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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Digging Into Rush Township History

Rush Township and Rushtown have an interesting history with more than their share of mystery. The Utts and a few others came here in 1797 and 1798. Then, many others came soon after, of whom are recalled Dan'l Kirkendall, George Herod, Thos. Jones, Thomas Arnold, Jas. Wallace, Wm. Russell, Mrs. Hester Brown and family and John Shultz.
Rush Township was the last of the municipal divisions of the county organized, and was taken wholly from Union Township, June 3, 1867. It is named for Dr. Benjamin Rush, an early physician and Founding Father of the United States.
From its beginnings of white settlement, Rush has been known for its immense quarries of freestone – as evidenced in the Inskeep Stone Works – and its popular inland waterways. However, to trace the history of human population in the area, one must research history dating back thousands of years ago. 
Tremper Mound

The Tremper Mound and Earthworks are located in Scioto County, Ohio about five miles north of Portsmouth on a plateau overlooking the Scioto River. The Hopewell culture (100 B.C. to 500 A.D.) – an archaeological periodization pre-contact American Indian people based on shared cultures and technologies – are believed to have built the mound and earthworks. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The site proved to be one of the most prolific and important mounds ever investigated. 
The Tremper Earthworks included an earthen enclosure roughly in the shape of an oval with flattened sides. The oval was 480 feet by 407 feet with an opening in the southwestern part of the enclosure. At the center of the enclosure was a large, irregularly-shaped mound. Some people believed it was an effigy mound built in the shape of an animal, such as a tapir or even an elephant. Neither of these creatures lived in North America at the time the mound was built. It is still not clear if the mound had been built as an effigy.

William C. Mills of the Ohio Historical Society (now the Ohio History Connection) excavated the Tremper Mound in 1915. At the base of the mound, he discovered numerous postmolds that revealed the outline of an ancient wooden structure 200 feet long by 100 feet wide. The pattern of postmolds showed that there had been a main building with several smaller chambers at the eastern end.

Evidence supports that here was a large charnel house here. The complex pattern of compartments in the house gave the mound its odd shape. The Hopewell culture probably built additions to the charnel house over the years.

Unlike the Hopewell groups in Ross County, those using the charnel house at Tremper did not bury their dead in single graves or log tombs. On the contrary, about 375 persons were cremated in the 12 crematory basins. The remains were interred in 4 burial depositories. A fifth depository was empty at the time of the excavation. Two people were buried in graves beneath the floor of the charnel house.
The most significant discovery made at Tremper Mound was a collection of more than 500 objects that had been deliberately broken up and left in one of the eastern side chambers. Included in this deposit were 136 smoking pipes, most of which had been made from catlinite or pipestone. Ninety of these were effigy pipes and were carefully sculpted in the shapes of a variety of creatures. Some of the pipes look like hawks, owls, herons, and cranes. Other pipes found at Tremper resemble bears, wolves, dogs, beavers, cougars, otters, and turtles. 
The remarkable animal effigy platform pipes of the Hopewell culture are among the most delicate and naturalistic of these sculpted effigies. Tests have shown that the majority of the pipes were made from Sterling pipestone from northwestern Illinois.

The animals may represent the spirit guides of shamans who smoked the pipes to induce a trance state to assist with rituals of healing. Each animal may represent an individual's guardian spirit. The animal generally would be facing the shaman as he or she smoked the pipe. All of these pipes apparently were gathered together, smashed to bits, and buried beneath the mound at Tremper. Why? The mystery remains.

Many of the Tremper pipes are now on display at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus, Ohio.


 Crichton's Inn
Crichton's Inn
Crichton's Inn was located near where McDermott-Rushtown Road connects with State Route 104 and the Ohio Canal. For those in Southern Ohio, it was a popular summer vacation spot with a large dining room, accommodating up to 100 people; 30 guest rooms; and a space in the yard for summer tent camps to house the overflow.
Visitors could access the inn by rail – a Norfolk & Western station was located in Rushtown a short distance away – or by canal – the Ohio-Erie Canal was also nearby.
Crichton's was known as a “swinging place” with a very popular attraction. Edward A. Glockner explained: “There was a hug forty-foot handmade hammock up there, and boys and girls would go up there and swing each other!”
Besides the gigantic hammock, entertainment at the inn included music, dancing, meals, hiking trails, and outdoor games The resort also offered a medicinal herb garden with cultivated ginseng, billiards, horseshoes, and a “two-lane bowling alley where you had to set your own pins.”
Marjorie Drew Lloyd relates, “When you arrived, there were fresh linens for the guests – the next clean linens you washed for yourselves. Guests also cleaned their own rooms, and families vacating the city heat would come for a month and do all their own cooking. It was nice, a home away from home, and even in the off-season, the inn's 30 rooms generally were full on weekends and holidays.”
Crichton's Inn closed in 1919 “when another mode of transportation was encouraging people to seek more complex entertainments farther away from home.” 
The Ohio and Erie Canal
The Ohio and Erie Canal, which was under construction in this area 1830-1832, crossed the farm of George Heroedh, a stone contractor. He built the Elbow Lock, Camp Creek culvert, and more. While the canal was being dug, his wife Elizabeth often cooked for 60 or more hungry workers.

