Israel Friend, Frontiersman

Typical Frontiersman



By Corinne Hanna Diller

When an ancestor was the first pioneer in an area, it can be a source of
bragging rights-if you can prove it.  Most often the researcher curses,
though, because the ancestor seems to be "lost".  Such is the case of
Israel Friend, who does not appear on tax lists, deeds, etc., till he was
past forty years old.  The trouble with being the first is that usually
no records were created.  There were no neighbors to sue, no estate sales
to attend, not even a tax man to come around and list your assets.
	I have long-suspected that Israel Friend was the first permanent
white settler to come to the area along the upper Potomac, above the
Shenandoah River.  I believed he lived there as much as ten years before
other white settlers came.  Proving it has been a challenge. He had been
born circa 1693, at Upland, Ridley Twp., Chester (now Delaware) Co.,
Pennsylvania, to Andrew Friend, alias Nilson, and his first wife Miss
Rambo.(1)  On 25 July 1725, Governor Calvert commissioned Israel Friend
as an Indian trader and ambassador to the Shawnee tribes on the Potomac
River.(2)  Little had been known about him, though he was a prominent man
later in life.
	On 10 January 1727, a deed was made from six chiefs, styled
"Kings of the Five Nations", named Cunnawehala, Taw-Senaw, Captain
Sivilite, Toile Hangee, Shoe Hays, and Callakahatt, "for love to our
brother Israel Friend," for land on the Potomac River and Antietam Creek,
described as 100 shoots of an arrow in such-and-such a direction, etc.(3)
This land was above Harper's Ferry, in present Washington Co., Md.  The
original deed was said to have been written on birch bark.  Different
branches of descent claim that Israel's wife Sarah was actually
"Bokavar", an Indian princess.  Much has been made of the language of
this deed, however nothing has been found to prove who his wife was, one
way or the other.
	It is his dealings with the Indians which provide the key to his
early years.  In 1712 in Cecil Co., Maryland, Andrew Friend and Charles
Mounts Anderson (both traders), were involved in a lawsuit against Anne
LeTort.(4)  She was the widow of Jacque LeTort, an Indian trader who
lived at Conestoga, Pa.(5)
	On 24 October 1720, we find a complaint in the records of the
Upper House of the Maryland General Assembly which tells us "the Shaw-wan
Indians have carried away three Negro slaves belonging to the petitioner;
the Indians have been told by Andrew Neal and other traders that they
would be given a reward for returning the slaves to the petitioner, but
they have not done so."(6)  The issue of the Shawnee harboring escaped
slaves was to be a bone of contention for over two decades.  Their
principal chief for many years was Opessa, who lived in Pennsylvania and
the area of Cecil County, Maryland, circa 1697-1700.  Around 1711 he
moved to what became known as Opessa's Town on the upper Potomac, now Old
Town.(7)  He is known to have argued against returning slaves to the
whites, and his influence was felt for many years after his death,
estimated at about 1720.  I imagine that when his father, Andrew Neal
(Friend) took the message to the Shawnee in 1720, young Israel would have
wanted to be a part of the action.
	We have already seen that Israel Friend was appointed as an
Ambassador to the Shawnee Indians in 1725, and this fact has been
widely-quoted.  It would seem that both his father, and Israel, were
well-enough-acquainted with the Shawnee that the Maryland Governor
thought the tribes would listen to their pleas.  As early as 1722, Andrew
Friend's trading partner Charles Anderson had been asked to travel up the
"Potomack" River to forge an agreement with the Shawnee about harboring
slaves.(8)  On 20 May 1725 the Maryland Assembly had empowered John
Powell and Charles Anderson "to go to Shuano town on Potomack, commonly
called Opessa's Town..."(9)  Having failed in their mission to bring the
chiefs to Anderson's trading post on the Monocacy river, Israel Friend
received his appointment on 25 July 1725.  It was confirmed on 6 August
1725, when the Council Meeting records that "Shuano Indians not meeting
his Excellency there Resolved that Israel Friend be sent up immediately
to the said Indians with following invite Indians to next
meeting of the Assembly at Annapolis on 5 Oct. 1725..."(10)
	 The chiefs did not come to the Assembly Meeting held in
October(11), and the issue remained up in the air for many years.
	The confirmation that Israel Friend was the only permanent white
settler on the upper Potomac during all this period comes from a letter
to the Maryland Assembly, dated 12 January, 1731/2, which reads:  "I
Captain Civility make bold with these few lines, for I certainly did hear
as their Intention to take the land from Us if possible... above Andahetem
(Antietam) and I heartily desire you not to do it...for we are very much
disturbed and I would have you not to press too much upon Us for We have
given no body of Land yet but Israel Friend at the mouth of Andahetem..."
mark of Captain Civility (Sivilite) and Toyl Hangue.(12)  
Hence, in the words of two of the chiefs who had granted him his deed in
1727, he was the only white living in that area before 1732.
	In my work on western Maryland families, I have found that it is
quite common for them to have transactions, landholdings, or kinfolks in
either Pennsylvania or Virginia.  Boundaries are, after all, imaginary
lines.  Many times I've heard from people who are researching Israel
Friend of Frederick Co., Maryland, but can't find much about him.  He did
leave a will there, and operated a forge and mill.  So, who was his wife,
and where are his children?  And, what happened to all that land along
Antietam Creek?  By expanding the search slightly, we get a much fuller
picture of the family.

