John the "Bear Hunter" Cutright

By
John O. Cutright 5 November 1998
Cutrightj@aol.com

" . . . John secured our independence as a nation, he was one of the genuine stock of the primitive pioneers, who were always found on the frontier, he was first on the Potomac, next on the West Fork of the Monongahela and in 1789 settled in the land of Boone and Kenton, among the canebrakes" of Kentucky. In 1796 John accompanied General Nathaniel Massie to explore and survey along the Scioto River in Ross Co. Ohio during which the city of Chillicothe Ohio was founded. He died at the age of 83 on December 24, 1830, two weeks after the death of his wife.

O save from dark oblivion's gloomy reign
The brave, the worthy fathers of our land

About 1747 Born on the South branch of the Potomac in Hampshire County, Virginia near Moorefield. In 1785 this became Hardy County.
3 Aug 1773 Leased lot #71 - 50 acres in Hardy Co. Virginia on the east side of the South Branch of the Potomac near present Moorefield WV from Lord Fairfax. Cornelius Kortregt leased 85 acres of land the same day. Henry Cutrack leased lot #51 on 29 Aug 1773.
About 1773 Married Elizabeth Subre in Virginia
b. 1757 in Virginia
d. 16 Dec 1830 in Ross Co. Ohio.
10 Oct 1774 Fought at battle of Point Pleasant Va. (Dunsmore's War).
5 Jan 1776 Elizabeth Cutright born in Virginia.
m. Alexander Ramsey in 1792 in Lexington Kentucky
d. 1810 in Ross Co. Ohio
Oct 1778
to Dec 1778
Was a private in Capt. M. Boswell's Co. of the 2d Virginia State Reg't commanded by Col. Gregory Smith and stationed at Camp Middlebrook, New Jersey from September 1778 to February 1779.
2 Dec 1778 Mary Cutright born.
Feb 1779 to
6 Mar 1779
Was a private in Capt. M. Boswell's Co. of the 2d Viginia State Reg't commanded by Col. Gregory Smith.
1779 Issued clothing while serving in the Revolution (Virginians in the Revolution by Gwathmey).
19 Aug 1780 Catherine Cutright born in Virginia
m. John McDonald on 5 Feb 1799 in Ross Co. Ohio
d. 22 Mar 1850 in Ross Co. Ohio.
1780 to 1782 Various claims filed by John for items (flour & pork) taken (impressed) for the Centennial Army
1782John on Virginia tax list from Monongahela County, Virginia -- 7 in family
(not "John the Indian Scout" because he wasn't married until 1/2/1788).
1782 John Cutrack on John Wilson state enumeration for Hampshire County Virginia.
18 Nov 1782 On Stephen Ruddills personal property tax list for Hampshire County Virginia. Listed as having 2 horses & 4 cattle. Paid 15 shillings tax.
14 May 1784Andrew Cutright born in Virginia
m. Phoebe Engle on 13 Aug 1806 in Ross Co. Ohio
d. after 1836 in Seneca Co. Ohio.
1785 John Cutright listed by Benjamin Robinson as living on the West Fork of the Monongahela near present Clarksburg WV.
1 Aug 1785 Surveyed 304 acres on the West Fork in Harrison Co. Virginia. Purchased from John Wilson who received certificate on 20 Apr 1781.
12 Dec 1786 Edmund Randolph granted 304 acres on the West Fork in Harrison Co. Virginia to John Cutrack.
9 Aug 1787 John Cartwright enters 4,000 acres on Lulbegrund Creek, Bourbon Co. Kentucky, based on Treasury Warrant #8059.
10 Aug 1787 Military certificate issued for service under Col. Benjamin Logan against the Shawnee in July 1780.
16 Aug 1787 Henry Cutright born in Virginia
m. Susannah Neff on 29 Oct 1809 in Ross Co. Ohio.
1787 John listed on State enumeration for Hardy County Virginia, also on Abel Randall personal property tax list for Hardy County. 2 horses & 3 cattle
22 Aug 1787 Sold part of 304 acres (78 acres) on the West Fork in Harrison Co. Virginia to Job Welton refers to "Elizabeth" his wife Signed "John Cutrack"
22 Aug 1787 Sold part of 304 acres (156 acres) on the West Fork in Harrison Co. Virginia to Joseph Woods refers to "Elizabeth" his wife Signed "John Cutrack"
29 Aug 1787 Sold lot #71 in Hardy Co. Virginia to Abraham Shobe deed refers to wife "Elizabeth" and witnessed by Job Welton
1787 Samuel Curtright moved from the South Branch of the Potomac to Kentucky and established a Station west of Lexington. He had previously explored in Kentucky with Simon Kenton in 1774.
1788John on personal property tax list for Hardy County, Abel Randell Commissioner. 2 horses
19 Mar 1789 Survey of 4000 acres on Lulbegrud Creek, Bourbon Co. Kentucky--Treasury Warrant #8059.
24 Sep 1789 John (The Deer Hunter) Cutright born in Monongahela, Virginia,
m. Martha Engle on 29 Oct 1809 in Ross Co. Ohio (b. 22 Nov 1783 in Tennessee, daughter of Henrich Engle who was a private in the Revolution from Pennsylvania d. 15 May 1859 in Union Twp. Cumberland Co. Ill. (Cutright Cemetery))
d. 06/29/1860 in Union Twp. Cumberland Co. Ill. (Cutright Cemetery).
1789moved to Kentucky -- may have settled near Cane Ridge Ky. which is NE of Paris and Lexington
1790 Gave power of attorney to his friend George Jackson of Harrison County to make over to Job Welden part of a tract of 304 acres granted to John Cutrack 12 Dec 1786 in Harrison Co. Virginia.
1 Nov 1791 Nathaniel Cutright born in Fayette Co. Kentucky
m. Margaret Veill on 18 Jun 1812 in Ross co. Ohio (b. 21 Aug 1780 in Botetourt Co. Virginia d. 9 Mar 1858 in Union Twp. Cumberland Co. Ill. (Cutright Cemetery))
d. 10 Apr 1844 in Ross Co. Ohio
23 Sep 1793 Enlisted in Kentucky Mounted Volunteers under the command of Captain David Kennedy, Major David Caldwell's Battalion as one of the Kentucky Volunteers under General Mad Anthony Wayne's campaign, commanded by Major General Charles Scott.
14 Nov 1793 Mustered at Fort Washington
18 Jul 1794 William Cutright born in Bourbon Co. Kentucky
m. Hannah Neff 11 Apr 1814 in Ross Co. Ohio
d. 10 Nov 1845 in Ross Co. Ohio.
1795 On Census from Fayette Co. Kentucky
1796 Indian trouble in Kentucky -- came to Ohio with Nathanial Massie
1 Apr 1796 Met at Manchester to form a settlement at the mouth of Paint Creek--called Station Prairie
26 Feb 1798 James Cutright born at Station Prairie in Ross Co. Ohio (first white child born in Ross Co.)
m. Sabra Neff on 4 Jul 1819
d. 16 Jun 1870 in Ross Co. Ohio
30 Nov 1801 Hiram Cutright born Ross Co. Ohio
m. Sally Groves on 5 Apr 1820
m. Hannah Neff on 22 Jan 1829
d. Jul 1882.
1820 John Cutright on census from Springfield Township Ross Co. Ohio.
Andrew, James, & William also on Census; and John (the Dear Hunter) Cutright & Nathaniel on list from Scioto Twp.
1828 On Springfield township personal property tax list--4 horses & 5 cattle.
15 Dec 1828
& 9 Jul 1830
Signed notes to Thomas Massie for rent for land where he was living.
1830 John Cutright Sr. on census from Springfield Township Ross Co. Ohio.
Hiram Cutright also on census, and John Cutright Jr. on Census from Concord Township.
24 Dec 1830 Died in Ross Co. Ohio about 2 weeks after the death of Elizabeth.

