Franklin Ellis.

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

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would be extended to the Laurel Hill in a few

In the latter part of 1780, Capt. Uriah Springer (a
resident of that part of Westmoreland County which
is now Fayette) was on duty with his company, en-
gaged in the collection of supplies in the Mononga-
hela Valley, at and in the vicinity of Fort Burd,' and
while on this service experienced great trouble from
the opposition and enmity of the people there, as is
shown by the following letter, written to him by the
commandant at Fort Pitt, viz.:

"I have this moment received your favor of yester-
day, and am .-nny Xn timl the people about Redstone
have ii)tentiMii> to rair..- in arms against you. I
believe with vnu tlial there are amongst them many
disallected, and conceive that their jm^t and present
conduct will justify your defending ymir^t'lr l.y every
means in your power. It may yet be doulitlul whether
these fellows will attempt anything against you, but
if you find they are determined you will avoid, as
much as your safety will admit, in coming to action
until you give me a further account, and you may
dejiend upon your receiving succor of infantry and
artillery. I have signed your order for ammunition,
and have the honor to be, etc.

" Daniel Beodhead.

"Capt. L'eiah Steixger."

At that time the officers commanding the few
American troops west of tlie .Vlleghenies had great
ditficulty in oLtaiiiing the supplies luM-e-sary for the
subsistence of their men. On the Ttli of December,
17.S(I, Gen. Brodhead said, in a letter of that date ad-
dressed to Richard Peters, "For a hmg time past I
have had two partio, commanded by lield-otficers, in
the Country t'. iriipii>~ cattle, luit their success has
been .-o Mnall tliat tli>- troops Imve Ire. piently been
without meat loi- several days togetiier, and as those
comnuinds are very expensive, I have now ordered
them in." He also .said that the inhabitants on the
west side of the mountains could not furnish one-half
enough meat to supply the trcjops, and that he had
sent a party of hunters to the Little Kanawha River
to kill buffaloes, "and to lay in the meat until I can
detach a party to bring it in, which eannot be done
before spring." In the letter to Peters, aliove cpioted
from, Brodhead made allusion to the furnishing of

spirits for the use of the troops, and indicated pretty
plainly his preference for imported liquor over tlie
I whisky of Monongahela, viz. : " In oue of your for-
j raer letters you did me the honor to inform me that
his Excellency, the commander-in-chief, had de-
manded of our State seven thousand gallons of ruui,
and now the commissioner of Westmoreland informs
me that he has verbal instructions to purchase that
1 quantity of whisky on this side of the mountains.
I hope we shall be furni.shed with a few hundred gal-
lons of liquor fit to be drank."


In 1780 the Indians beyond the Ghio had grown
alarmingly hostile and aggressive. Incited to their
bloody work by their allies in the North-
west, they were almost constantly ou the war-path,
crossing the Ohio at various points, making in-
cursions into the frontier settlements east of that
river, and assuming, in general, an attitude so menac-
ing to the white inhabitants west of the Laurel
Hill that it was regarded as absolutely necessary
to send out a strong expedition to meet and chasti-e
them in.their own country. Accordingly, with tlii-
object in view, in February, 1781, Gen. Washing-
ton issued orders to Gen. George Rogers Clarke
(who had achieved considerable renown by his suc-
cess in the command of an expedition against the
British posts between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
three years before) to raise an adequate force and pro-
ceed with it from Pittsburgh to the Falls of the Ohio
at Louisville ; thence to march to the Wabash, for the i
purpose indicated, and also to move, if practicable,
against the British posts on and near Lake Erie.

Clarke was a Virginia partisan, but, willing to en-
list men from Pennsylvania to make up his force, he
at once entered into correspondence with the Execu-
tive Council of this State to obtain its consent to the '
project, which he secured on the recommendation of
Christopher Hays, of Westmoreland County. Under '
this authority Clarke, on the 3d of June, 1781, ad-
dressed the " Council of Otficers" of Westmoreland
to secure their concurrence and assistance. The re-
stdt was that the matter was laid before the people of ■
Westmoreland County at a public meeting held for
the purpose on the 18th of June, which meeting and i
its proceedings were reported as follows : !

" Agreeable to a Publick notice given by Coll. '
Hays to the Principal Inhabitants of the County of
AV'estmoreland to meet at Cap' John McClellen's, ou
the 18'" Day of June, 1781.

