Chronicles of Border Warfare
by Alexander Scott Withers
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At length a quantity of provisions were ordered by Gov. Amherst for the relief of the fort, and forwarded under a strong guard commanded by Colonel Boquet. The Indians were soon apprized of this and determined on intercepting the provisions, and if practicable, to prevent their reaching the place of their destination. With this object in view, a considerable force was detached, to watch the motions of Col. Boquet and [81] upon a favorable opportunity to give him battle. In a narrow defile on Turtle creek an attack was made by the Indians, and a severe engagement ensued. Both armies fought with the most obstinate bravery, from one o'clock 'till night, and in the morning it was resumed, and continued with unabated fury for several hours. At length Col. Boquet, having placed four companies of infantry and grenadiers in ambush, ordered a retreat. So soon as this was commenced, the Indians, confident of victory, pressed forward with considerable impetuosity, and fell into the ambuscade. This decided the contest—the Indians were repulsed with great slaughter and dispersed.

The loss of the British, in killed and wounded, exceeded one hundred. That they were not entirely cut off, was attributable to the stratagem of the retreat (a favorite one of the Indians;) the success of which not only saved the detachment under Col. Boquet, but likewise preserved Fort Pitt, from falling into the hands of the savage foe.

The loss sustained by the enemy, must have equaled that of the British; several of their most distinguished chiefs and warriors, were of the number of the slain: and so decisive was the victory obtained over them, that in the succeeding campaign against the Indians on the Muskingum, Boquet found not much difficulty in bringing them to terms. A cessation of hostilities was agreed to, upon condition that they would give up all the whites then detained by them in captivity. Upwards of three hundred prisoners were then redeemed; but the season being far advanced and the others scattered in different parts of the country, it was stipulated, that they should be brought into Fort Pitt early in the ensuing spring; and as a security that they would comply with this condition of the armistice, six of their chiefs were delivered up as hostages—these however succeeded in making their escape before the army arrived at Fort Pitt.[7]

The ill success which had attended the combined operations of the Indians, during this war, the difficulty of procuring ammunition to support it, and the fact that it had begun to be carried into their own country, disposed them to make peace. A treaty was accordingly concluded with them by Sir William Johnson in 1765. Previous to this however, some few depredations were committed by the Indians, in contravention of the agreement made with them by Col. Boquet; and which induced a belief that the want of clothes and ammunition,[82] was the real cause of their partial forbearance. It was therefore of great consequence, to prevent their obtaining a supply of these necessaries, until there could be some stronger assurance, than had been given, of their pacific disposition.

Notwithstanding the prevalence of this impression, and the fact, that a royal proclamation had been issued, forbidding any person trading with the Indians, yet in March 1765 a number of wagons, laden with goods and warlike stores for the Indians, was sent from Philadelphia to Henry Pollens of Conococheague, to be thence transported on pack horses to Fort Pitt. This very much alarmed the country; and many individuals remonstrated against the propriety of supplying the Indians at that particular juncture; alleging the well known fact, that they were then destitute of ammunition and clothing, and that to furnish them with those articles, would be to aid in bringing on another frontier war, and to lend themselves to the commission of those horrid murders, by which those wars were always distinguished. Remonstrance was fruitless. The gainful traffick which could be then carried on with the Indians, banished every other consideration; and seventy horses, packed with goods, were directed on to Fort Pitt.

In this situation of things, Capt. James Smith, (who had been with Boquet during the campaign of 1764, and was well convinced that a supply at that time of clothing and ammunition, would be the signal for the recommencement of hostilities) collected ten of his "Black boys," painted and dressed as Indians; and waylaid the caravan, near a place called the "Side long Hill." He disposed his men in pairs, behind trees along the road, at intervals of about 60 yards, with orders for the second not to fire 'till the first had reloaded, so that a regular, slow fire might be maintained at once, from front to rear.

As soon as the cavalcade approached, the firing commenced, and the pack horses beginning to fall by the side of their conductors, excited the fear of the latter, and induced them to cry out "Gentlemen what would you have us to do." Captain Smith replied, "collect all your loads to the front, deposit them in one place; take your private property and retire." These things were accordingly done; and the goods left (consisting of blankets, shirts, beads, vermillion, powder, lead, tomahawks, scalping knives, &c.) were immediately burned or otherwise destroyed.

[83] The traders then went to Fort Loudon, and obtaining of the commanding officer a party of Highland soldiers, proceeded in quest of the Robbers (as they termed them;) some of whom were taken and carried into the Fort. Capt. Smith then raised about 300 riflemen, and marching to Fort Loudon, occupied a position on an eminence near it. He had not been long there before he had more than twice as many of the garrison, prisoners in his camp, as there were of his men in the guard house. Under a flag of truce proceeding from the Fort, a convention for the exchange of prisoners was entered into between Capt. Grant, the commander of the garrison, and Capt. Smith, and the latter with his men, immediately returned to their homes. [8]

Occurrences such as this, were afterwards of too frequent [84] recurrence. The people had been taught by experience, that the fort afforded very little, if any protection to those who were not confined within its walls—they were jealous of the easy, and yet secure life led by the garrison, and apprehensive of the worst consequences from the intercourse of traders with the Indians. Under those feelings, they did not scruple to intercept the passage of goods to the trading posts, and commit similar outrages to those above described, if there were any interference on the part of the neighboring forts. On one occasion, Capt. Grant was himself taken prisoner, and [85] detained 'till restitution was made the inhabitants of some guns, which had been taken from them, by soldiers from the garrison; and in 1769, a quantity of powder, lead and other articles was taken from some traders passing through Bedford county, and destroyed. Several persons, supposed to have been of the party who committed this outrage, were apprehended, and laid in irons in the guard house at Fort Bedford.

Capt. Smith, although in no wise engaged in this transaction, nor yet approving it, was nevertheless so indignant that an offence against the civil authorities, should be attempted to be punished by a military tribunal, that he resolved on effecting their release. To accomplish this, he collected eighteen of his "Black boys," in whom he knew he could confide; and marched along the main road in the direction of Fort Bedford. On his way to that place, he did not attempt to conceal his object, but freely told to every one who enquired, that he was going to take Fort Bedford. On the evening of the second day of their march, they arrived at the crossings of Juniata, (14 miles from Bedford) and erected tents as if they intended encamping there all night.

Previous to this, Capt. Smith had communicated his intention to Mr. William Thompson (who lived in Bedford and on whom he could rely,) and prevailed on him to obtain what information he could as to the effect produced in the garrison by the preparations which he was making for its attack; and acquaint him with it. That he might be enabled to do this with greater certainty, a place and hour were appointed at which Capt. Smith would meet him.

About 11 o'clock at night the march was resumed, and moving briskly they arrived near to Bedford, where they met Thompson; who communicated to them the fact, that the garrison had been apprized of their object that in consequence of having heard from them on the preceding evening, at the Crossings of Juniata, it was not expected they would arrive before mid-day, that their number was known, and the enterprise ridiculed. Thompson then returned to Bedford, and the party moved silently under covert of the banks of the river, 'till they approached near to the Fort, where they lay concealed, awaiting the opening of the gate. About day light Thompson apprised them that the guard had thrown open the gate, and were taking their morning's dram; that the arms were stacked not far from the entrance into the Fort, and three centinels on the wall.

Upon hearing these things, Capt. Smith with his men rushed rapidly to the Fort, and the morning being misty, were not discovered 'till they had reached the gate. At that instant the centinels fired their guns and gave the alarm; but Capt. Smith and his men took possession of the arms, and raised a loud shout, before the soldiers of the garrison could learn the cause of the alarm, or get to the scene of action.

[86] Having thus obtained possession of the Fort, Capt. Smith had the prisoners released from the guardhouse, and compelling a blacksmith to knock off their irons, left the Fort with them and returned to Conococheaque. "This, Capt. Smith says, was the first British fort in America, taken by what they called American rebels."

