently unconcerned, saying there was no 
danger, (had White treated Dorman to the same severity that he did John Bull, 
for harboring the Indians, Dorman would have rept his reward as a traitor before 
the betrayal of Wiiite.) One day he professed to have fears for his safety and 
desired White to come down on the next day and aid himself and family to the 
fori. \\ Ivite promised him to do so, and accordingly went, and wlicn lie got there 
lie saw signs of Indians in the yard, White told Dorman that the Indians had 
been their and that It was a plot between him Dorman and the Indians to kill 
him and said he would go away and leave him with them. Dorman denied knowing 
that the ind^. had been there and Beged of White not to Leave them there for the 
Indians would kill him and all his famih' White consented to remove them to tiie 
fi irt by a back road after they had passed on to wliere the two Roads run togeth[er|. 
The Indians in ambush fired on him 3 balls passing through his body not with- 
-tanding the \o. of Wounds he had Received he still remained on his horse for 

(4) See page 497. 

360 Appendix I 

some time and It was believed that If liis Horse [had] not become so frighted and 
Ran into the falhng Top of a Tree he would have made his escape to the fort 
safely with his scalp, though he was wounded mortally, he fell in sight of the fort 
the men from the fort got to him before he was Dead he still knew his friends. 
the[y] had the River to cross in a canoe before they could reach him or they would 
of saved his scalp from the savages. (5) Dorman & family went off with the 
Indians, and soon returned again at the head of a party and conducted them to 
the dwelling of his friends and aided in the Buchery of them, he was worse 
than a savage — his character is Given by Col. Withers in his cronicle page- 250, 
251, (6) on the eight of Fabry 1782, (7) John Fink was kiled while engaged in 
hawling rails to his farm on Buckhannon River the savages fired several guns at 
him and before he could unloose the Horses from the sled he fell his father was 
with him he mounted on one of the horses and rode of[f] making his escape. John 
Fink fell within a few yards from where my office now sta:nds near the center of 
our Town, this occurence took place 1 month previous to the murder of White. 
(8) Page 229 (9) while John Jackson and his son George was returning to the 
fort, passing within one half mile of our town and upon my present farm the Indians 
fired on them but fortunately missing both, George discovered the smoke from the 
Indians Gun rising from behind a forked tree prepared himself and as the Indian 
peaked through the croch of the Tree Jackson fired at him the Ball struck too Low 
in Crotch and thus glancing perhaps over the savages head. Jacksons then made 
their way with all spead to the fort not knowing but what they were more Indians 
in reach, the Horse on which George Jackson was Riding Took fright and ran to 
the fort the Horse pass^. out of his Girt & left Jackson & the saddle lying on the 
ground safely landed at the fort gate &c. 

You enquire for the chief Bald Eagle the account giving By Co'. Withers in his 
work is correct 105. (10) or at Least as much so as I can give, as I cannot find any 
person Living that can give any further particulars of the murder of the old chief. 
It is said he was kild by Jacob Scott, (11) W^". Hacker and Elijah Runner, they 
are all three Dead. Runner while wrestling with a friend fell and Died in 
a short time after was Burj-ed one half or three fourths mile from this place. 
There are many small errors committed by the information Given to Co'. 
Withers such as rong names &c It was David Conly that struck the Indian 
over the head with the Drawing knife instead of Ralston as discribd. by Withers. 
(12) Petro (13) who was taken prisoner with White was said never to be heard of 
after. Petro was heard of, when some of the prisoners return^. the[y] stated that 
he died at detroit before peace was made. My father was but a boy in the days 
of invasion here, he Resided on the South Branch, at one time the Indians 
came to the House of John Wilson who was his step Father, after Wilson had done 
with the Labors of the daj^ laid himself on his bed to rest while the wife was 
preparing the supper, the Dogs sprang from their slumber to an attact in the yeard 
the night being dark the old Gentleman knew too well the cause, he spring from 
his Bed the Door was standing open and throw^. back against the wall from where 
the old man were, he consequently had to pass the Door way to get to the Door 
and shuved it shut, while he was closing the Door the Indians struck with a stick 
on the Door step, the old man making fast the Door calling to the old Lady to put 
out the fire, after he had fastened the Door as well as he could he took down his 

(5) See page 497. (6) p. 500. (7) p. 500. (8) p. 500. (9) p. 500. (10) p. 500. 
(11) p. 500. (12) p. 500. (13) p. 500. 

Draper Corriisi'ondknce 361 

old rusty ^'iin prepared her for action, while tlie old Lad\' took the axe and my 
father took an old rusty sword, the Indians made several attempts to forc(cl open 
the Door, but not being able to do so, again the\- would fall back to get rid of 
the Dogs, at every attempt they made at the Door, the old man would incouragc 
the Dogs, they being very cross no Doubt but they took hold to the savages at 
every attempt they made to force open the Door, they thus continued during the 
night until the appearance of Day drove them off, knowing If they waited till I.iL'ht 
tiiat the Old man would reak his \ingence on them for disturbing himself and fam- 
il\- during the night. 

I could mention a number of circiiinstances of the Indians making their 
appearance and trying to decoy persons in tlRir hands, but not knowing whether 
such information is desirable to you I w ill therefore desist. / 7>ifan suck as the 
following, at one time while my mother was a mear child (Daughter of W"^. 
\\'hitc) was playing near the fort in the dusk of the evening, an Indian passing 
near them, held out to some of the smallest of the children in his hand some nuts 
in order to get them to come silcnth' to him, but being discovered by one of the 
Larger children and cried out Indians the children all ran towards the fort. White 
ahva\'s quick and ready Rushed to the gate Just in time to see the Indian pass in 
to a thicket of Timber, the Indian seeing White had discovered him he spring 
behind a laru'c tree and kept White and the tree in a range untill he pass behind 
Bluff or bank, and thus made his escape, at an other time two boj's went out 
to bring up their cows, while driving the cows homeward, they discovered some 
milk keelers Laying in the path which had been placed ther after they had pass^. 
out. (these vessels had been taken a few days previous from a neighboring house) 
One of the Boys was in act of stoping to Look — while the other one cried out 
run. (knowing the object) as soon as the boys commenced running the Indians 
whistled and then call^. stop, stop, but the boys was off homewards — Tigerts 
\ alley so called is now the County of Randolph was named after David Tigert 
who first settled on this valley uppon what's now calH. the Valley River[.] Tigert 
It seems was a trapper followed the waters for the purpose and Lastly made a 
Trip and never returned back to this Valley again I have no knowledge of any of 
his decendants — I now close my communication By saying 1 have not been able 
to obtain as much information as I had expected I should — W"\ White as I before 
mentioned was kil^. and Treacherously kil^ too, and deserves more Honor for 
active service in defending his country against a savage foe than his memory 
e\er receiv'ed in the pages of History, White had but two children one son & one 
Daughter; his son W"'. W. White still lives here the Daughter Elizabeth married 
Joel Westfall my Father, raised a large family and died here Whites widow never 
married but lived to an old age and died near this place. 

Respectfully yours 

(Signed) Henry V. Wkstfai.l (14) 
' I am Co', of a Regiment of Infantr\' ix P M at this place. 
To L. C. Draper Esq 

from H. F. Westfall P M 
Lyman C. Draper Esq 

Philadelphia Pa 
Box 797 P O" 

<U) See page 500. 

362 Appendix I 

(Draper A'ISS. 8ZZ4S.) 

Harmony grove (15) April 12th 1849 

Mr Draper Sir, yours of the 16th of Jan was duly received when received I 

was Laying with a fevor which kept me prostrate 4 weeks then I had an attac 

of Cholera but I yet Hve this is the appology I offer for my delay. 

"As my uncle W^. Hacker & Wi". Powers of this neighborhood wrote the 
Borderwarfare thare is to be found all or nearly so that can be had of information 
as to the difficulties of this region with the Indians. 

"I have been to see Jonathan Hacker (distance 20 miles) a Bro. of Said W^. 
Hacker but cannot get the time that Bald eagle was kilH. nor nothing that might' 
be of advantage to you 

"The William Hacker referd. to in the case of Bald Eagle was Brother to Old 
John Hacker first settler on Hacker's creek (as in Border warfare), his scouts & 
campaigns are not known it is said he was the foremost in danger the bravest in 
peral & the first to assist In need, When one of his comerads I understood a mr 
Cutright was shot through the flesh of the brest W™. Hacker drew a piece of silk 
through the bullet hole to dense & then bound up the wound, & one old man says 
he once had the name of doctor from his attention to the wounded, he moved to 
the Read banks of Ohio River in Kentucky Shortly after the Death of Bald Eagle 
— Reports say he moved from Ky to Canady & became wealthy this by some is 
doubted But I believe it true — he must now be dead for I am informed he was 
Older than my Grandfather Old John Hacker we cant hear of any W"^. Hackers 

"I am Very Sorry that I cannot give you more 

"William Hacker the writer of the Border Warfare was the son of John Hacker 
But my Grand uncle W™. Hacker Was the Man that assisted in distroying Bull- 
town &c. 

"This I have done I would have done more with pleasure but I can get nothing, 
more of Use to you." 

(Signed) Yours David H. Smith (16) 
Addressed: Mr Lyman C Draper Philadelphia Pa 
(Postmarked Jane Lew [Va] April 16) 

(The following correspondence is all from the Draper MSS. 


"Green Clay Co Kan Jan 20 1891 
'Mr Draper 
"Dear Sir 

' I received your letter yesterday after examining carefully I will proceed 
answer it the best I know how. my grate Grand Father come from England in 
1740 and my Grand Father (John Hacker) was born about 3 weeks after landing 
in America near Winchester va (17) what time in the year I am not able to say 
(write H. M. Hacker my son Jane Lew W va he will go to the simetury & take 
the right date off the tomb stone) he died April 24, 1824 at the [age] of 84 years. 
he filled no office but Indian scout, he had 6 sons and 4 daughters his oldest 
son William was a Preacher a Majestrate and School teacher in that early da}', 
as I have answared all the questions you have ask me I remain 5^ours truly 

J. T. Hacker 

(15) See page 500. (16) p. 500. (17) p. 501. 

Drapkr C'orrkspondknce 363 

"if you desire any other infertnatioii coimiianti iiic I meanc about tlic family 
records I am at your surves J. T. H." 

"Grkkn Kan Jan 26 1K91 
"Mr Drapkr 
"Dkar Sir 

"as for my Grand Father ever scouting in ohio is soniething I cannot say. 
as for the collections being facts I suppose there arc no doubt; but my Grandfather 
did not collect an\ of iheni: il was ni\ uncle William Hacker his oldest son & 
William Powers who collected the facts of the Indian troubles in W va and my 
uncle died before he completed the work; and his Heirs were not able nor willing 
to go on with it and Powers and the Hacker sold to Mr Withers. I suppose Judge 
Duncan had something to do in ihc collection of facts. I am not shore about 
the date of my uncles death; the tomb stone will tell; he was buried in the same 
semetory that my Grand Father was. (18) if my memory serves me right he died 
in 1830 I suppose that what is written in the border warefare is truth but perhaps 
it is not all that might have been Collected and written 

Yours very truly 

J. T. Hacker 

"an old democrat in my 79i'' year only 39 days till my burth day I was 12 
when my Grand Father died \\'"^. Hacker my uncle and ni\'self are all the 
Preachers of the famih'." 

"Janelkw W. \a Janua 28ili/91 
"Mr. C. Draper 

""Sir I received yours of the 23"''^ but I was not able to take the trip to the 
jravyard till yesturday it is 5 mis from here I send you a true coppy of the Inscrip- 
tion and you can use just what you want of it. I also send you his wifes birth and 
death, if you dont need it all right it costs nothing to send it 

I will Just sa>- to you if there is any more information you wish from here 
that I can gather up I will gladly do so. and I will say now that I wish the agency 
of this State when the work is ready for sale hoping to hear from you soon I am 

H. M. Hacker" 

"'I'liis luonunient erected in memory of John Hacker Born 1*' of January, 
1743. Settled on this farm in Wilderness, 1769, endured innumerable privations 
by Indian hostilities— died April 20tl' A. D. 1821, (19) aged 81y. 3m. 9d. was 
the first intered in this graveyard. Prepare to follow me 

"Margaret Hacker, wife of John Hacker, was born in Ireland, June 24. 1747 
—Came to America, 1748. Died May 8th 1832— aged 84 ys 10 m & 14 days." 

"Green Kan Feb 13 1891 
"Mr L. Draper Esq 
"Dear Sir 

"I received you letter yesterday 

"examined its contents and to my best recolections there was but two Children 
>f my Great Grandfather and they were both Boys Wm and John, and they were 
*be only family of that name I ever heard of being in .\merica. at that early 

d8) See page 501. (19) p. 501. 

364 Appendix I 

date. Wm went down the Mississippi to what was then called the Red Banks* 
and that was the last account as for my Grand Father ever being in Illinois I 
cannot say. Jacob Hardman a grand son living in South Bend Indiana (dead 
now perhaps) wrote to me 14 years ago for accounts of the family and I gave him 
dates &C he was writing a Book if he is not living some of his family may be he 
was to send me a Book but I never got it. all the Hacker boys went to Ind. 

"all well and striving for Heaven. 

"Kansas has turned upside down politically 

"I say huray for Democracy 

Yours trely 
J. T. Hacker" 

*[Note by L. C. Draper] 

Red Banks or Hendersonville, Ky: Dr. Hildreth in American Pioneer, II, 102. 

"South Bend, St. Joseph County, 
Indiana, March 20, 1891 
"Lyman C. Draper 
"Dear Sir: 

"Dr. Jacob Hardman died in this city several years ago. Was very old at 
the time of his death but had a good memory. He has one daughter living in 
this city — Miss Maggie Hardman. Hon. Wm Hacker, Shelbyville, Ind., a cousin 
of Dr. Hardman would be of service to you in looking up the family history. He 
is quite a historian and a great masonic leader and teacher. 


Elmer Crockett, P. M." 

"Green Clay Co Kan April 13/91 
"Dear Bro Draper I reed your letter a few days ago & I now will try to answer 
it as near as I can. Wm Powers lived on Hackers Creek 5 Ms below where Wm 
Hacker lived close to Jane Lew and was a farmer and owned a fine farm in the 
valley of Hackers Creek, and died there: as for his age I cannot tell had 3 sons 
Benjamin Ezeckial & Wm they moved off I know not where j'-ou can get his age 
and death by writing to Col James W Jackson Jane Lew Lewis Co W va as for 
the extent of the ade he gave my uncle I cannot inform you but I always under- 
s[t]ood they were equal pardners. Hacker died first, as for Wm Hacker in Shel- 
byville of whome you wrote I know nothing: he must be a cousin of mine 

yours trely 

J. T. Hacker" 

"Green Kan may 12/91 
"Mr L C Draper 
"dear sir 

"I received your letter yesterday and I now procede to answer it 1st Wm 
Powers clamed an equal share with Wm Hacker and Hackers Heirs and Powers 
himself before his death, sold to Withers what they received I know not. 

2nd of this W™. G. Hacker of Wichita I know nothing he clames to be a 



Draper Correspondence 365 

grandson of Alex Hackers who says you say that his father* colectcd the matter 

used by Wethers. It cannot be true for this was all done before the oldest son of 

Alex was grown. Alex Hacker Wife [died] and he bound his boyes all out, and went 

to Ind. and married again, there were 6 Boys of John Hacker my Grand father, 

and Alex was the 5th one and 2 Girls before Alex. W ni was the 1st you can see 

the policy of it 

3rd I cannot answer that whether the Indians killed Wm Hackers Wife & family 

or not my father had told me often that iiis unklc W'illiam had no family he acted 

as sergcnt in the Indian wars 

4th in reference to the killing of the Indian Chief Bald Kagle 1 know nothing; 

but if the Border Warfair says so I suppose it is true, of these other Men that 

you write was with Hacker I know nothing 

5. I was raised on Hackers Creek and lived iIktc liie most of my life: was born 

.March 6 1812 therefore I was seventy nine March 6 last 

7th Wither got the Collections for a trifle I always understood; 1 know [not] how 


•Sth I knew Withers Persanly and my idea is that he in reference to education he 

was limited and not strictly honest (this is confidential) 

'^) I cannot [say] any thing about Israel 

10 W. Powers has a son living in Norton Co Kansas norton is the town his name 

is Wm D Powers lives in Norton Co Norton P O Kansas 

I have answered the 10 questions to the best of my knowledge. My Father has 

often told me that his uncle William Hacker went down the Mississippi to what 

is called the red Banks: whether he ever had any heirs or not I am not apprised 

"1 am very much under obligations to you for the Magazine you sent me 
yours trul_\- 

j. T. IIackkr 

*It was grandfather, .Mexr. Hacker." 