" And W/mras, There was a number of the Princi-
pal people met on s" D.ay, and unanimously chose
John Proctor, John Pomroy, Charles Campbell, Sam'l
Moorhead, James Barr, Charles Foreman, Isaac Ma- ,
son [Meason], James Smith, and Hugh Martain a
Committee to Enter into resolves for the Defence of
our frontiers, as they were informed by Chris' Hays,



Esq', that their proceedings would be approv" of by

" 1". Resolved, That a Campaign be carried on with
Genl Clark.

" 2''. Jiesoh-fl, That Genl Clark be furnished with

men out of Pomroy's, Beard's, and Davises Bat-

"S'"^ lieso/fccl, That Coll. Arch'' Lochry gives
orders to s'' Colls, to raise their quota by Volunteers
or Draught.

"4""'. Resolved, That £6 be advanced to every vol-
luntier that marches under the command of Genl
Clark on the propos'' Campaign.

" 5'". And for the further Incouragement of Volun-
tier.^, that grain be raised by subscription by the Dif-
ferent Companies.

" 6""-''. That Coll. Lochry concil with the Officers of
Virginia respecting the manner of Draughting those
that associate in that State and others.

" 7'". Resolved, That Coll. Lochry meet Genl Clark
and other officers and Coll. Crawford on the 23''
Inst, to confer with them the day of Rendezvouse.
" Sign'' by or""' of Committee,

" John Peoctor, frest."

A meeting of militia officers had previously been
held (June 5th) at the Yohogania County court-
house (near Heath's, on the west side of the Monon-
gahela), at which a draft of one-fifth of the militia of
said county (which, according to the Virginia claim,
included the north half of Washington County, Pa.,
and all of Westmoreland as far south as the centre of
the present county of Fayette) was made for the ex-
pedition. The people, however, believing that the
territory claimed by Virginia as Yohogania County
was really in the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, denied
the authority of the Virginia officers, and refused to
submit to the draft until the question of jurisdiction
was definitely settled. But the public notice given by
Christopher Hays, as mentioned in the proceedings
of the Westmoreland County meeting, as also his
declaration to the people of Westmoreland and Wash-
ington, that he held in his hands money from the Ex-
ecutive Council to be expended for the protection of
the frontier, had the effect to quiet to a great extent,
though not entirely to allay, the dissatisfaction, and
the work of raising men in the two Pennsylvania
counties (or, as Gen. Clarke expressed it, in Yoho-
gania, Monongahela, and Ohio Counties, Va.) was
allowed to proceed, though not without strong protest.

The commander (under Gen. Clarke) of the men
raised in Westmoreland was Col. Archibald Lochry,
lieutenant and prothonotary of the county. On the
4th of August' he reported by letter to President

; departure Col. Locliry wrote Preside!

follows :

" MiEAiLES' Mill, Westmoeelaxii Cohxtt,
" August 4tli, 1781.
"HoxornED Sin,— Yesterday the Express arrived with your Excell-
ency's Lettei-s, whicli does singular Honour to our County to have the

Reed that he had left Westmoreland with Capt.
Thomas Stokely's company of Rangers and about
fifty volunteers, on liis way to join Gen. Clarke at the
rendezvous at Fort Henry (now Wheeling). After
liis departure Lochry's force was augmented to about
one hundred and ten men, in four small companies,
including those of Capts. Thomas Stokely,' John
Boyd, and Shearer (mentioned in some accounts as
Shannon), and a small body of horsemen under Capt.

Gen. Clarke had had his headquarters at Fort
Henry for several weeks, and from this base he pros-
ecuted his recruiting (or rather drafting) in the
Monongahela Valley. This business he carried on
with great vigor, and as it appears with very little
leniency towards those (and they were many) who
were inclined to deny the jurisdiction of Virginia.'
One of the many complaints made against his con-
duct in this particular was the following from James
Marshal, lieutenant of Washington County, em-
bodied in a letter written by him to President Reed,
Aug. 8, 1781, viz. :

"... As the manner in which the general and
his underlings have treated the people of this and
Westmoreland Counties has been so arbitrary and
unprecedented, I think it my duty to inform your
Excellency the particulars of a few facts. The first
instance was with one John Harden, in Westmore-
land, who, with a number of others, refused to be
drafted under the government of Virginia, alleging
they were undoubtedly in Pennsylvania, and declared
if that government ordered a draft they would obey
cheerfully, and accordingly elected their officers and
made returns thereof to Col. Cook. After this the
general, with a party of forty or fifty liorsemen, came
to Harden's in quest of him to hang him, as the gen-
eral himself declarecf ; but not finding the old gen-
tleman took and tied his son, broke open his mill, fed
away and destroyed upwards of one hundred and fifty
bushels of wheat, rye, and corn, killed his sheep and

npprohation of Council in our undertakings, and for which I hcg leave

"I am now on my Blanh
and about Fifty Vol II iit.-i s h

Fort Ilei

i it wu

. SloUely's Company of Rangers
unly. We shidl join Gen. Chii-k
•re His Army has lay for some
liave the Boats there, the Water