Some time after this, an attempt was made to apprehend Capt. Smith, as he was proceeding to survey and locate land on the Youghogany river. In the encounter which succeeded, a man (by the name of Johnson) was killed; and the murder being charged on Smith, he was confined for a time in Bedford jail; but fearing a release, the civil authority sent him privately through the wilderness to Carlisle, to await a trial for the alledged offence. On hearing this, upwards of three hundred persons (among whom were his old "Black boys,") proceeded to Carlisle to effect a rescue; and were only prevented the accomplishment of their object, by the solicitation of Smith himself. He knew his innocence, and preferred awaiting a trial; and how willing soever he might have been to oppose any encroachments of the military, he held in just abhorrence, an opposition to the civil authority of his country. He was put on his trial and acquitted.[9]

[87] Events such as those which have been narrated, serve to shew the state of things which existed at that day; and to point out the evils necessarily resulting, from an absence of municipal regulations. Man, in every station and condition of life, requires the controlling hand of civil power, to confine him in his proper sphere, and to check every advance of invasion, on the rights of others. Unrestrained liberty speedily degenerates into licentiousness. Without the necessary curbs and restraints of law, men would relapse into a state of nature; [88] and although the obligations of justice (the basis of society) be natural obligations; yet such are the depravity and corruption of human nature, that without some superintending and coercive power, they would be wholly disregarded; and human society, would become the field of oppression and outrage—instead of a theatre for the interchange of good offices. Civil institutions and judicial establishments; the comminations of punishment and the denunciations of law, are barely sufficient to repress the evil propensities of man. Left to themselves, they spurn all natural restrictions, and riot in the unrestrained indulgence of every passion.

——- [1] At Dickenson's fort in 1755.

[2] When the Indians were most troublesome, and threatening even the destruction of Winchester, Lord Fairfax who was commandant of the militia of Frederick and Hampshire, ordered them out. Three days active exertion on his part, brought only 20 in the field.

[3] Rather rangers, who seem to have been enlisted to serve a year, and were re-engaged when necessary.—L. C. D.

[4] Peter Williamson had singular adventures. When a boy he was kidnapped at Aberdeen, and sent to America, for which he afterwards recovered damages. It is said that he passed a considerable period among the Cherokees. He instituted the first penny post at Edinburgh, for which, when the government assumed it, he received a pension. His Memoirs, and French and Indian Cruelty Examplified, were works of interest. He died in Edinburgh in 1799.—L. C. D.

[5] Col. James Smith was born in Franklin county, Pa., in 1737; was captured by Indians in 1755, remaining in captivity until his escape in 1759. He served as ensign in 1763, and lieutenant under Bouquet in 1764; he was a leader, for several years, of the Black Boys—a sort of regulators of the traders who, the Black Boys thought, supplied the Indians with the munitions of war. As the troubles with the mother country began, Smith was selected for frontier service, and held civil and military positions—captain in the Pennsylvania line; then in 1777 as major under Washington; in 1778, he was promoted to the rank of colonel of militia, and led an expedition against the Indian town on French Creek. In 1788, he removed to Kentucky; served in the early Kentucky conventions, preparatory to State organization, and also in the legislature. He did missionary work in Kentucky and Tennessee, and preached among the Indians. He wrote a valuable account of his Indian captivity, republished a few years since by Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati, and a treatise on Indian warfare, besides two controversial pamphlets against the Shakers. He died in Washington county, Ky., in 1812, aged about seventy-five years.—L. C. D.

[6] Captain Simeon Ecuyer, like Bouquet, was a native of Switzerland; he did good service on the frontiers, especially in the gallant defense of Fort Pitt in 1763. He became disgusted with the bad conduct of his soldiers, especially the grenadiers, and begged leave to resign. "For God's sake," he implored Bouquet, "let me go, and raise cabbages."—L. C. D.

[7] Henry Bouquet was born at Rolle, in the canton of Berne, Switzerland, in 1721, and at the age of seventeen he entered into the service of the states general of Holland; subsequently engaged under the banner of Sardinia, and distinguished himself at the battle of Cony. In 1748, he was a lieutenant-colonel in the Swiss guards, in the service of Holland. At length, in 1756, he entered the English army, serving in the Royal Americans, and co-operated with Gen. Forbes on the campaign against Fort Du Quesne, repulsing an attack of French and Indians on Loyal Hanna. He afterwards served in Canada, and was sent for the relief of Fort Pitt, when beleagured in 1763. While marching on this service, he signally defeated the Indians at Bushy Run, after a two days' engagement, in August of that year, and relieved Fort Pitt. In 1764, he led an expedition against the Ohio Indians, compelling them to sue for peace. He died at Pensacola, September 2, 1765, of a prevailing fever, in the prime of life, at the age of forty-four years. He had attained the rank of general.—L. C. D.

[8] The following song was soon after composed by Mr. George Campbell (an Irish gentleman who had been educated in Dublin,) and was frequently sung in the neighborhood to the tune of the Black Joke.

Ye patriot souls who love to sing, What serves your country and your king, In wealth, peace, and royal estate; Attention give whilst I rehearse, A modern fact, in jingling verse, How party interest strove what it cou'd, To profit itself by public blood, But justly met its merited fate.

Let all those Indian traders claim, Their just reward, in glorious fame, For vile, base and treacherous ends, To Pollins in the spring they sent Much warlike stores, with an intent, To carry them to our barbarous foes, Expecting that nobody dare oppose A present to their Indian friends.

Astonished at the wild design Frontier inhabitants combin'd, With brave souls to stop their career, Although some men apostatized Who first the grand attempt advis'd, The bold frontiers they bravely stood, To act for their king, and their country's good In joint league, and strangers to fear.

On March the fifth, in sixty-five, Their Indian presents did arrive, In long pomp and cavalcade, Near Sidelong-hill, where in disguise, Some patriots did their train surprise, And quick as lightning tumbled their loads And kindled them bonfires in the woods; And mostly burnt their whole brigade.

At Loudon when they heard the news, They scarcely knew which way to choose, For blind rage and discontent; At length some soldiers they sent out, With guides for to conduct the route, And seized some men that were travelling there And hurried them into Loudon, where They laid them fast with one consent.

But men of resolution thought Too much to see their neighbors caught For no crime but false surmise; Forthwith they join'd a warlike band, And march'd to Loudon out of hand, And kept the jailors pris'ners there, Until our friends enlarged were, Without fraud or any disguise.

Let mankind censure or commend, This rash performance in the end, Then both sides will find their account. 'Tis true no law can justify To burn our neighbors property, But when this property is design'd To serve the enemies of mankind, Its high treason in the amount.

[9] The following extract from the Pennsylvania Gazette of November 2d, 1769, details the circumstances of this transaction.

"James Smith, his brother and brother in law, were going out to survey and improve their land, on the waters of the Youghogany.—Expecting to be gone some time, they took with them their arms, and horses loaded with necessaries; and as Smith's brother in law was an artist in surveying, he had also with him the instruments for that business. Travelling on their way and within nine miles of Bedford, they overtook and joined in company with one Johnson and Moorhead, who had likewise horses packed with liquor and seed wheat—their intentions being also to make improvements on their lands. Arrived at the parting of the road near Bedford, they separated, one party going through town for the purpose of having a horse shod; these were apprehended and put under confinement.—James Smith, Johnson and Moorhead taking the other road, met John Holmes of Bedford, to whom Smith spoke in a friendly manner but received no answer. Smith and his companions proceeded to where the two roads again united; and waited there the arrival of the others.

