The following is taken from the book "History of Ritchie
County" written by Minnie Kendall Lowther, and published in 1910.
[Tip: If you follow a link in the text, you will need to use your back button to return to were you were.]
The year 1807 was marked by the coming of Thomas and Phebe Cunningham, From Harrison county. Though many historic reminiscences cluster about the names of the brave-hearted pioneers of this county, perhaps no other one is of such absorbing Interest as the one that hangs about the memory of Thomas and Phebe Cunningham; And, perhaps, too, no other pioneer family is more largely represented among the Present citizenship of the county; and from the pages of "Border Warfare" we glean the story of their adventure with the Indians, before they became identified with the history of Ritchie county:
In 1785, when our tragical story opens, Thomas Cunningham and his brother, Edward, resided in Harrison county on Bingamon creek, a branch of the West fork, in adjoining cabins. Thomas was absent on a trading expedition, when six indians made their appearance at his home.
Mrs. Cunningham and the four children were gathered about the dinner-table when one entered ,and closing the door behind him, stood with drawn tomahawk for a few moments; then, having at once apprehended danger from the other cabin, and having no such fear of the helpless mother and children, he seemed for a time only intent upon his own escape.
Edward, seeing the Indian enter his brother's cabin, secured his own door, and, stepping to a small opening in the wall, stood ready to fire when the intruder should make his appearance; but in Thomas' cabin was a like aperature, and through it the Indian fired at Edward, and gave the signal for victory, which was answered by Edward, who saw the aim of the savage in time to save his life. So narrow was his escape that the bark from the log struck him in the face.
The Indian, seeing that he had missed his aim, at once seized and adz and Began Cutting an outlet through the back of the cabin, so that he could escape without danger From Edward's house. While thus engaged, he asked Mrs. Cunningham how many were In the other cabin, and she tacitly replied by holding up the fingers of both hands.
Just after the firing had ceased another Indian entered the yard, and, seeing Edward's gun through the port hole, beat a hasty retreat, but Edward fired, the bullet taking effect in the Indian's hip; he managed, however, to reach some place of safety before Cunningham could again load his gun.
Mrs. Cunningham made no effort to escape, for she felt that death only awaited her at the hands of the lurking foe without. To escape with her Children was impossible; and to leave them at the mercy of this savage Monster was not to be thought of. So she cherished the hope that he might quietly withdraw, but the fallacy of such a hope was soon evident, when he sank his ruthless tomahawk into the brains of one of her children, and cast- ing its scarcely lifeless form into the yard, ordered her to follow him. She, knowing that resistance meant certain death, quietly obeyed, stepping over the dead body of her child, as she passed out with her babe in her arms, and the other two children clinging to her and screaming frantically at the horror of the sight.
When all were outside, scalping the dead boy, he set fire to the house, and withdrew to a high point in the field, where he joined his two companion, who were caring for the wounded Indian. The other two were left to guard the door of Edward's house, so that they could strike the fatal blow when the flames should drive them out; but fortunately the family were able to extinguish the fire from within by tearing the boards from the roof, though the Indians kept up their firing all the while.
Without hope of accomplishing more, and fearing detection, they gathered to- gether, and, having tomahawked the elder Cunningham boy and his little sister - whom they beat against a tree until life was extinct - they took their departure. Mrs. Cunningham said that the last she was of her little daughter was one quivering foot sticking up from behind a log, where she had been thrown. The poor mother stood aghast, dazed with grief, momentarily expecting the death blow to fall upon her and the little one at her breast. But a more cruel fate awaited her - that of the life of a captive.
From this awful scene, she was taken to a cave. (This cave is said to be about two miles from the scene of the capture, on Little Indian run - a branch of Bingamon creek - in Harrison county.) Here the Indians remained until night, and under cover of darkness, returned to the home of Edward Cunningham, and, finding it deserted, plundered, and set it on fire.
Mr. Cunningham and his family had taken refuge in the forest during the night, the nearest settlement being eight or ten miles distant, and on the following morning gave the alarm; and a company of men were soon in pursuit. When they reached the scene of the tragedy, finding the cabins in ashes, and being unable to follow the trail, so carefully had it been covered, they buried the remains of the children and returned to their homes. But after the lapse of a few days, circumstances pointed to the suspicion that the savages were still in the vicinity, and another search was instituted, in which the trail was followed to the mouth of the cave and lost. But Major Robinson, being familiar with the forest, and after dwelling upon the incidents of the day, remembered the cave, and upon investigating, found that it had been their hiding place, but was now deserted. They had resumed their journey during the night, having been detained here by the wounded Indian, who, Mrs. Cunningham said, was borne from the cave, and she never saw him again. She supposed that he was dead, and that his remains were sunk in a pool near by.
She said that the whites were so near several times that she could distinctly hear their voices; that they stood upon the rock above her head. But a savage stood over her with an uplifted tomahawk, commanding silence, and forcing her to keep the child to her breast, lest its cries should lead to their apprehension.
Owing to this delay, they did not reach their own country for some time, and the poor captive's suffering from hunger, fatigue and grief, was almost beyond human endurance; and the helpless infant at the breast, sought milk and obtained blood instead. The Indians, observing this, ended its sufferings by tomahawk, while it clung to its mother's bosom, and then cast its lifeless form beside the pathway, without leaf or branch to protect it from the beasts of prey.
No tongue or pen can describe the anguish of the suffering mother, whose only sustenance for ten days was the head of a wild turkey and three pawpaws. By the frequent wading of streams, her feet had become so scalded, that when she reached the village of the Delawares and was permitted to remove her stockings, the nails and skin came with them. Yet, on the following day, she was compelled to continue her journey. A humane Indian of the village somewhat alleviated her pain by an application of sanative herbs.
