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Full text of "George Michael Bedinger: a Kentucky pioneer"

Gc 

929.2 
B3901d 
1914129 



REYNOLDS HISTORICAL 
GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1833 01203 7666 



GC 

929.2 

B3901D 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 



http://www.archive.org/details/georgemichaelbedOOdand 



George Micha el Bedinger: 

A Kentucky Pioneer 



By 
Danske Dandrid^e 



^GgOCb 



THE MICHIE COMPANY, PRINTERS 

Charlottesville, Virginia 

1909 



1914129 




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Major George Michael Bedinge 



Copyright 1909 

BY 

DanskE Dandridge 



TO ALI. THE DDSCKNDANTS OF 
THE PATRIOT, GEOKCE MlCHAEt< 
BEDINGER, I DEDICATE THIS BOOK. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER . ^^^'^ 

Introduction ^ 

I. Birth of George; Michmsl Be:dingi<r— 

Family History 3 

II. Early Days in Mecklenburg ... 7 

III. The Beginning oe the Revolution . 11 

IV. Major G. M. Bedinger in the Revolu- 

99 
TION -- 

V. First Visit to Kentucky 35 

VI. Life at Boonesboro' 46 

VII. Bowman's Campaign 54 

VIII. Major BivDinger RivTurns to Civiliza- 
tion 67 

IX. The End of the Revolution ... 78 

X. More Adventures in Kentucky . . 88 

XL The Second Green River Expedition 98 

XII. The Third Trip to GrEEn RivER . . 102 

XIII. A Terrible Experience 113 

XIV. Home Again 126 

XV. The Attack at Sandy Creek . . .133 

XVI. Major Bj'Dinger in St. Clair's Cam- 
paign 138 

XVII. Early Days in Kentucky 161 



WtJlT 



ai 



sit 



IV CONTRNTS 

XVIII. Letters from Home — Life in Ken- 
tucky 169 

XIX. Family Happenings — Michaee Bedin- 

GER in Congress 179 

XX. The Meeting at Stinson's Spring . . 188 

XXI. Old Age and Retirement 193 

Appendix A. . . , 216 

Appendix B. . . . . . . . . . . . .228 



Major George Michael Bedinger 

A Kentucky Pioneer 



INTRODUCTION 

Thy spirit, Independence, let me share. 
Lord of the Lion heart and Eagle eye; 

Thy steps I follow with my bosom bare, 

Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky. 

AMONG the papers left by George Michael Bedin- 
ger of Kentucky, I have fotind this scrap of 
verse, written, I believe, by his younger brother Daniel. 
It may be taken as the motto of his adventurous life, 
and his constant inspiration. 

This dearly loved brother, Daniel, died in 1818, 
many years before the death of "Michael," as his 
family always called Major Bedinger. Daniel was a 
poet, and he accumulated and absorbed great store of 
books, wrote much for the periodicals of the day, and 
lived in ease and prosperity in the town of Norfolk, 
Virginia, then the home of some of the most cultured 
gentlemen of the day. 

Michael, on the contrary, was a frontiersman, an 
explorer, and a brave soldier, as well as a statesman 
and a patriot. The bond of affection between him and 
his brothers was an unusually strong one. 

Henry, the eldest of the family, was a man of af- 
fairs, an active, enterprising, and withal a dignified 
gentleman, honored and respected by all who knew 
him, watching carefully over the interests of the 
younger members of the family, of whom he was the 
acknowledged head. All three of these brothers had 



2 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

fought in the Revolution, and were among the bravest 
of the brave. Two of them were members of the 
Society of the Cincinnati, and all were officers. 

I have written this simple account of the life of 
Michael lledinj^er to endeavor to draw closer the bond 
which unites the descendants of these brothers; and 
also because his example must be an inspiration to all 
who read it. Such were his fidelity to duty, his noble 
unselfishness of character, and his courage and tender- 
ness, that no one, I hope and believe, can help derivmg 
benefit from an acquaintance with him. Therefore, I 
have endeavored to produce the living man, just as he 
was, as I have failed to discover an act of his life that 
one of his descendants could wish to conceal. 

I desire to express most heartfelt thanks to all who 
have so kindly aided me in my task. To Mrs. Frances 
Gibson and her daughter, Miss Zan Gibson, of Charles 
Town, W. Va. ; to Mrs. Asa Lewis and her brother, of 
Asheville, N. C. ; to Mr. Henry B. Davenport, of Clay 
County, W. Va. ; to Miss Olivia Bedinger, of Bakers- 
field, California; to Miss Virginia Lucas; Mr. Henry 
B. Swearingen; Mrs. Woodford; Miss Franklin, of 
Chillicothe, Ohio; and to Miss Lucy Bittinger of 
Sewickley, Pa., I desire particularly to give expression 
to my gratitude for their valuable aid in furnishing 
nie with letters, pai)ers, and information. I am also 
largely indebted to the labors of the late Dr. Lyman 
Draper, of Wisconsin, whose manuscripts in the His- 
torical Library at Madison have been of great value; 
and to I'ro lessor Reuben C. Thwaites; and to the 
assistants in the Congressional Library, I also desire 
to return cordial thanks for all their kind assislnncc. 

Slicflicrdstnu'u, JV. Va., 
December 1 1, i(^o8. 



CHAPTER I 

Birth of George Michael Bedinger — Family 
History 

GEORGE Michael Bedinger was born of German 
parents on the 10th of December, 1756. His 
parents, at the time of his birth, lived on their planta- 
tion in what is now York County, Pennsylvania. He 
was the third child of Henry Bedinger, and his wife, 
Magdalene von Schlegel. The oldest son, Henry, was 
born in 1753. Next came Elizabeth, born in 1755. 
There were seven other children : Christian and Chris- 
tina, probably twins, born between the years 1756 and 
1760, both of whom died in infancy; Daniel, born in 
1761; Jacob, born in 1766; Sarah, born in 1768, and 
Solomon, the youngest, born in 1770. 

Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, married Abel Mor- 
gan, a son of Richard ap Morgan, a gentleman whose 
family came from Wales to America in the seven- 
teenth century. Richard Morgan, who belonged to an 
ancient family of Welsh gentlemen, was one of the 
first settlers in the neighborhood of Mecklenburg, now 
called Shepherdstown, a village on the banks of the 
Potomac, in JefTerson County, West Virginia. 

Abel Morgan, the husband of Elizabeth, was a physi- 
cian, and during the Revolution he acted as surgeon to 
the 8th Pennsylvania. His name is on the list of pris- 
oners confined on the prison ship Jersey, ofif the Long 
Island coast. He died early, very probably from the 
effects of this confinement, and left his widow with 
five children to rear to maturity. 

Anna-Maria, called Mary in her father's will, mar- 
ried Colonel Abraham Morgan, a grandson of Richard 



4 GEORGE MICHAEIv BEDINGER 

ap Morgan. He died in Kentucky, leaving many de- 
scendants in that State, and some in Mississippi and 
Tennessee. Sarah, the youngest daughter, married 
Benoni Swearingen, a friend and comrade-in-arms of 
the Bedinger brothers. 

Adam Biidinger, the grandfather of George Michael, 
emigrated from Alsace to America, possibly by the 
advice of his friend. Dr. Muhlenberg, a noted Luth- 
eran divine of the day. Adam, with his wife, and 
several children, sailed from Rotterdam, in the good 
ship Samuel, in the summer of 1737, and landed at 
Philadelphia on the thirtieth of August of that year. 

Henry, the third son of Adam and his wife, Anna 
Margarethe Hansknecht, was born in the village of 
Dorschel or Durstle, as it is variously spelt on maps 
of Alsace, in the year 1729. 

Adam appears to have been a man of substance. He 
took up a large and fertile tract of land on the Cone- 
wago, in York County, Pennsylvania, and prospered 
greatly thereon. He married three times and had, in 
all, ten children. He belonged to a very old family 
which has givei) the name of Biidingen to two villages 
in Alsace, and one in Hesse-Cassel. 

At least one branch of this family was noble. In 
German works on genealogy we read that "Ludwig 
of the elder line of the house of Isenberg, who died in 
1360, received by his marriage with Hedwig, heiress 
of the last Dynast, i. e.. Ruler or Chief of Biidingen, 
the succession into the 'immediate' estates of Biidingen 
in the Wesseren, which was raised in 1442 to a 
County." 

This branch of the Isenberg family is still called 
Isenberg-Biidingen. Henry Bedinger, the elder brother 
of George Michael, had an old family seal in his pos- 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 5 

session; and his only living grandchild, Mrs. Frances 
Gibson, of Charles Town, West Virginia, remembers 
having often played with it when she was a child. 
This seal bore the arms of Biidingen, a griffin rampant, 
and, for a crest, the helmet of a knight. The present 
family of Isenberg-Biidingen quarters this coat of 
arms with that of the Isenbergs, as any one interested 
in such matters can find in the pages of the Deutsche 
Adds Lexicon. The old seal remained in the posses- 
sion of the family for many years, until the death of 
Henry Bedinger Davenport, when, on the breaking up 
of his establishment, it was lost, stolen, or destroyed. 

The sons of Adam, after their marriages, he estab- 
lished on plantations near his own. 

Many reports of the fertility of the Valley of the 
Shenandoah had reached I'ennsylvania in the latter 
half of the eighteenth century, and it Is not impossible 
that settlers emigrated to this part of Virginia even 
before Governor Spottswood made his memorable ex- 
cursion to the summit of the Blue Ridge in 1714. 

The only records th^ first settlers in the Valley have 
left behind them are found on nearly illegible tomb- 
stones. By the middle of the century, however, crowds 
of emigrants from the west eastward, instead of from 
the east, westward, were, for a time, the order of the 
day, and the beautiful Valley of Virginia was largely 
settled by German emigrants from Pennsylvania, New 
Jersey, and Maryland. 

Shepherdstown, as it is now called, from the name 
of its chief founder, Thomas Shepherd, is a quaint 
little Dutch settlement on the banks of the Potomac, a 
quiet and somewhat antiquated place, long past the 
days of its early importance and prosperit}-, tlie days 
when it proudly aspired to be the capital of the United 



II JIIV/ 



6 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

States of America! When Henry BecHnger moved to 
Sliepherdstown he built a stone house a short distance 
southeast of the village, between two fine springs. The 
largest of these was, for many years, called "Bedin- 
ger's Spring." He died early in the year 1772, leaving 
a comfortable estate. He owned much property in the 
town, and several farms in the neighborhood, on both 
sides of the Potomac. The share of George Michael 
was, to quote from Henry's will : ''Ten acres I bought 
of John Newland, and ninety-three acres I bought of 
Under." 

Henry also bequeathed a female slave called Sina, 
and a good deal of property, to his wife during her 
lifetime, all to be sold and the proceeds equally di- 
vided among his eight children at her death. To each 
of his sons he left a farm, and to each of his daughters 
a large house and lot in the village. He built two 
taverns which he rented out, and which are still stand- 
ing. One of these was for many years known as the 
Globe Tavern, afterwards the Entler House; and the 
other, Sheetz's Tavern, is still occupied by a family 
of that name who bought the property from the heirs 
of one of Henry Bedinger's daughters. 



CHAPTER II 

Early Days in Mecklenburg 

ECKLENBURG, as the village of Shepherds- 
town was first named by the German emi- 
grants who settled it, was founded at an unknown 
date. It is possible that the records of Spotsylvania 
Court House might throw some light upon this sub- 
ject, as the country around the village was, at the time 
of its discovery, included in that county. Afterwards 
Orange County was formed from Spotsylvania, and, 
later still, Frederick County was formed from a part 
of Orange. Again, in 1772, Berkeley County was cut 
off from Frederick, and last of all, in 1801, Jefferson 
County was formed from llerkelcy. Thus Shepherds- 
town belonged first to Spotsylvania, then to Orange, 
then to Frederick, then to Berkeley, and finally to Jef- 
ferson County, now included in the SUito oi West 
Virginia. In these frequent changes the county rec- 
ords were scattered and many of them lost ; and no 
one now living appears able to name the date of the 
settlement of old Mecklenburg. 

All that we know is that a little company of German 
emigrants settled here early in the Eighteenth Century. 
They were mostly mechanics and small tradesmen, and 
it appears that they were squatters, who afterwards 
paid Lord Fairfax, Shepherd, Morgan, or some of 
the other original owners of the land for their homes. 
The crumbling tombstones in the old Lutheran and 
German churchyards remain as silent witnesses to 
the fact that there were settlers here at an early day. 
The oldest tombstone that can now be found was in a 
country graveyard four miles from the village. It 



io 



8 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

bears the date 1707, and near by are the remains of a 
stone fort, built for protection from the Indians. Tra- 
dition affirms that at one time, when this rude fort 
was besieged by Indians, a man was killed, whose 
companions sallied out at night to dig his grave and 
bury him a few rods away. While they were engaged 
in this dangerous task two of their number were 
killed, and, after the Indians had gone away, all were 
buried in one grave. But who these early settlers 
were, or at what precise time they built their fort, can 
perhaps never be ascertained. The name of the woman 
buried in 1707 was Caterina Beierlin. Nothing is 
known of her except the name, and the record on the 
stone that she was "a Christian woman." Early tomb- 
stones in the churchyards of Shepherdstown bear the 
dates 1720, 1725, 1728, etc. 

When the Bedinger family arrived, the village was 
a thriving settlement of three hundred persons. Henry 
Bedinger witnessed a will in Mecklenburg in the year 
1758, yet his children always maintained that he did 
not come to Virginia until 1762, a discrepancy for 
which I cannot account. It is possible that he wit- 
nessed the will when on a visit to the town, and that 
he did not move his family until 1762. When he did 
so he sent his three eldest children to an English 
school, taught by a Scotchman named Robert Cock- 
burn, who lived to a great age. 

The boys grew up with the sons of the settlers, and 
had for companions the Morrows, Lucases, Swearin- 
gens, Morgans, Shepherds, Lemons, and many more. 
The county furnished Ohio with four of her govern- 
ors. These were Governors Worthington, Tiffin, Lu- 
cas, and Morrow. 

Michael, in an account of his early life, declared 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 9 

that his two brothers, Daniel and Henry, were bright 
boys and fine scholars, but that he was less so. He 
says he was taciturn, and fond of hunting, fishing, and 
riding, and that he had a decided turn for mechanics. 
In after life he proved to be something of an inventor, 
contriving ingenious and intricate machinery for his 
mills and salt works. 

The young men grew up with the usual training of 
the hardy backwoodsmen of the day. Game was very 
plentiful ; the river abounded in fish ; fur-bearing ani- 
mals were hunted for their va;luable skins, and bounty 
money was paid for the ears of wolves as late as 1775 
and probably later. Michael was a hunter and doubt- 
less kept his mother's larder well supplied with veni- 
son, wild turkics, and pheasants ; all to be procured 
with little trouble in that day of plenty. 

The Bedingers were, at first, Lutherans. But, like 
Muhlenberg's son, afterwards the famous General 
Muhlenberg, they left the Lutheran denomination and 
joined the "English Ciun-ch." as the IVoleslant I'vpis- 
copal denomination was called in America at that time. 
A dispute arose among the Lutherans in Mecklenburg, 
on the subject of reading the liturgy in the German 
language. The most progressive of the settlers wished 
to have an English service, and for a time the liturgy 
was read on alternate Sundays in German and Eng- 
lish. This apparently pleased neither faction. A split 
resulted, and Henry Ijedinger and many others went 
over to the "English Churcii." 

George William Ranson, a descendant of Elizabeth 
Bedinger Morgan, who wrote a most interesting sketch 
of Major G. M. Bedinger says: "Henry P)edinger 
was naturalized and took the sacrament in the Protes- 
tant ICpiscopal Church in Mecklenburg In 1769. He 



10 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

died at his residence January 22nd, 1772, in the forty- 
second year of his age. He left five sons and three 
daughters to be provided for by their widowed mother, 
who discharged every duty well and faithfully. The 
resources of the family were moderate : their oppor- 
tunities for education very limited; but this family 
was always ranked among the most worthy and intelli- 
gent of the community wherein they dwelt. George 
]\Iichael spent his early years in obtaining the best 
education possible at that time, and in rendering such 
assistance as he could to his mother in supporting her 
helpless family." 

Henry and Daniel wrote remarkably well, in the 
fine Italian hand of the day. George Michael modestly 
calls himself "a poor writer and worse speller." Yet, 
though he cannot be said (o have been a great student, 
his letters compare very favorably with those of that 
period. Indeed he spelled as well as the great "Father 
of his country" himself, whose tall form was often 
seen in the streets of Mecklenburg, and must have 
been familiar to the Bedinger boys from their child- 
hood, for Fort Loudoun, where he commaildei4liirluring 
a part of the Indian wars, was only twenty-five miles 
away. The tavern where Washington is said to have 
put up on his frequent visits to Mecklenburg, is still 
standing, and is now a private residence. 



01 



CHAPTER III 
The Beginning of the RevoIvUtion 

I WISH it were possible to give a more detailed ac- 
count of the boyhood of Michael Bedinger, but 
unfortunately no letters or papers of that time remain. 
He and his brothers were all tall, broad-shouldered, 
athletic young men, and remarkably strong and active. 
They hunted, shot at a mark, rode, ran, leaped, and 
wrestled. At a very early date there were two annual 
fairs at Mecklenburg, and races were run there at 
least once a year, and perhaps oftener. IMecklenburg 
was a centre for merchandize of all kinds in a very 
extended farming community. Trains of wagons were 
sent to Philadelphia and Alexandria semi-annually, 
and the country people came from a distance of many 
miles to trade in the settlement. 

The country seems to have been peaceful enough 
after the end of Pontiac's conspiracy. No doubt wan- 
dering parties of restless savages may have sometimes 
visited their famous himting grounds, but we hear of 
no outbreak after the end of Pontiac's war until the 
Indian uprising in 1774. 

Colonel Adam Stephen of Martinsburg, Berkeley 
County, who commanded at Fort Cumberland, re- 
cruited many of his men from Mecklenburg and its 
vicinity, for the Indian wars; and Captain William 
Morgan had accompanied his father. Captain Richard 
Aiorgan, when that genlleman led his company of 
rillemcn from Mecklenburg to join Braddock at Fort 
Cumberland. The troops under Braddock parsed 
ihroui^h ihe vjyi.ii'e, an.i c\n ir.eir wav ihroiiah the 



12 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

thickets on the Virginia side of the Potomac, on their 
way to the Fort. 

Among famihar names of residents in the vicinity 
who took part in Braddock's campaign we read those 
of WilHam ChapHne, Jacob Van Metre, Henry Darke, 
James Finley, John Lemon, Simeon Turner, Anthony 
Worley, John Dixon, Daniel Osbourne, and Robert 
Buckles, the descendants of many of whom still reside 
in the county. 

Lord Dunmore's War may be called the prelude to 
the Revolution, and the little community on the Poto- 
mac had not had time to quiet down after that excite- 
ment before fresh and agitating tidings began to arrive 
through the medium of hurried express riders, all the 
way from Williamsburg, and later from the little town 
of Lexington, Massachusetts. 

News of the Governor's high-handed proceedings at 
Williamsburg aroused the spirit of the settlers, and 
when he seized on the Colony's supi)ly of powder, and 
when Patrick Henry made his fiery speech against 
his tyranny in the Virginia Plouse of Burgesses, the 
news set the whole country into a blaze of insulted 
patriotism. 

Living in Frederick County at this time was a young 
lawyer named George Rootes, a friend of Patrick 
Henry, and an eloquent patriot. Michael Bedinger, 
writing to his brother Henry many years afterwards, 
reminds him of the address made in the town by this 
gentleman in the spring of 1775, and speaks of its ef- 
fect on some of the impulsive young blood of the day. 
He says : "I will now attempt to state to you as well 
as I can remember my services in the Revolutionary 
War to the end of the war. I will, however, observe 
that some time near the 25th of May, 1775, at the call 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 13 

of Patrick Henry through the eloquence of his friend, 
Lawyer George Rootes, or it may have been a printed 
proclamation read or spoken to us by said Rootes, 
which I yet recollect required of the people of Berkeley 
their aid to go to Williamsburg to save the powder that 
had been or was like to be taken (by Lord Dunmore) 
he, Rootes, concluded his patriotic address I think in 
such language as this : 'All you that God has given 
arms to ought now to turn out and make use of them 
to save your country, for by saving the powder you 
will save the country and your liberties,' or some such 
language. George Morgan and I then turned out and 
marched towards Fredericksburg. A considerable 
number of armed men joined us on our way, I recol- 
lect we got to a place called the Red House on our 
way to the place of rendezvous, which I think was to 
be either Falmouth or Fredericksburg, but somewhere 
on our way an express met us, informing us we were 
not then wanted. The powder had been saved, or the 
price of it, or some such thing. But all this is now like 
a dream. * * * j think we carried rifles, were on 
foot, and were out about eight days. I think we were 
requested to hold ourselves in readiness, as it was be- 
lieved we should soon be called out again to support 
our liberties and rights." 

It is a well known historical fact that Patrick Henry 
sent messages to different parts of Virginia asking for 
volunteers to turn out to aid in compelling Lord Dun- 
more to return the powder and ammunition that he had 
confiscated. Many men llockcd towards the place of 
rendezvous, and were turned back by the news that 
the governor, alarmed at these belligerent demonstra- 
tions, had paid the colony in full for the military stores 
he had so arbitrarily seized. It is ([uite possible that 



14 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

George Michael Bedinger and his friend, George Mor- 
gan, were the first volunteers from Alecklenburg in 
the spring of 75. 

When the war broke out the two young Bedinger 
brothers, Henry and Michael, were prompt to join the 
rifle company raised by Captain Hugh Stephenson, 
senior captain of Virginia. This gallant company of 
one hundred young men was recruited in the short 
space of a week, and was composed of young men of 
the neighborhood, all of them of good character, and 
of means sulilicicnt to provide their own equipment. 
Hugh Stephenson had been a captain under Colonel 
George Washington in the French and Indian wars. 
He lived on the Bullskin Run in Berkeley County, and 
was a half brother of the unfortunate Colonel Craw- 
ford, who was tortured to death by the Indians some 
years later. Stephenson was a brave officer, highly es- 
teemed by Washington, who recommended him to Con- 
gress with Daniel Morgan as captains of the two 
companies of rillcmen to be raised in Frederick and 
Berkeley Counties. 

These young men, many of them the sons of gentle- 
men, met often at the home of Magdalene Bedinger, 
and at the famous old spring, once called "Bedinger's," 
but now to be known for many years as "Stinson's 
Spring." Stinson was a corruption of the name Steph- 
enson. At this spt)t these young men, wiio were the 
pride and ho[)e of ihe county, met, on the tenth of 
June, 1775, to hold a barbecue, tendered them by their 
friends and neighbors. The rough boards were heaped 
with meats, and the patriotic women of the neighbor- 
hood brought baskets filled with every kind of delicacy 
that they had skill lo prepare. An ox was roasted 
whole, there was great store of game, pies, and cakes; 



Bflii-JiT! 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 15 

and, no doubt, there was plenty of strong drink as 
well, for it was not an age of temperance. The com- 
pany sang patriotic songs, drank toasts, and perhaps 
listened to some of the orators of the day. 

Some of the volunteers were mere boys, about to set 
out on a long and hazardous journey, the end of 
which no man could foresee. They were to march 
through a sparsely settled country over six hundred 
miles. If they were unsuccessful the gibbet awaited 
them. They were in peril of the sword, exposed to 
hunger, disease, and every privation. Worst of all, 
though it is little probable that they gave it a thought, 
the dark and terrible shadow of the British prison, with 
its horrors of pestilence, famine, a cruel death, and a 
nameless grave, hung over them. lUit they sang around 
the board a j^atriotic song composed by one of their 
number, and other popular airs of the time, little reck- 
ing the hard fate in store for many of them. 

As they sal at table they hoard the rilles of Captain 
Morgan's company, who were then rendezvousing at 
Harper's Ferry, and who fired a salute to their com- 
rades at Mecklenburg. The young recruits rose from 
their seats and fired a volley in reply. When they 
were about to disperse one of their number suggested 
that they should all rise and join hands, pledging them- 
selves to meet again at that spot, as many as should 
survive, on that day fifty years after. This they did, 
and then parted for the night. Although they had re- 
sponded so promptly to the summons for volunteers 
they were delayed six weeks by the difficulty of pro- 
curing rilles. The mechanics of Mecklenburg, such 
as had knowledge of the gunsmith's trade, plied their 
hammers and anvils diligently, and some of the rifles 
they manufactured were the pride of the company. 



.no 



16 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Not a few were inlaid with silver, and all of them 
carried true, for the riflemen were, one and all, expert 
marksmen. 

On the 17th of July they set out, making a "bee-line 
for Boston." Henry Bedingcr, elected a sergeant in 
this company, kept a journal of their march, in which 
he writes, under the date, "July 17th, 1775. Set out 
from Patomack Toward Boston, and Encamped at the 
Mirey Springs, about three miles from Sharpsburgh. 
Next morning took leave of all friends, set off from 
thence and Marched to Strieker's in the Mountains, 
from thence Marched to Frederick Town (Mary- 
land)." 

Thus they began their long march to join Washing- 
ton at Cambridge, where they arrived on Friday, the 
11th of August. 

It appears that there was much rivalry between the 
two companies of riflemen, each being desirous to be 
the first to reach Washington's headciuarters. When 
Stephenson's men were ready to start, Daniel Morgan, 
of Frederick County, sent word to their captain that 
he wished he would tarry a few days longer in order 
that they might march together to Boston. Captain 
Stephenson accordingly waited, when he learned, to 
his surprise, that Morgan's object was to gain time, 
steal a march, and thus outwit him. Stephenson, upon 
hearing that Morgan, who crossed the river at Har- 
per's Ferry, had already started, hurried his company 
forward through Lancaster, Reading, and Bethlehem, 
where they were kindly entertained by the Moravians, 
thence on to Easton, through New Jersey to Peekskill 
on the Hudson, to Hartford, and on to Boston, which 
they reached a day or two later than Morgan, whom 
they had failed to overtake. They were comfortably 
lodged in houses at Roxl)ury Camp, near Cambridge. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 17 

There is no word in Henry Bedinger's journal of 
hardships endured during the winter, which was an 
unusually cold one. They were all hardy and strong 
young men in the vigor of manhood, and well accus- 
tomed to outdoor life. , 

The costume of the riflemen consisted of hunting 
■frocks of tow linen, fringed down the front and 
around the neck; leather leggings, and moccasins. 
Each wore a bucktail in his hat, which was of soft felt, 
looped on one side. They carried tomahawks and 
scalping knives in their belts ; long rifles, shot pouches 
and powder horns, with knapsacks of deer -hide slung 
across their shoulders. They bore a banner embla- 
zoned with the device of the Culpepper Minute men, a 
coiled rattlesnake, with the signilicant motto, "Don't 
tread on me!" And on the bosoms of their hunting- 
frocks were embroidered the words, "Liberty or 
Death." All were picked marksmen, many of them 
over six feet in height. ^Michael was extremely active, 
and was tall and broad-shouldered. His brother Henry 
was remarkably tall, straight as an Indian, dark, spare, 
and muscular. Both brothers had blue eyes and black 
hair, good features with aquiline noses. 

The British at first affected to despise the Virginian 
riflemen, calling them "a rabble in calico petticoats ;" 
but they soon learned to dread the marksmen of the 
frontiers more than any other troops. In October 
Henry Bedinger wrote in his journal : "Orders came 
out Recomending that the Soldiers of the New Army 
do not Lay out their pay in anything but Shirts, 
Leather Breeches, vStockings, Shoes, etc, and that the 
Congress would provide Regimentals for them." We 
see that the men were expected to provide themselves 
with many necessaries out of their scanty pay. But 



18 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

they had left home well enough provided with warm 
suitable clothing and blankets for the campaign. 

In the spring, on the fourth of March, Henry Bedin- 
ger wrote : "Orders came to go out on Dorchester 
Point and Intrench, two Rifle Companies from Cam- 
bridge were ordered here. In the Evening as soon as 
Sun Down our Teams Began to Load with Intrenching 
Tools, Spears, Canon, about 100 Teams to Carry 
Fascines and pressed Hay — accordingly 2000 men and 
upwards went and Began the work, and about 1 
O'clock our five Companies of Riflemen Marched on, 
when the Others had already made Two Compleat 
Fascine forts on the top of the Two Hills, made Two 
Redoubts and a Cover along the Neck with hay. We 
marched a Little Beyond the Forts and posted our- 
selves behind a hill Near the water Edge, where we 
Remained as Silent as possible. Mean Time our Forts 
Fired shot and Threw Bombs into Boston from Brook- 
line, from Lichmore's Point and from Cobble Hill. 
They were no less busy in throwing as many Bomb 
Shells and Shott, as we, which made no Small Noise." 

The riflemen were posted on Dorchester Point to 
guard the men at this work, which, as history tells us, 
made Boston untenable by the British, and caused its 
abandonment. After they had performed this duty 
they were ordered to New York, and Stephenson's 
Company with Captain Rawling's Maryland Rifle 
Company were stationed on Staten Island. 

A party of I'ritish from Admiral Howe's fleet near 
Sandy Hook came to a watering j:)lace on the 
Island for water, when a few of Stephenson's men, 
among whom were the two Bedingers, cut off thirteen 
British from their boats and took them prisoners, be- 
sides killing and wounding others on their way to and 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 19 

in the boats. In this skirmish they captured many 
articles, among them the British colours. Not a man 
of the rifle company received a scratch. George 
Michael shall now speak for himself, and I will give a 
part of his declaration of his. services, for the purpose 
of obtaining a pension. This declaration was made in 
January, 1836, when he was eighty years old. 

After speaking of his enlistment, and the winter in 
Roxbury, he goes on: "Soon after this (the occupa- 
tion of Dorchester Point) and a few days before 
Boston was evacuated, Captain Stephenson's Company 
was sent to New York City. I think we remained 
there two or three weeks, from there to Staten Island 
where we remained in said Stephenson's Rifle Com- 
pany until I had served out the whole term for which 
I enlisted in the service, to wit, one year : and was 
honorably discharged. 

"I was not in any general engagement or battle dur- 
ing the above term of service, but was in frequent 
skirmishes, in one of which 26 of us took 13 prisoners. 

"My Lieutenants were William Henshaw, Samuel 
Finley, George Scott, and Abraham Shepherd, suc- 
cessively. (He means in order named.) 

"We were generally under immediate command of 
General Washington. While we remained at the siege 
of Boston we were not attached to any particular regi- 
ment or corps, but were generally near headquarters, 
prepared to act on short notice, and upon sudden emer- 
gencies. 

"Our Captain was appointed Colonel, came home 
to make preparations to recruit a Rifle Regiment, but 
died soon after he got home. 

"After I was discharged I immediately volunteered 
and remained at Staten Island until driven thence by 



20 GKORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

llie enemy. They had already pitched some of their 
tents on the Island and were scouring it round in search 
of the 'rebels' as they called us, when Joseph Swearin- 
gen and myself effected our escape from them in a 
small boat or skiff. We got safe to the Jersey shore, 
but lost some of our clothes, blankets, etc. We went 
thence to our army in New York, The British army 
and navy was then lying at Sandy Hook, commanded 
by the two Howes, and a general engagement or some 
important movement was almost daily expected to take 
place. Our army was weak when compared to the 
then powerful Army and Navy of the British. We 
were in great need of all the troops that could be 
raised. To think of leaving the army at such a time 
occasioned painful reflections, and to stay much longer 
from a widowed mother with an almost helpless family 
of children to support, and who was anxiously looking 
for my return, the rest of my company having come 
home, and many other family reflections which agitated 
my mind — yet I continued with the Army three weeks 
after I received my discharge — then I left the army, 
got to Philadelphia on the 4th of July, 1776, got home 
to Shepherdstown, I think, between the 10th and 15th 
of July." 

In another of his writings he tells us that he 
marched from New Jersey to Philadelphia, a distance 
of fifty miles, on the third of July, walking day and 
night, and arrived in that city in time to hear the 
Declaration of Independence read to the assembled 
multitude in the streets, from the steps of old Inde- 
pendence Hall. 

In another place he says that, after he was dis- 
charged, he stayed a short time in New Jersey with 
his uncle. Captain Nicholas Bittingcr, and his com- 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 21 

pany. This gentleman, whose name was thus cor- 
rupted from Biidinger, was a wealtliy man, and 
remained in York County, Pennsylvania, all his life. 
At the breaking out of the Revolution he raised and 
i. equipped a company at his own expense. This was 

the company that George Michael visited. Captain 
Bittinger was afterwards taken prisoner at Fort Wash- 
ington, and nearly died in the filthy hold of a British 
prison-ship. After six months he was exchanged, but 
on account of the state of his health he was obliged to 
retire to his plantation, where his wife had "suffered 
great anxiety during his absence, having a large family 
of children and unruly negro slaves, and was in con- 
stant terror of Indians and British soldiery." 



CHAPTER IV 
Major G. M. Bedinger in the Revoi^ution 

ONE interesting fact that we must not omit is that 
while George Michael Bedinger was visiting his 
uncle's company at Amboy, N. J., they planned to at- 
tack a British ship, and he volunteered for the service. 
The plot, however was not put into execution, as the 
vessel left unexpectedly. 

In the summer of 1776, Henry Bedinger, who was 
one of the riflemen of the Virginia and Maryland com- 
panies recommended by Washington to Congress for 
promotion, was engaged in raising a quota of men for 
the new rifle regiment of which Stephenson had been 
given command. Stephenson died suddenly in August, 
it is said of a return of camp fever contracted at Rox- 
bury. He was succeeded in command of the regiment 
by Colonel Rawlings, and Otho Williams of Maryland 
was appointed lieutenant colonel. 

The company raised at Shepherdstown that summer 
consisted of many of the same young men who had 
enlisted there the summer before. Again they met at 
the place then called "Stinson's Spring," in honor of 
their dead captain. 

It was on the fourth of July, 1776, that Washington 
wrote a letter to Congress recommending the offlcers 
of the rille cc)nii)anies of Virginia and Maryland for 
promotion. Four companies were now furnished by 
each State, those of Virginia consisting of picked men 
from the counties of Berkeley and Frederick. The list 
of officers recommended to serve in the new company 
which was to lake the place of Ihe one commandeil by 
Stephenson in 1775 is as follows: 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 23 

"Abraham Shepherd, to serve as Captain in Captain 
Stephenson's old Company. 

"Samuel Finley, to be First Lieutenant; William 
Kelly, Second Lieutenant, and Henry Bedinger, Third 
Lieutenant." 

George Michael Bedinger, who had been a corporal 
in 1775, did not re-enlist, but remained at home taking 
care of his mother's family ; and it was well he did so, 
as he was afterwards the means of saving the life of 
one of his brothers. 

Perhaps there is no heroism like that of a brave and 
ardent boy. When the village and vicinity of Shep- 
hcrdstown were thrown into violent excitement by the 
news of the tyrainiy of Lord Dunmore, and of all his 
high-handed proceedings; and, a little later, when the 
wearied express rider brought the news of the battle 
of Lexington to the quiet little Dutch hamlet on the 
banks of the Potomac; and when the streets of the 
village were full of recruits, marching to and from 
the drilling ground behind the first Entler Tavern ; 
probably no one was more stirred by a burning desire 
to fight for the liberties of his country than an eager- 
eyed, sensitive boy of fourteen, who listened with in- 
tense earnestness to all that was said, and watched all 
that was done, with the determination to volunteer, 
and prove himself capable of acting the part of a 
man. 

But the boy, who was young Daniel Bedinger, was 
accustomed to submit to authority, and when he 
begged and implored his elder brothers to allow him to 
accompany them on the march to Boston they replied 
that he was much too young, and that he must remain 
at home, and take care of hi> mother and his younger 
brothers and sisters. His mother, too, forbade him 



24 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

most positively to stir from her side. It was trouble 
and anxiety enough to Magdalene Bedinger, whose 
parents had emigrated to the new country for the pur- 
pose of obtaining rest from conflict, to part with her 
two eldest sons on such a doubtful and hazardous 
venture. So, most reluctantly, Daniel stood on the 
banks of the Potomac, and saw the brave little band of 
riflemen set out from Shepherdstown, on the long 
march without him, to the sound of the inspiring fife 
and drum, which were very probably confided to the 
hands of boys no older than himself. 

A year had now rolled round, and again, in the sum- 
mer of 1776, there was bustle and confusion on the 
banks of the Potomac ; daily gatherings at the re- 
cruiting station at Shepherdstown ; much activity of 
the militia under Colonel Samuel Washington, brother 
of the Commander-in-chief ; much hurrying hither and 
thither; much clangor and noise about the smithies and 
forges; great industry of tailors and seamstresses; 
oonllictiiig reports from headciuartors and excited 
watching for the coming of express riders ; in a word, 
all the stir and commotion of war. 

No doubt the spring, now called "Stinson's," was 
again the rendezvous of the riflemen of '76, for that 
same spring of the many names is called the "Spring 
of 76," by the oldest inhabitants of Shepherdstown to 
this day. 

It was not in the nature of a boy like Daniel Bedin- 
ger to listen and watch all these preparations as a mere 
idle spectator. Again he entreated his mother and his 
brothers to be allowed to join the company. But they 
"having regard to his youth," again refused their con- 
sent. Again a gallant company of riflemen marched 
away from Shei)her(lstovvn to the inspiring music of 
the drum and fife, and again Daniel was left behind. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 25 

But not for long. The company, after a long march, 
reached Bergen, to which place they had been ordered, 
and, upon the second day after they arrived in camp, 
a haggard, footsore, hollow-eyed boy of fifteen 
dragged himself into Bergen, and enquired of the first 
soldier he met where Lieutenant Henry Bedinger was 
to be found. It was Daniel, who had eluded the vig- 
ilance of his brother Michael and of his mother, and 
had run away in the middle of the night; trailed the 
company like a fox-hound, and now arrived in camp, 
tired to death and more than half starved. And so he 
got his way, and was enrolled into Captain Shepherd's 
company of rillemcn. 

On the fatal sixteenth of November this comi)any 
was taicen cai)live by the British on the occasion of the 
surrender of Fort Washington. What a brave defence 
the rillemen made that day is well known. In the 
midst of llie JKitlle Henry, who with fifty picked men, 
of whom Dauicl was one, had been stationed in the van 
to re])ulse the enemy as they came up the hill towards 
the fort, heard a Hessian captain speak to his men in 
German, telling them to follow his example and re- 
serve their fire until close. Henry, recognizing his 
mother tongue, watched the aj^proach of the Hessian 
officer up the hill, and, when they were close upon 
each other, each levelled his rille, and fired at the same 
instant. Henry was wounded in the finger, which 
disabled his right hand. The ball, passing, took off a 
lock of his hair. His own ball, with truer aim, killed 
the Hessian officer, who fell, shot through the brain. 

One who took down the account from the lips of 
Major Michael Bedinger writes as follows about this 
disastrous battle : 

"Captain Bedinger's younger brother, Daniel, then a 



,103" f' 



26 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

little past fifteen, shot 27 rounds in this engagement, 
and was often heard to say, after discharging his 
piece, 'There, take that, you devils !' His youthful in- 
trepidity and gallant conduct, so particularly attracted 
the attention of the officers' that, tho' taken prisoner, he 
was promoted to an ensigncy, his commission dating 
back six months that he might take precedence of the 
other ensigns of his company." 

When the riflemen were at last overpowered by a 
force five times their number, they were obliged to 
retreat to the defences, and they kept up the fight an 
hour longer, stubbornly retreating from redoubt to re- 
doubt, giving good account of themselves in the piles 
of dead heaped around each of these defences, until 
at last they were withdrawn into the fort itself, antl 
the commanding ofliccr. Col. Magaw, surrendered to 
the J>rilisli General Howe. They were then marched 
out, grounding their arms, all of which were taken 
from them, as well as every article of value that they 
possessed, even to their hats antl necessary clothing. 

At midnight they were marched to a place called the 
White House, and, after three days, to New York, 
where the privates were thrown into filthy and over- 
crowded prisons and treated in such a manner that in 
the short space of two months 1900 of the 2673 pri- 
vates were killed. Henry Bedinger, being an officer, 
was not subjected to such an excess of cruelty. He 
and the other officers, were quartered in vacant houses, 
and allowed sufficient provisions to sustain life. 

"During the captivity of his brothers," says Dr. 
Draper, who received the account from Michael him- 
self, "Major Bedinger would by labor, loans, and by 
selling the property left him by his father, jirocure 
money from time to time and fnul means to convey it 
to the Commissary of Prisons in his brothers' behalf." 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 27 

' In January Henry and his brother officers were sent 
to Flatbush and Gravesend, Long Island, and billetted 
on the inhabitants there, at the rate of two dollars a 
week, supplied by Congress for their maintenance. 
Daniel was, of course, separated from his brother, and 
was, at first confined in the infamous Sugar-house, 
where he saw his companions die from starvation 
every day, and where he was so reduced by famine as 
to have endeavored to sustain life by scraping the de- 
posit of sugar left in some refining kettles in that place 
of torment. He, however, was young and healthy, and 
he made a brave struggle for existence. After some 
weeks he was removed to the hold of a prison shi]), and 
there he seems at last to have given up the hopeless 
fight for life, and to have laid down to die. 

Fortunately for him an exchange of prisoners took 
place late in 1776, the exact date of which I have been 
unable to ascertain. When the officer who had the 
matter in charge came to select men to go on shore to 
be exchanged, he twice passed Daniel by as too far 
gone to be taken away. But Daniel had found a soft 
spot in the heart of a Hessian officer, whose name is 
unrecorded, and begged him so pitifully, in his mother 
tongue, to give him a chance for his life, that this man 
took compassion on him, and had him lifted into a 
boat, where he lay down in the bottom, being unable 
to stand or sit. The prisoners were conducted to a 
large church, where they were exchanged. It is said 
that the British were quite fond of giving up men who 
were almost sure to die on the way home for hale and 

serviceable English soldiers, who had not received such 
diabolical treatment at the hands of the Americans. 
Somehow or other Daniel and a few of his comrades 

in misfortune made their way to Philadelphia. Ar- 



28 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

rived at this place the boy completely broke down, and 
lay there in a wretched hospital, more dead than alive. 
What next happened to him a son of George Michael 
Bedinger has told so touchingly in a letter that he 
wrote in 1871 to one of Daniel Bedinger 's children that 
I will give the story in his own words. He says : "My 
father went to the Hospital in search of his brother, 
but did not recognize him. On inquiry if there were 
any (that had been) prisoners there, a feeble voice re- 
sponded, from a little pile of straw and rags in a cor- 
ner: 'Yes, Michael, there is one.' 

"Overcome by his feelings my father knelt by the 
side of the poor, emaciated boy, and took him in his 
arms. He then bore him to a house where he could 
procure some comforts in the way of food and cloth- 
ing. After this he got an arm-chair, two pillows, and 
some leather straj)s. He placed his suffering and be- 
loved charge in llie chair, supported by the pillows, 
swung him by the lealher straps to his back, and car- 
ried him some miles into the country, where he found 
a friendly asylum for him in the house of some good 
Quakers. There he nursed him, and, by the aid of the 
kind owners, wdio were farmers, gave him nourishing 
food until he partially recovered his strength. 

"But your father was very impatient to get home, 
and wished to proceed before he was well able to 
walk, and did so leave, while my father walked by his 
side, with his arm around him to support him. Thus 
they travelled from the neighborhood of Philadelphia 
to Shepherdstown, of course by short stages, when 
my father restored him to the arms of his mother. 
Your father related some incidents of that trip to me 
when I last saw him at Bedford (his home) in the 
spring of 1817, not more than a year before his death. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 29 

"Our uncle, Henry Bcdinger, was also a prisoner for 
a long time, and although he suffered greatly, his suf- 
ferings were not to be compared to those of your 
father. After your father recovered his health he 
again entered the service, and continued in it to the 
end of the war. He was made lieutenant, and I have 
heard my father speak of many battles he was in, but 
I have forgotten the names and places." 