	On a map dated 1736, Israel's land along the Potomac River is
indicated in Virginia downstream of Antietam Creek.(13)  He is not shown
on the Maryland side.  On the same map, land of his brother Charles is
indicated where Conococheague Creek meets the Potomac (present
Williamsport, Md.).  In Maryland, he is known to have had an iron ore
furnace on Antietam Creek, and a mill south of Frederick town.(14)
	One tract has been significant in tracing the family for over 60
years after it was obtained.  On 3 October 1734, 300 acres was granted to
Israel Friend on the south side of the Potomac, two miles north of
Harper's Ferry.(15)  This land was mentioned in his will dated in 1749,
and as late as 1805 was the subject of a lawsuit involving his heirs.(16)
In 1772 the land became part of Berkeley Co., Va., and is presently in
Jefferson Co., West Virginia.  Under date of 12 October 1736, in the
Potomac River Notebook of surveyor Benjamin Winslow is written:  Israel
Friend house 10 poles (165 feet) from river...paid Israel Friend's wife for
wash, etc...(17)  This area was then part of Orange Co., Va.  Winslow noted
him on the Virginia side of the river, but did not include him in his
surveys of the north side of the river.  Though mentioned in other
places, the only place I find Israel owning land is along the Potomac,
between Harper's Ferry and Williamsport.
	In the late 1730's he seems to have lived on the Virginia side of
the river.  In November 1736, in the deed book of Orange Co., Va., one
Patrick Sim of Prince George Co., Md., appointed Israel Friend of Prince
William Co., Va., as his agent to collect a debt on his behalf.(18)  At
this time, Orange Co., Virginia included all land west of the
Rappahannock River, above Spottsylvania Co., including the Shenandoah
Valley and Greenbrier Valley.
	In the meantime, he seems to have lost title to his land along
Antietam Creek. Though no documents have yet been found to verify it, the
"legend" says that in 1736 the Maryland Governor declared that Natives
had no right to make legally-binding documents, and hence the 1727 deed
was declared invalid.  The governor confiscated the land along Antietam
Creek and the Potomac River, estimated by some researchers to be 72
square miles.
	John Moore was recipient of a grant for 300 acres dated 4 August
1739.(19)  He called this land "Antietam Bottom" and it encompassed the
lower reaches of Antietam Creek, where it met the Potomac River. 
On 16 April 1741, a deed in Prince George Co., Md., from John Moore to
Israel Friend refers to the latter as "of Orange Co., Va., planter".(20) 
This tract is described as 50 acres called "Friend's Purches", being part
of "Anteatum Bottom" at the mouth of Anteatum creek where it falls into
the Potomac River, near Teagg's (Taylor's) Ferry.  This appears to be
part of the land he had purchased in 1727 from the Natives.  That he had
to re-purchase part of it back again indicates his previous loss of the
He had returned to Maryland by 1742 when he sold 40 acres of "Antietam
Bottom" to John House.(21)  He is described as a Maryland resident on
this deed.  On the 1756 debt books for Frederick Co., John House's heirs
are in arrears on 50 acres of "Antietam Bottom".(22)  Perhaps he had sold
the entire 50 acres, and the 1742 deed was copied wrong.
	On 6 May 1746, a deed from Israel Friend of Frederick Co., Va.,
to William Stroop sells 100 acres originally patented 12 Nov. 1735 on the
west side of the Cohongo (aka Potomac) River, taken from the south end of
his tract.(23)  Dower was released by his wife Sarah, and this is the
only known record found of her given name before his death.  
It is said that Israel Friend had been a guide for Lord Fairfax's
surveyors, and was present when the Fairfax stone was placed in 1746,
marking the source of the Potomac River, and the boundary of Fairfax's
lands.  His initials were supposedly carved onto a tree, along with those
of the surveyors.(23a)
	Israel had many family members who followed him to the Potomac
area, including two siblings.  Charles Friend (1699-1751) lived in the
area that is now Williamsport, Washington Co., Md.(24)  Mary Friend had
been married in1727 in Cecil Co., Maryland to Robert Turner, who is found
in Frederick Co., Md. deed records as late as 1769.(25)
	On 12 August 1749, Israel Friend, styling himself "of Frederick
Co., Maryland" made his will.(26)  To his wife Sarah he left one third of
his estate, excluding lands.  To his eldest son Jonas he left land.  To
his second son Jacob he left the land where Israel lived.  To his
youngest son Charles he left 120 acres.  He also left legacies to
daughters Catherine and Mary.  His Negroes were to be equally divided
between his three sons.  The executors were his "brother" Charles Friend,
and Capt. Thomas Swearingen.  Witnesses were Nathan Shepherd, Isaac
Horsey Sr., and Anne Lennard.