"Green Kan May 25/91 
".\Ir Draper 
"Dear Sir 

"your letter of the 19 reed will say first that I was mis informed about the 
address of W' m D. Powers and gave you the rong one, have learned cince that his 
adress is Wichita Sedgwick Co Kansas you will not be likely to hear from that letter, 
you say that perhaps my grand father furnished some scheches [sketches] to his nefew 
my uncle William my uncle was my Grand Fathers oldest son: perhaps he did furnish 
some; but I do not know that he did my Grandfather was born 3 weks after his 
Parents landed in America his Bro Wm was born in Engeland how old he was 
when they landed in America I cannot say. The last depridation committed in 
west va was in the year of 1795 after pease made Wm Hacker my Great uncle 
went down the Mississippi to the read banks was supposed to have died there: in 
reference to his family being kiled or his being wounded or fighting in 111 as I wrote 
before I know nothing: only what the Border Warfair says; which you can read 
for )-our self. 

"as for this Dr. Wm .\. Hacker in Hi know nothing there is \ Wm Hacker 
the Mear [Mayor] of Leavensworth Kan you may get some information [from] 
him my uncles Hacker four of the Boys, moved in an early day to Shelby Co Ind 
and consiciuenth- I lost sight of them 

366 Appendix I 

as for my Grandfather's Brother Wm what I said or intended to, if I did not 
that he came to Hackers Creek and acted as surgen and had no family tho the 
Indians were on the warpath before that. I said if the Border Warfair said his 
family were killed by the Indians it must be true but when he came to Hackers 
Creek he had no family so I have understood 

J T Hacker 

' excuse bad speling and writing for my education was gotten in the wilderness of 
W va in a log school House with paper window glass your friend 


"Green Kan May 30 1891 
' Mr Draper Dear Sir 

I received your letter yesterday and I will proceded to answer it to the best 
of my judgement my memory (from what my father said) is that Wm Hacker my 
Grand fathers Bro was about 23^ years the oldest; but my understanding is that 
he never had any family, in reference to the destroying and murdering the Indeans 
at Bulltown it is true my father has told me often about it; and blamed his uncle 
much for the masacree. for they were friendly Indians and it was so inhuman 
they kiled Wimen and Children caught the poore little Children by the heels 
and nocked their brains out against there huts, this horable story has been told 
me by my Father and several old Indian wariers on Hackers Creek, it is horable 
but true. Its not worth while to deneigh it. those men said, gnits would make 
lice; and the Bulltown Indians harbered the wariers there Were several of the old 
wariers who scouted and fought the Indians that remained on Hackers Creek and 
died there so I got many Indian storyes when there would 2 or more get togather. 
(as for Wm Hacker of shelbyville I would love to know whose son he is an his age) 
as for Scott and Runner, or White I can give you no certain account: or there 
decendance my opinion is they went to Kentucky down about Louisville or below; 
this is only my opinion not from any evidence only impression, as for the cheaf 
Bald Eagle I have said in a former letter I know nothing but will say as I have 
allread}^ said to you in other letters that that is written in Withers work is true 
considdered so by all the old warriers with whome I have converst Withers was 
not consedered strictly upright but honest in compiling the Book People thought 
he aught to have sined Hackers and Powers name to the Book insted of his own. 
tho that matter but little 

My Dear Bro I am still of the opinion that W^" Hacker my grand Fathers 
Bro was never marrierd my Father always told me so it has been some time since I 
have read the Border Warfair: I do not remember whether it is mentioned in the Book 
of W"i Hackers family being killed by the Indians if it is mentioned there I will 
beleave it and if it is not there I will think it ought not be there. I am honest 
and I dont want you to think otherwise 

I have done all I could to collect my mind togather to find the trouth and to 
keep off of what I have read in withers work suposing you had it and give you 
what I have from memory and tradition no more at this time 
but remaen your sincear friend 
and bro in Christ 

J. T. Hacker" (20) 

(20) See page 501. 

Draplr Correspondence 367 

"Wichita Kansas March 17''' ISVI 
"Lyman C. I3rapi;r Esq. 

Madison, \\ isconsiii. 
"Dear Sir 

"Your loiter of Feb. 25ih to hand whicli has been delayed on account of my 
name being addressed Granvill Hacker. I am known in this country only by the 
name of W. G. Hacker I have been here in Sedgwck Co. going on 21 years. I 
resided in Illinois 4 years previs to that time I lived in V'a where I was borned and 
raised on Hackers creek now Lewis Co. West V'^ You speak of the Rev. William 
Hacker. I do not know of such a man on our side of the house. My fathers 
name is Thomas S. Hacker, he was born in 1816 and died in Letart Falls* in 1885; 
my father's father's name was Alexander Hacker, his fathers name was John 
Hacker the Mary Hacker that the border of Warfare speaks of was the daughter 
of John Hacker and a sister of my fathers father was scalped and stabbed seven 
(7) times by the Indians on Dec. 5th 1787 (21) in the year 1760 (22) my great grand 
father John Hacker and his brother William Hacker came from the valley of V^ 
not far from Lexington, to the old fort Buckhannon now West V", our family 
arc quite numerous and wonderfully scattered, there is a great many of them 
L'ncle Jonathan Hacker's children reside in Indiana; Uncle Philip's are in Ten- 
nessee and Kentucky. Uncle William's in Kentucky &. Indiana My great, greal 
grandfather, John Hacker, and his brother William resided where Buchanon 
now stands. Some eight or ten years before tiic arrival of Smuel Pringle, (23) 
John and Benjamin Carturighi and it appears that Samuel Pringle and my great 
grand-father John Hacker had a dispute in regard to what we call claims on land 
John Hacker and John and William Radicliff taken up their farms in about one 
and a half miles of where Jane Lew now stands, (and later) know now in later 
days as Powers farm on the creek what is known then as a branch of the Monon- 
gahela The creek was named after my great grand-father John Hacker as Hacker's 
creek in the year 1769 You speak of or asked me if I knew of any of my kinsmen 
furnishing any of the chronicals of the border of war fare to Alexander Withers, 
I beg to say while it appears on the pages of border of war fare in the beginning 
that Alexander Withers was the author of the Border of War Fare, or history of 
the settlements by the whites of North Western V^ I say he is ntu the author, 
m\- grandfather Alexander Hacker, my fathers father is the original writer and 
had the manuscript ready for publication about the year 1830 but was not able to 
bear the expens of publication at that time, my father informed me also my mother 
of who was Charlotte Hess her father Heschia Hess who went through the Revolu- 
tionary [&.] War of 1812 whom I knew when I was a small boy just beginning to 
pry into historical writings — that .Alexander Withers did make a bargain with my 
grandfather Alexander Hacker, if he would allow iiim to \\nw a "jreat many of 
the books published and have controll of their sale he would bear the expences of 
the publication and that Alexander Hacker should have the credit of writing the 
book, this my grandfather agreeded to, j'ou see on the first page, under the fly- 
leafed cover, that Alexander S. Withers did steal the right and title of the cronicles 
of the Border of Ware Fare, from GrandfalluT Hacker: and tlie Withers family 

*.Meigs County, Ohio. 1. \ . \KW. 

(21) Sec page 501. (22) p. 501. (23) p. 501. 

368 Appendix I 

is intitled to no credit for the writing of the Border of War Fare ma[li]ciously 
stolen away from my ancestors. I beg to give Mr. Withers credit only for having 
the money to bring about the publication of this valuable book now open before 
my eyes. I refer you to pages 93 and 105 and 280 & 281 for facts printed and 
published in the Border of War Fare, (24) my kinsman in V^ are numerous namly 
Smith's Baton's Allman's Alkires Post's Bonnet's Morrison's West's many others 
to tegious to mention. I will say that I myself and a cousin of Indina have 
traced our ancestors through North America back- to England even to Colonel 
Francis Hacker who read the death warrant of King Charles the (1) first where 
he was beheaded at White hall England after the thirty years war and the end 
of the Romish yoke by Lord Cromwell and others. The name was then spelled 
previous to this, Hecker; under the old Anglo Saxon of Germany, it was spelled — 
Heckeredt: We go on farther to the seven high priests, that our sacred history 
gives an account of, long before John Knox's time when they resolved to form a 
band and called themselves Knight Templars and drew their swords in defence 
of the widows the orphans and the Christian religion from thense we came and 
now we stand my cousin informs me it would cost about ^800 to have his manu- 
script published in book form, it appears that he does not want history of our 
people published till after his death. I persume he is waiting to add to the last 
days and moments of our lives, or his life while he remains with us on earth. I 
would be very glad to know who this H W Hacker of Jane Lew is and what age 
he is, if he is a man of means and moral and in good standing 1 could give him a 
position with our manufacuring astablishment would like to correspond with him. 
I am unable to make out who this Rev. William Hacker is perhaps he is a descendant 
of my great grand father John Hacker's brother William. 1 had a cousin John 
Hacker that was a preacher about Jane Lew. I beg of you in honor to the Hacker's 
in general not to allow the name of Alexander Wither's to bear any connection^ 
to your rewriting the Border of War Fare. I knew a Rev Mr. Clark who I think 
was connected with the Cincinnati Publishing Company about 42 years ago. 
Could this be any relation to R. C. Clarke — if so, I know him to be a good preacher. 
In answer to yours I could not say right now whether & where there any living 
children of my grandfather. I think that Jonathan Hacker my fathers brother 
is dead. I know that my father died in 1885 I think that William Hacker my 
uncle is living in Tennessee. You might write L'ncle Daniel Helmick at Tenbon- 
parise Tennessee if he Is living he can give you the desired information, he married 
one of my fathers brothers daughters I think, or my grandfathers only sister 1 
don't know which, there were seven children in my grandfathers family six bo}'s 
and one girl. I will cheerfully do so from time to time, and hope to hear from 
you often. I have a better head than I have a stead[y] hand, my daughter Mary 
Ella H. has written this letter for me very hurridly and in a very much embarrased 
condition this being the first attempt of writing a letter dictated, hope you will 
excuse all urse and omittances and more aspecialy our paper, as I only received 
your letter yesterday and under the pressure of buisness have been hurried to 
answer your communication now approaching the "wee" hours of the night, 
please find enclosed two cards which one will you choose. 

I remain Yours Very Truly 

William Granvill Hacker" 

(24) See page 502. 

Dk.m'kr Correspondknck 369 

"W icinTA, Kas, May KH'' 1S91 
"Lyman C. Drapkr 

"Dr Sir: My father was born in 1816 his name, 'I'h^ S. Hacker. I was 
his oldest child, born in 1841, & the only one living. 

".My fatlier's father was Ale-x"" Hacker, a son of John Hacker. John & his 
brother William Hacker settled at old fort Buchannon. John locating about 
a mile and a half from Jam- I.iw. on the road from Jane Lew to Jackson's Mill 
on the West Fork. (25) 

"I did not say that my grandfather, .Mexr Hacker wrote ihe Chronicles of 
Border Warfare, but by his father, John Hacker. (26) 1 cant iielp what other 
claim, that VV^'" Hacker, John's son, wrote the Chronicles; or what John T. Hacker, 
a Methodist minister, says, that W"^ Hacker, a .son of John, & one W"! Powers 
did the gathering of the materials for the work. Thinks they are not old enough. 

"The father of W'" Powers, married into the Hacker family. I knew W"> 
Powers when [I was] a small boy. John T. Hacker wd like to have owned the 
whole world, but only got enough of it to lay his body on, after he came out of 
the Confederate army. (27) ♦ * * * 

"Sail\- Hacker, daughter of Jnlm Hacker, tiic pioneer, married l^avid Smith— 
she lived to be 84 years old 

"In answer to your question what did Withers pa_\- for the manuscript he 
used in his work. Have no knowledge of Israel, the publisher. Have often heard 
my parents speak of Wither's book, that he defrauded the Hackers out of the 
title or authorship of the work. I have seen them shed tears over it. Withers 
did [not] pay anything for the work, nor promise to pay anything. There was 
some consideration made, I know, in regard to the publishing of the work with 
John Hacker. There was a great intimacy between my father & Henry Withers, 
son of .Mexr Withers, who kept a store some 6 or 7 miles on Hackers Creek, handed 
down by his father There was something wrong about the publication of the book. 
I c<l have known more, but I left that countrv in 1859, when I was abt. 18 vears 

"William Hacker, brother of John Hacker that came to Hackers' Creek — 
there is not much known of him only as an Indian fighter. I suppose you are 
aware that he lost his wife in the early settlement of Virginia near old fort Buc- 
hannon — murdered by the Indians in a lull of peace, after they came to Hacker's 
Creek about the year 1769 or 1770. From this time on, we find him killing Bald 
Eagle on Hacker's Creek on tiie frontier with Jacob Scott & Elijah Runner. W"^ 
Hacker also took more Ind" scalps at BuUtown, in retaliation for the murder of 
his family: The family of Strode [Stroud] living on Gauley river — in company 
with a party of 5 men, two of whom were W"' White & W>" Hacker [destroyed 
Bulltown.] Respectfully 

W. C. Hackkr 
B\' Eli, A Hacker" 

"Lyman C Drapkr ".May IS'li 1891 

"Madison, Wisconsin 

'Dear Sir I am happy to inform you tiuit Uncle William Hacker married 
a Scotch lady she was murded by the Indians about the time or .■^ome little time 

(25) See page 502. (26) p.' 502. (27) p. 502. 

370 Appendix I 

before the second coming of Samuel Pringle in the year of 1768. I know of Pringle's 
they with the Hackers Jackson's and Sleath's Davis Brown's and Hughes and 
Radchif's settled in and around Buckhannon, my grand father Hesicha Hess 
Peter Wagner my uncle David Smith Jaboc Cocad I have heard them talk this 
over that W™ Hacker's wife had never been mentioned in the Border of Ware 
Fare I have often when I was a small boy heard Peter Wagner once a captive 
talk about these matters when he was a very old man I used to work for him, 
spreading hay in harvest and have heard him tell Indian massacres and of his 
capture. I have also heard Aunt Math Bonnet speak of WiUiam Hacker's wife 
being murded by the Indians I have also heard the above parties speak of Aunt 
Mary Wolf being murded. In the year according to record of Withers 1768 we 
find that W"^ Hacker and John Hacker his brother my fathers grandfather with 
others let out from Buckhannon or Bushs Fort and went on to the West Fork 
of the Mongalia the following year now known as Hackers creek. And that W^-i 
Hacker Jess Hugh's was the hunters with others that killed the game that supplied 
those that tilled the ground and give considerable service to the new settlements 
and once and a while take in an Indian on the sly I have heard folks speak in very 
sly way about parties killing Indians and tha[t] W°> Hacker was getting revenge 
or I should say did get revenge but there was but few people that knew it. W™ 
Hacker at the time his wife was murded did not have any children or as I never 
heard any of his children spoken of. I seen that his brother John Hacker had a 
girl a sister to Edmond West['s wife] a daughter of John Hacker 11 years in 1787 
this Mary Hacker was my fathers great aunt that was scalped and stabbed seven 
times in the body threw over the fence for dead by order of Lenard Schoolcraft 
a trator to the whites, you take 1768 and 1787 and deduct the lesser from the 
greater and you have 19 years between the time of the settling of Buckhannon 
by the Hacker and the massachres and captures of the daughter of Jess Hughs 
■on Hackers creek you take the eleven years from the 19 years and you have left 
8 years, now this is supposed to be the youngest daughter of John Hacker, the 
■oldest daughter marrying the Hess and Hughs, would bring the time or the elapse 
of 8 years down that W"^ Hacker must have got married about the time his brother 
John did my grandfather Hess. (28) I have heard him talk, with my father and 
mother about killing an old Indian up above the mill dam by Jackson mill at 
Jane Lew (29) and cutting him open filling him full of sand and sinking him in 
the water I have went to the place to see if I could see him myself when I was 
smal I cannot explain why W™ Hackers wife was not mentioned in the border of 
War Fare any more than I can tell why this Indian grandfather Hess killed was 
not mentioned by Withers, this is where I have heard the folks talk that Withers 
hadn't all of the Hacker manuscript published I can not help what honorable 
W"' Hacker of Shelbyville says, but I have heard Peter Wagner Jacob Corcad 
Richard Baton Aunt Math Bonnet maiden name Hacker (30) Uncle David Smith 
my father my grandfather Hess, and mother speak of the BuUtown that was 
named Bultown by the Indians masachred and was spoken in a way that it was 
W"^ Hacker and the two whites and two other parties that Withers has left out 
that did murder those Indians for revenge now since I have written you the first 
letter I called to memory what is known at the North edge of Braxton and South 
edge of Lewis Co's a farm of plantation known as the Hacker by some Hacke 
flats and Hacker plantation or Hacker farm near Jacksonville not a great ways 

(28) See page 502. (29) p. 507. (30) p.507. 