"At this time a number of men came riding up, and asked Smith his name. On his telling them who he was, they immediately presented their pistols, and commanded him to surrender or he was a dead man. Smith stepped back and asking if they were highwaymen, charged them to keep off; when immediately Robert George (one of the assailants) snapped a pistol at Smith's head; and that (as George acknowledged under oath) before Smith had offered to [87] shoot. Smith then presented his gun at another of the assailants, who was holding Johnson with one hand, while with the other he held a pistol, which he was preparing to discharge. Two shots were fired, one by Smith's gun, the other by the pistol, so quick as to be just distinguishable, and Johnson fell. Smith was then taken and carried to Bedford, where John Holmes (who had met him on the road, and hastened to Bedford with the intelligence) held an inquest over the dead body of Johnson. One of the assailants being the only witness examined, it was found that "Johnson had been murdered by Smith," who was thereupon committed for trial. But jealousy arising in the breasts of many, that the inquest was not so fair as it should have been, William Deny, (the coroner of Bedford county) thought proper to re-examine the matter; and summoning a jury of unexceptionable men, out of three townships—men whose candour, probity, and honesty are unquestionable, and having raised the corpse, held a solemn inquest over it for three days.

"In the course of their scrutiny, they found the shirt of Johnson, around the bullet hole, blackened by the powder of the charge with which he had been killed. One of the assailants being examined, swore to the respective spots of ground on which they stood at the time of firing, which being measured, was found to be 28 feet distance from each other. The experiment was then made of shooting at the shirt an equal distance both with and against the wind, to ascertain if the powder produced the stain; but it did not. Upon the whole the jury, after the most accurate examination and mature deliberation, brought in their verdict that one of the assailants must necessarily have done the murder."

Captain Smith was a brave and enterprising man. In 1766, he, in company with Joshua Horton, Uriah Stone, William Baker and James Smith, by the way of Holstein, explored the country south of Kentucky at a time when it was entirely uninhabited; and the country between the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, to their entrance into the Ohio. Stone's river, a branch of the Cumberland and emptying into it not far above Nashville, was named by them in this expedition.

After his acquittal from the charge of having murdered Johnson, he was elected and served as one of the board of commissioners, for regulating taxes and laying the county levy, in the county of Bedford. [88] He was for several years a delegate from the county of Westmoreland, to the General Assembly of Pennsylvania; and in the war of the revolution was an officer of merit and distinction. In 1781 he removed to Kentucky and settled in Bourbon county not far from Paris; was a member of the convention which set at Danville, to confer about a separation from the state of Virginia, in 1788, from which time until 1799, with the exception of two years, he was either a delegate of the convention or of the General Assembly of Kentucky.


Comment by L. C. D.—It would seem from Col. Smith's own statement, that his removal to, and settlement in, Bourbon county, Ky., was in 1788.


The comparative security and quiet, which succeeded the treaty of 1765, contributed to advance the prosperity of the Virginia frontiers. The necessity of congregating in forts and blockhouses, no longer existing, each family enjoyed the felicities of its own fireside, undisturbed by fearful apprehensions of danger from the prowling savage, and free from the bustle and confusion consequent on being crowded together. No longer forced to cultivate their little fields in common, and by the united exertions of a whole neighborhood, with tomahawks suspended from their belts and rifles attached to their plow beams, their original spirit of enterprise was revived: and while a certainty of reaping in unmolested safety, the harvest for which they had toiled, gave to industry, a stimulus which increased their prosperity, it also excited others to come and reside among them—a considerable addition to their population, and a rapid extension of settlements, were the necessary consequence.

It was during the continuation of this exemption from Indian aggression, that several establishments were made on the Monongahela and its branches, and on the Ohio river. These were nearly cotemporaneous; the first however, in order of time, was that made on the Buchannon—a fork of the Tygart's valley river, and was induced by a flattering account of the country as given by two brothers; who had spent some years in various parts of it, under rather unpleasant circumstances.

Among the soldiers who garrisoned Fort Pitt, were William Childers, John and Samuel Pringle and Joseph Linsey. In 1761, these four men deserted from the fort, and ascended the Monongahela as far as to the mouth of George's creek (the site afterwards selected by Albert Gallatin, for the town of Geneva.) Here they remained awhile; but not liking the [90] situation crossed over to the head of the Youghogany; and encamping in the glades, continued there about twelve months.

In one of their hunting rambles, Samuel Pringle came on a path, which he supposed would lead to the inhabited part of Virginia. On his return he mentioned the discovery and his supposition, to his comrades, and they resolved on tracing it. This they accordingly did, and it conducted them to Loony's creek, then the most remote western settlement. While among the inhabitants on Loony's creek, they were recognized and some of the party apprehended as deserters. John and Samuel Pringle succeeded in making an escape to their camp in the glades, where they remained 'till some time in the year 1764.

During this year, and while in the employ of John Simpson (a trapper, who had come there in quest of furs,) they determined on removing farther west. Simpson was induced to this, by the prospect of enjoying the woods free from the intrusion of other hunters (the glades having begun to be a common hunting ground for the inhabitants of the South Branch;) while a regard for their personal safety, caused the Pringles to avoid a situation, in which they might be exposed to the observation of other men.

In journeying through the wilderness, and after having crossed Cheat river at the Horse shoe, a quarrel arose between Simpson and one of the Pringles; and notwithstanding that peace and harmony were so necessary to their mutual safety and comfort; yet each so far indulged the angry passions which had been excited, as at length to produce a separation.

Simpson crossed over the Valley river, near the mouth of Pleasant creek, and passing on to the head of another water course, gave to it the name of Simpson's creek. Thence he went westwardly, and fell over on a stream which he called Elk: at the mouth of this he erected a camp, and continued to reside for more than twelve months. During this time he neither saw the Pringles nor any other human being; and at the expiration of it went to the South Branch, where he disposed of his furs and skins and then returned to, and continued at, his encampment at the mouth of Elk, until permanent settlements were made in its vicinity.

The Pringles kept up the Valley river 'till they observed a large right hand fork, (now Buchannon),[1] which they ascended [91] some miles; and at the mouth of a small branch (afterward called Turkey run) they took up their abode in the cavity of a large Sycamore tree.[2] The stump of this is still to be seen, and is an object of no little veneration with the immediate descendants of the first settlers.

The situation of these men, during a residence here of several years, although rendered somewhat necessary by their previous conduct, could not have been very enviable. Deserters from the army, a constant fear of discovery filled their minds with inquietude.—In the vicinity of a savage foe, the tomahawk and scalping knife were ever present to their imaginations.—Remote from civilized man, their solitude was hourly interrupted by the frightful shrieks of the panther, or the hideous howlings of the wolf.—And though the herds of Buffalo, Elk and Deer, which gamboled sportively around, enabled them easily to supply their larder; yet the want of salt, of bread, and of every species of kitchen vegetable, must have abated their relish for the, otherwise, delicious loin of the one, and haunch of the others. The low state of their little magazine too, while it limited their hunting, to the bare procuration of articles of subsistence, caused them, from a fear of discovery, to shrink at the idea of being driven to the settlements, for a supply of ammunition. And not until they were actually reduced to two loads of powder, could they be induced to venture again into the vicinity of their fellow men. In the latter part of the year 1767, John left his brother, and intending to make for a trading post on the Shenandoah, appointed the period of his return.

Samuel Pringle, in the absence of John, suffered a good deal. The stock of provisions left him became entirely exhausted—one of his loads of powder, was expended in a fruitless attempt to shoot a buck—his brother had already delayed his return several days longer than was intended, and he was apprehensive that he had been recognized, taken to Port Pitt and would probably never get back. With his remaining load of powder, however he was fortunate enough to kill a fine buffalo; and John soon after returned with the news of peace, both with the Indians and French. The two brothers agreed to leave their retirement.

Their wilderness habitation was not left without some regret. Every object around, had become more or less endeared to them. The tree, in whose hollow they had been so [92] frequently sheltered from storm and tempest, was regarded by them with so great reverence, that they resolved, so soon as they could prevail on a few others to accompany them, again to return to this asylum of their exile.

In a population such as then composed the chief part of the South Branch settlement, this was no difficult matter. All of them were used to the frontier manner of living; the most of them had gone thither to acquire land; many had failed entirely in this object, while others were obliged to occupy poor and broken situations off the river; the fertile bottoms having been previously located. Add to this the passion for hunting (which was a ruling one with many,) and the comparative scarcity of game in their neighborhood, and it need not excite surprise that the proposition of the Pringles to form a settlement, in such a country as they represented that on Buchannon to be, was eagerly embraced by many.