	On 9 May 1750, in Frederick Co., Va., administration of the
estate of Israel Friend was filed by executrix Sarah Friend.(27)  His
inventory was filed on 10 November 1750 in Frederick Co., Virginia, total
personal assets being L.168.7.1.(28)  At his Virginia plantation his
assets included much livestock, including 14 horses (but no buggy or
wagon), 3 female Negroes and 1 female Negro child, 3 spinning wheels, two
sets of bed and bedding, one book "The Whole Duty of Man", and a violin. 
This represents only part of his estate.  That he had assets in Maryland
is evidenced by the fact that his will was also proved in that place. 
Inventories and accounts in Maryland have not yet been found, though.
	From 1754, through 1790, land of Israel Friend along the Potomac
River is mentioned in no fewer than ten deeds as adjoining land that was
being sold.  Though his children scattered, his name seems to have lived
on as a reference point in the neighborhood.  It was common in Virginia
to maintain an estate intact until after the death of the widow.  Whether
she was still alive as late as 1790 cannot be said.  At any rate,
Israel's will had excluded his lands from her share of the estate.  On 8
September 1754, Jonas Friend and wife Sarah, of Augusta Co., Va., sold 66
½ acres of land from his father.(29)  This was part of the 300 acres that
Israel received in1734.

	Israel's sons had followed their father's example, and had moved
to the leading edges of the frontier to find their fortunes.
	Eldest son Jonas Friend was born circa 1725.  He had lived at
Friend's Fort, now Elkins, Randolph Co., West Virginia, where he died 15
Nov. 1807.(30)  He had married by 1754 to Sarah Skidmore in Rockingham
Co., Va., and they had five children.
	Second son Jacob Friend was born circa 1727.  He lived in
Rockingham, later Pendleton, Co., Va.  He died in 1818.(31)  He had
married in 1756 to Elizabeth Skidmore, sister of Sarah, and they had at
least nine children.
	It has been said that Jonas and Jacob met their brides in
Rockingham Co., Va.  However Joseph Skidmore (their father) is found in
Frederick County, Maryland in 1750.(32)  He is also found on the 1766
list of debts owing to merchant James Dixon of Frederick, Md. (33)
	The youngest son Charles Friend was born circa 1730, and died in
1816 in Monroe County, (West) Virginia.(34), leaving at least four
	An irony surrounds the life of Israel Friend.  He made his life
trading with, and living with, the Shawnee in their upper Potomac
territory.  We know that others had tried to settle in this area, because
in 1706 the Shawnee filed a protest with the government against two
whites who had built a cabin among them.(35)  Those settlers were ejected
by the authorities.  Israel Friend, however, was allowed to live and
build there for many years.  When the level of trust was high enough, he
tried to do the right thing by obtaining land via deed, instead of
conquest.  For his attempt to represent his race as an honest man, he was
penalized, loosing the land he thought was his.  That disappointment must
have played a role in his childrens' decisions to move further away to
make their homes.  