George promised his wife when his contract was up, he would build her a Baptist church on their property. Until then, members met in homes. Some canal workers attended services and helped George burn bricks to build the new church called Bethany. The church was dedicated November 30, 1834, and was home to 127 members at the time.

Slaves also traveled this area, and in 1861, workers left their jobs to join the war causing Ohio to privatize the canal until 1877. In 1881 the G.A.R. formed, holding meetings at Bethany for living veterans.

Lock 49 at Rushtown 

Rushtown, Looking North

A Curiosity

On the farm of Henry Russell, on the top of what is known as Campbell's Hill is a spot – a depression of the earth's surface – to the extent of twenty feet in diameter, and about three feet deep. It is very nearly circular in form and its peculiarity is that it generates heat in winter. It is said that “in the coldest weather, with snow on the ground all around it, and the thermometer below zero, no snow as found in the depression or hole, and on holding a thermometer on the bottom it rose to fifty-six degrees above zero within ten minutes.” The depression has a pebbly bottom, very little dirt seen, and “has probably filled up in part.” This is known to be the condition of the spot since its discovery. Where does the depression lead? This is yet another unsolved Rush Township mystery.


Henry Towne Bannon. Stories Old and Often Told, Being Chronicles of Scioto County Ohio. Baltimore: Waverly Press. p. 274. 1927.

Andrew Lee Feight, Ph.D., “Canal Lock 48 & Rushtown,” Scioto Historical.

Newsletter of SCCOGS and the publication History of the Lower Scioto Valley.
Ohio and Erie Canal in Scioto County, Ohio.”

Virtual First Ohioans.” Section 5-B. Ohio History Connection.

Tremper Mound and Earthworks.” Ohio History Central.

Added Later -- Info on "The Curiosity"

 Patricia Williams, Retired English Instructor of Lucasville wrote ... 

"The William Russell mentioned in this story is my 3x great-grandfather. He came to this country as an orphan, first to Philadelphia, then down the Ohio to Maysville. He moved to Adams County and married Nancy Wood, daughter of Benjamin Wood. He lived sort of back and forth between Adams and Scioto counties. He was the first clerk of courts of Scioto County, served in the state legislature, and three terms in the US House of Representatives. He moved to Rushtown at the mouth of Brush Creek. He and a son were the first two people buried (on the same day!) in Rushtown Cemetery.). I've never been able to find out why they died at the same time.

"The James Russell mentioned was William's son. My father once hiked to the top of Campbell Hill ( directly across from Lucasville with the flasher towers) and saw the hot spot for himself. Another son, Albert, died in a confederate prison camp in Georgia and is buried at Marietta GA."

Patrick Crabtree, Local Historian and Naturalist or Lucasville ...

Patrick told me about the steam hole, which he said was situated on what was originally known as Camel Hill. While hunting, he found a meteorite near the site, which he described as a rather small frog-pond like indentation near a huge old hickory tree. He didn't retrieve the mass at the time, but after seeing a Nova presentation about such fallout years later, Pat and a friend attempted to find the steam hole. 

This trek was taken after an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line. Pat said he and his friend discovered that the entire landscape had changed -- gone was the steam hole and even the huge tree. He believes the spot was the site of a meteorite strike, and he thinks his find years earlier was just a part of a much larger object that hit and formed the steam hole.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hunting in the Scioto Valley: Tracing Utt and Waw-wil-a-way

 Nathaniel Massie

Without a doubt, skilled hunters were invaluable to those who groups who explored and founded settlements in Ohio. Of course, we have all heard tales of Indian fighter, Davy Crockett, who reportedly killed 105 bears in just one year on the frontier. And, of course, guide and tracker, Daniel Boone, is legendary for helping settle what is now Kentucky. He was also a professional hunter and would go on long trips where he would spend months in the wilderness with a small group of companions. On these hunts Boone had to avoid native hunting parties that viewed him as a trespasser.

Early hunters excelled at their craft in Scioto County. Residents should also know of the exploits of Henry Utt. Never heard of him? And, how about another skilled hunter near here who went by the name of Waw-wil-a-way? Let me introduce you. Here are the tales of two hunters – one white and one Native American – both having once lived in our beautiful Scioto River Valley

Henry Utt  

After the close of the Indian war, Henry Utt came to the Scioto Valley. He was one of the hunters employed by Nathaniel Massie in 1793 to assist in surveying the military district of Ohio. He was also with Duncan McArthur's surveying party. McArthur (1772-1839) later became the 11th governor of Ohio.

Utt was a Pennsylvania Dutchman by birth, and a man “of industrious and steady habits.” He assisted in surveying a large portion of the military lands lying between the Scioto and Little Miami rivers.

While in the employ of Massie, Utt located about 200 acres of the bottom lands just two miles above the mouth of Brush Creek. It is not precisely known when Utt built his cabin and moved onto his land there, but from tradition it must have been as early as 1796, as nothing confirms more of Massie's surveying after that time.

As one of the first settlers in the area, Utt offers a first-hand perspective of carving out a homestead in the frontier that would become Scioto County. He relates ...