Though George Michael did not enlist for the term 
of the war, he volunteered three or four times for 
short "tours of duty," as they were called. Thus, in 
his declaration of services, he says: 

"In the month of January, 1777, I volunteered in a 
company of Volunteer Riflemen commanded by Cap- 
tain William Morgan of Berkeley County, Virginia. 
Edward Lucas, William Lucas, and myself were the 
Lieutenants, all of the same County, and early in the 
month we marched from Shepherdstown by Philadel- 
phia, crossed the Delaware at Trenton, and joined the 
corps commanded by Colonel Charles M. Thruston of 
Frederick County, Virginia. We were that winter 
stationed at different places to guard against encroach- 
ments, and plundering parties of the British army by 
opposing them whenever called on. 

"Early in March, perhaps the first day, we fought 
the battle of I'iscataway, served out our full time of 
three months, when, at the request of General Wash- 
ington to stay three days longer, the company, who 
were under my command, the other officers being ab- 
sent, I had the men called together and stated to them 
the necessity and propriety of their complyitig, when 
the whole company, with the exception of 3 or 4, 
agreed to stay, and did stay, and was honorably dis- 
charged, and allowed a tour of duty, of three months 
and three days, the three or four excepted." 



30 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

It was on this occasion that he rescued his young 
brother. He gives a sliort account of his proceedings 
in one of his writings. He says : "When Captain 
Wilham Morgan's company got to Philadelphia, which 
I think was about the first of January, 1777, I found 
my brother, Daniel, with a few others of those soldiers 
who had been taken with him at Fort Washington, all 
of them sick, and so much reduced that I think few of 
them ever got well. I took him a few miles out of 
the city to a Quaker's house, and left him there until 
he should be able to 'be hauled home. Our company 
had voluntarily entered the service for three months. 
"= * * In that three months time we were stationed 
near the enemy's quarters, and kept them from pillag- 
ing and foraging as far as we were able. In New Jer- 
sey, in the winter of '77 , early in March, we had a 
sharp though short conflict with the enemy, which was 
called the battle of Piscataway, under the command of 
Colonel Charles W^inston. whore we were overpowered 
by a vastly sui)ertt)r nunibor." 

It is told of Major Bedinger that he could never 
speak of the condition in which he found his young 
brother, without tears filling his eyes. In speaking of 
the battle of Piscataway he used to say that Thruston's 
regiment and others were placed to cut ofif the enemies' 
supplies, and prevent plundering parties. The British 
were quartered at Brunswick, and had not yet left 
their winter quarters. The battle was near Bruns- 
wick, and was between the Americans and a much 
larger party of British. After the repulse and retreat 
of the Americans, Major I'edinger, and two others, re- 
mained behind and fired upon the advancing foe. 
Major B.edinger was picking and tightening his flint, 
when, finally, the three intrepid soldiers were obliged 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 31 

to consult their own safety, and escaped through the 
woods, and soon regained the American troops. In 
this skirmish several were killed, among them Captain 
Willson and a Mr. Shields. The British overshot, and 
with their cannon balls broke off many branches of the 
trees. The ground was covered with snow, and it 
was bitterly cold. The other two brave men who re- 
mained with Bedinger were Captain William Morgan, 
a veteran of the French and Indian war, and young 
Christian Bedinger who was the son of Adam Biidin- 
ger by his third wife, and consequently a half-uncle of 
George M. Bedinger. It is possible that Adam Biidin- 
ger's third wife was a Morgan. I caimot in any other 
manner account for the fact that the Bedingers of 
Shcpherdstown called William Morgan, "cousin," un- 
less Adam married a sister of Richard Morgan, the 
father of Captain William. 

"Again," he says, in his written declaration, "a few 
days after hearing of the defeat of our army at Bran- 
dywine, Bcnoni Swearingen and myself left our homes 
at Shcpherdstown, and went to the American army 
about 18 miles from Germantown, and entered the 
service of the United States, as Volunteers in the 12th 
Virginia regiment commanded by Colonel James Wood 
(of Frederick County, Va.) ; being in General Scott's 
Brigade and General Adam Stephen's Division, and 
remained in service six weeks, when I was honorably 
discharged. General Wood stated in this discharge 
that we, B. Swearingen and myself, had distinguished 
ourselves in the most brave and extraordinary manner 
on the day of (he battle of Germantown on the 4th of 
October, 1777. I'Vom the time we joined the regiment 
we messed and associated with the officers, with sev- 
eral of whom wc had been long and intimately ac- 



32 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

quainted, most particularly with Captain Joseph 
Swearingen (of Shepherdstown) and General Stephen 
from my infancy. In the morning before the battle, as 
soon as we got sight of the fore part of the enemy's 
encampment, next to us as we were going towards 
them from Chestnut Hill, the Adjutant General ad- 
dressed us thus : 'Gentlemen Volunteers, you will now 
have an opportunity to distinguish yourselves, you are 
not confined to any particular platoon or corps.' These 
were his words to the best of my recollection, or words 
to that effect: when Benoni Swearingen and myself 
immediately advanced with such speed that we soon 
left our advancing army behind us. Prepared to de- 
fend ourselves with our rilles and our swords, we got 
between the fire of the contentling armies, and it was 
believed by those who saw us advance that wc would 
both be certainly killed, but through fog, smoke, and 
the mercies of God, we both escaj)ed unhurt (the 
morning being very foggy and smoky). 

"Before we left the army to return home, we were 
both told we could have appointments in the regiment, 
but our mothers were widows, and as I had one 
brother who was a prisoner with the British and an- 
other who had been taken prisoner at Fort Washing- 
ton and whose life was despaired of, I returned home 
with my worthy companion and well tried friend, 
Benoni Swearingen, to Shepherdstown. 

"For this service we never asked or received any 
pay, although our horses and our travelling expenses 
were paid by ourselves, and was sensibly felt by me, 
as I was in low circumstances." 

Benoni Swearingen was a splendid soldier, and was 
a brother of Captain Joseph Swearingen. He was six 
feet, five inches in height, and an extremely handsome 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 33 

young man. He afterwards married Major Bedinger's 
sister, Sally, and died the 30th of March, 1798, after a 
long and painful illness, leaving two young children. 
His wife died in 1792. 

The battle of Gcrmantown was fought in a heavy 
fog. The Americans were at first victorious, but re- 
verses assailed them, and they became confused and 
entangled in the fog, and at last retreated. The fight 
around Chew's house, in which several companies of 
the British had sheltered themselves, was a great cause 
of delay, and threw the American troops into confu- 
sion. This was the battle after which Washington 
arrested General Adam Stephen, who was suspended 
for his conduct during the fight. 

Adam Steplien was a brave, and had been a most 
valuable officer, of great service during the French and 
Indian war. He commanded at Fort Cumberland at 
that time, and it seems that there had always been a 
spirit of rivalry between Washington and him. His 
suspension caused much disafifection among his men, 
who were many of them veterans of the other wars, 
and who were unwilling to follow any other leader. 
Major Bedinger himself thought that he was unjustly 
removed from the service. General Stephen com- 
manded the left wing in the battle, and, according to 
Major Bellinger, in the midst of the heavy smoke, a 
couple of horsemen (afterwards said to be British in 
American uniform, but that seems improbable,) rode 
up saying, "For God's sake don't fire, you are killing 
our own men !" General Stephen immediately ordered 
the right wing to fall back a short distance out of the 
smoke and then stand. This was towards evening, and 
for this he was sus])ended, as many thought, unjustly. 
It is .said (hat he was court-martialed on the ground 



I,/ 



34 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

that he was intoxicated at the time of the fight. The 
officers, however, according to a tradition in the family, 
brought in a verdict that "he did not have more liquor 
on hoard than a gentleman ought to carry!" 

At this battle the troops had commenced their march 
on the afternoon of the 3rd of October, and all the 
night before the battle they were slowly moving for- 
ward. They were much fatigued, by their long march 
of nineteen miles. The night after the battle, tired as 
they were, they had to march twenty-seven miles on 
their retreat. 

During nearly all that day Bedinger and Swearingen 
were near Chew's house, where the hottest firing took 
place. After the battle Colonel Wood was so well 
pleased with these two young men that he offered 
them ])laccs as subalterns, which they declined with 
many thanks, saying that their mothers needed them at 
home, but that whenever danger threatened they would 
again l1y to their country's rescue. Colonel Wood gave 
(hem certificates of honorable discharge, coinmeiuling 
their bravery in writing, and declaring that they had 
signally distinguished themselves in the action. 



1914129 

CHAPTER V 
First Visit to Kentucky 

DURING the following year George Michael busied 
himself at home. He wished to establish his 
mother, for greater safety and comfort, in a home in 
the village of Mecklenburg. Accordingly, having 
bought a lot of the Shepherds, who owned nearly all 
of the town, he built her a house ; and she moved from 
the old stone house at the spring of the many names — 
which is nozv called "The Spring of 76." In the spring 
of 1778 he carried a supply of clothing, blankets, and 
other comforts to the army at Valley Forge, and re- 
mained with them several days. It was probably on 
this visit that he saw Major John Clark, who had 
married one of Caj)tain Nicholas Bedinger or Bitten- 
ger's daughters. This gentleman was at the time 
auditor for the army. He wrote a letter to Henry 
Bedinger, then a prisoner on parole at Flatbush, Long 
Island, in which he says : 

"Auditor's Office, April 22nd, 1778. 
Dear Harry. 

A few days ago your Brother Michael called on me, 
tarried a night, and left with me one half Johannes and 
twelve Silver Eollars to be sent you: tomorrow I shall 
visit headquarters and hope to get an opportunity of 
conveying them and a few lines to your hands, both 
of which I make no doubt you will find acceptable, tho' 
the former will undoubtedly be the most agreeable. 
* * * Young Christian Bedinger is now in Mor- 
gan's Corps, doing well," etc., etc. 



/-•^ ^ Mt!l. 



^ 



36 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

A part of the deed of the lot bought in this year 
from Abraham Shepherd is as follows : "Abraham 
Shepherd to Michael Bedinger, for the sum of three 
pounds lawful currency, devises all that lot or quarter 
of acre of land in the town of Afecklenburg, Number 
119, from a stake at the corner between Princess 
Street and New Street, thence with Princess Street 
103 feet to a stake in the same and 103 feet to a stake 
in New Street. Said lot of quarter of an acre is part 
of a tract of land containing 222 acres held by Thomas 
Shepherd as by patent of the 3rd October, 1734." This 
lot is devised to G. M. Bedinger on condition "that he 
shall build one good house, 20 feet long and 16 wide, 
with a stone or brick chimney, within one year of said 
purchase. Also he shall pay annually the sum of five 
shillings ground rent, etc., etc." 

It would seem from this document that the price of 
lots in Mecklenburg at this time was usually about 
fifteen dollars, and that the Shepherds expected ground 
rent for every lot sold. When this custom of paying 
ground rent was abolished I cannot tell. It seems also 
that George Michael, who was a generous soul, must 
have built the house and bought the lot for his mother 
out of his own slender resources. 

During the winter a party of men from Mecklen- 
burg engaged to go to Kentucky, partly on a surveying 
expedition, w'th a view of ultimately settling there. 
These were hardy, adventurous spirits, whom danger 
attracted instead of deterring. Kentucky, at this time, 
was a wilderness, the "dark and bloody ground" of 
Indian warfare. Daniel Boone had some years before 
1779 made a small settlement at Boonesborough, where 
there was a fort, and there was another at Ilarrods- 
burg. I Jut the settlemenls in Kentucky were very 



'rfii»3i J: 



•."jtv r> 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER Z7 

few, and the lives of the settlers were constantly men- 
aced by fierce tribes of Indians who bitterly rcscnkil 
the intrusion into their favorite hunting-grounds. 

It was the first day of April, 1775, that Daniel 
Boone began the erection of his fort at Boonesborough. 
Henderson, the famous North Carolinian, had been 
planning for some time the establishment of a proprie- 
tary colony in Kentucky, and early in the year 1776, 
he, in conjunction with Daniel Boone, began to treat 
with the Cherokees for the possession of a large tract 
of land in that wilderness. He had probably been fired 
to this enterprise by the stories he heard from Boone 
and other wandering, enterprising spirits, of the beauty 
and fertility of the cotmtry beyond the mountains. 
The result of llie efforts of these men was to establish 
several small settlements, not far apart, and all on or 
near the Kentucky River. Henderson had made some 
sort of a treaty with soiue of the chiefs of the Chero- 
kees before undertaking this enterprise, but tliese war- 
riors warned him that he wouUl liave difficulty in 
settling the country. It was they who gave it the name 
of "a dark and bloody ground," directly in the path- 
way of the northwestern tribes when on their way to 
attack their southern enemies. One chief declared that 
he saw a black cloud menacing the unhappy land, and 
indeed his warning was fully justified by the many 
massacres that followed, in which almost every plan- 
tation in Kentucky received its baptism in blood. Yet 
such was tne beauty of the new country that many 
hardy pioneers began to crowd into it, even during 
the Revolution. 

There was a station at Crab Orchard besides those 
already mentioned. A Baptist preacher, Rev. William 
Hickman, visited Harrodsburg in 1776, and describes 



fl) 



^•jdllOi'^l 



38 GEORGE MICFIAEL BEDINGER 

it as "a poor town, with a couple of rows of Smoky- 
cabins," tenanted by families of backwoods, settlers, 
and swarming with children. 

Our band of adventurers from Mecklenburg reached 
Boonesborough by Boone's Trace, afterwards the fa- 
mous Wilderness Road, almost every rood of which 
has been marked by some exciting adventure. George 
Michael may have had some idea of settling perma- 
nently in this new world, for he took with him fully a 
quart of api)le seeds. He afterwards gave these to an 
old negro man named Monk, who belonged to a man 
named Estill, to raise trees upon shares. He made a 
fine nursery, and although Major Bedinger received 
nothing for them, they were a great benefit to the 
country. 

Major Bicdingcr was a surveyor, though it is not 
clear at what time he studied for this profession. He, 
however, located and surveyed many thousands of 
acres in Kentucky during his younger days. Hender- 
son's association was called the Watauga Land Com- 
j)any, 'Phey are said to have secured from the 
Cherokees, for 200 pounds sterling, the land they had 
already leased. 

But to return to Boonesborough. Daniel Boone was 
joined by Henderson and his party while he was en- 
gaged in erecting his fort at that station, in April, 
1776. These immediately set to work to finish it. 

The fort was a parallelogram, about two hundred 
and fifty feet long, and one hundred and twenty-five 
feet wide. At each corner was a two-storied block 
house ; inside were well-built log-cabins, so constructed 
that their outer sides formed part of the wall. The 
entire enclosure was surrounded by high stockades, 
made of heavy timbers thrust upright into the ground, 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 39 

and bound together by a horizontal stringer. Each 
cabin was separately defensible, and in times of danger 
the horses and cattle were driven into the open square 
in the middle of the enclosure. 

The other stations, Harrodstown, Boiling Springs,, 
and Logan's Station, all lay to the southwest and about 
thirty miles from Booncsborough. Each settler had 
his own farm, sometimes a long distance from one of 
these forts, to which his family retreated only in times 
of danger. Henderson called his new colony Transyl- 
vania, and opened a store at Boonesborough where 
powder and lead and many other necessities were sold. 
For awhile the settlers lived entirely on game, with a 
little parched corn meal. 

Henderson's colony was shortlived, as the settlers 
revolted against his authority, and appealed to Vir- 
ginia, who promptly claimed all the Kentucky country 
for herself. The Virginia Legislature of 1778 an- 
nulled the title of the company, but recompensed the 
originators by a gift of two hundretl thousand acres. 

In the fall of 1775 some daring pioneers joined the 
settlement, among them the famous scout, Simon Ken- 
ton ; John Todd, a man of noble character ; George 
Rogers Clark, afterwards so famous ; and Isaac Shelby, 
a noted backwoodsman of the day, born near Hagers- 
town, Maryland. Some of these settlers brought their 
wives and children. These were the Harrods, l^)Oones, 
M'cGarrys, Ilogans, and others. McGarry's son was 
killed by the Indians soon after he came to Kentucky, 
and he never spared a Redskin who foil into his hands. 

\W (he iMid of 1775 (here were about three hundred 
men in Kentucky, hardy, brave, and daring, ready for 
any emergency. During the Revolution the British 
left no means untried to stir ui) the hornets' nest of the 



40 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

savage tribes ; and the Creeks, Choctaws, Cherokees 
and Chickasaws began to fall upon and murder the 
frontiersmen wherever they found them. We will not 
here describe their ravages in the Watuaga settlement 
of Tennessee, which was previous to their attacks on 
the Kentucky villages. It is sufficient to say that by 
1776 it had become dangerous for the Kentuckians to 
wander far from their forts, and that all agricultural 
work was carried on under the protection of an armed 
guard. Yet they were a light-hearted people, and the 
young men and women danced and flirted as they do 
elsewhere. 

Clark was sent by the Colony to represent them in 
the Virginia Assembly, and he procured the admission 
of Kentucky as a county of that State. Early in 1777 
the county was accordingly organized. Ilarrodstown 
was made the county seat, and the court was composed 
of six or seven men a])pointcd by the governor of 
Virginia. Among them were John Todd, Benjamin 
IvOgan, Richard CalUnvay, and John Floyd, the last a 
finely educated gentleman who was among the first to 
fall a victim to Indian massacre. 

On the 14th of July, 1776, the Indians carried away 
from Boonesborough three young girls who were in a 
canoe on the river near that place. These were Betsy 
and Fanny Calloway, and Jemima Boone. Boone 
promptly went in pursuit of the party, which did not 
number more than seven warriors, and he took with 
him seven men from the fort, among them the lovers 
of the three girls, named Samuel Henderson, a brother 
of Richard ; John Holder, and Flanders Calloway. 

Betsy Calloway, feeling sure that they would be fol- 
lowed and rescued, broke ofl: twigs and tore pieces of 
her garments to mark the path by which they were 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 41 

conveyed. On the next day after their capture the 
Kentuckians came upon the party as they sat around 
their camp fire and stole up before they had time to 
murder their prisoners, as their custom was when 
surprised. Boone and Floyd each shot one of the 
Indians, and the remaining three ran away, leavmg 
their guns, tomahawks, and scalping knives behind. 

In 1777 Boonesborough, held by only twenty-two 
men, was twice attacked : once in April and again in 
July, by bands of from fifty to a hundred savages. 
On the first occasion the garrison was taken by sur- 
prise, one man was scalped and four otherwise 
wounded, yet they managed to beat the invaders back. 
The second time they had only sixteen men, but they 
again beat ofl:' their assailants and killed five or six of 
them. Boone, Captain John Todd, and Stoner were 
among the wounded in the first attack. 

All through the year the settlements were in great 
danger, especially when any necessary agricultural 
work had to be performed. On one occasion a body of 
thirty-seven whites from the different stations were 
attacked, and seven were killed or wounded, though 
they finally beat ofif the Indians. 

In spite of dangers and hardships they were a merry 
set, and even ventured to marry and hold other festivi- 
ties at the fort. They planted corn, pumpkins, and 
melons, and their numbers constantly increased. In 
the fall of 1777 several companies of immigrants 
joined them, and although most of the smaller settle- 
ments were broken up, there still remained four : 
Boonesboro', liarrodstown, Logan's Station, and Mc- 
Garry's, at the Shawnee Springs. These contained in 
all about six hundred settlers, half of them able- 
bodied riflemen. 



42 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

In January, 1778, Boone and twenty-nine others 
went to the Blue Licks, to make salt for the settlers. 
In February he sent back three men with loads of salt, 
when he and all the others were surprised and taken 
captive by a party of eighty ]\Iiamis led by two French- 
men. Boone was well treated and remained a captive 
for several months. In June he learned that a large 
party was gathering at an Indian town called Chilli- 
cothe, to march against Boonesboro'. He determined 
to escape, set out before sunrise one morning, and 
made his way in four days back to the settlement, a 
journey of a hundred and sixty miles. 

The savages did not make their appearance before 
the fort until the 8th of August. They numbered be- 
tween three and four hundred, and were led by a 
Frenchman, Captain dc Ouindre. After nine days 
lighting, in which the settlers had two men killed and 
four wounded, the Indians withdrew. Next followed 
Clarke's conquest of tiie Illinois, which did much to 
secure the safety of the settlers. 

1 have been thus particular in describing the state of 
the Kentucky settlers in 1779 because Alajor Bedinger 
spent so much of his life among them. I will now 
return to his expedition of 1779. 

This little band of pioneers from Virginia had been 
preceded by friends and relatives from the neighbor- 
hood, and some of the])copk;of lierkelcy and Frederick 
Counties had taken part in Clarke's campaigns. yVmong 
these were Captain Worlhington and Cai)tain Bowman. 

The Bowmans, so famous in early Kentucky history, 
were among the first settlers of the v^henandoah Val- 
ley. Jacob liowman had married a (kuighter (jf Jost 
llite in Pennsylvania, and his was one of the sixteen 
families brought b/ that gentleman across the Pack 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 43 

Horse Ford in 1734. The Bovvmans built a stone 
house on Cedar Creek, and afterwards, about 1777, 
emigrated to the new land of Kentucky. We will often 
hear of the doings of the Bowmans as we go on. 

It was on the first day of March, 1779, that the 
little party of adventurers left Shepherdstown. It 
consisted of Colonel William Morgan and his son, 
Ralph ; Major Thomas Swearingen and his brother, 
Benoni ; John Taylor, John Strode, James Duncan, 
John Constant, Samuel Dusee, G. M. Bedinger, and 
two negroes, belonging to the Swearingens — a party of 
twelve. They went by way of Powell's Valley, and 
Cumberland Gaj). Then they struck IJoone's Trace, 
or the Wilderness Ivoad, aud ])roceedcd on to P)Ooiies- 
boro'. Each man had a supi)ly of parched corn, antl 
they depended on their rifles for their other food. At 
this time Boonesboro' was still greatly annoyed by par- 
ties of marauding Indians. 

The little party was composed of skilled woodsmen, 
and ])robably made light of the difficulties of the way, 
as they plodded on, mile after mile; crossing mountains 
and streams on the long march ; lying down to rest by 
camp fires at night, and keei)ing little guard. 

At Boonesboro', meanwhile, the garrison had 
dwindled to not more than fifteen men, for, intimidated 
by the life of hardship and danger, a party of ten men 
under Captain Starns left the place about the 6th of 
April, intending to find their way back to civilization. 

Neither I'oone nor Calloway were at the fort, and a 
man named ]oh\\ I loUlrr commanded it. 'jMie small 
garrison entreated Starns and his [nirty not to leave 
them, pointing out the dangers that lay before them, as 
well as urging their own defenceless condition, thus 
abandoned by so considerable a force. But nothing 



37C»d 



44 GEORGE MICHAEL REDINGER 

would stop the men. When they left the fort it seems 
that the Indians, lurking about it, and constantly spy- 
ing on all their movements, divided in two parties : 
twenty or thirty followed on the trail behind Starns, 
while a smaller portion remained near the Fort. 

About the sixth of April Morgan's party were 
within fifteen miles of Boonesboro', when, very luckily 
for them, they missed the path ; and wandered along 
through the thick, tall cane-brake half a mile or so be- 
fore they again struck the trail. A short distance be- 
fore they found the path they noticed that their horses 
snorted and seemed much frightened. They shortly 
afterwards discovered the fresh tracks of a party of 
about thirty ])ersons, picked up a piece of a broken 
bow, and saw other signs of Indians, made by what the 
settlers called "the pigeon great toe" of these savages. 
They were fully convinced that a party of Indians 
going south had, but a half hour before, passed along 
Ihe Irail while (hey were groping through (he cane- 
brake. 

The party continued on their way through the forest 
until dusk, when they were within six miles of Boones- 
boro', Here they made camp, when one of the ''young- 
sters," as the elder men called r>enoni Swearingen and 
George Michael, proposed that, for safety, they should 
go off the main track, and sleep without fires. But 
Colonel Morgan, with one exception the oldest man of 
the iiarty, an exi)eriencc(l Indian lighter, who had been 
with Braddock in Cap(ain Richard Morgan's company, 
drily remarked that, "They need not trouble them- 
selves, for they wouldn't die till their time come !" 

The others not wishing to be thought cowardly, did 
not insist on moving to a distance. They made their 
horses fast to saj)lings, cut armfulls of rich, juicy cane 



q M 



tH' 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 45 

for them, made a large fire, ate their supper, and 
wrapped up in their blankets, were soon fast asleep. 
Next morning they arose and proceeded on their way, 
when, to their astonishment, they found traces of an 
Indian party who had been attracted by the blaze of 
their fire, and seeing their horses so boldly encamped 
near the trail, had evidently decided that a trap had 
been laid for them by the whites, and feared to ap- 
proach. 

When the little party reached Boonesboro' they were 
welcomed with joy and relief by the poor beleaguered 
people. With Holder were about fifteen men, only; 
and next to Holder in influence were Captain David 
Gass and Col. Samuel Estill. 

The night before, Samuel Estill and another spy 
had gone out to discover the lurking place of the In- 
dians. About sunset, when they were within a mile or 
two of the fort, they saw the Indian party at a short 
distance, and immediately dodged into the thick cane. 
The Indians scattered in pursuit; one passed within a 
few paces of Estill, who lay crouched in the cane with 
his rifle ready to his hand. Estill felt confident that 
the Indian looked him full in the face ; at all events 
the savage bounded away, and both of the white men 
reached the fort in safety. 

Not more than two hours after the arrival of Mor- 
gan's party, a young man named Jacob Starns burst 
in upon them, with the terrible tidings that the In- 
dians had attacked his father's party on the night be- 
fore, about twenty-five miles from Boonesboro', and 
that he alone had escaped the massacre. 

This was Major Bedingcr's introduction to Fort 
Boonesboro'. 



CHAPTER VI 
Life at Boonesboro' 

THE party at the fort were kept besieged nearly- 
all that spring. The Indians would seldom 
show themselves, or venture within range, but lay 
constantly in wait to cut off small parties that left on 
hunting or other excursions. 

The garrison resorted to every available means to 
induce them to come near enough to risk themselves, 
but were not very successful. On one occasion they 
arc said to have tied an old man by the heel in a 
pumpkin patch, and laid in wait near by, hoping the 
Indians would come within rifle shot, but the savages 
saw the snare, and laughed at the white man's idea 
that they would suft'er themselves to be tra]:)ped like 
wolves. 

"Each night," says Dr. Draper, "a horse was placed 
a proper distance from the fort, with one of his hind 
feet securely fastened to the root of a sapling, and 
three good marksmen in ambush near by. One night a 
small party of Indians, seeing the horse, made up to 
him, but half suspecting the rat in the meal tub, they 
cleared out and thus narrowly escaped. These Indians 
remarked to their fellows that the Long Knives must 
be fools to think of catching them like so many beaver. 
A white prisoner who heard the remark, soon after- 
wards escaped and reached Boonesboro', where he re- 
lated the circumstanc^i." 

In May nearly all the men in the fort went out and 
commenced prc])arations for raising a crop of corn. 
At this time George M. Bedinger and his friend 
Benoni, made their first survey in Kentucky. They 



GEORGE MICIiAEE BEDINGER 47 

located 400 acres on the west fork of Muddy Creek in 
Madison County, a work of great danger. One or 
tiie other of them cut the date, May 17th, 1779, on a 
sycamore tree on this land, where it could still be 
fottnd many years after. 

The season passed for these intrepid men with 
enough excitement to give zest to life; with laughter, 
jest, and dancing in the fort; and perilous hair-breadth 
escapes outside, and sometimes — too often — the note 
of real tragedy was struck, widows were made, and 
there were days of mourning and lamentation for 
staunch friends cut down or carried away to dwell 
among the savages. 

There were not lacking amusing incidents and rough 
horse-play. "Among the new comers to Boonesboro' 
in the spring was a simple-hearted fellow," says Dr. 
Draper, "who knew little of the backwoods or its 
wild inhabitants. When out one day near the fort, 
some waggish companion pointed out to him a pole- 
cat with the assurance that it was a young cub. Wish- 
ing doubtless to distinguish himself by a bold and 
daring exploit, he made a dash at young bruin, in- 
tending to make him his prisoner. It is hardly neces- 
sary to add, tiiat he of the white and black spots 
suddenly and efrcctually worsted his adversary, to the 
innnile amusement of the onlookers. Subsecjuent ex- 
perience, added to a genuine love of daring, made this 
simple-hearted recruit one of the bravest and best of 
hiuiters and Indian fighters in the country." 

It was George Michael I'edingor's innate chivalry 
.'uid compassion tliat induced liini to remain at iM^rt 
Boonesboro' until the greatest danger was ])asse(l. lie 
tells us in his own words : 

"When we arrived at Boonesboro' the distress of the 



48 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Fort induced me to join Captain John Holder's Com- 
pany, who was in command of the Fort at that time, 
in which company and service, I served seven months. 
A part of the time I acted as an Indian spy, scout and 
hunter, always taking my turn with the other men of 
the Fort as hunter. To this course I was induced by 
the feeling of humanity and sympathy for women and 
children who were unable to leave the country, and 
who, if they had attempted it, would have been sacri- 
ficed by the Indians, who were constantly scouring 
the country round the Fort, and would have, in all 
probability, taken it, had we not joined it when we did. 
I have ever considered this service at this place and 
during this term, as the most difficult, dangerous, and 
at the same time the most useful to my country, as we 
were almost constantly surrounded by parties of In- 
dians, who were lying in wait for us, and as we had 
to supply ourselves and the inhabitants of the Post, 
mainly by the success of our hunting excursions, to 
effect which we had to slip out at night, retire to some 
distance from the Fort, kill our game, which was gen- 
erally Bufifalo, and pack it in some succeeding night, 
and by our exertions the possession of Boonesboro' 
was retained, and the lives of the inhabitants pre- 
served." 

One of the bravest of the hunters at Boonesboro' 
that season was a young man named Aquila White, yet 
his lack of prudence, and unnecessary exposure to dan- 
ger were more thoughtless than wise. John Cradle- 
baugh, a noble young fellow, as cautious as he was 
brave, seeing White and another young man wending 
their way of a summer afternoon to have a swim in the 
river, concluded he would see if he could not, by a 
little stratagem, put an end to this heedless impru- 
dence. 



.7-1 

I 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 49 

"Soliciting the aid of a fellow hunter," says Dr. 
Draper, "with their guns and blankets, and a small 
quantity of paint, they made their way to a ford up 
the river, crossed, bedaubed their faces with paint, and 
adjusted their blankets in good Indian style, and stole 
upon their unsuspecting comrades bathing in the 
stream near the north shore. 

"A little rustling sound among the bushes attracted 
the attention of White and his companion, who looked 
with stupid amazement upon the supposed Indians. 
Whenever Cradlebaugh would level his rifle. White, 
with the quickness of a wild duck, would make a 
great splashing in the water, and swim towards the 
southern shore. Then, when he could stand it no 
longer, he would rise to the surface to take breath, and 
Cradlebaugh's threatening ritle would again cause him 
to seek safety beneath the surface of the river. In 
this way White finally neared the southern shore; 
and his comrade, filled with the greatest consternation, 
swam the stream, but so weak was he from fear that 
in ascending the bank he fell backwards, and had they 
been actual Indians neither White nor his fellow 
would have escaped. 

"On their return some of the garrison expressed 
their doubts whether White and his companion really 
saw any Indians. 

" 'Oh, yes, we did,' said White, 'and one of them 
had large eyes like Cradlebaugh.' " 

"The garrison was greatly alarmed, and a party 
went out in pursuit. Cradlebaugh and his friend 
washed the paint from their faces and secretly re- 
turned to the Fort in time to join in search of the 
Indians. For a long time the two young men kept 
their secret. W^hitc, who was one of the best hunters 



50 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

in the Fort, and often brought in more than his share 
of meat, was finally killed while on a hunting tour 
north of Kentucky river." 

In the garrison the men took turn in hunting, being 
divided, for this purpose, into squads of four or five 
each. One party was composed of the two Swearin- 
gen brothers, Ralph Morgan, John Hameson, and 
George M. Bedinger. They used to steal out from the 
Fort singly at dusk, and join each other at an ap- 
pointed place. On one occasion they crossed the river, 
met at the rendezvous, went on a few miles, and then 
camped without daring to light a fire. 

Next morning a fine young buffalo crossed their 
path, and it was proposed that they should kill it for 
breakfast. This was contrary to all rules, and very 
risky, as the Indians were constantly spying on all 
their movements, and the usual plan was to kill game 
only at night and at a safe distance. On this occasion 
the oldest of the party, Major Thomas Swearingen, 
reproached them for ihcir boyishness, and told them 
that their scalps would be sure to pay the penalty of 
their thoughtlessness. He added that they ought to 
show more fortitude and self-denial, and act like men. 

"Well, Brother Tom," said Benoni, "I'll tell you 
what it is, we'll see who the boys are, and who has 
most self-denial; for you shall be the first to say when 
we shall slay and eat." 

The third day out, and no buffalo ; suddenly a fine 
deer passed temptingly close, and Major Swearingen 
could stand it no longer, and very readily ordered 
"the boys" to fire. They killed it, then quickly stripped 
it of its hide, kindled a little fire in a low, concealed 
place, and soon had a delicious supper of venison steak, 
a handful or two of parched corn meal, the only provi- 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 51 

sion they carried with them, and a little salt. Except 
for short allowances of meal, they had eaten nothing 
for three days, so their simple fare seemed a banquet. 
That same evening they succeeded in killing a noble 
young buffalo. While some of them dressed it the' 
others stood guard, and in fifteen minutes they were 
ready to proceed homewards, each with about a hun- 
dred pounds of meat clear of bone, placed either in a 
bag brought with them, or one made from the buffalo 
hide — and each hide usually made two of these bags — 
hastily stitched together with tugs, or strips of hide. 
The meat would be swung across their horses, and 
then, taking the ridges, they would start for Ijoones- 
boro', which, on this occasion, was about fifteen miles 
distant. 

"Their great danger," says Dr. Draper, "was in 
Hearing the B^ort, for they knew from the two or three 
deserted fresh Indian camps they had seen, the distant 
reports of their guns, and other fresh signs, that there 
were different parties prowling about. On the north 
side of the Kentucky river, opposite to the Fort, were 
high cliff's, where the Indians were in the habit of 
secreting themselves to watch the movements in the 
garrison. But they managed to steal up in some un- 
frequented way and get into the gate before these 
Indian sentinels discovered them." 

These hunting parties were sometimes absent six oi 
eight days, though generally not so long, and would 
ramble oft" many miles. A man named Hodges killed 
a buffalo at the Lower Blue Licks in the summer of 
79, packed two hundred weight of choice pieces of 
meat on a fine, strong horse, and, although forty miles 
from Boonesboro', made his way in that night, and 
arrived in safety. 



52 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

In this life of constant peril many of the pioneers 
of Kentucky perished. On one occasion a man named 
John Bankman begged Major Bedinger and James 
Berry to go with him to catch his horse, that had 
escaped from the neighborhood of the fort. They had 
proceeded about half a mile alongside a corn field which 
lay adjoining the river above the fort, when they were 
surprised and fired on by a party of Indians in am- 
bush. Three balls pierced Bankman through the heart. 
Bedinger and Berry dashed into the cane-brake at dif- 
ferent points, and escaped unhurt. Bankman's body, 
stripped of his scalp, was afterwards brought in to the 
fort for burial. 

While at the fort Major Bedinger heard full ac- 
counts of the siege it had sustained in 1778. He told 
Dr. Dra])er that the iM-ench and Indians tried to un- 
dermine the stockade by <ligging a subterranean ditch 
near Henderson's house. Dc Quindre, the French 
commander, set a traj) for Boone on that occasion. He 
sent a messenger to the fort to assure him that his 
orders from Detroit were to capture, not destroy, the 
garrison, and proposed that nine of their number 
should come out and hold a treaty. He agreed to 
march his forces off peaceably when this treaty was 
concluded. 

Hoone accepted the iiroposal but insisted that the 
conference should be held within sixty yards of the 
fort. After the treaty was concluded the Indians pro- 
posed to shake hands with the nine white men, and 
promptly grap])le(l with tliem. Apparently there were 
eighteen Indians on the treaty ground all unarmed, 
like (he wiiiles. lUit the ])i()neers wi'ested themselves 
free, and ran to the fort luuler a heavy fire, which 
wounded one of them, old John Smith, in the heel. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 53 

The men who went out to hold this conference with 
their treacherous enemies were Daniel Boone, his 
brother, Squire Boone; John Smith, Sr., and his 
nephew of the same name ; Colonel Calloway, Captain 
Gass, perhaps the other Boone, and one of the Proc- 
tors. 

The Indians remained laying siege to the fort ten 
or eleven days. They would march up to it in good 
order, and demand a surrender, promising good treat- 
ment to the inmates. 

There was but one well in the fort and the supply of 
water was scanty. The Indians tu^ed tire arrows and 
endeavored many times to set the buildings on fire. 
Sometimes they were successful, but the borderers 
took some old gun barrels, and converted them into 
sciuirt guns, by means of which they extinguished the 
fires, and at last the Indians, who seldom have patience 
to sustain a long siege, went away, and left them in 
peace. 

To return to 1779: Major Bedinger, while at the 
fort, was appointed commissary. One of his duties 
was to deal out that precious commodity, salt, which 
had been brought up from North Carolina for the use 
of the settlers. Of this he had to keep a strict ac- 
count. 

Besides venison, buffalo beef, and other game, the 
pioneers sometimes shot hogs, which ran wild in the 
woods. These were the progeny of a drove that had 
been brought out by Boone — true razor-backs. They 
had become so wild and fierce that even the wolves 
dared not attack them. Now and then one would be 
killed by the hunters, salted, and placed in the ware- 
house, and kept for use when the sup])lies of fresh 
meat failed. 



CHAPTER VII 

Bowman's Campaign 

WE have already spoken of the Bowmans, who 
were among the first settlers in Frederick 
County, Virginia. In 1777 or 1778 some of the family 
moved to Kentucky. Three or four of George Bow- 
man's sons were with George Rogers Clarke in his 
famous expedition into the country of the Illinois. In 
1779 one of these, with the rank of colonel, was ap- 
pointed county lieutenant of Kentucky, then a county 
of Virginia. He and a number of the men of the 
different settlements determined to make a raid into 
the Indian country and burn their villages, as the best 
means of sto])i)ing their constant depredations. Of 
course Major Bedinger volunteered his services for 
this expedition, for he was always on hand when dan- 
ger threatened. 

The parly from Fort Booncsboro' was commanded 
by Captain John Holder. About twenty-five of the 
men were from the fort ; and Holder recruited the rest 
of his company from the other stations. They marched 
to what is now Lexington, and then on to the mouth 
of Licking. When near the mouth of this river one 
of the party rambled off to hunt, and while clambering 
up a hill, discovered a buffalo below him. In attempt- 
ing to run, the buffalo fell, when the hunter ran up, 
bounded on its back, and actually killed it with his 
long hunting knife. This achievement was greatly ap- 
plauded by the borderers. 

The place of rendezvous was the mouth of Licking, 
where the party from the fort were joined by Colonel 
Bowman and his men, and also by a party who started 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 55 

from the falls of the Ohio, under Colonel William 
ITarrod. This last party of about seventy men were 
from the neighborhood of Red Stone Old Fort (now 
Brownsville, Pa.) on the IMonongahela, and had visited 
Kentucky to locate lands down the Ohio. On their 
way up from the falls they had visited Big Bone Lick 
and had brought a large quantity of the bones of the 
mastodon in a canoe, which they intended to carry 
back with them to Pittsburg. It was the presence of 
these men in the country and their promised aid which 
had emboldened the settlers to carry out the expedi- 
tion. 

The whole party consisted of about one hundred and 
sixty men. They halted at the mouth of Licking a day 
or two to make necessary arrangements and then the 
little army took up its line of march, up the valley of 
the Little Miami. 

"Soon after commencing the march," says Dr. Dra- 
per, who obtained his information from the lips of 
George M. Bedinger, "Major B. was introduced for 
the first time to Colonel Bowman, who, having heard 
that Bedinger had seen service to the eastward, desired 
him to act as Adjutant and Quarter-master, to which 
he readily consented." 

During the march, and when pursuing a trail in 
Indian file, they passed a rattlesnake by the side of the 
path, unobserved, and the man who brought up the 
rear was billen by the nptile, and sent back lo the 
boats which a few men had been left to guard. He 
was sent down to the falls. 

The party met no Indians. When they were within 
eight or ten miles of the Indian town it was growing 
late, and a council was held to determine upon the 
mode of attack. The trt)ops were dix'ided into three 



56 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

parties ; one under Logan, one under James Harrod, 
and tlie third under Captain Holder. Logan, with his 
own and Harrod's company, was to go to the left of 
the town ; James Harrod with l>owman to the right ; 
and Holder in front. They were to take their posi- 
tions as early in the night as possible. Ijetween Lo- 
gan's and Harrod's companies a space was designed to 
be left through which the Indians, when roused from 
their cabins, could escape ; it being deemed better policy 
to suffer them first to get out of the town, and then 
fall upon them, rather than surround them completely 
and compel them to take to their cabins and council- 
house, from which, as the sequel proved, they might 
make a successful stand. These arrangements made, 
the march was resumed with proper care and secrecy. 

Each party posted itself as originally designed, Lo- 
gan on the left between the town and the Miami, 
Harrod on the right, and Holder directly in front of 
the town, in the high grass. 

It was early in the night when the town was reached 
and the three parties took up their positions. All was 
still until midnight, when an Indian came running in 
on the trail the troops had made. He had evidently, 
when out hunting, discovered the signs of a large 
party of whites invading the country and directing 
their course towards the Shawnee town of Chillicothe 
on the Little Miami, and was on his way, hoping to 
be in time to give the alarm. As he neared Ilolder's 
party, panting and weary, !ie suddenly suspected the 
trap into which he was running, stopped and made a 
kind of interrogative ejaculation, as much as to say, 
"Who's there?" when one of the party, named Ross, 
shot him. On this he gave a weak, confused yell, and 
falling to the ground, Jacob Starns, the boy whose 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 57 

father had been murdered a few months before, ran 
up, scalped, and tomahawked him. The noise of the 
rifle shot alarmed the village ; the dogs began to bark 
furiously, and the squaws, with cries and whimperings, 
were heard to exclaim, "Kentuck! Kentuck!" 

Finding themselves surprised, and their town sur- 
rounded, the Indians fled in dismay to the large coun- 
cil-house near the centre of the place. Holder's party 
lay close awhile, until six or seven of the Indians 
came out their way to ascertain the cause of the 
alarm. Then some of Holder's men tried to steal 
upon them, approaching cautiously with their arms 
recovered, and one behind the other, cocking their 
rifles as they approached. This slight sound alarmed 
the Indians, who stopped, fired upon them, and fled. 
Holder's party fired a volley after them, and wounded 
some of them, as they could tell by the blood left be- 
hind. 

In the hurry of the moment these men now rushed 
into the town, killed a few dogs, and perhaps some In- 
dians. At this point the Monongaheleans set up a loud 
shouting within plain hearing of the council-houie, 
saying that "If there were any prisoners with the In- 
dians they had better escape; that the Kentuckians 
were strong, and all that stayed, in the council-house 
would be killed before morning." 

