Fisher Family Genealogy

"The Lochry Expedition," The Pathfinders of Jefferson County, Vol. 6, No. 2 & 3, 140-148

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  • Title "The Lochry Expedition," The Pathfinders of Jefferson County, Vol. 6, No. 2 & 3, 140-148 
    Short Title "The Lochry Expedition," The Pathfinders of Jefferson County, Vol. 6, No. 2 & 3, 140-148 
    Author Compiled by W. H. Hunter 
    Publisher Steubenville, OH: Steubenville Gazette, April-July 1898 
    Repository Ohio History Connection 
    Source ID S429 
    Text (page 140) —————

    VI. The Lochry Expedition - Those Taking Part are Inveigled to Shore by Indians and British and all but Two Killed out of 106 - Capt. Thomas Stokely, Father of Gen. Samuel Stokely, Escapes - He was to have been Burned at the Stake, but is saved by Giving the Masonic Sign of Distress - The Massacre of Lochry's Men an Exciting Cause of the Massacre of the Moravian Indians by the Friends of Lochry from  Western Pennsylvania - The Gnadenhutten Expedition of Col. Williamson - The Life of a Moravian Indian Maiden Saved by a Jefferson County Settler who Makes Her His Wife - A Respectable Family of the County a Result of the Union Story of Sweet Corn - A Defense of Williamson and His Men - The Last Victim of Indian Revenge a Resident of Jefferson County.

    What is known as the Lochry expedition, organized in Westmoreland county, Pa., in the spring of 1781, by Col. Archibald Lochry, the county lieutenant, under direction of Col. Crawford, has a very close association with the history of Jefferson county. Information of this expedition has been difficult to obtain. In searching the Archives of Pennsylvania, the compiler of these sketches, although aided by Dr. Egle, the painstaking historian and librarian of the state of Pennsylvania, has been able to gather only fragments which, put together, make one of the strongest indictments against the humanity of the British. It was one of the most disastrous expeditions of the Revolutionary period in the west, nearly all of the one hundred and six men in it having been massacred in the most cruel way by the Indians under the British flag and having in their possession British cannon, and, it is supposed, were commanded by a white man. As has been stated, the expedition was organized in 1781, the object being to accompany George Rogers Clark on an expedition to Detroit, where all the Indian enterprises to destroy the settlers were concocted by Gov. Hamilton. Under Col. Lochry was Capt. Thomas Stokely, the progenitor of the noted Stokely family of Steubenville, the father of Gen. Samuel Stokely; Capt. Boyd and Capt.

    (page 141) —————

    Orr. The ensign of Capt. Orr's company was Cyrus Hunter, the great-grandfather of the compiler. One account says that Lochry was to have met Clark at Fort Henry, and failing to arrive on time, was left word to follow down the river. Another account says that the mouth of the Big Miami was fixed as the place of rendezvous, but was subsequently changed to the Falls of the Ohio. On July 25 Col. Lochry and his command set out for Fort Henry, where they embarked in boats for their destination, the place of rendezvous. They passed down the Ohio to a point a few miles below the Big Miami, now Aurora, Ind., where they were inveigled to shore by the supposed friendly statement that Clark had camped there. "They were suddenly and unexpectedly assailed by a volley of rifle balls from an overhanging bluff, covered with large trees, on which the Indians had taken possession in great force." Col. Lochry and forty-one of his command were killed or wounded by the volley and the remainder were captured, most of whom were killed and scalped while prisoners. The supposition is that only two escaped, for Capt. Stokely and Capt. Boyd were the only two who turned up in Philadelphia, where they applied for clothing and means by which they could return to Westmoreland county. Col. Lochry was afterwards killed by a tomahawk while sitting on a fallen tree by an Indian, he having been wounded by the volley. Capt. Stokely gave an account of the expedition to his son Samuel, who afterward became Gen. Stokely, one of the noblemen of the Scotch-Irish race, and an early settler of Steubenville, a man of fine presence, gentle manners and of wide influence. As he was a man of literary attainments it was thought that he wrote the narrative as related by his father, but if he did do this service for posterity, the document cannot be found. But he in turn handed down the story through his son, M. S. Stokely, of Duluth, from whose lips the compiler received it. Capt. Stokely was wounded by the volley fired by the savages just after the boat landed, but fearing he would be killed if he showed evidences of disability, he assumed to be sound and was permitted to accompany the Indians on their march to Detroit. On the way, however, they camped and made preparations to burn him at the stake, under