In the fall of the ensuing year (1768) Samuel Pringle, and several others who wished first to examine for themselves, visited the country which had been so long occupied by the Pringles alone. Being pleased with it, they, in the following spring, with a few others, repaired thither, with the view of cultivating as much corn, as would serve their families the first year after their emigration. And having examined the country, for the purpose of selecting the most desirable situations; some of them proceeded to improve the spots of their choice. John Jackson (who was accompanied by his sons, George and Edward) settled at the mouth of Turkey run, where his daughter, Mrs. Davis, now lives—John Hacker[3] higher up on the Buchannon river, where Bush's fort was afterwards established, and Nicholas Heavener now lives—Alexander and Thomas Sleeth, near to Jackson's, on what is now known as the Forenash plantation. The others of the party (William Hacker, Thomas and Jesse Hughes, John and William Radcliff and John Brown) appear to have employed their time exclusively in hunting; neither of them making any improvement of land for his own benefit. Yet were they of very considerable service to the new settlement. Those who had commenced clearing land, were supplied by them with abundance of meat, while in their hunting excursions through the country, a better knowledge of it was obtained, than could have been acquired, had they been engaged in making improvements.

[93] In one of these expeditions they discovered, and gave name to Stone coal creek; which flowing westwardly, induced the supposition that it discharged itself directly into the Ohio. Descending this creek, to ascertain the fact, they came to its confluence with a river, which they then called, and has since been known as, the West Fork. After having gone some distance down the river, they returned by a different route to the settlement, better pleased with the land on it and some of its tributaries, than with that on Buchannon.

Soon after this, other emigrants arrived under the guidance of Samuel Pringle. Among them were, John and Benjamin Cutright, who settled on Buchannon, where John Cutright the younger, now lives; and Henry Rule who improved just above the mouth of Fink's run. Before the arrival of Samuel Pringle, John Hacker had begun to improve the spot which Pringle had chosen for himself. To prevent any unpleasant result, Hacker agreed that if Pringle would clear as much land, on a creek which had been recently discovered by the hunters, as he had on Buchannon, they could then exchange places. Complying with this condition Pringle took possession of the farm on Buchannon, and Hacker of the land improved by Pringle on the creek, which was hence called Hacker's creek.[4] John and William Radcliff, then likewise settled on this stream—the former on the farm, where the Rev. John Mitchel now lives; the latter at the place now owned by William Powers Esq.—These comprise all the improvements which were made on the upper branches of the Monongahela in the years 1769 and 1770.

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

Soon after the happening of this event, other settlements were made on the upper branches of the Monongahela river. Capt. James Booth and John Thomas established themselves on what has been since called Booth's creek—The former at the place now owned by Jesse Martin; and the latter where William Martin at present resides, and which is perhaps the [94] most valuable landed estate in North Western Virginia, off the Ohio river.

Previous however to the actual settlement of the country above the forks of the Monongahela, some few families (in 1767) had established themselves in the vicinity of Fort Redstone, now Brownsville, in Pennsylvania.[5] At the head of these were Abraham Tegard, James Crawford, John Province, and John Harden. The latter of these gentlemen afterwards removed to Kentucky and became distinguished in the early history of that state, as well for the many excellencies of his private and public life, as for the untimely and perfidious manner of his death.

In the succeeding year Jacob Vanmeter, John Swan, Thomas Hughes and some others settled on the west side of the Monongahela, near the mouth of Muddy creek, where Carmichaelstown now stands.[6]

In this year too, the place which had been occupied for a while by Thomas Decker and his unfortunate associates, and where Morgantown is now situated, was settled by a party of emigrants; one of which was David Morgan, who became so conspicuous for personal prowess, and for the daring, yet deliberate courage displayed by him, during the subsequent hostilities with the Indians.

In 1769, Col. Ebenezer Zane, his brothers Silas and Jonathan, with some others from the south Branch, visited the Ohio river for the purpose of commencing improvements;[7] [95] and severally proceeded to select positions for their future residence. Col. Zane chose for his, an eminence above the mouth of Wheeling creek, near to the Ohio, and opposite a beautiful and considerable island in that river. The spot thus selected by him, is now occupied by his son Noah Zane, Esq. and is nearly the centre of the present flourishing town of Wheeling. Silas Zane commenced improving on Wheeling creek where Col. Moses Shepherd now lives, and Jonathan resided with his brother Ebenezer. Several of those who accompanied the adventurers, likewise remained with Colonel Zane, in the capacity of laborers.

After having made those preparations which were immediately requisite for the reception of their respective families, they returned to their former homes. In the ensuing year they finally left the South Branch, and accompanied by Col. David Shepherd, (the father of Col. Moses Shepherd,) John Wetzel (the father of Lewis) and the McCulloughs—men whose names are identified with the early history of that country—repaired again to the wilderness, and took up their permanent abode in it.

Soon after this, other settlements were made at different points, both above and below Wheeling; and the country on Buffalo, Short, and Grave creeks,[8] and on the Ohio river, became the abode of civilized man. Among those who were first to occupy above Wheeling, were George Lefler, John Doddridge, Benjamin Biggs, Daniel Greathouse, Joshua Baker and Andrew Swearingen.[9]

[96] The settlement thus made constituting a kind of advance guard, through which an Indian enemy would have to penetrate, before they could reach the interior, others were less reluctant to occupy the country between them and the Alleghany mountains. Accordingly various establishments were soon made in it by adventurers from different parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia; and those places in which settlements had been previously effected, received considerable accessions to their population.

In 1772, that comparatively beautiful region of country, lying on the east fork of the Monongahela river, between the Alleghany mountains, on its south eastern, and the Laurel Hill, or as it is there called the Rich mountain, on its north western side, and which had received the denomination of Tygart's valley, again attracted the attention of emigrants.—In the course of that year, the greater part of this valley was located, by persons said to have been enticed thither by the description given of it, by some hunters from Greenbrier who had previously explored it. Game, though a principal, was not however their sole object. They possessed themselves at once of nearly all the level land lying between those mountains—a plain of 25 or 30 miles in length and varying from three fourths to two miles in width, and of fine soil. Among those who were first to occupy that section of country, we find the names of Hadden, Connelly, Whiteman, Warwick, Nelson, Stalnaker, Riffle and Westfall: the latter of these found and interred the bones of Files' family, which had lain, bleaching in the sun, after their murder by the Indians, in 1754.

Cheat river too, on which no attempt at settlement had been made, but by the unfortunate Eckarly's, became an object of attention, The Horse Shoe bottom was located by Capt. James Parsons, of the South Branch; and in his neighborhood settled Robert Cunningham, Henry Fink, John Goff and John Minear. Robert Butler, William Morgan and some others settled on the Dunkard bottom.

In this year too, settlements were made on Simpson's creek, the West Fork river and on Elk creek. Those who made the former, were John Powers, who purchased Simpson's right (a tomahawk improvement)[10] to the land on which Benjamin [97] Stout now resides; and James Anderson and Jonas Webb who located themselves farther up the creek.

On Elk, and in the vicinity of Clarksburg there settled Thomas Nutter, near to the Forge-mills—Samuel Cottrial, on the east side of the creek and nearly opposite to Clarksburg—Sotha Hickman, on the west side of the same creek, and above Cottrial—Samuel Beard at the mouth of Nanny's run—Andrew Cottrial above Beard, and at the farm now owned by John W. Patton—Daniel Davisson, where Clarksburg is now situated, and Obadiah Davisson and John Nutter on the West Fork; the former near to the old Salt works, and the latter at the place now owned by Adam Hickman, jr.