I Volu


some Insinuations been hindered from going,
very ill supplyed with Pi ovisious, as there has been no possil.ility uf I'lo-
curing Meat, particularly as our Money has not been in the Credit.
AVe have generally had Flour, but as I have kept the men constantly
Scouting it U hard for them to be without Meat. . . ."—Pa. Arch., 1781-
83, p. .■533.

2 Capt. Thomas Stokely was a resident of that part of Westmoreland
which then recently been erected into Washington Count •. The
greater part of bis men, liowever, were from the east side of the Monon-

3 Many of those people who had l>ecn willing and anxious for tho
establishment of Virginia's claim, so they might purchase their
lands from her at one-tenth part of the price demanded by the Pennsyl-
vania Land Officf, were now quite as ready to deny her right to diniand


hojs, and lived away at Mr. Harden's expense in
tliat manner for two or three days; declared his estate
forleited, but graciously gave it to his wife; formed
an article in which he bound all the inhabitants he
could laj- hands on or by any means prevail upon
to come in to him ; under the penalty of ten months
in the regular army, not to oppose the draft."

President Reed, in his reply' to Col. Marshal's
complaint, said, —

"... But while we utterly disapprove the irreg-
ularities and hardships which have been exercised
by him [Geu. Clarke] towards the inhabitants, we
cannot help fearing that too many, in consequence of
the unsettled state of boundaries, avail themselves of
a pretense to withhold tlicir services from the publick
at a time wlien they are most wanted, and when an
exertion would not only serve the country, but pro-
mote their own security. We cannot help also ob-
serving tliat, by letters received from the principal
gentlemen in Westmoreland, it seems evident they
approve of Gen. Clarke's expedition, and that the
lieutenants of both States united in the plan of raising
three hundred men for that service. As the state of
publick affairs Iiad not admitted your forming the
militia sufiiciently to concur in these measures, we
concluded that these resolutions would also include
your county, and even now are at a loss to account
for the dilTereut opinions entertained on the point by
the people of Westmoreland and AVashington Coun-

In a letter by Christopher Hays, of Westmoreland,
and Thomas Scott, of Washington County, to Presi-
dent Reed, dated " Westmoreland, August 15, 1781,"
they said, "... The truth of the matter is, the
General's Expedition has been wished well, and vol-
unteers to the service have been Incouraged by all
with whom we corispond; but we have heartily repro-
bated the General's Standing over these two counties
with armed force, in order to dragoon the Inhabitants
into obedience to a draft under the laws of Virginia,
or rather under the arbitrary orders of the officers of
that Government, without any orders from Virginia
for that purpose, and this is really the part the Gen-
eral hath acted, or rather the use which has been
made of him in this country."

" With resjiect to Gen. Clarke's Proceedings," said
President licad, in liis reply to the above, "we can
only say that l.c l;a- no authority from us to draft
Jlilitia, mucli les^ to cm rrise those acts of Distress
which y.m havo hinted at, and which (ither letters
more partiri:':rlv nimuerate. His Expedition ap-
pears to us lav(jraMe f.r the Fn.ntieiv-, as carrying
Hostilities into the Indian Country, nitlier tlian "rest-
ing totally on the defen-ive. We liiid tlie ( lent!, men
of Westmoreland, howt'ver dillerent in otlur Things,
to have agreed in Opinion that his Expedition de-
served encouragement. ..."

Col. Lochry, with his force, increased to about one
hundred and ten men, proceeded to the rendezvous at
Fort Henry, as before mentioned, expecting there to
join Gen. Clarke ; but on arriving there he found
that the general had gone down the river the day be-
fore, leaving Major Crayeroft with a few men and a
boat for the transportation of the horses, but without
either provisions or ammunition, of which they had
but a very insufficient supply. Clarke had, however,
promised to await their arrival at the mouth of the
Kanawha; but on reaching that point they found
that he had been obliged, in order to prevent desertion
among his men, to proceed down the river, leaving
only a letter affixed to a pole directing them to follow.
Their provisions and forage were nearly exhausted ;
there was no source of supply but the stores conveyed
by Clarke ; the river was very low, and as they were
unacquainted with the channel, they could not hope to
overtake the main body. Under these embarrassing
circumstances Col. Lochry dispatched Capt. Shearer
with four men in a small boat, with the hope of over- :
taking Gen. Clarke and of securing supplies, leaving
his (Shearer's) company under command of Lieut.
Isaac Anderson, Before Shearer's party had pro-
ceeded far they were taken prisoners by Indians, who
also took from them a letter to Gen. Clarke, informing
him of the condition of Lochry's party.