Some of Harrod's and Logan's men now ran into 
the town, occasional shots were interchanged, but most 
of the party were busily engaged searching the de- 
serted cabins, as if victory was already attained. They 
found a large number of silver ornaments, and a 
quantity of clothing; and also a fine scarlet vest and 
double-barrelled gun that were the proi)erty of the 
renegade white man, Simon Girty. These articles 



ildVu'iOl 



Ja OT.*w 



58 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

were recognized by a soldier who had lately been a 
prisoner among the Shawnees. 

During this scene Logan attempted to make a move- 
able battery to break into the council-house, but his 
plan failed. The Indians in that building prepared to 
defend it. They cut portholes, and their leader, Black 
Fish, could be plainly heard encouraging his warriors. 
Among the soldiers were several who had been prison- 
ers among the Shawnees and understood their lan- 
guage. These heard him say, "Remember that you are 
men and warriors. You must fight and be strong. 
Your enemies, who have invaded your firesides, are 
only Kentucky squaws. You can easily conquer them!" 
and so on. 

To all this they would subscribe by a kind of simul- 
taneous and rapidly spoken guttural affirmative, very 
much like, "Ye-aw, Ye-aw, Ye-aw !" After the white 
men had sacked the huts they left the village, and be- 
gan to hunt uj) the Indian horses outside the town. 

A little party of fifteen, among whom were George 
Michael Bedinger, Jesse Hodges, Thomas and Jack 
Smith, and one or two of the Proctors, had screened 
themselves behind a large oak log not over forty paces 
from the council-house, and there awaited the ap- 
proach of daylight. They expected a prompt and 
vigorous attack would be made on the council-house 
as soon as it was light. Hut in this they were doomed 
to disappointment. There was some firing from some 
parties on the left, where Logan's men had been sta- 
tioned, but no concerted action. A man of the com- 
pany, William Hickman of Virginia, who had served 
with Bedinger under Captain Stephenson at the siege 
of Boston, and who during Dunmore's War, was 
strongly suspected of liaving stealthily killed a while 



■i; 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 59 

man below Pittsburg, now met his fate. He was seen, 
in the early dawn, peeping around the corner of a 
cabin to the left of Bedinger's party, was shot by the 
Indians in the council-house, and died instantly. He 
had said the evening before that he had a presentiment 
that he would be killed in the expected attack in the 
morning. 

Bedinger and his little band continued to lie close 
behind their rude and uncertain breastwork. The log 
was oak, over two feet in diameter, and it lay a little 
up from the ground. Grass and weeds grew thickly 
beneath and around it. All the party could have been 
easily killed had the Indians shot under it. As it was, 
whenever a Kentuckian raised his head or in any way 
exposed himself to get a better shot, several instan- 
taneous cracks from the enemy's portholes would tell 
how closely they were watching the old oak log, and 
every movement of those whom it screened. 

Several were soon killed, though repeatedly cau- 
tioned by I'eilinger not to expose themselves. Tom 
Smith, who lay directly to Bedinger's left, eager to 
get an eifective shot, ventured to raise himself. Bed- 
inger had hardly exclaimed, "Down with your head !" 
when Smith was shot in the forehead, and with a 
single groan fell down, partly upon his side. His 
younger brother Jack, a boy of seventeen, who was 
on Bedinger's other side, shed tears, and asked him if 
he could not place his brother in a position in which 
he could die easier. This could not safely be done, 
but he expired in a few minutes. 

By this time seven of the fifteen behind the log had 
been killed, besides Hickman at the corner of the 
cabin; and still the survivors waited for their friends 
to make a regular and combined attack. But they 
waited in vain. 



"Kv m nojiL ■/ 



60 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

About nine o'clock Colonel Bowman appeared, partly 
sheltered by a hill some two hundred yards to the right 
of Bedinger's party, and waving his hand, exclaimed, 
at the top of his voice: "Make your escape, Make 
your escape ! I can do nothing for you !" 

Bedinger then told his surviving companions to put 
their hats on sticks and raise them to draw the fire, 
and then all jump and run for their lives, dodging and 
running zig-zag, and make for a few scattered trees 
some sixty or seventy yards to the left, but still within 
reach of the Indians' fire. 

It seems that the Indians understood the orders of 
Bowman, and a few were scattering out of the council- 
house. No time was to be lost. Bedinger counted, 
"One, two, three, now!" and started, jumping through 
the grass, frog-like, first in one direction and then in 
another; sometimes seizing a sapling violently to aid 
in throwing himself to some distant and opposite point. 
All the while bullets whistled past, like hail-stones, but 
being strong ami remarkably supple, singularly enough 
he escaped them all, and reached a tree behind which 
he sheltered himself for a moment's rest. Upon look- 
ing back he was surprised to see that none had fol- 
lowed his example ; but after all, they acted wisely, 
for by this time, and it was all the work of a moment, 
the Indians had discharged their rifles, and before they 
could re-load the whole party were beyond their 
reach, without receiving any damage. The retreat was 
as successful as it was singular. 

Just before leaving the friendly old log Bedinger 
saw his great friend, Ralph Morgan, behind a tree to 
the left, fighting "on his own hook," in true Indian 
style. Every now and then the party in the council- 
house would pay him their respects, making the bark 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 61 

fly merrily from the trunk of the tree. Bedinger called 
to him that he was needlessly exposing himself, and 
had better get out of the way of danger. lie took his 
friend's advice, and got away unharmed. 

By this time the Indians had sent out runners to 
the neighboring villages for assistance, and there was 
great danger that the disorderly and disorganized party 
would be surrounded and massacred. A negro woman 
came running from the council-house to Logan's party, 
still stationed on the left, and told them she was a 
prisoner who had managed to escape to warn them 
that Girty was at the Pickaway town, some eight or 
ten miles distant, with a hundred of his Mingo war- 
riors, and would soon come to cut ofif their escape. 

This woman was very evidently sent by the Indians 
on purpose to deceive the white men, but, notwith- 
standing the evidence of stratagem the manoeuvre bore 
on its face, the tidings spread among the troops, and 
the Monongaheleans, who did not seem to like the 
idea of tighting, were not slow to magnify the number 
of the expected re-inforcement of the enemy under 
Girty, and in this way one hundred soon reached the 
terrible number of six hundred. In the confusion, the 
negro woman disappeared, sure evidence that her tale 
was fabricated. Indeed it was most likely that Girty 
was himself in the council-house at the time. 

When Bedinger and his little party reached their 
friends they found them partly behind the hill, within 
long rifle shot of the council-house. In a confused 
mass, some distance still farther south, were some 
three hundred horses, guarded by a large number of 
men. 

Colonel Bowman told Major Bedinger the officers 
could not control these men, and that he could do 



62 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

nothing with them. He appealed to him to speak to 
them, and endeavor to restore order among them, 
licdinger harangued them, saying: "Men, it is not a 
question now of how much we can get, but of our 
Hves. The Indians are gathering in force here, and I 
saw them send off runners to the other towns. In a 
httle while there will be an overpowering force of 
Indians about us. The only hope is to get back to the 
river as fast as we can, and we must obey orders, or 
all will be killed." 

The men saw the reasonableness of this, and they 
organized. They formed a hollow square in which 
they put the horses and the wounded, and started on 
their retreat. This was about a mile from the hill. 
He then ordered them to form in a line of battle, just 
behind the brow of the hill, which, with here and there 
a tree, served as a protection. Plere they were to make 
a stand and check the Indians, who advanced as they 
retreated, sheltering behind the scattering trees, and 
firing on the Kentuckians. 

Not more than a fourth of the men could be induced 
to form, and as the others were scampering off out of 
harm's way, these could not long be expected to expose 
themselves. Here and there some brave spirit would 
venture a chance shot at the distant foe ; the more timid 
would every now and then dart off singly and in 
squads. After awhile the few who remained, seeing 
the foolhardiness of attempting to maintain their 
ground unaided and unprotected, joined the others in 
the retreat. Bedinger, who, as adjutant, and in the 
absence of any movement on the part of Colonel Bow- 
man, had assumed the command and formed the line, 
was not a little mortified at the needless consternation 
that seemed to i)ervade the troops. He had hoped to 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 63 

have made a stand and to have defeated the enemy in 
open battle. When the last of the line commenced re- 
treating he was fortunate enough to find his horse 
and moved on with the rest. 

In a short time he overtook his old friend and com- 
panion-in-arms, at the siege of Boston, William Old- 
ham, who had been with Morgan's Riflemen in the 
disastrous attack on Quebec. Me consulted with him 
and then ordered the officers to form their respective 
companies in single file, Logan's command to the right, 
Harrod's to the left, and Holder's in the centre; the 
three lines about 30 paces apart; with orders for 
Holder's line, when the word "Halt!" was given, to 
divide, one half to fall back and close the rear; while 
the other portion was as (juickly to close the front, thus 
forming a hollow square. This order was effected, 
and the men formed, about a mile from the hill. In 
this order these three divisions moved rapidly, without 
much molestation from the Judians. Some three, four, 
or five miles wore gained, and they came to a creek, 
which they easily forded on foot, for most of the men 
were unmounted, when Bedinger, who was in the rear, 
on reaching the elevated ground on the southern bank, 
looking back perceived a shaking in the grass and 
herbage in the flat on the opposite side, and soon after 
some of the enemy were seen attempting to cross the 
creek. He therefore ordered a halt, forty or fifty rods 
south of the stream. Holder's company, according to 
the plan agreed on, closed the front and rear. Until 
now the drove of horses, with a suitable guard for 
their protection, had been driven in front, and as the 
mares were frequently separated from their colts, there 
was much neighing. All the horses were now placed 
within the hollow square. The ground for making a 



Jm y GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

^^-'tand was very judiciously chosen: it was elevated, 
•'^nd with enough trees and fallen limber to serve for 
/ the protection of the men. There had evidently been 
a windfall, and some of the trees were piled upon 
each other, afifording a very desirable shelter from the 
enemy's fire. The men were ordered to shelter them- 
selves as well as they could, without too much break- 
ing ranks; some accordingly treed, while others 
screened themselves behind the fallen timber. 

It was now about half -past ten in the forenoon. The 
firing and yelling of the Indians were first heard in 
front, and soon all around ; with the loud and distinct 
voice of Black Fish heard first in one direction and 
then in another, encouraging his braves, telling them 
to "Be strong! be strong! Now we have the Kcntuck 
surrounded, not one must escape!" 

"Whenever the well-known voice of their beloved 
war-chief was heard," says Dr. Draper, "tiieir hearty 
responses, and reiterated whoojis made the woods re- 
sound. Their inimber was small — perhaps it did not 
exceed fifty — but they remedied their deficiency in 
numbers by stratagem and agility. While at one point, 
Black Fish, the life and soul of his people, was thus 
exhorting his warriors, telling them to 'load well and 
shoot sure,' in another direction a little squad would 
tc:c:^1 lo Imvo killed some r.n fortunate 'Kentnck,' and 
mise w::ri iheir shrill vofcti chcfr c::>:,::r:vir>- sci.p 
yell, alike to encourage their friends, and strike terror 
to the liearts of their foes. 

"The Indians were careful not to expose them- 
selves, but would creep up as near as they could with 
safety, fire, and skulk away to re-load and renew the 
2ig-zag tight. Whenever the Kentuckians, on the other 
luuul, l";u>eieil Ihev saw the trembling of some distant 



jEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 65 

ter of bushes, or the nodding of the tall grass, 
'ihough it may have been only stirring in the breeze, 
they would fire upon the suspected covert." 

This singular contest lasted nine hours, and was 
comparatively bloodless. The Kentuckians, without 
positive evidence, claimed to have made several ef- 
fectual shots, and lost, it is believed, some one or two 
killed, and perhaps as many were slightly wounded. 

It was now past sundown. Bedinger went to 
Colonel Bowman and said : "The men are sinking 
with fatigue and hunger, and the Indian force is in- 
creasing. Something must be done at once. It is nec- 
essary to rush them." 

Bowman, who seemed disheartened, answered, "Do 
as you please ; I don't know what to do." 

Major Bedinger then said : "We must rush upon 
them on foot with tomahawks in hand, dodging as we 
run, to avoid their fire, then, with ours reserved, we 
can dash u])on Ihem and force them to retreat." 

/\ccordingly, telling some of the bravest of his fel- 
lows to try to single out and silence Black Fish, he 
called out : "Come, boys, let's rush them. Get your 
tomahawks ready, and reserve your fire." 

He then made off in the direction of the well-known 
voice of Black Fish, and leading the way, a party of 
forty or fifty of the boldest of the men followed him. 
Black Fish was not more than fifty yards off, and, in 
this well-planned charge, he was mortally wounded. 
The Indians were seen hurriedly placing their fallen 
chief iipon a horse, with a faithful warrior mounted 
behind him, and then the horse galloped away towards 
the Indian town. It was observed tliat Black Fish 
was dressed in a beautiful white hunting shirt, richly 
trimmed with brooches and other silver ornaments; 



JE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

. white captives who subsequently escaped, it 
.certained that the brave Shawnee chief expired 
the horse entered the town. 

"Although he was an enemy," says Dr. Draper, "we 
cannot but admire the intrepid bearing, and self-de-. 
votedness'of tlie brave and eloquent, but unfortunate, 
Black Fish." 



CHAPTER VIII 
xvTajor Bkdinger Returns to Civiijzation 

WITH the fall of their chief the Indians seemed 
disheartened, and most of them drew off. 
The retreat was resumed and after marching a few 
miles they reached Caesar's Creek : this, though bear- 
ing a little to the right of their rout, was taken, for a 
considerable distance, as their guide. Sometimes they 
followed along down the bank of the stream ; at other 
times they waded its bed, knee-deep in water. All who 
wished mounted the horses taken from the Shawnees. 
Major Bedinger, while riding along through the 
wooded banks had his hat brushed off by the branch 
of a tree. He jumped oft", and while feeling around 
for it, some one coming up on the trail behind gave 
the horse a little rap to make it step aside, when it 
took fright and ran away, carrying off' saddle, bridle, 
camp kettle, and blanket. The distant tinkle of the 
kettle, as it came in contact with bush or tree, told too 
plainly that the horse was beyond reach. Major Bed- 
inger plodded along on foot through brush, briars, and 
nettles, and lagged somewhat behind. 

The party at last halted for a breathing space ; but 
fearing lest the Indians should be reinforced and fol- 
low them, they soon resinned their slow and weary 
march. At this ])oint Major Bedinger obtained a 
lean, sharp-backed Indian pony, without saddle or 
blanket, and jogged on with the others, sitting sidewise. 
The animal suddenly jumped aside and threw him off 
backwards down a little ravine, but he luckily escaped 
with a few knocks and bruises. 

Thus the retreat continued : it was a meandering 



68 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

route tliat they pursued. They suffered exceedingly 
from hunger ; nor did they venture to hunt on the 
following day. The fear of a pursuit by the Indians 
whose horses they had taken was enough to impel 
them forward. Their only desire now was to leave, 
as (|uickly as possible, the Indian country. On the 
second night they were worn out with fatigue and 
hunger, and ventured to take a little rest, but it was 
too little. Then up, and on, for the land of Kentucky. 

Early on the next day they reached the long-wished- 
for Ohio River, and crossed just above the mouth of 
the Little Miami. 

Major Bedinger had been careful to place several 
sentinels in the rear, to guard against surprise. One 
of these, Thornton Farrow, saw an Indian dog at a 
distance, which was considered, at tlie time, satisfac- 
tory evidence that the Indians, not being able to collect 
a large party in time for pursuit, had sent a few spies 
to see that their invaders had actually left the country, 
iiedinger and his sentinels were the last to leave the 
enemies' shore. 

The little army now felt more secure. They went 
on for several miles, back of the high ground that 
skirled the river, and reached, at last, a fine, large 
spring, where they hailed for rest and refreshment, 
I limting and fishing soon supplied them with food, and 
rest gave them new courage and vigor. They were 
once again in a land of plenty, where wild pea-vines, 
wild clover, and wild rye furnished abundance of food 
for the half-famished horses. A sale of these horses 
and the other plunder was \]o\v held, and it was agreed 
to make an ecjual division of the amount realized. 
The conditions were a credit of a year. The captains 
were to keep the accounts of their comjianics, and 



•;v/ 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 69 

when it should be ascertained that any one had bid in 
property exceeding the amount of his (Uvidend, he 
was to pay the surplus ; and this excess was to be used 
to make up the accounts of those whose share fell 
short of their due. 

This was a pretty theory and promised to work 
well; all agreed to it; and except such horses as the 
Indians had stolen from the settlements, and that were 
identified by their owners, or kept in reserve for their 
proper claimants, the sale commenced. Some of the 
finest horses were sold for fifty or sixty dollars, but 
they usually went for much less. A pound of silver 
trinkets sold for twenty dollars. 

Tiius the large drove of horses, the clothing, and 
ornaments and other things were disposed of. The 
Monongaheleans, conspicuous in everything except 
fighting, were far from modest in the number of their 
bids, or the amount of property they purchased. The 
result was, scattered as (he purchasers were from Red 
v^tone Old Fort to the Falls of Ohio, and from thence 
to Boonesboro' on the Kentucky, no collections were 
ever made; or if any were made, they were never 
accounted for to those who had a right to expect them. 

The spring where Bowman's party encamped is 
called, to this day, the Horse Camp Spring. 

All returned in safety, though some were in immi- 
nent danger of being overtaken and killed by small 
bands of lurking redmen. One of the most fortunate 
escapes was that of a young man named Elisha Be- 
thiah, who belonged to Captain James Harrod's coni- 
pany. This young man had been badly wounded in the 
thigh during the night attack on the Indian town. In 
the retreat he was among the foremost, and being 
mounted on a good horse, he concluded to attempt to 



70 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

escape alone rather than risk falHng, wounded as he 
was, into the hands of the Indians. He dashed off, 
just at the moment when the Indians surrounded the 
party, and four of them immediately set out after him. 
His horse, however, soon outstripped his pursuers. 
That night the wounded man, dropping with fatigue 
and loss of blood, selected a secluded spot, dismounted, 
fastened the horse's rein to one of his wrists, and laid 
himself down to sleep. When he awoke it was broad 
daylight. His horse was gone. The horror of his 
situation rushed upon him. He was far away in the 
wilderness, he knew not where, save that it was in 
an enemy's country ; destitute of even the commonest 
food, and utterly unable to walk. 

While, in despair, he was brooding over his mis- 
fortunes, he heard a step, and looked up, dreading 
that his pursuers had trailed him and that his last 
hour had come. It was his faithful horse! liethiah 
mounted him with a grateful heart, and continued on 
his way. Jn due time he reached llarrodsburg, recov- 
ered of his wound, and often used to tell the story of 
the manner in which the faithful, dearly-prized ani- 
mal had saved his life, by returning to the aid of his 
helpless master. 

"Thus ended," says Dr. Draper, "the celebrated 
campaign of 1779, a campaign, it should be remarked, 
the real history of which has been imperfectly under- 
stood. Made at so early a day, and not as fortunate 
in its results as some of its successors, it is not strange 
that its true character should have been misconstrued 
or undesignedly misrepresented. Bowman, when too 
late to retrieve his error, seems to have felt keenly 
the miscarriage of the expedition, and given himself 
uj) to despondency and inaction. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 71 

"But it is not at all certain that he should be made 
the scapegoat for the failure of the enterprise. The 
numbers engaged were amply sufificient; the officers 
confessedly brave and experienced; they reached the 
Indian town entirely undiscovered and evidently found 
less than its full quota of warriors there, and the plan 
of attack seemed judicious and well-thought out. And 
yet, notwithstanding all these auspicious circum- 
stances, added to their great superiority of numbers, 
the campaign was well nigh a total failure. 

"The Monongaheleans, on whose aid so much reli- 
ance had been placed, seemed to have engaged in the 
enterprise more from motives of plunder than patriot- 
ism. They were the first to disobey the orders for 
silence, and to smnmon the prisoners to escape, when 
they should have stealthily surrounded the council- 
house. I'hey were also the first, after the cabins had 
been sacked, to seize upon and magnify the foolish 
story of Girty's ap])roach with reinforcements, 
thereby causing a jxuiic to spread among the troops, 
who abantloned the town ; and it appears perfectly 
in character that they should have been the foremost 
in searching for horses ; foremost in not fighting, 
and foremost in the retreat. 

"Their desire for gain was sufficiently manifested 
at the sale at Horse Camp Spring. 

"With such a body of half savage frontiersmen, 
whose pernicious example was only too contagious, is 
it to be wondered at that Bowman, chagrined and 
disheartened, should ride up and call- to Bedinger's 
little band behind the memorable oak log to make their 
escape, for he could bring no one to help them ; not 
that he would not, but truth extorted the confession 
that he could not?" 



72 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

"There is still another feature in the case worthy 
of notice," says Dr. Draper in the notes from which 
I have taken this account. "When the hope was ex- 
pressed to Bowman during the outward march that at 
least the women and children that might be taken ., 
should be spared, some of the Monongaheleans slipped 
in their notions about such matters by exclaiming: 
'No! indeed. Kill them all, the d — n savages! we are 
ordered to destroy the heathen off the land. As for 
these little Indians, if we don't kill them they'll soon 
be big ones!' " 

"Such, very likely," says Dr. Draper, "were the men 
who, two years afterwards, went out from West 
Pennsylvania under Colonel David Williamson, and 
butchered in cold blood the unoft'ending Moravian In- 
dians on the Muskingum ; and such, doubtless, were the 
men from that same region of country who, by their 
timid and dastartlly conduct, contributed, in no small 
degree, to the defeat and misfortunes of the ill-fated 
Crawford in 1782. At all events, it was the convic- 
tion of Major Bedinger and otiiers on the expedition 
' that, if the Monongaheleans had not been of the 
party, the result would have been more creditable ; 
but, with the brave and humane, defeat was probably 
preferable to victory, for an indiscriminate massacre, 
like that of the gentle Moravians, would doubtless 
have followed success, and an eternal disgrace would 
have attached to the campaign of 1779." 

After this camp life at Boonesboro' went on as 
usual. It appears that Bowman's campaign, unfor- 
tunate as it seemed, really resulted in great good to 
the settlers. At the very time it was undertaken the 
Indians were gathering in force to make a raid on 
the settlement, but upon the news that the enemy had 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 73 

invaded their own chief village, and that one of their 
best leaders was killed, and their homes plundered, 
the most fainthearted gave up the enterprise, and it 
was found impossible to carry out the plan. 

During the season Bedinger, John Holder, Major 
Thomas Swearingen, and his brother Bcnoni, and 
Colonel William Morgan and his son Ralph, left the 
fort on an exploring expedition, and took their course 
along the South Elkhorn. Near the site of the present 
city of Lexington they discovered a bear on a large 
wild cherry tree, with a knot-hole on one side about 
thirty feet from the ground. Benoni, the tall young 
friend and comrade of George Michael (and he was 
six feet, five inches!) climbed up the tree; the bear 
retreated into the hole. Benoni had a long pole, 
forked at one end, with which he endeavored to oust 
her, but he failed in the attempt, so he came down, 
leaving the pole in the cavity. They lay in watch, and 
after a while the bear climbed up, gave tlie pole a spite- 
ful knock with her paw, and sent it flying; after which 
she peeped out to see what was going on, when the 
poor thing was shot and fell back into the hole. The 
party then cut down the tree and found the mother 
dead, and four small cubs, which they killed for 
food. 

A few miles from Lexington Major Swearingen, 
seeing a beautiful hill, named it for one of his daugh- 
ters, "Lydia's Mount," which name it still retains. 

I do not know whether it was in 1779 or at some 
later period that two traders, one named Walker 
Daniel, and the other named Kirtlcy, set out to visit 
the Falls of Ohio, and Major I'edingcr, always ready 
for an adventure, proposed to accompany them. They 
were not ready quite so soon as George Michael, who 



74 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

said he would jog along, and they could overtake 
him. He went on about twenty miles, and in passing 
Mann's Lick on the trail towards the present city of 
Lexington, his horse seemed very uneasy, as though 
Indians were lurking about. He went on, and six 
miles further stopped for the night. In a short time 
he was overtaken by the riderless horses of the two 
unfortunate traders, both bloody, and telling too 
plainly the tale of Indian outrage. The men had been 
waylaid at Mann's Lick and shot down. Bedinger's 
own escape was probably due to the conjecture of the 
Indians that he was in advance of a considerable 
party, as no one travelled alone in those days. They 
did not shoot for fear of alarming the loiterers. 

Some time in July, 1779, three young men from Vir- 
ginia came to Boonesboro', and wished to locate some 
o-ood land to settle on. It seems remarkable how much 
emigration to the west continued to take place through- 
out the Revolution, and how small a proportion of the 
inhabitants of the United States took part in the strug- 
gle. This was undoubtedly the reason that the war 
dragged on so tediously, and in a manner that would 
have utterly discouraged any commander-in-chief less 
determined and self-reliant, or rather, God-reliant, 
than Washington. 

These three young men went out from Boonesboro' 
with a young man named Calloway, who lived at the 
fort, and guided them to the waters of Elkhorn. On 
their return, when they were within a few miles of 
Boonesboro', Calloway advised them to leave the trail 
for safety. They scouted the idea, said they did not 
fear Indians, and boasted of their bravery. Calloway 
loft them. When within three miles of P.oonesboro' 
they fell into an Indian ambuscade, and were fired on. 



8£ ,^(nl 



dEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 75 

Two of the unfortunate men were wounded and taken 
prisoners ; the other, a young man named Smith, came 
dashing into the fort, to give the alarm. He lost his 
overcoat in his hurry, and on being urged to guide 
a rescue party to the spot where they had been at- 
tacked, he refused to move. 

Captain James Estill — afterwards killed by Indians 
in 1781 — with Bedinger, Holder, and young Calloway, 
and a dozen others, seized their rifles, and dashed off 
in pursuit. When they reached the spot it was nearly 
night, and no Indians were to be seen. Some buffalo 
tugs (strips of hide) and other small articles told 
where they had camped, together with some slippery 
elm bark, which they always carried for use in dress- 
ing wounds. Their ambush was near a five acre field 
of corn known as Bush's Settlement, and abandoned 
two or three years before, overgrown with cane, and 
finally reclaimed that spring by a party of ten persons, 
including all the band of emigrants that came with 
Bedinger from Virginia. At this place they discov- 
ered several lurking places where the Indians had 
hidden, and they were such expert woodsmen that it 
did not take them long to discover that the party of 
redmen consisted of between twenty and thirty war- 
riors. They had eaten and destroyed the cucumbers 
in the corn-field, and were probably waiting in the 
neighborhood to fall upon the white men as soon as 
it was dark. So it was deemed prudent to return; as 
their force, besides comprising all the effective garri- 
son at Booncsboro', was tot) weak to venture on pur- 
suit of the Indians, and they dared not hazard too 
much. 

Next morning their spies reported that the Indian 
party had ambuscaded not more than two hundred 



J 



Id GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

yards from the place where they had waylaid Smith 
and his companions, and it was evident that they had 
hoped to capture any pursuing party. Had Estill's 
men fallen into the trap it is probable that they would 
all have been killed or captured. Major Bedinger 
and his friends from Virginia remained seven months 
at Boonesboro', and finally left it well garrisoned and 
in no immediate danger from Indians. 

Among the names of the defendants and hunters of 
Boonesboro' in that year we find those of Captain 
John Holder, James and Samuel Estill, the party from 
Shepherdstown, consisting of twelve whose names 
have already been given; Captain Daniel Gass, Jesse 
Hodges, John Gass, who lived to a great age, William 
Cradlebaugh, Jacob Starns, or Stearns, old Nicholas 
Proctor and his sons, Joseph and Reuben; old John 
Smith and his sons, Tom and Jack, and another John 
Smith, a relation; John Martin, John Calloway, James 
Bathe, James P)erry, John Bankman, John Haweson, 
Charles Edward Lockhart, Acjuila White, and Joseph 
Doniphan. Ralph Morgan said that there were be- 
tween twenty and thirty men in Boonesboro' before 
the arrival of the party from Shepherdstown, but I 
think this included the party under Captain Stearns 
that left the garrison so short-handed. 

How many of the party returned in November to 
Bcrkcly with Major Bedinger, T do not know. Ralph 
Morgan remained, and John vStrode certainly did so. 
He founded Strode's Station, probably in 1780. 

And now Major Bedinger was home again. Enter- 
prising as ever, in the fall or early winter, he took a 
supply of money to heackiuarters, for the use of his 
elder brother, 1 lenry, who was still a prisoner and 
ill at Elatbush, Long Island. He also busily employed 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 77 

himself in various ways for the comfort and main- 
tenance of his widowed mother, who must have re- 
joiced at his safe return. The poor lady had much 
cause for anxiety concerning her children; the three 
eldest constantly in danger, and always separated from 
each other and from her. 



CHAPTER IX 

The End of the Revolution 

SO]\'IE time in the autumn of 1780 Major Bedin- 
ger set out on the hazardous enterprise of con- 
ducting a wagon train of provisions to the High Hills 
of the Santee, in South Carolina, with supplies for the 
army and to see his brother Daniel, and bring back 
news of him to his mother. At that time the Tories 
were in the ascendancy in the Carolinas, and carried 
on a war of extermination with the Whigs. George 
Michael, however, accomplished his mission safely, 
but he has left no account of his expedition, though 
he refers to it in one of his letters in which he says 
that he brought back a wagon load of indigo which 
Governor Rulledge sent to Philadelphia by him. 

We hear nothing more of him until the spring of 
1781, when he commanded a company, in Lt. Col. 
William Darke's regiment and followed the fortunes 
of that commander all summer. He and his men 
were at the siege of Yorktown, as he tells us in his 
declaration for pension : 

"In the month of May, 1781, I took the command 
of a company of Militia in P>erkclcy County, Va., under 
Colonel William Darke, and marched with them 
through (lilTeronl ])arls of Virginia to the siege of 
Yorlc. In addition to pcrr(,)rmiug the duties of Ca])- 
tain, I had also to act as Adjutant to the Regiment, and 
occasionally performed the duties of Major. We were 
the first to approach the enemy at York. Was not at 
York at the surrender of Cornwallis, the term of serv- 
ice of my company having expired a few days before 
the surrender. Durin-r this time 1 served live months 



■::ni 



atiju'»i} 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 79 

as Captain of the Company, and all the time performed 
the duties of Adjutant to the Regiment, and a part of 
the time as Major." 

In a letter to his brother Henry written in 1834, he 
describes some of his experiences during the Revolu- 
tion, and as this letter is interesting, I will insert it in 
this place. It is dated : 

Lower Blue Licks, July 15th, 1834. 
* * * '"phe deposition of Peter Fisher came safe 
with your letter. I suppose this Peter Fisher is the 
son of the Fisher who lived on or near the branch or 
run in Shepherdstown, above where old Mr. Brown 
formerly lived, & not far from Henry Sheetz, old 
White, and others. His father got killed at the rais- 
ing of a house by a log falling on his head. It is now 
like a dream to me. If he is one of them I think his 
complection is something dark. I am anxious to do 
him all the good I justly can, even if he had not done 
anything for me. I have no doubt of the truth of his 
deposition, as I acted in all the capacities he mentions, 
and a fue times also did duty as Brigade-Major, when 
requested by the General, whose name was General 
Edward Stevens, a stout, heavy man, but not our old 
Major-General Dr. Steven." (He means General 
Adam Stephen, who was a physician liefore he ac- 
cepted a commission of general. Edward Stevens was 
a militia general.) * * ''■' "I have lately found that 
on only hearing the names of some of our company 
I could often in an instant recall how they had acted, 
if anything extraordinary had been done by them, 
either good, bad, or indifferent. For instance, Peter 
Mange brought to my recollection the inoculated paper 
money. He threw it into the fire, when I jerked it 



80 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

out. John Magara, his plaintive Voice, 'God love 
your soul, do help me out of this ! Club your fire- 
lock !' etc. 

"There is, I think, an old soldier by the name of 
Peck in Mason County, Daniel Bell, also of Mason, 
and a man of the name of Sumers of Fleming, but if 
I live I shall soon make it my business to know. I 
could now mention many whose names have brought 
to my recollection the figure, stature, complection, and 
behavior, as I beforesaid. I feel a great desire that all 
who fought and suffered for the country when we 
were struggling for our natural rights should, in their 
old age, receive compensation. If I can see this A. K. 
Marshall I will consult him on what is likely to be 
done with those who served under St. Clair and 
Wayne. * * * You are under a mistake in relation 
to my being present on the 12th of October when 
Cornwallace was captured. I did not actually see 
them surrender, altho' I am confident very fue officers 
or men in oiu- army rentlorcd more essential services 
than I think I did at or before the siege of York, in 
sight of and in full view of the British army at York, 
and when I think of it I hope I shall ever, while I 
have life and reason, most humbly, devoutly, and 
heartily thank and adore the supreme Author of all 
Goodness and Mercy, who then and so often since has 
saved me from impending dangers. 

"And altho' it is with reluctance I am induced to 
speak or write even to a Brother of my own services, 
I cannot here, in justice to myself and those who were 
with me, omit stating to you, as well as I can now 
recollect after the lapse of near 53 years, that I was 
])rcsent at the siege of York, & was with the first 
party that dared in open day go near our enemies in 
Yorktovvn : viz, Cornwallace's Army. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 81 

"A short time before Yorktown was besieged, and 
when our army lay at or near Williamsburg, Colonel 
Darke marched a detachment of, I think, less than 
one thousand, mostly Militia, who were then or after- 
wards called The Forlorn Hope, as it was then gen-: 
erally thought that on our arrival at the subburbs of 
the town the Brittish troops, horse and foot, would 
Immediately Sally out upon us, and cut us off as we 
had no other troops to help or aid us near. 

"When we got in sight of the enemy and were ex- 
pecting an Immediate attack, from their cavalry, I 
acting then as Adjutant, or I could say Major, and 
as the men had marchcil in platoons and open columns, 
marched thom uj) into close solid columns, faced out- 
wards, front rank kneeling, but arms firm ; fixed 
bayonets, leaning out at an angle of near forty-five 
degrees. This mannoeuver having been performed 
briskly and promptly, it is believed that the enemy 
thought us well disciplined if not regular troops, & 
that we were only an advanced party, & that the U. 
S. Army were close at hand. 

"They did not attack us, except at a distance so 
great that they could not do us much injury, but 
suffered us to go back without nnich firing. * * * 
I never yet have been able to account for such a mo- 
tion. I think it was the Colonel's usual fire and rash- 
ness, & that General Washington perhaps had a desire 
to know what the enemy would do on such an occasion 
and acceded to it. It was, in my opinion, an extra- 
ordinary, and' I think an unnecessary temerity. We 
had much to lose, and I have never been able to see 
what great advantage could have been expected of it. 

"When the whole of our army marched and be- 
sieged York I was also with them until after the 



82 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

militia's time had expired, & would have stayed longer 
but was in bad health, & troops were flocking in from 
all quarters. The sick were hauled home in waggons. 
I think I was hauled part of the way home in a 
waggon, if not all the way. Col. Darke, when I came 
away, said that within a fue days he expected the 
Brittish Army would surrender, regretted I could not 
see it. I am confident Peter Fisher is right in his 
deposition. You know Gen. Darke always was our 
friend. * * *" 

Major Henry Bedinger had been allowed to go home 
on parole. During the summer of 1780, Abraham 
Shepherd, writing to his brother. Colonel David Shep- 
herd, in August, of that year, says : 

"Henry Bedinger has returned home on parole 
Very low and weak, has been Unwell this 15 months 
past, hope he will soon Recover, he is Anxious to Join 
me here and T shou'd be happy he shou'd as his Abili- 
ties and honesty may be dci)endod on and shou'd we 
Continue our Scheme it will be Realy Necessary to 
have him." 

Again, in another letter to the same brother, with 
whom he was in partnership in buying and selling salt, 
furs, and necessities for the army, he writes, under 
date of November 23rd, 1780: "I shall have no Ob- 
jections of your Setling with Mr. Zane and if you 
think proper taking in Captain Mason in his place and 
Henry Bedinger here as I wou'd wish to make our 
Concern as strong as possable. Bedinger being every 
way calculated for that purpose." 

Again, in December of the same year he writes, 
"Bedinger is now capable of Joyning us, he can ad- 
vance ten Thousand pounds, we shall buy all the wheat 



ifj^hl 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 83 

wc can and pray yon dont lose one skin of no kind, 
Bear skins will sell Extremely well. * ''' *." 

Henry Bedinger was formally exchanged the first 
day of Novemher, 1780, after nearly fonr years of 
captivity. He was not contented, however, to remain 
inactive, and the following spring he went with some 
levies partly raised hy himself, to the rendezvous at 
what was called Albemarle Old Courthouse, in the 
county of that name in \'"irginia. He was still unfit 
for active duty, and remained in charge of the military 
stores at the rendezvous, until chased hy Tarleton 
across the James. After Tarleton had withdrawn, he 
took the stores back across the river. He kept a jour- 
nal of this campaign, from which I will give an extract 
or two. 

PART OF HENRY BEDINGER'S JOURNAL OF 1781. 

(It seems that the stores were finally sent to Cumber- 
land Old Courthouse.) 

Monday, July 30th, 1781. Proceeded, according to 
orders to the place of our destination, (Viz) Cumber- 
land Old Court House, & encamped near that place, 
where after taking an Acct, &c, of the Stores, found 
several tents were lost on the march. 

Wednesday, August 1st. Being as usual employed 
in the O. M. department very busily, was Surprised 
by the Arrival of My Brother Daniel, who arrived 
here from Goochland Ct. House, where he had been 
Several Days, waiting with the Detachment from Win- 
chester, for Information where to find the place of 
General Rendezvous. His number is reduced from 
about 40 to 18 by Desertion, &c." 

He does not again mention either of his brothers 
until : 

''Tuesday, August 22nd. Captain Samuel Finley 



84 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Returned from the Marquis's Camp with a Sum of 
money for the use of the ofificers & Soldiers at this 
Station to be Charged on account. Captain Fin- 
ley saw my Brother in Camp near Ruffin's Ferry, who 
wrote me a letter dated 17th. Inst. The Captain like- 
wise brought me another letter from Captain Charles 
Stockley, Etc." 

On Saturday, the fifteenth of September, he writes : 
"A few Days past about 15 of the Enemy's Ships 
arrived off Chesapeake Bay with troops to Reinforce 
Lord Cornwallis, the French Got under way Imedi- 
ately & after taking two men-of-war, the Enemy made 
the best of their way to Escape falling into their 
hands. Fifteen of the French Ships of the line 
followed and 'tis supposed will Capture Many more 
of the Enemy. * * * T'was currently Reported 
a few Days past that His Excellency General Wash- 
ington had arrived in Camj) in Virginia. y\ccounts 
since Mention that lie had not yet Arrived .5^ t'was 
expected he would return to take the Command Near 

New York. Three Officers, viz : — John Scott, 

Daniel Bedinger and Robert Quarles & Twelve pri- 
vates are taken with the Ague and Fever at this post. 

"Laid off the Ground for the Hutts, for Winter 
Quarters, the 11th Instant, Since which we have began 
to Cut timber for the Houses, etc." And again on 
Thursday, the 11th of October, he writes "My Brother 
Michael arrived here from His Excellency's Camp, 
Somewhat Indisposed. He Informs that the Enemy 
were Closely Invested in York, that Col. Tarleton had 
made an Incursion into Gloucester, that two Captains 
of the French were kill'd by them together with Six 
privates, etc, etc." 

"Sunday Oct. 14th. This morning my I'rother 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 85 

Michael Set out for Richmond to Settle the accounts 
of his Company, & then Return to Berlcely. Wrote 
by Him to Capt. Shepherd in Answer to his Letter 
Requesting me to Return Imediately to Berkeiy, hke- 
wise to my Mother, etc." 

We will not copy any more of this interesting jour- 
nal at this time but reserve it for our account of 
Henry Bedinger. There is no further mention of any 
of his brothers except in the last entry, which is dated 
Friday, November 15th, 1781, which speaks of his 
safe arrival in ''Shepherd's Town, where I arrived that 
Evening to Give Joy to my Friends & Sattisfaction 
to my Self after a Journey of 193 Miles from Cum- 
berland Old Ct. House, where I left my Brother 
Daniel & Many Friends." 

Daniel and Henry served until the end of the war. 
Henry, in the spring of 1783, raised another company 
at Shepherdstown, the last, I believe, that was raised 
at that place, for the war. 

Of the movements of George Michael in 1782 we 
know little. It was apparently in that year that he 
formed a partnership with that strange genius, "Crazy 
Rumsey," as those who could not understand him 
called him; the inventor of the first practicable steam- 
boat, which made its successful trial trip on the Poto- 
mac at Shepherdstown a few years later. 

This is not the place to tell the story of that wonder- 
ful and unfortunate man. In 1782 he was living near 
or in the village of Bath, now called Berkeley Springs, 
in Morgan County, W. Va. At the mouth of Sleepy 
Creek he and George Michael Bedinger owned a mill 
in partnership. That is, George Michael Bedinger 
advanced Rumsey the means to pay for his share. 
For a year they seem to have managed this mill to- 



,*>r)«iq 



V u •>! 



86 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

gether, and a most unsatisfactory partner Bedinger 
found the dreamy, absent-minded inventor; so much 
so, indeed, that Alichael soon became disgusted with 
the whole concern, threw up the partnership, and, in 
1784, went off again to Kentucky to continue his 
career as a surveyor. He left Rumsey in his debt, a 
debt that was not paid during his life. Afterwards 
the mill was sold, and probably Bedinger was then 
reimbursed. 

It was in Kentucky in 1784 or 1785 that Michael 
boasted to some acquaintances of Rumsey's wonder- 
ful ingenuity, and described, as well as he could, his 
projected invention of a steamboat. This so wrought 
upon the mind of one of his hearers, named Fitch, that 
he proceeded to Shepherdstown, where Rumsey then 
lived, and, in disguise, and under a false name, en- 
deavored to learn more of the secret of applying steam 
to navigatio'n. He was caught peeping through a 
knot-hole into the cabin in which Rumsey carried on 
his exporimenls. 'IMio citizens of the town threatenetl 
him with a coat of tar and feathers, whereupon he 
promptly left. A year or two afterwards he pre- 
tended that he was the real inventor of the steamboat, 
and that Rumsey had stolen his ideas. This led to 
some of Rumsey's friends making a request of G. M. 
Bedinger that he would state the facts I have just 
mentioned in writing, which he did. Among Dr. Dra- 
per's papers is a copy of the following document, 
which has reference to this incident. 

Berkely County Va. ss. 

"This day came Aiichael Bedinger before me, one 

of the Justices of the Peace for the said County, and 

made oath, that Mr. James Rumsey informed him, in 

or before the month of March, 1784, that he was of 



ae ,lyj\i' 



GEORGE MICHAEE BEDINGER 87 

opinion that a boat might be constructed to work by 
steam, and that he intended to give it a trial, and 
mentioned some of tlie machinery that would be 
necessary to reduce it to practice: and that the said 
Alichael further saith, that he set out for Kentucky, 
immediately after, in order to survey some lands, and 
resided there upwards of eighteen months, and that, 
during the time of his stay there, he frequently men- 
tioned Mr, Rumsey's boat schemes : He believes that 
he also mentioned, that it was to be wrought by steam. 

"The above was voluntarily sworn before me, by 
Captain Bedinger, who is a gentleman of reputation. 

"November 28th, 1787. John Kearsley. 

"We whose names are hereunto subscribed certify 
that the within mentioned Michael Bedinger is a gen- 
tleman of reputation and veracity. 
"Horatio Gates Charles Morrow 

Thomas White John Mark 

James Kerney Philip Pendleton 

John Morrow Robert Stubbs." 