It is fighting the Indians first to get possession of the country, then the wild beasts of the forest must be subdued before the country is in a fit condition for settlement. These involve dangers and difficulties that must be met and overcome or no settlement could be made. After that, it takes nearly a lifetime to clear the land, build houses, plant orchards, and otherwise improve the country to render it fit habitation for civilized man.”

Henry Utt told many exciting stories of his hunting years. One of the hunting stories Utt told was “of so singular a character that it must be on record” …

While he was in the service of Mr. Massie as a hunter, he was hunting on McCulloch's Creek (a tributary of Scioto Brush Creek) and near night he became tired and concluded to lie down and rest himself. It was warm weather, and not requiring any fire, he wrapped himself in his blanket and lay down by the side of a log where there were a good many dry leaves, and soon went to sleep.

He slept very soundly and did not wake up till the next morning. When he awoke, the first discovery he made was that he was completely covered up with dry leaves. He was a little alarmed at first, knowing some mischief was intended for him. He got out of his bed as quickly as he could and held his gun at a position to fire if an enemy should be near at hand.

He walked off cautiously and concealed himself behind a tree to see what developments would be made with regard to his careful night's lodging. He had not waited long before he aspied an old she panther with her litter of young ones approaching in a very stealthy manner the place where he had spent the night.

She crawled up within jumping distance and then gave a tremendous spring, and lit on the bed of leaves. No hurricane or whirlwind ever made leaves fly faster than they did there for a few moments. When she discovered her intended prey had escaped, she looked up quite bewildered and began snuffing the air to see in which way he might have gone.

Mr. Utt watched her movements and concluded it was time for him to do something. So, he drew a bead on the animal's head, and at the crack of his rifle, she fell over dead. He dispatched the young panthers, took off the skin of the old one, and returned to camp with the trophies of his victory.”

Chief Waw-wil-a-way

Although Henry Utt was not likely in the employ of Nathaniel Massie during a historic tragedy that occurred during the later days of the Ohio frontier, the hunting link to this story begs exploration.

Here is a brief summary of the murder of Chief Waw-wil-a-way, storied friend of the white man. Unlike many of his contemporaries, including Tecumseh, Waw-wil-a-way viewed the settlers as his allies, and he welcomed the pioneers to live peacefully alongside him, his wife and two sons at the mouth of Hardin Creek in Highland County. The chief was said to have helped Massie with many hunting parties over the years.

Violet Morgan of Greenfield, Ohio, related the following story in 1946:

“A report had been circulated (in the spring of 1803) by some white men that the

Indians, who had been adhering to the terms of the peace treaty of 1795, were rising to make a terrible surprise attack upon the settlers. When a messenger on horseback rode through from Chillicothe, bringing the word, settlers everywhere collected and fortified themselves.

“Shortly after this, the tomahawked and scalped body of Captain Herrod, a prominent settler living a few miles west of Chillicothe, was found by some hunters in the woods near the clearing of his home.

“Indians were blamed for the deed and feeling was bad. Investigation by Governor Tiffin revealed that the Indians had only peaceful intentions and the story of the intended uprising had been a hoax. Some thought that it had all been part of an unscrupulous plan by a white man who might have wished to supersede Captain Herrod in office in the State militia. At any rate, even today, Herrod's murder is as much a mystery as ever.

“While on his way, in 1803, to Old Town (Frankfort) on foot, where he and his sons were accustomed to exchange their peltries for powder, lead, and other supplies, Waw-wil-a-way was met by three white men on horseback, Wolfe, Williams, and Ferguson.

“The meeting was casual and friendly, Waw-wil-a-way shook hands with them cordially and asked about their health and their families.

“Wolf asked the chief if he would trade guns with him and the unsuspecting Indian, assenting, turned over his gun to him for examination. After stealthily removing the priming from the pan of Waw-wil-a-way's gun, Wolfe handed it back stating that he did not wish to trade.”
Wolfe and Williams made inquiry asking whether the Indians had commenced war. The chief said “no” and told them the Indians and white men were “now all one.” The chief also denied the Indians had killed Captain Herrod.

“The conversation ended in the friendly manner in which it began. Waw-wil-a-way again shook hands with the white men and they resumed their ways.

“The chief had gone only a few steps when Wolfe, raising his rifle, took aim at his back and fired. The ball passed through his body, but he did not fall.

“Although mortally wounded, Waw-wil-a-way turned upon his murderers. He raised his rifle and aimed it at Wolfe for the smoking gun revealed who had shot him. Wolfe jumped behind his horse. The scheme to remove the priming from Waw-wil-a-way's gun and render it useless had failed, for the cushion had been left on the tube.

“Then, the chief shot Williams, who fell dead from his frightened and plunging horse.

“Making a club of his gun, the Indian rushed upon Wolfe, and with one blow sent him prostrate to the earth. Wolfe regained his feet and attempted to seize Waw-wil-away by the tuft of hair on the top of his head. Instead he got hold of the shawl wound around Waw-wil-a-way's head. When he jerked the shawl to bring Waw-wil-away to the ground the shawl gave way, and Wolfe fell backwards.

"At this, Scott's History of Highland County says, 'the Indian drew his scalping knife and made a thrust at his antagonist, who seeing his danger, and throwing up his feet to ward it off, received the blade of the knife in his thigh. In the scuffle the handle brook off and left the entire blade in the wound.'