About the same time Lochry captured a party of
nineteen deserters from Clarke's force. These he
afterwards released, and they immediately joined the
Indians. The savages had before been apprised of
the expedition, but they had supposed that the forces
of Clarke and Lochry were together, and as they knew
that Clarke had artillery, they had not attempted an
attack. But now, by the capture of Shearer's party,
with the letters, and by the intelligence brought to
them by the deserters, they for the iirst time learned
of the weakness and exposed situation of Lochry's com-
mand, and they at once determined on its destruction.

Collecting in force some miles below the mouth
of the Great Jliami River, they placed their prison-
ers (Shearer's party) in a conspicuous position on the
north shore of the Ohio, near the head of Lochry's
Island, with the promise to them that their lives
should be spared if they would hail Lochry's men as
they came down and induce them to land. But in
the mean time. Col. Lochry, wearied by the slow
progress made, and in despair of overtaking Clarke,'
landed on the 24th of August, at about ten o'clock iu
the morning, on the same shore, at an inlet which
has since borne the name of Lochry's Creek," a short
distance above the place where the Indians were await-
ing them. At this point the horses were taken on shore
and turned loose to feed. One of the men had killed
a buffalo, and all, except a few set to guard the

= Tliis ciDck eniplips into the Ohio, nine or ten miles below the mouth
of the ^liami. Lochry's Island, near the head of which the prisonera
were jilaceil by the Indi:nis to decoy their friends on shore, is three miles



j horses, were engaged around the fires which they
I had kindled in preparing a meal from it. Suddenly
a volley blazed forth on them from a wooded bluff,
' and simultaneously a large force of Indians appeared
I and rushed to attack them. The men, thus surprised,
seized their arms and bravely defended themselves as
long as their ammunition lasted. Then they attempted
to escape by their boats, but these were unwieldy, the
water was very low, and tlie party, too much weakened
! to avail themselves of this method of escape, and
[being wholly unable to make further resistance, sur-
j rendered to the savages, who at once proceeded to the
j work of massacre. They killed Col. Lochry and sev-
' eral others of the prisoners, but were restrained from
further butchery by the timely arrival of their chief,'
who declared that he disapproved of their conduct,
but said he was unable wholly to control his men,
who were eager to revenge the acts of Col. Brodhead
against the Indians on the Muskingum a few months

The party which Col. Lochry surrendered to the
Indians consisted of but sixty-four men, forty-two
having been killed. The Indians engaged numbered
over three hundred of various tribes, but principally
those of the Six Nations. They divided the plunder
among them in proportion to the numbers of each
tribe engaged. On the next day the prisoners were
inarched to the Delaware towns, where they were
met l)y a party of British and Indians, who said they
were on their way to the Falls of the Ohio to attack
Gen. Clarke. The prisoners were separated and
taken to different places of captivity at the Indian
towns, and there they remained (excepting a few who
escaped) until the close of the Revolutionary strug-
gle. After the preliminary articles of peace had been
signed (Nov. 30, 1782) they were ransomed by the
British officers in command of the Northern posts
and were sent to Canada,' to be exchanged for British

1 It Ims been BtHted that the chief in command of this Indian party
vras tlie famuns Cupt. Brant, and tliat he afterwards professed mucli re-
gret for tlie massncro of Lochry and his men.

~ TIio following memorial of escaped prisoners helonging to Col. Loch-
rj-'s command was presented to the Supreme Executive Council, ad-
dressed to President Bloore (and indorsed July 3, ITSJ), viz.:

"Sir, — We, tlio subscrihers, Inhabitants of llie County of Westmore-
land, beg leave to represent to your Excellency and Council that we had
the misfortune to be made prisoners of by tlie Indians on the 24th of
August last and carried to Montreal, and there kept in close confine-
ment till the 2Glh of May last, when we were so fortunate as to make
uur escape, and after a long and fatigueing nuirch tlirough the Wilder-
Ae got to this City yesterday at three o'Clock. As we are at present
destitute of both Money and Cloatlies, without which we cmnot go
home, We pray your Exc'y and Council to take our case into Considera-
tion, and order us our i-ay from the lime we were made pri-oncrs to
this. We were under the comnuind of Colo. Longhcry when taken, and
have a list of all those, both officers and privates, who are now prisoners
of that parly, which, together with Ruch information as is in our power,
e ready to give for the satisfaction of your Exc'y and Council.
"We have the Honour to be

" Your Excellency's nble Serv"

"Isnc Andeksox,
*' Lieut. Capt, Sheerey^s Ompany Rangers.