Joseph Mitchell 

I have inserted this deposition in this place to close 
the reference to James Rumsey, although it is dated 
several years later than the time we are now con- 
sidering. 






-HO won 



■AU-\_ 



-rft 



,;u t^<".i 



CHAPTER X 
More Adventures in Kentucky 

IN the spring of 1784 Michael Bedinger, that rest- 
less, adventurous spirit, returned to the distracted 
settlements of Kentucky. After the Revolution he 
seems to have found the safe smooth life of the older 
country too tame. No douht, also, he had an ambition 
to become the possessor of some of the rich new land 
of the wilderness. Surveyors, at that time, were 
usually paid by a proportion of the land they located, 
Notliing could have been more hazardous than the life 
led by the men of his profession at that early day. At 
times the work ceased because no one could be induced 
to brave its dangers. 

After the war there were many thousands of acres 
of military lands in Kentucky, which the State of 
Virginia had given to the olVicers and privates of the 
vStale and Conlinental line. All t)f these were anxious 
to have their claims located and surveyed. Thus 
there was an abundance of that sort of occupation 
for those who were daring enough to undertake it. 
That it required nerve will be abundantly proved by 
the following account of some of Michael's adven- 
tures during the next eventful years. 

He returned to Kentucky, not by the old Wilderness 
Road, which used to be called "Boone's Trace," but 
proceeding to Wheeling, he took the river route, land- 
ing at Louisville. He found many changes since his 
campaign of 1779. Settlements had sprung up in 
many places, in spite of the constantly continued In- 
dian troubles, and settlers continued to pour into the 
country. 



V .I.'£(;5i 



\I io w^ii 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 89 

In the spring of 1784 he started for the Falls of 
Ohio, intending to go from there into the Green River 
country, in the southwestern part of Kentucky, to 
locate lands for himself and others. A large number 
of surveyors, thirty or more, were to meet on the first 
of April at the Falls, and proceed from that place to 
the Green River country, to run off the Continental 
and State line military lands. Michael crossed the 
Kentucky river at Leestown, and had gone westward 
but a short distance when he met Jacob Myers, an 
honest old Dutchman just from the Falls. He asked 
him if the surveyors had met, and were ready to 
start. 

"Oh, no," said honest Jacob, "a number of ob- 
stacles hash represented themselves, and they hash re- 
clined." 

So it proved. There were Indians on the war-path, 
and it was thought too hazardous an undertaking, so 
the design was abandoned for that season. 

Michael, however, did not easily relinquish his plans. 
He made up his mind to go, alone and unaided, and 
explore the country between Green and Cumberland 
rivers. Accordingly he left the Falls and went first 
to the surveyor's office of Col. Thomas Marshall in 
Fayette County. Here he met Lewis Fields, a gener- 
ous, light-hearted young fellow, between eighteen and 
twenty. This young man took a great liking to 
Michael Bedinger, and tried to induce him to give up 
his rash scheme. And when he found this impossible, 
and that Michael was not to be talked out of the dan- 
gerous enterjjrise he said to him : 

"By Jove, Bedinger, I can't stand having you go by 
yourself! Suppose you were snake-bitten in the wil- 
derness with no one to help you? Or suppose the 



90 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Indians killed you. No one would ever know what 
had become of you. I declare, if I had an extra shirt 
I'd go with you myself." 

"If that is all," said Michael, "I can let you have an 
extra shirt. But I don't think it would be fair to take 
you at your word, and I'd rather take my risks alone." 
He went on to say that it was not in his power to 
offer him sufficient inducements to make the trip, as 
he was too poor to reward him. But Fields was as 
fond of adventure as Michael, and he insisted on ac- 
companying him. So these two daring spirits set out 
together into the unknown wilderness. They struck 
across the country, and near the site of Elizabethtown, 
reached Henley's Station, not far from the head of 
Severn's Valley, about fifty miles from the Falls of 
Ohio. From this place they went on and crossed 
Green River in the south-western part of the State, 
and were proceeding down towards the mouth of Big 
Barren, when they foimd fresh Indian signs in abun- 
ilance. This led them to |)ush on hastily to the mouth 
of Big Barren. Here they swam over to the south 
bank. 

It was twilight when they reached a place of com- 
parative safety, and they concluded to hide in the 
high grass, on the banks of the stream. Before they 
had been long in that place, crouched down in the 
grass, they discovered that they were followed; for a 
party of Indians who had found their trail apjieared 
on the other side of the stream. 'J'hey saw dimly 
their dusky forms on the oi^posite bank, and heard 
them in low, earnest conversation. 

The two young men, cowering in the cane brake, 
were almost devoured by mosquitoes. But they dared 
not move; lay close, and kept perfectly still. At last 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 91 

their pursuers disappeared. Next day they set out, 
and while exploring near the mouth of Little ]\Iuddy 
Creek, just above the junction of Big P)arren with 
Green River, Lewis, who was a little ahead, suddenly 
called out: "Bedinger, I'm a dead man!" 

Not suspecting the cause, and hearing no report of 
firearms, Michael's first thought was that an Indian 
had crept up stealthily and shot Fields with an arrow. 
He snatched his gun from his shoulder. 

"I am snake-bit!" said the poor young man, in ex- 
treme pain and agony of mind. Seizing a stick, 
Michael made an effort to kill the reptile, but the 
stick broke in his hand. He drew his scalping knife, 
and severed the head from the body, before the snake 
had time to repeat its deadly stroke, or get out of the 
way. It was a moccasin, fully four feet in length. 

Lewis complained of great pain ; in a few moments 
his whole body was contaminated; even his tongue 
began to swell. 

The wound was a severe one, just below the knee. 
A bandage was drawn tightly around the leg over it 
to prevent the further spread of the venom. Michael 
doctored his poor friend as well as he was able. He 
bound a ])ortion of the snake's body, still writhing, 
upon the wound. Salt, powder, slippery elm, and 
butternut bark were used. But it was clumsy nursing. 
The young fellow suffered dreadfully, and begged 
Michael not to abandon him. "Don't be troubled 
about that. I'll stick to you to the last," Bedinger 
answered. 

Night was coming on, and thinking they would be 
more secure from Indians at the fork between the Big 
Barren and Green Rivers than where they were, 
]\Iichael undertook to carry Lewis over the river. It 



92 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

had rained all day, and the river was commencing to 
rise. He waited until it was dark, and then found a 
fordable place. The water was arm-pit deep, but he 
first carried over their rifles, and then taking Lewis 
Fields upon his back, he conveyed him safely across; 
halted at some distance from the banks, set down his 
burden, and soon had a comfortable fire. 

Lewis continued to suffer so greatly that he lost 
all fear of Indians, only remembering their skill in 
treating for snake-bite. The young men heard the 
report of rifles perhaps a mile or two away. Lewis, 
hoping that it proceeded from the party they had 
escaped the night before, implored his friend to go 
and find them, and ask them to come to his aid ! 

Michael, self-forgetting as usual, and anxious to try 
anything that held out the smallest hope of soothing 
Lewis's suft'erings, started out in the direction of the 
firing. It was a cloudy night, and soon became of inky 
blackness. He could not see his way, and the croak- 
ing of the frogs along the water side was his only 
guide. 

Sometimes he would become entangled in the 
branches of a fallen tree ; sometimes he would be 
mired in the swamp, and sometimes he would bruise 
himself against rocks and trees. Snakes, too, were 
numerous and deadly in such places, and it is a marvel 
that he escaped unhurt. Stumbling along in this way 
he came to a small cove or embayment of the stream 
that he was following, and suddenly fell some twenty 
or thirty feet into the mud antl water below. Surely 
some good, guardian angel watched over the honest, 
big-hearted fellow, for he took no harm. The fall, 
however, injured his rifle. 

He soon scrambled up and continued his dreary and 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 93 

uncertain pilgrimage. His progress was now slow and 
painful, for he was scratched and bruised from head 
to feet. He had been out several hours, or so it 
seemed to him, and he concluded that he must be near 
the Indians, if they had an encampment in that direc- 
tion. He now began to shout, calling out that he had 
a companion who had been badly snake-bitten, and 
was in great need of help. He begged that if there 
were white men within sound of his voice they would 
answer him; if Indians, he desired peace and their 
kind assistance. How hollow and dismal his voice 
must have sounded to himself as it woke the dreary 
echoes of those grim solitudes. He repeated his shout- 
ing from time to time, but without response. He al- 
ways thought that there was a party of Indians within 
reach, but that they suspected some stratagem of a 
stronger party of whites, and lay close in the brake. 

At length he gave up, and commenced his return, 
slowly and uncertainly. The night was now far spent, 
and hoping that he was within sound of his comrade's 
voice, he again began to shout, but still the hollow 
woodland echoes were his only answer. 

He wandered on, and all at once, he caught a 
glimpse in the darkness of what appeared, to his un- 
certain sight, a figure silently extinguishing the dying 
remains of a camp fire. It must be an Indian, he 
thought, and remained some time perfectly rigid, ex- 
pecting an attack every instant, his hand ready to his 
rifle. 

Nothing stirred ; his ears, sharpened by anxiety, 
could not detect the slightest sound. At last he 
stealthily drew near the spot, and was astonished to 
find his friend extended on the earth in a kind of 
stupor, after his dreadful pain and fatigue. When he 



94 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

was aroused he told Michael that he had a faint recol- 
lection of hearing a noise, but that he supposed it 
was the howling of wolves. 

Lewis could not be moved. For three weeks or 
more they camped by the river, and Alichael made his 
friend as comfortable as possible. He built a rude hut 
to shelter them from the weather, constructing it out 
of fallen limbs and roofing it with branches of trees. 
They had no supplies, and were obliged to trust to 
their guns for their support. Unfortunately they had 
not much ammunition, and had to be very careful 
of it. 

Michael went to the river with his rifle and at- 
tempted to shoot fish. This was new work, and at fit:.st 
he made no allowance for the curvature of the water, 
and would overshoot, and miss his aim. However, he 
improved with practice, and soon had no difficulty in 
killing fish whenever he needed them. 

Sot)n, however, their ammunition became too scarce 
and preciiius to use in tliis way. Michael therefore 
left Lewis at the camp and proceeded to look for 
buffalo. He bent his course to a lick a mile or two 
oft" the southern bank of the Big Barren. Here he 
succeeded in finding buffalo and at last killed a fine 
calf. He swung the hind cjuarters, which weighed 
seventy or eighty pounds, across his back, without 
stopping to dress them, and had scarcely started on his 
return when a large yellowish gray wolf, hearing the 
report of the gun, came up to share the game. 

The wolf followed close behind Michael, and some- 
times ran around him, keeping at a distance ; but a 
load of powder was too valuable to be expended on 
such a worthless creature. So the pair went on, imtil 
they neared the cam]), when the wolf became discour- 
aged and went off on the back trail. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 95 

Michael, as soon as he reached camp, made a good 
fire, broiled some of the choice meat on the embers, 
and set aside as much as would keep for a day or two, 
and then proceeded to jerk the rest for future use. 

The primitive method of jerking meat, whether buf- 
falo, bear, deer or elk, was this : A scaltold was 
erected by placing in the ground in an upright position 
four forked stakes some five or six feet in height, and 
across the top of these two parallel poles were fixed 
in the forks, and transversely a number of small 
straight sticks or splints two or three inches apart, 
upon which to place strips of the meat an inch or even 
less in thickness, weighing from half a pound to a 
pound each. Then a smouldering fire was kept going 
underneath, and in damp weather, a blanket or skin 
would be stretched overhead. A day or two was 
sufiicient to cure the meat by this combined process of 
half-cooking, smoking, and drying the meat, and it 
was then pron(,>unccd jcrki'd, and fit for use. A little 
sprinkle of salt ^^■ould lessen the amount of smoking 
rec|uisite, as well as greatly improve the flavor; but in 
those times it was seldom that woodsmen could com- 
mand a sufficiency of salt to warrant so great a 
luxury. 

To return to our woodsmen. It was early in June, 
their supply of meat was soon exhausted, and Lewis 
was nearly well. They concluded to break camp and 
start for the settlement by slow degrees. So they set 
out, and, as Fields was still weak, when they came to 
streams or rough places Michael would carry him on 
his back. Hunger at last compelled them to seek for 
meat ; and, in a valley they discovered a drove of 
bufTalo. 

"Be careful, Fields," said Michael. "Aim between 



96 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

the horn and the ear, where the skull is thinnest, and 
the ball will best take effect. Remember we've only 
four charges left." 

"Yes ! Yes !" said Fields, as he crept along from tree 
to tree. In a moment he fired. 

"Thank God !" he exclaimed, as he saw the buifalo 
fall to the ground, "Now we are safe!" 

As ]\Iichael came running up, the animal, probably 
hit in the thick part of the forehead, impervious to 
balls, and only stunned for a moment, recovered him- 
self, and in a rage, charged full at him. He fired and 
dodged to the left, when the buifalo dashed on to join 
the herd. Michael, hating to give up, ran around 
and managed to get another shot at the same animal, 
but they lost him after all their trouble. 

Only a single charge of powder remained, and with 
this Fields shot at and missed a wild turkey. Noth- 
ing daunted they went on their way, making for the 
head of Severn's A^illey. 

'Plicy now sutVcrei! greatly from hunger, so much so 
that, finding a piece of buffalo hide on a bush, which 
had evidently been left there months before by white 
or red hunters, they proposed to roast and eat it, 
parched as it was. They did so, but Fields was unable 
to swallow any of it. They went on, and that same 
day were so fortunate as to catch a small terrapin. 
This they stripped from the shell and roasted nicely. 
Michael, hungry as he was, could not bring himself 
to touch it, but to Lewis it was a rich treat. He had 
nearly eaten it all when Michael ventured on a taste, 
and then was angry with himself for waiting so long. 
Cooked in that manner it was delicious. 

As they went on Lewis grew constantly stronger, 
while his faithful nurse, from long exposure and hard- 
ship, began to grow weaker every moment. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 97 

At last, when they were both worn out with hunger 
and fatigue, they neared the settlement of Jacob Van 
Meter, an old acquaintance from Berkeley County, 
Virginia, who lived two miles from Henley's Stat inn 
Lewis Fields, now the stronger of the two, went ahead 
and first reached the house. When Michael came he 
found Mrs. Van Meter had prepared a bowl of mush 
and milk for him. He was forced to eat with great 
caution, and only a little at a time, for some days, so 
near starvation had he been. But in a few days both 
were able to travel, and they proceeded on their way, 
soon arriving at the older settlements. So ended the 
iirst Green Iviver expedition. 

It is ])k'asaut to know that Lewis Fields, always 
loved and esteemed by Major l>edinger as one of the 
kindest and most generous-hearted of men, subse- 
quently married and did well. He was popular and 
'^uccessfuk For a long time he was High Sheriff of 
the county in Kentucky in which he lived. 



CHAPTER XI 
The Second Green River Expedition,,, 

MICHAEL Bedinger did not waste much time in 
inaction. That same summer he again started 
out from the Falls of the Ohio, with his compass and 
chain, a supply of ammunition, and a deputy survey- 
or's appointment from Colonel Richard C. Hender- 
son. Again his destination was the Green River 
country, hut this time he secured, in Severn's Valley, 
the assistance of George and Jack Berry, a man named 
Nelson, and another named King. 

They started tlown Uie \'al]ey creek in a canoe, and 
then down No-Linn into Green River. The heavy 
rains had swollen the streams. Here and there they 
saw beaver, perched upon logs along the margin of 
the water. When the party drew near these creatures 
w(niKl dive, making a peculiar tlc^p on (he surface with 
(heir broad tails as they went down. 

The Berry boys had come provided with traps, and 
they caught some of the beaver. The pelts were re- 
tained for their fur, and the trowel-shaped tails, which 
weighed one or two pounds, according to the age and 
size of the animal, were salted and jerked to be carried 
back to the settlements, where they were considered a 
great luxury and sold at a high price. 

The party had no very serious misadventures on 
this trip, and met no Indians. They left the canoe at 
the upper part of the Big Bend of Green River, within 
the limits of Butler County, and there commenced 
their surveys. 

One day at twilight, the party encamped and made 
their fire near the mouth of a large cave in a hill-side, 



;rfiw 



h VJy\ hanifit 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 99 

at the upper neck of the Big Bend. A Httle parched 
com meal brought with them in the canoe, with some 
broiled fish or venison, made a supper fit for lord or 
lady. Then, as they sat around the blazing fire, the 
Berrys would give them some good lively songs, and 
they would all join in in the chorus. Many a tale of 
hairbreadth escape would enliven the evening, and at 
last they would drop off to sleep around the smoulder- 
ing embers. 

On this occasion, as it was damp and drizzling, 
Michael thought that the cave, so close at hand, would 
make a comfortable bedroom. So he expressed his 
intention of honoring it with his patronage, as prefer- 
able to the dami) ground. 

George l>erry, who had carefully examined it, ex- 
claimed at this idea : "Why, Bedinger, it looks very 
unsafe ; those overhanging rocks are ready to fall 
and bury you." lie went on to declare that, although 
bis name was Berry, he didn't particularly relish the 
idea of such a burial. 

"Besides," said he, "there may be snakes in it, and 
I wouldn't sleep there for a fortune." 

But Michael would not be frightened. He entered 
the cavern, laid his trusty rifle beside him, and was 
soon sleeping as soundly on the stony floor as if it 
were softest down. 

He slept late, and when he awoke it was broad 
daylight. When he arose, curiosity led him to ex- 
amine the apartment more minutely. 

The room in which he had slept was nearly circular, 
and was about eight feet in height, and fully fifteen 
in width. The back part of the cavern was dark, and 
groping around, he discovered an aperture, about 
three feet wide, leading into an inner cavity. He had 



100 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

scarcely entered this passage, when a large, fat bear, 
alarmed at this unceremonious intrusion into his bed- 
room, dashed suddenly by him, not, however, without 
jostling and crowding him in that narrow place. 

Michael shouted to his comjjanions, who were busy- 
ing themselves outside, when one of them seized his 
rifle, and shot the bear as it retreated out of the cave. 
This bear weighed three hundred pounds, and supplied 
the party with plenty of "jerk." When they broke up 
camp they could not carry all their bear meat with 
them. Accordingly they left a part of it upon the 
scaffold they had erected for the purpose of curing 
it. This they securely covered with the skin, to pro- 
tect it from pilfering buzzards. 

The young men went on their way down Green 
River to continue their surveys and did not return for 
a couple of weeks. When thc}^ came back for their 
meat it was gone, and they were sorely disappointed, 
for they then stood in need of it. 

Surveying lands and exploring the country employed 
their time until autumn was far advanced. They 
hunted, fished, and trapped game for their subsistence ; 
and led the free, independent life that Michael Bed- 
inger loved. 

One day, while he was near the mouth of Muddy 
River, he was surprised by the tinkle of a bell, and 
looking through the bushes he saw, feeding in a little 
plain, a fine young horse on the opposite side of the 
river. He determined to capture him, and to help 
him took a little salt in a bag, held it in his mouth, 
and attempted to get across by means of a floating log, 
that he mounted as if it were some kind of river steed. 
In this way he tried to paddle across, but the current 
of Muddy River was too strong for him; it whirled 



I '- 



GEORGE MICHAEL EEDINGER 101 

his log over, and plunged him into the water. The 
salt melted away in this plunge, but he reached the 
shore safely, and with some difficulty, caught the 
horse. He then stripped the bark from a pawpaw, 
and constructed a rude sort of bridle with it, mounted 
his prize, and entered the water. 

The horse became frightened in the current, and 
struggled until the bark bridle gave way. Then he 
swerved, swam back to the shore, and sprang into the 
woods. Michael still clung to his neck, crouching for- 
ward to avoid being swept off by the limbs of the 
trees. They had a mad race of it, but finally the 
frightened horse came to a stand, and Michael con- 
sidered himself fortunate in escaping with a few 
scratches and bruises. He now made another and 
stronger bridle, and this time succeeded in inducing 
the horse to swim across the river. When he reached 
camp, being cunning in wood lore, he managed to 
make a bark saddle and stirrups ; upon this he folded 
his camp blanket, and began his long journey to the 
' settlements. 

With his rifle slung behind and his compass in front, 
he rode through the wilderness, unguided and alone, 
while his companions returned as they had come, in the 
canoe, with their peltry and beaver tails, and reached 
the Severn Valley without misadventure. When he 
arrived he advertised the horse, but whether the 
owner was ever found or not the account does not tell 
us. It is probable tiiat this was one of the many 
tragedies of the woods in that early time. 



CHAPTER XII 
The Third Trip to Green River 

MICHAEL had now been away from home many 
months. His mother had great anxiety on 
his account, more, probal)ly, than her other, less ven- 
turesome chil(h'en, caused her. Ilenry was married 
and settled in Shepherdstown, where he was, for 
many years, a flour and produce merchant. Daniel, 
soon after the Revolution, set out for Norfolk to seek 
the fortune he found there. Only jMichael preferred 
the lonely forest solitudes, with ever-lurking danger 
to give spice to life. He remained in Kentucky 
throughout the winter of 1784-5, partly at Boonesboro' 
and part of the time at Strode's Station, and early in 
the spring, made a short surveying trip to Pond River 
and its tributaries. Little has come down to us about 
this expedition. He killed an extremely large buffalo, 
the patriarch of the herd. When it fell it barked a 
tree ; great was its fall ! I do not know who accom- 
panied him upon this trip, but it was a short one. 

Early that summer he set out again to explore the 
Green River country, which seems to have possessed 
for him a peculiar fascination, probably because of the 
richness of the soil in tiiat part of Kentucky, where 
forest trees, oaks, hickories, and tulip trees reach 
gigantic proportions, and where, at that time, all sorts 
of game abounded, while the waters were full of fish. 
It is, to this day, a bountiful, well-watered country, 
famous for its fuie horses and cattle. This territory, 
also, was almost entirely covered by nu'litary land 
warrants. On this third ex]iedition to Green River he 
was accompanied by John O'I'.annon, another sur- 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 103 

veyor, and a second companion, whose name I do not 
know. 

When the Httle party reached the western part of 
the river they found plenty of "Indian sign," and 
these were fresh, so that they had to be continually on 
guard. 

One night they selected a bend on Deer Creek for 
their camp. This is one of the tributaries of Green 
River, flere the banks were high and the surveyors 
were uneasy, for from the signs around them they felt 
sure that they w^ere in the neighborhood of Indians. 
Before lying down to sleep, Michael, who had his 
valuable land papers with him, placed these for safety, 
in a small bear-skin knapsack, bent down a sapling, 
fastened the knapsack to it, and let it right itself, 
thereby concealing the papers in the foliage. They 
silently lay down in the tall grass, without fire, and on 
their guard against surprise. 

Some time in the night they heard the half-sup- 
pressed growl of an liulian dog, and a whispered re- 
buke in the Indian tongue. Knowing full well that a 
band of Indians was stealing upon them, all at once 
they sprang down the high bank, dashed over the 
creek, and escaped. Michael, however, had not time 
to secure his knapsack. Several days passed before 
he ventured to steal back to the spot. When he came 
to the sapling he found his papers torn up and scat- 
tered, and, at no great distance off, the knapsack was 
discovered, hanging upon a bush. He went to secure 
it. It contained something heavy. What was his 
surprise to find, lapped within the fur, a tiny, Indian 
baby, quite cold and dead ! 

Early in the fall he again went to the Green River 
neighborhood. By this time he was, no doubt, con- 



104 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

sidered a good guide to that region. He was accom- 
panied by Captain Mayo Carrington of Virginia, an 
officer appointed by the Continental line to superintend 
the rnilitary surveys. He took a party of twenty-two 
men and servants. Each surveyor had two chain-car- 
riers, a marker, and a hunter. They struck Green 
River just above its confluence with Rough Creek, 
remained here fishing for a short time, and found the 
water too high to ford. All looked to Michael, as he 
was so well-acquainted with the country, and followed 
in his lead. He twice crossed the river on horseback, 
and swam it three times, in succession, before all their 
camp equipage was safely rafted over. The water 
was very cold, and the exposure brought on a violent 
attack of rheumatism, from which he suffered greatly. 

However, the party proceeded on to Tradewater 
Creek, which flows west, and is a tributary of the 
Ohio. They located most of their surveys on Trade- 
water, and a few on I/ivingstone Creek, which empties 
into Cumborknul River. 

On Pond Creek, a northern fork of Tradewater, 
they found abundance of beaver, with swans and 
geese. They saw few if any buffalo — the country was 
too densely wooded for them — but there were plenty 
of deer, and an occasional elk. 

At one time they encamped near a beaver-dam. 
Some of the party proposed to tear away a part of 
their dam, hide and watch the animals, so as to kill 
them when they attempted to repair the breach. This 
they agreed to, the dam was broken, and they con- 
cealed themselves in the bushes near by to ambuscade 
the beavers. But these cunning animals floated logs 
along with the current, keeping their bodies sub- 
merged. They pushed these logs into place with their 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 105 

noses, thus repairing the breach, and as carefully stop- 
ping up the interstices with mud. All this they ac- 
complished so secretly that, though the hunters 
watched closely throughout the dark night, they were 
unable to get a shot. Next morning they found them-, 
selves completely outwitted by the beavers. The dam 
was repaired, and not one of the architects could be 
seen. 

A few days afterwards some of the hunters reported 
that they had discovered a camp of eight Indians on 
the northern bank of the Tradewater, about five miles 
from its mouth. Bedingcr's party were on the opposite 
side of the stream, and not more than half a mile off. 
All was motion in the camp, and several of the men 
proposed surprising and attacking the Indians. To this 
Bedinger strongly objected. They had but seven guns 
in the party, as most of the surveyors were men of 
peace. He declared that if they attacked the hunting 
party they would be obliged to abandon their surveys 
for that season. It would be a signal for the Indians 
to gather in force, and if they did not annihilate the 
white men they would certainly make their lives ex- 
tremely uncomfortable. 

Niglit had come on while they were holding this 
council, and he proposed to set out next morning on 
a friendly mission to the Indians, and asked if any 
one were willing to accompany him. Captain Carring- 
ton, who was as brave as Michael, immediately oiTered 
himself as his companion. He declared that he would 
not allow his friend to undertake the dangerous em- 
bassy alone. 

Next morning they started for the Indian camp, 
taking a few presents with them to conciliate the sav- 
ages. The rest of the party followed at a short dis- 



106 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

tance. Wlien they approached the Indian camp 
Michael went in front, with the muzzle of his rifle in 
his hand, and the breech thrown carelessly over his 
shoulder. Carrington, who had no gun, kept a short 
distance in the rear. The rest of the party were cau- 
tioned to keep out of sight, but sufficiently near to 
render assistance if it proved necessary. 

It was after sunrise when Michael crept up softly, 
and neared the shallow ford directly between him and 
the Indian camp. Two warriors and a squaw were 
there, and they did not observe him until he had com- 
menced fording the creek, when the men sprang from 
the camp-fire and snatched their rifles. 

Michael spoke to them kindly with the usual friendly 
greeting : "How do you do, how do you do, brothers ?" 

The Indians, unprepared for battle, returned the 
compliment with a guttural, '"How do! How do!" and 
then they shook hands. 

Michael seated himself by the fire and asked for 
something to cat. The sciuaw immediately put some 
bear meat on to broil over the coals. He was now 
joined by Captain Carrington. 

The Indians were Delawares; they called their 
leader "Captain," in imitation of the English. The 
rest of the small party were out hunting. The young 
men told them that their great father, General George 
Rogers Clarke, a name that struck terror to their 
hearts, had sent them to ask their Indian brothers to 
come in and make peace. 

By this time the whole party of surveyors had come 
to the camp. At first Captain Whitenday, as their 
leader was called, seemed alarmed at their numbers, 
but he soon overcame this feeling, and received them 
hospitably. Bear meat was set before them and, after 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 107 

breakfast, the surveyors went on down the creek to 
their work. 

Captain Carrington, wishing to keep the peace, gave 
Captain Whitenday a good saddle which his servant 
was carrying on his back, as his horse had given out 
and they had been obUged to leave him behind. Car- 
rington told Whitenday he might have the horse, too, 
and explained where he was to be found. 

The chief, not wishing to be outdone in generosity, 
gave Carrington several dressed deer skins, which pro- 
vided moccasins for the whole party. 

The young white men then took their leave, after 
obtaining a promise from Whitenday that he would 
go in and make peace with General Clarke. 

The surveyors continued to perform their labors at 
a short distance from the Indian camp. In the course 
of a few days they found themselves nearly out of 
provisions. Michael, on whom they seem to have 
greatly depended, declared that he would go and buy 
game of Captain Whitenday and his hunters. 

With his characteristic boldness, he mounted his 
horse and started off alone in the direction of their 
camp. He came close upon the band without discov- 
ery, rode up and greeted them in a friendly way with 
the usual salutation: "How do you do, bnithers?" 

Unfortunately the Indians had obtained' whisky 
from some traders, and some of them were much 
under its influence. It must be borne in mind that at 
this time the Indians, especially the Dclawares, were 
hostile, and that they were greatly exasperated by any 
intrusion into their hunting grounds. 

Whitenday, no longer placable, began to abuse 
Michael, exclaiming : "You dam lie ! You one dam 
rogue!" 



6 'j?,ion 



108 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

■ Michael, suspecting that he had not found the horse 
Carrington had given him, took a piece of paper, and 
marked out the course of the Tradewater, and then 
drew the figure of a horse on one of its forks. 

Captain Whitenday seemed somewhat appeased by 
this explanation and remarked: "May be so, you are 
big cap-pa-tin ; may be so, you are one dam lie ; me 
look and not find, but me look again, then no find, me 
go steal one good boss, may be so too." 

Michael then told him he must not steal from his 
white brethren, for that would make mischief. 

By this time Whitenday was in a good humor, and 
commenced introducing himself and his friends to 
Michael. Striking his breast he exclaimed : "Me — 
Cap-pa-tin Whitenday. This — Powder ; this, Jimmy 
Corday ; and this Fawnee, Cap-pa-tin Buck's son ; he 
young Buck." While all these and more were formally 
presented to their white brother, Michael held his horse 
by the reins ; now, in the act of fastening him to a 
sapling. Powder, whose face was painted black, as is 
the Indian custom when on the war-path, came up 
and silently took hold of the bridle. Michael snatched 
it from his hand, whereupon he went away and sat 
down on a log, still keeping an ominous silence. 

After awhile Powder took froni,hi,S,,h<?flfJ an old 
hat that had belonged to some luifortunjttp, |scttler.' It 
was rimless and topless, the very wreck and ruin of a 
hat. Walking up to him he proposed that they should 
"Swap." Michael declining this magnanimous offer, 
the Indian snatched his hat from his head, but Michael 
wrencheil it away from him. At this I'owder seized 
him by the sh(Mdder, but, as (|uick as thought, found 
himself sprawling on the ground. 

'IMie Indians laughed heartily at Powder's disconi- 



loot '{f)!tj^j?, hns 






GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 109 

fiture, and Michael joined in. Powder again retired 
to his log, handhng his rifle in a particularly vicious 
manner, but evidently not daring to use it. 

The Indian chief now proposed that they should 
smoke the pipe of peace. Accordingly it was filled and 
each took a few whiffs. He next presented Michael 
with a drink of whisky in a tin cup, no doubt wishing 
to show him special honor. 

Michael never touched strong drink, and now, while 
the Indian was persuasively exclaiming: "Come, drink 
him all up !" he politely declined. 

The chief persisted, and said: "If you don't drink, 
I'll kill you !" So saying he drew his knife, and pre- 
senting the point in a back-handed way to Michael's 
breast, he doubled up his fist as if to drive the blade 
home into his heart. 

Michael carelessly took the cup and passed it to an 
Indian onlooker, when the chief stealthily withdrew 
the knife and, striking him lightly on the breast, ex- 
claimed, with much emphasis: "You big Cap-pa-tin!" 
Then smiting his own breast he added, with an air of 
pride, "Me big Cap-pa-tin, too !" "You white men," 
he continued, "kill good many praying Delawares on 
the Muskingum, but me no mind that none, for me 
kill white men, too, so many — " indicating, by his fing- 
ers, fifteen. "And for this," he added, "me made big 
Cap-pa-tin!" 

While this was going on, the two traders, who had 
supplied the Indians with whisky, approached the 
camp from a small island in the river in which, after 
making the savages drunk, they had concealed them- 
selves. One of them was a man named Edward Rice, a 
former acquaintance of Michael's, As soon as the 
chief saw them he began to abuse them for their 
cowardice. 



■.Alt 



no GEORGE MICHAEI. BEDINGER 

"You squaws — you afraid, — you squaws — you run 
away — you squaws!" 

"Yes," said Rice, "we were afraid of zvhisky, last 
night!" 

Rice, it seems, had come down the river according 
to a previous arrangement, to bring supphes to the 
surveyors, who promised, in return, to survey a tract 
of land for him. On the previous evening the Indians 
had darted out from the bushy sh6re above and below 
the traders' canoe, completely hemming them in. Rice 
and his Irishman, finding it useless to attempt to es- 
cape, made a virtue of necessity, and greeted the chief 
in the most friendly manner, declaring that they were 
glad to meet their brothers, that General Clarke was 
anxious to make peace with all the Indian tribes, and 
that they had been sent to smoke the pipe of peace 
with their brothers, the Delawares. 

The old chief received them amicably, and seemed 
to consider the cargo of the canoe iiis property. 1 le at 
once asked for whisky and sail ; the one to preserve 
his body, the other his meat. The traders were obliged 
to give him a jug of "fire-water," and by evening all 
the Indians were drunk. The fell spirit of destruc- 
tion had come upon them. The squaws succeeded in 
hiding most of their guns and knives, and begged Rice 
and the Irishman to hide also. They got away to the 
little island in such haste that they left their guns be- 
liiiid, and there they concealed themselves in tlie cane. 

The chief continued his examination of Michael, 
and inquired what so many white men were doing so 
far from the settlements? 

"Oh!" said Michael. "Some have come to see the 
country, and visit their friends at the French Lick on 
Cumberland." 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 111 

"What?" said Whitenday. doubtingly. "All these 
got friends at French Lick?" 

At that moment he saw the end of an ivory scale 
sticking out of the pocket of the young surveyor, and 
perhaps half suspecting its object, suddenly pulled it 
out and asked eagerly: "What dis for?" 

Michael was somewhat taken by surprise but de- 
clared, "Oh, it's only a rule, to make lines so I can talk 
on paper to my friends in the settlements." 

This seemed to satisfy the old chief. 

Michael now asked Rice if he had brought any 
flour. "Yes," he answered, but signifietl that it woukl 
be well to ask the chief's permission lo take it away. 
The old chief graciously answered that he might have 
part of it, upon which the white men went down to 
the canoe. Rice inquired of Michael whether he would 
venture to take a ])ound or two of salt, which he had 
sewed up in a cloth, and which, the evening before, he 
had successfully secreted from the Indians. 

Hardly any risk was too great lo secure so desirable 
an article; and accordingly, when some five and 
twenty pounds of flour were put into a bag, the little 
wallet of salt was placed near the center. 

The ever-watchful Chief discovering that something 
of a suspicious nature was going on, came down to 
the canoe, and commenced feeling the outside of the 
bag with nimble fingers, but very fortunately he did 
not happen to detect the salt. Its discovery might 
have cost the white men their lives. 

Michael now took his leave of the Indians, shaking 
hands with all. Powder, however, remained sitting 
apart on the log, as surly as a bear. Michael went up 
to him, but Powder made no motion to accept his 
parting salutation. Bedingcr, however, seized his re- 



112 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Inctant hand, giving it a hearty squeeze. Then, mount- 
ing liis horse, with a wary eye on his friend Powder, 
wlio he feared might have reserved this opportunity to 
shoot him, he dashed into the bushes and was lost to 
view. 



CHAPTER XIII 
A Terrible Experience 

CARRINGTON'S party continued their surveys^ 
until early in December, when the advancing 
season admonished them by frosty nights and inclem- 
ent weather that it was time to seek winter (luarters. 

Michael now became almost helpless from rheuma- 
tism, which had been increasing in severity through- 
out the autumn. Their camp, at this time, was on the 
border of a small pond in the cane-brake, a few miles 
from the shores of the Ohio, and in the country be- 
tween Tradcwater and Cumberland Rivers. 

Michael found himself unable to undertake the long 
journey back to the settlements. The party, therefore, 
abandoned him to his fate. He was to be left alone in 
the bitter wintry weather, ill and helpless ; without 
any of the comforts of civilization. To be ill in one's 
own comfortable home, or in the carefully tondetl 
wards of a hospital, is a dismal trial ; but to be left 
helpless in such a wilderness, under such conditions, 
was a calamity. 

Carrington was his frienil, for whom he had over 
and again exposed himself. It was in his zeal to aid 
him that Michael had contracted his painful disease, 
and yet that gentleman took leave of him and went 
back to the safety and comfort of the settled districts, 
where he announced that he had left Bedinger in a 
dying condition, and that by that time he was doubt- 
less dead. 

it is very certain that, had their positions been re- 
versed, Michael would never have abandoned Car- 
rington. It was a large party ; they had servants and 



114 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

other followers. If Michael were unable to sit a 
horse, one would suppose that, at least, they might 
have made a litter, as was done for the wounded after, 
St. Clair's defeat, and, in this manner, by taking turns, 
they could have brought liim with them to be nursed 
at the nearest station. But no, tiiey abandoned him to 
his fate; left him surrounded by hostile Indians; by 
wild creatures made savage with hunger ; by all the 
terrors of the wilderness. 

One of his chain-bearers, alone, ofifered, for a goodly 
sum, to remain with him, and this oiTer was accepted. 
It is hard to tell what were the motives that induced 
this man, whoso name was John Stovall, to make the 
offer to remain behind in the forest, with a helpless 
companion, at that inclement season. But he prob- 
ably had his own reasons. Perhaps he feared to re- 
turn to the towns, where he may have been wanted 
for more than one dark deed. For this man was the 
true type of border ruffian, and one of the most dan- 
gerous of his class. 

Carrington took leave of his friend and brother offi- 
cer. He had nothing else to leave him, says Dr. 
Draper in his account of this episode, except a green 
baize shirt. Even this, he continues, was peculiarly 
acceptable to one in his destitute condition ! Before 
their departure the hunters had killed a fine, fat bear, 
and left him a sui)])ly of meat. 

The party of surveyors had their own hardships, 
and were severely frost bitten before they reached 
their destination ; where, as I have said, they re- 
ported that they had left Bedinger as good as dead, 
ant! that he would never be seen again. This must 
have been sad news for his i)oor old mother if it ever 
reached her. He had been many months in the wilder- 



GEORGE MICPIAEL BEDINGER 115 

ness, and it is probable that his family had had no 
tidings from him during his absence. 

And now, far away from his friends, with a cheer- 
less prospect before him, he was left in the deep soli- 
tude of the winter with a companion whose society 
was far worse than none. For Stovall was a heartless 
and treacherous man. 

They were ill provided for the severity of the sea- 
son. Each had his summer outfit which consisted of 
a buckskin hunting-frock, and breeches of the same. 
Instead of being regularly stitched these breeches were 
tied with leather strips from half an inch to an inch 
and a half apart, the knots outside, and sometimes 
dangling down. These strings supplied the place of. 
buttons, unprocurable at that time. 

In addition to these garments Michael wore, under 
his hunting- frock, a camlet jacket that had seen its 
best days, and his green baize shirt. He wore also, an 
old cocked hat, which was a souvenir of the Revolu- 
tion and a good pair of buckskin moccasins, lined with 
dry beech leaves, as a substitute for socks. It should 
be added that when the moccasins were once frozen 
it was deemed necessary to keep them so, to prevent 
the leaves within from becoming wet and uncomfor- 
table. 

Stovall's headgear was a curiously fashioned cap, 
which he had made without much pretension to fit, by 
skinning the carcase of a large, wild grey goose. This, 
with the feathers and down exposed to the weather, 
and strings to fasten benealli the chin, presented alto- 
gether, says Dr. Draper, "as singularly ludicrous an 
appearance as ever graced the head of a hunter since 
the days of Nimrod the mighty. Add to this a long, 
unshaven beard, and a naturally ugly and sinister 



116 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

countenance; small ferocious eyes, and a malignant 
expression; rifle and shot-pouch, properly adjusted; 
scalping knife and tomahawk in his belt, and we have 
John Stovall pictured to the life." 

They continued in this sequestered camp in the 
cane-brake for several weeks. They had plenty of 
j)rovisions, anil as the Indians were still in the country 
Stovall thought it most prudent to remain concealed. 
A blanket stretched upon poles sheltered them from 
the storm, and a good camp-fire served the double 
l)urpose of keeping them warni : and cooking their 
meat. 

The days must have passed tediously enough for such 
an active spirit as Michael Bedinger. He was glad of 
anything that broke the monotony of his long hours 
of sufifering, and, one day, he noticed, on a branch of a 
sapling that hung over the camp, a lonely little paro- 
quet, which had a broken wing, and could not fly. It 
had evidently sought the ])rotection of the fire, and 
in its desperate situation it seemed to form the de- 
termination to trust itself to the humanity of the 
hunters. 

Michael watched it, and coaxed it by sprinkling a 
little parched corn meal upon the ground near the 
sapling. It slowly commenced its descent, by fastening 
its bill in the bark, stretching its legs to their utmost 
capacity, securing a good foothold with its claws, when 
it would loosen its bill, and re-fastening it between 
its feet, let itself down as before, and in this manner it 
finally descended to the ground. The poor bird seemed 
half starved, and began to peck at the meal and some 
grape seeds and bits of meat which Michael scattered 
for it. At last it slowly came up to him, and allowed 
him to smoothc its feathers and fondle it. It now 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 117 

became very tame and grateful for the kindness sliown 
it. Every day it came down from tlie sapling for its 
food, and every evening it retnrned to its i)erch at the 
top of the little tree. 

Michael was yonng, and naturally bold and light- 
hearted. He did not give way to despondency, but set 
himself to work to regain health and strength. He 
called to mind the Indian custom of curing rheuma- 
tism by cold water bathing, and determined to make 
the trial. The weather was freezing, yet he dragged 
himself down to the little pond, which was only a few 
yards off, and plunged into it. It was so cold that, 
when he came out, the water, running down his hair, 
would freeze into little icicles. He dressed himself 
and laid down by a blazing fire, and strange to say, 
this heroic treatment was attended with good results. 
The reaction that set in produced a feeling of warmth 
and comfort that he could obtain in no other way. 
His first experiment was so satisfactory that he often 
repeated it, and it was followed by the most gratify- 
ing improvement. 

At first Stovall was on his good behavior. He 
brought water to fill their camp kettle, and proved 
himself an adept in forest cookery. They had, besides 
their little kettle, a pint tin cup, a spoon or two made 
of hickory bark or buft'alo horn, a tomahawk, and the 
ever-needful butcher knife, which also performed the 
duties of a razor. Michael had his i)et paroquet and 
his experiments on himself for the cure of his rheu- 
matism as his sole occupations, but his lot was a safe 
and tranquil one compared to what it soon became. 

As time went on the blackness of Stovall's charac- 
ter began to show itself in a more and more ugly light. 
One day he carried off ami secreted Michael's ton:a- 



1 1 8 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

hawk, while he slept. When Michael missed it he 
declared that the Indians must have crept into camp 
during his absence and stolen it. 

In the long evenings, as they sat around the flicker- 
ing fire, some strange impulse impelled him to open his 
heart to Michael, and show him all its ugly depths. 
He would, by the hour, recount his crimes and deeds 
of successful rascality, leering on him the while, like a 
very devil. He did indeed seem possessed by evil 
spirits, and at this time, he had apparently made up his 
mind that Michael should never return to civiliza- 
tion, to make known to the world the true character of 
his companion. 

