Franklin Ellis.

History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

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Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 15 of 193)
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lie often chose to take the cheaper Virginia title, and
when he had so purchased it was but natural that he
should incline towards Virginia partisanship, at least
so far as to desire the success of that government in
its boundary controversy against Pennsylvania. The
greater part of the lands in the present counties of
Washington and Greene were taken up on these Vir-
ginia certificates, but the reverse was the case in the
territory that is now Fayette, where nearly all the
settlers took titles from Pennsylvania, and where fen-
Virginia certificates are found. Tiie reason for this
was that prior to the close of the Revolution many,
and probably by far the greater part of the people,
believed that the State line would eventually be es-
tablished on the Monongahela, giving sole jurisdiction
east of that river to Pennsylvania, and all west of it
to Virginia.

But in the settlement of the controversy between
the States it was agreed " That tlie private property
and rights of all persons acquired under, founded on,
or recognized by the laws of either country be saved
and confirmed to them, although they should be found
to fall within the other; and that in the decision of
disputes thereon, preference shall be given to the elder
or prior right, whichever of the States the same shall
be acquired under such persons paying within whose
boundary their lands shall be included the same pur-
chase or consideration money which would have been
due from them to the Slate under which they claimed
the right ; and where such money hath, since the
Declaration of Independence, been received by either
State for lands which, under the before-named agree-
ment, falls within the other, the same shall be re-
funded and repaid ; and that the inhabitants of the
disputed territory now ceded to Pennsylvania shall
not before the 1st of December in the year 1784 be
subject to the payment of any tax, nor at any time
hereafter to the payment of any arrears of taxes or
impositions heretofore laid by either State; and we
do hereby accept and fully ratify the said recited con-
ditions and the bound;:ry line formed."

And in the adjustment of claims which succeeded
the settlement of the controversy the rule was ob-
served to recognize the validity of the oldest titles,
whether acquired from Virginia or from Pennsylvania.
So the Virginia certificates (when antedating all other
claims to the said lands) were as good and valid as if
they had been warrants from the Pennsylvania Land
Office, and the titles were afterwards perfected by the
issuance of Pennsylvania patents on them. The price
of lands, which w;is £.5 per one hundred acres under
the Pennsylvania proprietaries, and under the State
till 1784, was then reduced to £3 10s., and the quit-
rent (oue penny per acre per annum), which had pre-


viousl y been required, was then discontinued, but in-
terest was demanded from the date of first improve-
ment. Again, in 1792, the price was further reduced
to £2 10s. per one hundred acres, with interest as be-
fore. This continued till 1814, when the price was
placed at $10 per one hundred acres, with interest from
date of settlement.

of Capt.Cresap being on the river, about fifteen miles
' above us, with some hands, settling a plantation, and
that he had concluded to follow us to Kentucky as
soon as he had fixed there his people. We also knew
that he had been experienced in a former war. He
was proposed, and it was unanimously agreed to send
for him to command the party. Messengers were
dispatched, and in half an hour returned with Cresap



In- the Indian hostilities of 1774, known as " Dun-
morc's war," the territory now Fayette County saw
little, if anything, of actual fighting and blood.shed;
yet, in the universal terror and consternation caused
by the Indian inroads and butcheries on the west of
the Monongahela, it came near being as completely
depopulated ns it had been twenty years before by
tlie panic which succeeded the French victory over

The Dunmore war was the result of several col-
lisions which took place in the spring of 1774, on the
Ohio River above the mouth of the Little Kanawha,
between Indians and parties of white men, most of
whom were adventurers, who had rendezvoused there
preparatory to passing down the river for the purpose
of making settlements in the then new country of
Kentucky. The circumstances which attended the
beginning of those hostile collisions were afterwards
narrated by Gen. George Rogers Clarke, who was
himself present and a prominent actor in the scenes
which he describes. The account, which bears date
June 17, 1798, is as follows :

