Calendar of Virginia State Papers
Concerning the Defence of the Western Waters
Volume IV, pp. 390-93
Concerning the Defence of the Western Waters
January 5th, 1788
The following communications have been received:
...George Clendenen, the delegate from Greenbriar, gave his opinion that the Indians would continue their hostilities in the ensuing Spring, and therefore gave the following information upon the subject of general defence, &c.
From the place where the State Road, which is now finished, strikes the Kanawa to the mouth thereof, is Eighty miles, in which bounds are four Small Stations, consisting of about Ten families each, one of which is situated at the mouth of the Great Kanawa, on the Greenbrier side of the River; another at the mouth of Coal River, a branch of the Great Kanawa on the Montgomery side. One other at John Morrises, about seventeen miles above Coal, on the same side of the River, and the other at the place where the State Road strikes the Kanawa, all of which places are situated to give equal defence to either of the aforesaid Counties. I am to inform your Excellency that I conceive sixty men would be sufficient, to be equally divided between the Four Stations, subject, nevertheless, to be moved or shifted as the necessity may require. Before I take leave of this subject, permit me to inform you that I think nature has formed this place for one of the richest Settlements that has ever yet been made on any part of our Western territory. The River Kanawa afording such great quantities of the first rate Low grounds (with an excellent Salt Lick), to which is added almost every kind of fish and wild fowls that are to be found on any part of the Continent, with numerous herds of wild game, which are at this time only enjoyed by a set of Barbarous Savages, who make it their Hunting Ground, and do Kill and plunder our Citizens at will, who are from necessity or otherwise settlers on that Fertile Spot.
There is another consideration which, with me, has great weight why that Territory should be guarded and Immediately settled. When we consider the numerous Train of people which emigrates every year to the Westward, and the length of time they are detained at Red Stone and Fort Pitt for the Rising of the Water to carry them away, and also that this navigation is at least one hundred miles nearer and cuts off three at any time, these Benefits along would be sufficient to ingage every person who migrated to the westward to take this Rout, provided the place was so populated as to furnish Boats and other necessaries for their use; and as it will ever be ye Interest of those who may settle on that quarter to continue with this State, I cannot hesitate to pronounce, that you, as Guardians of the people, will take the earliest measures to procure Inhabitants and to make them as rich and Respectable as possible.
The Delegates from Monongalia and Ohio Counties (This county then occupied the whole of what is known as the Panhandle, now Ohio, Brooke, Marshall and Hancock counties.), upon enquiries having been made of them, give their opinion that both of these counties can be defended by one Troop of Horse, but will require Six scouts or spies each, and for the following reasons: In Monongalia there is three principal inlets that the Indians useth to come into that county, requiring two spies for each. In Ohio two will be needed to watch from the mouth of Wheeling Creek to the Indian road that leads to the mouth of White-woman's Creek, where a number of Delawares did live. Two more from the Mingo Bottom to watch the road that leads to Sandusky, and the other two from the mouth of Yellow Creek to watch the road that leads to the Lakes. These Stations are about twenty miles from each other, on the Ohio River.
Sixty Rangers will be necessary for Ohio County, because it lies exposed along the Ohio River sixty-three miles, from the mouth of little Beaver Creek to the mouth of Grave Creek, all of which is settled along the river, and unless a chain of defence outside of them is fix'd a very considerable part of the Inhabitants will leave that country this Spring. For Monongalia it will take forty-five men to defend the frontier, which is at least forty miles from the Pennsylvania Line to the Harrison County Line. They also inform the Executive that there are in Ohio County Three hundred militia unarmed, and recommend that a supply of Arms and ammunition be sent to Morgan Town. The men should be kept in service from the 1st of March until 15th Oct., and authorized to range on both sides of the Ohio River..
The Delegates from Harrison and Randolph were of opinion that Horsemen would be of no use in those counties, as they say their Enemies in that part must be pursued in that still and Quiet manner in which they comes on their War against us. They think sixty Rangers under two Captains, both under the orders of the County Lieut. Of Harrison, would cover the frontier of both Counties, as the distance from the Monongalia line along the Back Settlement of Harrison, and including the Exposed frontier of Randolph, is about seventy or Eighty miles. Ten Scouts or spies added would be necessary to watch the early movements of the Indians.
Upon further enquiry made by Mr. Clendenin, of Greenbrier, he insists that Horsemen will avail nothing in Montgomery or the county he represents. He had given already his reasons for his opinion, and now repeats that six scouts would be absolutely necessary for each of these counties, to be sent out in the month of February or March, as the Indians in that Quarter do mischief as soon as the Winter Breaks up, having occation for horses, &c., to carry off their skins and furs, for the Generally hunt and Trap near our Frontiers and very often on this side of the Ohio, &c.
From these sources of information it was concluded best that the steps recommended be taken. Blank commissions were sent out to the several named Counties, to be filled with the names of such persons as the local authorities should recommend as commandants of these troops, or of such as were recommended by the Delegates from some of the Counties. A committee appointed to make enquiries and estimates upon the aforesaid facts, report "that to guard an Extensive frontier subject to the Depredations of the Indians, it will be necessary to keep 180 men in Service, from the first of March to the first of Oct'r. The Expence of Supplying which number will amount to 800 Pounds, and that in this Estimate the District of Kentucky is not considered. Your Committee has reason to fear that the funds heretofore assigned for the above purpose may not prove productive as speedy as the Importance of the services Demand, and are of opinion that other funds ought to be assign'd in aid thereof.
Resolved therefore, as the opinion of this Committee, that to make good the aforesaid sum of 800 Pounds, so much of the money arising from the sum of 1,000 pounds of the revenue 1786, and from the like sum of the Revenue of 1787, Reserv'd subject to the votes of the Gen'l Assembly, shall be applied, after making good the sum voted for the support of the Hospital in the City of Williamsburg, and all former votes of the Assembly charged on said funds.
Teste: J.B., C.H.D.
Exploration, Settlement and Conflict (1600-1799)