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    protection of the British flag, under whose standard they committed the cruelties that to this day fill the world with horror. Stokely was tied to the stake and the fire lighted, when he made the Masonic sign of distress. He was immediately taken from the stake and permitted to accompany the Indians. However, with Capt. Boyd he succeeded in making his escape, and a year after appeared before the council of war in Philadelphia, and it is recorded in the Archives of Pennsylvania that the two men "appeared before the council and, stating that they were refugees, were given provisions and clothing to aid them on their way to Westmoreland county." The Masonic sign as a means of relief from Indian torture is questioned by historians. Dr. Egle says he never heard of but one authentic case of an Indian recognizing the Masonic sign; this was a Canadian Indian. The grandson of Capt. Stokely says that he had always understood from his father's narrative of the story that the Indian chief with the party that massacred Col. Lochry and his soldiers was a Canadian Indian, and if the Canadian Indians were Masons, the story has foundation. Besides it is known that the Indians that inveigled Lochry and his brave men to disembark at the mouth of the Miami, were commanded by a white man, perhaps he was a British officer sent out by the brutal Hamilton from Detroit, for the officers at Detroit kept in touch with all the patriot expeditions by means of Indian spies. Since the above was prepared for the press, the compiler has received further information about the Lochry expedition from Hon. C. A. Hanna, Treasurer of the Chicago Postoffice, who has in course of preparation an elaborate record of the pioneer families of Pennsylvania. Ensign Hunter must have returned as he left a manuscript account of the expedition. There were from 104 to 110 men in the Lochry command, of whom thirty-six privates and five officers were killed. The most of the remainder returned. James R. Albach's Annals of the West, Pittsburg, 1857, states that "More than half the number who left Pennsylvania under Col. Lochry returned." "This statement is derived from a manuscript of Gen. Orr of Kittanning, written from the recollection of his father, Captain

    (page 143 ) —————

    Orr, who was in the party, and is corroborated by a manuscript of Ensign Hunter, who was also a sharer in it." (See note p. 148.) This massacre had much to do with bringing about the massacre of the Christian Indians at Gnadenhutten on March 7, 1782, for which the British were wholly responsible. In fact it was planned by the British at Detroit. The hostile Indians, who were the allies of the British, had captured the missionaries having the Moravian Indians in charge, and, with the Christian Indians, had taken them to Sandusky on a trumped-up charge. The winter following was a very severe one and provisions ran short. About one hundred of the Christian Indians were permitted to return to the Tuscarawas valley to gather corn left growing when they were taken away. At the same time warriors were sent out to murder the whites in the valley to incense the Americans against the Indians, knowing that they would organize and make cause against the Christian Indians in the Tuscarawas valley. These red warriors crossed the river at Steubenville and committed all sorts of awful depredations against the settlers, among them the murder of Mrs. Wallace and her babe. The plan laid by the British at Detroit was carried out. Other depredations were committed in western Virginia and Pennsylvania. Prisoners were taken by Indians claiming to be Moravians. The government also suspected the Moravians with being very intimate with the British and furnishing information. Col. Williamson hastily organized an expedition against the Indians who had committed the depredations, no doubt having also in mind the massacre of Lochry and his command. There were ninety men in the command when they organized at Mingo, on March 2, 1782. The result of this expedition fills a black page in history. The British no doubt thought the massacre of the Christian Indians a most diabolical deed. Col. Williamson with his men marched to the Tuscarawas, and finding the Indians there and in possession of Mrs. Wallace's bloody garments naturally supposed that the Christian Indians had murdered her, just as the British at Detroit had planned they would. There has been much written against Col. Williamson and the "murder" of the Christian Indians; but those who reproach his memory do

