Account of the Foreman Massacre

Howe's History of Virginia
p. 369

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 Narrows, 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 frontiers-men, 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 fled 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.

Revolutionary War