"This country [Kentucky] was explored in 1773.
A resolution was formed to make a settlement the
spring following, and the mouth of the Little Kan-
awlia appointed the place of general rendezvous, in
order to descend the Ohio from thence in a body.
Early in the spring the Indians had done some mis-
chief. Reports from their towns were alarming,
which deterred many. About eighty or ninety men
only arrived at the aj)pointed rendezvous, where we
lay some days. A small party of hunters that lay
about ten miles below us were fired upon by the In-
dians, whom the hunters beat back and returned to
camp. This and many other circumstances led us to
believe that the Indians were determined on war.
The whole party was enrolled, and determined to ex-
ecute their project of forming a settlement in Ken-
tucky, as we had every necessary store that could be
thought of. An Indian town called the Horsehead
Bottom, on the Scioto, and near its mouth, lay nearly
in our way. The determination was to cross the
country and surprise it. Who was to command was
the question. There were but few among us who had
experience in Indian warfare, and they were such as
wc did not cboose to be commanded bv. A\'e knew

j He had heard of our resolution by some of his hun-
I ters that had fallen in with ours, and had set out to

come to us.
! " We thought our army, as we called it, complete,
and the destruction of the Indians sure. A council
I was called, and, to our astonishment, our intended
j commander-in-chief was the person that dissuaded
us from the enterprise. He said that appearances
were very suspicious, but there was no certainty of a
war; that if we made the attempt proposed he had no
doubt of our success, but a war would at any rate be
the result, and that we should be blamed for it, and
perhaps justly. But if we were determined to pro-
ceed he would lay aside all considerations, send to
his camp for his people, and share our fortunes. He
was then asked what he would advise. His answer
was that we should return to Wheeling as a conveni-
ent spot to hear what was going forward ; that a few
weeks would determine. As it was early in the spring,
if we found the Indians were not disposed for war, we
should have full time to return and make our estab-
lishment in Kentucky. This was adopted, and in
two hours the whole were under way. . . .

" On our arrival at Wheeling (the whole country
being pretty well settled thereabouts) the whole of
the inhabitants appeared to be alarmed. They fiocked
to our camp from every direction, and all we could
say we could not keep them from under our wings.
We ofl^ered to cover their neighborhood with scouts
until further information if they would return to
their plantations, but nothing would prevail. By
this time we had got to be a formidable party. All
the hunters, men without families, etc., in that quar-
ter had joined our party. Our arrival at Wheeling
was soon known at Pittsburgh. The whole of that
country at that time being under the jurisdiction of
Virginia,' Dr. Connolly - had been appointed by Dun-
more captain commandant of the district, which was
called West Augusta.' He, learning of us, sent a
message addressed to the party, letting us know that
a war was to be apprehended, and requesting that we
would keep our position for a few days, as messages
had been sent to the Indians, and a few days would
determine the doubt. The answer he got was, that
we had no inclination to quit our quarters for some

1 The country around Pittsburgh was then clnimtd by both Virginia
and Penn?ylviinia, but Cliu-ke, being ii Yirginiiin, viewed the matter
entirely from the Virginian stand-point.

- Dr. John Connolly, a nephew of George Croglian, tlie deputy super-
intendent of Indian nfTairs. «

3 All this region was at that time claimed by Virginia to be within its
" West Augusta" District.



time, tliat during our stay we sliould be careful tliat
tlie enemy did not harass the neigliborhood that we
lay in. Hut before this answer could reach Pitts-
burgh he sent a second express, addressed to Capt.
Cresap, as the most inHuential man amongst us, in-
forming him that the messengers had returned from
tlie Indians, that war was inevitable, and begging
him to use his influence with the party to get them
to cover the country by scouU until the inhabitants
could fortify themselves. The reception of this letter
was the epoch of open hostilities with the Indians.
A new post was planted, a council was called, and
the letter read by Cresap, all the Indian traders being
summoned on so important an occ:isir)ii. Action was
hail, and war declared in the most solemn manner;
and the same evening (April 2(jth) two scalps were
brou^lit into camp. The next day some canoes of
Indians were discovered on the river, keeping the
advantage of an is'and to cover themselves from our
view. They were chased fifteen miles and driven
ashore. A battle ensued ; a few were wounded on
both sides, one Indian only taken prisoner. On ex-
nniining their canoes we found a considerable quan-
tity of ammunition and other warlike stores. On
our return to camp a resolution was adopted to
inarch the next day and attack Logan's' camp on the
Ohio, about thirty miles above us. We did march
about five miles, and then halted to take some re-
freshments. Here the impropriety of executing the
projected enterprise was argued. The conversation
was brought forward by Cresap himself. It was gen- j
erally agreed that those Indians had no hostile inten-
tions, as they were hunting, and their party was com-
posed of men, women, and children, with all their ^
stutf with them. This we knew, as I myself and
others present had been in their camp about four
weeks past on our descending the river from Pitts-
burgh. In short, every person seemed to detest the
resolution we had set out with. We returned in the
evening, decamped, and took the road to Redstone."