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    not appreciate the conditions then existing. The pioneer to whom we owe everything is entitled to every doubt. He knew the treacherous nature of the Indian as well as of the British, and it was natural and especially during the border warfare of the Revolution, to suspect every Indian and trust none of them, Christian or otherwise; the British were Christians, and they were not trusted, and why should a savage under the flag of Britain be trusted simply because he professed Christianity? The pioneer who made this valley a home of peace for those who came after him, is worthy an enduring monument on every hill and in every valley, instead of clouding his memory with the charge of murder. When we celebrate the wonderful achievements of the pioneer fathers we should rejoice in their bravery, in their fortitude, in their endurance and steadfastness of purpose. They were wonderful men, the like of whom this country will never see more. The sentimentality that has been wasted on the Moravian Indians and the reproach cast upon Col. Williamson and his pioneer soldiers, as brave men as ever aimed the long rifle at the savage and made that aim count in one less British ally, has its parallel in the pioneer struggles in Pennsylvania, where the Indians would commit depredations on the hardy settlers, and then seek safety among the Quakers, who seemed to think it all right for the Indians to kill and destroy, but when the Paxtang boys, as they were known, undertook to retaliate, they were charged with murder, and to this day the Quaker writers have cast a cloud over the memory of these brave men, that it seems impossible to efface. It is a fact that a family named Haverstock residing in that part of Jefferson county now Belmont county, is descended in direct succession from the Indians of the Moravian settlement at Gnadenhutten. The grandmother of the present Haverstocks was an Indian maiden named "Sweet Corn," and was in the field gathering corn with the other unfortunate members of her tribe, on the morning preceding the ill-fated day. As has been stated, the Moravians had been carried to "Captive's Town" in Wyandot county, the preceding fall, by order of the British authorities at Detroit, on suspicion of undue friendship for the American settlers. They passed a winter of great privation and suffering. They had

    (page 145) —————

    but hastily and ill-constructed huts to shelter them from the winter of unusual severity, were possessed of but the scantiest means of provision and clothing and in the early spring the impoverished Moravians were in a state of entire destitution. It was thereupon determined to send a portion of the tribe - the younger and stronger - back to their grain fields on the Tuscarawas, where corn of the previous year's husbandry still hung unplucked, to there gather and return with the sustenance for the aged, the sick, and the enfeebled. As soon as the subsiding snows permitted, a Moravian relief band started for their old settlement, arriving there early in March, and at once began the work of collecting the corn. "Sweet Corn," a lovely Indian, and one of the Moravian converts, was with the expedition and was in the fields husking the grain when Col. Williamson's command approached. Joining Col. Williamson's forces at Mingo was a young hunter named John Haverstock, one of the most intrepid of the frontiersmen. He was noted among the pioneers for his great strength, agility and daring, and as one of the most skillful hunters, his boyish life having been spent in trapping and shooting in the unbroken forests then lying west of the Ohio, and now composing the counties of Jefferson and Belmont. Losing his parents in childhood, he had practically made his home in the woods with no companion but his gun, sustaining himself on game and amusing himself with daring adventure. On the evening of the 7th the American forces were nearing the quiet and unsuspecting Indian village, John Haverstock scouting somewhat in advance of the command, and penetrating to the edge of the heavy forest which skirted the Tuscarawas bottoms, his gaze was suddenly rivited by the bewitching loveliness of the maiden as she industriously husked her grain for those who hungrily waited on the Sandusky plains. Col. Williamson's men were kindly received at the village and hospitably entertained. Upon their advent Haverstock laid immediate siege to the heart of gentle "Sweet Corn." The maid was not averse to the noble presence of the young white hunter and her troth was plighted to the American. To his dying day John Haverstock maintained that no evil design was originally meditated against the Moravian settlement, although some of the men

    Vol. VI-10

    (page 146 ) ——————

    attached to the command of Col. Williamson insisted that the Moravians were giving aid and comfort to the hostile savages of the northwest. But a bloodstained dress was found in one of the cabins and suddenly produced among Williamson's men, which it was insisted had been on the person of Mrs. Wallace at the time of her capture by the Indians a short time before. The minds of the patriots became greatly embittered by the recent enormity of the Wallace murder and other diabolical outrages. This discovery developed into an immediate demand for revenge. The determination was that of wholesale slaughter. The work of butchery progressed until the charnal house was made complete. Amid this carnage nothing but the known heroic daring and prowess of Haverstock saved the weeping "Sweet Corn" from the fate of her tribe. As the work of blood ran riot the colossal form of John Haverstock towered before the wigwam of the terrified Indian girl like an impenetrable wall of steel between her and the danger without. Rifle and tomahawk clutched in hand, he warned the maddened Americans that he would visit death on any who would attempt to approach her place of refuge. On the return march he carried the maiden to the American settlement at Mercertown, where she became the bride of her protector, and became the mother of a respected line of descendants, from one of whom, the late W. T. Campbell, Esq., these details were gathered. Haverstock at one time had an encounter with Simon Girty on Mingo bottom. It has never been charged that the Christian Indians murdered Mrs. Wallace and her babe, but it is evident that the pioneers believed that they were guilty of the crime. The Indians who killed Mrs. Wallace sold the dress to the unsuspecting Moravians, having in view the result. They had hidden in the neighborhood of Gnadenhutten until after the massacre, and then made a swift run to claim premiums for scalps offered by the British at Detroit. The news of the massacre was soon in possession of the warriors on the Sandusky, Miami, Scioto and the Wabash. Revenge most terrible was demanded of the warriors by the chiefs "in corresponding magnitude to the murders committed on their kin." Simon Girty, one of the most skilled of the English officers,