"Xn(c Qttnrleriii'tstrr to Colonct Lnchiij."

prisoners in the hands of the Americans. In the
spring of 1783 they sailed from Quebec to New York,
and from there returned home by way of Philadel-
phia, having been absent twenty-two months. But
more than one-half of those who went down the
Ohio with Col. Lochry never again saw their homes
in the Monongahela and Youghiogheny "Valleys.

Besides the command of Col. Lochry, there also
went out in Clarke's expedition another company of
men raised in Westmoreland County (principally in
that part which is now Fayette), under command of
Capt. Benjamin Whaley,^ the company being largely
recruited by Lieut, (afterwards colonel) James PauU.
This force embarked in flat-boats on the Mononga-
hela at Elizabethtown, and being joined at Pitts-
burgh by Capt. Isaac Craig's artillery, proceeded with
other troops down the river to the appointed rendez-
vous at the Falls of the Ohio, arriving there late in
the month of August. But the other forces failing to
assemble at that jjoint the expedition was abandoned,
and Capts. Whaley and Craig, with their commands,
returned on foot through the wilderness of Kentucky
and Virginia, encountering innumerable perils and
hardships, and being more than two months on the
homeward journey. Their arrival, as also the terrible
disaster to Col. Lochry's command, was announced by
Gen. Irvine (who had in the mean time succeeded
Col. Brodhead in the command of the Western De-
partment) in a letter to Gen. Washington, dated Fort
Pitt, Dec. 2, 1781, as follows :

"... Capt. Craig, with the detachment of artillery,
returned here on the 26th inst. [ult?J ... A Col.
Lochry, of Westmoreland County, Pa., with about one
hundred men in all, composed of volunteers and a
company raised by Pennsylvania for the defense of
that county, started to join Gen. Clarke, who, it is
said, ordered him to unite with him (Clarke) at the
mouth of the Miami, up which river it was previously
designed to proceed ; but the general, having changed
his plan, left a small party at the Miami, with direc-
tions to Lochry to follow him to the mouth of the

"We, the Subscribers, would beg leave to represent the Situation of
Honery Dungan, Serg« of Captn John Boyd's Company, and Robert Wat-
son, .Tuhn M:un. and Mich. Han-, .,f Capt. T!..,s. Stok.dy's Compy of

(Signed) " John Bovn,

" O'pfii "/ Hungers S. P.
"Thomas Sroiir.i.v,

" Capt. of Hangers S. P."
—reunn. Arrl,., 17S1-8.'?, pp. T33-34.

Among the prisoners taken from Lorhi v's command by the Indians
were Melchoir Baker, Eohert Bi-hmiI i !,it ,. i mI Basil Brownflehl),
both of Fayette County; also p. in- M .r - II known in Union-

3 Father of Capt- James Whal-.y. I t W.y ti. ( >,in,t\, who was an officer
in service in the war of 1S12-13.



Falls. Sundry accounts agree that this party, and all
of Lochry's troops to a man, were waylaid by the In-
dians and British (for it is said they had artillery),
and all killed or taken, not a man escaping, either to
join Gen. Clarke or to return home. When Capt.
Craig left the general he would not be persuaded but
that Lochry with his party had returned home. These
misfortunes throw the people of this county into the
greatest consternation, and almost despair, particularly
Westmoreland County; Luchry's party being all the
best men of their frontier. At the present they talk
of flying early in the spring to the eastern side of tlie
mountains, and are daily flocking to me to inquire
what support they may expect."


THE UEVOLUTIOX— (0,>.(/,nie-7).
■WiHiiinison'fi E.xpcilitiou— Cmwfurd's Sandusky Expedilion.

The unsuccessful campaign of Gen. Clarke down

the Ohio was followed by two expeditions sent from
AVcstern Pennsylvania against some settlements or
villases on the ]\Iuskingum occupied by Indian con-
verts, usually kmiwn as the Moravian Indians.

r>otli thcsu rx]icilitious were under command of
Col. David Williamson, of Washington County, and
were made up of volunteers IVnm the region between

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 19 of 193)