One incident of the dreadful march, which has been omitted by the historian, but which will doubtless add interest here, we glean from the Autobiography of the late Rev. James L. Clarke, who heard it from her own lips, and who tells it in the following language:
"It was during the painful march after the murder of her babe, that she was converted. Overwhelmed and horrified at the murder of her children, and the terrible suffering she was then undergoing, she longed to die, and wished the savages would kill her".
"One day while wishing for death, the question was forced into her mind, 'Are you prepared to die?' It awakened her, she was that she was a sinner, and if she died as she had lived, she would be lost and would have to endure suffering forever to which the sufferings of the present would bear no comparison, and that she must be forever separated from her children, whom she had no doubt were now in Heaven".
"She now became very much alarmed and feared that they would kill her before she was prepared to die. Her sins became a burden too intolerable to be borne, and She went to Him who said 'Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest".
"One night after the Indians had lain down in a circle around the fire, with her inside the circle, she kneeled down at the foot of a tree and in her agony wrestled with God in prayer, and taking Jesus as her Savior, the blessing came in power. She sprang to her feet clapping her hands, and shouting at the top of her voice, 'Glory to God.' The savages raised upon their elbows, gave the Indian 'yough', watched her for a while, and lay down again. She continued to shout for some time, the fear of death was gone, and her soul was exceedingly happy". And from this time until her death, she continued a faithful devoted Christian.
When the home of her captors was reached, she received no barbarous treatment, But she was filled with fear and the apprehension of some impending doom. Everything about her seemed to bode evil. She was delivered into the hands of the father of the wounded and missing Indian, and was compelled to wear her soiled clothing, which was regarded to be a bad omen for a captive. And thus, for three years her captivity continued.
A conference, preparatory to a treaty between the Whites and the Indians, was pending, when, one evening, she noticed an unusual commotion in the village, and, upon inquiry, learned the presence of the great Simon Girty occasioned it.
She determined to ask him to intercede for her release, and on the following day, seeing him passing by on horseback, she went to him and lay hold of his stirrup, and implored his interference in her behalf, which at first, was only met with derision; but though the heart of this cheiftain had long been a stranger to tenderness and sympathy, her entreaties finally succeeded in touching, his better nature, and he made intercession for her, secured her release, made provisions for her ransom, and had her conveyed to the Commissioners who negotiated the treaty.
During the autumn of 1788, having been in captivity for three long, weary years, she was taken to a great Indian conference, at the foot of the Maumee rapids, on or near the present site of Perrysburg, Ohio; and while here, Captain Girty brought the case before the British agent, McKee, who furnished the trinkets for the ransom, and she was set free; and from here, she went to Kentucky with two gentlemen, who came to this conference in quest of their captive children.
After much difficulty and no little delay, she finally reached her old home - the home of Edward Cunningham - in Harrison county, and found that her husband, on hearing of her release, had gone in quest of her. Depressed by the disappointment of not meeting him, and by the thought of the danger and peril that attended his every footstep, she could not enter into the spirit of rejoicing, that her homecoming had occasioned; but within a few days her husband, learning that she was homeward bound, returned, and with joy unspeakable, clasped to his bosom again the long lost wife. Though the remembrance of the tragic fate of their children shadowed the joy of their reunion, yet, time alleviated their sorrow, when other, and more fortunate, children came to bless their home. and from these children are descended no small percent of the present population of Ritchie county.
The Cunninghams are of Irish lineage. Some time before the Revolutionary war, Hugh Cunningham and his wife, Nancy, with their family of eight sons (Adam, Ephraim, Benjamin, Joseph, William, Walter, Edward and Thomas) came from Dublin, Ireland, and settled on the banks of the Potomac, in Fairfax county, Virginia; and, shortly after the close of the Revolutionary war, Thomas, Adam, Edward, Walter, and, perhaps, more of the brothers, came to Harrison county, where they entered and patented large tracts of land under the "tomahawk title", on Bingamon creek. Here they resided when our tragic story opened.
Thomas Cunningham and his wife, Phebe Tucker Cunningham, were born across the Sea. He, in Ireland, and she in England of Scottish parentage, in 1761. He Had served as a Revolutionary soldier, before becoming distinguished by this "adventure among the Indians".
In 1807, as above stated, they came to this county, and settled on what is now The W. E. Hill and the Frederick homesteads. Here they continued to reside until the death of Mr. Cunningham, in 1826. He was the first Methodist Episcopal minister in this part of the county, and at his home the first class was organized. He was only a lay minister at this time, but he was licensed to Preach, at Zanesville, Ohio, on September 5, 1817; and this license, which was written upon parchment, is now a cherished possession of his great-grandson, John C. Cunningham, of Eva.
On the Frederick homestead, not far from the present Frederick residence, he sleeps, in an almost nameless grave. Mrs. Cunningham spent the last years of her life in Calhoun county with her daughter, Mrs. Isaac Collins; and, here, In 1845, she passed away in triumph. "The voice that shouted 'Glory to God' in the midst of the savages, shouted victory in death". On the Collins homestead, near Freed, she is sleeping.
The late Rev. James L. Clarke delivered the memorial sermon at her funeral, and in dwelling on her triumphant death afterwards, he said, & "I could not help thinking of the joyful meeting she had with her children in the presence of Him who had said, 'Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of God.'"
