Barbour County Families
By Olin Compton
The Final Resting Place of John Minear
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
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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