 (1)  For the ancestry and family-ties of Israel Friend see: 
	"The Family of Nils Larsson Friend/Frande", (1988) 
	by Peter Stebbins Craig, of Washington, D.C.; 
	"The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware", (1993) 
	by P. S. Craig; 
	Swedish American Genealogist, Vol. 16 (March 1996), 
	pages 1-12, article 'The Odyssey of Andrew Friend's Swedish 
	Bible', by P.S. Craig; 
	Swedish Colonial News, Fall 1997 issue, by the Swedish 
	Colonial Society of Philadelphia; Rambo article by P.S. Craig;
	(and other titles by Craig.) 
(2)  Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. 30, page 132. 
	"Archives of Maryland", Proceedings of The Assembly, 
	Volume 25, pages 450-451. 
(3)  Prince George Co., Md., land records, Volume Q, page 169, recorded
	See also Clay Co., W. Va. deeds, Book 1, page 1. 
(4)  Cecil Co., Md., Judgments, Book E, page 204.
(5)  "Monocacy and Catoctin", (1985), by Calvin E. Schildknecht, 
	Volume 1, pages 50-51.  
 (6)  Publications of the Hall of Records Commission, 
	Publication Number 1 (1943), Calendar of Maryland
	State Papers, Number 1, The Black Books, page 27. 
(7)  Chief Opessa is discussed in Maryland Historical Magazine, 
	Volume 30, pages 7-10, 124-133.
(8)  Archives of Maryland, Vol. 25, pages 394-395.
(9)  Archives of Maryland, Vol. 25, page 443.
(10)  Archives of Md., Vol. 25, pages 450-451.
(11)  Archives of Md., Vol. 25, page 452.
(12)  Archives of Maryland, Vol. 28, pages 10-11.
(13)  Map dated 1736 of Potomac River, published in Western Maryland
	Volume 2, pages 86-87.
(14)  The iron ore furnace of Israel Friend is mentioned in: 
	"Hopewell Friends History, Frederick Co., Va., 1734-1934", 
	(1936) Genealogical Pub. Co., pages 166, 543. 
	His mill is mentioned in "New Facts About Old Families", 
	by Millard Rice,
	and, "Out of the Past; Prince Georgeans and their Land", 
	(1976) by R. Lee Van Horn, page 91. 
(15)  Frederick Co., Va., deeds, Volume 3, page 372. 
	See also: 
	"The Fairfax Proprietary", (1959) by Josiah L. Dickinson; 
	"Pioneers of Old Frederick Co. (Va.)", (1995), by 
	Cecil O'Dell, on Map 3, page 95.
(16)  "Scotch-Irish Settlers on the Frontier", 
	by Lyman Chalkley, Vol. 2, page 125, 
	(his extracts from Augusta Co., Va., Circuit Court records.)
(17)  Potomac River Notebook of surveyor Benjamin Winslow, 
	original housed at the Virginia Historical Society Library; 
	quoted by O'Dell on page 117. 
	See also Western Maryland Genealogy, Volume 2, pages 86-87.
(18)  "Pioneers of Old Frederick Co. (Va.)", by O'Dell, page 99.
(19)  Washington Co., Md., web site. 
(20)  Prince George Co., Md., deeds, volume Y, page 303; 
	Also, Frederick Co., Md., deeds, volume F, pages 75-76. 
(21)  Western Maryland Genealogy, Volume 8, page 56. 
(22)  Western Maryland Genealogy, Volume 8, page 158; 
	Volume 9, pages 31-32. 
	This was John Valentine House Sr. 
(23)  Frederick Co., Va., deeds, Volume 1, pages 264-265.
(23a)  "History of West Virginia; Old and New in One Volume", 
by James Morton Callahan (1923) American Historical Society, Inc.,
page 53, placing of Fairfax Stone in 1746, and subsequent surveying 
by G. Washington for new settlers. 