Sometimes he would make obscene allusions or dark 
inuendoes that might shock and disgust and fill with 
apprehensions a strong and able-bodied man, left alone 
with such a villian. 

"You must be a great rascal indeed," Michael would 
say, "if half of all you tell me is true." Stovall would 
reply by a low, chuckling laugh, and go coolly on with 
his grisly adventures. 

Weak, lonely, and dependent as Michael was, he 
was obliged to keep ever on the alert, and endeavor to 
make the best of his situation. At last he felt himself 
so far recovered that, about Christmas, he concluded 
to attempt the homeward journey. 

With the remains of their bear meat they set out 
on the long way, following the waters of the Little 
River, a tributary of the Cumberland. Before they 
had gone far Michael was so fortunate as to kill an un- 
usually fat bultalo cow. He sat down on a log to 
dress some of the meat, and Stovall sat behind him 
on the same log, handling his rifle on his knees. The 
gun went off, the ball barely missing Michael. It 



iiw hi. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 119 

would, indeed, have passed through his body, had he 
not, the moment before, suddenly changed his posi- 
tion. 

Michael more than suspected that it was no acci- 
dent, but thinking it was better not to charge him with 
evil intentions, he reproved him sharply for his care- 
lessness. Stovall declared that he was trying to kindle 
a fire, and wanting to save the load in his gun he had 
plugged the touch-hole, while he flashed some powder, 
and that it was in this manner that the accident oc- 
curred. 

"That is no good reason," said Michael, "why you 
should have pointed your gun at me." 

Now more than ever assured of the wickedness of 
Stovall, he continued on, directing his course to the 
mouth of the Big Barren River. The earth was cov- 
ered with snow. Michael kept a wary eye on the 
movements of his murderous companion, and noticed 
that, every now and then, he bore off to the left of 
their route, and then fell behind, following along the 
trail as if his purpose was to get another shot at his 
companion. Michael's vigilance alone prevented this 
catastrophe. 

On the following day he continued these manceu- 
vres, stealing off to the left. Michael concluded to 
endeavor to get rid of him. He therefore went out of 
the direct path, and pushed on several miles alone. 
At last he heard the distant report of Stovall's gun, 
evidently fired as a signal to him of his whereabouts. 
He very imprudently decided to answer, and upon 
examining his powder and finding that he had five 
charges left, beside the load in his rifle, fired in reply. 
On further reflection he decided that he had done 
unwisely, and determined to keep out of his way. 



120 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

He heard him fire again, but this time he did not 
reply, but bore off to the right, to break the course, as 
well as to take the south side of a range of hills 
where the snow had been swept off by the wind, in 
this manner he hoped to be able to prevent the mur- 
derer from tracking him. But he was not to get off 
so easily. 

For a day or two he went on alone, and about the 
third day he reached an elevation with a valley below. 
It was the valley along Green River, some distance 
below Big Barren. But he was not sure of his position 
until he reached the river. 

As he descended the hill towards the stream he came 
upon fresh tracks of a moccasined foot, and concluded 
that they were made by an Indian. He concealed him- 
self in the cane-brake near the bank, and was stealthily 
proceeding through it when, suddenly, he came upon 
Stovall. So thick was the cane that they had nearly 
come in contact before they perceived each other ; and 
the meeting was as cold as it was unexpected. 

"Is this you, Stovall?" asked Michael, and Stovall 
grunted in answer. In a few moments they came out 
of the cane and found themselves near the river bank. 

It was night-fall. A fine white oak still covered 
with dry brown foliage, furnished a suitable spot for 
making their camp. The overhanging leaves had 
kept the ground bare of snow beneath them ; and 
at a desirable distance from (he tree was a log against 
which to build the camj) fire. Major Bedinger set his 
gun down against the tree, and went and cut an arm 
full of cane, upon which to spend the night. While in 
the act of spreading the cane, Stovall, who was sitting 
upon the log with his rifle in his lap, fired directly at 
him, and once again Michael narrowly escaped. The 



GEORGE MTCITAEL BEDINGER 121 

ball and ramrod would have passed through his ab- 
domen had he not, at that moment, bent forward to 
arrange his bed of cane. As it was the ball and ram- 
rod missed their aim, and struck the oak, which shiv- 
ered the rod to pieces. Incensed at this treacherous con- 
duct, Michael instantly snatched his rifle, and levelled 
it at Stovall's forehead. But he, falling on his knees, 
begged piteously for his life, declaring that he "was 
the d — est fool in the world for such carelessness," 
and if Bedinger would only spare him, he would go 
before him all the way, and would not even flash a gun 
in his presence. Michael could not resist his appeal, 
and the perfidious wretch was suffered to escape, for 
that time, a well-merited death. 

Their supply of buffalo jerk was now exhausted, 
and Michael lay down supperless upon his bed of cane, 
with his head near the trunk of the tree and his feet 
to the fire ; his blanket his only covering, and his hand 
on his knife. It was a cold and cheerless night, and 
by and by Stovall, weary and shivering, laid himself 
carefully down at Michael's back, and there passed 
the night in silence. 

The next day they passed Green River, Stovall 
took the lead, according to his proposal the night be- 
fore. Ere long a large, gaunt Wolf crossed the trail, 
whereupon he drew up, and, with a single shot, broke 
both his fore legs. In this condition the disabled ani- 
mal managed, partly by hopping on his hind legs and 
partly by rolling, to reach a fallen tree, a few rods off, 
the trunk of which was slightly elevated from the 
ground. Under this the wolf sought protection. 

'JMie two men came up, and Michael placed one end 
of a pole under his feet, and the other upon the neck 
of the prostrate wolf. Stovall then drew his knife 



122 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

and plunged it to the hilt in the animal's heart. The 
wolf, in a dying effort, extricated its head from its 
confinement, snapped savagely at Stovall's hand, and 
barely missed it. It almost immediately expired, and, 
in a few moments, each of them had a fore quarter 
of wolf meat, for Stovall insisted that it would save 
life. It was a sorry dependence, for the creature was 
miserably thin, without the least appearance of fat, 
and withal had a most unsavory smell. 

The two men trudged along, striking across the 
country, and to, and then up, Caney Creek ; thence 
over to Rough Creek, of which CaiK'y was a branch; 
thou up Cliffy to another lril)utary, all the while fol- 
lowing a trail hemmed in with a thick growth of canes, 
and passing over a partly flooded, frozen region of 
low country. Along the margin of these streams 
they made their painful way, frequently breaking 
through the ice into the mud and water, moccasin 
deep; and always the weather was cold, raw, and dis- 
agreeable in the extreme. 

The second night after leaving Green River their 
hunger was so great that they attempted to make a 
meal of wolf meat. Stovall made a stew of his in 
their little camp kettle, and succeeded in eating a few 
morsels. Michael roasted his quarter all night before 
the fire, but even after it was thoroughly cooked, he 
was unable to swallow a mouthful. The experiment 
in wolf meat was set down by him as a total failure, 
and he never tried it again. 

During the afternoon of the fourth day from Green 
River, as they were nearing Severn's Valley, they 
found some scattered grains of corn along the trail, 
which had evidently, from the tracks, dropped from 
the ruptured bag of some solitary passer-by on horse- 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 123 

back. This discovery cheered their drooping spirits: 
every kernel was carefully picked up and husbanded 
until their camp cup was nearly filled. 

Night was now stealing rapidly upon them, and 
while looking out for a suitable place for camping, 
they found on the bank of Clifty a poor, wounded dog, 
unable to walk, and who seemed extremely glad to see 
them. Here they camped for the night, and, after 
striking up a good fire, the first thought was to fill the 
kettle, put in the corn, and set it merrily boiling. They 
were too hungry to. wait long enough to make a few 
ashes for the purpose of hulling the corn; half cooked 
and unsalted, they devoured the little pittance. The 
silent yet eloquent appeal of the eyes of the wounded 
dog touched the kind heart of Michael, and he gave 
the sufifering creature a spoonful of the precious food. 

It was a stormy night, cold and sleety. The single 
blanket covered them both, as they stretched before 
the fire. The weight of the snow and sleet upon the 
branches of the surrounding forest, caused many a 
limb and tree-top to fall, sometimes fearfully . near 
them. The blanket was soon 'saturated with water, but 
the heat of their bodies prevented it from freezing, 
which would have made them more comfortable. 

Sleep, under such circumstances, was out of the 
question. Michael felt certain that if Stovall ever in- 
tended to make any further attempt upon his life he 
would do it that night, as they were within a day's 
march of the settlement. He therefore spent the long 
hours, wakeful and on guard, with his hand upon his 
knife, ready to use it at a moment's warning. Hut his 
resolute and delerniiued conduct when the degenerate 
wretch had a second time basely attempted to shoot 
him had evidently subdued that bloodthirsty spirit for 
the time, and he lay passive by his side. 



124 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Early next morning they resumed their journey. 
Michael much regretted that he was obhged to leave 
the helpless dog behind. Towards midday they met a 
man on horseback, who had shortly before been out 
bear-hunting wilh his trusty dog. In a figlit with one 
of these animals he had been severely wounded, and 
his master was now on his way with a supply of meat 
to feed the lacerated creature, intending to put him on 
the horse before him, and thus return to the settle- 
ment. Such is the value which the backwoodsmen set 
ui)on a good and faithful dog; their brave companion 
in the chase by day, and their vigilant sentinel by night. 

The stranger told them that it was but thirteen miles 
to Van Meter's in the Valley. This was the same Van 
Meter who had been so helpful to Michael and Lewis 
Fields on a former occasion, when they arrived at his 
cabin in a starving condition. The settler gave them 
some of the food he carried ; and now their toilsome 
journey was nearly done. 

The time of tlie year was January, and it was one 
hundred and eight days since Michael Bedinger had 
seen a settlement, or even a single log cabin. Within 
that long and dreary time his sufferings had been very 
great ; his danger terrible. And now, in a most won- 
derful manner, he had escaped them all. 

They reached Van Meter's, and Mrs. Van Meter, 
good, motherly housewife, set nourishing food before 
them. That night they rested in comfort and safety. 

Next morning Michael bid farewell to Stovall, after 
appointing a day and i)lace to meet him, for the set- 
tling of his account. "Never let me see your face 
afterwards," he said to him. 

They met once more at the Falls of the Ohio. 
Stovall showed some signs of shame and remorse, and, 



'a 



GEORGE MICPIAEL BEDINGER 125 

having received his money, disappeared out of 
Michael's life. Returning to his wicked ways he was, 
a few years afterwards, detected, convicted, and hung, 
and thus, says Dr. Draper, "perished John Stovall, 
brazen, reckless, and bloodthirsty to the last." 



CHAPTER XIV 
Home Again 

MICHAEL remained at the Falls several weeks, 
recniiling his strength, copying his field notes, 
and making plots of his surveys. It was perhaps in 
the fall of 1785 that his great friend and companion 
of 1779, Ralph Morgan, took to himself a wife. This 
was a little Irish widow, whose name I do not know. 
Widows were plenty in those days and in that country. 
Her husband had been killed by the Indians and in- 
deed she may have been the very one that was taken 
captive by Indians in Tygart's Valley, in 1781. Colo- 
nel Lowther, with a party of men, went in pursuit of 
these savages, and surprised them in camp, early in the 
morning. They fled without taking time to murder 
more than one of their prisoners. Withers, in his 
Border Warfare, tells us that as soon as the white men 
ojicned fire ui)on the camp, Mrs. Rony, one of the 
])risoners, ran as fast as she could towards her rescu- 
ers, calling out: "I'm Ellick Rony's wife, of the Val- 
ley! I'm Ellick Rony's wife, of the Valley! and a 
pretty little woman, too, if I was well dressed !" 

Her husband and son were both killed by the In- 
dians, but, in her excitement, she forgot everything 
except that she was delivered out of the hands of the 
savages. But she didn't forget that she was a woman ! 

Another of the prisoners, found in the camp, the 
Indians had bound and blackened, i)reparatory to tor- 
turing him to death. When the white men found him 
they, at first, took him for a crouching Indian, and one 
of them, stopping, raised his rifle, calling out that, if 
he did not tell them who he was, he would be killed. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 127 

The poor Irishman was so bewildered that he could 
not remember his own name, and, in the extremity of 
terror exclaimed, "I lowly Mother! and am I to be 
killed by white paple at last !" 

Colonel Lowther heard him, and his life was saved. 

Whoever the little Irish widow may have been, it is 
certain that they had a wedding and a jollification, and 
that Michael was one of the guests. The wedding 
party rode from Strode's Station to McGee's Fort, 
where old Parson McClure tied the knot, and the com- 
pany was regaled with watermelons, huge in size and 
many in number. McGee's Fort was about twelve 
miles from Strode's Station. 

To go back to the winter of 1785 : AUchael remained 
at the Falls of Ohio all the cold season. While he 
was there several Indian chiefs of different tribes came 
in to visit General Clarke, who had his headquarters at 
that place, to make peace with him. Among these was 
a chief called Captain Nation, and another called Mud, 
both Dclawares. 

A settler named Joe Blackford, who had lost some 
relatives during the Indian troubles, made his appear- 
ance at the Falls, determined to have his revenge. He 
courted the ac(|uaintance of Captain Nation, and drank 
freely with him, all the time intending to murder him 
at the first opportunity that presented. 

The Indian, suspecting nothing, became very 
friendly with him, and they arranged to go out hunt- 
ing together. Some of the white men, who had heard 
Blackford boast of the vcngeaucc he intended to take, 
cautioned Nation to beware of liini, for that he meant 
to kill him. 

"Oh, no," replied he. "My brother won't hurt me!" 

At that time, when there were, no doubt, many 



128 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

desperadoes in camp, it was considered wise to have a 
separate lodgment for the visiting Indians, who, them- 
selves, when excited with drink, were disposed to be 
extremely turbulent. Accordingly they were sent 
across the river every evening to lodge on the opposite 
bank. 

One night Blackford offered to cross the stream 
with Nation, in order, as he said, to take an early 
start the next morning on their hunting expedition. 
Accordingly, towards nightfall, he and the old chief 
set out together. Blackford carried a double-barrelled 
rifle, and, while they were in the path leading down 
below the Falls to the Ferry, and between the grave- 
yard and the river, he, walking behind, took aim and 
shot at his unsuspecting comi)anion. The ball, how- 
ever, did no harm, though it singed the hair on one 
side of his head. 

Blackford apologized for what he called an accident^ 
and reloaded his gun. Even yet, the confiding Indian 
sccnis to have onlcrlaiiu'd no suspicion of the white 
man's intentions. They proceeded on towards the 
ferry, where the treacherous woodsman managed to 
get another shot, and this time it was fatal. 

Poor Mud and one or two Piankeshaw Indians were 
left to lament over the dead body of their chief. 

The cold-hearted murderer immediately left, and 
Major Bedinger, who soon reached the spot, endeav- 
ored to pacify the poor Delaware by telling him that 
it was one of the bad men of the whites who had done 
the deed, and that, if he were caught, they would hang 
him. 

"Oh," exclaimed Mud, feelingly. "Let me kill him ! 
let me kill him !" 

A few evenings after this while Major Bedinger 






31-:? v/ 



.1-. 



hv. 



,iort« T 



GEORGE MICITAEL BEDINGER 129 

was writing in his room, the door suddenly burst open, 
and Mud ruslicfl in, declaring that a man had chased 
him with a long knife, threatening to kill him. Afichael 
begged him to be c|uiet, and told him that he shouUl not 
be hurt, and that he would protect him. lie offered to . 
share his room with him for the night for safety. 

"He then," says Dr. Draper, "gave Mud food and 
drink, and the confiding Indian threw off his overshirt, 
leggings, and breech-clout, and then stretched himself 
under the bed." 

It was during Major Bedinger's stay at the Falls 
this winter that a Piankeshaw chief, accompanied by 
four warriors, came in to make peace. He was a 
large, noble-looking savage, and brought written evi- 
dence from whites and traders in the region where he 
lived, which was on the Wabash, that he had suffered 
from his Indian brothers because he had refused to 
join them against the whites. 

In council, which Michael attended, the peace-pipe 
was smoked; after which the chief made a most elo- 
quent speech. He recounted his sufferings in the cause 
of the white men, and spoke of his desire to live in 
brotherhood with them. He said that he knew the 
day must soon come when the white men would pre- 
vail, and he was content that it should be so. He then 
contrasted his own ragged and barefooted condition 
with that of General Clarke and the other officers who 
heard him. "My color is darker than yours," he de- 
clared, "but my heart is as fair as yours. Remember 
that I took up the liatchet in your defence when you 
were weak, and do not now forget me in the days of 
your greatness and prosi)erity." 

This speech was delivered with great force, and 
much feeling, and with graceful gestures. Clarke made 
a suitable reply, and gave him many presents. 



130 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

At one time, in the following spring, Major Bedin- 
ger killed a rattlesnake near the cabin of Andrew 
Rowan. He showed it to Mrs. Rowan, who declared 
that, "If any one would svyallow a rattlesnake's heart 
alive, it would bring him great good fortune." Hel 
son, a boy of twelve, who was standing by, immedi- 
ately opened the snake, and taking from it the still 
quivering heart, swallowed it in a twinkle ! This son 
was subsequently a Senator in Congress, and after- 
wards a Judge on the Bench ! 

And now Michael, tired of roaming, turned his steps 
homeward, and no doubt rejoiced the heart of his old 
mother, who may well have given him up for dead. 
We have no records for this year, nor do we know 
exactly when he arrived in Shepherdstown. Indeed 
none of the corres])ondence of the family, except a 
scattered letter or two, earlier than the year 1791, has 
been preserved. 

It seems, however, that IMichael, probably to please 
his mother, bought, at this time, his Sidling Hill prop- 
erty in Maryland, not far from llagcrstown. Sidling 
Hills are low ranges of foothills extending diagonally 
across the northwest corner of Maryland and into 
Pennsylvania. Here he built a saw and grist mill ; 
but, with his incorrigible habit of trusting in the gener- 
osity and honesty of all mankind, he seems to have 
been cheated in the bargain, and afterwards discovered 
that the man who sold him the j^-operty, and who 
promptly left the country, had no proper title to it. 

Heretofore, we have had no hint of George Mi- 
chael's love affairs, and indeed it does not seem that 
he had any. But now his time had come, and the 
young woman who was to be his wife jiresented her- 
self. It appears that she did, literally, make a present 
of herself to the young man. 



oh: 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 131 

In Westmoreland County dwelt a family of Keenes, 
people of good family and abundant means. The 
father, Newton Keene, was an Englishman, and re- 
lated to Sir Isaac Newton. We find his name on the 
parish records of the county as a vestryman. But in 
1786 he had passed away. One of his daughters had 
married one of the three Westfall brothers, all three 
of whom were captains in the Revolution. This Cap- 
tain Westfall lived in Shepherdstown, and Mrs. Keene, 
then a wealthy widow, with her unmarried daughters, 
came to visit that town in the fall of 1786. Nancy, 
one of these girls, is described as an amiable and lovely 
young lady, and Major Bcdinger fell deeply in love 
with her. 

One day he met her at the house of his sister, Mrs. 
Abel Morgan, where she was visiting. He told her 
that he must soon leave again for Kentucky, upon 
which she intimated that she would like nothing better 
than to live in that far-famed Eldorado of the West. 

Michael frankly told her that his surveys demanded 
his immediate attention in the Green River country, 
and that it would take him a long time to complete 
them. He added that he could not think of asking 
any one to share with him the dangers and privations 
of a life in the wilderness. But Nancy answered : "I 
would rather live in the backwoods with the man that 
I love, and hoe corn, than stay here in luxury without 
him !" 

"If that is so, Nancy," Michael replied, "we'll be 
married on Christmas day!" 

Christm;is day was only a few days off. But they 
uwrc married on that day, and now, no doubt, Mi- 
chael's friends and relations hoped that he would 
settle down, and pursue a peaceful calling. He was 



132 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

much too tenderliearted to take his wife to the back- 
woods, They went to Hve at the Sidh'ng Hill Mills. 

But their happiness was of very brief duration. 
Sickness laid Major Bedinger low; it was a sort of 
nervous and rheumatic fever, the result, no doubt, of 
his years of ex])osure. When he was recovering, 'his 
wife fell ill. and died in October, 1787, to his great 
grief, leaving him an infant daughter. 

This oldest child of George Michael Bedinger was 
christened Sarah Keene. Her grandmother, the 
widow, i\lrs. Sarah Keene, took her with her when she 
returned to her estate in Westmoreland County. 

And now ^Michael was again free and homeless, for 
after his wife's death he could not bear to remain at 
Sidling Hill Mills, lie never seems to have visited 
the place again. He entrusted the management of his 
alTairs at the east to his brother Jacob, and it appears 
that he never received anything at all for his Maryland 
property. 

He often, in later years, especially regretted the loss 
of a chest full of valuable papers which he left in his 
miller's care. The miller died or left, and the chest 
was never recovered. It contained important land 
claims and maps of plots he had surveyed, besides his 
commissions, discharges, and other military papers. 
The want of some of these documents involved him, in 
after life, in vexatious law suits, and gave him much 
trouble. Possibly those same documents, may be, even 
now, in some dusty Maryland attic, or hidden in the 
lumber room of one of the later owners of the Sidling 
Hill Mills. They would be an interesting find for the 
antiquary. In a letter to his Brother Henry, written 
many years later, he says that he would rather have 
the honorable discharge given him after the battle of 
Germantown than a thousand dollars, cash. 



CHAPTER XV 

The Attack at Sandy Creek 

WHEN Michael was thoroughly recovered from 
his long sickness, he again left his mother's 
house, where he had spent some months, and went 
back to Kentucky to pursue his calling. Besides his 
land-surveying for others, he had accumulated a good 
deal of land for himself. On his arrival in Kentucky 
he found his papers left there all destroyed. A man 
named O'Bannon, hearing that he had sickened and 
died in Maryland, had claimed the papers, as he had 
aided in locating the tracts which they described. How 
he settled this matter I do not know. It is certain, 
however, that he became possessed of very large tracts 
of land, amounting to thousands of acres in diiferent 
parts of Kentucky. Although he was afterwards, like 
almost all the early inhabitants of that country, in- 
volved in endless law suits between conflicting land 
claimants, yet he possessed a great deal of property, 
consisting of lands, mills, houses and taverns. In- 
deed, nearly, if not all, of the settlement called the 
Lower Blue Licks, belonged to him. He was able to 
give a farm to each one of his children. 

However, this is to anticipate. Bcdinger made one 
or more jouniQys backwards and forwards from Ken- 
tucky to Virginia in the years that followed the break- 
ing up of his home. In the autumn of 1788, he started 
home with a party of friends from one of his survey- 
ing expeditions. 

The parly consisted of James Marshall, Colonel 
Mar(|uis Calmcs, John Elliott, and three others, with 
several servants. They started for Virginia by way 



134 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

of Big Sandy, and what was called the Greenbriar 
Trace, a road through the Greenbriar Valley. A man 
called Charles Van Couver, who had lands on the Big 
Sandy, proceeded with them as far as that river. 

All the party were well-mounted, and set out from 
Strode's Station, to Morgan's Station, probably the 
home of Ralph Morgan, above Little Mountain. From 
this place they rode to Licking, which they crossed, 
and went on up Triplett's Creek several days without 
misadventure. 

One night they camped within a few miles of Little 
Sandy, hobbled their horses, and turned them out to 
graze ; made their fire, and cooked their supper. 
While they were gathered around the fire in the even- 
ing, they heard the hooting of an owl on one side 
of the camp, and soon another answered in the op- 
posite direction. 

Colonel Calmes and Major Piedinger, both old and 
experienced Indian fighters, began to suspect danger, 
and decided to get to their horses, and have them 
ready in case of an attack. Some of the others laughed 
at the idea of being frightened by owls, but the wiser 
heads caught and secured their horses, and the others 
followed their example. The animals were fastened 
to saplings near at hand, and again they encamped, 
and soon lay down to rest. 

Occasionally they heard the dismal hooting of an 
owl, and sometimes the ominous croaking of a raven, 
and a light rustling in the leaves of the thicket. They 
were now convinced that an Indian party had followed 
on their trail, and were about to surround them in 
camp. So they concluded to mount and be off. It was 
still some hours before day, and they dared not risk an 
attack, for, although there were ten men in the party, 



H: 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 135 

they were not prepared for a fight. There were not 
more than four or five guns and one or two pistols 
among them. 

They mounted their horses, and left without moles- 
tation. When they had ridden several miles from the [ 
spot their horses began to droop ; and they dismounted 
and turned them out to feed upon the rich wild pea- 
vines which grew abundantly along the slopes of the 
hills. 

After a short rest they again mounted and proceeded 
on their way ; crossed Little Sandy, and bent their 
course up the river on the western bank. Soon they 
heard again the croaking of a raven across the river. 

"There," said some one, "is that hateful sound again 
following us." 

They now began to be very suspicious of an ambus- 
cade, and had gone on hardly a mile up the river 
when they came to a piece of low land, very wet and 
miry, through which they passed, and neared a bluff 
at the foot of which a narrow trail passed between it 
and the river. Here they proceeded cautiously along, 
and had scarcely entered the defile when the sharp 
crack of Indian rifles rang out, from behind a large 
fallen tree, close to the river bank. The horses 
snorted, and jumped. Colonel Calmes, who was in 
front, and had just entered the narrowest part of the 
defile, spurred the animal up the steep rocky bluff, 
and cscai)ed ; — it was an astonishing feat ! 

Several of the party, by the sudden start of their 
horses, lost their hats and other possessions ; all 
wheeled, and dashed off through the miry flat. 

Michael rode a young, fiery animal, and was in the 
rear when the Indians fired. The report of the guns, 
and the yells of the Indians, made his horse jiunp 



136 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

suddenly to one side, almost throwing his rider. But 
he recovered himself, and in the act of doing so, he 
succeeded in saving his saddle-bags, which had nearly 
lost their balance. 

All this passed in a moment, and while he was try- 
ing to restrain llie jilunging horse, two Indians came 
running up beside him with uplifted tomahawks and 
blood-chilling yells, 'i'he animal was not easy to ap- 
proach, and seeing him nearly unhorsed, they sup- 
posed him wounded, and completely in their power. 
Partly favored by the kicking and plunging of the 
frightened animal, Michael, as soon as he found him- 
self firmly settled in the saddle, spurred him out of 
the defile, and galloped away. 

Again he found himself in the rear of his party, 
whom he pursued for some time, shouting to them: 
"Halt! Halt! Come back and we'll give them h — !" 

But they showed no disposition to obey. All except 
Marshall dashed on at the top of their speed. When 
thoy had put a mile or more between them and the 
scene of the ambuscade Michael and Marshall at last 
persuaded them to halt. Neither man nor beast was 
found to be the worse for the adventure. It was a 
miraculous escape. 

They came to the conclusion, from the fire, and the 
trail made by the savages, that there were about ten 
Indians on the war-path, and fearing that their re- 
treat might be cut ofif, and poorly armed as they were, 
they thought it ])rudcnt to abandon the journey and 
return to the settlements. After passing Licking River 
and bey()nd the leacii of Ihe enemy they were joking 
and laughing; telling and re-lelling the incidents of 
their escape. Marshall observed, half seriously, that 
he particularly ncjticcd that Van Couver was white as 



3J. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 137 

a sheet with fear. At this Van Couver, who liad a 
fiery temper, thought himself insulted, and immedi- 
ately challenged Marshall to dismount and lie would 
give him an opportunity of trying his courage. Mar- 
shall was too proud to let such a challenge pass, and 
they were about to fight one of those bloody duels of 
the time, in nearly all of which one or both combatants 
were killed or severely wounded. Just at this moment 
Colonel Calmes rode up and joined them, and as soon 
as he heard what was forward, he declared that Mar- 
shall was only joking, for that he heard him say dis- 
tinctly that in the surprise Van Couver was as brave 
as Julius Ccesar. The proud Dutchman eagerly swal- 
lowed the extravagant compliment, and a reconcilia- 
tion was effected. They all returned to the settlements 
in friendship and good will. 



CHAPTER XVI 
I\Iajor Bedinger in St. Ci^air's Campaign 

LITTLE has come down to us of the wanderings 
and adventures of Michael Bedinger in tlie 
years between the death of his wife and St. Clair's 
camjiaign of 1791. The Indians became daily more 
aggressive, and there were constant alarms in the 
Kentucky settlements. Of the little company of brave 
frontiersmen who had defended Boonesborough in 
1779, many were killed by the Indians. Some had 
gone further west, and were settled in Tennessee. In 
those days there were few families who had not to 
mourn some near relation massacred by the savages, 
taken prisoner in some raid, or, worst of all, reserved 
for a terrible death by torture. 

When Michael lived in Virginia, among his most 
intimate friends and companions were the Lucas boys, 
a very numerous family, all sons of Mr. Edward 
Lucas, who lived on the Charles Town road, in the 
home now occupied by some of his descendants. This 
gentleman was the father of Lieutenants William and 
Edward Lucas, who, with Michael Bedinger, were the 
three young oflicers who helped to drill Captain Wil- 
liam IMorgan's company in 1777. 

The old home nest becoming too crowded, these 
boys, brave and adventurous, emigrated to Ohio and 
Tennessee, where three of them were killed and two 
more wounded by the Indians. The son of one of 
them was a Governor of Ohio, and their descendants 
are still numerous in the west. 

No member of the Bedinger family was killed by 
Indians except a cousin wlio lived in western Penn- 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 139 

sylvania. But Michael lost many friends in this way. 
During the years from 1787 to 1791, he was in Ken- 
tucky sharing the rough wild life of the frontiers: 
sometimes surveying for his old comrades in arms ; 
and sometimes joining in offensive and defensive 
manoeuvres against the Indians. He is said to have 
been highly esteemed by Governor St. Clair, who em- 
ployed him more than once on embassies to friendly 
tribes; In 1790 he became intimately acquainted with 
an old Indian trader named Morehead, who, like him- 
self, had no fear of these savages, and who had been 
engaged in trading with them more than twenty years. 
So scrupulously just was this old man in all his deal- 
ings with them, that they held him in the highest es- 
teem and respect, and always called him by an Indian 
name which signified "the honest whiteman !" 

Michael, who had the ambition and restless spirit 
of a born explorer, had conceived a plan of making a 
trip on foot to the Pacific, to examine the country, and 
to learn the numbers and condition of the Indian tribes 
of the west. Morehead, whose knowledge of the In- 
dian character was great, thought the project not only 
feasible but desirable, and that they might be of much 
use both to the government and the frontier settle- 
ments. Simon Kenton, David Williams, John Alcln- 
tyre, — all men of the woods and as well adapted as 
the Indians themselves for a service which required 
so much caution, hardihood, and endurance, — had 
agreed to join Michael in the enterprise. Four other 
bold and resourceful men, one of them the son of 
Morehead, offered their services. 

The patronage of the government was to be secured, 
but before the plan was fully matured, Michael re- 
ceived a letter from Colonel Darke, his old commander 



140 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

of the Revolution, inclosing a commission from Presi- 
dent Washington appointing him Major, with the com- 
mand of a battalion of the Virginia Levies, and his 
friends urged him to aid in bringing the Indian war 
to a close, before engaging in such a hazardous under- 
taking. 

"Thus fell through," says Dr. Draper, "a. noble con- 
ception, pronounced quixotic by some at the time, but 
which might have been as successfully accomplished, 
after the peace of Greenville, as was the expedition 
of Lewis and Clark several years afterwards." 

During the course of his wandering life in Kentucky 
he stayed some times at Boonesboro'; at Strode's Sta- 
tion; at George Caldwell's near Danville; at Captain 
Abraham Chapline's, who lived at liarrodsburg; and 
at General John Clark's, near Louisville, or, as it was 
at first called, the Falls of Ohio. His friends were 
Ihc bravest and best of the frontiersmen, the pioneer 
heroes of the west; such men as Daniel Boone, the 
Croghans, Simon Kenton, the Clarks, and Swearin- 
gens. 

Major Thomas Swearingen ; Captain Van Swearin- 
gen called "Indian Van;" Colonel Andrew Swearin- 
gen, and Benoni, were all brothers. Benoni, Michael's 
old comrade-in-arms, married his sister, Sallie Bedin- 
ger, soon after the Revolution, and was now living in 
Alaryland, just across the river from Shepherdstown. 
He was a man of some prominence, and represented 
his county in the Maryland Assembly for several 
years. His brothers, Andrew and "Indian Van," lived 
near Wheeling, and led the perilous lives of the bor- 
derers in those days of Indian depredations. 

One of "Indian Van's" sons desired to be a trader, 
which was, at one time, his father's calling. This boy, 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 141 

a lad in his teens, went with some friendly Indians to 
their village, to learn their language and customs. ?Te 
was full of mischief, and would ])lay practical jokes 
on the Indians, but they had promised his father to 
treat him kindly, and they kept their word. They 
promised "Indian A^an" that, if he should die while 
with them, they Avould bring him his body that he 
might be satisfied they had not caused his death. 

They retiuMicd him safe, but a short time after- 
warils, while he was out hunting across the Ohio, in 
the Indian Country, he disappeared. I have seen an 
old letter from "Indian A"an" to his cousin, Captain 
Josiah Swearingen, of Berkeley County, Virginia, in 
which he says: "]\Iy son Thomas is still missing & I 
can hcare nothing from him. A great deale of sarch 
has Ben made for his Bones — in one the messenger 
that went to the nations to inquire after him has not 
yet Returned. I am on a ugley frontear and Lost my 
pjcst Gunn when Dave Cox was killed '^ * * If I 
have aney tenent that Could be Credited for a gun or 
two that is good with small Boor as mabe they Can 
pay in Barter I wish you to cend them to me by the 
I'arrer (bearer) Maston, and give Credit for the same 
to the tenent. I should not ask such a ornreasonable 
faver But I expect to Be shut up or Be after the 
Indens all next Season cl' want to Be well armd * * * 
the Tndons is constantly Dowing mischief (!v 1 expect a 
Despert wor — the liulen nations have Sent a Late Let- 
ter to the Inden agent Informing that they will not give 
aney part of thir Land up to Congress except thay 
Luse it By the sword, I Believe thay are I'ackt By 
the Brittish & thir frcnds in the Canaday & Dctroyt 
Cuntreys — " 



142 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

This letter is dated December 16th, 1787, and is 
written from Ohio County, Virginia. 

There are others of these letters giving most graphic 
accounts of the occurrences at Svvearingen's Fort, but 
they have nothing to do with, the fortunes of Michael, 
though they illustrate the life in the backwoods at 
that day. "Indian Van" never learned the fate of his 
son, nor recovered his bones. Roosevelt, in his "Win- 
ning of the West," mentions this disappearance of 
young Thomas Swearingen. 

"Indian Van" was, himself, at one time, captured 
by the Indians, and, as Dr. Draper heard this incident 
from the lips of Michael Bedinger, we will relate it 
here. 

During a short respite of peace the Indians came to 
the neighborhood of Fort Swearingen, or Swearin- 
gen's Station, as it was generally called, as it was not 
a military post, and stole some horses. Indian Van 
collected some of the settlers and jiursued. They 
fought and ptit lo flight the Indians, after killing sev- 
eral of them, and recapturing their horses. With the 
savages was a squaw who could not proceed as quickly 
as the warriors. One of Svvearingen's men levelled his 
gun to shoot her, but Van forbade him to do so, re- 
])roaching him for making war on women, and saved 
her life. 

The Indians complained that he and his men had 
broken the treaty between them, whereupon he went 
of his own accord into their country and gave himself 
up, making a full explanation of all the circumstances. 
They held a council and many were in favor of tor- 
turing him to death. Their advice prevailed, and some 
of the most ferocious began to sharpen splinters of 
wood with which to torment him. At this critical mo- 



GEORGE AIICHAEL BEDINGER 143 

ment a squaw entered the council house, and went 
from chief to chief, and from warrior to warrior, in 
earnest entreaty, speaking in a low, clear voice, with 
graceful gestures, now pointing to him, and then con- 
tinuing her low- voiced and merciful persuasion. 

Finally, the chiefs answered ; there were guttural 
ejaculations of assent; and then, her looks changing 
from anxiety to relief, she came up to Van and placed 
before him a basket of huckleberries. 

It was the squaw whose life he had saved, and now 
she was his deliverer. 

"Indian Van" survived the wars many years. He 
was a large and handsome, dark' haired man, brave and 
generous, llis brother, Colonel Andrew, is spoken 
of, in Withers' ''J3order Warfare," as a man who had 
the respect of all who knew him, a good Presbyterian 
and a fine soldier. All or most of the Swearingens in 
Berkeley were Episcopalians, but Colonel Andrew, 
though born in Berkeley, moved to the western part of 
\'irginia, where there was no Episcopalian church 
luitil nuich later. 

In the spring of 1791, before ]\Iichael Bedinger re- 
ceived his commission as Alajor under Colonel Darko. 
he went on one or more expeditions against the In- 
dians, who had again become very troublesome. 

On one occasion he and five or six others pursued 
six Indians who had stolen some horses from a set- 
tlement on Hinkston Creek. They failed to find the 
marauders, and, at last, gave up the pursuit. It seems 
that Simon Kenton, with a small party from another 
settlement, were out after the same roving band. 
Kenton came upon a sunken canoe on the Kentucky 
shore of the Ohio which gave them the clue, and by 
means of which and other traces they followed and 



144 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

came up with the Indians, kilHng all but one,* who 
managed to escape. 

A short time after this it was decided to pursue the 
savages to their villages across the Ohio and intimidate 
them by carrying the war into their own country. 
Colonel Alexander D. Orr of Mason County raised be- 
tween one and two hundred men, of whom Michael 
was one, and he was appointed Adjutant for the expe- 
dition. 

The party set out from Maysville, crossed Cabin 
Creek and went on down to the mouth of Salt Lick, 
where the town of Vancesburg now is. At this place a 
squabble arose between Orr and Colonel Horatio Hall 
for the chief command. One company, under Captain 
Thomas West, sided with Hall, while the rest of the 
men, perhaps two or three militia companies, sided 
with Orr. He, therefore, kept the command. 

The expedition, however, was badly planned. They 
went on to the mouth of Tygert's Creek, where they 
found a fresh l)eaten path, evidently made by an In- 
dian on sentry duty. 

Tygert's Creek flows into the Ohio, and Bedinger 
and Kenton, who had found a canoe, were theif^nst; to 
cross that river. They soon came upon a deserted 
Indian camp a short distance above the place where 
they crossed. Here were feathers and other articles 
strewn about, among tliem the works of several 
watches. Just outside of tlic camp was a freshly made 
mound, where they had evidently buried some of their 
warriors, and here, too, was a ghastly sight, a skele- 
ton of a woman still tied to a sapling. The ground 

*G. M. Bedinger, who related tlie ineideiit to Dr. Draper, 
was doiil)tfn] about tlic nuiuher of Indians killed. Me sai^l 
llicy either killed one and tile rest eseaped, or else they. killed 
all but one. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 145 

around her was strewed witli wliips, and tlie ashes of 
the fire tliat had finally consumed her. 

This expedition was a failure, very probably be- 
cause the men could not agree. On their way back 
they came upon the mutilated bodies of twenty-three 
soldiers, and they stopped their march to bury these 
■ poor fellows, who proved to be a party of soldiers 
that had been surprised and killed on their way from 
Fort Washington to Fort Harmar. 

There was another abortive campaign undertaken 
against the Indians in the early summer of 1791. A 
party under Captain Edward went out to attack the 
Indian villages, but, when they neared them, they lost 
heart, filled themselves with blackberries, and returned. 
Michael Bedinger was not with this party. It was 
called, "the Blackberry Expedition.'' 

In April, Michael received his commission as Major 
of a Battalion of Levies for the campaign under St. 
Clair. This commission is the only one that can now 
be found among his papers. It is dated April 10th, 
1791, and is as follows: 

COI\[MISSI0N OF GEORGE MICHAEL REDINGER. 

Pursuant to the instructions of the President of the 
United States bearing date the fourth day of april, 
1791, authorizing and empowering me to appoint a 
number of Officers to serve on the intended Western 
expedition, against certain tribes of Indians, now in 
open hostilities, against the Citizens of the aforesaid 
States ; therefore placing an implicit confidence in 
your Abilities, zeal and good conduct, I, by the afore- 
said authority to me given, appoint you Major of a 
Battalion to be raised in the State of Virginia, and 
you are to consider this as your Commission for that 
l)urpose, until you receive one from the President of 



146 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

the United States or the Secretary of War, and you 
are hereby authorized and requested without delay to 
proceed and raise your BattaHon of a])le-bodied men 
to serve as Soldiers, the Term of Six Months, unless 
sooner discharged. 

A Company is to consist of Six Sergeants, Six 
Corporals, one drum and fife, and sixty-nine Rank and 
File. 

A Battalion is to consist of four Companies. 

When the men are embodied at the place of rendez- 
vous, they will be furnished with the following articles 
of Clothing, viz : — One Hat, One Coat, One Vest, One 
pair of Overalls two shirts, two pair of Shoes, One 
Stock and Clasp, & one I'.lanket — It appears by the 
Act of Congress for raising the Levies, that each Re- 
cruiting Officer is to receive two Dollars for every 
Recruit inlisted and that each Recruit is to receive 
Three Dollars as a Bounty. 

Signed Wm. Darke. Lt. Col. 
Coniniandant Kegnil. U. S. Levies 

Michael Bedinger accepted his commission and re- 
turned to Virginia to raise his Battalion. These were 
recruited in Berkeley and Frederick Counties, and the 
Battalion was called the Winchester Battalion. There 
seem, however, to have been more Berkeley than Fred- 
erick County men enlisted. 

When the troops were ready to march Alajor Bed- 
inger set out with them to the rendezvous, which was 
at a place called Indian Wheeling, opposite the mouth 
of Wheeling Creek, lie was a rigid discii)linarian, 
and took pride in drilling his men until they were the 
best soldiers in St. Clair's army. It was mainly this 
I'.attaliou that, led on by C()k)nel Darke, the hero of 
St. Clair's defeat, forced the Indians backward, and 



..iinU sriJ 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 147 

saved the army from annihilation on the fatal fourth 
of Novemher. But we must not anticipate. 

