by Scott Powell, 1925
Contributed by Linda Fluharty.
COLONEL BEELER Pages 45-47.
The story below, giving the experience of one of the early settlers of Marshall County, was written by an unknown writer and the story was about the experience of Colonel Beeler, and the title of it was, ABOUT COLONEL BEELER AND THE MOHAWK TRIBES. Note: it is pertinent to the Manning family that settled in Marshall County since they settled on this land, Samuel married Mary Beeler, and their deeds give mention to this land.
When Colonel Beeler emigrated to this section (Cameron) he located a great deal of land, the greater part of which was about the fort. The entire neighborhood where Cameron now stands, and a wide scope of the country extending to the forks of Fish Creek, also, was owned by him at that early day. Shortly after his coming to this point, in company with other men, they were permanently located at the fort. A great many Indians from the Shawnese and Mohawk tribes, who were then stationed about Wheeling and the Flats of Grave creek, came to prowl about the fort to annoy Colonel Beeler in every conceivable way they could, and, if possible drive him from the dominions which they claimed the "Great Spirit" had bequeathed unto them.
Beeler's station, at that time, was indeed a situation of sadness. The sun rose in the morning, and as its glittering beams gleaned down upon the earth, through the heavy timbers that then clothed the hills and vales of Virginia, its dawning influence came in contact with a solitary fort, standing in the midst of a desolate wilderness. Evening came, and the inmates of Beeler's fort look with eyes expressive of the saddest reluctance to see the sun sink down in the west. The curtains of darkness is drawn over creation and darkness settles around and envelopes the fort.
The women and children of this secluded structure shudder with awe to think of the monotony of the night. And truly the nights were terrible. The valley of Grave creek sloped off to the west. The deep, dark valley of Wolf run stretched far to the north. In the darkness and stillness of the night, birds of "evil omen" flew from one valley to the other, and as they passed over the fort they flapped their wings and uttered their unearthly shrieks. In the deep valleys and ravines, on all sides the howls of the wolf, the fierce shrieks of the panther, and the yells of the wild cat could be distinctly heard. The harsh toned voice of the terrible "Red man" could be heard on every hill-top as they echoed and reechoed their answers to each other. These were the agencies and elements that surrounded Beeler's station in the night time during the primeval ages of Virginia.
During the summer of 1780, it is said that Colonel Beeler became discouraged, and I presume it was no wonder; for where is the man of this day and date that could have faced what Colonel Beeler did, and live? New obstacles were constantly being conceived and brought into existence day after day to barricade his pathway, to frustrate and hinder him from accomplishing the great designs he had undertaken. His enemies were so numerous, and they were so terribly disfigured with evil design, that the lives of Colonel Beeler and his family were constantly endangered whenever they went outside of the fort. Under these terrible circumstances, for Colonel Beeler to establish a colony in this neighborhood presupposed to him the idea that he must have additional aid. Accordingly, in the dead of winter, 1780, he, accompanied by Tomlinson of the fort at Moundsville and Ryerson, of Ryerson’s Station, Pa., walked through the deep snow, in the dead of winter, over the mountains of Pennsylvania to the city of Philadelphia. He there laid in a complaint to the chief officers of that state regarding his sad situation in the wilds of Virginia. He requested them to send him assistance. They were moved by his story and agreed to furnish the desired aid. So, in the spring of 1781, fifty-three men, under the command of Captain Jeremiah Long, arrived at Beeler's fort.
They assumed the name of six months men, and their duty was to guard the different forts which were then located at different points in this country, and to pilot and protect men who wished to go from one station to another. Braver and nobler men never lived than were these who composed Captain Long’s company. They were all in the prime of manhood, except Captain Long, who was a tolerably old man. They staid in the wilds of Virginia for a number of years, and the greatest respect was manifested toward them by those early settlers whom they then protected. And the services which these six months men rendered were the very instrumentalities which enabled these early frontiermen to colonize this neighborhood and bring about settlements of civilized people.
During the year 1782, spies were appointed by the different parties throughout this country. Thomas Younkins was appointed a spy for Beeler’s Station. Martin Wetzel was appointed by the people at Wetzel’s fort to act as a spy in conjunction with the spy at Beeler’s Station. These two men were not only well acquainted with the Indians and their language, but also understood thoroughly their customs and places of warfare. The energy, bravery and perseverance these two men possessed did not only secure for them the position of spies, but won them destinies which will live, as history bears on record the account of great deeds and daring feats performed by the heroes of an early frontier. Their history is one repeated scene of combat bat, bloodshed and massacre with the Indians, and that degree of success which attended them on all occasions and under all circumstances, has gone far toward characterizing them as among the bravest and most daring men that ever walked the face of the earth.
The duty of Younkins and Wetzel, when acting as spies for Beeler’s Station, was to scout through the woods round about the fort, to ascertain, if possible the exact strength of the Indian forces, and to determine whether they were making any signs indicative of an attack on the fort.
The year in which Colonel Beeler died, is not known, but the spot of ground that now contains his smouldering ashes, is only a few rods distant from where his old fort stood. The graves of many others who had undergone the terrible ordeals which surrounded and afflicted the early settlers of this once distracted neighborhood, can plainly be seen near the fort.
But what a change has taken place in this vicinity since they have passed away. One hundred years ago, and the fort could have been seen standing alone in solitude-to-day can be seen two magnificent church-houses where men, women and children come up each Sabbath to worship-not an imaginary spirit as the Indians once did-but to worship the true and the living GOD.