The late children of these distinguished pioneers were as follows: Henry, Lydia, Walter, and Thomas, who were killed by the Indians; and William - the first born after their reunion - who became a minister in 1810, and two years later took a transfer to the Ohio conference, where he finished his earthly career at Horner, in Licking county; John, of Spencer; Mrs. Rachel (Isaac) Collins, Calhoun county; Mrs. Leah Hardman, who sleeps at Hardman chapel; Mrs. Barbara Hill, Eddyville, Iowa; and Benjamin, of Eva.
Among the late grandsons and granddaughters of these venerable people, who were the heads of well known families of this county, were: A.P., J.S., and Washington Hardman, Hardman chapel; Mrs. John Beall, Leatherbrake; Thomas Hardman, Auburn; Mrs. George Wells, Cornwallis; Mrs. J. M. McWhorter, Buckhannon; Mrs. Hannah Smith, Smithville; Mr. And Mrs. Wilson B. Cunningham; and Eli R. Cunningham, of Eva. Among the surviving ones are: John R. Cunningham Gilmer county; Mrs. Nancy Dilworth, Eaton; and Mrs. Ira S. Goff, Walker station. Besides quite an army of great-grandchildren, who are well known citizens - Martin Smith, Mrs. Alfred Barr, Mrs. M. A. Ayres, and Alvis Smith, of Smithville, Mrs. James Rexroad, of Den run, and the late Mrs. W. E. Hill, of Fonzo, are among them.
Mrs. Hill enjoyed the privilege of residing almost on the very spot where the cabin of her illustrious great-grandparents stood for several years just before her death in 1910.
Edward Cunningham. - Edward Cunningham and his wife, Sarah Price Cunningham, whom he married in Fairfax county, Virginia, lived and died in Harrison county, where "they fought the redskins"; and here on their old homestead, they sleep; but some of their lineal descendants belong to the present citizenship of this county. - To their grandson, Perry J. Cunningham,of Pennsboro, we are indebted for this sketch.
Their children, William, Joseph, Thomas, Benjamin, and Mrs. Mary Moore sleep in Harrison county; Mrs. Elizabeth Robinson at Fairfield, Ohio; Mrs. Keturah Hill, In Gilmer county; and Enoch M. Cunningham in Randolph county.
Joseph, better known as "Injun Joe", was captured by the Shawnee Indians, while hiding under the treadles in the loom house, when he was but a lad of eight summers, and was adopted by an Indian family, and remained among them for sixteen years, or until a short time after Gen. Wayne's treaty with the Indians. he became a great hunter while among them, and after his return home, he served as pilot for the pioneer surveyors of the large and original tracts of land in this and adjoining counties; and on one of these expeditions, with John Murphy, he experienced a dreadful hand to hand encounter with a huge black bear, which he finally succeeded in killing with his knife; and then pried its jaws open to relieve his knee, which had been the victim of bruin's last struggle, and which was lamed for the remainder of his life.
He afterwards married a Miss Ayres, and became the father of two daughters, and One son; viz., the late Mrs. Samuel Warne, of Parkersburg; Mrs. George Sires, of Clarksburg; and the late Dr. John Cunningham, of Illinois.
Enoch M. Cunningham was the only one of Edward's children that figured among the early settlers of this county. In 1820, he married Miss Jane Stuart, daughter of William Stuart, an early settler on Jughes river above Goff's, and from the Stuart homestead, in 1840, he moved to Smithville. He was the father of the following named children: Harrison B. Cunningham, an early merchant of Harris- ville; Martha became Mrs. Barnes Smith, of Smithville; and her twin sister, Sarah Salina, married Jonathan H. Haddox, of Smithville, later of Harrisville; Amy married Hannibal C. Brannon, and Edna M., Williams Moats, of Harrisville.
Among his great-grandchildren, who are well known in this county, are the late C. E. Haddox, of Moundsville; C. M. Haddox, of Charleston; Mrs. Van A. Zevely, of Cairo; and Mrs. Joseph Foster, of Pennsboro.
The Westfalls were early settlers in the Frederick's mill vicinity, they having taken the place of some of the original settlers some time in the forties.
Joel J. Westfall, who is now spending the even tide of his long life with his only son, J. R. Westfall, at Smithville, was the first of the family to arrive. He came as early as 1813, and took the place of James Malone, on the Kennedy farm, above the mouth of Lamb's run; and during the following winter he taught school in an old house on the Tingler - now the B. H. Wilson - farm, having for his pupils, the Wasses, the Hardmans, the Elliotts, the Goffs and the Tinglers. After one years residence on the Kennedy farm, he rented what is now Frederick's mill, and the W. E. Hill farm, and two years later his father, John W. Westfall, purchased both the mill and the farm, and moved his family here, where he spent the remainder of his life. He sold the mill in 1857, to the late Joseph Frederick, but the farm remained in the hands of the heirs until a few years since, when it passed into the hands of W. E. Hill, who sold it to Henry Barker, in 1909.
The Westfalls are of Irish lineage. They emigrated from New York to Beverly (West) Virginia; and from there, Joel Westfall, senior, and his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth White Westfall, removed to near the present site of Buckhannon, where their son, John W. Westfall, was born, and where he was married to Miss Elizabeth Simon, a Dutch maiden, of Pennsylvania, who was the mother of his six children, all of whom were born at Buckhannon, before the family came to Ritchie.
Joel was the eldest son; Jacob and the late James, of Slab creek; and Jasper N., who was laid on Frederick homestead in his youth; and the late Mrs. Margaret (John) Core, of Buckhannon; and Mrs. Mary E. Stuart, of Iris, were the other members fo the family. The two alone survive. Side by side Mr. And Mrs. Westfall sleep on the Frederick homestead. She survived him by a number of years, and with her daughter, Mrs. Stuart, she spent her last hours, at Iris. (The other Westfalls in this and adjoining counties are descended from the same family.)