"Wolfe at the same time made a blow at the Indian with his knife, which entered his breast bone. Just at this critical juncture, Ferguson ran to Wolfe's assistance. The Indian then seized Wolfe's fallen gun and struck Ferguson a most fearful blow on the head and brought him to the earth, laying bare his skull from the crown to the ear. Here the sanguine conflict ended.

"During the entire encounter, Waw-wil-a-way never uttered a word. When the strife was over, his strength failed him rapidly from loss of blood, and his sight became dim. He cast one glance on his fallen foe.... turning, walked a short distance out into the grass, and sank upon his face amid the wild flowers."

“Waw-wil-a-way's death was the climax of a number of incidents that led to the last Indian Alarm in southern Ohio.”

Wolfe and Ferguson both survived. Indians and whites did not know what to expect. General McArthur and a detachment of men rode to hold council with the great chief Tecumseh, near Fort Greenville. Here, the white men were assured that the Indians held the terms of the peace treaty sacred. Tecumseh accompanied General McArthur to Chillicothe and made an eloguent speech in favor of peace; the settlers then returned to their homes their fears and alarm allayed.

In the meantime, several hundred Indians had collected at the forks of Lees Creek in Highland County, near Leesburg, Some of the chiefs went to the home of a Quaker settler, Nathaniel Pope, asking that a council be held. Pope sent for his Quaker neighbors, and they met with the chiefs under a spreading elm which stood by a spring on Pope's farm.

Violet Morgan concluded ...

“It was an Indian law that the nearest relatives of the murdered man had a right to kill the murderer whenever and wherever he could find him. Knowing this, Wolfe had fled to Kentucky. Here he employed an agent to act for him and a negotiation was entered into with the sons of Waw-wil-a-way. The agent, acting for Wolfe, agreed to give each son a horse, a new saddle and bridle, and a new rifle. Thereupon peace was made between Waw-wil-a-way's family and Wolfe.

“A great ceremony was made of this truce. In the presence of a large Gathering of Indians and whites at Old Town (Frankfort) the two sons of Waw-wil-a-way and Wolfe occupied the center of a hollow square. The horses, the new saddles and bridles, and the new rifles, were there too, ready to change hands.

“Solemnly raising their hands toward heaven, Waw-wil-a-way's sons relinquished their claim to the life of the murderer when they called upon the Great Spirit to accept the blood and life of Wolfe.

“The scene was so impressive that many were moved to tears. Waw-wil-a-way's sons took Wolfe by the hand, called him 'brother,' lighted the pipe of peace, and smoked with him.

“At the conclusion of the meeting the two Indians returned to their camp at the mouth of Hardin's Creek. Here they sat down beside Allen Crawford, a white settler, and his sons were were camping there on a hunting trip. This was the peaceful ending of the last Indian alarm in southern Ohio.”


Biographical Record of Macoupin County, Illinois. Richmond & Arnold. 1904.
James Keyes. Pioneers of Scioto County. 1880.
Violet Morgan. Folklore of Highland Co., Ohio. 1946.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nell Bumgarner -- Natural Musings From the Lucasville Woods

Nell 1898

What, oh what, has come to pass? No wonder our world is in such a sorry state. Children, and even grownups, stare blankly when I ask – in earnest and really wanting to know – “Are the deer-tongues in bloom? Maybe a grownup might seem more comprehanding after rephrasing of the question. “Have you noticed any dog-toothed violets blooming yet?” Not a violet at all, “trout-lilly in proper parlance. Yet where can I find one single person who cares? Once queen of the sciences, botany has been exiled to the status of castaway.”

--Nell Bumgarner in Lucasville Lore (1995), compiled and edited by Dr. Robert Emerson French and published by Laura Rachel Bumgarner Franks

This passage speaks to me. I remember visiting Nell Yeager Bumgarner one day with some members of the Valley Class of 1988, who were taping a human interest piece as an assignment of their 100th Valley graduating class. She told us one of her greatest concerns was that young people did not have a good knowledge of the flora and fauna in their own woods. She spoke about how her father, Benjamin Yeager, used to hike with her and point out the name and significance of nearly every plant and animal they saw.

At the time, I nodded my head in agreement and didn't give the idea much thought; however, I have considered many, many times since how important those words of Nell Bumgarner really were. What vast botanical knowledge lies essentially untapped by the average person – all within a short distance of his or her home. With the perspective of her many years (Nell was born in 1895.), she understood the significance of the loss. Nell loved nature and so often wrote of her experiences with an eye toward the natural world.

Long Ago Path

Little old path of the long ago.
I never knew then I could love you so
As, tired and sleepy, with brown feet I pad,
Pad, pad, padded in the wake of my dad.

Long ago path, it wandered at will
Through the New Graveyard and the Old, on the hill
Past the truck patch Dad loved and tended to –
On, and on, and on then, to the bottom-land low.

Along you, Dear Path, Dad pointed to me
Something rare at each turn,
Either bir, flower, or tree,
Some marvel of sky, or the meadow lark's call,
Or the wisp of red creeper in trees towering tall.

