The Draper's Meadows Massacre of 1755

The French and Indian War was underway in 1755 with colonial forces attacking the French in Nova Scotia, New York and on the Ohio River.  On the Ohio River, operations were conducted by General Edward Braddock who had arrived earlier in 1755 from England with two regiments of regular British army.  Braddock marched an army of British soldiers and colonial militia to Pennsylvania to attack the French at Fort Duquesne, however, his army was ambushed by the French and Indians and defeated.

From A History of the Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory by David E. Johnston (1906):
As a result of Braddock's defeat, the whole frontier of Western Virginia was thrown open to the ravages of the Indians, who crossed the Alleghanies and pushed into Augusta, the lower Valley and New River settlements, torturing and murdering men, women and children.  Such was the distress occasioned by these butcheries that Washington in one of his letters to Governor Dinwittie says, "The supplicating tears of the women and the moving petitions of the men melt me into such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare that if I know my own mind I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that it would contribute to the people's ease."
During all the years, beginning with the year 1753 to 1763 the Indians continued their barbarities along the Virginia border.  We must now turn to events transpiring in the New River valley.
Notwithstanding that Drapers Meadows settlement was far from the Ohio, and apparently safe from any probability of attack from any quarter, and although these settlers must have been aware that war was then being waged by the Indians against the whites, they took no reasonable precaution for their safety, but on Sunday, the 8th day of July, 1755, the day before Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela, they permitted themselves to be surprised by a band of marauding Shawnees from North of the Ohio, who killed, wounded and captured every person present.  The killed were Colonel James Patton, Mrs. George Draper, Casper Barrier, and a child of John Draper, James Cull; wounded, Mrs. William Ingles, Mrs. John Draper and Henry Leonard, captured.  After putting their plunder and the women and children on horses, they set fire to the buildings, and with their prisoners began their retreat to the Ohio, passing on their way, and not far from the scene of the tragedy, the house of Philip Barger, an old white haired man, whose head they cut off, put in a bag, and took it with them to the house of Philip Lybrook at the mouth of Sinking Creek,and where they left it, telling Mrs. Lybrook to look in the bag and she would find an acquaintance.The morning of the attack upon the settlers of Drapers Meadows Colonel Patton had sent his nephew, young William Preston, over to Philip Lybrook's, on Sinking Creek, to get him to come over and help next day with the harvest, which was ready to cut.    Preston and Lybrook instead of following the river, crossed the mountains, probably by the place where Newport, in Giles County, is now situated, and thus doubtless escaped death or capture.  Of the facts and circumstances attending the attack on this settlement, the killing, wounding and capture of all present, of the journey of the prisoners to Ohio, the escape and return home of Mrs. Ingles, the writer is largely indebted to the authentic, pathetic account by the late Dr. John P. Hale, of Charleston, West Virginia, in his book "Trans-Alleghany Pioneers."

James Scaggs and his "Long Hunter" sons were living on Meadow Creek at this time.  Most of the settlers in the area evacuated to the Carolinas after the Draper's Meadows Massacre.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most Popular Posts