Immediately afterwards occurred the murder of
Logan's people at Baker's Bottom and the killing of
the Indians at Captina Creek. The so-called speech
of Logan fastened the odium of killing his people in
cold blood on Capt. Michael Cresap, of Redstone Old
Fort. That the charge was false and wholly unjust
is now known by .all people well informed on the sub-
ject. Cresap did, however, engage in the killing of
other Indians, being no doubt incited thereto by the
deceitful tenor of Dr. Connolly's letters, which were
evidently written for the express purpose of inflaming
the minds of the frontiersmen by false information,
and so bringing about a general Indian war.

The settlers along the frontiers, well knowing that
the Indians would surely make war, in revenge for the

• The Mingo chief lA)g«n, Hio murder of whose fumily in this war
was cli«rgeil on Ciipt. Cresap; but the wliole tenor of this letter of
Geu. Clarlxe goes to prove tlie injustice of the cliarge.

killing of their people at Captina and Yellow Creek,
immediately sought safety, either in the shelter of the
"settlers' forts," or by abandoning their settlements
and flying etistward across the mountains. A glimpse
of the state of aft'airs then existing in what is now
Fayette County is had from two letters written in
May of that year to Col. Geoi'ge Washington by his
agent, Valentine Crawford, then residing on Jacob's
Creek, a few miles northeast of Stewart's Crossings.
The two letters referred to are given below, viz. :

"Jacob's Crekk, May G, 1774.

" DiCAU Colonel,— I am sorry to inform you that
the disturbance between the white people and the In-
dians has prevented my going down the river, as all
the gentlemen who went down are returned, and most
of them have lo.«t their baggage, as I wrote more par-
ticular in my other letter . . .

" I got my canoes and all my provisions ready, and
should have set oft" in two or three days but for this
eruption, which, I believe, was as much the white
people's fault as the Indians. It has almost ruined
all the settlers over the Monongahela [that is, on the
west side of it], as they ran as bad as they did in the
years 17.56 and 1757 down in Frederick County [his
former residence in Virginia]. There were more than
one thousand people crossed the Monongahela in one
day. ... I am afraid I shall be obliged to build a
fort until this eruption is over, which 1 am in lioi)Cs
will not last long."

"jAioli-sCKKtK.Miiy 25,1774.

" From all accounts Captain Connolly can get from
the Indian towns they are determined on war, and he
has sent to all the people of Monongahela to let them
know that a large number of Shawanese have left
their towns in order to cut olT the frontier inhabitants.
This has alarmed the people of our neighborhood so
much that they are moving over the mountains very
fast; but I have, with the assistance of your carpen-
ters and servants, built a very strong block-house, and
the neighbors, what few of them have not run away,
have joined with me, and we are building a stockade
fort at my house. Mr. Simpson also and his neigh-
bors have begun to build a fort at your Bottom [where
Perryopolis now is], and we live in hopes we can stand
our ground until we can get some a.ssistanee from be-

Again, in a letter dated Jacob's Creek, June 8,
1774, Crawford says to Washington, " Wc have built
several forts out here, which was a very great means
of the people standing their ground. I have built
one at my house, and have some men to guard it.
! Mr. Simpson has also built a fort at the place where
j they are building your mill, by the assistance of his
neighbors and part of your carpenters. I have sev-
eral times oflered him all the carpenters and all the
servants, but he would not t.ake any of the servants
and but four of the best carpenters. His reasons for
not taking the servants are that there is a great deal
of company at the fort, and drink middling plenty.



He thinks, therefore, that it would be out of his power
to govern them. . . . From Indian alarms and the
crowds of people that come to the fort he can get
nothing done, even with the small number of hands
111- lias.'"