Sometimes long and weary I found you then;
It seemed that I'd never get back home again;
But always, next time, for my bonnet I'd dart
And be waiting when Daddy was ready to start.

Little Old Path of the long ago years,
I can see you yet through the welling tears;
My head droops low and my heart grows sad
For you, blessed with memories of Dear Old Dad.

Nell wrote this poem in 1983 in memory of trips she used to make with her dad to “The Bottoms,” across the “Old Scioto River Bed” to where her brothers tended the crops. She recalled, “Dad husbanded, awaiting the good food Mom had packed into a big split basket – green beans cooked in an old iron pot, potatoes boiled whole and browned in bacon grease to a crispy brown, apple sauce with a touch of nutmeg, pickles, and all the rest.”

The knowledge Nell acquired was so valuable, yet the bonding she experienced was, perhaps, the greatest gift of all. Later in life she treasured this kinship with nature and held trips to the woods as among the most wonderful times of her life.

Here is a poem Nell began as a school girl and finished in 1984. This poem is based on memories about her and her husband Guy's annual trek to their beloved "McCullick Creek" (actually, McCullough) out past McDermott, near Arion). To them, it was a magical place with “green water, huge rocks, banks of partridge berry, pines, and towering hemlocks strugh with tiny brown cones on their branches.” Every year they returned to gather Christmas greens and Wintergreen (mountain tea). Nell also said that “the partridge berries hold their bright red glow in a terrarium for months.”

The Pinewood

I love to roam in the Pinewood
Where the wild arbutus blooms
And the lofty arches of treetops
Sculpt many vaulted rooms.

I love to roam in the Pinewood
Where the air is balmy and sweet;
Filtered sunshine plays in the needles
That lie at the old trees' feet.

The fallen log that we sit on
Harbors moss so rich and deep
Cradling tiny red flowerlets
In a privacy they'd fain keep.

Among all of nature's melodies
There's none so dear to me
As the sound of the wind in the treetops,
The song of the Old Pine Tree.

Nell could tell you of beautiful sights such as Deer-tongue with “thickish, pointed, dull-green leaves splotched with brown like the tongue of the deer.” She spoke of “Rue A-nem-on-ee, a “modest little princesses of the wood with flowers pink or white on wire-like stems.” She knew baby blue-eyes, the “churndashers that dotted pasture fields.” She recognized wild violets, “more delicate and sweeter than regular violets,” and Johnny-jump-ups “whose heads she 'fought' with, hooking each head around the neck of the other then jerking the stems.” Nell spoke of trilliums, baby iris, and Dutchman's britches.

                                   Dutchman's Britches

                 Deer Tongue
                           Johnny Jump-Up

 Baby Blue Eyes


Rue Anemone


Nell's knowledge was endless. She loved greens. She could tell you about crow-foot root that she harvested “with her Case knife and took home to cook with bacon.” And, she would say, “Don't forget about the 'queen of all greens,' Shawnee (squaw lettuce).” Nell loved the sound of the steady “cuh-shake” – of the “cool, fresh greens dropping into her basket.” She harvested morels and poke (“only when green and tender”) which she cooked with bacon, vinegar, and chopped onions.

How much better our lives would be if we followed Nell's advice and took it upon ourselves to commune with our own environment. Nothing compares with the uncommon beauty there. Indeed, we are fortunate to live in a place with an endless store of natural wonder, and as stewards of this bountiful land, we should share the treasures of our fields and forests with our loved ones. It is our duty to provide a kind, human understanding that imparts true folk wisdom.

I agree with Nell – it is far past time that we too should ask, “Is there one single person who cares?” So few appreciate the natural world that sustains their existence – a world that offers solace from the rat race of modern life. Blinded by materialism, we neglect to understand the significance of the bounty there. 

Guy and Nell on Their Honeymoon

Nell is gone, but her memories provide us with vital lessons handed down from a time when life was so much more dependent upon self-reliance and a thorough knowledge of the natural world. We sorely lack this exposure. As she said, there is, indeed, “something new at each turn” on those “little old paths. Most of the same trees, plants, and wildlife are still there in our backwoods … still there, waiting for someone to notice … still there, waiting for someone who cares.

With acknowledgment to our Creator for the Scioto Valley, farms and homesteads scattered among our hollows and hills, creeks and sandy bottoms, the tapestry of greening fields, for wonderful friends and neighbors, and memories enduring. Thanks be to God for a glimpse of this sampling of Eden.”

--Nell Bumgarner, September 27, 1994

Nell 1912

Friday, July 14, 2017

Native Americans in Scioto -- Trails, Towns, and History

 Shawnee Mural by Robert Dafford

For the life of me, I don't understand why Scioto County doesn't do more to embrace its rich Native American heritage. More should be exposed and more should be taught about this early history. This land is rich with centuries of native lore, and, I venture, most residents know little about the significance of their homeland. Oh, the stories that still may reverberate through these hills and valleys.

We may find some highly visible traces of these native influences. Is it any wonder that Lucasville Valley Local's school mascot is an Indian? What could be more appropriate? Considering the importance of the Scioto River and the fertile farming and hunting grounds, Native Americans established many settlements in the river valley. Haystack Hill, the backdrop of the Lucasville community, is described as a centuries old lookout for native peoples such as the Shawnee.