Joel J. Westfall was born at Buckhannon, on August 24, 1819, and here in the wilds of the forest, he grew to manhood, having every opportunity to indulge his love for hunting and adventure; and some of these boyish adventurers are scarcely less thrilling than those of "Robinson Crusoe", or Stanley in the jungles of Africa:
When he was but a small lad of seven summers, on July 26,1826, he killed the largest rattle snake on record in West Virginia, while alone in the forest watching the horses for his father. This mammoth snake measured nine feet four inches, with rattles one one-half inches broad. At the age of eleven years, he killed three deer by moonlight in the forest near Buckhannon; and the following year three panthers fell as his victims, and at the age of fourteen, he slew a bear with his tomahawk. This was only the beginning of a hunting record, which, perhaps, can hardly be duplicated by another lad among the early settlers of the State. At one time he killed a bear and a panther, which had just taken the life of a deer. So famous did these early adventures make him, that he was known far and wide, as the "Boy Hunter". On one occasion when he came into possession of a new gun, as a reward for his skillful marksmanship, he was asked by his father what he wished to do with this gun. He replied that he wished to kill wild animals, but that he especially desired to find a bear cave that he had heard much about through his uncle. So with his father's consent, one fine morning he set out in quest of this cave, which he finally reached after a long and perilous search. It was in a large ledge of rocks, miles distant from his home, and, searching out the entrance, he at once started to explore the interior, but finding the darkness so dense, he was forced to retreat. However, securing a pine torch and taking his gun in hand, he again crawled inside, expecting to find the bear asleep, but by the time he had proceeded fifty or sixty feet, he realized the fallacy of this expectation, when he saw the glare of the bruin's eye coming toward him. Stepping to one side, he prepared to fire, but for fear of being forced out of the cave, he slid into a crevice, and the animal dashed by him with force, and presently he heard him fall from the cliff outside, a distance of thirty feet, and he knew that he must be dead; and going outside, he joyfully claimed his prey and set out for home, which he reached after several days' absence to the relief of his mother, who had been greatly annoyed by his prolonged stay. In after life his hand did not "lose its cunning", for while a resident of California, he killed the largest bear on record in that State. It having weighed one thousand pounds.
At the age of seventeen years, he was made lieutenant of Co. D, 133rd Regiment of the Virginia Militia, an office which he held for seven years; and he was Captain of the Militia after he came to this county. On January 22, 1843, he was married to Miss Eliza B. Mills, daughter of W. R. Mills, of Pocahontas county, the marriage being solemnized at the home of her brother at Weston; and J. R. Westfall, of Smithville, was the one child of this union and when he was still in "the frocks of babyhood" his young mother passed on, and on the Frederick homestead she sleeps.
On April 4, 1854, leaving his young son with his parents, Mr. Westfall started for California - lured there by the gold excitement - where he amassed quite a fortune, and where he rose to prominence in State affairs. At one time, while digging for gold, he unearthed a nugget that weighted nineteen ounces, and was valued at one thousand dollars. He served as Deputy Sheriff at Mariposa for four years, at the end of which time he was elected Road Commissioner and Supervisor, an office which he held for sixteen consecutive years, and one that is higher in point of importance than that of our sheriff. Politically he is a Democrat, and he enjoyed the honor of being a member of the committee that Escorted William Jennings Bryan, and his distinguished party on their tour Through the "Golden State", during Mr. Bryan's first compaign for the Presidency And he had the pleasure of eating several lunches that were prepared by the hand Of Mrs. Bryan. On October 6, 1906, he bade adieu to his adopted state and Returned to Smithville, where he is quietly spending the evening hours of his Life with his son. He is now a nonagenarian, but his memory is a remarkable Store-house of interesting reminiscences of pioneer days. Later, he died on October 30, 1910, and was laid away at Smithville, on the homestead of his son.