Draper Correspoxden'ce 371 

from Sutonville talking with Mr. Law a few days ago of which he claimed relation- 
ship to me, of which I have only known him a short time less than a year Mr Laws 
wife was a Keth and her grandmother was a Hacker now I have no doubt in my 
mind but that William Hacker married the second time in amongst the children 
of his associates as I do know that he did associate with Jesse Hughs and that 
Hughs and Keth's and Slegthcs and M^Xcamor Mackletess and Hackers arc all 
related, with others I have not mentioned some of these a little distant relation 
above mentioned to somewhat some others are a distinction being between John 
H and W"" Hacker it is very evident that W"> Hacker has carried his side of the 
relationship in a se[c]ond marriage to that of John H his brother as to the Bald 
Eagle the old Indian cheif I am unable to say wether Bald Eagle had any hand 
in the killing of Wm H. wife or not. (31) In regard to Elijah Runner the associate 
of William Hacker and Jacob Scott as to Jacob Scott I have never seen but have 
heard him spoken of frequently as to Elijah Runner I have been in his son's black- 
smith shop or the original Elijah Runner I don't know which many a time when 
I was about 8 or 10 years old Mr Runner was a very old man at that time and had 
his home and shop located of Jessie Run Lewis Co W V^ my father was a very 
intimate friend of Mr. Runner (32) I do not know of any of his family that is 
living I have not known anything of Mr Runner for about 40 yars I have given 
you the dates and all the information and what I have heard talked of when I 
was small in regard of the killing of Mrs Hacker Bald Eagle and others that I 
can it matters not what Mr Withers book has not chronocclized or has cronciklized 
I have only given to you what I have learned and heard before I ever saw the 
Border of War Fare that book I never saw until after I was 16 or 17 years old 
then I precured one and read it and found that it did not contain all that I knew 
before I saw the book as my memory from others and from old heads was my 
education by listening reletting and remembering was all tiiat I had to speak of 
I never could write to amount to anything or read writing to our last civil war I 
will give you the name of a relative of ours that lives on Hacker creek West V* 
Lewis Co. by the name of Nicklos Alkire who might give you information in regard 
to Elijah Runner or Jacob Scott's children that would give the diserd information 
W'hich you request of me. I will also refer you to Iscic Jackson Jane Lew West V^ 
I believe that I have answered all of your questions and the facts as near as I 
possibly can 

Yours Respetaly 

W G Hacker (33) 
Per E" 

"Pen'nsboro Ritchie Co W Va 
June 5/91 
"L C Draper Esqr 
"Dr Sir 

''I received your letter and will try to get mydaughters Husband Mr T.\Brown 
attorney at law at Elizabeth Wirt Co W V'a to attend to your request but if he 
cant spare the time I will consider the Proposition my self the Book was written 
by Grandfather Powers and a Friend at his own house I have the table uppon 
which it was written. Withers was only employed by him to make it ready for 
the Press in case Mr Brown will undertake it I will furnish him with what informa- 

(31) Sec page 507. (32) p. 507. (33) p. 507. 

372 Appendix I 

tion I have and can collect, which I think will be considerable. Please write to 
him and if he cannot undertake the correspondence I will do the best I can to help 
you out with your undertaking. 

with the best wishes that you may sucksead in seting rite a long standing 
wrong to my Grandfather and his descendents to God and mankind I bid you 

A Respectful adiew 

William. M. Powers 
PS — always consider me at your service Wm M. P." 

"Pennsboro Ritchie Co W Va 
June 27/91 
"L C Draper L. L. D. 
''Dear Sir 

as I roat to you before I met with an accident that nearly cost me my life 
but am getting some better so that I am able to write a little agane I have written 
to various ones for information and I think we will soon begin to reap a rich harvest 
I am doing every thing I can to ade in the cause and I would thank you for any 
suggestion you think Proper to make you asked in your first letter if Grandfather 
was a Publick man yes — under the Virginia law of his day. I have understood 
that the madgistrate was appointed instead of elected as is now the case and 
after being madgistrate for so long then they served a turn of Sheriff and then 
Madgistrate for so long againe at any rate my Grandfather was [has] filled the 
two offices for a grate number of years he also held a commision as captain (34) 
in the Indian war and had charge of some posts on the Ohio River and was a can- 
didate for the legislature but was defeated by one voat. He was a Freemason 
and was known and respected as far as any man in western Virginia in his day 
and when he died he was buried in the honors of war the melistia was commanded 
by Col. D. H. Smith now dead and the general Program was aralnged by Hon 
Blackwell Jackson of Jane Lew now dead now as to this statement I will write 
and find out some of the statement who of his old nabors are living and give you 
thare address: he drew a Pension from the U. S. Government you ask in the second 
letter who aded Grandfather: W">. Hacker the first male white child born on the 
crick and the crick was named after this W^. Hacker (35) to what extent did he 
assist whether in writing or gathering the statements I dont know but as I have 
always understood that grandfather was the author of the book it would be reson- 
able to suppose that Hacker furnished infermation and grandfather did the writing 
as grandfather was a good scribe and a well educated and informed man for the 
backwoods: this would seam the true case but to as I have never herd the Hacker 
Family lay any clame to the authorship of the Book in such cases we only can 
infer from what reason teaches at what Period did your grandfather work — I 
dont know; but would suppose him to be from 50 to 60 years old when he done it 
what araingements did he make with withers I always understood that withers 
was only imployed by grand father to correct or rather to devide in chapters and 
such like, so as to be ready for the Press without delay so that the type setting 
could be gone on with without delay; but what Pay he was to have I dont know- 
did withers fulfill what he agreed to do in the matter I have understood that he 
left out considerable that should have ben in it especially some fites with indiens 
which grandfather was in was this assistant of your grand -father connected with 

(34) See page 507. (35) p. 507. 


Ukapkr C(jrrespondknce 375 

this withers arraingemciit I think not 1 never herd so; in fact, 1 never herd tiiat lie 
lade any claim to the work. 1 think if he demanded any thing that grandfather 
must have satisfied liim. what became of the manuscript statements Joseph 
Israel the Printer, ran of to the west and took the manuscripts with him and that 
was the reason always asigned by grandfathers family wli\ trrandfather didnt 
go to law for his property and I think he was getting old. and altho a very brave 
man and grate tighter, 1 tiiink rather tiian go to law he would suffer wrong, how 
many Pages of them wasc ihare or about how many? 1 have no Knowledge 
when and whare did your grandfather die and at what age? at his home near 
Jane Lew June 6" 1855 in his 90''' year, dont know when born but know he was 
nearly 90 when he died whare was he born at what was then known as Powers 
foart on Simpsons Crik wliarc the town of bridgeport now stands in Harrison 
County, W. Va. (.16) 

and when settled in west \ a 1 Joni know when his failicr setied in w va but he 
came from Hagersluwn M. D. lha\- once owned liie land thai hagerstown stands 
on; thay decended from very welthy europeans, 1 bclive thay ware inglish: 
grandfather's grandfather once owned 10 merchant ships was he old enough to 
take any part in the Indian wars yes and did take Part and was not given credit 
with it in his own book on p 105 (37) of withers work is given an account of the 
deth of Bald Eagle what was it led to his murder I dont know but will try to find 
out on p 10() (38) the destruction of Bulltown is it correct I dont know but will 
try to find out do you know when and whare Jacob Scott & Elijah Runner died &c 
thare ages & descendants do not I know a Elijah Runnion perhaps he is one L C 
Draper a man I gratly respect let me apoligise for this delay I could have got 
others to write in fact made the trial but met witii such Poor success that I stoped 
untill I could write myself now kind old friend he sure and write all you want to 
and ask all questions you want and he assured I will L'iadh' do my best to answer 
them correctly as I can of course I know nothing only by tradition but of course 
that is all you can expect and to dont send stamped envilopes to me I will not put 
you to that expense in your old days altho a Poor Enjinear &: inventor yet it dos 
me more good than you think to correspond with a man of your integrity lerning 
and such — now may you live to complete all your works and to enjoy the fruits 
of your labors and when you go hence as we all must inay you find the Peas which 
Paseth understanding 

Kind Friend fair the well 

W'm. M. Powkrs" 

"Pennsboro RrrciiiK Co \\ \'^ 
July 4791 
'"L C Drai'kr 
"1)r Sir 

"I received your letter a day or two ago and will tr\- to answer your inqur>'s 
the best I can 

"1st Grandfathers Fathers name was John; dont know when he was born 
or when he died or his age: he owned a farm at VV'estfield on the West fork river 
5 or 6 miles below weston the 1st site of Lewis Co but the site was moved to wcston 
and the town dwindled to nothing I think thare is where he died Kather moved to 
Kans and took his Grandfathers large Eamih' Bible witii him a lari/e planly eUL'raved 

<3()) See page 507. (37) p. 507. (38) p. 507. 

374 Appendix I 

Bible costing ?17 dollars at that time would cost about ^3.50 only now Father is 
dead and I fear I cant find the record of Great Grandfathers birth but at any 
rate I have wrote to day to my Brother in Kansas to send me the records of Grand- 
father and his Father and a copy of Grandfathers commission as captian of the 
post on the ohio river if he can find them I have understood from outside partys 
that the name of the Fort at Bridgeport was Powers fort; (39) I never herd our 
■family call it by that name; but I dont doubt but that was the name of the fort 
I have herd Grandfather sa}^ he knew when the city of Clarksburg was all 
in the woods and that is only 5 miles west of Bridgeport now Joseph Johnson was 
once Govner of Virginia and a relation of Grandfathers he was living a few years 
ago but is very likely to be dead by this time but his children might know all about 
the Powers Family while they lived at Bridgeport he had a soninlaw by the name 
of English who used to visit Grandfather often, some years before he died. I 
am satisfied If he is living he could give you very valuable information: 2d yes, 
Father and me Placed a marble Headstone at his grave in 1861 that will give the 
dates in full & it may be his Father was buried there (at Broad Run Graveyard) 
also 3d I have understood he had the office of sheriff several terms. I recollect 
the last time he had it when he was eighty odd years old and could not ride the 
County and sold the office to other partys: he has a Grand Son by the name of 
Levi Bond at Lost Creek Postoffice Harrison Co W Va who must be about 70 I 
expect he knows how often he had the ofliice and mite have other valuable informa- 
tion but if you address him dont mention my name as we ar not on good terms 

"4 never saw Joseph Israel he must have Run off soon after publishing the 
Border warefare 5 Elija Runnion died (40) about 1858 aged about 60, thirty years 
or more younger than Grandfather was a renter & laborer; lived in Lewis & Harri- 
son Countys and liked a dram; has a son Wm Runnion at Jane Lew or Buchanen 
I dont know which 

"Wm. D. Powers was my father he is dead I have written more letters of in- 
quiry & will write some more be assured your letters is always welcom 

Your True Friend 

William M. Powers" 

"Pennsboro Ritchie Co W Va 

July 20/91 
"Lyman C Draper 
"Dr Sir 

"I have ben wating to hear from the letters I wroat to difron Parties for inform- 
ation in regard to Grandfather & his works but have received no answer as yet I 
have written to the P M in Kansas to find my Brothers address as I havent got no- 
answer from the letter I sent my Brother he must have moved I have written 
other leters of enquiry and hope to gane some information from some of them I 
have lerned from enquiry that Luther Haymond the Cashier of the 1st National 
Bank of Clarksburg is still living he is as Honerable Alan as West Virginia affords 
he was an old friend of Grandfathers I believe if you would write to him he could 
give you more information about Grandfather & his Book & his Indian fighting- 
than any other man now living I recollect of hearing the old folks talk of two 
fights that Grandfather had with Indians one was with Elis & Jess Hughes & Alex 
West Grandfather & others the indeans had taken a lot of Prisoners and these- 

(39) See page 507. (40) p. 508. 

Draper Correspondence 375 

men folowed them and overtook them at night and wated till in the nite and the 
attacked Indians and recaptured the Prisoners John Rony a white Boy captive 
was I believe the only white one kiled in the battle he also was in the fight with 
them I think some whare in the country in company with Col Lowther and others 
and one of thare Party one John Bonnet I think was kiled in the fight and they 
caried his remanes as long as thay could and rapt him in a blanket & buried him 
in a cave in the rocks. 

Vour 'I'ru Friend 

\\M. M. PowiiRs" 

"Pennsboro W \'a Aug 12/91 
"Lyman C Drapkr Ritchie Co 

"Dr Sir 

"I have just received a letter from my Brother giving old family records &c 
he says thare is no exact record of the birth of our grate grandfather John but will 
suppose he was born between the years 1740 & 1745 since the record of the birth 
of his eldest son Thomas is 1763 John Powders the husband of Prudence was born 
Probably about 1742 and deceased Oct 26 1823 his son William the 2nd son of 
John and Prudence and the Husband of Hannah was born Nov 9 1765 and de- 
ceased June 6 1855 he say he cant tiiid Grandfathers commission as captane 
in the Indian war but has sean his land warrent for 160 akers of land entitled to 
him as a soldier I lia\e written several letters of enquiry about Grandfather but 
only Part of them have been answered and such as was was not of any value if 
this had only ben begun some 15 years ago before some of those who knew about 
old times died it would have ben an easy mater to find out about it but now it 
seam nearly impossible to obtain much information on the subject I have ben 
informed by one who I wrote to for information that Aliss Withers a grandaughter 
of the Clament of Border warefare is at work overhawling hur grandfathers Book 
with the intention of having it republished I understand that Noah Flesher of 
Weston Lewis co is Prepareing a similar work for Publication I wish to keep you 
informed about such matters as well as I can 

"You wrote me in your last letter that your Lady was very sick Pleas re- 
ceive my sympathy for you & hur we have had sickness in our family at times 
I know the trouble and the sorrow of it and if what we see with the hewman eye 
was ail it would be sad indead but when we look through sickness sorrow Pane 
and death with the eyes of the spirit upheld by our Savior then we have hope of 
eternal safety beyond the river that we all must cross may she be upheld by his 
Spirit that he Promised to send us all and when she starts over the Jordan that 
Jordan that we all must cross may she cross not with sadness & regret but with 
the Joy of the blest 

From your ever Gratefull 

Wm M Powers" 

"Jane Lew W \a May 26 91 
"Mr Lyman C Draper 

"Dear Sir I Received yours of 9 and in Reply I do not know very Much 
a bout the Early Settles of this Country all Though my Grand & Create Grand 


Appendix I 

Fathers was a most the first Settlers of this Country tha Emigrated her[e] from 
New Jersey 1st you wish to know How the Work of Withers Border War Fare 
Was goten up and How the People Regarded it. I think Withers Wrote it and 
Wti. Powers gave Him the Most of the Sketches I was acquainted With Both 
that is Withers & Powers and they Were Good Men and I think Whot Sketches 
thay give were very Corect as far as I know; I never Read it but understand it 
to be only a few of the Many accurences With the Indians in this Section of the 
Country I Supose thar is no person here that knows anything about the killing 
of Indian Bald Eagle tha is a Mr Cutright (41) at Hinkle's Ville Upshur Co W V* 
I under Stand he is 91 years old he mite give you some good infermation I do 
not know any descendants of Jacob Scott or Elija Runnen W™. Powers Has a 
Grand Son Lives at Pennsborough Ritchie Co W V^ Martime Powers the Reason 
I did not Write Sooner is I thought I Mite git Some More infermation but I do 
not know of any More I Have Heard My Grand Father Jackson & other Old 
People Tell a good deal about the Early days of this Country but I was young 
then and tha ar all pased a way and thar is but few that can give Much account 
of the Indian Times in this Country Now. So I Give you all the Infermation 
I cold 

Yours &C 

J. W. Jackson" (42) 

(41) See page 508. (42) p. SOS. 


