Page images

must fight, or we are undone." But no one made an answer. He said, "then let ns kill all our women and children, and go and fight till we die." But none would answer. At length he rose and struck his tomahawk in the post in the centre of the town-house: "I'll go," said he, " and make peace;" and then the warriors all grunted out, " ough, ough, ough," and runners were instantly dispatched to the governor's army to solicit a pence, and the interposition of the governor on their behalf.

When he made his speech in council with us, he seemed to be impressed with an awful premonition of his approaching fate; for he repeatedly said, " When I was a young man and went to war, I thought that might be the last time, and I would return no more. Now I am here among you; you may kill me if you please; I can die but once; and it is all one to me, now or another time." This declaration concluded every sentence of his speech. He was killed about one hour after our council.

There is living upon Thirteen Mile creek, Mr. Jesse Van Bebber, an aged pioneer in this county. His life, like his own mountainstream, was rough and turbulent at its commencement; but as it nears its close, calm and peaceful, beautifully reflecting the Christian virtues. From conversation with him, we gathered many interesting anecdotes and incidents, illustrating the history of this region, some of which here follow:

Battle of Point Pleasant. —During the action, those troops from the more eastern part of the state, unaccustomed to fighting with the Indians, were all the day engaged m making a breastwork at the junction of the Kanawha with the Ohio, so that the army, if defeated, should have a secure retreat. Ignorant of how the action would terminate, they worked as if for their lives, and before the day was finished had a strong fortification erected. When the alarm was given that the Indians were near, Gen. Lewis deliberately lighted his pipe, and then coolly gave the orders to his brother, Col. Chas Lewis, to advance upon them. The soldiers in Col. Fleming's regiment used a stratagem that proved very effectual. They concealed themselves behind trees, and then held out their hats, which the Indians mistakingly shot at The hat being at once dropped, the Indian would run out from his covert to scalp his victim, and thus met a sure death from the tomahawk of his adversary. The whites in this action being all backwoodsmen, were more successful marksmen than the savages; a fact in part owing to the want of the mechanical skill in the Indians, requisite to keeping their rides in order. At the close of the action, the Indians went off hallooing, as if coming on to renew the attack. This stratagem deceived the whites, and enabled them to retreat in.more safety. They recrossed the Ohio on rafts, three miles above, near the old Shawanee town.

Fort at-Point Pleasant.—A fort was erected at Point Pleasant just after the battle, at the mouth of the Kanawha. It was a rectangular stockade, about eighty yards long, with blockhouses at two of its corners. It was finally destroyed, aud a smaller one erected about fifty rods further up the Ohio, on the site of the store of James Capehart. It was composed of a circle of cabins, in which the settlers lived.

Eulen s Leap.—In the spring of '88 or '89, Ben Eulen, who was then insane, was out hunting in the woods below Point Pleasant, when he was discovered and pursued by an Indian. He threw away his rifle, an elegant silver-mounted piece, to arrest the attention of the Indian, and gain time. The Indian stopped to pick it up. Eulen unexpectedly came to a precipice, and fell head foremost through a buckeye, struck a branch, which turned him over, and he came upon his feet. The fall was fifty-three feet perpendicular. He then leaped another precipice of twelve feet in height, and escaped.

Anecdotes of the Van Bebhers.—A few years after the close of the revolution, a daughter of Capt. John Van Bebber, named Rhoda, aged 17, and Joseph Van Bebber, a young lad of V.i, a brother of our informant, had crossed over in a canoe one morning, to the west side of the Ohio, opposite Point Pleasant, on an errand to Rhoda's father, then living temporarily in a house that side of the stream, when a party of Indians suddenly made their appearance. Dave, a black man belonging to Capt. Van Bebber, gave the alarm, and rushed into the house. The Indians attacked the house, but were driven off by Dave and Capt. Van Bebber, with the loss of two or three of their number. Joseph and Rhoda, in their terror, hastened to the canoe, whither the Indians pursued them, killed and scalped the young lady, and took Joseph a prisoner to Detroit. Rhoda's scalp the Indians divided into two, and sold them to the Indian traders at Detroit for $30 each; their object in purchasing them was to encourage the savages in their incursions, Bo as to prevent a settlement of the country by the whites, and thus monopol'ze the Indian trade. Joseph afterwards stated that the barrel in which the scalps were put was nearly full of the horrid trophies. He remained with the Indians two years, during which he learned their language, and acted as interpreter between them and the traders. He at length made his escape, and lived with a trader until after Wayne's victory, when he returned home. While at Detroit, he became acquainted with the notorious Simon Girty, then a British pensioner for services in the revolution. He said Girty was an af. fable man, but extremely intemperate. Girty denied to him that he was the instigator of the death of Col. Crawford; but that he went so far to save him that his own life was in danger.