The foregoing are most of the meager facts that are known about the life of John "the Bear Hunter" Cutright--date and place of the birth of his children; military record from the Revolutionary War; names on some deeds; and words from obituaries of John and his son Nathanial. This may not seem like much: however, when interposed on the history of the time in which he lived a more complete picture of John's life begins to emerge.

John was born a quarter of a millennium ago a subject of King George II of England. He later fought in the Revolution to free our country from King George III and England. John was a product of the frontier. His restless spirit is in evidence as he moved from the civilization along the Potomac to the wilderness of Kentucky and finally across the river into Ohio. He was a family man who brought his family with him on his wanderings. Elizabeth traveled with him and had his children when they lived on the Potomac, the Monongahela, Kentucky, and Ohio. According to family tradition John was a woodsman -- a hunter -- a "BEAR HUNTER".

John may have been descended from a Dutchman by the name of Jan Bastiaen van Kortryk who immigrated from Amsterdam to New York in 1663. The family lived in Harlem for several years, then moved to the area of Kingston, NY, and then, before 1736, south to the Delaware Water Gap area known as Minisink. Prior to 1747 several families including Hendrick Cutrack, his wife Elizabeth Hornbeck Cutrack, Cornelius Cutrack and his wife Taatjen (a sister of Hendrick), and their cousin Cornelius Kortregt and his wife Eleanor Hornbeck (the parents of Samuel Curtright) moved to the South Branch of the Potomac in Harrison Co. Virginia near the site of present Moorefield, West Virginia. This is the area where John was born in 1747. In 1773 John leased 50 acres on the South Branch of the Potomac near Moorfield. John is believed to have lived there with his wife Elizabeth and growing family until about 1785 when he bought 304 acres on the West Fork of the Monongahela near Clarksburg WV. In 1787 John started selling his land and in 1789 moved to Kentucky. John is believed to have owned land in Kentucky on Lulbegrund Creek which is east of Winchester. John may also have lived in the area of Pine Ridge north of Winchester where he joined the party of Rev. Finley in their migration to Ohio.