The former presence of the liutialo, i»r American Bison, has 
been traced as far east as Ca\etown, Marx hmel, and records show 
that it was not unknown in the j-iroximity of the (leor^ia coast, 



'^'^'^^^lM:::.-^ : finsdnentc cs animal ko y fiero dero- 
ftro,y cucrpo, I luyC' de los los caujUos por fii ma- 
la caMdura,o por nuiica los nuer vifco. No ticnen 
fus durhos otra dqiieia , m haiicnd j , dcllos co- 
n;en,l>euen,vilkn,^an , y liaien mudias colas 
Jiuciros,piin9C)Hcs:dclos iieruios,v pdos, hilo;d<j 
los ctieinos,biii.lics,v bcxigas , valbsidclas bcni- 
^as,Uimbrc:y debs tci ncras , odits , eii que traen 
y ticiitn aptia : liazen en fin untas colas deilos 
quinus Iian meitf Iter, o quantas las baftan p"ara 
-fii Inuienda.Ay tatnbicn orros animales, un pran 
jclfs coirio cauallo.sqiie por tcner cucnios , y lali» 
^fiiifijK'S llaman cariicros,y diren , que cada cucr-, 
no pt(i dos airouas. Ay t.imbicn grandcs pciios, 



The Buffalo of Gomara 

Courtcsv of Smithsonian Instiiiiiidii 

but no remains of it has ever been found adjacent to the Atlantic 
seaboard. Handbook of American Indians, Part I, p. 169. 

While the animal was known to some of the inland valley 
Indians east of the Appalachians, and where its presence in his- 
toric times is attested b\- an occasional geographical name, it was 
not common in that region. This miijht\' mountain range was a 

378 . Appendix II 

barrier to eastern migration, broken only by a few passes. It was 
crossed by buffalo and Indian trails at- — 

Cumberland Gap, Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Head of the James River, Virginia. 

Head of the Potomac River, West Virginia. 

Head of the Juniata River, tributary to the Susquehanna, 
Pennsylvania. Hulbert's Washington and the West, New York, 
1905, pp. 17, 18. 

Wagon roads, then railways have been built through all of these 
passes, practically following the old paths, or trails in question. 

The great range of the buffalo was between the Allegheny 
and the Rocky Mountains, with general migrations North and 
South. While a recognized plains animal, it was more widely 
diffused throughout the Trans-Allegheny and western Virginia, 
than has been supposed; but never in extensive herds. This, in 
a measure, was owing to the great dearth of grasses in the dense 
forests; which, however, was more open then than at a later period. 
Especially is this true in those regions where this animal and 
droves of deer and elk were wont to feed. Clear Creek, Clearfield 
County, Pa., was so called by the Indians because of the exten- 
sive aeries there cleared of underbrush, destroyed by buffaloes. 
On the Border with Colonel Antes, p. 67. 

In dealing numerically with the Trans-Allegheny buffalo,' 
there was one factor that has never been properly considered. 
The animal, a lumbering beast, lived there the year round, and 
its numbers, especially in winter, must have been greatly deci- 
mated by the innumerable packs of timber wolves which infested 
this vast wilderness. Young calves and isolated individuals fell 
an easy prey to this voracious, fleet-footed carnivora. Escape 
by flight was impossible. Doddridge, p. 104, speaks of the destruc- 
tiveness of the wolf to the cattle of the early settlers. Waddell 
testifies to their former great numbers, their scourge to the west- 
ern settlers and bounty paid for their scalps. — Annals oj Augusta 
County, pp. 22, 42. 

Easily hunted, the buffalo became practically extinct soon 
after the advent of the white man on the western waters, and 
allusion to it by the chronicles is casual. It was a century before 
the more wily, tenacious elk was exterminated in the alpine-like 
regions of the Alleghenies. The following data on the subject is 
from the Draper Manuscripts, LBB46-49, Wisconsin State His- 


torical Society. ^''The Buffalo or Bison in West I'irginia,''^ "frotn 
Geological Survey of Kentucky,^'' ''''The Ainerican Bison" by J. A. 
Allen, 1876. 

"Warden also refers to tlie former existence of buffaloes in the western part 
of Pennsylvania and to tlieir early extinction there and in Kentucky. (1) Gallatin 
says: The name of Buffalo Creek, between Pittsburg and Wheeling, proves that 
'hey had spread thus far eastwardly when that country was first settled by the 
Anglo-Americans. (2) Further to the southward, in West \'irginia, in the \'allies 
of the Kanawha and its tributaries, as well as thence westward, the former abun- 
dance of the buffalo is well attested. 

"One of the earliest references to the existence of the buffalo in West \'irginia 
is that contained in the Journal of the Rev. David Jones, who in 1772, made a 
journey to the Indian tribes west of the Ohio River. (3) Under date June 18, 
1772, he writes: 'Went out to view the land on the east side [of the Little Kanawha] 
to kill provisions. Mr. Owens killed several deer, and a stately buffalo bull, 
i'he country is here level, and the soil not despicable.' In speaking of that part 
if the \'allcy of the Ohio near the mouth of the 'Great Guiandot,' he says under 
date of January, 1773: 'In this part of the country even at this season, pasturage 
is so good that creatures are well supplied without any assistance. Here are great 
abundance of buffalo, wliicii are a species of cattle, as some suppose, left here by 
the former inhabitants.' In describing the country about Wheeling he says: 
'The wild beasts met wiili iicre are bears, wolves, panthers, wild cats, foxes, rac- 
coons, beavers, otters, and some few squirrels and rabbits; buffaloes, deer and 
elk, called by the Delawares moos.' (4) 

"Buffaloes are well-known to have existed on the Monongahela, and (5) 
throughout the region between this river and the Ohio, over the area drained by 
the Little Kanawha, Buffalo, Fishing, Wheeling, and other small tributaries of 
the Ohio, where it is said to have been much interval or open land, (6) and thence 
southward to the Great Kanawha. As already noticed, there is abundant evi- 
dence of its former existence on the sources of the Kanawha, extending to the 
head of the Greenbrier Rivers, in Pocahontas County, and thence eastward, at 
times at least, over the sources of the James. 

"Gallatin states that in his time (1784-85) "they were abundant on the southern 
-ide of the Ohio, between the Great and Little Kanawha. I have during eight 
months lived principally upon their flesh.' (7). The following additional testi- 
mony, contained in a letter written by Dr. Charles McCormick, dated Fort Gibson, 
Cherokee Nation, August 18, 1844, is furnished by Dr. P^lliott Coues. Dr. McCor- 
nick says: 'I have just seen Capt. [Nathan] Boone, and he promises to write 
nd tell you all about it.' In the meantime, he says, he killed his first buffalo 
- imewhere about 1793, on the Kanawha in Virginia. He was then quite a small 
iioy. He has also killed buffalo on New River, and neai the Bic Sand\-, in \'irginia 
in '97 and '98. (8) 

"The Bison Americanus, or wild buffalo, had retired from Western New 
York and Pcnnvslvania to the Ohio V'allev. 

"H. T. Wiley's Hist, of Monongalia Co., JF. I'a., p. 26, says: \\ mile or so 

(1) See paee 508. (2) p. 508. (3) p. 508. (4) p. 508. (5) p. 508. (6) p. 508. (7) p. 508. 
(8) p. 508. 

380 Appendix II 

from Stewart-town is the 'Buffalo Pond' — a long, narrow hollow, with high rocky 
sides running back from Cheat River, and terminating in a wall ten or twelve 
feet high. It is asserted that the Indians used this as a trap for buffaloes. They 
drove the bison up into it from the river, and then shot them." 

"Buffalo Creek in Logan Co., W. Va. — on scrap of W. Va., in Mitchells' 
Atlas of 1884. 

"1756 — Buffalo killed on Shawnee expdn. on Sandy Tug Fork: — Withers, 
63-64 [p. 83, new edition]. (9) 

"1767-69: Buffalo on Buchanan R. — Barbour Co. — Water of Monorigahela: 
Withers, 91-93 [pp. 120-122, new edition]. (10) 

"In 1784, in descending the Ohio, Gen. Aluhlenberg first mentions killing 
buffalo, below Hockhocking. 

"In Oct. 1785 Gen. Butler mentions first buffalo killed at Big Sandy. 

"1770 — In the autumn of 1770, when Washington made his Ohio Tour, he 
went as low as the Great Kenhawa and up that stream about fourteen miles, 
finding 'buffaloes and other wild game in great abundance.' Sparks^ Washington, 
I, 121, II, 524, 525, 528. 

"In 1780, buffalo were so plenty on the Little Kenhawa that Col. Brodhead 
sent hunters there for a supply of buffalo meat for use of his troops at Fort Pitt. 
(Hist, of Fayette Co. Pa., p. 86.) 

"1773 — Rev. D. Jones' Journal mentions buffaloes — p. 30. 

"Doddridge is indefinite as to buffaloes in Monongahela country — pp. 8 J, 
123, &c. 

"About 1742, in Augusta Co., Va., Withers, 43 [p. 50, new edition]. (11) 

"Between 1763 and 1774, there were some buffaloe and elk to be seen in the 
Greenbrier country. Kercheval's Hist, of the Valley, 2nd edn., 230. 

"Range of the bison: see The Nation, Aug. 16, 1877, 105." (12) 

This history of the bison in western Virginia is far from 

Christopher Gist, who was sent into the Trans-Allegheny by 
the Ohio Company in 1750-52, saw droves of forty to fifty buffalo 
on the Little Miami River, Ohio. Gisfs Journals, Pittsburg, 
1893, p. 55. 

Killed one barren buffalo cow on the Little Miami River, 
Ohio, p. 56. 

Killed two buffalo on the Little Kanawha, p. 60. 

Killed a buffalo on the Big Kanawha, p. 64. 

1752, Killed two buffaloes on the waters of Monongahela 
River, p. 73. 

1752, Killed four buffaloes while camped at mouth of Law- 
wellaconin Creek (Pond Creek, Wood County, West Va.), p. 76. 

1752, Molchuconickon, or Buffalo Creek (Middle Island 
Creek, in Tyler, Doddridge and Pleasants Counties, West Va.,) 
p. 16. 

(9) See page 508. (10) p. 508. (11) p. 508. (12) p. 508. 

Buffalo in \\ fstkrn \ ir(;ima 381 

1752, Xeemokeesy Creek, "saw signs of buffalo, elk and deer, 
which frequented a large cave to lick a kind of saltish clay which 
I found there in the cave" (cave 50 by 150 feet wide), p. 76. 
Gist speaks of killing a black fox at this place. 

173-, John Macky hunts buffalo on the Shcnaneloah and 
James Rivers, in Virginia. Xotc by Draper, Withers, p. 50. 

1738-40, John Sailing, a captive with the Cherokees, 
kills a buffalo at the Salt Springs in Kentuck}-. Withers, p. 48. 

176-, The Pringles purloin jerked buffalo meat from 
Indians on Buckhannon River. Chapter IX, this vol. 

1769, John Hacker kills buffalo cow on waters of C^reat 
Kanawha. Chapter \T, this vol. 

1788, Buffalo in Kentucky. Withers, p. 373. 

1796, Buffalo on Fishing Creek. (Wetzel County West \'a.) 
If 'it hers, p. 374. Deli ass gives the date 1786, p. 294. 

Buffalo killed in (now) Jackson County, West Va., by 
W illiam Bibbee, date unknown. Chapt. XXIII, this vol. 

1772, In a hunt on New Year's day settlers kill seven buf- 
faloes on Elk Creek, in (now) Harrison County, West Va. 

1790, Buffalo bull killed in autumn, on Hughes River, in 
(perhaps) now Ritchie County, West \ a. 

1791, Two buffaloes killed in March, on the West Fork of 
the Little Kanawha River. 

1792, Two buffalo hunters killed b\- Indians while canoeing 
on the Little Kanawha. 

Haymo7id^s History of Harrison County, If est J a., pp. 21, 
122, 359, 360. 

1774, May 17, 300 buffaloes seen at a "salt spring" on Ken- 
tucky River. 

.1774, Aug. 4, "a gang of Buffaloes" met on the Kentucky 
River, two killed. 

1774, Oct. 17, Indians seen hunting buffaloes on I he lower 
Great Kanawha River. 

1774, Oct. 26, buffalo "sign" observed on the Ohio side of 
the river opposite Point Pleasant. 

Dunmore's JVar, pp. 122, 133, 286, 369. 

1805, last buffalo seen in the region of Huntington, Cabell 
County, West Va. 

"'I'lic last buffalo killed in Kanawha County. West \ a., was in 1815, on the 

waters (if tlic l.ittio Sand\- Creek of Klk Ri\er. about twei\c- miles from Charleston. 

382 Appendix II 

The last elk killed in that country was in 1820 on Two Mile Creek of Elk River, 
about five and a half miles from Charleston." Trans-Allegheny Pioneers — p. 62. 
The same authority continues "It is said that vast herds of buffalo summered 
in the Kanawha Valley, 'in an early day,' within reach of the Salt Spring, or 
'Buffalo Big Lick,' as it was called, and in the fall, went to the grass regions of 
Ohio and Kentucky, and the cane brakes of the Kentucky streams. Their routes 
were — for Kentucky, down through Teay's Valley, and for Ohio, down Kanawha 
to Thirteen Mile Creek, and over to Letart, where they crossed the Ohio River. 
Colonel Croghan, who came down the Ohio in a boat in 1765 encountered a vast 
herd crossing at Letart." 

"In 1825 — at least as late as that — a buffalo cow and her calf were killed at 
Valley Head, near the source of Tygart's River, * * * * About 1830 the 
wife of Thomas B. Summerfield shot an elk at a lick near the head of Sandy Creek, 
a branch of the Dry Fork of Cheat River. Five years later Abraham Mullenix 
killed another elk at the same place. In 1840 another was killed on Red Creek, 
in Tucker County. In 1843 three hunters from Dry Fork, Joab Carr and two 
men named Flannagan, killed three elk on the Black Fork of Cheat River, near 
where the present town of Davis now stands. So far as known these were the 
last elk killed on the soil of West Virginia, but the animal was not extinct for 
fifteen or twenty years later. Hunters were not able to bring any in, but they 
knew their haunts, and spent considerable time chasing them, almost as late as 
the beginning of the Civil War. The animals last range .was in the Canaan Valley 
in Tucker County, and one of the last hunters to pursue them was William Losh 
of Tucker." Trans- Allegheny Historical Magazine, pp. 200-201. 

In 1867 an elk was killed by an unknown hunter at Elk Lick 
on Middle River, Pocahontas County. I heard it related in a 
hunter's camp on Greenbrier River in 1878, that only a few years 
previous, the enormous antler of an elk, recently cast, had been 
found in the mountain fastness of Pocahontas County. Tracks 
of the animal had also been seen near the headwaters of the Cheat 
River, no later than 1873. 

Buffaloes the maker of "McColloch's path," (Preston County, 
WestVa.) mentioned in Washington's Diary of Sept. 1784. Wash- 
ington and the West, Vol. I, p. 67. 

Buffalo and Indian path, or trail followed by the Baltimore and 
Ohio Southern Railway, Doddridge, and Wood Counties, West Va. 
Hiilberfs Historic Highways, Cleveland, 1904, Vol. I, p. 138. 

"Granny's Creek," in Braxton Cou;ity, received its name 
when Henry Jackson commenced a survey thereon and one of his 
hunters named Loudin, killed a buffalo cow, which was so old and 
tough that the men declared her to be the grandmother of all 

The low gap between Rover's Run and Buckhannon Run, 

Buffalo ix \\ ester x \ irgixia 3S3 

just cast of my boyhood home on the last named stream, was 
known as a "Buffalo \\ allow, or Slumping (jround." The soil is 
a stiff red clay, and over an area of perhaps a quarter of an acre, 
there was a depression of from one to two feet, devoid of timber. 
I was familiar with this "wallow" while the ridge was yet covered 
with forest; but it has since been practically obliterated by the 
plow. There was also a small "bear wallow" on the opposite high 
ridge next to Bridge Run, which was visible only a few years ago. 

A slightly brackish or saline spring, on Bone Creek, a tribu- 
tary of Hughes River, Ritchie County, West Virginia, was evi- 
dently a resort of buffalo aiul other large animals. The spring, 
or lick, is on the old Somerville farm near Auburn, and is located 
at the head of a shallow marshy ravine in the creek bottom. The 
deep paths worn in the banks of the ra\ine by the hoofs of the 
animals were still visible when I visited it in 1879. The Creek 
derived its name from the numerous bones and teeth found at 
this "Bone Lick." Some of the teeth were very large. One seen 
and described by Captain John Somerville as a "double molar" 
was evidenth' that of a mastodon. Another remarkable specimen 
was a "tusk" which, when "placed with either point on a table, 
described an arch through which a large in\'erted teacup could 
be passed." 