In the fall of '88 or '89, Matthias Van Bebber, aged 18, and Jacob, aged 12 years, were out a short distance from Point Pleasant, with a horse, when they were waylaid by four Indians. Jacob was leading the horse, and Matthias was a short distance ahead, with a rifle across his shoulder, when the Indians fired two guns at Matthias. One of the balls struck him over the eyes, and rendered him momentarily blind; he sprang one side, and fell into a gully. The boy Jacob, on hearing the report of the guns, fled, and three of the Indians went in pursuit Matthias, in the mean time, sprang up and took to a tree. The remaining Indian did the same. Matthias brought up his gun to an aim, the Indian dodged, and the former took the opportunity and escaped into the fort. The Indians, after a tight chase of half a mile, caught the lad, who, being very active, would have escaped had his moccasins not been too large. The Indians retreated across the Ohio with their prisoner. He was a sprightly little fellow, small of his age, and the Indians, pleased with him, treated him kindly. On the first night of their encampment, they took him on their knees, and sang to him. He turned away his head to conceal his tears. On arriving at their town, while running the gauntlet between the children of the place, one Indian boy, much larger than himself, threw a bone, which struck him on the head. Enraged by the pain, Jacob drew back, and.running with all his force, batted him over, much to the amusement of the Indian warriors. He was adopted into an Indian family, where he was used with kindness. On one occasion his adopted father whipped him, though slightly, which affected his Indian mother and sister to tears. After remaining with the Indians about a year, he escaped, and for five days travelled through the wilderness to his home. When he had arrived at maturity, he was remarkable for his fleetness. None of the Indians who visited the Point could ever equal him in that respect.

Indian incursion.—In May, 1791, a party of eighteen whites were attacked by about thirty Indians, about one mile north of the fort at Point Pleasant, near tho field now belonging to David Long. The whites were defeated. Michael See and Robert Sinclair were killed. Hampton and Thomas Northrop, and a black boy, belonging to See, were taken prisoners. This boy was a son of Dick Pointer, who acted so bravely a few years before at the attack on Donnally's fort, in Greenbrier. He became an Indian chief, and in the late war with Great Britain took part with the friendly Indians against the enemy.



Marshall was formed in 1835, from Ohio county, and named from Chief-Justice Marshall: it is about 20 miles long and 18 wide. The surface is uneven and mountainous; the mountains rise, in many places, 300 and 400 feet above the level of the Ohio, and are cultivated frequently on their summits and part way down their slopes—the soil there being often nearly as rich as the river bottoms. The wild lands of the county are valued from $3 to $8 per acre; the cultivated mountain, from $15 to $20; and the river bottom, on the Ohio and the streams generally, from $30 to $40. Pop., whites 6,854, slaves 46, free colored 37 ; total, 6,937

Grave Creek is situated upon' a plain on the Ohio, 12 miles helow Wheeling, at the mouth of Grave Creek. It is divided into two distinct villages. Elizabethtown, the upper village, is the county-seat; the lower village is called Moundsville. Unitedly they contain 1 newspaper printing office, 2 mercantile stores, a classical academy, an extensive steam flouring-mill, and a population of about 1,200. West Union, 16 miles Ne. of the C. H., near the Pennsylvania line, contains a few dwellings.


Grave Creek was first settled in 1770, by Joseph Tomlinson, an emigrant from Maryland. In 1772, he discovered the mammoth mound at this place; and about this time several other families from Maryland emigrated here. During the succeeding years, the inhabitants suffered considerably from the Indians, and erected forts for their security.

About four miles above the village of Grave Creek, on the bank of the Ohio, is a monument bearing the following inscription:

This humble stone is erected to the memory of Capt. Foreman and twenty-one of Ha men, who were slain by a band of ruthless savages—the allies of a civilized nation ol Europe— on the 25th of Sept., 1777.

So sleep the brave who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest.

The account of the massacre which the monument is designed to commemorate, is thus given in a communication to the American Pioneer:

About the time of the attack at Wheeling, which occurred in September, (1777,) Capt- foreman and his men were surprised at the head of Grave creek narrows; the account of which event, as given in the Border Warfare, differs somewhat from the way Robin Harkness, my uncle, related it, who was with Capt. Foreman at the time. I will, therefore, give it as related by him. A smoke was discovered down the river in the direction of the fort at Grave creek, which induced those at Wheeling to believe that the Indians had not yet left the country, and that the fort at Grave creek had been set on fire. In order to make discoveries, on the 25th of September Capt. Foreman, with 45 men, set out for Grave creek. Having arrived there, and seeing the fort standing, and discovering no signs of the Indians, they returned. On arriving at the foot of the Nar. rows, a contention arose between Capt. Foreman and a man by the name of Lynn, who had been sent with him as a spy, about which road they should take, the river or ridge. Lynn urged the probability of the Indians having been on the opposite shore, and had more than likely seen them pass down ; and the most likely place for waylaying them was in the narrows, and therefore urged the necessity of going the ridge road. Foreman, being indisposed to take the counsel of Lynn, proceeded along the base of the hill. During the contention, Robin Harkness sat upon a log, having very sore eyes at the time, and took no part in the dispute ; but when Capt. Foreman started, he followed him. Lynn, however, with seven or eight other fivnticrs-mcn, went the ridge road. While passing along a narrow bottom at the head of the narrows, the foremost of Capt. Foreman's men picked up some Indian trinkets, which immediately excited a suspicion that Indians were near, which caused a halt Before them some five or six Indians stepped into the path, and behind them about the same number; and at the same moment a fire was poured in upon them from a line of Indians under cover of the river bank, and not over fifteen steps from the white men. Those that escaped the first fire fired up the hill; but it being steep and difficult to climb, they were exposed for some time to the fire of the Indians. Lynn and his comrades, hearing the fire when they were below them on the ridge, ran along until opposite They then proceeded to the brink of the hill, where they saw a man ascending near them, who had got nearly to the top when he received a shot in his thigh, which broke it. Lynn and his comrades ran down and lifted him up, carried him over the hill, and hid him under a cleft of rocks, and then proceeded to Wheeling. As Robin Harkness was climbing the hill near the top, and pulling himself up by a bush, a ball struck it and knocked the bark off against him, which alarmed him, as he supposed it to be the ball; he however proceeded on and • escaped unhurt. In this fatal ambuscade, twenty-one of Capt. Foreman's party were killed, and several much wounded: among the slain were Capt. Foreman and his two sons. The Indian force was never ascertained; but it was supposed to have been the same party that attacked Fort Henry, at Wheeling, which was supposed to have been upwards of 300 strong. On the ensuing day, the inhabitants of the neighborhood of Wheeling, under the direction of Col. Zane, proceeded to the fatal spot to bury those who had fallen, and at the same time to get the man who was wounded and hid under the rocks, who was still alive and finally recovered.

Within a quarter of a mile from the Ohio, on the river flats at Grave Creek, in full view of the passing steamers, is the mammoth mound. On the summit is an observatory, erected by Mr. A. B. Tomlinson in 1837. From his communication in the American Pioneer, we derive the following facts:

The Mammoth Mound is 69 feet high, and about 900 feet in circumference at its base. It is a frustum of a cone, and has a flat top of about 50 feet in diameter. This flat, until lately, was slightly depressed—occasioned, it is supposed, by the falling in of two vaults below. A few years since a white oak, of about 70 feet in height, stood on the summit of the mound, which appeared to die of age. On carefully cutting the trunk transversely, the number of concentric circles showed that it was about 500 years old.

In 1838, Mr. Tomlinson commenced at the level of the surrounding ground, and ran in an excavation horizontally 111 feet, when he came to a vault that had been excavated in the earth before the mound was commenced. This vault was 12 feet long, 8 wide, and 7 in height It was dry as any tight room. Along each side and the two ends, stood upright timbers, which had supported transverse timbers forming the ceiling. Orer the timbers had been placed unhewn stone; but the decay of the timbers* occasioned the fall of the stones and the superincumbent earth, so as to nearly fill the vault, la this vault were found two skeletons, one of which was devoid of ornament—the other was surrounded by 650 ivory beads, resembling button-moles, and an ivory ornament of about six inches in length, which is one inch and five eighths wide in the centre, half an inch wide at the ends, and on one side flat and on the other oval-shaped. A singular white exudation of animal matter overhangs the roof of this vault.


The Mammoth Mound at Grave Creek.

Another excavation was commenced at the top of the mound downwards. Midw>7 between the top and bottom, and over the vault above described, a second and similar vault was discovered, and, like that, caved in by the falling of the ceiling, timbers, stones, &c. In the upper vault was found the singular hieroglyphical stone bereaiter described, 1700 ivory beads, 500 sea-shells of the involute species, that were worn as beads, and five copper bracelets about the wrists of the skeleton. The shells and beads were about the neck and breast of the skeleton, and there were also about 150 pieces of isinglass strewed over the body.

The mound is composed of the same kind of earth as that around it, being ll fine loamy sand, but differs very much in color from that of the natural ground. After penetrating about eight feet with the first or horizontal excavation, blue spots began toappe" in the earth of which the mound is composed. On close examination, these spots were found to contain ashes and bits of burnt bones. These spots increased as they approached the centre: at the distance of 120 feet within, the spots were so numerous and condensed as to give the earth a clouded appearance, and excited the admiration of all wft0 saw it. Every part of the mound presents the same appearance, except near the suf' face. The blue spots were probably occasioned by depositing the remains of bodies consumed by fire.

In addition to the relics in the mammoth mound, there has been a great number and variety of relics found in the neighborhood: many of them were discovered with skeletons which were nearly decayed. Mr. Tomlinson has some beads, found about two

* At the top and bottom, where the timbers had been plsecd, were particle* of ehtrrml—an "^^"^ that fire, instead of iron, had been osod in severing the wood. This fines to show that the con^tra(*wr* of the mound were not acquainted with the use of iron; and the fact that none of that met-il Wmm** In the vault, strongly corrobomtes the opinion. rVmie of the stones were water-worn, probably fmm ^ river; others were Identical with a whet-stone quarry on the Ohio side of the river, two mile* norm.— H. H.

« PreviousContinue »