There was likewise, at this time, a considerable accession to the settlements on Buchannon and Hacker's creek. So great was the increase of population in this latter neighborhood, that the crops of the preceding season did not afford more than one third of the breadstuff, which would be ordinarily consumed in the same time, by an equal number of persons. Such indeed was the state of suffering among the inhabitants, consequent on this scarcity, that the year 1773 is called in the traditionary legends of that day, the starving year; and such were the exertions of William Lowther to mitigate that suffering, and so great the success with which they were crowned, that his name has been transmitted to their descendants, hallowed by the blessings of those, whose wants he contributed so largely to relieve.[11]

[98] These were the principal settlements begun in North Western Virginia, prior to the year 1774. Few and scattered as they were, no sooner was it known that they were commenced, than hundreds flocked to them from different parts; and sought there the gratifications of their respective predilections. That spirit of adventurous emigration, which has since peopled, with such unprecedented rapidity, the south western and western states, and which was then beginning to develope itself, overcame the fond attachments of youth, and impelled its possessors, to the dreary wilderness. Former homes, encircled by the comforts of civilization, endeared by the grateful recollections of by-gone days, and not unfrequently, consecrated as the spots where their tenants had first inhaled the vital fluid, were readily exchanged for "the variety of untried being, the new scenes and changes," which were to be passed, before the trees of the forest could be supplanted, by the fruits of the field, or society be reared in the solitude of the desert. With a capability to sustain fatigue, not to be subdued by toil; and with a cheerfulness, not easily to be depressed; a patience which could mock at suffering and a daring which nothing could daunt, every difficulty which intervened, every obstacle which was interposed between them and the accomplishment of the objects of their pursuit, was surmounted or removed; and in a comparatively brief space of time, they rose to the enjoyment of many of those gratifications, which are experienced in earlier and more populous settlements. That their morals should, for a while, have suffered deterioration, and their manners and habits, instead of [99] approximating those of refined society, should have become perhaps, more barbarous and uncouth, was the inevitable consequence of their situation, and the certain result of circumstances, which they could not control. When that situation was changed, and these circumstances ceased to exist, a rapid progress was made in the advancement of many sections of the country, to the refinements of civilized society.

The infantile state of all countries exhibits, in a greater or less degree, a prevalence of barbarism. The planting of colonies, or the formation of establishments in new countries, is ever attended with circumstances unpropitious to refinement. The force with which these circumstances act, will be increased or diminished in proportion to the remoteness or proximity of those new establishments, to older societies, in which the arts and sciences are cultivated; and to the facility of communication between them. Man is, at all times, the creature of circumstances. Cut off from an intercourse with his fellow men, and divested of the conveniences of life, he will readily relapse into a state of nature.—Placed in contiguity with the barbarous and the vicious; his manners will become rude, his morals perverted.—Brought into collision with the sanguinary and revengeful; and his own conduct will eventually be distinguished, by bloody and vindictive deeds.

Such was really the situation of those who made the first establishments in North Western Virginia. And when it is considered, that they were, mostly, men from the humble walks of life; comparatively illiterate and unrefined; without civil or religious institutions, and with a love of liberty, bordering on its extreme; their more enlightened descendants can not but feel surprise, that their dereliction from propriety had not been greater; their virtue less.

The objects, for the attainment of which they voluntarily placed themselves in this situation, and tempted the dangers inseparable from a residence in the contiguity of Indians, jealous of territorial encroachment, were almost as various as their individual character. Generally speaking, they were men in indigent circumstances, unable to purchase land in the neigborhoods from which they came, and unwilling longer to remain the tenants of others. These were induced to [100] emigrate, with the laudable ambition of acquiring homes, from which they would not be liable to expulsion, at the whim and caprice of some haughty lordling. Upon the attainment of this object, they were generally content; and made but feeble exertions to acquire more land, than that to which they obtained title, by virtue of their settlements. Some few, however, availed themselves of the right of pre-emption, and becoming possessed of the more desirable portions of the country, added considerably to their individual wealth.

Those who settled on the Ohio, were of a more enterprising and ambitious spirit, and looked more to the advancement of their condition in a pecuniary point of view. The fertile bottoms of that river, and the facility with which, by means of it, their surplus produce might be transported to a ready market,[12] were considerations which influenced many. Others, again, looking forward to the time when the Indians would be divested of the country north west of the Ohio river, and it be open to location in the same manner its south eastern shores were, selected this as a situation, from which they might more readily obtain possession of the fertile land, with which its ample plains were known to abound. In anticipation of this period, there were some who embraced every opportunity, afforded by intervals of peace with the Indians, to explore that country and select in it what they deemed, its most valuable parts. Around these they would generally mark trees, or otherwise define boundaries, by which they could be afterwards identified. The cession by Virginia to the United States, of the North Western Territory, and the manner in which its lands were subsequently brought into market, prevented the realization of those flattering, and apparently, well founded expectations.

There were also, in every settlement, individuals, who had been drawn to them solely by their love of hunting, and an attachment to the wild, unshackled scenes of a wilderness life. These were perhaps, totally regardless of all the inconveniencies, [101] resulting from their new situation; except that of being occasionally pent up in forts; and thus debarred the enjoyment of their favorite pastimes.

Although hunting was not the object of most of the old settlers, yet it was for a good part of the year, the chief employment of their time. And of all those, who thus made their abode in the dense forest, and tempted aggression from the neighboring Indians, none were so well qualified to resist this aggression, and to retaliate upon its authors, as those who were mostly engaged in this pursuit. Of all their avocations, this "mimickry of war" best fitted them to thwart the savages in their purpose, and to mitigate the horrors of their peculiar mode of warfare. Those arts which enabled them, unperceived to approach the watchful deer in his lair, enabled them likewise to circumvent the Indian in his ambush; and if not always punish, yet frequently defeat him in his object. Add to this the perfect knowledge which they acquired of the woods, and the ease and certainty with which they consequently, when occasion required, could make their way to any point of the settlements and apprize the inhabitants of approaching danger; and it will be readily admitted that the more expert and successful the huntsman, the more skillful and effective the warrior.

But various soever, as may have been their objects in emigrating, no sooner had they come together, than there existed in each settlement, a perfect unison of feeling. Similitude of situation and community of danger, operating as a magic charm, stifled in their birth those little bickerings, which are so apt to disturb the quiet of society. Ambition of preferment and the pride of place, too often lets and hindrances to social intercourse, were unknown among them. Equality of condition rendered them strangers alike, to the baneful distinctions created by wealth and other adventitious circumstances; and to envy, which gives additional virus to their venom. A sense of mutual dependence for their common security linked them in amity; and conducting their several purposes in harmonious concert, together they toiled and together suffered.

Not all the "pomp and pride and pageantry" of life, could vie with the Arcadian scenes which encircled the rude cottages of those men. Their humble dwellings were the abode of virtues, rarely found in the "cloud capt towers and [102] gorgeous palaces" of splendid ambition. And when peace reigned around them, neither the gaudy trappings of wealth, nor the insignia of office, nor the slaked thirst for distinction, could have added to the happiness which they enjoyed.

In their intercourse with others they were kind, beneficent and disinterested; extending to all, the most generous hospitality which their circumstances could afford. That selfishness, which prompts to liberality for the sake of remuneration, and proffers the civilities of life with an eye to individual interest, was unknown to them. They were kind for kindness sake; and sought no other recompense, than the never failing concomitant of good deeds—the reward of an approving conscience.

It is usual for men in the decline of life, to contrast the scenes which are then being exhibited, with those through which they passed in the days of youth; and not unfrequently, to moralize on the decay of those virtues, which enhance the enjoyment of life and give to pleasure its highest relish. The mind is then apt to revert to earlier times, and to dwell with satisfaction on the manners and customs which prevailed in the hey-day of youth. Every change which may have been wrought in them is deemed a deteriorating innovation, and the sentence of their condemnation unhesitatingly pronounced. This is not always, the result of impartial and discriminating judgment. It is perhaps, more frequently founded in prepossession; and based on the prejudices of education and habit.

On the other hand those who are just entering on the vestibule of life, are prone to give preference to the habits of the present generation; viewing, too often, with contemptuous derision, those of the past. Mankind certainly advance in intelligence and refinement; but virtue and happiness do not at all times keep pace with this progress. "To inform the understanding," is not always "to correct and enlarge the heart;" nor do the blandishments of life invariably add to the sum of moral excellence; they are often "as dead sea fruit that tempts the eye, but turns to ashes on the lips."—While a rough exterior as frequently covers a temper of the utmost benignity, happy in itself and giving happiness to all around.