The Shawnee were noble people fiercely protective of their land, and they believed the Master of Life made them superior to other people in natural and acquired qualities. They believed their people had sprung from the brain of the creator and that He had put them here on the island known as America.

Other groups lived here, too. Nearby Clay Township once housed a small Delaware town in which Chief Windaughalah dwelt. And, of course, the ancient Mound Builders lived throughout the immediate area.

 Ohio's Native Peoples -- 1600s-1700s

Some first-hand accounts can still be found such as Christopher Gist's Journals. Here is an entry from 1750 ...

(Went) S 12 M to a small Delaware Town of about twenty Families on the SE Side of Sciodoc Creek. We lodged at the House of an Indian whose Name was Windaughalah, a great Man and Chief of this Town, & Much in the English Interest. He entertained Us very kindly, and ordered a Negro Man that belonged to him to feed our Horses well; this Night it snowed, and in the Morning tho the Snow was six or seven Inches deep; the wild Rye appeared very green and flourishing thro it, and our Horses had fine Feeding.

Yes, Scioto County was once a hotbed of Native American activity. Strategically located on the waterways of the Scioto River and the Ohio River, the area was home to several tribes, primarily the Algonquian-speaking Shawnee, the Iroquois, and the Delaware (Lenape). The Shawnees had a special friendship with the Wyandots. They referred to the Wyandots as their “uncles.” 
The word Shawnee comes from the Algonquian word shawun, which means “southerner.”Allan Eckert in his book That Dark and Bloody River explains how in the early 1600s the Miamis – who at that time inhabited what is today Illinois, Indiana and Michigan – reached an agreement with the nomadic Shawnee which gave them temporary land rights to the uninhabited Ohio territory. This included land north of the Ohio River and its main tributaries including the Muskingum, the Scioto and the Miami Rivers.

Thanks to this agreement between the Miami and the Shawnee, the Shawnee established villages and hunting grounds throughout the Ohio Valley as early as the late 1600s. There were five divisions (or bands) of the Shawnee people: the Hathawekela, the Chalahgawtha, the Mekoche, the Kispoko, and the Pekowi.

The Iroquois – also in the area during this time – were unwilling to share these rich hunting grounds, so the Iroquois and its 5 Nations began increasing their pressure and pushing the Shawnee out of Ohio. Some went to Illinois; others went to Pennsylvania, Maryland or Georgia. However, as the power of the Iroquois weakened, members of the Shawnee nation moved back into Ohio from the south and the east. Many settled in the lower Scioto River valley.

The Shawnee were fierce warriors and allies of the French until British traders moved into the Ohio Country circa 1740. The French pushed the British out of Ohio and the tribe became allies of the French again until the British victory in the French and Indian War. As French trading posts turned into British forts, Ohio American Indian peoples, including the Shawnee, fought the British and their colonists.


Scioto Traces and Trails

Several major aboriginal trails crossed the Scioto County. Depending upon the geography, they ranged in width from a few feet to a mere trace. (See Map) These trails were important to the settlement and development of Ohio. Along these trails, natives traveled from one part of the state to another whether engaged in warfare, trade and barter, or migration. Trails throughout the county connected to other trails and villages in Ohio such as Lower Shawnee Town (now Portsmouth), Hurricane Tom's Town (now Piketon), Chillicothe.

Later the trails served, together with navigable streams, as the only means of entrance for the white traders and settlers who pushed their way into the country west and north of the Ohio River.
Three trails transversed Scioto County. Here are the major trails in our immediate area:

Trail No. 2. 
The all-important Scioto Trail ran north and south through the state, between Sandusky Bay and the mouth of the Scioto River. Ascending the Sandusky river, crossing the portage and descending the Scioto to its juncture with the Ohio, the Scioto Trail crossed the latter river and joined the famous "Warriors' Path” or “Warriors' Trace” (said to have been used for 5,000 years by Native Americans), leading far into the south land. Together these trails constituted one of the greatest war paths of the western country.

The principal towns along the way included the Sandusky towns near the bay; the Pipe's towns, Half King's town, Wyandot town, in the vicinity of the upper rapids of the Sandusky river; Mingo and Delaware towns in Delaware county; Old Salt Lick town and Mingo town in Franklin county;
Towns in or near Scioto included Maguck and the Chil- lieothe (at Chillicothe) towns in Pickaway and Ross, Hurricane Tom's town (at Piketon), Wanduchale's town further south (closer to Lucasville), and Lower Shawnee town, at the mouth of the Scioto River (at Portsmouth). The northern portion of this trail was identical with the route of Trail No. 6.

Trail No. 10 
This trail connected Chillicothe on the Ohio with Trail No. 3 midway between Mad River and Pickawillany. It followed in a general way the watershed between Paint creek and the Little Miami river.

Trail No. 15 
The trail connected the towns at the mouth of the Scioto with Trail No. 3 near French Margaret's town in Fairfield county. It passed through the great salt region of Salt creek and Jackson county and doubtless played an important part in the aboriginal salt industry. The principal towns were French Margaret's town, Standing Stone town (Lancaster) and Lower Shawnee town.