William White, whose heroic deeds "crown history's pages," was his great-grand- sire, and few more valuable stories of early times have come under our notice than the ever interesting one of the life of this distinguished Indian fighter, which was told to Mr. Westfall by his great-grandmother, Mrs. William White, when he was a child of seven years, and she, a venerable woman of one hundred two years. This is the only time that he remembers seeing this great-grand- mother, but he has long treasured the story that she told him on that memorable day, which we here reproduce in her own language in part: The Grandmother's Story. - she called him to her and said that she wished to tell him the story of the life and the cruel death of his great-grandfather, William White, and that she hoped that he would remember what she this day should tell him: She said "I was a Wallace, a relative of Sir William Wallace, of Scotland, and I am the wife of William White, the great scout and Indian fighter," There were three of the White brothers that came from Scotland to America, William, David and Jonathan. Jonathan went South and was never heard of again, it being supposed that he was killed by the Indians; and William and David settled near Winchester, Virginia. While out hunting here one day, William came upon some Indians, and thinking That they were seeking his life, killed three of them; but among the number was a squaw, and as he could not think of taking her life, he let her go, Feeling confident that she would not know him. But she did recognize him, However; and it was in time of peace and was a grave violation of the terms Of the treaty, he was arrested and put in prison; but his people raised such a Storm about his confinement, and gathered around the jail and beat it down, And let him out the next day. He and a man by the name of Pringle then escaped To Buckhannon, and made their home in a hollow sycamore tree, near the mouth of Turkey run, on the Buckhannon river, near three miles below the present site of Buckhannon. She added, "Joel, you will doubtless see this tree. Your Grand- Mother Westfall is gone too early for you to remember her. Your father, your Uncles, and your aunts are all living, but I, your great-grandmother, must soon Pass over." I am now one hundred two years old. Among my children, grand- Children, and great-grandchildren, I see none that resembles your great-grand- Father, but I see him in the blare of your eye, the shape of your head, and in Your movement, and my little grandson, I hope that you will be able to remember What your great-grandmother says to you today, and that you will be able to Punish the foul perpetrator and his allies for the cowardly murder of your Great-grandfather, 'Billy White', my husband. "Your Uncle Henry is next in resemblance to 'Billy'. Your father and uncles have all treated me kindly, and I might have been living with them today, but I wished to live and die in the home that 'Billy' and I had improved, here on Hickory flat, with my son. I shall not be here long. Try and remember the words of your great-grandmother, Elizabeth Wallace White, my little sonny. I traveled alone from Winchester, Virginia, to Buckhannon to join my husband in his tree house - over hills, deep rivers, and through lone forests, carrying my fire rolled up in a wet cloth, on horseback by day, that I might have it to kindle at night, in some secluded place, where I could roast my meat and drink the pure water that gurgled there. Your great-grandfather and I lived many days here. I was many times alone in the fort or out on our little farm tending my garden, beans and corn, while Billy would be out on some scout, or fighting the Indians back from the settlement. Your grandmother Westfall and I have spent many lonely days while our husbands were away, some times for months at a time, that they could not be home. About five weeks after I joined Billy in his 'tree house', two or three of the Cutrights, two Pringles, and another person came and stopped, and a week or so later seven or eight more came, and they all took up farms and went to building stout log houses, in which they would retreat when the Indians would come near us, as there were always scouts out looking for Indians. Billy had to be out most of his time, but would come in and bring his furs and pelts, and sell them so as to keep me plenty to eat and wear; and I could raise plenty of corn, beans and potatoes for the scouts when they would come in. Billy and his brother, David, the Pringles and the Cutrights generally kept in touch with one another so as to give the alarm in case of danger. Some of them would run in and give us warning, so we had easier times." It was the duty of the scouts to warn any post in danger. "Billy was taken prisoner by the Indians, but soon made his escape, and things went along this way for some time, when the Indians began gathering and concen- trating their forces around Cincinnati. Governor Dunmore and General Andrew Lewis had command of the Government forces, and they were called out to meet The Indians, who were said to be gathered in great numbers. Billy, David, and most of the other men went, leaving us women with a few old and crippled men to occupy the cabins and care for the stock, but we knew that the scouts would look after us, so the troops were preparing for a big contest-" Here a childish voice interrupted with, "Now, grandma, I want you to tell me all about the Battle of the Point." The grandma replied, "Well, do you think you can remember what I tell you? As you are not more than five? However, I will try. Well, you see, my little sonny, but I will tell you what Pringle and Cutright told me on the morning of the Battle of the Point: 'General Lewis had detailed Billy White and John Cutright to go out and hunt, so as to rpocure meat for the troops. After being out a short time, they heard firing at the camp, and White said, 'John, there's a battle on, let's go in,' and immediately they started, but when they got inside of the lines, word reached White that his brother, David, had been shot, and that he was lying under a certain tree. They went at once to the tree and found him begging for a drink of water, and having no canteens, White and three other men went and carried water to the dying man in their hats. They had to go between the lines- the two fires as they termed it, and the pawpaw bushes fell thick all around them, but they got back in safety. White, taking the cleanest looking hat in his hand said, 'Here, brother, it is water, but when you drink you will die.' He then took him in his arms, and held him until he was dead, and laying him Down gently, took up his gun as calmly as if going to do a day's work, and said, 'Come, John, let us to.' Cutright said he was a little at a loss to know which way to go, as the Indians had already began to retreat across the creek, but he followed somewhat cautiously. 'White was watching to get a shot at the Indians, and I (Cutright) had just heard him fire, and had sent one shot across the creek myself, when I noticed three Indians that were attempting to cross the creek. White fired and one fell, then another shot from his gun brought the last one down, and the three went floating down the creek to the broad Ohio. He turned to me and said, 'I have had bad luck, John; I've lost three sclaps, so let us go for more.' And that evening he showed me seventeen scalps that he had taken with his own hand with my knowledge. 