Evidence of an occupation of this bottom b}- the aborigines 
were not lacking. A grooved, well-polished, hard stone axe, 
about six inches in length, was ploughed up just above the lick. 
In another part of the same field, and near a living spring, stood 
an oak, not less than three feet in diameter. This tree was made 
into rails, and when cut, it was found to have been ineffectually 
girdled when onh' about five inches in diameter. The girdling 
was about two feet from the ground and was a series of bruises 
from a blunt implement, such as would be produced with a stone 
axe. The injury caused a swelling, or ridged growth, in whicii at 
one point a small cavity had formed. In this was a sandstone, 
one inch in thickness — other dimensions not given. 

In 1886 Captain Somerville in digging a fish pond about tift\' 
feet below where the last mentioned spring now comes to the sur- 
face, at a depth of three feet took out a quantity of stone where 
the spring had at some former time, been systematical!}' walled. 
Flint implements and other relics of primitive industry have often 
been unearthed by the plow contiguous to these springs. 

384 Appendix II 

Buffalo Geographical Names of West Virginia. 

For assistance in the following compilation, I am indebted to 
Mr. David B. Reger, Assistant State's Geologist of West Virginia. 
Gannatt's Gazetteer of West Va. (Bulletin No. 233, U. S. Geological 
Survey, 1904) was also consulted. 

Buffalo Creek, tributary to the Little Kanawha; Braxton 

Buffalo Creek, rising in Pennsylvania and flowing west through 
Brook County, into the Ohio. 

Buffalo Calf Fork, branch of Middle Island Creek, Doddridge 

Buffalo Creek, small tributary of Meadow River; Fayette 
and Greenbrier Counties; so named from quantities of "buffalo 
grass" found there by first settlers. 

Buffalo Fork, affluent of Meadow River; Fayette County. 
This stream is called "Buffalo Lick Branch," in Col. Fleming's 
Orderly Book, where "Camp 5th" was pitched by Gen. Lewis' 
Army on the night of Sept. 15, 1774. Dunmore'' s War, 321. 

Buffalo Creek, small tributary to New River; Fayette and 
Summers Counties. 

Buffalo Creek, tributary to North Branch of Potomac; 
Grant County. 

Buffalo Creek, tributary to Monongahela River; Harrison 

Buffalo Creek, Jackson County. 

Buffalo Lick, tributary to Mill Creek; Jackson County. 

Buffalo Lick, small affluent of Elk River; Kanawha County. 

Buffalo Fork, small branch Hughes Creek; Kanawha County. 

Buffalo Fork, branch of Smither's Creek; Kanawha County. 

Buffalo Lick, small unchartered stream entering Hacker's 
Creek from the south, just east of the John Hacker homestead; 
Lewis County. 

Buffalo Creek, small branch of Mud River; a tributary of 
Guyandot River; Lincoln County. 

Buffalo Creek, small left-hand tributary to Guyandot River; 
Logan County. 

Buffalo Creek, small right-hand branch of Guyandot River; 
Logan County. (Noted by Draper.) 

Buffalo in \\ estkrn \'irc;ini.\ 385 

BufTak) Mountain, Logan and \\ ymnine Counties: elevation, 
2000 to 2500 feet. 

Buffalf) Creek, small branch <if 'I'uir I'l'ik <i(' Big Saiuly Ri\er; 
Mingo Count}'. 

Buffalo Creek, large tributary to the Moncmgahela Ri\er; 
Alonongalia and Marion Counties. 

Buffalo Creek, tributary to Mlk Ri\er; Nicholas and Clay 

Buffalo Hills, elevation, 2000 to 2500 feet; Pendleton County. 

Buffalo Run, now called "Trout Run," near Franklin; Pen- 
dleton Count)'. 

Buffalo Run, iorincr name of a small tiibular}' to Cheat 
River; Preston County. 

Buffalo Creek, large tributary to Cheat River; Preston 

Buffalo Mountain, spur-ridge near where the Staunton and 
Parkersburg Pike scales the Allegheny Mountain; Pocahontas 
County. So named because of its resemblance to the profile of 
an enormous buffalo. Rev. \\ illiam T. Price, of Marlington, 
\\ est \ a., writes me: "From a point of view one or two miles to 
the southwest, the contour of this spur is suggestive of the 'Amer- 
ican Spread Eagle.' 

Buffalo Ridge, summit in Marthas Ridge; Pocahontas County. 

Buffalo Fork, tributar}' to East Fork of Greenbrier River; 
Pocahontas Count}'. 

Buffalo Run, small branch of Deer Creek, tributar}- to North 
Fork of Greenbrier River; Pocahontas Count}'. 

Buffalo Creek, tributar}' to the Great Kanawha; Putnam 

Buffalo Ridge, Putnam Count}'. 

Buffalo, post-village, named from Big Buffalo Creek; PutJiam 

Buffalo-lick, post-village; Roane Count}'. 

Buffalo Fork, small tributar}' to Clear Fork of Coal River; 
Raleigh Count}'. 

Buffalo Run, two small branches, having the same name, of 
Middle Island Creek: Tyler Count}'. 

Buffalo Lick Run, small unchartered branch ot Bull Run; 
Upshur Count}'. 

386 Appendix II 

Buffalo Bull Knob, summit in Webster County. 

Buffalo Run, tributary to Right Fork of Middle Fork of 
Little Kanawha; Webster County. 

Buffalo Lick Great, forks of Elk River; Webster County. See 
Chapter VI, this vol. 

Buffalo Fork, tributary of Back Fork or Right Fork of Little 
Kanawha; W'ebster County. See Chapter VI, this vol. 

Buffalo Run, branch of South Fork of Fishing Creek; Wetzel 

Buffalo Creek, small branch of Little Huff Creek; tributary 
to Guyandot River; Wyoming County. 

Buffalo , tributary to Pond Creek; W^ood County. 

There are a number of streams within the State which bear 
the name "bull;" such as bull creek, bull run, bull fork and bull 
lick. It is more than probable that the most of these, if not all 
of them, were named from some incident connected with bull- 
buffaloes. The majority of our watercourses were named in the 
earliest settlement of the country; and these names can hardly 
be associated with our domestic cattle. This deduction will also 
hold when applied to the several geographical appellations denoting 
^'cow," and "calf." 

Buffalo in Virginia East of the Allegheny Mountains. 

Buffalo Gap; middle branch of the Shenandoah River. 
Withers, p. 50. 

"The buffalo roamed at will over these hills and valleys, and 
in their migrations made a well-defined trail between Rockfish 
Gap, in the Blue Ridge, and Buffalo Gap, in the North Mountain, 
passing by the present site of Staunton." Annals of Augusta 
County, p. 7. 

A section of a buffalo path is still to be seen one mile north of 
the bridge crossing the Cowpasture River, on the Harrisonburg 
and Hot Springs Pike; in Bath County. 

Old hunters reported that buffaloes frequented the salt licks 
at (now) Saltville; in Smythe County. 

Buffalo Run; Amherst County. 

Buffalo River; Amherst and Nelson Counties. 

Buffalo Ridge; Amherst and Nelson Counties. Elevation 
1,000 feet. 

Bui TALO IX W kstern \ irgima 3^7 

Buffalo Ilill; Augusta County. 

Buffalo Branch; tributary to Shenandoah River, Augusta 

Buffalo Cap; caused by Buffalo Branch, in Little North 
Mountains, Augusta County. 

Buffalo Gap; post village, Augusta Ct)unt\'. .\ltitude. 
1,882 feet. 

Buffalo Creek; affluent Roanoke River, Bedford and Campbell 

Buffalo Creek; tributar}- Roanoke River, Botetourt County. 

Buffalo Gap; tributary' James River, Buchanan Count)'. 

Buffalo Creek; tributar\' Roanoke River; Ilalifa.x Count}'. 

Buffalo Lithia Springs; post village, Mecklenburg Count}'. 

Buffalo Junction; post village, Alecklenburg County. (Named 
from Buffalo Lithia Springs.) 

Buffalo Creek; tributary James River, Nelson County. 

Buffalo Station; post village, Nelson Count}'. 

Buffalo Springs; r. r. station. Nelson County. 

Buffalo Ridge; post village, Patricks Count}'. 

Buffalo Creek; branch of Appomattox River, Prince h'.dward 

Buffalo Creek; righl-hand tributar}' James River, Rockbridge 

Buffalo Creek; left-hand tributar}' James River, Rockbridge 

Buffaloforge; post village, Rockbridge County. 

Buffalo Mills; post village, Rockbridge Count}-. 

Buffalo Ford; crossing the North Fork of Holston River, 
Russell County. Consult Gazetteer of f'irginia. (Gannett.) 


At various times human bones have been found at Indian 
Camp, described in Chapter VIII, this vol. These consisted of 
fragments of bone, among them pieces of skull. Some of the latter 
have been thrown up by woodchucks burrowing under the wall at 
the north end of the camp. Such instances were noticed by me on 
several different occasions when making observations there. An 
occasional tooth was found but they were not plentiful. 

The Indians frequently resorted to this shelter. It was a 
favorite location, if we are to judge from the amount of camp 
refuse and potsherds found. The abundance of these last would 
indicate that women were largely identified with its occu- 
pancy. Pottery is seldom associated, and never In quantity, 
with camps occupied by men exclusively; such as war parties or 
members of the priestcraft. A few fragments of steatite vessels 
have been secured, mistaken by treasure seekers for "crucibles." 
A piece obtained by me in 1883, was of superior workmanship. 
This ware is more properly identified with the tribes of the South; 
the Catawbas, Cherokees, Creeks and others. It was in vogue 
on a smaller scale among some of the Northern tribes, while in 
California its usage was considerable. 

In 1892, Prof. G. F. Queen and myself made a hurried exam- 
ination of Indian Camp. Bones, or kitchen refuse; shells of the 
mussel, shreds of pottery and rude and broken arrow points; 
a bone awl and the rim-fragment of a solid sandstone pot 
or vessel were found. The outside surface of this last relic 
shows a series of long, rasp-like marks of uniform depth, while 
the interior is smooth. The top was finished with a slightly 
projecting rim. The contour of the vessel rounded and narrowed 
towards the bottom, but its capacity could hardly be determined 
by the fragment obtained; but perhaps about one gallon, 
maybe less. 

In 1893, with Mr. Ernest Phillips, I made a thorough investi- 
gation of the floor debris of the Camp; with the indisputable 
proof of both remote and recent occupation by the aborigines. Six 
separate fire-hearths were discovered at various depths. The 
principal one used by the Indians was at the north end of the 

Archaeology axd tiii: I.ost Mines 389 

Camp and measured four feet by four feet. It was six inches thick, 
and was buried under ten inches of vegetable mould. It was near 
this hearth that the woodchucks unearthed the several pieces of 
human skull. A smaller hearth found nearby evidently antedated 
it many years. It was twelve inches by twelve inches across, 
three inches ihick, and was bcncatli a bed of what appeared to be 
clay burned to a bright reddish color, free from sand or grit. This 
deposit seemingly had been systematicalh' arranged and was of the 
same size of the uni^lcrlying ash bed; and was one and a half inches 
thick. Beneath the cla\- and hearth, at the dcjith of two feet 
three inches was lounil the bone from the foot of a hear, just 
back of the large altar-like stone at the entrance of the Camp, at 
the depth of eighteen inches was found a human skull crushed into 
fragments. W hile the cavern had for several years been used as a 
stable, there had been no rapid accumulation of vegetable mould. 
On the contrary, Mr. Lothan Phillips, the owner, had hauled 
considerable of the original rich debris and ashes and scattered 
them on an adjoining "truck patch;" and in all probability the 
skull was not then covered deeper than when first buried. It was 
here that the old hunter had many years previously uncovered 
the eighteen skeletons. 

Near the center of the Camp and at a depth of sixteen inches, 
on a rough block of stone, seemingly the natural floor, was found 
a quantit}- of a substance which we could not entireh' identify. 
This deposit was three inches thick in the center, six inches wide 
and twenty-four inches long; tapering to an edge on everv side. 
It extended in a southeasterly and northwesterl\' direction. In 
color it combined all the hues of the rainbow. It resembled 
ochre, or a paint-pigment and was probably a mass of decorative 
paint in preparation by the Indians. The different mineral ingre- 
dients had not yet been thoroughly kneaded or mixed. In texture 
it was free from grit, soft and pasty. Unfortunately the large 
sample secured was, through accident, lost before it could be 
analyzed. The Yakimas tell me that their old people used to 
obtain a clay-like substance from a cavern in Mt. Adams, which 
they made into war-paint, first subjecting it to a burning process. 
Doubtless this deposit had been so treated; and that which was 
overlaying the fire-hearth mentioned, was found as placed in the 
method of baking. 

A few hundred yards south of this Camp, about 1S81, Mr. 

390 Appendix III 

Burton Phillips unearthed with his plow, twenty perfect flint 
implements of the spear-head class. There was also one common 
polished stone celt and an ordinary water crystal. I was fortu- 
nate in securing thirteen of the spear-heads in perfect condition, 
also the stem or base of another one which had been broken after 
discovery. The others were scattered or destroyed before I 
learned that they had been found. Those obtained are nicely 
chipped thin blades of chalcedony or jasper. They vary in color 
from pure white to black, while some are translucent. With but 
one exception they are of the leaf-shaped pattern with notched 
base. One is un-notched. They are of medium size and show a 
similarity of workmanship; and are doubtless the handiwork of 
the same artisan. Mr. Phillips declared that they were found 
some ten or twelve inches below the surface, planted point down- 
ward, in a circle about two feet in diameter. They are a finished 
product, and the manner in which they had been buried precludes 
the idea of the ordinary "cache" so often noted in preliminary 
chipped or unfinished flint implements. 

Some eighteen inches below these spear-heads was a heavy 
slab of sandstone in its natural condition. It measured about four 
feet by six feet across, and some twelve inches thick. In his 
search for treasure, Mr. Phillips uncovered this stone, carrying 
the excavation down one side to a point below and under it. Not. 
having at hand the means of lifting it, a charge of blasting powder 
was exploded beneath it which cracked it into two or three pieces. 
These were not removed. I saw the stone in its original position 
after it had been broken, and evidently it had not been placed 
there by man nor had it any connection with the flint implements 
buried over it. (1) Such a find of relics is unusual in that region. 

Ash Camp, four miles east of Indian Camp, on the waters of 
Ten Mile Creek, tributary of the Middle Fork River, was so 
named from its vast accumulation of ashes. The estimate was sev- 
eral hundreds of bushels when I first saw the camp in 1883, and 
old settlers claimed that the quantity had greatly deteriorated 
within their recollection. It was a noted rendezvous, and was 
much frequented by the red men, as was also a rock-shelter on 
French Creek, affluent of the Buckhannon River. In a visit to 
Ash Camp in 1892, I noticed traces of human remains mingled 
with broken pottery and other refuse. There were a few other 
rock-shelters scattered throughout that region, but Indian Camp> 

(1) See page 508. 

Archaeology and the Lost Mines 391 

and Ash Camp, situated as they were on an Indian trail or war- 
path, were preferred haunts of the tribesmen until about the 
opening of Dunmorc's War in 1774. It is not at all probable that 
these resorts were ever used by the- Indian iiunter-bands after 
the Bull Town and Indian Camp massacres. 

Near Indian Camp until a few )-ears ago, there stood a beech 
tree on which was carved the outlines of an Indian warrior in full 
costume. This work was old and was supposed to have been the 
handicraft of some of the first settlers on the Buckhannon; or pos- 
siblv "Snath," of whom, more anon. 