Such were the pioneers of this country; and the greater part of mankind might now derive advantage from the [103] contemplation of "their humble virtues, hospitable homes and spirits patient, noble, proud and free—their self respect, grafted on innocent thoughts; their days of health and nights of sleep—their toils, by danger dignified, yet guiltless—their hopes of cheerful old age and a quiet grave, with cross and garland over its green turf, and their grand children's love for epitaph."

——- [1] Now spelled Buckhannon.—R. G. T.

[2] Sycamores, which attain gigantic proportions, are given to rotting in the lower portions of the trunk, and chambers eight feet in diameter are not uncommon. In the course of a canoe voyage down the Ohio, in the summer of 1894, I frequently saw such cavities, with the openings stopped by pickets or rails, utilized by small bottom farmers as hog-pens, chicken-coops, and calf stalls.

L. V. McWhorter, of Berlin, W. Va., who has kindly sent me several MS. notes on Withers's Chronicles (all of which will be duly credited where used in this edition), writes: "The aged sycamore now (1894) occupying the site, is the third generation—the grand-child—of that which housed the Pringles. It stands on the farm of Webster Dix, who assures me that it shall not be destroyed. A tradition held by his descendants has it, that when John Pringle went back to the South Branch for ammunition, Charity, the wife of Samuel, who was left behind, started immediately for the wilderness home of her husband, and found him by the path which John had blazed for his own return."—R. G. T.

[3] This early and meritorious pioneer was born near Winchester, Va., Jan. 1, 1743, figured prominently in the Indian wars of his region, and served on Col. G. R. Clark's Illinois campaign of 1778; he died at his home on Hacker's Creek, April 20, 1821, in his 82d year.—L. C. D.

[4] Its Indian name signified "Muddy Water."—R. G. T.

[5] We have already seen (p. 74, note), that Gist settled at Mount Braddock, Fayette county, in 1753, and that eleven families joined him in January, 1754. There is a tradition that settlers were in the district even before Gist. It has been shown that the Gist settlements, and others in the lower Monongahela, were burned by the French in July, 1754. The English borderers fled upon the outbreak of disturbances, and did not return until about 1760-61, when confidence had been restored.—R. G. T.

[6] Both Van Meter and Swan afterwards served under Col. G. R. Clark—at least, on the Kaskaskia campaign; Swan commanded a company on Clark's Shawnee campaign of 1780, and Van Meter on that of 1782. The latter moved to Kentucky in 1780; settled in Hardin county, Ky., Nov. 16th, 1798, in his seventy-sixth year.—L. C. D.


Comment by R. G. T.—This note, written by Dr. Draper a few days before his death (Aug. 26, 1891), was probably his last stroke of literary work.

[7] These gentlemen were descendants of a Mr. Zane who accompanied William Penn, to his province of Pennsylvania, and from whom, one of the principal streets in Philadelphia, derived its name. Their father was possessed of a bold and daring spirit of adventure, which was displayed on many occasions, in the earlier part of his life. Having rendered himself obnoxious to the Society of Friends (of which he was a member,) by marrying without the pale of that society, he moved to Virginia and settled on the South Branch, where the town of Moorfield has been since erected. One of his sons (Isaac) was taken by the Indians, when he was only nine years old, and carried in captivity, to Mad river, in Ohio. Here he continued 'till habit reconciled him to his situation, when he married a squaw, became a chief and spent the remainder of his life with them. He was never known to wage war against the whites; but was, on several occasions, of infinite service, by apprising them of meditated attacks of the Indians. His descendants still reside in Ohio.

The brothers, Ebenezer, Silas and Jonathan, who settled Wheeling, [95] were also men of enterprise, tempered with prudence, and directed by sound judgment. Ready at all times, to resist and punish the aggression of the Indians, they were scrupulously careful not to provoke them by acts of wanton outrage, such as were then, too frequently committed along the frontier. Col. Ebenezer Zane had been among the first, to explore the country from the South Branch, through the Alleghany glades, and west of them. He was accompanied in that excursion by Isaac Williams, two gentlemen of the name of Robinson and some others; but setting off rather late in the season, and the weather being very severe, they were compelled to return, without having penetrated to the Ohio river. On their way home, such was the extremity of cold, that one of the Robinsons died of its effects. Williams was much frost bitten, and the whole party suffered exceedingly. To the bravery and good conduct of those three brothers, the Wheeling settlement was mainly indebted for its security and preservation, during the war of the revolution.

[8] Joseph Tomlinson surveyed a claim at the mouth of Grave Creek, about 1770, but did not settle there until 1772. His cabin was the nucleus of the present Moundsville, W. Va.—R. G. T.

[9] John Doddridge settled in Washington county, Pa., on the Ohio River a few miles east of the Pennsylvania-Virginia state line, in 1773; his son, Joseph Doddridge, was the author of Notes on the Settlements and Indian Wars of the Western Parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1763-83, a valuable antiquarian work. The names of Greathouse and Baker became execrable through their connection with the massacre of Chief Logan's family, in 1774. Leffler and Biggs attained prominence in border warfare.—R. G. T.

[10] "At an early period of our settlements, there was an inferior kind of land title, denominated a tomahawk right. This was made by [97] deadening a few trees near a spring, and marking on one or more of them, the initials of the name of the person, by whom the improvement was made. Rights, acquired in this way, were frequently bought and sold."—Doddridge's Notes on Western Virginia.

[11] William Lowther was the son of Robert, and came with his father to the Hacker creek settlement in 1772. He soon became one of the most conspicuous men in that section of country; while his private virtues and public actions endeared him to every individual of the community. During the war of 1774 and subsequently, he was the most active and efficient defender of that vicinity, against the insidious attacks of the savage foe; and there were very few if any scouting parties proceeding from thence, by which the Indians were killed or otherwise much annoyed, but those which were commanded by him.

He was the first justice of the peace in the district of West Augusta—the first sheriff in the county of Harrison and Wood, and [98] once a delegate to the General Assembly of the States. His military merits carried him through the subordinate grades to the rank of Colonel. Despising the pomp and pageantry of office, he accepted it for the good of the community, and was truly an effective man. Esteemed, beloved by all, he might have exerted his influence, over others, to the advancement of his individual interest; but he sought the advancement of the general weal, not a personal or family aggrandizement. His example might teach others, that offices were created for the public good, not for private emolument. If aspirants for office at the present day, were to regard its perquisites less, and their fitness for the discharge of its duties more, the country would enjoy a greater portion of happiness and prosperity, and a sure foundation for the permanence of these be laid, in the more disinterested character of her counsellors, and their consequently, increased devotion to her interests.

[12] The Spaniards at New Orleans, from the first settlement of the country west of the Alleghany Mountains, sought to attach it to the province of Louisiana. Knowing the powerful efficacy of gold, in producing such results, they dispensed it with a liberal hand, to such as made New Orleans their market. The attachment of the first settlers, to the free institutions of our country, baffled every attempt to detach them from it.


Comment by R. G. T.—The Spanish conspiracy was, in the main, "baffled" by the prompt action of our general government. George Rogers Clark and several other leading Kentuckians were quite willing to be "detached," for a consideration. The fact is, that at first the sense of national patriotism was weak, west of the Alleghanies; the eighteenth century had closed before efforts at separation from the East were commonly regarded as treason. The interests of the Western people apparently were centered in the south-flowing Mississippi; they seemed to have at the time little in common with the East. So long as Spain held the mouth of the river, many Western leaders thought it not improper that the West should ally itself with that power; when our government finally purchased the Spanish claim, the Western men had no further complaint. See Roosevelt's treatment of the Spanish conspiracy, in his Winning of the West, III., ch. iii.—R. G. T.