'The Indians, beign scattered a little, we went around to where we heard some firing, I stopped to get a shot at one, but he dodged me, and hearing White fire several shots, I went toward him. He, seeing me, said, 'Come here, and let me show you how to kill Indians.' There close by a log he lay upon his back loading his gun. He said, 'Lie down, or they'll shoot you.' He lay there for some time popping one over now and then, that chanced to stick his head above the log; and cautioning me to beware, that there were still more in ambush. Finally the enemy began shooting under the log, and finding the bullets coming too close, he moved farther away, but lying flat on the ground all the while, until he felt confident that the last one was dead. When the Indians were all scalped, he declared his intention to investigate the firing of a large gun, that he said he believed an Indian was behind. So, off he went, and soon I heard no more of the big gun, but heard several shots in that direction, and in about an hour I saw him coming with two guns and two scalps. I said, 'Well, Bill, did you get the gun? and he replied, 'Yes, and the hair, too,' holding up the scalps. He then asked me (John Cutright) what my success had been, and remarked that they were getting scarce here, only one here and there that had been detained by a wounded Indian. We then counted our scalps, and he had seventeen, as before stated, and three got away. By that time the signals were calling the troops together, and -'" Here again the little grandson, who had been an interested listener, inter- rupted, saying, "Now, grandma, I have heard the story of the Battle of the Point (Point Pleasant), now please tell me of the cowardly murder of my great- grandfather, William White, that you asked me to avenge; and, grandma, if you'll tell me the story I'll promise you if such a chance ever comes, I'll be there." "Well," the grandmother resumed, I will give you a short history of it: "After White had built the fort at Buckhannon, and had been in command of it and the Troops for several years, a man by the name of Potros came into the fort and Said that he had just come from near the mouth of the Little Kanawha river, and That he had seen signs of Indians crossing and coming toward the settlement; That he wanted to have his family and household goods removed to the fort on The next day. White replied that he would send a company of men and wagons to Bring them, but the man said, 'Oh! I couldn't trust my family out without your Presence.' White said, 'Well, be ready, we'll be there in the morning.' "When they were fixing to start, I said, 'Billy, don't you go out today, send others. I you do you will be killed. I dreamed last night that I saw Indians pointing red hot guns at you. If you do go, Billy, you will never get back alive.' But he replied, 'Well, Betty, if I don't go they will say that I am a coward,' and he thought it only a dream, and he went. When they reached their destination, all was right, there were no Indians to be seen. But he, going into the yard, discovered signs of the enemy there, and mentioned it to the rest. He said, 'They have been grinding their knives and tomahawks on the grindstone, and here is the fray of an Indian blanket. Let us load up and get away.' After everything was loaded, the wagons started, the trader or renegade, said, 'White, you and I and the girls will ride over the trail to the fort. It will not be much more than a mile, and we'll get there before the wagons.'" Just as the four reached the top of the hill, the Indians fired on them, and White was shot through just above the hips; but did not fall from his horse, but as he turned down the hill they fired again, striking him in the back. His horse taking fright, started to run, and its foot, becoming entangled in the limb of a fallen tree, it fell throwing the rider, who was noted for being able to remount. But the Indians ran down the hill, and scalped him, and were off before any defense could be made. He was placed in a boat, but he breathed his last just as the boat reached the fort, and thus ended the life of one of the most renowned and intrepid leaders of Indian times. This fatal day was March the 8, in 1781 or'82, and the scene was near the present sight of Buckhannon. Though the Indians were pursued, they had secreted their canoes, and made good their escape across the Ohio, before they could be overtaken."
A large number of the original settlers along this river lost their lands owing to defective titles, and when they were laid away, the families of not a few of them sought homes in other parts of the country, and new and permanent setlers took their places. Hence the large number of early families along this river.
A man by the name of Purviance, who resided in Baltimore, had, in Indian times, entered large tracts of land in this wilderness; and an individual, claiming to be his representative, came here and sold these lands to the early settlers, and, near a score of years afterwards, when the rightful owner sent his agent did these worthy pioneers learn of the fraud that had been practiced upon them.
Henry Jackson - Among the first to arrive after the original settlers was Henry Jackson, who came from his native county-Upshur, in 1830, and purchased the slight improvement made by the Belt family at the forks of Hughes river, of a man by the name of Byrd.
Mr. Jackson was born near Buckhannon in 1813, and there he was married to Miss Lydia Reger; and from there he came to this county and settled on the old homestead where his son Ulysses now lives. Here he spent the remainder of his life, with the exceptionof a two years' residence in Mason county, and here he has been sleeping since 1865. His wife rests by his side. He was the father of three sons and one daughter besides the one above mentioned; Granville died in childhood; Virginia is Mrs. B.F. Marshall, and Cisko and Isaac have passed on, leaving families who occupy their former estates, which lie near the old home.
The Jacksons have an unusually interesting ancestral history. They are of Scotch-Irish origin.
John Jackson, the progenitor of this family, was born in Londonderry, in the north of Ireland, near the beginning of the second-quarter of the eighteenth century, and with his parents removed to London, England, when he was but a boy. Here he grew to manhood, and in 1748, he emigrated to America and settled in Calvert county, Maryland, where he was married to Miss Elizabeth Cummins, of London, who crossed the water on the same ship with him.
For a time after their marriage, they resided on the South branch of the Potomac river, but near the year 1768, they removed across the mountains to what is now Upshur county, west Virginia, and settled at the mouth of Turkey run-just below Jackson's fort, and not far from the present site of Buckannon, where they figured prominently in savage warfare.
Mrs. Jackson was a woman of strong mind and of domitable courage, and she, as well as her husband, rendered most valuable service in times of Indian invasion. Patents are still in existence, which conveyed lands to her in her own right.
These hardy pioneers were the parents of five sons and three daughters whose descendants are a mighty host throughout the country:
George, Edward, John, Samuel and Henry, were the sons; and Elizabeth, Mary and Sophia the daughters - Elizabeth was the late Mrs. Abram Brake, and Mary, the late Mrs. Philip Reger, of Upshur county; and Sophia married Josiah Davis and lived and died at the old home, near Buckhannon.
George, Edward and John, with their father, were Revolutionary soldiers and noted Indian fighters, their heroic deeds being recorded on the pages of "Border Warfare".
Near the year 1770, George Jackson settled on the West Fork river in the vicinity of Clarksburg where he rose to eminence as a statesman, as well as a military man.
Early in the Revolution he was commissioned colonel of a Virginia regiment, this commission having come direct from the hand of General Washington; and after Harrison county was formed in 1784, he represented his county in the House of Burgesses at Richmond. He was a member of the distinguished body that ratified the Constitution of the United States, in 1789, and he subsequently served several terms in Congress, being succeeded by his eldest son, John G. Jackson.
George was the grandfather of the late Judge John Jay Jackson, of Parkersburg; of the late Governor Jacob B. Jackson, and of the late Judge J. Monroe Jackson, they being the sons of General John G. Jackson, who married the only daughter of Governor Meggs, of Ohio.