About Indian Camp there hovers an interesting tradition of a 
"Lost Mine," and buried treasure of fabulous richness. Its ori- 
gin antedates the Revolution, with some apparent foum-lation of 
truth; although this region is not alone in its claim to the scene 
of original operations; but covers portions of Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee as well. The mine was worked b\- a party of Spanish and 
English adventurers, who were subsequently nearly exterminated 
by their Indian allies. It appears that there were Spaniards by 
the name of Petro, or Pedro, on the I'ppcr Monongahela as early 
as 1777, whose descendants are still living in Randolph County. 
(2) Nothing is known of their previous histor\'. Their presence 
in the settlements ma>-, perhaps, be traced in the tradition. There 
were Petros in Hampshire County, Virginia, in 1782, if not earlier. 
It is believed by some investigators that straggling bands of the 
early Spanish explorers of the Southern tide water, penetrated the 
Virginia and Kentucky wilderness. It would have been in keeping 
with the traditions of these insatiable gold seekers to have done so. 
Near Indian Camp, in 1883, I was shown the ruins of the 
"ancient mine," and also a small polished stone relic, resembling 
a disc, and a fragment of dross}- lead, claimed to have been taken 
from the debris or waste of this mine. With these relics were found 
pieces of basketry and a buckskin moccasin. I also examined an 
interesting figure carved on a large sandstone boulder in a nearby 
grotto, known as the "Chimney Rocks." Owing to the porous 
nature of this boulder, the figure had been nearly obliterated by 
vandals, and its outlines could not be accurately deciphered. In 
appearance, it rudely represented the compasses. The trace of 
a camp fire was observed in the smoke-tinged wall at the back of 
the grotto. 

An interesting \-olume could he written trom data at hand, 

(2) See page 509. 


Appendix III 

regarding the "mine." The wild legends relating to its discovery 
and working; its subsequent forced abandonment through the 
hostility of the Indians, brought about by the reckless deed of one 
of the miners; the burial of vast treasure; the battle; the massacre, 
and final flight and escape of but two of the party, — all are 
fraught with thrilling romance. 

On July 15th, 1867, Dr. L. S. S. Farnsworth, resident dentist 
of Buckhannon, brought to light some legendary rock inscriptions 
on the head of Stone Coal Creek, which were supposed to have 

connection with this mine 

WAS FouciHT Fob 

THE- Rich m\//dz 

2WARTU2 C/1/A/^cu 

and its disastrous tragedies. 
These had previously been 
found by a squirrel hunter 
named Calvin Smith, who 
determining to seek a home 
in the west, revealed to Dr. 
Farnsworth the location of 
his discovery. In company 
with Mr. Valentine 
Lorentz, Dr. Farns- 
worth repaired to 

Fig. 1 

the region indicated by the hunter, 
where they found in the woods on a 
high ridge, an immense flat stone bear- 
ing the inscription shown in Fig. 1. 

About three-fourths of a mile 
northwest of this mysterious monu- 
ment, was found an upright stone, 
^'resembling a tombstone" bearing the 
legend shown in Fig. 2. 

The soHtary "S" is supposed to 
signify Silver. 

Dr. Farnsworth had this relic in 
his office for several years, where it 
was seen by a number of persons. 

Three-fourths of a mile further 
northwest was found a small cave, or 
shelter formed by a rock projecting some 

1 55^ Uz 



Fig. 2 

Archaeology and tife Lost Mines 


1m<;. 3 

ten or fifteen feet from the hillside. This grotto had at some 
time previous been cjccupied as a camp. Back from the entrance 
and lying on the floor was a heavy slab of stone, measuring several 
feet across, which had in more recent years fallen from over- 
head. Carved in the roof of the cave was a rude circle, with the 
four cardinal points of the compass 
designated by the usual alphabetical ^ 

characters. Across the surface of this /^?l^\ 

circle, extended a well-defined "point- /^ \ 

er," not unlike the needle of a com- __J /y 

pass. The fallen fragment of the roof ^^-^J^,^ G^/ 
had evidenth' carried awa}' an inscrip- / T^ ' 

tion, as shown b>' the accompanying 
cut. (Fig. 3.) This stone could not 
be overturned for the purpose of de- 
ciphering the full inscription, but it required but little imagination 
to determine that Gold and Snath were largeh- its component parts. 

By the aid of his compass Dr. Farnsworth writes me, it was 
apparent that the "pointer" at this cavern and the finger of the 
inverted hand on the upright stone, indicated lines which con- 
verged at a point on the Buckhannon River just below the cross- 
ing, or ford at the village of Sago. Afterwards four other stone 
"pointers or guides" were found near the Sago ford, which appar- 
enth' had connection with those on Stone Coal. 

My brother, C. C. F. McWhorter, who was for many years 
County Clerk of Upshur County, saw and examined the inscribed 
stone, in Dr. Farnsworth's office. It appeared ver\- old and 
weather worn, the lettering evidently had been done with a small 
pointed steel instrument, and, while crude, was very legible. 

Mr. McW horter has a cop}- of an inscribed stone, made bv 
the late Col. Henry F. Westfall, local historian of Buckhannon. 
This inscription is ver}' nearly that which Dr. Farnsworth savs 
was on the large immovable stone (Fig. I), but its contour is verv 
much that of Fig. 2. The accompanying cut (Fig. 4) is from a 
photograph of the Westfall copy, which is made on the discolored 
fly-leaf of an old book, with no attempt at imitating the handi- 
craft of the mysterious Snath. The Colonel, it should be noted, 
places the discovery of this stone in January 1866. This ma\- 
perhaps be the discovery by Smith referred to. It is proper to 
state that Figures 1,2 and 3, are from copies which Dr. Farnsworth 


Appendix III 

made from memory; not having at hand the originals which he 
carefully executed at the time of his discovery. 

AislAil^O^ d'^'Hr ^-'nrU 

X" '"■""■" "^>-. '■ ' 

/ '■''^' '' -i\ ' 

r' ' "^ 

''^■■>^yA:. /,y ,,„M^ 


'^'•-/- <v.,....,.. 

' '/'- A/?/^,,//4 /,%,//^;,-,^ 

Fig. 4 

Cuiright says in connection with Indian Camp: — 

"There is other data pointing to this rock as the rendezvous of the Indians. 
On the Buckhannon river west of Sago and Ten Mile, certain stones are planted 
in the shape of a spearhead, whose sharp end points in the direction of Indian 
Camp Rock. These rock or pointers the author himself has observed and there 
may be others whicli aim in the same direction, evidently for the purpose of telling 
wandering bands of Indians where they might find a safe seclusion, sheltering 
protection and a temporary home." (3) 

Whether or not Mr. Cutright's theory in regard to the pointed 
rocks is correct, it is certain that speculation relative to the "mine" 
and buried treasure ran high; and not all of which was confined 
to local circles. Parties from across the water made fruitless 
quest with "chart" and "key" for the secreted bullion. There are 
those still living who have not abandoned the search, and who 
believe that success will yet be theirs. 

Mr. Outright gives a narrative of three Frenchmen who 

(3) See page 509. 

Archaeology and the Lost Mixes 395 

crossed the mountains at an earlier period, perhaps in the forties, 
in quest of gold and camped for man\" \ears under a shelving rock 
on the waters of the Little Kanawha, near Rock Cave Postofhce, 
in Upshur County. One of them e\entually died and was buried 
by his comrades, under the rock whicii had sheltered them so 
long; and where a century later a Caucasian skull was unearthed. 
(4) The two survivors recrossed the mountains never to return. 
It is not known that these adventurers were in any way connected 
with the later achievements of Swartus Cnancu and Snath, but 
their dreams of wealth in the western wilderness were never realized. 

Legends of the celebrated "Swift Adines" are linked with 
Indian Camp and its connecting stories of "buried treasure." 
One version of the original discovery of the mine, or mines, is that 
an Indian appeared in Jamestown, Virginia, wearing arm-bands 
and other ornaments of silver and when interrogated, offered to 
pilot a party across the mountains where there was "plenty" of 
such metal. This he afterwards done, and on the sequel hangs the 
wild, weird story of Swartus Cnancu, the resourceful Snath and 
their unfortunate companions, in the wilderness of the Buck- 

While working the "mine" at Indian Camp, so runs the tra- 
dition, the Indians were friendh' until late in the season and after 
a large quantity of the metal had been smelted, one of the adven- 
turers, in an altercation with an Indian while hunting, struck the 
red man, which precipitated hostilities, fatal to the expedition. 
To avenge the insult, the Indians attacked and killed several of 
the miners and held the camp in a state of siege. The survivors 
foreseeing their probable doom, attempted to obliterate all visible 
traces of the mine by blasting great fragments of stone from the 
overhanging cliff and letting them drop into the opening of the 
shaft, or tunnel. W hile this was being done and while the battle 
still raged, Snaih managed to extricate himself from the beleagured 
camp, and at various places set up stone "pointers," and con- 
structed a "key" and "chart" by which a return to the mine could 
be accomplished. 

A lull in hostilities induced the belief that the Indians had 
abandoned the wilderness and the miners prepared to return east 
of the mountains. They buried vast quantities of bullion and set 
up additional "markers" by which it could be subsequently located. 
In the meantime they were again set upon by the Indians and only 

{■i) See page 509. 



E^ 5 

Archaeology and thi: Lost Mines 397 

-\vo, with the "chart" and "key" escaped. These instruments 
lave been variously deciphered and seemingly applied alike to 
jifferent localities. 

The old "drill marks" which I examined on some blocks of 
stone at this "mine," appeared to resemble certain fossil imprint 
belonging to the carboniferous period. The same can be said of 
the "frying pan"done in intaglio on the face of the cliff where the 
blasting had been done. However, the lapse of more than one 
hundred years might have a tendency to produce in the porous 
sandstone the noticeable irregularity of surface in both the "drill" 
cuts and the "frying pan;" this last a supposed "marker." A 
large "drill" groove was also observed on the front of this cliff. 

In 1883, report came to me that a few ancient looking tools, 
supposedly those of the "Mound Builders," had been discovered 
in a small cave on Grass Run not far from Indian Camp. Upon 
investigation it was learned that the implements, whatever they 
were, were of iron and very rusty; and ignorant of their impor- 
tance, the finder had taken them to a local blacksmith, who ham- 
mered them into articles better fitted to modern domestic use. 
The}' were described as "strange looking tools," and no one knew 
how they came to be placed there. 

I have an old map done in ink on parchment, which tells of 
money cjr mineral in a cave on the Buckhannon River. It was 
given me b}' the late Joseph M. Wilson, of Berlin, West \ a., in 
1891, who found it among some papers left by his grandfather who 
died a few years after the close of the Civil War. Mr. \\ ilson 
could tell but little about the map, further than that when a boy 
in his early teens, he accompanied his grandfather to Marion 
County, to obtain a companion paper, or "key" to the map; and 
the old gentleman said to him on the return trip: "I now have 
the paper that I wanted and I can go directly to the cave and find 
the money." The old man was soon afterwards taken ill and never 
recovered. I remember him distinctly. 

It was more than a year after his death that the map and 
"key" occurred to Mr. Wilson, and he went to his step-grand- 
mother and asked her about them. She produced a bundle of 
papers and among them was the map. The most diligent search 
failed to reveal the other paper and the inference was that it had 
been destroved. The old lad\' was ver\" illiterate aiul acknowl- 

398 Appendix III 

edged that she had "burned a lot of such trash," deeming it of 
no value. 

Mr. Wilson in commenting, said: "My grandfather had no 
doubt about the authenticity of these papers and their import; 
otherwise he never would have ridden across two counties, nearly, 
to get one of them. He told me that the map was given him during 
the Civil War by a party whose name I do not recall, in Monon- 
galia County; and who was then on his way to secure the treasure, 
but was deterred on account of the dangers encountered. Not 
only were contingents of both armies to be met with, but the 
dreaded "bush-whacker" infested every mountain pass. He 
informed my grandfather where he could find the "key" with the 
party in Marion County, and promised to return after the close of 
the war, when they would go together and find the hidden money. 
The man then rode away never to be seen again." 

The map locates this treasure or mine, near the head of the 
Buckhannon River, and adjacent to a mountain on the right- 
hand side of the stream. It is on a "Wor Path" which crosses 
the Cheat River at the "Hoss Shoo." Both Indian Camp and 
Ash Camp are on an old Indian war path, or trail. 

Of the Swift Mines in Kentucky, the following contribution 
from Mr. Connelley is apropos. The mystery is only deepened 
by this anomalous written record, added to the unaccountable' 
stone inscriptions of the mountain fastness. It is hoped that 
some writer will enter this romantic field and rescue from oblivion 
the fascinating legends of the "Lost Mine" and "Buried Treasure" 
of the Trans-Allegheny. 

Swift's Journal — The Apperson Copy 
by william e. connelley. 

The first account of Swift's Silver Mines that I ever saw is 
the following Journal. It was put into my hands when I was 
eleven years old. The constant reading of this paper developed 
in me a desire to learn and preserve all obtainable information 
concerning John Swift. It was the momentary impulse of a good 
man that placed this copy of Swift's Journal in my possession. 

At the close of the Civil War the Hon. Richard Apperson, of 

Archaeology wd thk Lost Mixes 399 

Mount Sterling, Kentucky, was, for a sliorl time, the Judge, or 
the acting Judge, of the Circuit CV)urt of Mat'offin County, where 
m)' father, Constantino Conncllc\ , ji., ihrn H\ed. When in our 
village Judge Apperson aKva\s stopped with \\ illiani Adams, the 
founder of the town and the pioneer settler in tliat part of the 
count) . Ml-. Ai-lams had three sons near my own age, and we were 
inseparable companions. Judge Apperson possessed a deep love 
for children; I think I can truthfully say that he made an acquain- 
tance and friend of every boy in the village during the first week 
of his sojourn. He was an excellent conversationalist and an 
entertaining stor\-tellcr, as well as an able and popular Justice. 
He told stories b}- the score of the ad\cntures of Kentucky pio- 
neers. And I remember that he enjoyed our ju\enile sports, and 
that he never failed to join our game of marbles when he had a 
leisure hour; we looked upon him as a friend and regarded him as 
a companion. 

At the end of one of his terms of Court, one of the Adams 
bo\\s and m^'self were assisting him to gather up his books, papers, 
and a few articles of clothing. We were stuffing these into a pair 
of saddle-bags preparatory' to his departure for the next count}' ir: 
his circuit. We requested that he tell us one more story before 
leaving; he readil\' complied. I remember that he told of .Mrs. 
Hannah Dennis, and her escape from the Shawnees by concealing 
herself in a hollow sycamore log on the bank of the Scioto River. 
\\ hen leaving the room some one of us found this copy of Swift's 
Journal. Whether he did not wish to re-open his crowded saddle- 
bags to stow it away, or whether he did not care for the paper, I 
do not know. He looked it over a minute, then handed it to me, 
telling me to keep it, and not to destroy it nor lose it. I never 
saw Judge Apperson after that day. 

I kept the paper twent}'-nine years, and \ahied il much; I 
lost it through the stupidity of an inexperienced typewriter tc 
whom 1 entrusted it to cop\-. 1 did not then know of Judge 
Apperson's death, and wrote to him to enquire if the cop>- the 
typewriter made was accurate, and to ask him where he had ob- 
tained the paper. His brother replied, informing me of the Judge's 
death several years before. I received the intelligence of his 
death with deep regret. 

I beiiexc tlie cop\- made for me is an exact copy of the orig- 
inal. It follows: 

400 Appendix III 

Started on the 25th of June, 1761, from Alexandria, Virginia, 
and came to Leesburg; thence to Winchester; thence to Little's; 
thence to Pittsburg; thence to the headwaters of Wheeling; thence 
to the Little Kanawha; thence to the Big Kanawha; thence to the 
Guyandotte; thence to Great Sandy Creek; and from thence to 
the Great Ridge bearing in a southwesterly direction; and from 
thence to a large river the name of which was unknown to us; and 
from thence to a large and very rocky creek; and from thence to 
the mines, where we remained from the 18th of July to the 26th 
of October, 1761, when we left them and returned over the same 
way we had taken to come out. And on the 28th of October our 
scouts discovered six savages; by altering our course we avoided 
them. On the 30th we were pursued by savages, but we esccaped 
from them. We saw no more of the savages until the 9th of 
November, when they fired on us and shot a hole in our lading 
which soon enlarged and spilled the silver. We fired in return 
and they must have fled for we saw no more of them; we did not 
camp this night until after we had crossed the Kanawha. \\ e 
arrived at the settlements without further conflict, December 2nd. 

April 15th, 1762. We this day started back to the mines. 
W"e arrived there on the 10th day of May without accident except 
the spilled rum. 

August 1st, 1762. \\ e this day left the mines to return home. 
We came to a sudden halt and camped a short time on the 2nd of 
August when we were alarmed by savages. We escaped from them 
and camped on our creek. We were greatly pestered but came 
through safe; we left a valuable prize on the south of the big Gap 
where we marked some trees with our names and curious marks. 
From this place we went to Cassell's Woods, and from that place 
we went to Virginia, where we remained until the next spring, 1763. 