A few of Henry Bedinger's letters to his brother of 
the year 1791 have been preserved and from them we 
can see what Major Michael Bedinger's relations 
thought of his career, and what wholesome advice they 
gave him. One of these is dated : 

Shepherd's Town October 31st. 
Dear Brother: — 1791 

I have this Day Rec'd your Letter Dated at the 
Camp on the Great Miami, September 18th, and have 
Communicated the Contents to our family, who are 
pleased. I am so myself with your Situation, and am 
sorry Only because you do not Determine to Con- 
tinue in so Honorable, so happy an Occupation ; pro- 
vided you had it in your power : — To be Tied down to 
any one spot & to be confined to any one thing, I know 
is to you exceedingly Disagreeable, and I am dis- 
tressed that you Cannot Confine a Disposition which 
must forever Keep you low, I mean that of Travelling, 
or seeking New adventures — perhaps it is still your 
Desire to become the Head of a family? If so in what 
situation can you do this to better advantage than at 
the Head of Troops? you are yet Young enough to 
accumulate a Handsome fortune even in the Army, 
your age will be no Obstacle for several Years to Come 
in the Happily Disposing of your person, provided 
you have Respect, Honor and what is equally Neces- 
sary some foundation for Temporal enjoyments, I 
mean property. You plead as an excuse to leave the 
Army your aged Mother's feelings, the good old Lady 
has been uneasy frequently tis true, but then her Un- 
easinesses were caused by the apprehensions she has, 



;it 



148 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

of your not accumulating wealth, at least these made 
up a part of them, and that you was hitherto so un- 
fortunate as not to provide sufficiently against the ar- 
rival of Old Age — for it is natural enough for her to 
wish that all her Children possess not only a com- 
petency, but even superfluity and abundance. Your 
appointment in the Army has paved the way to this 
superfluity, & your attention, care, and taking oppor- 
tunity by the foretop, must bring you to opulence. — 

"In what situation of Life or Circumstances must I 
have now been had I left the army through any little 
zvhims or Caprice, before the war was completely 
ended — If my Opinions then have any weight with 
you, If my advice can be Relied on, or If my Judge- 
ment is thought not Inferior to our Common Acquain- 
tance, — my Opinion is, that you Ought to remain in 
the service, my Advice is that you seek to Remain 
there, and my Judgement Dictates to me, that you 
Ought to apply every power every faculty to obtain 
this most Desirable ])urpose — let me add that were I 
at this moment in your situation : Nothing in this 
world should draw away this Desire. Milions there 
are in each quarter of the Globe who having Birth, 
fortune, and Education, yet would sacrifice willingly 
all their fortunes and think themselves amply repaid 
to possess a Command such as yours now is, provided 
there was hopes of having it continued — tis possible 
you may not have it in your Power to Continue a 
command of your present Rank in the Army — but 
this I am sure of, should you Refuse, even to seek for 
it, you will Act Very Unwisely — My Dear Fellow 
perhaps I have already said too much on this subject. 
If so you will excuse those Effusions of Zeal for your 
advancement and prosperity; I know even Here that 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 149 

your Rank is envied, and it has been industriously 
propagated in some parts of Pennsylvania as Well as 
Hagers Town, that you had been Obliged to Return, 
as having to Contend with Officers whose former com- 
missions were prior to yours; this is nothing more 
than what we must expect as so many little Rough 
passages which make the Smooth ones the More agree- 
able, — you see I cannot help Philosophising a little 
and the more so, because I was Vexed with the Report, 
because it appeared s])read with some Industry and 
]\Ialice. — Mama, whom you have such apprehensions 
for, is agreeably situated, she has still the Greatest 
part of her Children about her, and you may be as- 
sured she shall not want for even the Common Luxu- 
ries and Conveniences of Life, Much less for the 
Necessaries — I have it amply in my power to make 
her easy, as to the Common Necessaries, and I am 
Determined to do so — I shall, by first Oppty, write to 
Brothers Daniel and Solomon at Norfolk, and let 
them Know that you are well. Shall I tell them that 
you wish to leave the Army? No — I will not disturb 
their peace, tranquillity, and pleasures, with such 
news. — as I have preached a Considerably Lengthy 
sermon tis proper I should End in Prayer— I pray 
then that your Heart may be Changed as also your 
Inclination, that you may Keep one thing in View, 
that is that you yourself pray (for fervent and Re- 
peated prayers have power full Efi'ects) to be Con- 
tinued In the Army exactly in the same Rank and on 
the same footing that you are at this present Moment 
(the moment you wrote me last from the ]^>ank of the 
Great Miami on the Day or Night of September the 
18th 1791 — and I pray that the whole army may be 



150 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

blessed with Health & success in their present under- 
takings and am Dr Brother yours &c, 

"Henry Bedinger." 

This letter is addressed to 

Major George M. Bedinger 

Commandant Virginia Battalion Levies 

Western Army. 

It has been carefully preserved for more than a 
hundred years. It shows the good and wise elder- 
brotherliness of Major Henry Bedinger, as well as his 
ambition for the success of one so dear to him. Not 
the faintest tinge of apprehension of the fearful calam- 
ity then impending appears in this epistle. Yet in a 
few weeks one of the most awful catastrophes in our 
history engulfed the unfortunate men of St. Clair's 
expedition. 

This is not the place to give a detailed account of 
the battle and massacre that ensued. We will only 
state that Michael had the good fortune to be absent 
from camp. He had been detailed by St. Clair to 
escort the sick to a place of safety. We have no ac- 
count in his handwriting of his services during this 
campaign, except two scraps of paper, one of them 
giving the number of dead, wounded, and missing in 
his Battalion, also a report of the missing tents, axes, 
and kettles in each company under his command. 

The other scrap is morning reports for five days of 
the number of men fit for duty in each company, with 
the number of sick, dead, deserted, discharged, con- 
fined, etc. From this sera]) we see that desertions 
were alarmingly numerous. He reports fourteen de- 
serted from one company, sixteen from another, and 
ten from a third. Only three from Captain Brock's 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 151 

Company. The dates of these reports are from the 
29th of August to the 2nd of September. On that day 
the number fit for duty were: In Captain Hannah's 
Company, 57 non-commissioned officers and men; in 
Captain Swearingen's, 82 ; in Captain Brock's, 78, and 
in Captain Darke's, 76. 

After the defeat the entire community of Siiep- 
herd's Town was in mourning, as there were few fami- 
lies who had not lost friends and relatives. Two of 
Major Bedinger's captains were killed, Captains Van 
Swcaringen and Darke. The latter was the second 
son of Colonel Darke, and was mortally wounded in 
the fight. The officers behaved with great heroism, 
and about one-third of Major Bedinger's Battalion 
was killed and wounded. 

Major Bedinger himself, with the sick persons un- 
der his care, whom St. Clair had sent back to Fort 
Jefferson to be out of the way of danger, left the 
army on the 1st of November, and proceeded slowly, 
for the invalids were unable to make great exertions. 

When they reached Fort Jefiferson they found not 
a particle of food of any kind, and they were therefore 
obliged to proceed to Fort Washington, which was 
built where the city of Cincinnati now stands. 

Indians were roaming about the country, and they 
were in great danger of an ambuscade. When they 
halted for the night Major Bedinger set a watch. The 
surgeon of the company, who was named Johnson, 
ridiculed this precaution, declaring that he "wasn't 
afraid of all the d- — d cowardly Indian rascals in the 
country!" 

"Neither is my horse afraid!" Michael answered^ 
sarcastically. 

Next morning the report of a gun was heard not a 



152 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

great distance from camp, and soon a man came run- 
ning in with the intelhgence that a pack-horseman, 
with corn for Fort Jefferson, had just been shot and 
scalped. 

Major Bedinger and Lieutenant Vance immediately 
went out to reconnoitre and ascertain the number of 
the Indian party, and found they could not have ex- 
ceeded three warriors. While Dr. Johnson was anx- 
iously making inquiries of the man who had brought 
the tidings, young Lewis, one of the party, and Lieu- 
tenant Vance stole oft" behind the encampment, fired 
oft" their guns, and gave the Indian war-whoop, on 
purpose to test his boasted courage. 

Dr. Johnson immediately put spurs to his horse and 
came dashing by Major Bedinger, who called out, 
"What's the matter?" 

"BuHans! by G-, Indians!" replied Johnson, and 
never stopped until he reached Fort Washington, where 
he reported that his comi)anions had been surrounded 
by Indians, and he feared they were all killed. 

A couple of days afterwards Major Bedinger 
brought his little party into the Fort. Next day they 
were followed by the broken remains of the army. 

Dr. Johnson soon afterwards discovered that he 
was not adapted for martial life, and resigned. 

Michael remained with tlie army for some time 
after this, but he returned to Kentucky early in 1792. 
He seems to have been living at Limestone at this 
time. His brother Henry undertook, at his request, to 
go to Philadelphia and settle the accounts of the Bat- 
talion. Indeed he took two trips to the city for this 
purpose, putting himself to great inconvenience to 
serve his brother, for whom he was so ambitious. 
Early in February, 1792, he writes to Michael : "The 



..]! 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 153 

President of the United States was Very particular' 
in his inquiries whether you would not Accept a 
Command again, he also enquired as to Colonel Joseph 
Swearingen and Col. Rawlings, & was much displeased 
at Hearing that the Levies were not paid off, as he 
said there was money sent expressly for that purpose." 
Again he writes later in the same month : "You inti- 
mate to me your desire of undertaking a busyness 
that I am Convinced will Receive no Countenance by 
the Executive of the U. S., for we have already much 
greater territory than wc can possess and the knowl- 
edge of the Counlries beyond the Mississippi can be 
of no advantage to tlie ]:)resent Government. I advise 
therefore that you give up all Schemes of that Ro- 
mantick Kind, for we are now engaged in an arduous 
War with the Savages, that inhabit within our own 
Territory, and Congress would not thank any one for 
Information or peace with those who inhabit where 
they do not Claim. This may possibly be a Matter of 
some kind of enquiry 50 or 100 Years Hence, but not 
now, besides the President has it at Heart to Humble 
the Indians who are at war with us, & Should there 
be an x\rmy you may be assured you will Receive an 
Honorable appointment, but I shall not now urge you 
to accept anything and am sorry I said so much in 
my former letter on that subject, I considered at that 
time, that you would enjoy Health, Sociability, Suc- 
cess, the Confidence of your Superior Officers, — in all 
of which I was Mistaken. This, I know was not your 
fault, but events that unhappily Occurred, through the 
Villiany of some, and turbulance and envy of Oth- 
ers, — but as you do not Complain yourself, I have no 
Right to urge you to it — 

"I wrote you, If I recollect Right on the 6th Instant 



154 GEORGE MICHAEIv BEDINGER 

informing you of the Illness of our Sister Sarah 
Swearingcn and Mentioned as my opinion that she 
could not recover ; I am Sorry to add that She De- 
parted this life on the following Day, to the Great 
Grief of all the family, Relatives and acquaintance, 
and to the utter Ruin and Destruction of Mr. Benoni 
Swearingen's family affairs — Sister Sarah appeared 
in High Health on Friday and Died the Tuesday fol- 
lowing; I never could discover the nature of her 
disorder, and those who attended her differed in opin- 
ion. She lay Sick not Quite four Days. — • During Mr. 
B. Swearingen's stay at Annapolis as a Member of 
the Maryland Assembly, little Joseph the oldest boy 
was taken ill and after lingering something more than 
three weeks he expired and was Buryed before his 
father's Return this Stroke Sat Heavy on her but 
seemed a little to get over it, when she was taken 
herself & went oft" in the short time I mentioned 
above — the loss is severely felt by our Aged ]\Iother — 
and Irreparable to Mr. Swearingen, he is advertising 
all his loose property for sale and offers to rent out 
the ferry, & is Himself somewhat 111 just now. Should 
he recover, I believe he intends to the Western 
Country the ensuing Spring or Summer — 

"Sister Sally left a Very promising boy (named 
Henry) five months Old Sister Betsy has him, and I 
expect the care of his education, will fall to me as I 
am his 'sponsor;' strange as it may appear none of 
his father's family have ever taken proper or prudent 
steps to bring up children or educate them as tiieir 
Estates would have admitted or Reason pointed out — 
but enough on so distressing and Disagreeable a Sub- 
ject — 

"Mr. Smith Slaughter has determined to set out tom- 



«-Af<-" 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 155 

morrow morning for Kentucky, to him I refer you 
for all the News in this Neighborhood. I Just now 
saw Captain Lewis from Hagers Town on his way 
to Col. Dark's by him I wrote to the Col. to know 
when he would set out for Philadelphia and expect 
an Answer Tomorrow — I shall of Course insist (if I 
can do it with propriety) upon settling the accounts 
of the whole Virginia Batalion — I have not heard 
from your Daughter Sally since you left us Untill 
Friday last, when to my Surprize I found INfajor 
Parker and his Lady (formerly Sally Opie) & her 
Brother & two sisters were here at a Ball. Mrs. 
Parker told me the last she had Heard of your Sally 
she was Very well, and a Very promising Child. 
Major I'arkcr lives near Battle Town;— you Ive- 
(|ucst me to send out your Negro Woman Sarah I 
will attempt it but this cannot be done instantly for 
the inclement weather will not permit the taking her 
Two youngest Children with her and without them I 
sui:)pose she would not go. I will However endeavour 
to get them on as far as Wheeling by the first oppor- 
tunity from whence Opptys frequently offer to Lime- 
stone—and expect you will hear of her soon after her 
arrival, — 

"If f can find whether Samuel Strode continues to 
live at Limestone in that case I will direct her to his 
care — I before mentioned the purchase of Certifi- 
cates, would it not be ])ossible for you to engross some? 
either Military or Militia Issued by this State or by 
the Continent they are in High Demand and can never 
be less Value and may still be higher but not much. 

"I expect Va. Certificates will rise to 20 in the 
pound before long, and Militia little less— the funds 
and Credit of the United States are in such high repu- 



156 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

tation in Europe, that the Monied men are eagerly 
thrusting their Money into it Knowing it to be on a 
permanent foundation and Receiving 6 per cent here, 
whereas the Higliest Interest in Europe is about 
4^ per cent — this accounts for the High prices given 
for funded stock by the people on the East Side of 
the Atlantick. 

"The Late unfortunate Campaign has thrown the 
whole Country into a ferment; all on this Side the 
Susqehanah damn St. Clair, and Call out for Gen. 
Morgan to Retrieve the lost Honors of the Country — 
farther North they differ, some are for St Clair es- | 
])ccially about Philadelphia, farther North Gen. Lin- t 
coin carries the Voice, Just as their prejudices dictate. ! 
The People Generally North of the Suscjuehanar are 
so infamously Jealous of the Southern States, that 
Many of them would willingly injure themselves to 
injure us — The fixing the Federal City on the Patow- 
mack is a dread full Eye sore to the Citys of Philadel- 
phia and iJaltimore. The More Eastern People are 
Coming into the Measure and are daily purchasmg 
Lots with a View to settle there — Wm. Cox and 
Company from Boston, who Built the Bridge from 
Boston to Charles Town and that at London-derry in 
Ireland, has undertaken to build One Across the 
Patowmack at George Town, some distance above the 
Grand City. — The City is finished Laying off, it Con- 
tains, I am told, Near Seven Thousand Acres of 
Land, I mean with Lotts for Building upon, Streets, 
Piiblick Squares, Gardens, etc, etc. It is one of the 
Handsomest Situations in America for a Large City, 
is extremely well watered, Several large Creeks run- 
ning through it, and so Situated that Water can and 
will be carried to every part of the Town. I have en- 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 157 

closed you a Small and Very Imperfect plan, from 
which you will have some Idea of its Convenience to 
the inhabitants. Alerchandizing in this Country is 
entirely Ruined, there is not a Cross Road, Smith 
Shop, or a Mill where are not Goods for Sale of 
some kind. I would Give anything almost to be out 
of that line, but alas I have Goods on hand which must 
be sold off and I am in no Publick line to make a 
living any other way. I beg you would never attempt 
so dangerous and perilous a calling as storekeeping ; 
I have often mentioned to you the necessity of ob- 
taining publick Offices of Trust, in order to get into 
those of Profit, and altho you was outpoled (polled?) 
last spring yet in case Nothing Else offers better, I 
would attempt it again. If I thought it would suit me 
were I in your situation — should an Army be raised 
I'm Certain a Commission will be sent you, this you 
know you are not Obliged to accept, but Consult your 
interest, your ambition & your private ease, and 
happy will you Deem your Situation when you have 
it in your Power to refuse what others are Aiming at 
with every Art and intrigue — you see I am Running 
into the Old Custom of dictating to You of whose 
situation and inclinations 1 am in some jneasure a 
Stranger, this I (rust you will impute to my An.xiety 
for your prosperity and not to the pleasure usually 
felt in prescribing Rules and Conduct to others when 
we make a bad use of them ourselves. Sisters IJetsy 
and Polly are enjoying their Usual Good Health, and 
their little families are Very well — l>rother Jacob 
Continues here doing nothing, Daniel & Solomon are 
at Norfolk and do well — Mama is failing fast, she 
has determined to come to Town, If I can dissuade 
her from this attempt untill T can lUiild her a Genteel 



158 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Small House, I shall be satisfied, she is continually 
uneasy and fretting about every thing that Concerns 
any of her Children. I find it absolutely Necessary 
to pay more attention to her than I usually did, Sis- 
ter Betsy and myself set up untill Twelve o'clock last 
Night at my House in Contriving Matters for Mama's 
future comfort and ease — ='= ''' ''■'- General Butler 
Complained much of Colonel Anderson's treatment of 
him, about a Tract of Land he had pointed out when 
I was with him last spring & seemed determined to 
look for some kind of Satisfaction, for he expected 
to meet with the Col, after he should quit the service 
and then he would be able, he thought, to have justice 
clone — Alas Poor Fellow he was Mistaken, and his 
family will be ,little benefited by the General's inten- 
tion. — 

"I am not like to make any purchases in this County 
as yet of Lands, I failed both in Thomas Crowe's and 
Mr. Murray's Lands. Mr. Crowe sold his plantation 
to Mr. Joseph Nourse, and I\Ir. Murray says he must 
have the Avhole money (2075 pounds Va. currency) in 
18 months, which I am unable to Raise — where to 
apply next I know not but am not Very Uneasy, for 
if a man has Money he may always have opptys in a 
year or Two to . lay it out to advantage — Captain 
Shepherd is Very Keen to sell some or any of those 
Tracts that Captain Fleming secured for him — he 
owes me a large Sum (say 400 pounds) should be 
glad he could pay or H a good Bargain Could be had 
would take some of his Kentucky Lands, but shall act 
Cautious on this Head. — Mrs. Bedinger has 1000 
Acres Land Lying somewhere Between Strode's Sta- 
tion & Limestone, this Land is said to be Good, per- 
haps Saml Strode might be able to fix a Tenant on it, 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 159 

or If inhabitable you may do it, If any One will Risque 
themselves on it for a few years — 

"* * * As to Benoni I am more than ever con- 
vinced his Illness is now already Confirmed Closely 
Bordering on a Consumption. * * *." 

In the summer of 1792 Major Bedinger visited his 
old home in Shepherdstown, possibly to recruit for 
the army. He had accepted the commission sent him 
by the Secretary of War, and in the fall of this year 
we find him at Pittsburg, where the troops were sta- 
tioned. Here he engaged in the arduous task of 
drilling and disciplining the men of his Battalion. 

While stationed at this place General Wayne would 
often exercise his men in sham battles. In conducting 
one of these, some officer came to the commander-in- 
chief and reported an Indian attack on a part of the 
camp, and desired further orders. Some ladies were 
present, and they, thinking that the aide-de-camp 
spoke of a real Indian surprise, became extremely 
alarmed, and it was some time before they could be 
brought to believe that they were in no immediate 
danger of the scalping knife. 

It was in this memorable year that Major Bedin- 
ger became acquainted with a young girl of sixteen, 
who lived with her parents, at the Lower Blue Licks, 
in what was then Bourbon County, Kentucky. Her 
name was Henrietta Clay. Her father was Dr. Henry 
Clay from Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Major 
Bedinger fell in love with her, but her parents op- 
poscd the match, probably because of the twenty 
years difference in their ages. In February, 1793, he 
proposed to her to elope with him. Henrietta con- 
sented, and so, one dark night, Major Bedinger waited 
under her window with a good horse. ' Henrietta had 



■ f/.l 



iv/ 



160 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

made herself a homespun wedding dress, and this she 
first made into a bundle and threw out of the window. 
Then she silently let herself down, and he swung her 
to the crupper in front of him. Thus they rode off 
in the darkness together, into the new life before 
them. Henrietta made him a most devoted and faith- 
ful wife, and survived him many years. 

That same month he resigned from the army. His 
reasons for taking this step are given by one of his 
descendants, a Air. Ranson, in an article he wrote for 
a newspaper on the subject of his ancestor. He says: 

"After St. Clair's retirement, and the assumption 
of the chief command by General Wayne, the new 
commander desired to promote Alajor Bedinger to a 
high position in the army, which the Secretary of 
War desired to fill with a friend of his own. This 
resulted in a state of feeling which led General Wayne 
to declare that he would resign if Bedinger were not 
promoted. But he, unwilling to be the cause of such 
an unpropitious event, handed in his own resignation, 
withdrew from the army, and retired to private life, 
in 1793." 

Major Bedinger could not bear to be the subject of 
strife, nor the object of envy. His great popularity 
with the troops, and the high esteem in which he was 
held by General Wayne, led some of the dissatisfied, 
who are always to be foiuid in every army, to make 
unkind remarks about favoritism, and the unfairness 
of promoting him above the head of older men. He 
hated dissension, and preferred to retire rather than 
be the cause of ill-feeling. 

It is said that, in the summer of 1793, he and his 
body servant constructed a log house for the reception 
of his bride. 



■:5^ nwo ?.i^'- 



n&'O >(cf 



CHAPTER XVII 
Early Days in Kentucky 

THE life of the Kentucky pioneer in the last years 
of the eighteenth century was very much like 
that of the Virginian frontiersman of an earlier date, 
with the difference that Kentucky was farther from 
the outposts of civilization, and that all commodities 
that could not be manufactured at home were even 
harder to obtain. 

When Michael and his servant built a log cabin for 
the reception of his bride it is probable that some of 
the neighbors assisted him in the task. The common 
practice of the day was, when a young couple was 
to be installed in a new home, for their friends and 
neighbors to gather for many miles around, to assist 
in log-rolling and erecting the cabin. The women 
employed themselves in cooking the provisions brought 
along, and it was an occasion of feasting and merri- 
ment, something like our modern barn-raising frolics. 

A day or two would be spent in felling trees and 
cutting them into proper lengths. A team was always 
on hand to haul the logs to the spot selected for the 
new dwelling. Some one with more skill than the 
others would select a suitable tree for making clap- 
boards for the roof. The tree for this purpose must 
be straight-grained, and from three to four feet in 
diameter. The boards were split four feet long, and 
as wide as the timber would allow. 

The floor of the cabin, when not of earth, was of 
puncheons. These were made by splitting trees about 
oiirhteen inches in diameter, and hewing the faces with 



162 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

a broad-ax. They were usually half the length of 
the floor they were destined to make. 

Wlien all was in readiness four men were elected 
as corner-men, whose business was to notch and place 
the logs, while their companions kept them supphed 
with material. These were, of course, chosen for their 
superior strength and ability, the same four being 
probably elected over and over again. By the time 
the cabin was a foot or two high, the business of 
laying the sleepers and floor began. The door and 
windows were made by cutting openings in the logs, 
and securing these openings by upright pieces of tim- 
ber about three inches thick, through which holes were 
bored into the ends of the logs for the purpose of 
pinning them fast. A similar opening was made at one 
end for the chimney. This was built of logs, and was 
large, so as to admit of a back and jambs of stone. 
At the square two end logs projected a foot or two 
beyond the wall to receive what were called the but- 
ting poles, against which the ends of the first row of 
clapboards were supported. The roof was formed by 
making the end logs shorter until a single log formed 
the comb of the roof. On these logs the clapboards 
were placed, the ranges of them lapping some dis- 
tance over those next below them, and kept in their 
places by logs placed at proper distances upon them. 
Usually the roof and floor were finished on the day 
that the "raising" began. On the next day the floor 
was levelled off; a door made of clapboards and some 
rude articles of furniture finished by the most able 
carpenters present, such as a table made of a split 
slab; some three-legged stools; some shelves; and 
a bedstead, made of a single fork, placed with its lower 
end in a hole in the floor, and the upper end fastened 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 163 

to a joist, and having a pole in the fork with one end 
in a crack l)ctwecn the k)g.s of the wall. 'I'his front 
pole was crossed hy a shorter one within the fork, 
with its onter end through another crack. From the 
front pole, through a crack between the logs of the 
end of the house, the boards were put on which 
formed the bottom of the bed. Sometimes other poles 
were pinned to the fork a little distance between these, 
for the purpose of supporting the foot and head of the 
bed. A few pegs around the walls served for the 
display of all the clothing the couple possessed, and 
there were always two buck's horns or small pegs for 
the rifle and shot-pouch. 

In the meantime the masons, with the heart pieces 
of the timber from which the clap-boards were made, 
made billets for chunking up the cracks between the 
logs of the cabin and chimney. A large bed of mortar 
was prepared for daubing up these cracks ; and a few 
stones formed the back and jambs of the fire-place. 

The cabin was now finished, and the night was 
given over to the house warming. The friends and 
relations danced all night on the puncheon floor, the 
jug circulated freely, and all was merriment and good 
cheer. Next day the cou])le were installed in their 
new abode, and the visitors left with many good wishes 
for their prosperity. 

T have adapted this description from Dr. Dod- 
dridge's account of the early settlers, a scarce book 
now, and long out of print. He was born in the back- 
woods, on the line between western Virginia and Penn- 
sylvania. No doubt ]\Iichael Bedinger assisted at 
many such log-rollings. He, however, was soon able 
to build his wife a substantial stone house. His negro 
Sarah, with three children, was sent out to him. He 



./ 



164 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

had several negro men, and no doubt soon set up 
housekeeping in a very comfortable style. 

It is likely that he still went on hunting trips in the 
fall with a companion or two, for that was the uni- 
versal custom on the frontiers at this time. The sup- 
ply of meat for the winter season was usually procured 
in this manner. The wives and children were left in 
the settlements, or perhaps they would be sent to 
the nearest fort ; while the hunters, usually two or 
more together, went out into the forest with their 
dogs and rifles, and prepared to encamp in some shel- 
tered and hidden spot. They took with them their 
pack-horses laden with flour, Indian meal, and blank- 
ets, and everything necessary for their comfort. 

The first day was usually occupied by making their 
hunting lodge, or shelter. The back part was some- 
times the large trunk of a fallen giant of the forest. 
At a distance of ten feet from this two stakes were 
set in the ground a few inches apart, and ten feet 
from these two more were placed. These outlined 
the sides of the open cabin. The sides were now 
filled in with poles, the front was left open, and the 
camp fire built outside. The shelter was covered with 
slabs, resting on a few poles ; or with skins, or blank- 
ets ; the whole slo]:)e of the roof was from the front 
backwards. The cracks between the logs were filled 
with moss, and dry leaves served for a bed. 

A little uKM-c i)ains, says Dr. Doddridge, would 
have made a huuling cam)) a defense against Indians. 
A cabin ten feet Svjuare, bullet-proof, and furnished 
with port holes, would have enabled two or three 
hunters to hold twenty Indians at bay for any length 
of time; but this precaution, I believe, was never at- 
tended to, hence the hunters were often surprised 
and killed in their camps. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER ' 165 

The dress of the borderers was ahnost invariably the 
hunting-frock of Hnsey or hncn, or sonietinies, of 
dressed deer hide. These frocks had wide sk^eves, and 
were made loose enough to lap over a foot or more in 
front. They were often ornamented by fringe made 
of ravelled strips of homespun of a different color. 
They were belted in with sashes of the same material, 
which were tied in the back. In these belts the toma- 
hawk was stuck on the right side, and the scalping 
knife, in its case, usually on the left. The shot pouch 
also hung by a strap from the belt. 

The small-bored rifles, or flint-locks, were very 
long, so that, when the butt rested on the ground, they 
came up to the chin of a tall man. The bullets used 
were about forty-five to the pound. 

The men wore jackets and shirts of homespun 
under their hunting frocks, and breeches of deer hide 
or stout linsey. On their feet they wore moccasins, 
which were made of dressed deer-hide. They were 
mostly made of a single piece, with a seam along the 
top of the foot, and another from the back of the 
lieel, and flaps were left on each side to reach some 
distance up the legs. These were neatly fitted to the 
ankles and lower part of the leg, so that no dust, or 
gravel could get inside. They were fastened by leather 
thongs, and lined with dry leaves or deer's hair in cold 
weather, very uncomfortable when wet, and indeed 
they were poorly adapted for muddy ways, owing to 
the spongy texture of the material of which they were 
made. Caps were fashioned of deerskin, or the fur of 
beaver and otter. 

The women spun their own wool, and often wove it. 
They made their coarse clothing, which consisted of 
gowms and petticoats, of linen or linsey, and many of 



166 . . GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

them learned from the Indians the art of plaiting hats, 
as well as mats and baskets, out of grass and straw. 

Traveling in Kentucky was, for many years, ex- 
tremely perilous. The settlers who wished to go east 
to trade or for other purposes, went either with an 
armed escort, or waited until a sufficient number could 
be collected to make the expedition in safety. They 
rode good horses and often led pack horses, and the 
caravan would encamp along the trail every evening. 
They were obliged to take provisions for themselves 
and provender for their horses with them. When 
the country became more settled, and after the Indians 
had made peace, taverns sprung up all along the main 
traveled routes, at the distance of a day's journey 
from each other. Then, .too, companies of wagoners, 
sometimes as many as thirty or forty together, would 
travel up and down the roads. These were the heavy 
Conestoga wagons, the body painted red, with the 
sides and trimmings blue, and having great canvass 
hoods that in later days gave them the name of prairie 
schooners. The horses, often six in number, were 
selected for strength and endurance, rather than speed, 
and their trappings were ornamented with red flannel 
rosettes, while each horse was furnished with a set 
of bells that made merry music as they jogged along 
day after day, enlivening the way with song and story; 
shouts and laughter. 

Among the papers of Michael liedingcr I have 
found an account of a journey he tnidertook as late 
as the year 1812. For many years there were no 
journeys undertaken in Kentucky in wheel carriages, 
as the state of the roads rendered this mode of travel- 
ing impracticable. The Kentuckians thought nothing 
of undertaking trij)s of hundreds of miles on horse- 



y'T 



ovBn' I 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDIXGER 167 

back. Frequently, in old letters, they speak of the 
manner in which a favorite horse "performed" on 
these journeys, and they learned to prize these valuable 
animals as much as did the Arabs of the desert. 

"On Sunday, the 10th day of May, 1812," he writes, ., 
"we left home (apparently himself and one of his 
children) and got as far as Dr. Roberdie's (Rober- 
deau's) to dinner. From thence to Maysville. At 
Boon's my bill was ^2.87y2. 

"May 11th. From thence to Lockheart's, there my 
bill was .$1.18. 

"From thence to Allen's, there my bill was $1.50. 

"From thence to the Licking Springs, my bill was 
75 cents. 

"12th. From thence to Plattoes, my bill was 25 
cents. . ' 

"13th. From thence to Turner's, my bill was $1.62.. 

"From thence to Chilicothc. From thence to Hick- 
man's, my bill $1.75. 

"14th. Daniel was taken sick and we returned to 
Chilicothe, my bill was Syyi cts." 

This is all of the account. Very probably he and 
Daniel, who was at that time fifteen years of age, 
were alone on the trip. On the other side of the paper 
is a long list of necessary articles needed at home^ 
Among them are "Westcoat patterns, fine calfskin^ 
combs, penknives, a crate of hardware, - five dozen 
shallow plates, one dozen dishes, three large boles,, 
half dozen fruit dishes, two dozen glass tumblers, one 
large thimball, handkt'rchiefs, silk and cotton, red and 
yellow flannel, two dozen buck handle knives and 
forks, two chests of tea, liuttons plain and fancy, 
files, gimlets, beads, and black lutestring," and many 
other articles. 



168 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Although travehng was such an arduous undertak- 
ing, our ancestors seem to have been ahvays on the 
move. Michael, his wife and children, frequently 
"came in" to Virginia, on horseback. In these primi- 
tive days, Henry, Daniel, Jacob, and Henry's wife and 
daughters went out to Kentucky every now and then. 
Michael sent his children to visit Bedford and Pro- 
tumna, his brothers' homes ; and the aiifectionate rela- 
tions between the families were always kept up, as the 
many marriages between cousins abundantly testify. 
B. E. Bedinger, a son of Michael, speaks in a letter 
written in 1865 of the last visit Daniel made to his 
brother Michael, in 1812, when the family hung on 
his words with delight, as he and Michael recounted 
their past experiences and adventures. "He was," 
said Dr. B. F. Bedinger, "joyous and witty, and the 
delight of every company. We were all wonderfully 
taken with him. I did not again see him luitil 1817. 
He was then suffering from some disease of the lungs, 
the same which terminated his life. He was still 
sprightly, but not so joyous as when in Kentucky. 
He evidently felt he would not recover his health, 
and was arranging his affairs for the benefit of his 
family and setting his house in order for eternity. Yet 
I enjoyed his company very much. He took great 
pleasure in the society of his children, interesting 
them in conversation suited to their various capacities. 
My father looked upon his brother Daniel as a model 
of all that was noble, generous, brave, and honorable 
among men. A man of true genius, with the highest 
order of intellect, admired and loved by his associates, 
who were all gentlemen of truth and probity, for my 
uncle held in contempt all that was false, sordid or 
(lishoncrable, and k-ei)t himself aloof from all such." 



CHAPTER XVIII 
Letters from Home — Life in Kentucky 

WE must now return to the year 1793, such an 
eventful one in the hfe of Major Bedinger. 

Robert Louis Stevenson, in one of his letters de- 
clares that "The path of married life runs on, long, 
straight, and dusty, to the end." It is true that when 
a man has settled down to quiet wedded happiness 
with a family growing up around him, he expects no 
more thrilling adventures, and hairbreadth escapes. 
The imagination is soothed and calmed. The book 
of Romance, splendid in scarlet and gold, is closed 
forever; the drab-colored book of Reality lies open 
before him, to be perused to the very last page. 

After the peace of Greenville, in the year 1795, 
there was not even an occasional Indian foray to give 
variety to life. Ihit we must not go on too fast. Let 
us see, by an extract from one of the letters of his 
elder brother, Henry, what his family thought of his 
last adventure, his new exploration into the land of 
matrimony. Henry's letter is dated 

"Shepherd's Town June 16th 1793 
"Dear Brother 

"Your letters of the 29th January, 12th March, and 
20th April are before me, which Contain the General 
Information that you have cjuitted the Army; have 
taken to your Bosom Miss Henrietta Clay, & that you 
intend to make a living in future by the sweat of your 
brow, If no opportunity presents itself of doing it 
otherwise. This is a refiection worthy of every Good 



Hi. 



170 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

man, but to Mistake the Busyness as many here have 
done, and quit all for the sake of trade — that Calling- 
being naturally Precarious I must again insist that 
you Meddle not in that line, for If you Once found 
yourself embarrassed or entangled you would Readily 
sacrifice all you had made by it and much more to get 
Rid of the embarrassment — I find from long ex- 
perience that nothing can possibly now be made here 
in trade, and were it not for my other Dependence 
and property I must long since have failed. If I had 
Depended on trade altogether. There are few people 
Calculated to make Money by it, and then it must be 
done by watching as the Sherifl:'s do, by taking advan- 
tage of the Distressed the Ignorant, and the profligate. 
The fair trader has not an equal Chance now-a-days; 
and the Honest Retailer can never make anything by 
it so as to make him sattisfaction for the trouble & 
Risque he must undergo ''' * ''' I need not, I hope 
tell you, the disadvantage you would lie under in Com- 
mencing any trading busyness. You have already 
suffered enough to bring you to Reflect seriously on 
it. Your Honest, open. Generous Disposition will 
never do as a trader, every man who trades must ex- 
pect to Cope with cheats, Liars, Rascals, &c, of every 
Denomination. The Greatest fortunes ever made in 
America (excluding inhabitants of sea-ports) have 
been by securing Lands early and Keeping them until 
they Naturally & by progressive Rises became great 
fortunes; but of all these things you are as good and 
perhaps a better Judge than myself — 

"I must Confess I was not well pleased when I 
found you had determined to Resign your Command 
in the Army & I Retained your Letters for some time 
before I sent them off * '" * As the President of 



.oil 3fll 



lU'U U' 



m 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 171 

the U. S. had nothing to do with the Busyness I only 
wrote to the Secretary of War, to Gen'l Wayne, as 
you See pr the Copies. 

"Our Honored Mother on the other Hand was much 
pleased at your determination, to leave the army & 
Retire to employments of Peace, and on heing in- 
formed of your Marriage her pleasure appeared the 
greater. She said you would now probably Remain 
Close at Home and give over that Rambling disposi- 
tion which had Caused you all your Misfortunes. It 
rests with you to Verify her predictions. I am in 
some measure of her opinion unless that unbounded 
desire in you of being in the Legislature or Congress 
may again break up your domestick ease and happi- 
ness. I do not Condemn this ambition & Rather 
Cherish a hope that you will act so as to Deserve well 
from your Country, in any situation, but I insist you 
must, before attempts of this nature are made, be well 
seated at Home, both as to Necessarys and Conven- 
iences * * * and here let me tell you we had a 
Contested Election even for jMembers of Assembly in 
this County. I was drawn out Very Much against 
my Will or Interest, without soliciting any one, and 
Elected, but then it was owing to my having taken a 
Very Active part in favour of Mr. Robin Rutiierford 
(for Congress) whose Election was a little doubtful 
until it Came to be tried, when he bore down all oppo- 
sition, & had double the Number (or Nearly) of 
Votes within the District, of both his opponents put 
together." 

Jn another f)art of the same letter he says: — "I 
would advise you as you Value the Peace, the Happi- 
ness of your Amiable Consort, to be Reconciled to 
Mr. Clay, and altho' you beg none, nor expect any 



172 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

favors, yet tis quite Convenient you should be well 
with him and all his Connections — and this you must 
be, unless it Requires too great a sacrifice : — of that 
you must Judge — I hope and believe you will Con- 
duct your Matters in future so as not to Run in Debt 
to any one in that Country — for above all men 
living you are the most unfit to be in debt. If you 
want anything send for it to me, and if I can spare it 
you shall have it, and surely you may expect more 
lenity from me than from any other. '" * ''' Mama 
has Returned to her own house in the country. Jacob 
is preparing to build on the Corner, Daniel is well. 
Norfolk much hurt by the War, * * '■■ My com- 
pliments to your Lady, Should be Happy to wish you 
both much Joy, personally * * * and now after 
writing thus long I am 

"your Obdt Servt 

"Henry Bedinger." 

His mother also sent him a note in which she says : 
"I wish to express my Satisfaction at Receiving your 
many Letters by Mr Stipp, Captain Kearney, etc, the 
Contents of which Informed me of your Marriage, 
and health, of which I am very glad, and expect, from 
the manner in which you wrote that you are Satisfied. 
The account of the rheumatic Pains having nearly 
left you has given me jiarticular pleasure. I am very 
glad to here of your inteniling to. live in Kentucky, 
which I think the best way provided you can live safe 
and easy * * * Qne thing I would recommend to 
you that is to be as Careful! as possible of Running 
into debt about Build in y your House, as that was the 
principal Cause of Mr. Spalding's ruin * * * j 
Remain "your Mother 

"Magdelene Bedinger." 



GEORGE MICHAEL T3EDINGER 173 

On the back of this letter, the only one I have ever 
seen from j\Irs. Bedinger, is written in Michael's hand, 
"Magdalene Bedinger, My dear Mother, June 1793." 
It was sent by the same hand as the voluminous one 
from Ilenry of nearly the same date. 

The next letter from Henry says : "We are all 
happy to hear that you are making improvements on 
your own Land, we all wish this Could have hap- 
pened years ago, and we hope that after the experi- 
ence you have had of the [torn] of Mankind that you 
will guard against traflicking with any one, unless you 
see on long Meditation that it is impossible to err. I 
know your Industry, and with the aid of your negroes, 
when w^e can get them to you conveniently, I am cer- 
tain you will make a comfortable living. We are 
much pleased with your Reconciliation with Mr. Clay, 
as such a Circumstance must render your spouse much 
[torn] than otherwise." 

The brothers, Henry, Michael, and Daniel, were 
now all married. Henry was, after serving a couple 
of years in the Assembly, made Postmaster of Shcp- 
herdstown, and, in 1799, Clerk of ISerkelcy County. 
This office was, however, contested, and after eight 
years, the suit was declared against him, very unjustly, 
he always thought. He, however, held the office until 
about 1807, and this was the cause of his leaving 
Shei)herdstown and building himself a house in 
Berkeley County, near Martinsburg, which is the 
county seat. 

Daniel married Miss Sarah Rutherford in 1791 and 
lived in Norfolk. And so the three brothers were 
separated, though they always kept up the old ties of 
affectionate intercourse, by letters and occasional 
visits. 



174 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Many children were born to Michael Bedinger and 
his wife. He might be called "the mill-builder" of the 
family, for he erected in the course of his life at least 
five large mills. For a long time he made salt at the 
Lower Blue Licks, but this commodity fell greatly in 
price, so that after a time it was unprofitable to make 
it in that place and manner. He was always rich in 
land, but ready money was scarce with him.x He built 
several dwelling houses. The Lower Blue Licks was 
a place of resort in summer, for the medicinal waters 
of its springs. He built there a tavern and other 
houses, two large mills, a ferryhouse and other build- 
ings. His own home was a large stone house that 
he built on his plantation some distance from the 
Licks. He still occasionally surveyed land for his 
friends, but not far away from his home. Sometimes 
he employed a Mr. Sullivant to attend to this business 
for his old friends in the east who wrote to him ask- 
ing aid in locating their military grants. The follow- 
ing letter to him refers to one of the last of the In- 
dian outrages which for so many years had ravaged 
the beautiful, fertile, but dark and bloody land of 
Kentucky. 

"Washington Major County Ky. Ocbr 27 179-4 
"Dear Sir 

"Three days ago I had the pleasure of receiving 
yours of the 8th, and should certainly have had it in 
my power to have served you, and your acquaintances 
with regard to yr warrants immediately, if misfortune 
had not happened to me. C)n Sat. the 18th of this 
inst, myself, with a small part of my company, was 
fired upon by a party of Indians, at the mouth of 
Deer Creek a water of Scioto. I lost a worthy young 



1o Iv 



Oj ;yV< 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 175 

man, and was obliged to retreat, without executing my 
business tho I purpose to make another attempt as 
soon as possible, and sir, I flatter myself that it's in 
my power to serve you to as great an advantage as any 
other person whatever, and if my strictest attention 
and greatest Fidelity meet with yr Approbation you 
may depend on me and I will see you on the matter as 
soon as convenient. I am sir 

"Yrs etc, 

"Lucas Sullivant" 

Jacob, one of Michael's younger brothers, a very 
handsome but not very enterprising young man, writes 
to him from Shepherdstown in 1795: "I am at this 
time extremely busy about tlte corner house, I intend 
to build me a small house on my farm, and live by 
hard Knocks. I intended for Kentucky, but was pre- 
vented by so much Business, that I now believe I never 
shall see that Country, I am not married nor any 
likelihood of being so, unless you can recommend 
some good hardy Kentuckian, in that case I will go 
there. I at present live at our Mother's. I think to 
go to housekeeping in the spring," etc, etc. 

In 1795 Michael visited Virginia and saw his old 
mother for the last time, as she died in 1796, leaving 
her little property to be sold and divided equally be- 
tween her children. She is buried in the old Episcopal 
grave-yard, near the grave of her husband. 

George Michael's little daughter, Sarah Keene Red- 
inger, lived with her grandmother, Mrs. Keene, until 
the death of that lady in this year. Afterwards her 
father left her for some years near Shepherdstown 
imder the kind care of her aunt, Elizabeth Bedinger 
Morgan, who was now a widow witii five children of 



176 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

her own, besides Benoni Swearingen's son Henry, to 
bring up. Benoni died in 1798 after a long and pain- 
ful illness. He never recovered the shock of his wife's 
sudden death. 

In a letter from Henry dated November 14th, 1796, 
he says: "I have Just Returned from Betsy Mor- 
gan's where I sat up last night with our 1\ [other. She 
is Reduced l)eyond all Ideas of Description in Body, 
and we wait Hourly for tiie period of her Dissolution. 
She will without doubt, depart this life in a few days. 
Every attention is given her that is possible by us, 
which to her is of Some Small Comfort at so awful a 
period." 