General Jackson was a close friend of President Madison and the marriage took place at the White House during the Madison administration.
Edward Jackson married a Miss Hadden, of Randolph county, and his son, Jonathan who married Miss Julia Neal, of Parkersburg, was the father of the late renowned "Stonewall" Jackson, of Clarksburg.
Henry Jackson. - And from Henry Jackson, senior, who was born, lived and died, near Buckhannon where he sleeps, the Ritchie county family come. He was the father of twenty five children - fourteen of whom were born of this union with Mary Hire, and eleven of his marriage with Elizabeth Shreve.
The children of the first marriage were: Esther, Permilia Elizabeth, (Mrs. Hugh Pribble, senior, mother of the Rev. U. Pribble, of Harrisville; Hugh Pribble of Cisko; and the late Mrs. Charles Harrison), Amanda Melvina (Mrs. Daniel pribble), both of this county; William Vandwater, Hire, Edward, Mariah, Henry, junior, (the Ritchie pioneer), Rachel Esta (who died in her young womanhood), John Henderson Brake, Jacob, Ulysses, mary (who married and went to California) and Cecelia who became Mrs. Louis Miller and also went to California.
The children of the second marriage: Decatur, Samuel Dexter, James Alonzo, Marion Orlando, Melissa (Mrs. James Lowe), Roxana, George Washington, Artemeshia (Mrs. Andrew Martinee), Clispo Mero, and Draper Camden Jackson.
The Hostetters. - The Hostetters were among the next arrivals. They are of German origin. Ulwrick Hostetter crossed the sea with his family and settled near York, Pennsylvania, and from there removed to Rockbridge county, Virginia, where he spent the remnant of his days, near Lexington. He was an Indian fighter, and with a party of scouts, pursued a band of red men from Rockbridge County to Marietta, Ohio. On his return, with the rest of the party, he went down to the mouth of the Little Kanawha, and up this river, and thus, became the discoverer of the far-famed Burning springs in Wirt county.
John Hostetter, his son, was born in the Fatherland, and married Miss Elizabeth Riprogal, of Virginia, a sister of Mrs. Daniel Ayres, and came to this county in 1832, and spent the remainder of his life in the Smithville vicinity, where he and his wife sleep. He served as captain in the war of 1812; and was the head of a family of four sons and three daughters:
David, Andrew, John, junior, and Jacob, the last two being twins; Sallie, the eldest daughter became Mrs. Ford of Virginia, and went to Jamestown, Ohio where she died; Mary became Mrs. Welhellam, and remained in Rockbridge county; and Elizabeth married Alexander Glover and came to this county.
John R. Hostetter married Miss Louisa Webb, daughter of Benjamin Webb, and lived and died in the Smithville vicinity. He was the father of Mrs. Martha (Martin) Smith, Mrs. Minerva Parker, and of the late Mrs. Elizabeth (Alvus) Smith, of Smithville.
David married Miss Cathrine Fisher, of Rockbridge county, and came to this county at an early day and spent the remainder of his life. His children were--Mrs. W.A. Valentine, Goff's; Mrs. Mary A. Leason, Pennsboro; Mrs. Verna Thorne, Buckhannon; the late Mrs. Martha Smith, of the West; Davidson, of Smithville; and Elizabeth who died in youth.
Alexander Glover and Miss Elizabeth Hostetter were married in Rockbridge county, Virginia, in 1833, and three years later, they came to this county, and settled on the Glover homestead, above Smithville, where they remained until they were borne to the Smithville cemetery. He was a carpenter by trade and was one of the earliest in the county. He was the constructor of the first jail building at Harrisville. Mrs. Glover survived him by many years, and the old home is still owned by the heirs, though now in the hands of tenants. They were the parents of nine sons and one daughter, who died in childhood: John, the eldest son never married, and in the Smithville cemetery he was laid at a ripe old age. Jacob, and Taylor, also slumber here. Williams, sleeps in Arkansas, where his family reside; Robert lives at Clarksburg; Asa, at Fairmont; Charles, at Spencer; Samuel is unmarried; and Dr. J.R. at Morgantown.
Jacob, William, and Robert were soldiers of the Civil war.
Samuel Hyman was another early settler from Rockbridge county, Virginia. Here he was born on November 12, 1812, and he came to this county in his early manhood, and married Miss Elizabeth Webb, daughter of Benjamin Webb, and settled on the Hyman homestead, below Smithville, which is still owned by his heirs.
He was a blacksmith by trade and a noted hunter. He died on April 6, 1904, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Martha Hold, near Morgantown, and was laid to rest in the Webb cemetery by the side of his wife.
The children of this family were as follows; Mrs. Minerva, late wife of John P. Kennedy, of Smithville; Mrs. Mary Roberts, Mrs. Martha Hold, wife of the late William Holt, of Morgantown; Hattie died in youth; Benjamin, in the Civil war; and John resides near Smithville.
Mr. Hyman was the son of -------- Hyman and Mrs. Rachel Hostetter Hyman-- his mother being the sister of John Hostetter, senior. Both his parents sleep in Virginia. His mother was married a second time to Aldridge Evans, of Rockbridge county, and they were the parents of the late A. J. Evans, of the Cross-roads; J.M. o Lamb's run; Mrs. Margaret (Morgan) Rexroad, Mrs. Martha Mitchell, and Elizabeth, who died single. After the death of the mother all the rest of the family came to this county, and here they sleep. The father lies on the McNeill homestead where most of the other members of the family rest.