In the year 1774, the peace, which had subsisted with but little violation since the treaty of 1765, received an interruption, which checked for a while the emigration to the North Western frontier; and involved its infant settlements in a war with the Indians. This result has been attributed to various causes. Some have asserted that it had its origin in the murder of some Indians on the Ohio river both above and below Wheeling, in the spring of that year. Others suppose it to have been produced by the instigation of British emissaries, and the influence of Canadian traders.

That it was not caused by the murders at Captina, and opposite the mouth of Yellow creek,[1] is fairly inferrible from the fact, that several Indians had been previously murdered by the whites in a period of the most profound tranquillity, without having led to a similar issue; or even given rise to any act of retaliation, on the part of the friends or countrymen of those, who had been thus murdered.

At different periods of time, between the peace of 1765, and the renewal of hostilities in 1774, three Indians were unprovokedly killed by John Ryan, on the Ohio, Monongahela and Cheat rivers. The first who suffered from the unrestrained licentiousness of this man, was an Indian of distinction in his tribe, and known by the name of Capt. Peter; the other two were private warriors. And but that Governor Dunmore, from the representations made to him, was induced [105] to offer a reward for his apprehension, which caused him to leave the country, Ryan would probably have continued to murder every Indian, with whom he should chance to meet, wandering through the settlements.

Several Indians were likewise killed on the South Branch, while on a friendly visit to that country, in the interval of peace. This deed is said to have been done by Henry Judah, Nicholas Harpold and their associates; and when Judah was arrested for the offence, so great was the excitement among those who had suffered from savage enmity, that he was rescued from confinement by upwards of two hundred men, collected for that especial purpose.

The Bald Eagle was an Indian of notoriety, not only among his own nation, but also with the inhabitants of the North Western frontier; with whom he was in the habit of associating and hunting. In one of his visits among them, he was discovered alone, by Jacob Scott, William Hacker and Elijah Runner, who, reckless of the consequences, murdered him, solely to gratify a most wanton thirst for Indian blood. After the commission of this most outrageous enormity, they seated him in the stern of a canoe, and with a piece of journey-cake thrust into his mouth, set him afloat in the Monongahela. In this situation he was seen descending the river, by several, who supposed him to be as usual, returning from a friendly hunt with the whites in the upper settlements, and who expressed some astonishment that he did not stop to see them. The canoe floating near to the shore, below the mouth of George's creek, was observed by a Mrs. Province, who had it brought to the bank, and the friendly, but unfortunate old Indian decently buried.

Not long after the murder of the Bald Eagle, another outrage of a similar nature was committed on a peaceable Indian, by William White; and for which he was apprehended and taken to Winchester for trial. But the fury of the populace did not suffer him to remain there awaiting that event.—The prison doors were forced, the irons knocked off him and he again set at liberty.

But a still more atrocious act is said to have been soon after perpetrated. Until then the murders committed, were only on such as were found within the limits of white settlements, and on men & warriors. In 1772, there is every reason to believe, that women and children likewise became victims to the exasperated feelings of our [106] own citizens; and this too, while quietly enjoying the comforts of their own huts, in their own village.

There was at that time an Indian town on the Little Kenhawa, (called Bulltown) inhabited by five families, who were in habits of social and friendly intercourse with the whites on Buchannon and on Hacker's creek; frequently visiting and hunting with them.[2] There was likewise residing on Gauley river, the family of a German by the name of Stroud.[3] In the summer of that year, Mr. Stroud being from home, his family were all murdered, his house plundered, and his cattle driven off. The trail made by these leading in the direction of Bulltown, induced the supposition that the Indians of that village had been the authors of the outrage, and caused several to resolve on avenging it upon them.

A party of five men, (two of whom were William White and William Hacker,[4] who had been concerned in previous murders) expressed a determination to proceed immediately to Bulltown. The remonstrance of the settlement generally, could not operate to effect a change in that determination. They went; and on their return, circumstances justified the belief that the pre-apprehension of those who knew the temper and feelings of White and Hacker, had been well founded; and that there had been some fighting between them and the Indians. And notwithstanding that they denied ever having seen an Indian in their absence, yet it was the prevailing opinion, that they had destroyed all the men, women and children at Bulltown, and threw their bodies into the river. Indeed, one of the party is said to have, inadvertently, used expressions, confirmatory of this opinion; and to have then justified the deed, by saying that the clothes and other things known to have belonged to Stroud's family, were found in the possession of the Indians. The village was soon after visited, and found to be entirely desolated, and nothing being ever after heard of its former inhabitants, there can remain no doubt but that the murder of Stroud's family, was requited on them.

Here then was a fit time for the Indians to commence a system of retaliation and war, if they were disposed to engage in hostilities, for offences of this kind alone. Yet no such event was the consequence of the killing of the Bulltown Indians, or of those other murders which preceded that outrage; and it may be hence rationally concluded, that the murders on the Ohio river did not lead to such an event. If however, a doubt should still remain, that doubt is surely removed by the declaration of Logan himself. It was his family that was killed opposite Yellow creek, about the last of April; and in the following July (after the expedition against the Wappatomica towns, under Col. McDonald) he says, "the Indiens are not angry on account of those murders, but only myself." The fact is, that hostilities had commenced before the happening of the affair at Captina, or that near Yellow creek; and these, instead of having produced that event, were the consequence of the previous hostile movements of the Indians.

[107] Those who lived more immediately in the neighborhood of the scene of action at that time, were generally of opinion, that the Indians were urged to war by the instigation of emissaries from Great Britain, and of the Canadian traders; and, independently of any knowledge which they may have had of the conduct of these, circumstances of a general nature would seem to justify that opinion.

The relative situation of the American colonies and the mother country, is matter of general history, and too well known to require being repeated here. It is equally well known too, that from the first establishment of a colony in Canada, the Canadians obtained an influence over the Natives, greater than the Anglo-Americans were ever able to acquire; and that this influence was frequently exercised by them, to the great annoyance, and manifest injury of the latter. France and England have been long considered as natural enemies; and the inhabitants of their respective plantations in America, entertained strong feelings of jealousy towards each other. When by the treaty of Paris, the French possessions in North America (which had not been ceded to Spain,) were transferred to Great Britain, those feelings were not subdued. The Canadians still regarded themselves as a different people. Their national prejudices were too great to be extinguished by an union under the same prince. Under the influence of these prejudices, and the apprehension, that the lucrative commerce of the natives might, by the competition of the English traders, be diverted from its accustomed channels, they may have exerted themselves to excite the Indians to war; but that alone would hardly have produced this result. There is in man an inherent partiality for self, which leads him to search for the causes of any evil, elsewhere than in his own conduct; and under the operation of this propensity to assign the burden of wrong to be borne by others, the Jesuits from Canada and Louisiana were censured for the continuation of the war on the part of the Indians, after it had been terminated with their allies by the treaty of 1763. Yet that event was, no doubt, justly attributable to the erection of forts, and the location of land, in the district of country claimed by the natives, in the province of Pennsylvania. And in like manner, the origin of the war of 1774 may fairly be charged to the encroachments which were then being made on the Indian territory. To be convinced of this, it is necessary to advert to the promptitude of resistance on the part of the Natives, by which those encroachments were invariably met; and to recur to events happening in other sections of the country.—Events, perhaps no otherwise connected with the history of North Western Virginia, than as they are believed to have been the proximate causes of an hostility, eventuating in the effusion of much of its blood; and pregnant with other circumstances, having an important bearing on its prosperity and advancement.

In the whole history of America, from the time when it first [108] became apparent that the occupancy of the country was the object of the whites, up to the present period, is there perhaps to be found a solitary instance, in which an attempt, made by the English to effect a settlement in a wilderness claimed by the Natives, was not succeeded by immediate acts of hostility on the part of the latter. Every advance of the kind was regarded by them, as tending to effect their expulsion from a country, which they had long considered as their own, and as leading, most probably, to their entire extinction as a people. This excited in them feelings of the most dire resentment; stimulating to deeds of cruelty and murder, at once to repel the encroachment and to punish its authors. Experience of the utter futility of those means to accomplish these purposes, has never availed to repress their use, or to produce an acquiesence in the wrong. Even attempts to extend jurisdiction over a country, the right of soil in which was never denied them, have ever given rise to the most lively apprehensions of their fatal consequences, and prompted to the employment of means to thwart that aim. An Indian sees no difference between the right of empire and the right of domain; and just as little can he discriminate between the right of property, acquired by the actual cultivation of the earth, and that which arises from its appropriation to other uses.

