by Scott Powell, 1925
Contributed by Linda Fluharty.
WAR PATHS & FORTS Pages 80-84.
WAR PATHS & FORTS
THERE were two Indian trails or war paths through what is now Marshall County. One was a trail from the Delaware towns on the Muskingum River below the forks, and towns to the west of them inhabited by other tribes. The trail was up Will's Creek from the Muskingum River to a point not far from where Barnsville, Ohio, now stands. From there it crossed a dividing ridge to the headwaters of Big Captina Creek and followed it to the Ohio River. It crossed the river at the head of Cresap's Bottom and went around the foot of the hill on the east side of the river to Fish Creek, more than a mile from the river. It followed up the creek to the upper waters and crossed a ridge dividing the waters that flow into the Ohio River from the streams that flow into the Monongahela River to Dunkard Creek and followed it down to the Monongahela River or diverged from it as their destination might require.
A war path from Indian towns in the upper part of the Muskingum Valley or the Tuscarawas Valley and towns to the northwest, was up Stillwater Creek from the river and across ridges to the headwaters of Indian Wheeling Creek or to McMahon's Creek and down one or the other of these creeks to the Ohio River. The trail crossed the river about the mouth of Bogg's Run and up it and across a ridge to Big Wheeling Creek above the forks. From the headwaters of it to the waters of Ten Mile Creek and down it toward the Monongahela River.
These paths were the usual ones followed by Indians in their expeditions against settlements on Wheeling Creek and south of there and also into the interior settlements of Pennsylvania or northwestern Virginia.
Scouts watched these trails in the war with Indians commencing in 1777, the bloody year of the three sevens. Indians did not always follow these paths closely but deviated from them as their plan of attack might require.
It was from watching this war path that scouts returned on the last day of August, 1777, and reported to the commandant at Fort Henry that no signs of Indians had been discovered and that there was no immediate danger from them and the residents of the village of Wheeling, with a feeling of security, rested in their homes that night to be aroused early the next morning by a terrible conflict and massacre in a cornfield near the village. Indians had avoided the usual paths and eluded the scouts that they might surprise the fort. Quite well did they succeed as they drew most of the men from the fort and killed many of them in a conflict in a cornfield near it.
JOHN LYNN, one of the best scouts in the Upper Ohio Valley, was watching this path in September, 1782, when he saw a large body of Indians and British soldiers marching hurriedly towards the river to attack Fort Henry. He reached Wheeling a few hours before the enemy and gave the alarm. Residents of the village retired into the fort and prepared to defend it and when the enemy arrived they were prepared to give them a warm reception and greet them with showers of bullets, causing the loss of many warriors and the defeat of the attacking party.
BEELER STATION, sometimes called Beeler's Fort, stood on a ridge between Middle Grave Creek and Wolf Run. No description of the fort or station is given nor is the date of the erection of it mentioned. It was probably a block-house surrounded by pickets and erected some time after 1782. There is nothing mentioned in history concerning it that is of historical importance, but a very amusing account of Colonel Beeler's hardships is given on page forty-five of this book.
Old settlers gave an account of a family by the name of Blue, living on the end of a ridge some distance from Beeler Station, being murdered by Indians.
Signs of Indians had been found in the neighborhood and settlers warned of their danger. All removed into the fort except Blue, who insisted that there was no immediate danger and remained at his improvement. The family was attacked a day or two later and every member murdered.
BAKER STATION was erected about the year 1784 at the upper end of Cresap's Bottom, not far from Grave Yard Run. It consisted of a block-house surrounded by pickets and was erected by the joint labor of the settlers of the neighborhood. John Baker resided in it as proprietor. It afforded protection to the settlers of Cresap's Bottom and those of the lower end of Round Bottom.
It was in the line of a war path of Indians and it soon became a rendezvous for scouts who were on the watch for Indians. Many scouts gathered there at times of danger and crossed the river every morning and watched the trail which came down Big Captina Creek. Four scouts crossed from the station one morning and were attacked by Indians; two of them were killed, one wounded and captured and one escaped without injury.
It was from Baker Station that a number of men crossed the river and encountered Indians and fought what is known in history as the Battle of Captina, in which several were killed. Among the number was one of John Baker's sons.
John Baker, for whom the station was named, was killed by Indians opposite the station. John Wetzel and his son George were shot near the opposite shore from the station. Both died the evening of the day they were shot and were buried on the banks of Grave Yard Run near the grave of John Baker. Several were killed near there on the opposite side of the river and were buried on the banks of a run which from the graves was properly named GRAVE YARD RUN.
There were a number of encounters with Indians not far from this station, which are given in the early history and settlement of this county and found in the forepart of this work.
FORT CLARK stood where the village of Sherrard now stands. It was named in honor of the promoter, Harry [should be HENRY] Clark, and was erected but few years after the attack upon Fort Henry in 1782. The fort was of the class known as a station. It consisted of four cabins at four corners with the intervening sides closed with high pickets. While not a strong fortification it afforded protection to the settlers on the ridges between Little Grave Creek and Wheeling Creek.
It was very inconvenient for the settlers to remove their families to Fort Henry at Wheeling whenever there was an alarm of Indians in the neighborhood, and to avoid that trouble the settlers erected the fort so they could retire into it in a short time after Indians appeared in the settlement, or it was thought best to retire into a fort. They could go from this fort to their farms and continue their work all the summer by proper precaution and better provide for their families, by being near their improvements.
Three members of a family by the name of Bevans were killed near this fort, and some say another person was killed at the same time, but it is not certain that the fourth person was killed.
FORT TOMLINSON was at the Flats of Grave Creek and the first fortification stood near the site of the high school building in Moundsville.
The first fort was a cabin surrounded by high pickets and was thought to have been Joseph Tomlinson's residence fortified for protection against Indians. The stockade was erected in the spring of 1774, when war with the Indians seemed inevitable. It was again used as a place of safety in 1777, but was abandoned on the seventeenth of August of that year and burned by Indians soon after abandoned.
A new fort was built about 1785 by the settlers and their families were brought back to the Flats of Grave Creek from the different forts or settlements to which they had been taken in August, 1777, when it was learned that a large body of Indians contemplated an attack upon Fort Henry. They never left their homes after that on account of Indians though they frequently removed into the fort. The location of the second is not definitely known nor is it known what kind of a fort was erected, but it is generally thought that it was a blockhouse surrounded by pickets.
Settlers from the upper end of Round Bottom depended upon this fort for safety in time of danger from Indians. While little is given in history concerning the fort it is of historical value as there were a number of encounters with Indians not far from it and which are given in this work.
Some writers of early history say that two other forts were erected in the county. One of the forts, they say, was on Big Wheeling Creek and one was at the mouth of Fish Creek, but nothing has been found to corroborate the statement, hence it is fairly safe to say no such forts were erected.