The first letter tliat has been preserved from Mi- 
chael to his brother Henry is dated: 

"Lower Blue Licks July 7th 1799 
"Dear Brother 

"I have nothing more strange to acquaint you than 
that our friend R. Morgan did not call to see any of 
our Family, tho he ])assed the house and am told con- 
tinued at the Licks some time. I saw him on his way 
to Morgan's Station, recfuested him to call and see us 
the 4th which he agreed to do. I also saw Mr. Ralph 
Morgan and Andrew Swearingen, they also agreed to 
be here on the same day. I was in ho])es then fully 
to have ac(|uaintod them of tlie sum 1 paid Nan l)y 
Ralph, and ac(|uainted Ralph of my intention. But 
neither of the three attended or partook of a liarbicue 
I gave on that day. I shall be glad to hear from you 
and to know if any attempt will be made for the money 
alluded to, and which I have already ])ai(.l. I am sorry 
that I have not wrote you and the rest of our family 
oftener than I have. Particularly as I find they do not 



uti\ 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 177 

write to me; and can give no reason why they do not, 
imless it is from a mistaken notion that I wilfully neg- 
lect them, which is very foreign from me. I assure 
you that ever since I lived at this place have had fue 
moments to call my own, have, Generly had a Family 
of from 40 to 70 persons, have carried on great works 
and have always been a little in debt, am a bad Writer, 
Speller or Inditer, from all those Coroborating Cir- 
cumstances with a thousand disappointments which 
tliey all Must know, have happened, I could scarce have 
thought twould have been attempted to Retalliate, par- 
ticularly when all those exertions and close applica- 
tions were chiefly to Put it in my power to go and 
See you all. Go clear of debt, and in credit. How- 
ever if not one of you were to write me a line for 
Seven years I think T should at convenient opportuni- 
ties write to you all. I have no hope of seeing any of 
you this insuing fall, but am Confident shall be with 
you if life Permits the Next. I suppose you have 
heai'd that I rented half the Uiiixt 1*.1uc Licks which 
is about twelve miles from this i)lacc I have rented 
it for 5 years but shall rent out as many kettles as 
will pay the rent, and Go on a Large Scale of Salt- 
making the ensuing year; am in great hopes Shall be 
considerable gainer by them. 

"The Mills I have Built on Licking will I hope an- 
swer a valuable purpose they Grind the whole year 
except about 40 days when the water is too high I 
want a robing serene for the use of the Mill, a Super- 
fine Cloath and a pare of T'urr Millstones, all 
which if it is in ycnir Power I would be glad you would 
Trocurc for me and Send by Some Safe hand but if 
the Stones cannot be got the Cloath and Serene would 
be of great use with me as my Cloaths are coarse and 



178 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

I have no serene. If you can get the Stones &c, and 
will acquaint me when they will be delivered at Read- 
stone old fort I will Send a keele boat for them, and 
Pay their Price to your order. I am very desirous of 
Making the Best of Flower, as in that Case my Mills 
will undoubtedly be the best in the State, having a 
constant Stream of Navigation from the doore and 
plenty of work. — Indeed 1 think if we can have peace 
with the French and Indians it will be almost impossi- 
ble to Say what Such a Mill will be worth, Provided 
no other person undertakes anotiier of the same Mag- 
nitude on the Same Stream, which untill I made the 
attempt was thought impractica])le ; — having wrote 
you a long letter and Intending this day to write to 
all our Brethren conclude with constant Invariable 
affection your Brother 

"Geo. M. Bedinger 
"My Family all join in love to you & yours the 
Small ones Henry vv Daniel are continually asking 
when we are to go and what you will say, I keej) ,u}) 
their hopes by amusing them with something Verry 
agreeable. "G. M. B." 



CHAPTER XIX 

Family Happenings — Michael Bedinger in 
Congress 

IKf 1799 Daniel Bedinger retired from public life, 
and returned to Shepherdstovvn, where he built 
a beautiful country residence in the vicinity of that 
village. He was an ardent Jeffersonian Democrat, 
and had given up his position in the custom house in 
Norfolk mainly because he wanted to be quite free to 
express himself without restraint in the political cam- 
paign which resulted in the election of President Jef- 
ferson. We insert a letter from him written in 1800: 

FROM DANIEL BEDINGER TO G. M. BEDINGER 

"My House Near Shepherdstown June 23 1800 
"My Dear Sir, 

"It is now a long time since I have heard from you 
in any way whatever, & therefore think it high time 
to jog your memory. Time and distance have not yet 
had tlie power of abating in the smallest degree the 
attachment i^- regard which your friends & family 
ever have had for you & yours. ''^ '-■' "" It is now 
pretty evident that the prospect of having a Rcpubli-' 
can President is much more bright than it ever }'et 
has been since the adoption of the Federal Constitu- 
tion. The unanimous suffrage of New York in favor 
of our side will most effectually do the business, and 
we may now hope with confidence that the Presiden- 
tial Chair will soon be filled by a man who will make 
it his aim to preserve Ihe Constitution, the Liberties 
(!v the ha]:)piness of our Country — 



! '>f 



Uff) UUl 



•uvfii\ n'l 



180 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

"With respect to onr private friends I shall begin 
with H. B. He is well, but his troublesome and ex- 
pensive law-suit is not yet ended. Mrs. Betsy Morgan, 
her son Daniel and daughters Olivia & Betsy are 
also doing very well. Jacob Morgan has lately re- 
turned from the West Indies & is now at Norfolk in 
good health. 

"Abraham Morgan & Polly "his wife", together 
with their five sons tS: one daughter are also in a good 
way, and so is Brother J. B. tho he still remains a 
Bachelor & lives somewhat like a hermit. 

"Our youngest Brother Solomon arrived here about 
10 days ago, on a visit from Norfolk where he still 
lives, and where he still means to continue for some- 
time to come. He is well and means to stay with us 
2 or 3 weeks. 

"As to myself I am here fixed in a new brick house ; 
not quite finished, my prospects are pretty good, & 
my family seems to be increasing. For the last 8 
months past I have had the honor of having Major- 
General Charles Coatsworth Pinckney as a Tenant in 
one of my houses in town, and it is from him that I 
purchased a handsome Carriage for the use of my 
wife and Children. But as a pair of horses cannot 
readily be obtained here I should esteem it as a par- 
ticular favor indeed if you would endeavor to procure 
me a pair and bring them in with you. My wife joins 
me in best wishes and compliments to you and Mrs. B. 
My little girls also wish to be mentioned to you both, 
and to your little boys and Sally. In short all friends 
hope to have the j^leasure of seeing you both before 
frost, while I remain, as ever, your most Obdt Brother 
and Servt 

"Daniel Bedincrer" 



.t\ 



IV. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 181 

In 1802 Henry writes from IMartinsburg to Mi- 
chael : "Brother Daniel is gone to Norfolk as Navy 
Agent for the United States. Me intends to try it this 
Summer & If it agrees with his pocket and Health he 
will probably move down his faniily in the fall. In 
the mean time they remain at Bedford, his seat near 
Shepherd's Town. The Call on him by the Secretary 
of the Navy was Honorable to him, being unsolicited 
and unasked, he accepted with some reluctance as the 
pay or salary was a pr cent on the monies to be ex- 
pended and that probably small * '''' * Your Daugh- 
ter is well at Mrs. Morgan's, Continues to go to 
school." 

Michael Bedinger, while in Congress, frequently 
visited his old home, and once or twice brought his 
wife with him. She was very popular with his family, 
so much so that Daniel named his youngest daughter, 
born in 1810, for her. 

Michael had the same views on the subject of slav- 
ery that George Washington held, and like him, de- 
sired to free his slaves as soon as it could be done 
without casting theiii unprepared out into the world. 
While in Congress he got through a bill to prevent 
further transportation of slaves into the coinitry, and 
was chairman of a Committee for the suppression of 
slavery. He served in Congress during the time of 
the famous Embargo, which he ojiposed with all his 
strength. 

"A night session," says Miss Lucy Bittinger, in her 
account of him, "then a very unusual thing, was called 
to pass the act, the advocates of the measure thinking 
that its opponents could not attend. Major Bedinger 
got wind of it, came and opened his speech by saying: 
'What means this gathering in such unseemly haste, 



ffJiv/ IV 



mow 9, 



iifttOl) ] 



182 GEORGE MICIIAEL BEDINGER 

under cover of darkness? Is it that you propose that 
which will not bear the light?' He went on to de- 
Hver a scathing speech. When he finished John Ran- 
dolph of Roanoke rose and said, in his pecuhar, 
squeaking voice, 'I am glad to see there is one honest 
man in this house !' " 

In the summer of 1808 Michael received a letter 
from an old friend. Colonel John Morrow of Shep- 
h.erdstown, in which that gentleman said: "Your 
brother Daniel did not go to Florida as he intended, 
owing to the aspect of the times, and he is still in 
Norfolk. But Mr. Secretary Smith has taken it into 
his head to remove your brother Daniel from his office 
without giving him any notice and without informing 
him why or wherefore. This, as I believe, will be a 
very unpopular act in the Secretary, and it is com- 
fortable that among all the excuses for this act that are 
made by the Secretary, there is nothing that goes to 
impeach your brother's honesty or integrity, and that 
being the case, and as he can live very well without 
it, the thing is easier to be borne." 

Michael had, in all, ten children. The oldest was 
Sallie, the only child of his first wife. His sons he 
loyally named for his brothers, beginning with the 
eldest, Henry. His second was Daniel. His third he 
designed to name in compliment to his brother Jacob, 
but wrote to him that he did not like that name, as 
Jacob, the patriarch, was not, according to his ideas, 
a good man. Jacob replied by suggesting the name of 
George Washington, as both good and great. But 
Michael rei)lied that Washington was not dead, and 
there was no knowing what he might yet do. To this 
Jacob answered suggesting the name Benjamin Frank- 
lin, "for," said he, "he is good; he is great; and he is 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 1S3 , 

dead!" Accordingly the child, born in 1797, was 
christened Benjamin Franklin. 

In 1798 Elizabeth, named for his eldest sister, was 
born. The next child was a boy, and as it was now 
the turn of his youngest' brother, Solomon, the baby 
duly received that name. Olivia came next, named 
for his favorite niece, Olivia Morgan. Then came the 
fifth son, and as he had no more brothers to stand 
si)onsor for his boys, he bestowed his own name upon 
this child. 

After the names of all his brothers and his own 
were exhausted, there was another son born to him. 
He began with the names of his nephews, and this 
child was christened Jose])h Morgan, after the oldest 
son of his sister, Mrs. Abel Morgan. As this was his 
last son, he had no need to continue down the line of 
his numerous relations of the second generation. 
Henrietta, his youngest child, was born October 30th, 
1819. 

As his children grew uj) he did his utmost to secure 
good educations for them, bringing them east to 
school in Pennsylvania. Some of the younger ones 
went to school in Cincinnati, and for one of his boys 
he obtained a cadetship at West Point. 

And so the years rolled round with varying fortune. 
In'^iSlS his dearly loved brother Daniel died at his 
home near Shepherdstown. He writes to Henry, on 
the receipt of this intelligence : "It will be easier for 
you to conceive than for me to write my feelings at 
the loss of a brother so dear, so affectionate, so gener- 
ous in kindness to nic in time of need. I am verry 
sorry I did not liear of his low estate of health sooner. 
1 low soon it may be my lot to follow him is uncertain,. 
l)ut it cannot reasonably be long, and 1 hope I shall 
think and act accordingly." 



»(!i 



184 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Lying before me as I write these lines is the last 
letter Michael received from this brother, so greatly 
loved. It is hard even after the lapse of so many years 
to look over its pages, brown with age, without pain- 
ful feelings of the vanity of earthly life. On the back 
of the letter is traced, in a trembling hand, these 
words, "Referring to the times of certain occurrences 
on Staten Island, near New York" 

And again : "Oh My Dear brother, Daniel, He had 
a Great Minde, who can describe it ! ! ! his brother 
feels more than he can express." 

And in still another ])lace Michael has written : 
"From My Dear departed Brother D'l Bedinger, May 
the God of the universe bless him to all eternity. 
G. M. B." 

In 1816 Michael sent his son, B. F. Bedinger, to 
study medicine in Philadelphia. And so time went 
on, and the younger generation grew up and married. 
His daughter Olivia married her cousin, Henry Clay, 
and lived only a year. His eldest daughter, Sarah, 
married Mr. John Bedford, and died in 1822, leaving 
six children. A few extracts from his letters will tell 
of these domestic happenings better than any words 
of mine. 

In May, 1812, he writes to his brother Henry: 
"Our daughter, you will have heard, was married 
earTy in December. * * ^' Sallie is an affectionate 
child. Feb. 8tli. 1813. 1 am in the greatest haste as 
I have just returned from Slate where Major Andrew 
vSwearengen lives, to serve him with a notice that I 
will, on the second Monday in May, at your house in 
I'erlceley take the depositions of such persons as re- 
member my transactions witii his father. Should any 
other [)ersoiis be necessary to tak'e depositions, say 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 185 

Brothers Jacob and Daniel, or Col Swearengen, you 
will please act for me. * * * j ^^^^ scarcely recol- 
lect what I have written. I never get Drunk, or you 
would think me so. * * * 

"May 17th 1817. We live in the old house near the 
Mill where we lived when you once came to see us. 
Our son B. F. came home safe, and is still with 
us. * * * I expect he will try to get in with some 
country physician who will give him a small part of 
his profits. My son Daniel will take my grist mill. 
Henry takes the saw-mill as soon as she can be re- 
built, as she was old and overset by a high freshet 
this spring. I have a tedious law-suit to attend to. 
I have got so old and frail that I dread this suit. I 
have often offered to arbitrate, but the person who 
is opposed to me has bought Walker's claim. Thomas 
Swcaringcn, I'enoui, and myself had improvements 
near each other. Thomas was the locater. * * * 
I have no doubt Colonel S wishes to do me justice. It 
is now about 33 or 34 years since I exposed myself to 
the greatest privations I ever heard of a free man 
enduring, voluntarily, have since regularly paid taxes 
for my proportion of said land surveyed for him, and 
have never received one cent. * * * j think the 
surveys made for Colonel Svvearingen amount to 4000 
acres. In dangerous times the chainman walked fast, 
and e^en in the act of staking moved on so that with 
long sticks they always took in more land than the 
survey called for, I am to have an eighth of the land. 
I am willing to have an eighth of what it is worth, or 
to have a division made immediately. I hope you and 
Col Shepherd both recollect my having said obligation, 
you both signed it, as well as Joseph Svvearingen, & 
General Finley. I wish you therefore to see Col 



tl 



186 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Swcaringcn. When he is fully apprised of my necessi- 
ties he will do me the Justice to afford me all the re- 
lief which a compliance with his contract in Justice 
and honour imperiously dictate. 

"Nov 7th 1822. I have again got into the stone 
house I Built at the Licks, not because I wish to live 
here but because 1 cannot rent it to any good man 
that will agree to give me a reasonable rent fot it. 
The late death of my son Henry's wife, and the death 
of my daughter Sallie, has increased my family a lit- 
tle, as I have Henry's daughter, Lavinia, and Sally's 
son, George Michael Bedford, with me. 

"October IGth 1823. The young ladies, your daugh- 
ter Eli;:abetb, Ann Shepherd, and my Daughter Eliza- 
beth all went to Bourbon county to visit our relations 
and friends, the Clays, Duncans, Bedfords, etc. * * * 
I am a little confused, therefore sto]), my fingers are 
stiff, blood cold, my affections warm as ever. I con- 
clude affectionately yours. G. M. B. 

"Hope Farm September 7th, 1824. Our friend and 
nephew Daniel Bedinger handed me your letter of first 
of June. * * * I have paid about nine of the 
twelve thousand I owed. * '" * I hope I have now 
got over the most gloomy part of my letter, but in 
fact I do not know whether I can give it a bright side. 
In truth I can say my two departed daughters were 
worthy, industrious, moral characters, and all my 
children who are of mature age promise fair to make 
good citizens. Indeed if it was in my power to alter 
their minds and dispositions at a wish I think I should 
not be able to do it for the better. Henry, Daniel, 
Franklin, Elizabeth and Solomon are all that are 
above 21 years old. They are all affectionate and 
worthy children, and I hope that the three younger 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 187 

ones will turn out as well. * * * Your observa- 
tions in yr letter of the many deaths and almost total 
extinction of our once numerous companions and af- 
fectionate associates of our youthful days convince 
me our feelings are similar, and more sincerely felt 
than I am able to describe. Well, we are left here a 
little longer than they ! and I hope we shall endeavor 
to be reconciled to our fate when we must follow. 
I think that of Hugh Stephenson's large company of 
riflemen of 1775 there remains now only 2 or 3 be- 
sides you and I alive & they are dispersed. I think it 
will be 50 years next spring since we first turned out 
as soldiers, it is quite probable I will then go with you 
to the place we met half a century back — I mean to 
Stinson's spring. 

"I must refer you to our worthy nephew Daniel 
Bedinger for the news of the place as he intends to 
leave us tomorrow morning. I am much pleased with 
the Dear Son of my Dear Brother, I went with him to 
his land on the Ohio near the mouth of Cumberland. 
I think we made a trip of about 700 miles in 27 
days." 



CHAPTER XX 

The Meeting at "Stinson's Spring" 

IT was now fifty years since, the party of eager young 
men had met at the spring on the old Bedinger 
place, and pledged themselves to meet again when a 
half century had rolled away. And where was that 
gallant little company? Alas, the fate of many, of at 
least two-thirds, was a dreadful death, not on the 
field of glory, hut in the terrible prisons of New York 
where their treatment was so harsh that it seems as if 
human brutality could go no further. Some, it is true, 
escaped ; and others survived, often in enfeebled 
health, to be exchanged, and once more to breathe free 
air. 

In 1825 one or two, besides Henry and Michael 
Bedinger, were still alive, but they were old and 
feeble. And so it happened that, on the day appointed, 
(ho tenth of Juno, 1SJ5, two old brothers rode in to 
the rendezvous at "Stinson's Spring;" one, all the way 
from Bourbon County, Kentucky ; and the other from 
his home near Martinsburg. The two old brothers 
met, and clasped each other's hands, and looked into 
each other's eyes, for the last time. 

Of this affecting meeting a newspaper of the day, 
the Harper's Ferry Free Press, gave a full and very 
graphic account. This I will copy here as the best 
description written by an eye witness of the scene. 

It will be noted that the spring where the meeting 
took place is said to belong to Daniel Morgan. This 
was a son of Elizabeth l)edinger Morgan. His home, 
including the famous spring,* was bought long after 

% ; 

*This spring must not be confounded with Morgan's Spring, 
now the property of Dr. Crawford. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 189 

his death, in 1859, by the widow of Henry Bedingcr, 
one of the sons of Michael's dearly loved brother, 
Daniel. The writer of this little book now lives in the 
old house partly built by Daniel Morgan, and often 
visits the famous old spring. A tablet should be 
placed at the spot to commemorate the patriotic meet- 
ings there, and perhaps this may yet be done. 

FROM THE harper's FERRY FREE PRESS OF JUNE, 1825. 

A party of ladies and gentlemen repaired on Friday, 
the tenth of June, to a spring (Air. D. Morgan's, near 
Shepherdstown) for the purpose of celebrating the 
day, pursuant to an arrangement made 50 years be- 
fore. The circumstances which gave rise to this truly 
interesting celebration have been related to us as fol- 
lows, by a gentleman who was present. 

In the spring of 1775 General Washington selected 
Hugh Stephenson and Daniel Morgan, afterwards 
Colonel Hugh Stephenson and General Morgan, to 
command two companies of men, the quota Virginia 
had been required to furnish. 

Altho' at the time Boston was invested with a large 
military force, and the prospects of Americans were 
enveloped in impenetrable gloom, yet so great was 
the love of liberty which animated our forefathers, 
that two volunteer comi)anies were instantly raised, 
one at She])herdstown, and the other at Winchester. 
They turnetl out for twelve months, furnished their 
own rifles and equipment, and marched to Boston in 
twenty-one days. 

A barbecue was given by Colonel William Morgan, 
to Stephenson's company, on the 10th day of June, 
1775, the period of its organization, at thcspring above 
mentioned, which has ever since been known by the 
name of Stephenson's spring. 
\ 



190 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

Then it was that a prophetic and truly patriotic 
song was sung (of which we hope to obtain a copy) 
and an agreement made by these heroes of the olden 
time, that the survivors of the perils they were then 
about to encounter and of the ravages of time, should 
"meet at that spring and on that day fifty years to 
come," which agreement has thus been redeemed. 

Out of the ninety-seven* gallant spirits who com- 
posed the company, five only are living, and of the 
latter number but two were present, namely, Major 
Henry Bedinger, of Berkeley County, \^irginia, and 
Major M. Bedinger, of Kentucky.' The other three 
are Judge Robert White of Winchester, and General 
Samuel Finley and William Hulse, Esq., of Ohio, all 
of whom it is understood would have attendctl had 
they not been prevented by old age and infirmity. A 
few of those who fought in '76, and one who sur- 
vived the slaughter at St. Clair's defeat, were among 
the number present at this celebration. 

Soon after the company had partaken of an elegant 
dinner given by Mr. Daniel Morgan, Captain Harper, 
with a detachment of artillery, was seen at a distance 
advancing with colours flying and music playing to pay 
suitable honors to the occasion. The sound of the 
music, and the appearance of the martial column, be- 
ing unexpected, must have struck the minds of this 
remnant of Ivevoinlionary veterans with alternaiely 
joyful and gloomy reminiscences of "limes long past!" 
The thrill of joy at the recollection of the "well fought 
field;" and the gloom of melancholy at the remem- 
brance of the immense sacrifice of valuable lives, 
which the gain of freedom cost our now happy coim- 
try. 

*A mistake. There were one hundred men. 



H oaov; 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 191 

The salutes were then gone through, and the very 
interesting ceremony of presenting one of Stephen- 
son's Company (Major Michael Fjedinger) to the sons 
and grandsons of his compeers in arms ; he passing 
through the ranks and shaking each cordially hy the 
hand. 

Whilst this was performing and the eyes and atten- 
tion of the spectators were intently fixed ui)on the 
touching scene, guns were fired, at a signal previously 
agreed upon, by a detachment of artillery stationed 
on an eminence for that jDurpose. 

Afterwards a number of national airs were played 
in the first style by the band, and two patriotic songs 
were sung by Major Michael Uedingcr (69 years of 
age) he being earnestly solicited, — the very same that 
had been sung at that spot fifty years before. 

Several toasts were drunk and Auld Lang Syne was 
played by the martial band, which had a very solemn 
and grand efifect. 

The train of reflections produced by the veterans, 
their anecdotes, collected from real life in the course 
of three generations, "all of which they saw, and part 
of w^hich they were," may be more easily imagined 
than described. Indeed the gifted pen of the author 
of "The Spy" would not be disgraced by the subject. 

They recalled to the mind the American Colonies 
when they presented little more than a vast, unculti- 
vated wilderness, the population declared to be in a 
state of rebellion ; advancing, they met the gibbet ; 
retreating, death or slavery; turning to the right they 
encountered bayonets; to the left, scalping knives; 
without money, without friends, and almost without 
hope ! 

But now America's sails whiten every ocean, and 
her sons visit every clime. In literature and arts, too. 



finvJ.oz 



,tM 



192 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

she ranks among the most distinguished nations of the 
earth. * * * What would be the astonishment of 
one of the martyrs of Hberty who met a watery grave 
from the deck of a British prison-ship, were he to be 
suddenly translated from the other world to this, with 
the remembrance of all the sufferings and dangers 
he encountered still fresh on his mind? 

Major Michael Bedinger, distinguished as a partisan 
officer, was always among the first to volunteer, and 
ever amidst the foremost in the hour of danger. He 
was in the battles of Germantown, Piscatawa, etc., & 
was at the taking of Cornwallis. He also rendered 
essential service against the Indians, and was selected 
by General St. Clair to conciliate the feelings, and 
procure the aid of the friendly Indians. 

Major Henry Bedinger was one of the two thou- 
sand, eight hundred and eighty-three, the flower of 
American youth, who were surrendered with Fort 
Washington. Out of that number about 1900 died in 
the short space of two months, from ill treatment. 
Major Bedinger, then a Lieutenant, being wounded at 
the time, was incarcerated on board one of the "float- 
ing hells," the greater part of the four years he was 
a prisoner.''' He afterwards served to the close of 
the Revolution, and had many hairbreadth escapes. 

^Another mistake. He was only 18 days on a prison-ship. 



\ 



)H T^rr 



CHAPTER XXI 
Old Age and Retirement 

WHEN Michael Bedinger returned home after 
this memorable meeting at the old spring, he 
wrote to his brother telling him of his safe arrival. 
He said in a letter dated Nicholas County, September 
5th, 1825: "My worthy friend, Mr. Henry Clay, will 
hand you this. I calculate on his calling on you as 
soon as he gets to Berkeley. He is my nephew and 
was my son-in-law, I love and respect him, he is truly 
a worthy, affectionate, honorable man, all our family 
love and esteem him, and have pressed him to call 
on you and the rest of our friends in Berkeley and 
Jefferson Counties. * ^k * j got home on the 
fourth Monday in June * * * I stood my journey 
back to Kentucky very well, tho' I am becoming 
zveak and clumsy, * * * The bearer is the son of 
Col. Henry Clay of Bourbon County. Your polite- 
ness to him will be gratefully felt by our family as 
well as by G. M. Bedinger" 

Between this and the next letter there is a gap of 
five years. It is dated May 25th, 1830. "I think all 
my children that are well are doing well, altho' they 
are now considerably scattered, viz, Henry at Salt 
Lick, Lewis County, about 45 or 50 miles from us. 
He has 3 children, one of which, (the oldest) is at 
Cincinnati. Daniel lives in Bourbon County, about 
30 miles from us. He has two living children. Had 
one more that died. Franklin lives in Campbell 
County, near Cincinnatti, He has two children. Betsy 
and her only child live with us. She has now only 



ac X' - -(tl Jbi \(li; 






In- II .nrj-i.'Hir!:) y 



..if; ffK." 



'i^lno v/or: f;;rl od<'. 



194 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

one negro left, as she sold her woman and child to my 
son George and had one that died. George lives at 
the Mill farm. He has one child, a son. Joseph and 
Henrietta, as well as Betsy live with us. * * * j 
have not yet mentioned my departed daughter Sallie's 
six children. She left four sons and two daughters. 
The children are all living. One of them, the oldest 
daughter has lately written to us that if I would send 
for her that she would come and stay a few months 
with us. This I expect will be done. =i= * * I hope 
while we are striving to do all the good we can agree- 
ably to the best of our understanding our Good and 
merciful Father will pardon our weakness and ig- 
norance. * "' * Old as I am I intend to pay you a 
visit in the ensuing fall if life and health permit. 

"Jan 16th 1833. I have not been able to attend to 
procuring testimony towards procuring a pension. I 
went to Madison County in October, saw an old ac- 
quaintance of the name of Jesse Hodges who was with 
me at Hoonsburg in the spring, summer, and fall of 
1779. He went with me in Bowman's Campaign, I 
concluded to return in a short time to take his deposi- 
tion but have not as yet attended to it owing to other 
pressing business. I also went to see a General Mark 
Calmes of Woodford County, expecting that he was 
with me at the siege of York. I was mistaken, it was 
his brother Wm that was a Captain at the siege. The 
General was with me when the Indians fired on me 
on Sandy after the revolutionary war. I next went 
to see a man of the name of Daniel Bell, (a Brother to 
a Wm I'ell, he formerly lived 'about Shephcrdstown) 
D. Bell has agreed to attend at our County Court on 
Monday the 28. He can prove that I was a Captain at 
the siege of York. I will try to take Hodges' deposi- 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 195 

tion as soon as I can. I cannot now recollect the time 
I served but will try to procure from history the dates 
of some battles, etc, I hope to be able to state nearly 
the dates and times of most of my services. * * =*= 

"April 5th. 1833. Our daughter Henrietta and our 
son Joseph are in Cincinnati. Joseph is in a store of 
one of the Wades. Wade is brother-in-law of B. F. 
Bedinger. Henrietta is going to school, boards at old 
Mr Wade's. Henrietta was thirteen years old last 
October, * * * So that at this time my wife is 
very unhappy, having but one of her children with her 
and that a daughter. We do not complain of Joseph 
for going to Cincinnati, indeed we were pleased that 
he went there as the Blue Licks is a place where 
Gamblers Generally attend and live altogether. I 
hope Joseph will never be a gambler, indeed he is an 
affectionate dutiful childe, tho like all the rest he is 
fond of young company, &. I am pleased to find him 
among those accustometl to Industrious Habits. My 
Dear Brother you see I have turned to the third page, 
& I fear it will be difficult for you to read as I write 
bad and Spel worse, but this cannot now (conven- 
iently) be helped, as I am too old now to take the trou- 
ble of looking in the dictionary to correct my letter 
which I certainly would do if I was a younger man and 
not writing to a Brother. My lost sight has in part re- 
turned but I dont see quite as well without spectacles 
as with them. I broke mine yesterday. "' * * I 
have had a letter from our niece, Sallie Bedinger 
Hamilton. She is certainly a very good and accom- 
plished woman. Two of her sons are living at Nash- 
ville, she says her brother Abel Morgan is declining 
fast with the consumption. Her sons Oscar and Mor- 
timer continue with Dr Wells. 



in/j 7111; 



196 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

"September 15th. Our dear son George M, Bedin- 
ger died last Thursday was a week at his home in 
Boone County near the Big Bone Licks. He had been 
sick of cholera. When he was dying he said 'Tell that 
best of men, that dear Brother Franklin to take my 
child and care for him. Tell his grandmothers both 
they must not think hard of me for not leaving my 
child to them, but I think my Brother is more capable 
of raising him.' * '" '^" 

Henrietta, the youngest child, died about the same 
time, and possibly of the same fatal disease. 

This same year Jacob Bedinger, of Shepherdstown, 
died, leaving his small property to be divided, one- 
half going to his brother George Michael; the other 
half to the children of his brother Daniel. Major 
Bedinger had now lost live of his children, for Solo- 
mon died about the year 1823. Solomon was a great 
favorite with his cousins in Virginia. He and Daniel 
Bedinger, Jr., of Virginia, were sincerely attached, and 
he had spent some time at Protumna and Bedford. 
He seems to have been a most amiable and promising 
young man. Sallie, Olivia, George M. and Henrietta 
had also passed away, and George Michael Bedinger 
and his wife were now fast going down the hill of old 
age and infirmity together. In November, 1833, Ma- 
jor Bedinger writes to his brother Henry: "I shall 
preserve this letter from my dear Brother Jacob as 
it is the last, & it is very affecting. O my Dear 
Brother is now no more with us in this world ! ! You 
are now the only one of all our Dear parents Dear 
family that I can call P)rother, ^^e have no sister, & 
we ourselves shall soon have to follow all our Dear 
dc])artcd Friends. '■'^ '^ ''' I have written to Daniel 
Morgan to purchase the three little Negroes if they 



Ifc 



.^> 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 197 

can be had at a generous price, as the three of them 
are a sister and two brothers and as it is probable that 
the fourth would not Hke to be parted from them, I 
should be glad to have it in my power to keep them 
together as long as T live, is: to make such ])rovision . 
for their future comfort and contentment as should be 
in my power, consistent with the' nature of their 
situation and the indulgence they can bear. I should 
wish that the girl, who according to the lav^ would be 
a slave for life, should be made free as soon as the 
other three, as soon as they could consistent with the 
safety of the Country, and the goodness of their own 
conduct would justify. The girl I would rather 
give ^20 more than she is worth for, than that she 
should be parted from the others. '''■'' * * As to my 
own part I can conscientiously say that I never courted 
my dear Brother Jacob's affections for the sake of his 
property, & I am confident not one of my family did, 
but you may yourself recollect that when I went to 
the Western country my dear Brother J had the care 
of my property on Sidling Hill, & that he sold it to 
Koster, that he had emi^loyed Major Clark to collect 
or sue for him, that he got little or nothing from 
Ivafter, but the little he got, say a horse or two, he 
would willingly have paid me for had I wished him to 
do so, but I never wished him to pay me a cent on that 
score as I would not take it. My dear Jacob after- 
wards put fifty up in my saddle-bags at a time I was 
scarce of money and from home, when I told him I 
think $15 would be (|uite sufficient to take mc home. 
At another time he lent my sou v^olonK)n $100, all 
wliich he refused (o charge me with, but when I was 
last with him I insisted he should add all the money 
which I and Solomon had of him, & add the interest 



198 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

on both, which he reUictantly did, and I gave him the 
obHgation which was lodged with you, for the whole, 
without even as I can recollect charging him a cent 
for tiie horses he got of Koster. 

"As to the children of our dear departed sister Polly 
Morgan I hope they are now all doing tolerably well, 
X: altho T have been hard pressed with land suits 1 
have always felt great anxiety for their permanent 
health, comfort, and happiness. I lent our Dear 
nephew Abel ]\Iorgan 20 years since $200, I after- 
wards let him have land warrants to a considerable 
extent. I had his note for upwards of $500, but when 
my son B. F. went to see him and wrote me that he 
was reduced to be the "poorest of the poor," I sent 
him his note and was glad to ease his mind as far as 
I could by giving it to him. He was a good, worthy 
man, but he had been security for his father-in-law, 
General Caldwell ; his wife was extravagant and 
family large. He has left us, & I hope has gone to a 
better world. His memory is ever dear to me, and I 
hope to all who knew him well. * * * Forgive, 
forgive, this jumble of scralls ! 

"March 4th 1834. I should be very Glad to hear 
that you could take time to comply with the request 
of our niece Susan Ellsworth, once Susan Redinger, 
relative to the life & adventures of her Father (Dan- 
iel). * * ''' You mention also the conduct of the 
ladies (the Miss C — s) having embezzled the cloaths 
of our Brother, & the excuse they had for it. * * * 
In relation to Abel Morgan of Logan, I was advised 
to follow my own sympatlii/.ing feelings by my son, 
15. F. 1>, who felt for his Co/.en A. M. as much as 
I did. I hope you will never think I wish to boast of 
tender feelings for my relations more than as you 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 199 

know my reason on the subject was that as I never 
wislied to court the affections of iny Dear departed 
Brother for the sake of his property, but on the con- 
trary liad ever discovered a willing cHsposition to lend 
a helpinj; hand to others of my relations who stood in 
need, and that in return I could not think any of them 
would take any advantage of me, if it should be in 
their power. * "•' ''' I have received consolations in 
your letters, and altho I have had and continue to have 
many serious difficulties to encounter I have as you 
said consolations such as in all my distresses have 
never rendered me disconsolate. ''"' '^ *" 

In one of Henry Bedinger's letters he speaks of the 
three little negroes left to Michael by Jacob. Sarah, 
Henry's unmarried daughter, offered to buy these little 
negroes from her Uncle Michael. His reply gives his 
views on the subject of slavery, and is as follows: 

"May 10th 1835. In yr last you mention three 
little blacks which are still with you, & that yr daughter 
Sarah had a wish to purchase them. On this subject 
I can assure you that my son B. F. B. advised me not 
to enlarge my family with any more negroes than I 
now have, & in this his mother joined him, as to any 
others of the children I have not consulted them. 
My mind has long since, you know, been made up on 
the score of slavery, I think I shall never purchase one 
if I should even live some years longer, but as my 
Dear Departed Brother, who was so well acquainted 
with my sentiments, and with whom I have had severe 
and long arguments on the subject of slavery, as I 
have always taken the mercifid side (as I thought) 
in favor of freedom, & had freed some I held, I have 
never been able to conclude to leave that to be done by 
others that my dear Brother has intrusted to me, and 



200 GEORGE AlICHAEL BEDINGER 

old as I am I have the fullest confidence that my will 
would be punctually attended to, by the Majority of 
my children, & in that will I have made my four sons 
my Executors. I have limited none of those that were 
even born since I owned their mothers to an age of 
slavery more than until they become the age of thirty 
years. I do not intend to sell any negroes I own 
unless it should be for some henious crime, henious so 
that my own conscience, the laws of my country, and 
above all what I hope my God would not condemn 
me for. Slavery to me is an unhappy thing. I have 
no great cares or trouble about other concerns, but if 
I once own them responsibility seems to fasten on 
me. I have at this time but one male slave here. He 
is a boy between 15 & 16. He is often guilty of some 
faults, & often has my wife wished me to part with 
him. He is the grandson of old Sarah who I Set free. 
I also have a sister of his, that I expect I shall have to 
part with, as her principles, if she has any, are of the 
worst kind. 1 can get i?500 for her, but I do not think 
as yet that she has forfeited all right to mercy or for- 
giveness from a frail mortal. * * * 

"Jan. 29th 1836. There is not any person living 
that I know of that belonged to my company at the 
siege of York. JUit 1 think there arc two men living 
in Mason County who knew me there. They heard 
me called Captain and that I trained them and acted 
as Adjutant. The men are Daniel Bell and — Peck. 
='= '''' '■'" 1 am sorry to hear our friend. Col Ed. Lucas 
declines offering again {lor Congress) Altlio' I do 
nol call myself a \au I'.ureii man I liopo I lore all 
good men, iS.' I love all who honestly mean lo do good 
to Ihis country, on eiliier side of the present divided 
state of our political purtics. 1 need not have told you 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 201 

this, as I think you always knew it. * * * i have 
in vain tried to recollect how I was paid for my serv- 
ices as Captain or Adjutant, but cannot recollect, but 
since you have mentioned the land warrants that I 
had assigned at your request 1000 acres to Captahi 
Abram Shepherd, has put me in mind of 5000 acres 
more that I also had & which I sold to Captain Shep- 
herd, which I think he agreed to pay me for, the price, 
I think, was upwards of 30 pounds. The greatest part 
of which I think a Cajjtain Ross who had a store, mill 
or some concern in the corner opposite to where old 
Mr. Jeremiah Lungins, then afterwards Mr. William 
Brown had one (in Shepherdstown) — These things 
are almost like a dream to me, but I know Captain 
Shepherd did not pay me for the whole of the war- 
rants, but as I did not attend to settle with him in time 
I did not after his death call on his heirs with my 
claim. 

"I think I can still find his obligation to me among 
my old papers. This may not be the case as many of 
my old papers have been lost, and many eaten up by 
the rats * * ''' . If I can find the paper alluded to I 
shall send it. I am confident I saw it a few years ago. 

"January 6th 1836. I nmst here Great fully ac- 
knowledge the many obligations I am under to you 
for the many favours you have done for me from 
time to time, and particularly on the subject of so 
repeatedly putting me in mind that I ought not to 
neglect making the necessary and legal appeal for a 
pension, s)nall as the amount may be when compared 
to the many dangers and deprivations I have had to 
contend with in the service of our country. ''' * * 
I know of no erl-or in yr deposition except that I was 
not at the surrender of Gen. Cornwallace. The time 






'♦a TfD I 



202 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

of the Militia Co had expired, a feu days before, we 
were not asked to stay longer, many were sick, & the 
army did not stand in need of them, & they were 
honorably discharged. 

"March 28th. 1836. I do not recollect having a 
regular commission in my possession while in the 
regular volunteer service. The periods I served as an 
officer were short, & commissions may or may not 
have been made out for me. I acted in obedience to 
orders from my superiors. * *=!=]; suppose you 
still recollect the time when I had the nervous fever 
about 47 years since so that feu thought I should ever 
recover, I was confined 6 or 7 months. That spell in- 
jured my recollection greatly. ''''' '^ * I do not think 
I ever received a Captain's commission in Jefferson 
altho' I know 1 was particularly called on to command 
a company of militia by Col Wm Darke, & there may 
have been documents among his papers to shew that I 
was both commissioned captain of a company and 
Adjutant of the Regiment. 

"The company that I commanded was chiefly com- 
posed of Darke's old company of militia, previous to 
the gloomy prospects of the spring of 1781. But after 
I had passed the desolate country near Camden in 
the fall (of 1780) I had gone to the High Hills of 
Santee (and returned) with a load of indigo from 
General Rutledge and took it to Philadelphia in the 
winter and in the spring went again (with supplies 
for the army) as far south as where our dear De- 
parted brother Daniel was stationed in the Ya.. line 
(he was with General ]\'I organ) I cannot now recol- 
lect the name of the place. 

"I cannot now recollect the time I went on a certain 
call of our country with our friend George Morgan, 



,;»>iiBCl 



"^Inn'r- 






GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 203 

was out but a short time, & was not then wanted. 
It may have been immediately after our return that 
General Darke called on me to take command of the 
company. Some time before we marched I know he 
urged me to go with him at a time when the British 
army were overrunning V'irginia, & the southern Stales, 
a time when but feu of the Alilitia Captains, who had 
not had any experience in camp were willing to take 
their first lessons of Military Tacticks, & war in 
camp, — when prospects were as gloomy as they then 
were, and the men were generally anxious to be com- 
manded by those who had some knowledge of their 
duty and conduct as a soldier. Knowing this and that 
Cai)tain Alclnlire did not wish to go to camj), I ac- 
cepted the command at the rc(|uest of Col. Darke, my 
old well-tried friend. 

"April 4th. I have just received yours of the 28th. 
My dear Brother I thank you and feel as greatful to 
you as if I had got a pension for all my hard and 
dangerous services, but rather than receive a trifle 
I will take nothing. I hope to write to you next week. 
I have a contented mind and do not care much about 
property now. 

"April 22nd. If I had thought of it when Olivia 
Morgan was here I could have sent you a book written 
by John McClung called Sketches of Western Life, 
and a line or two out of Alarshall's History of Ken- 
tucky as both of those histories do make some men- 
tion of my services. * * ''' Marshall's book was 
written about 45 years after Bowman's Campaign, 
correct in some things, not so in some others. He 
says: 'There was no want of ardour in cither officers 
or soldiers. Benjamin Logan, John Holder, James 
Harrod were Captains, G. M. I'edingcr, wlio had been 



'r/^/l iiniij 

.. .;ov oj ^ihif' 
jiifn J>1J5D Jon ( 



1 I 9-^' 






ai 



f 



r" 



204 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

in the war eastward, was chosen Adjutant, and many 
of the bravest men in the country were privates, of 
whom there were near 200.' In IMcChmg, page 132, 
he states, 'By great exertions on the part of Logan, 
well seconded by Harrod and the present Major 
Bedinger of the Bhie Licks some degree of order was ' 
restored.' * * * You know I never wished to hold 
a commission in the Militia except when in actual 
service. There were but few of the officers or sol- 
diers that were out in the commencement of the war 
that wished to hold office in the militia at home. 
When I was a Lieutenant under Captain Wm. Morgan 
I was elected by the men & it is probable that Robert 
Lucas the late Governor of Ohio has recollection of 
that, as his father was Lieutenant in the same 
company & his uncle Ed also. * ''' * but as your 
recollection is much better than mine I need not men- 
tion these things to you. I having been trained in the 
army, & had taken pains to train and help train the 
men * * * Colonel Darke anxiously wished me 
to be with him, He was a warm friend when he took a 
liking. I know he had (afterwards) great anxiety 
that I would accept the command of the First Virginia 
Battalion of levies (in 1791). Both the officers and 
men gave me the preference. They knew I was 
acquainted with military disci[)line, had been exposed 
to many difficulties and dangers previously, and at that 
time when the British armies were overrunning and 
plundering nearly all the Southern parts of Virginia, 
when our prospects were so gloomy, our armies and 
citizens fleeing before the enemy in every direction 
in Virginia, I obeyed the calls of Col. D, without wait- 
ing for pay or commission, neither General Washing- 
ton or Col. D ever lost confidence in me, or I should 



N i iiiih 



l»v. niiw l>f 



itn!WT 5)n 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 205 

not have been the only field officer in Kentucky ap- 
pointed to command the first Battalion of Levies under 
St Clair. My Dear please excuse haste. May the 
Great God and Father of all Bless you and yours. 
G. M. B. 