Standing Stone (Lancaster)

* A note on Standing Stone. Standing stones (often referred to as "tea tables") are prominent erosional features that are most often developed on sandstone bedrock deposits of uneven resistance to erosion. These conspicuous natural features evoke interest from Ohioans today and some were undoubtedly used as landmarks, if not gathering places, by prehistoric Ohio natives.

With the exception of the massive Mount Pleasant standing stone at Lancaster,Ohio, there remains a considerable question as to the actual amount of prehistoric human activity associated with these geologic features, despite the frequent 19th C. legends to the effect that Indians frequently held councils at or on them and even had maidens dancing atop them in order to lure pioneers to their death.

The largest and best known undoubtedly is the Standing Stone at Lancaster, Ohio, in Fairfield County. It is now part of Rising Park, also known as Mount Pleasant. The Mount Pleasant Standing Stone is an erosional remnant of he resistant Mississippian Black Hand Sandstone. Of historic significance, Tarhe, the chief of the Wyandottes, camped here in 1797 and remained for some time after the coming of the first settlers. Wyandot Tarhe Town or Crane Town stood at the foot of this standing stone, at the juncture of two major Indian trails.

 It is also the site of the fictional encounter of early frontier scouts with the Wyandots and the equally fictional rescue of Forest Rose, eponymous heroine of he much reprinted novel by Emerson Bennett. Emerson Bennett (1822-1905) was in his day considered among the top fiction writers in America.

Chief Tarhe married the daughter of Chevalier Durante, a French Canadian. They had a daughter named Myerrah (White Crane). Myerrah became the wife of Isaac Zane who was the brother of Ebenezer Zane and the historically well-known Betty Zane. Isaac was the founder of Zanesville, Ohio, in Logan County.

Raven Rock

* Another note on Raven Rock. The famed Raven Rock, located approximately two miles west of Portsmouth on U.S. Rte 52, is an outcropping said to have been a lookout used by the Shawnee to watch for flatboats along the Ohio. Some believe Raven Rock was named for an Indian chief that was killed along the area. However, the Indians used the term as a description of the rock cliff because the form of the hill looks like a giant bird.

Some stories hold that Daniel Boone and Tecumseh each stood at its edge, 500 feet above the Ohio River. Folklore relates that Daniel Boone escaped the Shawnee by taking a daring jump from the cliff onto a tree and climbed down to safety. A historical marker there notes, "Whether or not settlers died after having been first spotted from Raven Rock can never be known. However, it is almost certain that warriors stood in this very spot and watched the endless stream of settlers with a sense of foreboding over what it would mean for their families and their future."

Lower Shawneetown

Lower Shawneetown, also know as Sonnontio or Shannoah, was one of the earliest known Shawnee settlements within the boundaries of the present state of Ohio. Established in 1738, it was located at the mouth of the Scioto River where it empties into the Ohio River at present Portsmouth, Ohio.

Some accounts say that the Shawnee called the Ohio River Pelewathiipi and Spelewathiipi. Other historians say the Shawnee knew the river as Kiskepila Sepe because of the eagles that nested along the bank Whatever the Shawnee name, the river eventually took on an Iroquoian word, O-hee-yuh meaning “good” or “beautiful” river.

The river of the 1700s would certainly look different from the Ohio today. The Ohio River is a naturally shallow river that was artificially deepened by a series of dams. The natural depth of the river varied from about 3 to 20 feet (0.91 to 6.10 m).

Along the stretch of the Ohio River near Lower Shawneetown, Indians frequently attacked and killed American settlers as they attempted to float down river to the new settlements opening in Kentucky and around Ft. Washington. It became the most hazardous sections of the whole Ohio River. The Shawnee were receptive to trade with Europeans, but colonization was vigorously opposed.

The large community of Lower Shawneetown was less a village and more of a “district extending along the wide Scioto River and narrower Ohio River floodplains and terraces.” It was said to be a sprawling series of wickiups and longhouses.

The English referred to the village as “Lower Shawnee Town” and because the English came to conquer and settle this region (rather than the French), it is the English name by which we know it today. The word Lower in “Lower Shawnee Town” derives from its location down river from the other Indian villages that were established higher in the Upper Ohio Valley beginning in the 1730s.

Pressure from the growing European populations on the east coast of North America and in southern Canada had caused Native American populations to concentrate in the Ohio River Valley, and Lower Shawneetown was situated at a convenient point, accessible to many native communities living on tributaries of the Ohio River. Also, the town was near the Seneca Trail, used by Cherokees and Catawbas. It was well suited for this trade. And, it was surrounded by fertile, alluvial flatlands ideal for growing corn.

The founding of Lower Shawnee Town coincided with the return of the Shawnee, who had been expelled from their homeland by the Iroquois in the mid-1600s. Mainly a Shawnee village, it included members from most if not all five Shawnee divisions, as well as an assortment of other Native Americans including the Senec and the Lenape, Europeans, and Africans. During its peak it is estimated that the town had an estimated total population of 1,200 or more people.


Lower Shawneetown became a formidable threat to French ambitions. With a “fairly large number of bad characters from various nations,” Lower Shawneetown posed a significant challenge to France and Great Britain alike.