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    for such he was, first incited the Indians to commit crimes to arouse the whites to murder the Indians, and then called upon the Indians to avenge the destruction of their people. It hardly seems reasonable that the English would employ a man of Girty's diabolical spirit, but the evidence is undisputed. He took the oath under Connelly, and was received with open arms by Hamilton. At all the British camps it was "determined to take twofold vengeance on the Americans. A vow was made that no white man should ever have the Tuscarawas valley for a home, but that it should remain uncontaminated by his presence, and that the boundary line of all future treaties should be the Ohio river, for ever and ever.”(33) Each prisoner was to be taken to the scene of the massacre and there dispatched by the tomahawk and firebrand until the two-fold vengence had been consummated. And how many pioneers felt the scalping knife and the tomahawk as the result of this resolution! According to Caldwell, in the year 1785, an escaped prisoner crossed the river at the scene of the massacre and reported at the Wheeling fort that he saw no human in the valley. "The bones of the Christian Indians were scattered about over the ground, and the fruit trees planted by the Moravians were in bloom, but the limbs had been broken by the bears, and the place had become the abode of only rattlesnakes and wild beasts." There is now a Moravian church on the site of the Moravian Indian missions, this church having been organized a hundred years ago (1798). It is now under the charge of Bishop Henry Van Vleck, who has in his possession many relics of the massacred Indians, including an iron hand corn-mill, brought out to the unbroken west by Heckewelder and his fellow missionaries. He also has in his museum pieces of charred remains of the cabins, together with a portion of the historic tree that was blown down a few years ago. Bishop Van Vleck is a most conscientious historian, and is incensed over the fact that modern graves and monuments have been permitted to desecrate the ground in which the Moravian Indians are buried and await the resurrection morn. The first actor in the awful tragedy and the last victim of the Indian vengeance was a Jefferson county settler, Chas. Bilder-

    33 Caldwell.

    (page 148 —————

    back, one of Williamson's men. He was a Virginian who had settled on Short creek, and was one of the bravest of the pioneers who won the west with the long rifle. He was with Crawford, but escaping returned to his cabin at the mouth of the creek. Seven years after the massacre, when he had concluded that he was to escape the vengeance of the Indians, both he and his wife were captured by the savages near their cabin. They first captured Bilderback and his brother, Mrs. Bilderback having hid in the bushes; but they were determined to have her also, and told Bilderback to call his wife or they would scalp him alive. He called her, telling her of the fate if she did not come. She then responded and the three were taken to the Tuscarawas. Mrs. Bilderback and her brother-in-law were taken to the site of Uhrichsville, while Bilderback was conveyed to Gnadenhutten. In a few hours the Indians that had Bilderback in charge came to the camp and threw into Mrs. Bilderback's lap the scalp of her husband. She was overcome and fainted, but was taken to the Miami valley, where she remained a captive for nine months, when she was ransomed. In 1791 she married John Green and moved to Fairfield county, and it is said gave birth to the first white child born in that county. Bilderback killed the first Moravian removed on that ill-fated day, the name of his victim being Shabosh. He was the last white man known to have been in the massacre who paid the forfeit of his life for connection therewith. The centennial of this massacre was celebrated at Gnadenhutten by the erection of a monument to the memory of the Christian Indians who were the victims of Col. Williamson's men. The addresses delivered reflected on the brave pioneers who were severely censured, when the crime should have been charged not to the brave hearts who made this state a part of the Republic and a home of peace, but to the Christian nation over the sea that waged warfare with the tomahawk, the scalping knife and the firebrand.

    NOTED. Since the above was put in type, a letter to the compiler from Hon. C. W. Butterfield, author of " Washington-Irvine Correspondence," "Crawford's Sandusky Expedition," " Biographies of the Girty's," and certainly the most thorough of writers of pioneer history, questions the masonic story. Girty was with the Indians, there being 600. McKee was in the party, his name being signed to a report of the victory over the Americans sent to Detroit. Capt. Stokely commanded a company of state troops. The British thought they had captured Col. Clarke, whom they had hoped to burn at the stake.

  •  Notes