The Ayreses. - The year 1836 brought Daniel Ayres with his family, which included his parent, his sister, Mrs. Polly Campbell, and his son-in-law, Henry Webb, from Rockbridge county, Virginia to the McNeill homestead. They started on their long and perilous journey over the Allegheny mountains in November in three large covered wagons with their household effects, driving their cows before them, and not until the first week in January, after seven weeks of suffering and hardships, did they reach their destination.
Mr. Ayres had purchased two hundred acres of land here of the Purviance survey with a small improvement upon it - a two roomed log house and a few acres of cleared land. The location which is to-day a beautiful one with its modern conveniences and improvements, is said to have been a picturesque one at that time in its sylvan beauty with its historic surroundings.
The river had, in pre-historic times, evidently formed a bend entirely round the farm, but had changed its course at a later period; and at the time of the coming of Mr. Ayres, the channel had filled up, making a beautiful level bottom, though the ancient river bed was still "visible and interesting". A mound supposed to contain relics of an unknown and pre-historic race was another feature of special interest on this farm, and but a few hundred yards from the house were the ruins of an ancient fortification - an excavation of several feet having been made and the earth thrown up into an embankment. Flints, darts and arrow heads were found in large numbers about the ground - serving as silent reminders that this had once been the "happy hunting-ground of a vanished race" whose history, however interesting, will never be known.
Mr. Ayres was of Irish lineage. His grandfather, Daniel Ayres, came from Ireland and settled on the Susquehanna river in Pennsylvania, where Daniel Ayres, junior, (father of Daniel of the McNeill homestead) was born in 1745.
In 1772, Daniel Ayres, junior, was married to Miss Ellen McGee, who was born in Baltimore of Irish parentage in 1745, and from this city, they went to Rockbridge county, Virginia, where they established their home and reared a family, which were as follows:
John, the pioneer school-teacher of this county; Charles, Lewis, Mrs. Polly (Wm) Campbell, and Daniel (III) who was the youngest son, and the head of the Ritchie county family.
Daniel and Ellen McGee Ayres came to this county with their son, as already mentioned, and on the McNeill homestead they lie in their last sleep. He died at the age of ninety-seven, and she, at the age of ninety-five.
Daniel Ayres (III) was born in 1789, and he was married to Miss Hannah Riprogal, who was born of German parentage in Virginia, in 1787.
Mr. Ayres served as captain in the war of 1812, and while at Norfolk in 1814 where he had been ordered with his company to assist in the defense of the city, he was stricken with yellow fever and when able to be out again, after spending sixteen weeks in the hospital, then enemy's vessels were still hovering about the city in a threatening manner, though no attack was made.
He served as justice of the peace almost throughout his residence here, and was one of the chief factors in the organization of the county, in 1843 - a short time before his death, which was due to typhoid fever. He and his wife both died of this malady near the same time, and side by side they lie at rest on the McNeill homestead. Their children were nine in number; viz., Jackson died in early manhood, and one in infancy. Margaret married Henry Webb and went to Missouri where she rests. Ellen was the wife of John Starr, Eliza, of James Starr; Sarah, of Dr. Wm. R. Lowther; and the late John B.
John B. Ayres, the youngest son of this family, above mentioned was long prominently known in this county. He was born in the Old Dominion almost within the shadow of historic old Lexington, and not far from the Natural bridge, in 1831, and was a child of but five summers when his parents came to the McNeill homestead. Six years later they both passed on, and he being thrown upon the world, bound himself to J.J. Vandivort, the Harrisville saddler and harness maker, in 1847, and worked as an apprentice in his shop for the next four on-half years. He was then a journeyman saddler, and merchant for several years, before settling down to his trade a Harrisville, in 1870, where he remained until 1903, when his declining health prompted him to seek a change of climate, which he found in Colorado, after visiting Zion City, the far-famed domain of the late Alexander Dowie, for a brief time. After a short stay in the West, he then resided near Washington City, and at Grafton for a time before going to Spencer in Roane county. He died at his home at Sapulpa, Oklahoma, in November, 1910, and there his remains were interred.
He married Miss Anna Hall daughter of Hannibal Hall, who was twenty-three years his junior, and the two sons, Edgar and Charles, born of this union both died in infancy.&
The Princes. - The name Prince became identified with the Webb's mill vicinity, in the year 1850, when the late John H. Prince married Miss Drusilla Webb, daughter of Benjamin Webb, and became the partner of his father-in-law in the mill and the mercantile business. The store was destroyed in 1863, by the Jones' raid, but he remained in connection with the mill until his death, near 1877. He sleeps by his wife in the Webb's cemetery. He was born in 1815; and was the father of three sons and two daughters; B.F. Prince, Cantwell; and John Willian, and Robert J., who with their sister, Mrs. Anna E.M. (John P.) Kennedy, have passed on; and Mrs. Martha Frances (E.S.) Byrd, is of Wood county.
Captain William Prince came from Prince William county, Virginia, and settled near Claysville in Wood county at an early day. He was born on August the 31, 1774, and died on September 4, 1825.
He married Miss Frances Groves, and was the father of Elizabeth Prince, who married David Sleeth, the founder of Smithville; of William R., Mary A., Robert K., Nancy J., John H., Benjamin G., and Frances, J.G. Prince. John H. and Mrs. Sleeth were the two that were identified here. After the death of Captain William prince his widow was married to Mr. Vandiver, of Wood county, and the late James V.B. and Jerome A. Vandiver, of Louisville, Kentucky were the fruits of this union.
The Tinglers. - The year 1836, brought Henry Tingler and his wife, Mrs. Mary Phryne Tingler from