We then started on the 1st day of May, 1763, and came to 
New River; and from thence to the Holston; and from thence to 
the Cumberland Valley. 

Here we set our course and went to the place where our mines 
are situated, arriving there the 2nd of June, 1763. 

We remained here until the 1st of September, when we set 
out for home. We went through Cassell's Woods, and stopped 
with Cassellman for five days. From Cassellman's we went to 
the settlements, and arrived home October 12'th, 1763. 

Arch \i:(JLOGY and ihk Lost Mines 401 

We started from home on the 1st of October, 1767, and got to 
the mines on the 4th of November, 1767. We stayed until the 
1st of April, 1768, when ue set out for home. \\ c went by the 
way of Sandy Creek, meeting with nothing material on the way 
to the settlements. 

\\ (• left Alexandria on the 4tli o| Juir-, same _\ear, 176S. and 
arrivetl safely at the mines on the 1st of Jul\ . We remained here 
till the 26th of October, 1768. .Arrived at home on the 24th of 
December. Our horses stolen by the Indians was a great loss to 
us as we were compelled to conceal and leave their lading at the 
mouth of a large creek running due east. 

We left our homes in .North Carolina on the l6th\' ot Ma\', 
1769, and started ior the mines. W e went by the way of the door 
in the Cumberland Mountains and arrived at the mines safe and 
sound 24th of June. 1769. 

We sta\ed at the mines until 19th October, 1769. On that 
da\' we started home, and went by the way of Sandy Creek. At 
the Forks of Sand\' we lost two of our horses, stolen by savages, 
and here we concealed their lading, a great loss to us, but we escaped 
with our lives, and got safe home 1st December, 1769. 

1 was at the place again, and came by the place where we left 
the two-horse loads, and the valuable pri/.e, and found all things 
as we left them in 1762 and 1763. |17681 

On the 1st September, 1769, we left between )^22,()()().()() and 
,s3(),()CX).00 in crowns on a large creek running near a south 
course. Close by the creek we marked our names, Swift, Jefferson, 
and Munday, and other names on a large beech tree with com- 
passes, square and trowel. About twenty or thirty poles from the 
creek stands a small rock, and between it and the creek }ou will 
find a small rock of a bluish coloi' with three chops made with a 
grit-stone by rubbing it on the rock. By the side of this rock 
you will find the prize. We left prizes here at three different 
times. At no great distance from the place we left )^15,000.(X) of 
the same kind, marking three or four trees with marks. Not far 
from these trees, we left a prize near a forked white oak, and 
about three feet underground, and laid two long stones across it, 
marking several stones close about it. 

At the Forks of Sandy, close b\- the fork, is a small rockhouse 
which has a spring in one end of it, and between it and a small 
branch we hid a prize under the ground. It was valuetl at 

402 Appendix III 

36,000.00. We likewise left ^3,000.00 buried in the rocks of the 

Directions to Find Swift's Silver Mines in Kentucky. 

The furnace that I built is on the left-hand side of a very 
rocky creek at a remote place in the West. To find the best ore, 
climb up the cliff at the left-hand side of the furnace and go a due 
south direction until you strike a small branch nearby. Go to 
the head of the branch without crossing, and you there see my 
name on three beech trees. From these trees go due east to the 
top of the low ridge. Pass a small knob on top of the ridge to 
the right-hand when you will see a big rock which has fallen from 
a high ledge. Behind this fallen rock we got our best ore. This 
vein runs northeast and southwest, lying and being in latitude 

37 degrees and 56 minutes N. And ore is also found in latitude 

38 degrees and 2 minutes N. By astronomical observations and 
calculations you will find the location of both these veins of silver 
ore to be on the 83rd meridian of longitude or very close to it. 

Description of the Country. 

The creek heads southwest and runs northeast. It abounds 
with laurel. It is so cliffy and rocky that it is nearly impossible 
to get horses to the furnace. So extremely rough is the way that 
we rarely took our horses nearer than six or seven miles of the 

There is a thicket of holly a quarter of a mile below the fur- 
nace and a small lick a mile above. There is a large buffalo lick 
two miles from the small lick on another creek that we called Lick 
Creek. The creek forks about three miles below the furnace and 
the left-hand fork is the furnace creek. Below the forks the creek 
is a small stream of water running generally in a northeasterly 

Between the forks and holly thicket you will find my name on 
a beech tree, cut in the year 1767, and about one mile below, you 
will find Munday, Jefferson and Swift's names in the year 1762, 
1765 and 1767. 

Between the small lick and the furnace is a remarkable rock; 
it hangs out quite over the creek, and the water runs under it. 

The mountains and hills are covered with laurel and water- 

Arciiaeoi,0(;v .\\n riii-: Lost Mixes 403 

courses so much thai a man can not get along without much dif- 
ticultv where jiaths arc not cut. Most of the mountains and hills 
ha\e but little timbei' and are poor and barren. North of the 
furnace about three miles is a larger hill seven or eight miles long 
upon which there is good timber of different kinds, but south of it 
there is little timber worth notice. 

l''urnace Creek forks about thiee miles aboNc- i hr lick, and in 
the forks upon the foot of the hill you will tind three white oaks 
growing from one stump. On each of them is cut a small notch 
with a tomahawk. We sometimes went to a salt spring up the 
right-hand fork, and came this wa}- back which was the cause for 
our marking the trees. 

From the door in the Cumberland Mountains, on the top at 
the north, you will run north, forty degrees west, we supposed 
forty-one miles, and if on the right course }-ou will find trees 
marked with curifuis marks all the way. In the course we crossed 
man\' creeks and one river. 

l^he first company in search of these mines was composed of 
Stale)', Ireland, McClintock, Blackburn and Swift. 

We concealed much silver in bars and crowns in the Indian 
cave. Set Aour compass on the west side of the furnace under 
the rockhouse, and go due west fifty poles, when >'ou will find a 

tree in this form Set }'our compass at the second 

turn and go south twenty poles and )'ou will find a large tree and 
a limb growing out of the south side near the ground; under this 
limb we buried four ten-gallon kegs full of crowns. 

Set your compass on the south side of the furnace and steer 
south two hundred poles and \()U will find a tree that grows in this 

form Set your compass at the second turn and gc 

south twenty poles. Inder the large limb of a big tree which 
leans down the creek you will find ore. ^ Ou cannot miss finding 
the furnace if you find the . 

The journal ends abrupt!}-, and I do not know whether it is 
because 1 never had all the journal in my possession or not. A 
part of the paper ma\- have been niislaid b\' Judge Apperson, or 
he may never have completed the cop>' which he gave me. 

This copy is c\'idcntly an amplification of the preceding cop}% 
or the original from w hich that one has deteriorated. The arrange- 
ment is somewhat difierent. but it seems clear to me that the two 

404 Appendix III 

papers are closely related. A more logical arrangement appears 
in this paper; and still it has the unfortunate tone of insincerity 
and want of cohesion at more than one place. I do not value it 


Chenute, Kansas, September 20, 1903. 

My Dear Mr. McWhorter. 

Complying with your request, I am sending you the Judge 
Apperson copy of Swiff s Journal. I doubt if the riddle of this 
Jotiriial, and your rock inscriptions, of which you wrote me, will 
ever be solved. The secret has vanished with the mighty wilder- 
ness, which knew and gave it birth. The mystery will deepen as 
the years go by. 

Just this time last year I was going through Braxton, Clay, 
and Nicholas Counties, West Virginia, portions of the regions 
referred to in the Journal. I found much of it covered with primal 
forest, as when these mysterious adventurers pierced its awe- 
inspiring solitudes nearly one hundred and fifty years ago. I was 
entranced with the charm of the "everlasting hills." I stood on' 
Powell's Mountain and looked far over the valleys and lower hill- 
ranges. The blue haze of Indian Summer hung aloft. The woods 
took on every hue of known color. I could see the smoke from 
the cabins in the valley of the Gauley. At my feet was the little 
gem, the valley of the Muddlety. Cattle fed on a hundred hills. 
To the north I supposed that I discerned the outlines of the Elk 
River Valley. I saw the saucy squirrel as he shook down brown 
chestnuts in my path. I thought of the simple folk living in happy 
content in these romantic woods. I envied them. Man dis- 
quiets himself and runs to and fro in the earth. He seeks pleasure 
— a vain pursuit. The West Virginian or the Kentuckian who 
is content in his beautiful valley with its clear water, entrancing 
forests, mild and healthful climate is wise — much wiser than I 
have been in striving to carve a name on the tablets of fame. My 
only recompense is the thought that the old blood of the Celts 
has girdled the world and been the pioneer stock in every country 
raow known to civilization; and that I was urged on by the energy 

Akchakology and the Lost Mines 405 

developed by my ancestors and yours when they were dwellers 
on the shores of the Baltic and Black Seas. That must be your 
solace in youi- new honie and western cnxinmnients. 

1 have seen the vast, arid plains of the Columbia; and the 
deep forests of Oregon and Washington. 1 have looked into the 
green waters of the great Sound. I have gone up the most beauti- 
ful of Western valleys, the W illamettc. I have been tossed on 
the bosom of the mighty Pacific; but there was ever with me a 
remembrance of the blue hills of old Kentucky. Such memory 
is put into the soul of ever}' mountaineer. 

Dut\- calls us to strange places, and while we ma\- be strangers 
in a strange land, we can do our duty there. I have often looked 
at the full moon swung in the heavens and imagined that mv 
friends on the Southern hills might be gazing there, too. God's 
providence hedges us about whether we are on the dark rolling 
Columbia or the romantic Alonongahela. Man is worth nothing 
without an ideal, and one of mine is the old home-land where the 
beech nuts drop, the waters are blue and the folk generous and 
honest without the destructive lust for wealth so characteristic of 
the modern American. It is the background of my life and my 

But 1 will tell you of my journey. I left Clarksburg on a 
cloudy morning in October. At Weston it was raining; and it 
continued to rain all the way to Sutton, as it only can in the foot- 
hills of the Alleghenies in the autumn. The following day was 
cloudy, but one of those days when you know that it will not rain. 
I worked at Little Otter, in Braxton County, and that night I 
stayed at Frametown, on Elk River. This village consists of a 
mill and a small hotel, named in memor}- of old man Frame, once 
a Justice of the Peace, and who first settled there. He became 
famous for punishing a constable for summoning witnesses to 
attend his court on the day there was a shooting-match for beef. 
He had proclaimed all shooting-match days holidays. 

From Frametown 1 started at daylight to the home of Abner 
Ramsey, near Enoch, in Clay County, guided by Hughes, a great- 
grandson of Jesse Hughes, the pioneer and Indian tighter. Ram- 
sey lived on the top of a crag seemingly a mile high and over- 
hanging Buffalo Creek; on which stream the father of my guide 
had once owned a mill and where he died. It was the pension 
•claims of two surviving widows, which I was investigating for the 

406 Appendix III 

Government Bureau of Pensions. It appeared that he had mar- 
ried one without getting a divorce from the other. 

It was five o'clock before I was ready to descend from the 
crag on which Ramsey dwelt, and I had to get to Nicholas Court 
House or Summersville, that night. Hughes left me at Ramsey's, 
and I had for guide my driver, a rather rough customer by name 
of Thayer, a boy of nineteen, who had already killed his man. 
When we were leaving Sutton he came armed to the teeth and 
with two quarts of bust-head. I prevailed on him to leave both 
behind, telling him that I would protect him. He insisted that 
he had enemies who would kill him and demanded to know "what 
kind uv weepins yo' totin'." I told him that I only carried a 
small pocket-knife and had no expectation of needing to use even 
that. He was skeptical and I had much trouble in getting him 
off without his artillery, but finally succeeded in having him dis- 
card both weapons and whiskey. 

Thayer was familiar with most of the roads, but was appalled 
when I told him that I should go to Summersville yet that night. 
The road is through a ninety-six thousand acre tract without a 
stick amiss. It was darker than Egypt, and I had to walk and 
feel for the road several miles over the mountains; but we struck 
the Gauley at the mouth of Muddlety at midnight. From that 
point to Summersville it is a beautiful country with good roads. 

The next day we drove from Summersville to Sutton, crossing 
Powell's Mountain on the way. The day was grand, and I would 
give much for a photograph of the view from the mountain look- 
ing west; a finer view I have not seen. They had recently erected 
a monument on top of the mountain in honor of some Confederate 
officer who fell there in the Civil War, but I had not time to get 
the facts. Do you know about the circumstances.'^ I should 
like to have the particulars. (5) 

I shall not forget this trip to my dying day. The smoky 
haze drifted idly, and the blending of a thousand hues made the 
day ideal. At Birch River, or Big Birch, at the foot of the moun- 
tain, we had dinner. The hotel was kept by a widow. The 
daughter cooked our meal and waited on the table. In all my 
travels I have not seen a fairer girl nor one of more native intel- 
ligence and modesty. She said she often thought she would like 
to see more of the world, and knew that she should like a good 
education and be able to fit herself for a higher sphere; but her 

(5) See page 509. 

Archakoi.ogv and Till-; L(;st Minks 407 

mother needed her liclj^ in the "tavern" and she must remain. 
She was content and happy in this duty to her mother, though 
she had full confidence in her ability to make her way in the world 
and secure a good education; but she was willing to forego all, that 
the burden might be lightened for her parent. Her self-sacrifice 
is but a single one of the tragedies being enacted in the far-off 
mountains we both love so well. 

\\"c passed through Little Birch and over nuumtains and 
reached Sutton before sundown. That night I walked a mile to 
interview W illiani Carpenter, of whom I have written you. (7) 
He wanted nie to remain over night and go with him to Scott's 
Mountain to shoot wild turkeys. He also promised me some rare 
sport trailing a famous coon which had eluded all the dogs in the 
country for some years. He assured me that I should shoot a 
bear if I desired, as there were many in the woods. 

I saw a number of deer on the trip and heard wolves in the 
forest between Buffalo Creek and the Cjauley. I heard witch 
and ghost stories and more folk-lore than I could gather in the 
west in a lifetime. 

Your friend, 



Correspondence favoring executive clemency for John Clay- 
pole and his adherents, in the Tory uprising in Hampshire County, 

Virginia, 1781. 

"Hampshire County, April 14th, 1781. 
"Enclosing "Return" of Two Battalions in that county — Instructions had 
come from Genl: Clarke not to march the militia until further Orders — He has 
issued the order for the full number required by the Draft, but, adds, "I am afraid 
they will not be complyed with, by Reason of the disaffected people amongst us. 
(A Collector of one of the Divisions for making up the Cloathes and Beef was Inter- 
rupted in the execution of his office.) A certain John Claypole said if all the men 
were of his mind, they would not make up any Cloathes, Beef or Men, and all that 
would join him shuld turn out. Upon which he got all the men present, to five or 
six and Got Liquor and Drank King George the third's health, and Damnation to 
Congress, upon which Complaint was made to three Magistrates. Upon which 
there was a warrant Issued for several of them, and Guard of Fifty men with the 
Sheriff. When they came to the place they found sixty or seventy men embodied, 
with arms — After some time they capitulated, the Sheriff served the precept on 
the said John Claypole, but he refused to come with him or give up his arms; but 
agreed to come such a time, which time is Passt — Inclosed you have a Copy of 
a Letter they sent me, and the answer I sent them — I was informed there was one 
hundred and fifty of them to Gether the next day. I am informed there are several 
Deserters amongst those people, Some from the English Prisoners. Some Eighteen 
Months men, and some Eight Months men which they support and conceal." 
Refers his Excellency to Mr. Woodson the bearer for further particulars." 

The letter enclosed, with reply— 


"Having consulted the Majority, it is the Desire of them that their Conduct 
that has past Lately may be forgiven, as a great part of it was occasioned by Liquor, 
and as there is things that is Laid to the Charge of Sum, that is clear of the Charge, 
but moreover we acknowledge our behavior was not Discreet, if you would Please 
to pass it by, we will submit to pay our Tax as the Law directs; and are willing to 
pay our District tax or Beef and Clothing if they can be purchased, and likewise 
to Complyable to the Laws of the State, as far as our ability will allow, the Request 
of the majority I have hereunto set my hand — 

From Sir, yr: humble Servant 
To Colo. Van Meter — April 3d 1781. Josiah Osburn." 

Reply — 

"April 4th, 1781. 