On October 10, 1774 John is reported to have fought at battle of Point Pleasant Va. (Dunsmore's War). In the Revolutionary war John served as a private in Capitan Machen Boswell's Company 2nd Virginia State Regiment, commanded by Colonel Gregory Smith. Gregory Smith was commissioned Captain in Seventh Virginia Regiment, February 7, 1776, and resigned 28th November, 1776. He was made Colonel of the Second Virginia Regiment from 1777 to 1778. Machen Boswell was commissioned First Lieutenant Second Virginia Regiment, 6th October, 1777, and was promoted Captain 15th September, 1778, and served to February, 1781. John was stationed at Camp Middlebrook, New Jersey from September 1778 to February 1779.

On September, 23, 1793, while living in Kentucky, John enlisted in Kentucky Mounted Volunteers under the command of Captain David Kennedy, Major David Caldwell's Battalion as one of the Kentucky Volunteers under General Mad Anthony Wayne's campaign, commanded by Major General Charles Scott against the Shawnee Indians in Ohio. General Nathaniel Massie and John McDonald were a part of this campaign. The army marched westward in an arc through Ohio that ended at Fort Washington which is at Cincinnati. This and the campaigns in the next year ended Indian trouble in Kentucky and the Ohio territory. In 1795 the Treaty of Greenville opened up 2/3 of Ohio to settlers.

In 1792 General Nathaniel Massie led a group of scouts from Kentucky into Southern Ohio looking for settlement sites. From Historical Collections of Ohio, an Encyclopedia of the State, Volume II, by Henry Howe, 1896:

"After exploring in 1792 Massie and others gave glowing descriptions of the beauty of the scenery and the fertility of the soil in the Scioto Country. These reports circulated through Kentucky arousing great interest in this region. This section of Ohio was in Virginia Military Land Tract. After a short time in the revolutionary army, Massie studied surveying and in 1783 went to Kentucky to seek his fortune. He became an expert surveyor and was employed by Col. R. C. Anderson, principal surveyor of the Virginia Military Lands. In 1791 Massie made the first settlement within the Virginia Military district at Manchester. In 1793 Massie was determined to attempt a survey tour on the Scioto River. He and his party of about thirty men proceeded up the Ohio to the mouth of Paint Creek. During 1793-1794 they explored different branches to their sources, which run into Little Miami River. Withstanding many hardships, they continued exploring and surveying during the Winter of 1794-1795. In the spring of 1796, about the first of April, a group of forty or more met at Manchester to form a settlement at the mouth of Paint Creek. They were from Mason and Bourbon Counties, Kentucky, and the Cutrights were among the group. This was the first white settlement in this region and was seven years before Ohio became a state".
This may have been with the Rev. Finley party.

About the last of February or first part of March, 1796 a party assembled at Manchester, Adams Co. Ohio and immediately went forth to establish a settlement on the Scioto. A part of the company went in boats up the Ohio and thence up the Scioto and the other part went by land. They were to meet at the mouth of Paint Creek. On the first day of April, 1796 they landed at "Station Prarie" about 3 miles south of the present town of Chillicothe, unloaded their boats and immediately began preparations for planting a crop and establishing homes. At their Station they constructed blockhouses and walls built of trees, as they were found to be the most secure method of defense, and always afforded a place of retreat from danger. In these stations were placed the wives, the children and the moveable goods of the settlers and the land in the immediate vicinity was cleared and cultivated to raise the necessities of life.

From The History of Ross and Highland Counties, Ohio we find that "John Cutright came from Virginia with the Massie party in 1796 and settled at Station Prairie on the west side of the Scioto River. He remained at the Station for a short time, then moved to the east side of the river on land belonging to Nathaniel Massie". This section was the Military District. Massie was a Virginia Military District Surveyor and founded the town of Chillicothe in 1796. By 1797 Massie's offer of free "in lots" and "out lots" to the first 100 settlers had been fulfilled.

At his death on December 24, 1830 John was living in Springfield Township, Ross county Ohio, and renting from Thomas Massie.

Scioto Gazette - December 29, 1830

On Friday last Mr. John Cutright of Springfield Township, Ross County, Ohio died in the 83rd year of his age. The partner of this venerable man died only eight days before in the 73rd year of her age. They lived together as man and wife 57 years, were the parents of 12, the grandparents of 35 and great grandparents of 54 children; numbering 151 descendants.

"Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great and thine offspring as the grass of the earth." Thou shalt come to thy grave in the full age like as a shock of corn cometh in his season." Job V; 25, 26.

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