(24)  Will of Charles Friend, dated 27 Feb. 1750/1, proved 20 March 1751;

	names Robert Turner as executor;
	and in an account of his estate, Robert Turner and Gabriel Turner

	sign as next of kin.  (Liber 50, page 94.) 
(25)  "Early Anglican Church Records of Cecil Co.", (1990), by 
	Henry C. Peden; 
	Found on tax rolls, such as the 1756 debt books published 
	in Western Maryland Genealogy, Vol. 7, page 133. 
	Frederick Co., Md. deeds, book M, page 549, deed dated 1769.
(26)  Will recorded 5 June 1753 in Frederick Co., Maryland, 
	will book A, page 3; 
	Also recorded in Frederick Co., Va., book 2, page 92, 
	on 5 June 1763; and, 
	Augusta Co., Va., will book 2, page 125.
(27)  Administration Bond of estate of Israel Friend, 
	Frederick Co., Va., Account Book 1, pages 390-391.  
(28)  Inventory of estate of Israel Friend, 
	Frederick Co., Va., Account Book 1, pages 418-419. 
	(copies in my files) 
(29)  Frederick Co., Va., deeds, book 3, page 372. 
	Augusta Co., Va., deeds, book 21, page 456. 
(30)  "History of W. Va., Old and New", (1923) by Am. Hist. Society, 
Vol. 3, page 358; 
and, essay:
"Jonas Friend and Friend's Fort" by Warren Skidmore, 
published in the Magazine of History & Biography of the 
Randolph Co., W.Va. Historical Society, Dec. 1954, Number 11, 
pages 19-22. 

(31)  "Pendleton Co., W. Va., Past and Present," (1991) 
	pages 108-109. 
(32)  "Inhabitants of Frederick County, Maryland", (1998), 
	by Stefanie R. Shaffer, Volume 1 (1750-1790), pages 9, 19, 27. 
(33)  "Abstracts of Inventories of the Prerogative Court", 
	Volume 14 (1991), by V.L. Skinner, pages 71-76; 
	the inventory includes 1,737 names of people who owed 
	debts to Dixon. 
(34)  For more information about Charles Friend, see: 
	"Nicholas Friend Family", (1999) by Corinne Hanna Diller, 
	housed at the Family History Center at Salt Lake City; 
	pages 60 through 80 document his life.  
(35)  Schildknecht, Volume 1, page 50.

Corinne Hanna Diller
8443 Sonneville Drive 
Houston, TX  77080-3638
No matter how much research you do, questions always remain.  I would
like to learn more about the Chiefs who made the 1727 deed, as well as
proof of what happened to the Antietam Creek land of Israel Friend.  

The Creator has made the world
Come and see it!  --Pima Indian prayer