Barbour County Families
The Final Resting Place of John Minear
1730-1781

By Olin Compton
ORCompton@aol.com
In 1773, John Minear was living near Moorefield on the South Branch of the Potomac River in what is now Hardy County, WV. In 1774 he led a party of 40 settlers to the Cheat River area. He retreated back to the South Branch due to Indian trouble. A year later he returned with others to the Cheat area and built a palisaded Fort Minear at today's St George, WV. In 1776 he cleared some land and built a sawmill on Mill Run near what is now St. George. This was the first sawmill west of Alleghenies. Minear had used packhorses to carry the metal machinery piece by piece from near Red House, MD. He was killed near Philippi by Shawnees from Ohio in 1781.

The Monongalia Story - a Bicentennial History II The Pioneers, Earl L. Core, pp. 74-76 and History of Barbour County, Hu Maxwell, p. 189-192, both carry the story of the ambush of the Minear party at Pringle's Ford. The party, consisting of John Minear, Daniel Cameron, Jacob Cooper, Andrew Miller, and Salathiel Goffe was attacked as they approached Pringle's Ford across the Tygart Valley River after obtaining land patents, in Clarksburg, signed by Patrick Henry, for their homesteaded lands. (Harrison Co., WV, Land Entry Book 1:52-53). The raiding party of Shawnee warriors from Ohio killed Minear, Cameron, and Cooper. Miller escaped and went to Clarksburg for help. Goff also escaped and returned to Minear's Fort near today's St. George to seek help. David Minear, John's son, led a party from the fort to Pringle's Ford.

John Minear, Daniel Cameron and Jacob Cooper were "buried" in the root hole of a tree near where they were massacred.

In 1782 the governor of Virginia stationed a militia company in the St. George vicinity. After that, the Indians were no longer a problem.

In Hu Maxwell's Conquest of the Ohio Valley, he writes
"Not many years ago a party of road-workers accidentally exhumed the bones of the men. A very old man was present. He had been personally acquainted with them and identified them by their teeth. Two of Minear's front teeth were missing at the time of his death. So were they in one of the skulls. Cameron used tobacco, and his teeth being worn, it was easy to tell which skull belonged to him. A peculiarity of teeth also distinguished Cooper. The bones were re-interred nearby in a better grave."
As a descendant of Minear, I found this story of much interest. The idea of finding the final resting place of an ancestor who had died over 220 years ago and who was not buried in a graveyard was a real challenge. On several occasional visits to the area, we inquired about possible burial sites.

On 12 August 2002, after attending the Murphy Reunion at Philippi, VW, we (my wife, Patricia, our youngest grandson, Brenden Maslyn, and I) decided to try again to find the final resting place of John Minear -- again. As we drove the roads around Hacker's Creek, we had asked several people about the location. No luck. In recounting our adventure' to our delightful "come here" owner of the Tygart Star B&B in Philippi, she immediately provided us with the needed very specific directions to the final resting place on County Road 12. Although the ancient accounts locate the ambush on the west (Clarksburg) side of the river; the road workers had relocated to the east side.

The graves are located about 2.5 miles north-northeast of Philippi, Barbour, WV on the east side of County Road 12, 0.8 miles north of its intersection with County Road 2. There are two headstones placed alongside the road to mark the spot.
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