Among themselves they have lines of demarkation, which distinguish the territory of one nation from that of another; and these are of such binding authority, that a transgression of them by neighboring Indians, leads invariably to war. In treaties of purchase, and other conventional arrangements, made with them by the whites, the validity of their rights to land, have been repeatedly recognized; and an infraction of those rights by the Anglo-Americans, encounters opposition at its threshold. The history of every attempt to settle a wilderness, to which the Indian title was not previously extinguished, has consequently been a history of plunder, conflagration and massacre.

That the extension of white settlements into the Indian country, was the cause of the war of 1774, will be abundantly manifested by a recurrence to the early history of Kentucky; and a brief review of the circumstances connected with the first attempts to explore and make establishments in it. For several reasons, these circumstances merit a passing notice in this place. Redstone and Fort Pitt (now Brownsville and Pittsburgh) were for some time, the principal points of embarkation for emigrants to that country; many of whom were from the establishments which had been then not long made, on the Monongahela. The Indians, regarding the settlements in North Western Virginia as the line from which swarmed the adventurers to Kentucky, directed their operations to prevent the success of these adventurers, as well against the inhabitants of the upper country, as against them. While at the same time, in the efforts which were made to compel the Indians to desist from farther opposition, the North Western Virginians frequently combined [109] their forces, and acted in conjunction, the more certainly to accomplish that object. In truth the war, which was then commenced, and carried on with but little intermission up to the treaty of Fort Greenville in 1795 was a war in which they were equally interested, having for its aim the indiscriminate destruction of the inhabitants of both those sections of country, as the means of preventing the farther extension of settlements by the whites.[5]

When Kentucky was first begun to be explored, it is said not to have been claimed in individual property by any nation of Indians. Its extensive forests, grassy plains and thick cane brakes, abounding with every variety of game common to such latitudes, were used as common hunting grounds, and considered by them, as open for all who chose to resort to them. The Cherokees, the Chickasaws, the Cataubas, and the Chicamaugas, from the south east; and the Illinois, the Peorias, the Delawares, the Mingoes and Shawanees from the west, claimed and exercised equal rights and privileges within its limits. When the tribes of those different nations would however meet there, frequent collisions would arise between them; and so deadly were the conflicts ensuing upon these, that, in conjunction with the gloom of its dense forests, they acquired for it the impressive appellation of "the dark and bloody ground." But frequent and deadly as may have been those conflicts, they sprang from some other cause, than a claim to exclusive property in it.

In the summer of 1769, Daniel Boone, in company with John Finley (who had previously hunted through the country) and a few other men, entered Kentucky, and travelled over much of its surface, without meeting with an Indian, until the December following.[6] At this time Boone and John Steward (one of his companions,) while on a hunting excursion, were discovered by a party of Indians, who succeeded in making them prisoners. After a detention of but few days, these men effected their escape; & returning to their old camp, found that it had been plundered, and their associates, either killed or taken into captivity. They were shortly after joined by a brother of Daniel Boone and another man, from North Carolina, who were so fortunate in wandering through the wilderness, as to discover the only, though temporary residence of civilized man within several hundred miles. But the Indians had become alarmed for the possession of that country; and fearing that if Boone and Steward should be suffered to escape to the settlements, they might induce others to attempt its permanent occupancy, they sought with vigilance to discover and murder them. They succeeded in killing Steward; but Daniel Boone and his brother, then the only persons left (the man who came out with the younger Boone having been killed by a wolf,) escaped from them, and soon after returned to North Carolina.

The Indians were not disappointed in their expectations. The description given of the country by the Boones, soon led others to attempt its settlement; and in 1773, six families and about forty men, all under the guidance of Daniel Boone, commenced their journey [110] to Kentucky with a view of remaining there. Before they proceeded far, they were attacked in the rear by a party of Indians, who had been observing their movements; and who in the first fire killed six of the emigrants and dispersed their cattle. Nothwithstanding that, in the engagement which ensued upon this attack, the assailants were repulsed, yet the adventurers were so afflicted at the loss of their friends, and dispirited by such serious and early opposition, that they abandoned their purpose for a time, and returned to the inhabited parts of Tennessee.[7]

The Indians elated with their success in defeating this first attempt at the settlement of Kentucky, and supposing that the route pursued by the party which they had driven back, would be the pass for future adventurers, determined on guarding it closely, and checking, if possible, every similar enterprise. But while their attention was directed to this point, others found their way into the country by a different route and from a different direction.

The Virginia troops, who had served in the Canadian war, had been promised a bounty in Western lands. Many of them being anxious to ascertain their value, and deeming this a favorable period for the making of surveys, collected at Fort Pitt in the fall of 1773; and descending the Ohio river to its falls, at Louisville, proceeded from thence to explore the country preparatory to a perfection of their grants.[8]

About the same time too, General Thompson of Pennsylvania, commenced an extensive course of surveys, of the rich land on the North Fork of Licking; and other individuals following his example, in the ensuing winter the country swarmed with land adventurers and surveyors. So sensible were they all, that these attempts to appropriate those lands to their own use, would produce acts of hostility, that they went prepared to resist those acts; and the first party who took up their abode in Kentucky, no sooner selected a situation for their residence, than they proceeded to erect a fort for their security.[9] The conduct of the Indians soon convinced them that their apprehensions were not ill founded; and many of them, in consequence of the hostile movements which were being made, and the robberies which were committed, ascended the Ohio river to Wheeling.

It is not known that any murders were done previously to this, and subsequently to the attack and repulse of the emigrants who were led on by Boone in 1773. This event happened on the tenth day of October; and it was in April the ensuing year, that the land adventurers retired to Wheeling. In this interval of time, nothing could, perhaps, be done by the Indians, but make preparation [111] for hostilities in the spring. Indeed it very rarely happens, that the Indians engage in active war during the winter; and there is, moreover, a strong presumption, that they were for some time ignorant of the fact that there were adventurers in the country; and consequently, they knew of no object there, on which their hostile intentions could operate.—Be this as it may, it is certain that, from the movements of the Indians at the close of the winter, the belief was general, that they were assuming a warlike attitude, and meditating a continuance of hostilities. War was certainly begun on their part, when Boone and his associates, were attacked and driven back to the settlement; and if it abated for a season, that abatement was attributable to other causes, than a disposition to remain quiet and peaceable, while the country was being occupied by the whites.

If other evidence were wanting, to prove the fact that the war of 1774 had its origin in a determination of the Indians to repress the extension of white settlements, it could be found in the circumstance, that although it was terminated by the treaty with Lord Dunmore, yet it revived as soon as attempts were again made to occupy Kentucky, and was continued with increased ardour, 'till the victory obtained over them by General Wayne. For, notwithstanding that in the struggle for American liberty, those Indians became the allies of Great Britain, yet when independence was acknowledged, and the English forces withdrawn from the colonies, hostilities were still carried on by them; and, as was then well understood, because of the continued operation of those causes, which produced the war of 1774. That the Canadian traders and British emissaries, prompted the Indians to aggression, and extended to them every aid which they could, to render that aggression more effectually oppressive and overwhelming, is readily admitted. Yet this would not have led to a war, but for the encroachments which have been mentioned. French influence, united to the known jealousy of the Natives, would have been unavailingly exerted to array the Indians against Virginia, at the commencement of Braddock's war, but for the proceedings of the Ohio company, and the fact that the Pennsylvania traders represented the object of that association to be purely territorial. And equally fruitless would have been their endeavor to involve them in a contest [112] with Virginians at a later period, but for a like manifestation of an intention to encroach on their domain.

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