Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Mary Moore


The early history of West Virginia is filled with the same stories of privation, suffering, and horrors experienced by the settlers in Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The privations of that time necessitated women taking upon themselves the hardest labors. They worked with their husbands clearing the land, and the rude provisions for domestic comfort were largely those acquired by their own efforts. The tableware of those days consisted of a few pewter plates and kettles which had survived long journeys from the East. They wove the cloth of which their own and their children's garments were made, spun the flax which made the linen and in fact, the entire furnishings of their homes were the work of their own hands.

It is said that the first settlers came into West Virginia in 1749, and in 1751 two settlers were sent in by the Green Brier Company to open up the lands, and the first settlement was made near Wheeling. As soon as the outposts were established, others followed in the train of these first venture some pioneers.

 In 1761, Mrs. Dennis was taken captive from the James' settlement and taken to the Indian settlement near Chillicothe, Ohio. She became famous among the Indians as a nurse, and her medicines, prepared from herbs, were sought far and near, and through this medium she ultimately made her escape. In 1763, while gathering herbs she reached the Ohio River. Wandering alone through the woods and the forests, and rafting herself down the great Kanawha, she ultimately reached the Green Brier, but was so exhausted and worn by her long tramp and the exposure that she finally gave up and lay down expecting to die, but was discovered by some of the settlers and nursed and cared for. But for this act of kindness the settlers were made to pay dearly. They were attacked by the Indians, and all the men were killed and the women and children taken captives. In this attack a Mrs. Clendennin showed such courage that her name has been enrolled among the women heroes of that time. Early in 1778, an attack was made on one of the blockhouses on the upper Monongahela.

In this hand to hand conflict, Mrs. Cunningham, the wife of Edward Cunningham, seeing her husband's strength almost spent, grabbed the tomahawk and finished the Indian who would have taken her husband's life.

In an attack by the Indians on the house of William Morgan, in Dunker's Bottom, Mrs. Morgan was bound to a tree. She succeeded in untying herself with her teeth and escaping with her child. In March, 1 781, an attack was made by the Indians on the house of Captain John Thomas, situated on one of the little streams tributary to the Monongahela. Captain Thomas was killed and Mrs. Thomas and her six children butchered by the savages, only one little boy escaping. While this bloody orgy was going on, a woman named Elizabeth Juggins, who had been attracted by the cries of the helpless victims, had come to their aid. On reaching the house, she realized her absolute helplessness and hid under one of the beds. When the Indians had lefty supposing that they had completed their murderous work, Miss Juggins found that Mrs. Thomas was still alive, and succeeded in ultimately reaching other settlers and spreading the alarm.

On the 29th of June, 1785, the house of Mr. Scott was attacked. Mrs. Scott witnessed the savages cutting the throats of three of her children and the murder of her husband, and then was carried into captivity by the Indians. The old chief seemed to have at least a drop of the milk of human kindness in his veins, and Mrs. Scott through the care of the old man succeeded in gaining her liberty. She wandered from the 10th of July to the 11th of August through the woods with nothing on which to sustain life but the juices of plants. Among this long list of names of the women who suffered Indian captivity and its attendant horrors were the names of Mrs. Glass, Mary Moore, Martha Evans, and other splendid women.

James Moore, Mary Moore's brother, was taken captive by the Indians in 1784, and in 1786, a party of Indians made a hasty attack on the settlement before they were able to realize their danger, the settlers having been lulled into a feeling of security by the absence of any trouble for some time. Her father was killed in this attack, and her mother and three children, two brothers and a sister, were made prisoners. They were taken into the Scioto Valley, and here Mary Moore and her friend, Martha Evans, spent some time in captivity. They were ultimately sold to men in the neighborhood of Detroit, where they were employed as servants. In the invasion of Logan from Kentucky three years later, a young French trader took a great fancy to young James Moore, who was living among the Indians of the Pow Wow Society, and through this trader, James obtained information of his sister Mary, who was then near Detroit.

 Young Moore went to Stogwell's place, where he found his sister had been very cruelly treated and was then in the most frightful condition of poverty and suffering. James applied to the commanding officer of Detroit, who sent him to Colonel McKee, then superintendent for the Indians, and Stogwell was brought to trial through the complaint made against him by James Moore. It was decided that Mary Moore could be returned to her home when proper remuneration was made, and through the efforts of Thomas Evans, the brother of Martha who had accompanied Mary Moore into captivity, she obtained her liberty in 1789, after having suffered three years of captivity. Shortly after her return to Rockridge, Mary Moore went to live with her uncle, Joseph Walker, whose home was near Lexington, and she later became the wife of Rev. Samuel Brown, pastor of New Providence. She was the mother of eleven children, nine of whom survived her. Martha Evans married a man by the name of Hummer and resided in Indiana, rearing a large family of children.

During the attack of Cornwallis and his approach near Charlotte, a Mr. Brown sought protection in the home of James Haines, and while here the British plundered the house and made the owner a prisoner. Mrs. Haines' maiden name was Annie Huggins. She was the daughter of John Huggins, a Scotch Presbyterian, who had immigrated to America from the north of Ireland, in 1730. She had married, in 1788, James Haines, and in 1792, he with his two brothers had immigrated to a colony in North Carolina, and here they were neighbors to the hostile Cherokees and Kanawhas who gave the settlers of those days constant alarm and terror. Later Colonel Bird, of the British army, established Fort Chissel as a protection to these settlers, and still later Governor Dobbs, of North Carolina, established Fort Loudon in the very heart of the Cherokee Nation. These settlements grew rapidly, notwithstanding the dose proximity of these savage Indians. One of the striking characteristics of almost all these settlers of that time was their strong religious faith, particularly the women, and certainly nothing else could have supported and sustained them through the daily horrors of their lives. Mrs. Haines died in 1790, having survived her husband only a few years,

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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