In a second letter of the same date he s.ays, "Since
I jnst wrote you an account of several parties of In-
dians being among the inhabitants has reached us.
Yesterday they killed and scalped one man in sight
of the fort on the Monongahela, — one of the inmates.
. . . There have been several parties of savages seen
within these two or three d.\ys, and all seem to be
making towards the Laurel Hill or mountain. For
that reason the people are afraid to travel the road
by Gist's, but go a «igh way by Indian Creek, or ride
in the night. . . . There is one unhappy circum-
stance: our country is very scarce of ammunition and
arms. I have therefore taken the liberty to write to
you to get me two quarter-hundred casks of powder,
and send them as far as Ball's Run, or Col. Samuel
Washington's, or Keyes' Ferry, where I. can get them
up here by pack-horses. I want no lead, as we have

" On Sunday evening, about four miles over Mo-
nongahela, the Indians murdered one family, consist-
ing of six, and took two boys prisoners. At another
place they killed three, which makes iu the whole nine
and two prisoners. If we had not had forts built ihcre
UHinld not latvc been ten families left this side of the moun-
tains besides what are at Fort Pitt. We have sent out
scouts after the murderers, but we have not heard
that they have fallen in with them yet. "We have at
this time at least three hundred men out after the In-
dians, some of whom have gone down to Wheeling,
and I believe some have gone down as low as the
Little Kanawha. I am in hopes they will give the
savages a storm, for some of the scouting company say
they will go to their towns but they will get scalps."

It was the Inliiiii cliirf Logan, he whose former


been turned into bitter-

est hatred by the killing of his people, who came in
with his band to ravage the settlements on the west
side of the Monongahela, throwing all that country
into a state of the wildest alarm. The present coun-
ties of Wasliington and Greene were almost entirely
deserted by their people. Dr. Joseph Doddridge, in
his "Notes," says that the people in the vicinity of
his fitther's settlement (in the west part of what is now
Washington County) fled across the ^Monongahela to
the shelter of Morris' fort, in Civuk Glade,
southeast of Ilniontown. Tlial I'oit, li^- -ays, "con-
sisted of an .assemblage ofsniall iH.vrl-.sitiKitodonthe
margin of a large and noxious marsh, the effluvia of
which gave most of the women and children the fever
and ague."

The terror which prevailed on the east side of the
^lonongahela was scarcely less than that which drove
tlic people from the west side of that river. Capt.
Arthur St. Clair, of Westmoreland County, wrote to

Governor Penn, saying, " The panic which struck
this country threatens an entire depopulation there-
of." To which the Governor replied, June 28, 1774,
"The accounts which you have transmitted of the
temper of the Indians and the murders they have
already perpetrated are truly alarming, and give
every reason to appreliend that we shall not long be
exempt from the calamities of a savage war. The de-
sertion of that country in consequence of the panic
which has seized the inhabitants on this occasion
must be attended with the most mischievous effects,
and prove ruinous to the immedi.ate sufferers and dis-
tressing to the province in general." The people of
this region sent a petition and address to Governor
Penn, setting forth " That there is great reason to a|'-
prehend that the country will again be immediately
involved in all the horrors of an Indian war; that
their circumstances at this critical time are truly
alarming, — deserted by the far greater part of our
neighbors and fellow-subjects, unprotected with places
of strength to resort to with ammunition, provisions,
and other necessary stores, our houses abandoned ti)
pillage, labor and industry entirely .at a stand, our
crops destroyed by cattle, our flocks dispersed, the
minds of the people disturbed with the terrors of fall-
ing, along with the helpless and unprotected families,
the victims of savage barbarity. In the midst of
these scenes of desolation and ruin, next to the Al-
mighty, we look to your Honor, hoping, from your
known benevolence and l>umanity, such protection as
your Honor shall see meet." This petition and the
letters above quoted set forth with much of truth and
clearness, the alarming situation of aflairs existing
west of the Laurel Hill in the summer of 1774.

In the mean time (upon the retirement of George
Rogers Clarke from Wheeling to Redstone) an express
was sent to Williamsburg, Va., to inform the Governor
of the events which had occurred upon the frontier,
and the necessity of immediate preparation for an
Indian war. Upon this. Lord Dunniore sent messen-
gers to the settlers who had already gone forward to
Kentucky to return at once for their own safety, and
he then without delay took measures to carry war
into the Indian country. One force was gathered at
Wheeling, and marched to the Muskingum country,
where the commander, Col. McDonald, surprised the
Indians and punished them sufficiently to induce them
to sue for peace, though it was believed that their re-
quest was but a treacherous one, designed only to gain
time for the collection of a larger body of warriors to
renew the hostilities.

