CLARKSBURG EXPONENT TELEGRAM
1/23/2002
 

Jesse Hughes, Indian fighter- Remember him from history? 
by Bob Stealey, Editor


The subject today is Jesse Hughes, who was a resident of Clarksburg back in the late 18th century when it was still in the state of Virginia. Seems he was quite the backwoodsman and Indian fighter of his day, according to former Salem resident Dr. William B. Price's 1956 book, "Mound Builders, Indians and Pioneers," published by the Scholl Printing Co. of Parkersburg. The book is the property of Dep. Don Quinn of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department. He lent it to me recently.

"He was bred from infancy in the hot-bed of Indian warfare, and resided in Clarksburg," Price wrote. ... "About the year 1790, some Indians one night, coming secretly upon the settlement at Clarksburg, stole some horses, and the next morning at daylight a party of 25 men, starting in pursuit, came upon the trail, and judged, by the appearances, there were only eight or ten of them. The captain and a majority were in favor of pursuing the trail, but Hughes was opposed to this, and advised them to let him pilot them by a near way to the Ohio, and intercept the Indians in their retreat."

Price continued that the men would not listen to Hughes, and "he explained the danger of following the trail and exposing themselves to an ambush of the savages, who might thereby, after a destructive fire upon pursuers, make their escape."

Price continued that the captain, jealous of Hughes' influence, broke up the council by exclaiming, "All the men may follow me; let the cowards go home." 

Hughes, he mentioned, did feel the insult, but followed with the others. The result turned out the way he had predicted.

There were two Indians in ambush on the top of a cliff who fired and killed two of the party as they passed through a ravine, and then fled.

"Now convinced of their error, they placed themselves under Hughes, but upon reaching the Ohio River, found that the savages had crossed it," Price wrote. "Hughes then got satisfaction of the captain by declaring that he would see who the cowards were, and calling for volunteers to follow him across the river in pursuit, they all refused. He then said he would go alone, and leave his scalp or bring one back with him.

"Alone he crossed the river, and the next morning came upon their camp when they were all absent hunting, except one Indian, who was left on guard. It was the work of a moment to shoot him, and with the scalp as trophy, he soon found his way back home, through 70 miles of wilderness."

Some time in the not-too-distant future, I'll feature in Bob'n'Along some information about the first sheriff in Harrison County, as described by Dr. Price.

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