"May 26th. 1836. * * * On the subject of' 
James Rumsey's applications of steam to propelling 
boats I recollect seeing the long slim boat he had built, 
and which I think lay some time near Captain Shep- 
herd's saw mill * '" * I saw one of the Barnes's 
working on some sheet copper making a boiler and I 
think a pipe, which I was afterwards told was so fixed 
that it drove the steam towards the stern of the boat 
from the boiler. I was not at Shepherdstown on 
the day he exhibited his steam boat for trial, but I 
heard numbers that were there when the first public 
trial was made. I heard several that were there fre- 
quently conversing upon it, and speaking in favor of it. 
I think he was the first person that applied steam 
to navigation in America, altho steam had been applied 
to flour mills and otherwise in Europe. Several per- 
sons who came to this State who I think if now living 
may recollect James Rumsey's being the first inventor. 
There was a Betsy Maple who lived at the Mill on 
Sleepy Creek who afterwards married Charles Rum- 
sey. I saw her and her husband about six years since, 
at her home on Cabin Creek about ten miles from 
Maysville. It is probable Drusy Thornbrough, the 
daughter of Major Thomas Swearingen may yet recol- 
lect. I think she lives in Montgomery Co. Ky. * * * 
I have lately had a letter from our dear niece Olivia 
Morgan. She said she would send me if she have a 
good opportunity the old dutch Bible which she got 
of her mother, one that once belonged to our dear 



206 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

departed Mother as none of her brothers or sister can 
read it. I should be very Glad to get it. 

"June 3rd 1837. You have I expect, heard that 
Honble Daniel Webster is making a visit through the 
Western country. He is generally received with af- 
fection, and respect, as much so as any man in such a 
state of political division can expect. I saw him and 
was treated with kindness and respect by him, I think 
him an Honest Straightforward plain man & hope he 
will yet be useful to our country as a friend to our 
constitution * * '" My Dear l)rother as I am about 
to conclude and not knowing that I may ever see you 
again, as I am old and declining fast, and do not place 
my hopes for Happiness chiefly on the enjoyments of 
this world I am yet blessed with peace of mind and 
hope our good and merciful Father will bless us with 
a calm resignation to His will henceforth and forever. 

"Dec. 10th 1837. We are happy to hear that our 
amiable sister-in-law (the widow of Daniel Bedinger) 
bears her bereavement with her accustomed resigna- 
tion. I do most heartily sympathize with you and all 
our dear friends in the loss of our Dear niece, Eliza- 
beth Washington, and so must all who were acquainted 
with that good and amiable woman. * * * j think 
this is my birthday. I think I have arrived at the age 
of 81 years & I hope I shall try to take your advice 
to close or as the merchants say, wind u]) my accounts 
(and as you say) and I hope resignedly and calmly 
meet my fate. 

"Jan. 1838. Received yours of the 25th ult, in due 
time which informed me of the death of another of 
our dear, worthy, and amiable nieces, Viz : Virginia 
Lucas. This information shocked and surprised me 
greatly. A short space only had elapsed since you 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 207 

had informed me of the death of her sister and when 
we consider the number of the most amiable and good 
children our Dear sister Sally Bedinger (widow of 
his brother Daniel) has lost in the prime of life we 
almost wonder she can survive the heart-rending pains 
and afflictions she has had to contend with. * * * 
Many of my old papers have been destroyed by rats, 
some lost, some nearly worn out and Burnt. I think 
more than a bushel that were left in the stone house 
on the South side of Licking were stolen or scattered 
and the whole house so abused that it is now a waste 
house without a tenant. 

"July 29th 1838. I cannot say that there was ever 
conveyance for that Sidling Hill property tho' I think 
there was by me and my wife for the land I pur- 
chased of Joseph Hobbs, on which I built the double- 
gated saw mills, also I recollect laying ofif a great 
portion of the mill-wright work, and some time after 
built the grist mill also. =" * * Having thus far be- 
gun to write to you a good-looking, smiling gentleman 
came into my house and shook hands with me. I did 
not know him. My wife said that he must be a 
Bedinger. It was our nephew Dr. Jacob Morgan with 
his wife and three children and two servants,* from 
Clinton, Mississippi. 

"Aug. 22nd. Our friends the Morgans stayed with 
us but two nights. Mrs. Morgan is a very agreeable 
lady. They went on to the s])rings at Harrodsburg. 
They are very rich and highly respected in their State. 
He said he left his sister Hamilton at his home or 
near it, with her daughter who married a gentleman 
by the name of House. ''' * * Mr Lee wished to 

*Jacob was a son of Col. Abraham Morgan and Mary 
Bedinger, his wife. 



-t 



208 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

know if my Sidling Hill property lies in Allaghany or 
Washington County, Maryland. I am confident the 
land lies in the county Plagerstown is in, as I once took 
a Grand scoundrel at Sidling Hill and had him put in 
the Hagerstown Jaol. John N orris went with me. , I 
think Roster went off where Brother Jacob could not 
find him, or get anything from him or his security. 
My old papers are so scattered and pull-hauled and 
eaten by rats that I cannot find such as I want. I re- 
member being intimately acquainted with several of 
the Ashbys as well as with the above said Nathaniel 
Ashby, that he lived near Lexington but I did not 
recollect knowing him at the siege of York or as a 
Captain in the Army, that I had a spell of sickness at 
the age of about 31, say 50 years since that so far 
ruined my recollection that I have not been able to 
recollect many of the very Important transactions of 
my own life that happened during the Revolutionary 
war, near and previous to the spell of sickness that I 
had at Sidling Hill. 

"Jan. 12th 1839. On Christmas day all of 5;uy family 
were here antl three of the children of my departed 
daughter Sallie, viz: — Wm. Bedford, Mary T. Bed- 
ford, and G. M. Bedford. Wm is 21, Mary 19, and 
George upwards of 20, The oldest child now living 
was married about a year since to a man named Cole- 
man, Her father was pleased with the match. The 
youngest, Ben, has gone to see his foster mother, I 
think Mrs K. Riley who took him when an infant, and 
raised him "'• * *. You have given me a statement 
of our dear departed brother Daniel's family, the 
death of our worthy nephew (Dr. D. Bedinger) the 
deaths of his two nieces, the (laughters of Thornton 
Washington, all these late bereavements together with 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 209 

so many others of our relations must fill our hearts 
and minds with lasting impressions of their virtues 
* * * we two have arrived at an age iinconiinonly 
old, and are still permitted to remain in this life!!! 
But it is easier for me or us to think and retlect than 
to paint our feelings to others. 

"April 15th 1839. I am still quite weak and unable 
to attend to business. I shall have to hire out & re- 
duce the number of my blacks a little. I still have 
9 or 10 of them with me, 7 females of which Maria,' 
the girl you sent out, is the youngest and least. I find 
as I get older and weaker the blacks get more worth- 
less and wasteful. I should be quite willing to have 
sent most of them to Liberia if they were willing. I 
offered to let six of the oldest of them go and I would 
pay their passage, but they would rather stay, as they 
said. I shall have to hire them out until something 
else can be done with them. I think I will try to get 
the two boys (Jacob's) taught trades, and if we can 
keep Maria at home. As to j)olitics among all the lies 
we hear it is hard to tell which party can make the best 
story. * * * I hope when Death comes we may 
chearfully resign ourselves to the goodness and mer- 
cies of the Almighty who has so mercy fully preserved 
us thro' all the difficulties and danger of our long and 
varcgated lives. .1 assure you, my dear brother, that 
I think I fear Death much less now than I did in my 
long spell of sickness when I was 31 yrs old, altho' I 
dayly think of it. I still keep up a chearful mind in 
spite of all my pains, untouched by mallancholy or 
very low si)irits. ■"'' * ''' it is possible you and I 
may live to see the proposed meeting of our friends in 
June 1850, at the place ai)pointed in 1825, viz: — "Stin- 
son's sjjring." It is true it would be uncommonly 



210 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

strange if not foolish to make calculations on such an 
extraordinary event, but not much more strange than 
that we should have been the only two in Good health 
and able to attend at our last meeting at said place. 
Well my dear Brother * * * I hope we will try 
to do all the good we can and as little harm ; put our 
trust in God who has so long and so often preserved 
us through our long lives, through War, Adventures 
and great Perils ! ! ! 

"Sep. 8th 1840. I have ever since I was a child 
highly respected your opinions and your friendship, I 
have looked up to you almost as to a father, as well 
as Brother, I have never doubted your patriotism, and 
if I think you are mistaken in yr choice for a President 
I think you are deceived by such men as Kendall, Blair 
and others, who we in Kentucky think we know from 
their characters here better than you do. * * * I 
hope sincerely you will never think while my life and 
rational mind remains I can be cold or ungreatfull to 
my dear and now only Brother ^^ * * If I get able 
I will try to procure farther evidence to obtain a pen- 
sion for my hard services in the Revolutionary war, as 
I have never yet obtained a cent much as I have suf- 
fered. 

"Jan. 10th. I have not of late attended much to my 
earthly business. I often read Dutch and English 
scriptures and compare the two. Have a chearful 
mind of my own. 

"May 6th 1842. Like yourself I am a tottering old 
man with little ability for locomotion, tho' with the 
use of a couple of sticks I do manage to get about the 
yard and occasionally venture to get on a horse, and 
on the day before yesterday I did make out to ride in 
company with my daughter Elizabeth Bedford to Car- 



U..'>'l V V 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 211 

lisle the County seat of this County, and back again, 
making ten miles performed in one day, a greater feat 
than walking fifty miles in 76 would have been. 

"May 6th 1842 You say a good deal about politicks 
in your letter in which you appear to manifest a good 
deal of bitter feeling against Congress and the Whigs 
as involving the nation in debt, emptying the Treasury, 
raising the tariff, and acting in such forms and ways 
as to disgust every rational being. I ought not to dis- 
pute with you in anything as you are my elder Brother, 
and consequently it has been my custom generally to 
say nothing to you in reply upon this subject, but if 
you will excuse me and not set me down as "a British 
spy or traitor," I will barely observe that so far as 
concerns the empty Treasury and debt of 17,000,000 
complained of by you that I agree with you that it is 
wrong that such things should occur in a country like 
ours, in time of peace, but really I think you put the 
Boot on the wrong leg when you charge it to the 
W'higs, who ccrtainl}' ha\'c not been in power long 
enough to remedy the evils produced by the misman- 
agement, not to say corruption, produced by the two 
last administrations. With regard to the public lands 
I think the States have had their just rights in these 
lands too long withheld from them by the General 
Government, and if the restoration to them of their 
just dues shall create a necessity for such an increase 
of the tariff as will give some efficient protection to 
the American labourer, artizan, mechanic and farmer, 
and change that balance of trade in our favour which 
for the last ten years the policy of nuscalled free-trade- 
men has been so decidedly against us and has brought 
our country to its present bankrupt condition, it will 
have afforded glory enough for any one man ; to have 



212 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

been the author of that act of distribution ! But enough 
of this. It is 67 years this month since you and I and 
our dead departed friends, one hundred of us, buckled 
on our armor and become the soldiers of liberty, de- 
termined to be free at all hazards. We had engraved 
on our breastsplates the words, 'Liberty or Death,' the 
fire of patriotism then glowed in our bosoms, and 
animated our exertions to resist British 'tyranny, and 
usurpation or perish in the effort. We were all united 
in the same glorious cause. You and I of all that band 
of 100 are left, our companions in arms have all long 
since departed, our brothers and sisters have all left 
us, and we, like two aged oaks decayed at the roots 
stand tottering to the fall. Let us not then discuss 
matters calculated to elicit feelings of discord. We 
differ honestly in our views of men and measures and 
never shall agree. We each however know the other 
to be honest, patriotic, and rich in each other's love, 
let that love never be disturbed by the breath of 
political dissension. 

"August 28th 1842 I find from the Hon. Davis 
that a pension has been granted me of $75 annually 
from the 4th March 1837 during life. I did not know 
so small a pension could be given even '^ for a soldier 
and sergeant and I have formerly thought I would not 
accept sucli a pittance, but under our embarrassments 
I am willing to take what I can get now, but hope to 
be able to recover a greater degree of justice for my 
many services. * * * I conclude, your affectionate 
brother 

"G. M. Bedinger" 

I have lingered lovingly over these letters, which 
so fully reveal the gentle, brave, and tender nature of 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 213 

the man who wrote them. The one just quoted is the 
last in the packet, which includes letters from 1811 to 
1842. This was the end of the long correspondence. 
In May of the year 1843 Henry died. The hrothers 
were good and pleasant in their lives, and, in their 
deaths, they were not long divided. 

When George A^ichael Bedinger heard of Henry's 
death, he received the news with his accustomed resig- 
nation. But the hlow was none the less severely felt, 
because he did not murmur at it. He fell into a state 
of great languor and died that same year on the 
seventh of December, loved, honored, respected, and 
sincerely mourned by all who. knew him. 

And now what more is there to say? He had grown 
old and grayhaired ; he died and was gathered to his 
fathers. In all his life he never injured any man. He 
was a pure-minded patriot; he was truthful, of un- 
stained honor, and of a noble spirit. I will end with 
a quotation from Mr. Ranson's article, and with a 
short extract from a letter from Olivia Morgan Bed- 
inger, a great-granddaughter, now living in California. 

Mr. Ranson says : "After his retirement from 
public service he devoted a great part of his time to 
the (levclo])ment and improvement of the resources of 
the country, and establishment of a better order of 
society, and adding to the facilities of educating the 
children of the surrounding country. It was princi- 
pally through his influence that a school of high grade 
was established at Washington, Mason County. It 
was under the charge of a very highly educated lady. 
The influence of this institution is manifest at the 
present day. The descendants of many who were the 
objects of his care still bear evidence of his wisdom 
and benevolence. As a pioneer, a soldier, a statesman 



214 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

and a patriot, a worthy example in private life, in this 
connection it is unnecessary to say more. Much of his 
life is written in the record of our country's rise and 
progress." 

Miss Olivia Bedinger says in a letter to the writer : 
"G. M. Bedinger was a member of the Convention 
which framed the new constitution of Kentucky, but 
did not succeed in stamping his views concerning 
shivery upon the other members. He was much dis- 
appointed, and did wliat he could to solve the problem 
by leaving his own young slaves to become free at the 
age of 30. H they chose to go to Liberia they were 
to have a year's support, and an outfit of clothing. H 
they did not go, merely the clothing. Only one went, 
a woman named Suke, described by my father who 
used to play with her when he was a little boy as of a 
most daring and lawless nature. After reaching 
Africa she joined the wild tribes. My grandfather. 
Dr. B. F. Bedinger, was brought up to think slavery a 
great evil, and reared his family in the same belief. 
When my mother came a bride to Forest Home there 
were but twelve slaves there, some past the age of 
labor, some still too young to work, a force entirely 
inadequate for the large estate and very large house- 
hold. Nevertheless, when the war broke out all our 
branch went with the South, even my father, who was 
then living in Ohio. I was brought up with decidedly 
Southern views, but with the passage of the years it 
seems to me that in fighting for slavery the South was 
fighting for her greatest misfortune, especially so when 
I could see that there were episodes in his connection 
with slavery that remained painful to my father to 
the end of his eighty years of life. * * * George 
Michael Bedinger was of a mechanical turn. My 



GEORGE INTICMAEL BEDINGER 215 

father used to say that he invented a chain-pump, Hke 
those that afterwards made somebody a great deal of 
money, to draw the water from the Blue Lick springs 
to the Salt Works. Also once having gone to a sale 
and purchased a quantity of tin cups he utilized them 
by placing them on a leather belt and using them to 
hoist grain in his mill, thus making a forerunner of 
the grain elevator which also made its inventor a lot 
of money." 

Major Bedinger has many descendants, scattered 
over the south and west. I have added an appendix 
with an incomplete list of these descendants, and now 
I believe my task, which has been a labor of love, is 
ended. 



APPENDIX A 
The Descendants of George Michael Bedinger 

GM. BEDINGER'S only child by his first wife, 
• Nancy Keene, was named Sarah Keene Bed- 
inger, and was probably born in Shej^herdstown, where 
he had gone during his convalescence after his long 
illness in 1787. Sarah was born in October of that 
year, her mother dying at her birth. She was edu- 
cated partly at Shephcrdstown, and lived near that 
town, in the family of her aunt, Mrs. Elizabeth Bed- 
inger Morgan, until she was nearly grown. We hear 
of her in 1800 as living in Kentucky. She married, in 
that State, a gentleman named John Bedford. The 
I'cdfords wore friends and neighbors of the Bedin- 
gers at the Lower Blue Licks. Sarah's oldest daugh- 
ter, Sarah Bedford, married a gentleman named 
Coleman, and lived near Colemansville, Ky. The* 
family finally moved to Missouri. The other children 
of Sarah and John Bedford were named William, 
Mary, George Michael, Benjamin, and another, who 
did not live to grow up. Their mother died in July, 
1822. I cannot give the names of any more of this 
branch of the descendants of G. M. Bedinger. 

The children of George Michael Bedinger and his 
wife, Henrietta Clay, were, first: Henry Clay, born 
Nov. 24th, 1793; died about 1850. He married, first: 
Lavinia Drake, daughter of Dr. Drake, the most 
prominent physician of Cincinnati in early times. She 
left one daughter, Lavinia, who married her second 
cousin, George William Ranson, a grandson of Eliza- 
beth P)edinger Morgan. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER '217 

Henry Clay Bedinger's second wife was named Ju- 
dith Singleton, and they had three children. Sarah, 

who first married Parker, and second Dr. Ellis, 

and lived in Missouri. I do not know the names of 
any of her descendants. , 

The second child of Henry Clay Bedinger and his 
wife Judith was named Henry Clay, and was horn 
September 5th, 1832. On the 22nd of May, 1857, he 
married, in Missouri, Susan Ellsworth Washington, 
daughter of Thornton Washington and his wife Eliza- 
beth Bedinger, a daughter of Daniel Bedinger of 
"Bedford," near Shephcrdstown. Susan was the sec- 
ond cousin of her husband. Thornton Washington, 
her father, was a nephew of George Washington, and 
built the beautiful old place, Cedar Lawn, near Charles 
Town, Jefferson County, W. Va. After the death of 
their parents the Washingtons moved to Missouri, 
where many of their descendants are still living. 

Henry Clay Bedinger, 2nd, removed to Portales, 
New Mexico. He and his wife, Susan, had eight 
children. First, George Washington Bedinger, born 
Feb. 28th, 1858; second, Lillian Thornton, born Dec. 
25th, 1859, who is now living in Weather ford, Texas; 
third, Emma Bird, born in Johnson County, Mo., Feb. 
23rd, 1862; fourth, Susan Augusta, born in Cass 
County, Mo., June 14th, 1867; fifth, Henry Clay, 3rd, 
born in Cass County, Mo., Sept. 18th, 1869. This 
Henry C. married Miss B. T. Miller on March 16th, 
1898. She is a native of Weatherford, Texas. They 
now live at Wellston, Oklahoma, and have: Henry 
Miller Bedinger, born Feb. 3rd, 1899, at Weatherford, 
Texas; Mary Emma, born June 15th, 1900, at Baird, 
Texas; Daniel Washington, born Jan. 31st, 1902, at 
Portales, New Mexico; Bettie, born May 16th, 1903, 



218 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

at Portales, New Mexico, died Feb. 7th, 1904; Maud 
May, born Nov. 10th, 1904, at Portales, New Mexico, 
and George Henry, born Nov. 18th, 1906, at Por- 
tales, New Mexico. 

The sixth child of Henry C. Bedinger and his wife 
Susan is Solomon Singleton, born in Cass County, 
Mo., Oct. 3rd, 1871. He married, Sept. 29th, 1898, 
Miss Adelaide M. Rhea. They have two children: 
Frank, born in Parker County, Texas, Sept. Sth, 1899, 
and Louis, born in Parker County, Texas, May 16th, 
1902. 

The seventh child of Henry C. Bedinger and Susan 
was Eleanor Lawrence, born in Cass County, Mo., 
Dec. 26th, 1873. Died, Oct. 7th, 1874. 

The eighth and last child of H. C. Bedinger and 
Susan is Mildred Berry, born July 8th, 1876, in Cass 
County, Mo. Mildred married on Sept. 27th, 1903, 
Holland W. Beck, and has one child, Donald, born 
March 10th, 1908, in Parker County, Texas. 

Henry Clay Bedinger, 2nd, died July 27th, 1908. 
His wife Susan died, July 28th, 1893, in Parker 
County, Texas. 

Solomon Singleton Bedinger was the third child of 
Henry Clay Bedinger, 1st, and his wife Judith. He 

was born and married one of his 

Washington second cousins, a sister of Susan, his 
brother's wife, named Mildred Washington. They 
had five children: first, Henrietta Gray, born Novem- 
ber 17th, 1854; second, Lavinia, born May 29th, 1857, 
married Edward Henry Morrell ; third, Henry Clay, 
born Sept. 23d, 1859, married U. S. Weeks; fourth, 
Arthur Singleton, born March 3rd, 1862, and died 
Nov. 9th, 1869, and lastly. Singleton Berry, bom Nov. 
7th, 1871. They and (heir descendants live in Texas, 
Arkansas, and Mississippi. 



-f 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 219 

The Descendants of Daniei, Paine Bedinger 

Daniel Paine Bedinger was the second son of G. M. 
and Henrietta Bedinger. He was born March 18th, 
1795. PTe died about 1865. April 20th, 1826, he mar- 
ried his first cousin, Letitia Clay. She was the daugh- 
ter of Henry, third son of Dr. H. Clay. Daniel and 
Letitia had one daughter, Olivia, who married Rich- 
ard Lindsay, and died, leaving three children : Rosa, 
who married Wm. Buckner of Paris, Ky., and has 
one daughter, Olivia, who married Yutaka IMinakuohi, 
a Japanese gentleman of distinguished family and a 
Christian minister. Obliged to resign on account of 
ill health, he lives, with his wife, in Asheville, N. C, 
The son of Rosa and Wm. Buckner is named Aylette 
Buckner. He married Mary Lockhart of Paris, Ky. 

The second daughter of Olivia Lindsay is Elizabeth, 
who married Asa K. Lewis, of Kentucky, now of 
Asheville, N. C. They have one child, Richard Lind- 
say Lewis, who now lives in Big Lumber, Montana. 

The only son of Olivia Lindsay, F. B. Lindsay, 
married Columbia Ross, deceased, and has two little 
boys, Richard and Daniel. They live in Asheville, 
N. C. 

Daniel Paine Bedinger was as opposed to slavery as 
his father, and left directions in his will that all the 
negroes he owned should be set free at a certain age, 
and have their expenses paid to Liberia, or, if they 
preferred to remain in America, a sum of money was 
to be laid out for each of them in the purchase of 
land. He married a second time, June 1st, 1854, many 
years after the death of his first wife, his cousin, Anne 
Elizabeth Ranson, who was the widow of a Dr. Davis 
of Charles Town, W. Va. They had no children. 



I 



i 



220 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

The Descendants of Benjamin Frankun 
Bedinger 

The third son of G. M. Bedinger and Henrietta, his 
wife, was Benjamin Franklin, born June 14th, 1797. 
He died Sept. 7th, 1872. On the 29th of June, 1820, 
he married Sarah Everett Wade, daughter of David 
Everett Wade, one of the first emigrants from New 
Jersey to Cincinnati. B. F. Bedinger studied medicine 
at the Surgeon's College in Philadelphia, but never 
practised, much to the disappointment of his friend. 
Dr. Drake, who had a high opinion of his talents. 
Dr. Bedinger was interested in politics, though he 
never held office, because of a promise made to his 
wife. His son. Rev. Everett Bedinger, says of him : 
"He was very active in getting the charter of the 
Lexington Turnpike Company. He was ever desirous 
of good roads, and was president of the company for 
many years at different times, and connected witli it as 
a director as long as he lived. * * * j-jg -^as a 
great reader and had at his tongue's end all the argu- 
ments against the Christian religion, but he was urged 
to investigate its claims, and the Bible as a revelation 
from God, and after many years' careful study he 
became convinced that the Bible was God's word, and 
when he was about 63 years old he made a profession 
of religion and united with the Presbyterian church 
at Richwood, Boone County, and was afterwards made 
an elder. 

"My father, on his deathbed called to him his sons 
who were not members of the church and said: 'My 
sons, I don't know whether you believe the Bible to 
be God's word or not. If you do you are guilty of 
great sin in not obeying it. I beg you to investigate it 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 221 

carefully, for I am sure you will find it is.' This was 
just a few hours before he died." 

Miss Olivia Bedinger, a granddaughter of Y>. F. 
Bedinger, says that he had imbibetl his father's ideas 
on the subject of slavery, which made him unpopular, 
with those of his neighbors who were of a different 
way of thinking. "When one of his slaves, Hum- 
phrey, married a woman belonging to a neighbor, my 
grandfather (B. F. Bedinger) offered to buy her. The 
neighbor refused to sell her to an abolitionist. During 
the war Humphrey was drafted and came in terror to 
'Marse Frankdin', promising to stay and work for him 
always if he would only get him oft". Dr. Bedinger 
purchased a substitute for him at a cost of $1,000. 
Humphrey forthwith left for Ohio, where I frequently 
saw him when I was a child. I remember my grand- 
father awaking my wonder by saying he never re- 
gretted anything he had done for Humphrey. Not- 
withstanding his anti-slavery principles. Dr. Bedinger 
and his sons went completely and thoroughly with 
the South. '-^ * * The Kentucky branch of the 
Bedingers are a large race, most of the men exceed 
six feet. * * * Many are college graduates. * * *" 

The children of Dr. B. F. Bedinger were six. First, 
George Michael, born May 19th, 1826. On September 
3rd, 1850, he married Hajinah More Fleming (born 
October 31st, 1831). They moved to California. Their 
children are Sarah Everett, born June 29th, 1851, 
librarian of the Peale Memorial Library, liakcrsfield, 
California; Eleanor Fleming, born August 20th, 1853, 
died, Sept. 16th, 1875; George Michael, born Oct. 
21st, 1856, died June 26th, 1883; Olivia Morgan, born 
Feb. 23rd, 1859; Lavinia, born October 11th, 1861; 
married Alfred M. Bannister, June 11th, 1896. They 



222 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

have had three children: Henry Arnold, born July 
22nd, 1897; George Richmond, Aug. 19th, 1898, died, 
Jan. 22nd, 1901 ; and Alfred William, born Nov. 9th, 
1903. 

The sixth child of G. M. and Hannah More Bedin- 
ger is Thomas Fleming, born Nov. 20th, 1864; 
seventh, Benjamin Franklin, born Oct. 19th, 1865, a 
rancher at or near Bakersfield, Cal. ; ninth, Alexander 
Porter, born Aug. 11th, 1869, died Sept. 3rd, 1895; 
tenth, Julia, born July 12th, 1872, owner and manager 
of a dairy herd at Bakersfield. 

The second child of Benjamin Franklin and Sarah 

Bedinger was Olivia Bedinger, who first married 

Todd, and second, George William Ranson, the wid- 
ower of her cousin, Lavinia R. She is dead, leaving 
one son, Geo. W. Ranson, of Richwood, Ky. His 
daughter married . 

The third child of B. F. Bedinger is Everett Wade 
Bedinger, D. D., a graduate of Yale, and in the class 
of '51. Pie was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry 
in 1857, preached at Paris and Richwood, Ky., during 
the Civil War, and had many thrilling experiences. 
He went to Canada when the Union forces took pos- 
session of the state, then returned and got through 
the lines and took his family to Virginia. He was 
chaplain to the 18th N. C. Regiment while it was 
at Gordonsville, etc. After the war he was given the 
charge of the Presbyterian Church at She])herdstown, 
W. Va., for some time. Afterwards was called to 
Erlanger, and then to Anchorage, Ky. Then he was 
appointed chairman of the committee for evangelistic 
work of the Synod of Kentucky, and later he became 
a home missionary in the mountains of Alabama. His 
interesting reminiscences may be found in the History 



GEORGE MICI-IAEL BEDINGER 223 

of the Yale Class of 1851, printed at Boston, 1893. 
He first married Sally Eleanor Lucas, who died in 
July, 1867. She was a daughter of Hon. William 
Lucas and his wife, Virginia Bedinger, a daughter of 
Daniel Bedinger, Esq., of Bedford, near Shepherds- 
town, the brother of G. M. Bedinger. Consequently 
she was the second cousin of her husband. Their 
children were, first, Virginia, who was married to 
Rev. J. H. Moore, lived in Washington, Ky., and died 
childless ; Rev. B. Franklin, who first married Miss 
Mattie Piatt, second Miss Mary Snow, has seven sons 
and one daughter, and lives at Hampden-Sidney, Va. ; 
third, Rev. Wm. Lucas, married Mary Young, has one 
daughter and lives at West Appomattox, Va. ; fourth, 
Everett Wade Bedinger, Jr., married Laura B. Brooke, 
has six daughters and lives at Anchorage, Ky. He is 
the author of Bedinger's Digest of West Virginia 
Supreme Court Reports, and has done much editorial 
work in West Virginia; fifth, George Michael, mar- 
ried first, Jose])hine Blanclon, and second, Lucy liian- 
don, and lives at Adriance, i\Iich. ; sixth, Daniel 
Lucas, for twelve years United States Pension ex- 
aminer, now practising law in Louisville, Ky. , Pie 
married Eleanor Campbell, now dead, and has one 
child, Josephine; eighth, Sarah Everett, a Presby- 
terian missionary at Monte Morales, Mexico. 

Dr. Everett Bedinger married, second, Anna Moore 
Bilmyre, of Shepherdstown, and they have six chil- 
dren: Myra Van Doren, Anna Moore, Katharine 
Conrad, Olivia IMorgan, Henry Garrelt, and John \^an 
Doren. Almost all of his fourteen children are living, 
and he himself, a hale old man of eighty, is still in 
good health at his home at Anchorage, Ky. He is 
the only living grandchild of G. M. Bedinger. 



224 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

The fourth child of Benjamin Franklin Bedinger 
was named Daniel. The fifth was David, and the 
sixth and last was Benjamin F., Jr. The last three 
married daughters of Bradbury and Harriet Cilley of 
Venice, Ohio. 

Daniel married Mary Cilley, Dec. 25th, 1860. Their 
children are: first, Harriet, who married Stanley D. 
Stevenson, in 1908; second, Daniel Everett, who mar- 
ried Sarah Frances Waterhouse in 1881. They have 
three children: Daniel Waterhouse, Hester, and 
Francis Everett. Third, Henry Clay married Alice 
Graybill, 1888. They have five living children: Henry 
Graybill, Walton Everett, Mary, Robert Daniel, 
Susan. Emily died in 1907. Fourth, Jonathan Cilley 
Bedinger, married Delilah Pearl Hughes; fifth, Ben- 
jamin Franklin Bedinger; sixth, Columbus Cilley 
Bedinger, married Elizabeth Gaines in 1906; seventh, 
Mary Cilley Bedinger, died in infancy; eighth, 
David Wade, married Alice May Lauer in 1904; 
ninth, Sarah; tenth, Elizabeth. 

David Bedinger, fifth child of Dr. Benjamin F. 
Bedinger, was born June 13th, 1839. He died March 
13th, 1874. He married, Feb. 5th, 1862, Elizabeth 
Ann Cilley, of Colerain, Ohio. Their children were, 
first, Olivia Morgan, born Oct. 30th, 1862, died Aug! 
7th, 1883; second, Jesse, born Oct. 29th, 1864; third, 
Bradbury Cilley, born Aug. 18th, 1866, married Willi- 
fred Whittaker, Aug. 31st, 1887. They have two 
children: Lucy Norvell, born June 22nd, 1888, and 
Elizabeth, born Oct. 30th, 1889. 

Fourth, Ann Elizabeth, born Sept. 20, 1868, mar- 
ried, Dec. ,27, 1887, Ellis Bailey Gregg, a lawyer of 
Cincinnati. They have seven children, Daniel Bedin- 
ger, born Nov. 26, 1888; William Alford, April 30th, 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 225 

1891; Ellis Bailey, Feb. 18, 1893; Clifford Cilley, 
July 9, 1895; Anna Myra, Dec. 16, 1897; David 
Dawson, Aug. 14, 1900, and Jessie Wade, Dec. 15, 
1902. 

Fifth, Agnes, born March 22, 1871, married Aug. 
29, 1894, Wm. Bruce Roberts, farmer of Boone 
County, Ky. They have seven children : Roy Dun- 
can, Nov. 18, 1896; Mary Bruce, Jan. 18, 1898; Howe 
Hume, Nov. 14, 1899; John Adamson, Dec. 23, 1901 ; 
Ruth, Oct. 26, 1903; David Bedinger, Aug. 13, 1906, 
and Sarah Elizabeth, Aug. 13, 1906. 

Sixth, Emily Daisy Bedinger, born March 16, 
1873, married May 25, 1892, Andrew Painter Gregory, 
Presbyterian minister. They have seven children : 
Emma Elizabeth, Oct. 11, 1894; Jbhn Benjamin, May 
27, 1896; Sarah Bedinger, July 23, 1898; Mabel 
Cleopatra, July 23, 1900; Daisy Theresa, Oct. 16, 
1902; Edward Daniel, Jan. 11, 1905; and Andrew 
Faw, Oct. 8, 1908. 

Of the children of Benjamin Franklin, Jr., young- 
est son of Dr. B. F. Bedinger, I can obtain no records; 

Elizabeth Morgan Bedinger, the fourth child of G. 
M. and Henrietta Clay Bedinger was born Dec. 30, 
1798. She married, Jan. 29, 1824, Robert Bedford. 
Elizabeth was a woman of fine mind, and noble char- 
acter. She was early left a widow, in good circum- 
stances, and with the care of one child, Robert Bed- 
ford, Jr. She was a great reader, and was well 
educated, with more literary taste than most people 
of that early day in Kentucky. She is said, in her love 
of information, to have read the Encyclopedia Brit- 
tanica, from beginning to end, her father having the 
only copy in Kentucky at that time! She was consid- 
ered a marvel of erudition, says JNliss Bittinger. "She 



226 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

tried to educate her only child in the same way, but 
he had no intellectual taste, so she said she would 
'gild him,' and made a good deal of money for him ; 
but his marriage disappointed her; she felt herself 
neglected by her brothers in her long last illness, and 
so she left all her wealth to the Common School Fund 
of the State. Her son died childless." 

She seems to have been a remarkably fine woman, 
and I have seen letters from her which show much 
sweetness, strength of character, fortitude, and re- 
finement. There is much that is pathetic about her 
life, in her longings for a broader sphere, and more 
opportunities for culture. 

The sixth child of G. M. and Henrietta Clay Bedin- 
ger was Solomon, born March 10, 1801. He died 
single April 12, 1828. 

The seventh was Olivia Morgan, born April 6, 

. 1803. She married Henry Clay, her first cousin, and 

brother of Letitia Clay (Mrs. Daniel Paine Bedin- 

ger). She died in 1823, leaving one child who died 

the same year. 

The eighth child of G. M. and H. Clay Bedinger 
was George Michael, Jr., who was born March 8, 1805, 
married April 24, 1828, Lucy V. Throckmorton. He 
died Sept. 5, 1833, leaving one child, Benjamin 
Franklin, who died unmarried. 

The ninth child of G. M. and H. C. Bedinger was 
Joseph Morgan, born Feb. 1, 1810, died July 14, 1890. 
He married, Sept. 5, 1833, Nancy Moore. 

Josei)h Morgan Bedinger, youngest son of George 
M. Bedinger and his wife Henrietta, had six children, 
as follows: first, Wm. H. Bedinger, born Feb. 5th, 
1836, married Miss Ellen Bishop, of McLean County, 
111., March 6, 1861. They have the following living 
children : Daniel, Nellie, Letitia, and Frank. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 227 

Second, Mary Moore Bcdingcr, was born at Blue 
Licks Springs, Ky., and married W. Milton Reeves, 
of Bloomington, 111., Nov. 25th, 1868. They have had 
four cliildren, Henrietta Reeves, Laura, who is dead, 
Joseph M. Reeves, who is a druggist at EI Paso, 111., 
and George M. Reeves, who lives at Bloomington, 111. 

Third, Joseph P. Bedinger, was born at the Blue 
Licks, Ky., July 6th, 1841, and married Miss Pauline 
Dimmett, deceased, of Bloomington, 111., Dec. 16, 
1864. They have had the following children: Rose, 
now Mrs. Merle Rayburn of Kansas City, Mo. ; 
George M. Bedinger; Samuel C. and Plenry D. Bedin- 
ger, now living in Kansas City. 

Fourth, Henrietta Clay Bedinger was born at the 
Blue Licks, Ky., Nov. 2, 1844, and died Nov. 30th, 
1868. She married Mr. Milton L. Wakefield, of 
Bloomington, 111. They had one daughter, Mary B., 
who is now a widow living at Erlanger, Ky. Her 
husband's name was Robert J. Scott. 

Fifth, Benjamin F. Bedinger was born July 6th, 
1852, and died 1859 in Bloomington, 111. 

Sixth, Miss Anna Elizabeth Bedinger is unmarried, 
and is living, at Erlanger, Ky. 



APPENDIX B. 

I FEEL that I have not said enough in this voUime 
on the subject of the political career of G. M. 
Bedinger. 

He first served a term in the Assembly in the fall 
of 1792. When, in 1793, he resigned from the army, 
the citizens of Bourbon County promptly showed their 
appreciation of him by electing him again to the Gen- 
eral Assembly. He was sent to the State Legislature 
from both Nicholas and Bourbon Counties, as he lived 
at different times in each of these Counties. 

He was a State Senator in 1800 and 1801. Licking 
River was the dividing line between Bourbon and 
Mason Counties, and he built a stone house on the 
Mason County side, which he afterwards abandoned 
for a more commodious residence on the other side, in 
Bourbon, afterwards Nicholas County. 

He was also first Judge of the Court of Quarter 
Sessions, until that court was abolished. He was once 
one of the electors for Governor from Mason County, 
under the first constitution. In later life he was 
elected to Congress by a large majority in his district, 
and re-elected with even less opposition. This first 
election to Congress was in 1803. In 1807 he declined 
running again, believing that no one ought to hold 
such an ofiice longer than four years. This he did al- 
though there was no prospect of opposition to his 
re-election. 

He hated slavery and did all that he could while in 
Congress to abolish it. He was the chairman of a 
committee to ])rcvcnt the importation of slaves into 
this country. 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 229 

Twenty years after he had served in Congress, he 
was again a candidate for the position. But he was 
then over seventy years of age, and his anti-slavery 
principles were not popular. He was not nominated. 
Some one came out in a broad-side in his defence, a 
part of which is as follows : 

To the Voters of the Second Congressional District. 

Fellow Citizens : I have been not a little amused at 
the excessive spleen, which some writer over the sig- 
nature of Homo has vented at two old men, who, as 
far as I can learn, have not done him any injury. 
* * * As to Major Bedinger's character and con- 
duct I am better informed, and therefore cannot but 
smile at the harmless malevolence of the disappointed 
splenetic, who is so indignant and clamorous at he 
knows not what. He has, however, wasted many 
words in endeavoring to make you believe that it is a 
great piece of presumption in Alajor Bedinger to offer 
his services to his country, and for this act of effron- 
tery advises you to spurn him from you "with con- 
tempt, defeat, and disgrace." What ! spurn from us 
the soldier of the Revolution who has been so grately 
instrumental in procuring for us and him the boasted 
name and privileges of free men? What! Reward 
with "contempt, defeat and disgrace" one who has 
sacrificed the Hower of his life and the vigor of his 
manhood on the altar of liberty; and has hitherto, 
whenever he has offered his services, met the cordial 
approbation and support of our fathers? Does he cal- 
culate that it is within his power to Disgrace the friend 
of Washington, the Defender of freedom, the Lover 
of his country by going to the polls and saying that. 



230 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

tho' he spent his youth in our service his old age is 
obtrusive, and he must retire and make room for a 
younger aspirant ? Kentuckians ! Not thus has Vir- 
ginia rewarded the services of her Madison. No ! tho' 
many years older than the deserving object of my 
panegyrick, they did not reproach him for his age. 
but complimented him on his experience: and ani- 
mated by the grateful remembrance of his youtiiful 
services, they, in the true spirit of generosity and 
politeness, solicited him to assist them, in the difficult 
task of amending the constitution. 

But different has been the conduct of Homo and a 
few (witli pleasure & lo the honor of my country I 
acknowledge a very few) others of this stamp. This 
gentleman after a long tirade in which he endeavors 
to prove that our OLD FRIEND in whom our fathers 
used so affectionately to confide has become in his 
old age a faithless hypocrite, a traitor to his country, 
a bankrupt in principle, and asks "What has been his 
course in this canvass?" I can inform him that Major 
Bedinger came out in March at Carlisle, his County 
seat, on the same day that our first candidate did, and 
as he offered his services in the sincerity of his heart, 
as he had always been received by his countrymen with ' 
affection and confidence so unbounded that after serv- 
ing them in Congress four years so great was their 
esteem for him, so complete their satisfaction with 
him that no competitor advanced to oppose him. But 
he, like his highminded friend the generous Wash- 
ington whom "James Monitor" calls upon him to imi- 
tate, declined a re-election from the principle that 
"rotation in office was favorable to liberty," and it 
was ungenerous for one man to appropriate to him- 
self all the good things in the people's gift. If this be 



GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 231 

ambition, then I know not the meaning of the word. 
If after a retirement of more than twenty years under 
the circumstances I have mentioned the moderate 
offer of his services to that beloved country whose 
happiness and prosperity his course thro' a long and 
eventful life has proved to be the first wish of his 
heart; if this be presumption I confess myself ig- 
norant of my own native language. And now he finds 
that again the sovereign people are solicitous to honor 
him with their preference by the promise of their 
support, and after having under those circumstances 
pledged himself to continue a candidate for their favor 
till the last moment of the election, would it not be 
casting a shade on his unblemished reputation to fal- 
sify his word by declining. Ikit Mr. Monitor, Major 
Bcdinger is our oldest candidate and with claims 
upon our confidence certainly as strong as any of the 
others, if a life of toil and danger spent in our service 
entitles any one to our regard. He now, for the last 
time asks our services. This is the closing scene of his 
public life. * '" * If he who purchased our liberties 
by years of suffering knows not their value and how 
to guard them with watchful vigilance then they are 
safe with no man. 

* * * Yes, the volunteer of eighteen breasted 
the most impetuous fury of the storm for thirteen 
months prior to the Declaration of Independence when 
an ignominious death awaited him, and his noble com- 
peers in case of a failure in the hazardous cause. But 
God prospered the brave and preserved the patriot. 
'Phcn why should he fear to place himself before the 
children and grandchildren of his worthy associates in 
that glorious struggle? No! Trusting that virtue is 
inherent, that the sons of the brave have imbibed the 



232 GEORGE MICHAEL BEDINGER 

sentiments of their fathers, that the hallowed fire of 
freedom still burns in the breasts of every descendant 
of his brothers in arms he may confidently place him- 
self before the American youth. 

I myself am one of them, and can answer for my 
country and with pride, with pleasure, fearlessly de- 
clare, that notwithstanding the arrows of malevolence 
that have been levelled at the aged oak it is still the 
favorite of the forest, and every warm and generous 
spirit will delight to come and shelter itself under its 
venerable shade. In other words, my countrymen, 
grateful for the arduous services of 20 years, will not 
disregard the claims of the old soldier, one of the very, 
very few remaining heroes of the Revolution, but will 
in the enthusiasm of free men flock to the polls & 
there prove that the love of liberty did not perish with 
their ancestors, but that they have determined not to 
repay with "contempt, defeat, and disgrace" the obli- 
gations they are under to one of Freedom's REAL & 
TRIED & FIRM SUPPORTERS. 

A Citizen of Bourbon. 



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