"I rec'd yours dated the third Inst: and am very Glad to hear the A-Iutineers 
Begin to see their Folly, they may Depend I shall shew them all the Lenity the 

Tory Uprising on iiii; \\ aim'atomak \ 409 

circumstance of the Case will admit of. but those char^'able with breaking; the Law I 
cannot clear, as I am but an Individual, unless they who are in the warrant Comes 
in and Clears themselves — from your friend, while \ou are friends to yourselves 
and the United States. 

CiARKi ri \'.\nMi;ti:r." 
'I'm josiali Osliurn — - 

Letter from (larrctl \ an.Mcter Co. Com: to (lovcrnor Jeffer- 
son — From Calt-ndar oj I iri^inui State' Paprrs, \ ol. II, jip. 40-41. 

"RocKi.NGHAM CoiNTV. .\ut:ust 2nd. 17sl. 


"1 have llie honour to enclose to your l',.\celienc_\' a petition troin John Clavpdk- 
and others, concerned in tlie late Insurrection in Hampshire County; which I wish 
from motives of good policy, as well as humanity may have the desired effect. .Vs 1 
apprehend it would be attended with pernicious consequences to hold out pardon 
to those who denied to surrender tiiemselves to Justice, or delayed to submit to the 
Laws of their Country, uniill they were sure of escaping punishment; and at the 
same time to prosecute those who readily submitted the Investigation and punish- 
ment of their crimes, to the Laws of the Land: since it would certainly operate as 
an Encouragement to future offenders to stand out untill the\' were assured of 

"Another political reason I beg leave to assign, is the many relations & con- 
nexions that the Claypole Family have in that part of the Country: as there is the 
leather &: 5 sons, with many grand children, who b\- inter-marriages are connected 
with the most considerable Families on those waters, and the strongest friends to 
our present Constitution, and to prosecute him with \igour, whilst the ringleaders 
have evaded Justice by flight, and those in similar circumstances of Guilt arc par- 
doned, would probably sour the minds of his numerous connexions, and perhaps be 
rcguarded b\- them as pointed and partial. 

"I must also add, that he has a letter from (jeneral: Morgan engaging to pro- 
cure his pardon, on his returning to his Dut\- — Humanity also pleads strongly in 
their behalf, for on my attending the intended Court of Oyer the 10th ult: for the 
Trial of those Miscreants, as directed by your Excellencies Letter, I had the oppor- 
tunity of viewing the distressing Scenes of aged mothers, wives, & children crowding 
to the Court House to take the last Leave of their unhappy Sons, husbands & fathers, 
apprehending that Execution would be immediate on the Sentence of Death, which 
in spite of all my aversion to Tories, strongly atTected my feelings — I need not 
mention to a Gentleman of your approved Goodness of Heart, the maxim of a 
celebrated Writer "that it is the Enormity, or dangerous Tendency of a Crime that 
alone can warrant any Earthly Legislature in putting him to Death, that commits 
it." And tho' the crime of the petitioners was of the most dangerous Tendency, \-et 
they transgressed more thro Ignorance than Design; and their offence proceeded 
rather from Error &: prejudice, than an)' deliberate Intention of Injuring the State, 
or disturbing Government: from all which considerations I would humbly presume 
that the hoiible Board will extend the Act of Indemnity, as well to the petitioners 

410 Appendix IV 

herein referred to, as to all those, who were by the Examining Court, bound over 
to be indicted at the next grand Jury for the County" &c &c 

" I have the honour to be, Your Excelly's 

most obt & very humble Servt." 

Letter from Peter Hog to Governor Nelson, containing peti- 
tion from John Claypole and others — From Calendar of Virginia 
State Papers, Vol. II, pp. 284-285. 

"Hampshire County, November 26th, 1781. 

"Having been examined by a called court "hath been set for further trial," 
but in as much as "the same ignorance and unaccountable infatuation" seems to 
extend to this unhappy man "that actuated those deluded people, and although he 
was the worst of them, he hopes, if it be consistent with wisdom that he may also 
"experience the lenity of the Legislature" — A few of "the deluded wretches" still 
remain out, particularly a certain John Woolf, who had broken Jail, and has never 
been seen since — He has taken every means to have them all apprehended — He 
will at the command of His Excellency call a Court of Oyer & Terminer for the trial 
of Smith and others, but hopes the Legislature may "incline to pass an act of 
indemnity for the whole of them." 

Is much in need of a copy of the new Militia Law and the Articles of War, not 
being able to "try delinquents" in consequence — Asks for a number of blank com- 
missions to supply the new nominations made — His declining health forces him 
to resign his commission as Co. Lieutenant, but as Mr. Joseph Nevill who has 
been recommended to succeed him cannot act until commissioned, he will endeavour 
to act until A/lr. Nevill qualifies, especially as Col: Cresap, next in command lives 
in so remote a part of the Country. He sends this by Mr. Woodrow, as an Express? 
as neither of the Delegates are going down, and hopes his expenses will be allowed. 

Letter from Colonel Garrett VanMeter to Governor Nelson. 
— Informing him, "that Robert Smith one of the Ringleaders 
of the late insurrection in this County hath voluntarily sur- 
rendered himself." — From the Calendar of Virginia State Papers ^ 
Vol. II, pp. 624, 625. 

To His Excellency Thos: Nelson Esqr. Governor &c and the Honorable 
Council of Virginia. 
The petition of John Claypole, Thos: Denton, David Roberts, Jr., Mathias 
Wilkins, and George Wilkins, Inhabitants of Cacapon in the Count)- of Hampshire 

Humbly Sheweth 
That your petitioners living in an obscure and remote corner of the State, are pre- 
cluded from every Intelligence of the State of affairs, either by Public Papers or 
from Information of Men of Credit and Veracity, and at the same time infested by 
the wicked Emissaries or pretended Emmissaries of the British who travel through 
all parts of the Frontiers, and by Misrepresentations and false news poisoned the 
Minds of the Ignorant and credulous Settlers: That your petitioners from narrow 
and confined notions, & attached to strongly to their Interests, conceived the Act 

Tory L prising on tiu: W ai'I'atomaka 411 

of laying the enormous Tax of Eiglitj' 'I'wo Pounds paper Moiie\' on evcr\" hundred 
pounds of their property, rated in Specie, and a Bount\' for the Recruits of the Con- 
tinental Arnn-, and the Law subjecting them, at the same time to be draughted for 
the said Service, and the further Act for Cloathing the Arm\, as unjust and oppres- 
sive after paying such a iiigh tax on their Assessed propert)', and those wicked and 
designing men by their artful! insinuations & false Intelligences industriously 
propagated to delude & seduce your petitioners, too readily prevailed on them to 
oppose the Execution of the said Acts, and take ii[-i Arms in defence of what those 
wretches called their l.ibertv and propert}'. But your Petitioners Humbly shew 
that they never concocted or conspired the destruction of Government, or the hurt 
of any Individuals, further than to defend themselves when attacked or ccjmpellcd 
to yield obedience to those Laws. .\nd wlien your petitioners were made sensible 
of their Error, b\- the Gentlemen from the Adjacent Counties, who marched a bod)- 
of men sufficient to have put all the disobedient & deluded crew to the Sword, but 
from motives of humanity &. prudence attempted the more mild method of Argu- 
ment to dispel the delusion, and bring them back to their dut\', \-our Petitioners, 
ready to receive information, and open to correction rcadii\' v'a\e up their Arms and 
engaged to deliver themselves to Justice and submit to the Laws of their Country 
when called for; which they have since done and stood their Trials in the County 
Court of Hampshire, and were by that Court adjudged to stand a further Tryai 
before a Special Court of Oyer and Terminer, appointed to meet at the Court House 
on the Tenth Day of July last, but the Gentlemen nominated as Judges by the 
Hon'ble Board failing to attend, the prosecution was postponed. .\nd your peti- 
tioners were then Informed by a Proclamation under the hand of the County Lieu- 
tenant, that tiic Executive, ever prone to adopt the most lenient measures to peni- 
tent otfendcrs. offered pardon and Indemnity to all those concerned in the late insur- 
rection, if thc'\' would return to their duty, and helia\e as good Citizens in future. 
And >our petitioners impressed with a deep Sense of the gracious Intentions of 
your Excellency and the Hon'ble Board, towards the Ignorant and deluded, were 
encouraged to sue for pardon; and that the same Act of grace might be extended 
towards them, since they humbly conceive their Conduct has been more Conso- 
nant to the Duty of good Citizens, who conscious that they have Transgress'd 
against the Laws of their Country, readily delivered themselves to Justice and to 
Tryal by their Peers, to suffer the punishment due to their crimes, tho' committed 
thro' Ignorance and misguided zeal; Whereas tliosc who ha\c availed themselves 
of the said Proclamation, tho' equalh' t:uilt\ . did not conie in umil tiieir safety 
was insured to them b\' the promise of pardon. 

Wherefore, your Petitioners humbly hope, from the known Cleuiency ot your 
Excellency, and that Equianimity that governs the Councils of the Hon'ble 
Board, that they will be graciously pleased to pardon their past offences, and include 
them in the Act of Indemnity so mercifully held out to offenders under the like 
circumstances, and they engage, on the Eaith of honest Citizens to Act a true and 
faithful part to the State in future, if they are released from further prosecution, 
and restored to the privileges of other Citizens: which your petitioner John Clay- 
pole is more encouraged to expect, from a letter of Gcnl: Morgan's to your said 
Petitioner, wherein he promises to procure his pardon, on his returning to his Alle- 
giance and becoming a Good Citizen; this he humbly conceives his behavior has 

412 Appendix IV 

done since he was convince of his Error, and freed from those mistaken prejudices 
that seduced him from his duty — 

Wherefore, in deep contrition for their past misconduct and sincere promise 
of conducting themselves as good citizens for the time to come, they humbly pray 
for Pardon, and that the Hon'ble Board will save their innocent wives and children 
from ruin and misery, which they must necessarily be involved in, for the crimes 
of their deluded Husbands and Parents, 

And your Petitioners shall ever pray &c." 

Papers relating to the pardon of John Claypole and others. — 
From Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. II, pp. 682, 683. 

Petition of Citizens to the Executive, for the Pardon 
OF John Claypole, on account of his previous good standing 

AS AN "honest, peaceable, WELL MEANING MAN." 

Hampshire County, 1781. 
Numerously signed, the following names appearing among 
the signatures — Vandeventer, Ruddell, Hutton, Bullett, Bird, 
Hite, VanMeter, Randall, Vause, Lynch, Ashby, Harris, Shanklin, 
and many others. — From Calendar oj Virginia State Papers, 
Vol. II, pp. 683, 684. 

"Hampshire County, 1781. 

"PETITION OF JACOB BRAKE (1) AND OTHERS, for pardon for having 
through ignorance, and the persuasion of others, joined in the late 'Conspiracy , 
against the State the object of which was to refuse payment of Taxes, and to oppose 
the Act of Oct: 1780 for raising Troops for the Service" — 

"Setting forth the same reasons given in John Claypole's application, why 
they should enjoy Executive Clemency, and adding, that they 'have been instru- 
mental in detecting and bringing in some of the Principal Conspirators to Justice Sec. 

"Signed by —JACOB BRAKE, Adam Rodebaugh, John Mace, Michael 
Algrie, Isaac Brake, John Mitchell, Saml: Lourie, Leonard Hier, Jacob Hier, George 
Peck, John Casner, Jacob Yeazle, Thos: Nutler, Thos: Stacey, John Rodebaugh, 
Henry Rodebaugh, Jacob House, Jeremiah Ozburn, Jacob Crites, Anthony Reager, 
Josiah Ozburn, George Lites, Charles Borrer, Jacob Pickle. John Wease, Adam 
Wease, & Adam Wease, Jur: — " 

From Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. II, p. 686. 

(1) See page 509. 



















a s 


5 s 

« ■ 

•^ ^ 


<^ i 

XCn'KS ox CIlAPTl-.R 

(1) \\ai'-i'A-to-ma-ka: also spelled, If'a-po-iom-i-ka: the Indian appellation for 
the Soulli Branch of the Potomac River. 1 have adhered to this aboriginal 
coijnomen, which was bestowed by some tribe of the Algonquian family; most 
probably the Leni-lenapc (Delaware), or the Shawnee. On a map of Virginia, 
1769, it is written "W'appocomo, or South Branch of Potowmac R." Other forms 
of the name are met with in the earliest records. The meaning has been inter- 
preted by some writers: "river of wild geese;" which I am inclined to doubt. 
Tlic name contains the Delaware and the Shawnee root, wap, or wamp (white I. 
It is very similar to Wah-pi-ko-me -kah (white waters), the Delaware and the 
Miami name for the White River of Indiana. Otiier names of corresponding 
import might be mentioned. Wakatomika, Shawnee town on Muskingum River. 

.\ village of the Munsee branch of tlie Delaware nation, located on White 
Ri\cr where Muncie, Indiana, now stand.s, was called JFapicomrkokf (Wah-pi-ko- 
mc-kunk) "White-river town." 

Wapeminskink (Wah-pi-mins-kink), was a Delaware town on the west fork of 
this stream at the present site of Anderson, Indiana. It has been erroneously 

identitied with Jf'apicomekoke. Hand Book of .American Indians: Bureau of 

Ethnology, Washington, 1910, Part 2, p. 912. 

Wappatomica was the "upper Shawnee village" on tiic upper waters of the 
Great Miami River, Ohio, during the Revolutionary War. The name has gone 
into history in, perhaps, a dozen different forms. Buttcrhcld's History of ihf 
Cirtys, Cincinnati, 1896. p. 74. 

Wapakoneta (Wa-pa-ko-nc -ta), "White-jacket," was a small contemporary 
village of the same tribe on the waters of Mad River; and after the Treaty of 
Greenville, 1795, on the Auglaize River, Ohio. JVhite-jacket was a Shawnee chief. 

The South Branch was known to the Iroquois by the name usually spelled 
Coliongononita. In this is found the Iroquoin root for wild-goose, "kohank;" and 
if the interpretation: "river of wild geese" is applicable to this historic stream, it 
is through this name and not the JVappatomaka of the Algonquian, Delaware- 
Shawnee. Unfortunately most of the Indian geographical names recorded by the 
colonists arc greatly corrupted; and often tlie rendition, at best, can only be a 

(2) WiTiiKR.s — Border Jf'arfarc; Cincinnati, 1895, p. 117. 
DeMass — Indian IVars of JVestern Virginia; Wheeling, 1851, p. 75. 
Mo-non-ga-he-la: by far the most pleasing, euphonic geographic name 

within the Trans-.Mlegheny. On some of the old maps and early records it is 
spelled: Mi-nangiliilli, Mohengeyela, Mohongeyela, Mohongaly. Monongalia, and a 
few other forms. Of Algonquian origin, the meaning is uncertain. That which 
is generally accepted, and as interpreted, implies: "falling-in-banks," or "sliding- 
banks." The peninsula formed by the junction of this stream and that of the 
Youghiogheny, was called b}' the Delawares: Meh-non-au-au-ge-hel-ak, "place of 
caving" or "falling banks," from which, doubtless, the present name, Mononga- 
lu'la was derived. 


Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia 








wT iiM*. . 



/Wsj J^ \^r 



^W ^^ 





The Pringle Sycamore of Today 
Courtesy of Mr. M. C. Brake 

For some of the Indian names of streams in West Virginia, see Hale's Trans- 
Jllegheny Pioneers; Cmc\nna.t\, 1886. Report of Archives and History of the State 
of West Virginia; Charleston, 1906. 

(3) Turkey Run — This beautiful 
little valley, made historic by the Pringle 
Camp, received its name from the vast 
numbers of wild turkeys found there by 
the first settlers. 

The spot whereon grew the Pringle 
Sycamore, is on the land now owned by 
Mr. Webster Dix; on the west side of 
Turkey Run, about twenty-five feet from 
the stream and some forty to fifty feet 
from the bank of the Buckhannon River. 
Withers, p. 119, speaks of the stump of 
this tree as still standing in 1831. The 
late Hon. William C. Carper, of Buck- 
hannon, remembered seeing it about 
1848. The cavity was not less than 
twelve feet across. 

This stump disappeared many years 
ago and a second sycamore sprang up 
from the roots of the parent tree. This 
tree grew quite tall and straight. About 
the year 1880, it was blown down and washed away by a flood. But as if reluctant 
to fail to mark the site of the first primitive home of the white man in that region, 
the roots shot forth a second sprout and this grew into a bushy tree. It has a ' 
cavity in its trunk that will shelter two or three men from an ordinary storm. 
Mr. Dix has promised me that this historic land mark shall be protected. 

(4) Prof. A. L. Keith, of Carleton