But the main forces mustered by Dunmore for the
invasion of the Indian country were a detachment to
move down the Ohio from Pittsburgh, under the Gov-
ernor in person, and another body of troops under
Gen. Andrew Lewis,' which was rendezvoused at

Foil Spccssity



l';iiii|i Union, now Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., Va.
Tiu'sr two columns were to meet ibr co-operation at
the mouth of the Great Kanawha River. Under tliis
general plan Governor Dunmore moved from Wil-
liamsburg to Winchester and to Fort Cumberland,
thence over the Braddock road to the Youghiogheny,
and across the territory of the present county of Fay-
ette on his way to Fort Pitt, which in the mean time
had been named by his partisans, in his honor, Fort
Dunmore. From there he proceeded with his forces
down the Ohio River, Maj. William Crawford, of
Stewart's Crossings of the Youghiogheny, being one
of his principal officers.

The force under Gen. Andrew Lewis, eleven hun-
dred strong, proceeded from Camp Union to the head-
waters of the Kanawha, and thence down the valley
of that river to the appointed rendezvous at its mouth,
which was reached on the 6th of October. Gen.
Lewis, being disappointed in his expectation of find-
ing Lord Dunmore already there, sent messengers up
the Ohio to meet his lordship and inform him of the
arrival of the column at the mouth of the Kanawha.
On the 9th of October a dispatch was received from
Dunmore saying that he (Dunmore) was at the mouth
of the Hocking, and that he would proceed thence
directly to the Shawanese towns on the Scioto, instead
of coming down the Ohio to the mouth of the Kan-
awha as at first agreed on. At the same time he ordered
Lewis to cross the Ohio and march to meet him
(Dunmore) before the Indian towns.

But on the following day (October 10th), before
Gen. Lewis had commenced his movement across the
Ohio, he was attacked by a heavy body of Shawanese
warriors under the chief Cornstalk. The fight (known
asthebattleof PointPleasant) raged nearly all day, and
resulted in the complete rout of the Indians, who sus-
tained a very heavy (though not definitely ascertained)
loss, and retreated in disorder across the Ohio. The
loss of the Virginians under Lewis was seventy-five
killed and one hundred and forty wounded. Dun-
more and Lewis advanced from their respective points
into Ohio to " Camp Charlotte," on Sippo Creek. There
they met Ccrnstalk and the other Shawanese chiefs,
with whom a treaty of peace was made ; but as some
of the Indians were defiant and disinclined for peace,
Maj. William Crawford was sent against one of their
villages, called Seekunk, or Salt-Lick Town. His force
consisted of two hundred and forty men, with which
he destroyed the village, killed six Indians, and took
fourteen prisoners.

These operations and the submission of the Indians
at Camp Charlotte, virtually closed the war. Governor
Dunmore immediately set out on his return and pro-
ceeded by way of Redstone and the Great Crossings
of the Youghiogheny to Fort Cumberland, and thence
to the Virginian capital. Major Crawford also re-
turned to his home in the present county of Fayette,
where, the day after his arrival, he wrote Col. George
Washington, the friend of his bovhood, as follows :

"Stewart's Crossings, Not. 14, 1774.

"Sir,— I yesterday returned from our late expedi-
tion against the Shawanese, and I think we may
with propriety say we have had great success, as we
made them sensible of their villany and weakness, and
I hope made peace with them on such a footing as
will be lasting, if we can make them adhere to the
terms of agreement. . . . The plunder sold for £400
sterling, besides what was returned to a Mohawk In-
dian who was there."

The " settlers' forts" and block-houses, which by
affording shelter and protection to the inhabitants
prevented an entire abandonment of this section of
the country in Diinmore's war, were nearly all erected
during the terror and panic of the spring and summer
of the year 1774, though a few had been built previ-
ously. Judge Veech, in his " Monongahela of Old,"
mentions them as follows:

" These forts were erected by the associated efforts
of settlers in particular neighborhoods upon the
land of some one, whose name was thereupon given to
the fort, as Ashcraft's, Morris', etc. They consisted

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 15 of 193)