Both the French and British traders regarded Lower Shawneetown as one of two capitals of the Shawnee tribe – a place known as Chalahgawtha. Yet, native American history holds that when a village was called Chalahgawtha, a Shawnee word meaning "principal place," it meant that it was home to the principal leader. It then remained Chalahgawtha, the capital city of the Shawnee, until the death of that chief. Then the capital would move to the home village of the next person selected to lead. That village would then take on the name.

Historians believe Lower Shawneetown was such a “principal place.” Yet, Ohioans know the next Chalahgawtha today as Chillicothe – from 1758–1787, this settlement was one of seven Shawnee villages on the west bank of the Scioto River, near Paint Creek (the present Chillicothe, Ohio.)

Concerned that Lower Shawneetown would be readily influenced by trade goods supplied by the British, the Governor of New France, Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois sent emissaries to Lower Shawneetown in 1741 to try to persuade the Shawnees to relocate to Detroit, but the proposal was rejected.

In April 1745, Peter Chartier and about 400 Shawnees took refuge in Lower Shawneetown after defying Governor Patrick Gordon in a conflict over the sale of rum to the Shawnees. Chartier opposed the sale of alcohol in Native American communities and threatened to destroy any shipments of rum that he found. He persuaded members of the Pekowi Shawnee to leave Pennsylvania and migrate south. After staying in Lower Shawneetown for a few weeks they proceeded into Kentucky to found the community of Eskippakithiki.

 Mural by Robert Dafford

In the summer of 1749, Pierre Joseph Celoron de Blainville moved down the Ohio River on his “lead plate expedition,” burying lead plates at six locations where major tributaries entered the Ohio. The plates were inscribed to claim the area for France. Céloron also sought out British traders and warned them to leave this territory which belonged to France.

Hearing that a French military force was approaching, the inhabitants of Lower Shawneetown hastily erected a stockade and fired three shots at a delegation, which had reached the gates bearing a French flag. The Shawnees reluctantly opened the gates and invited Céloron to enter; he summoned the five Pennsylvania traders who were then living in the town and ordered them to leave, but they refused. Céloron considered plundering their goods, but as he was confronted by a large and well-armed Shawnee force, he desisted and continued on his way.

Lower Shawneetown continued to grow to be a major trading hub in the years leading up to the French and Indian War. Between about 1735 and 1758 Lower Shawneetown became a center for commerce and diplomacy, "a sort of republic populated by a diverse array of migratory peoples, from the Iroquois to the Delawares, and supplied by British traders.”

In January 1751, woodsman and surveyor Christopher Gist and British traders Andrew Croghan and Andrew Montour, accompanied by Robert Callender, visited the town to strengthen alliances with the Britich. Gist's journal entry from January 29-February 11,1751:
"Tuesday 29.— Set the Mouth of Sciodoe Creek opposite to the Shannoah Town, here we fired our Guns to alarm the Traders, who soon answered, and came and ferryed Us over to the Town — The Land about the Mouth of Sciodoe Creek is rich but broken fine Bottoms upon the River & Creek. The Shannoah Town is situate upon both Sides the River Ohio, just below the Mouth of Sciodoe Creek, and contains about 300 Men, there are about 40 Houses on the S Side of the River and about 100 on the N Side, with a Kind of State-House of about 90 Feet long, with a light Cover of Bark in which they hold their Councils."
Thursday 30-Monday February 11. – Stayed in the Shawane town. While I was here the Inidans had a very extraordinary festival, at which I was present, and which I have exactly described at the end of my journal. In the evening a proper officer made a public proclamation, that all the Indian marriages were dissolved, and a public feast was to be held for the three succeeding days after, in which the women (as is their custom) were again to choose their husbands.
The next morning early the Indians breakfasted, and after spent the day in dancing, till the evening, when a plentiful feast was prepared; ater feasting, they spent the night in dancing.
The same way they passed the next days till the evening, the men dancing by themselves, and then the women in turns round fires, and dancing in their manner in the form of the figure '8,' about 60 or 70 of them at a time. The women, the whole time they danced, sung a song in their language, the chorus of which was.
I am not afraid of my husband; I will choose what man I please.
“… The women standing together as the men danced by them, and as any of the women liked a man passing by, she stepped in, and joined in the dance, till the rest of the women stepped in, and made their choice in the same manner, after which the dance ended and all retired to consummate.”
The journal terminates with a detailed description of a festival Gist witnessed during his stay in Lower Shawneetown ...

“As a community of 300 men, the town may have had a total population of between 1,200 and 1,500. The town consisted of 40 houses on the Kentucky side and 100 houses on the Ohio side, including a 90 feet (27 m) long council house. The Shawnee had relocated part of the village on the east bank of the Scioto River and on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River after a flood destroyed much of the original village which had been situated on the Scioto River's west bank.”
Lower Shawnee Town was abandoned after the fall of Fort Duquesne in 1758. The town was eventually destroyed by floods in November, 1758, and the population relocated to another site further up the Scioto River.

Charles Augustus Hale states that in about November, 1758 …

"...a very extreme, if not unprecedented, flood in the rivers swept off a greater part of the town, and it was never rebuilt at that place; but the tribe moved its headquarters...up the Scioto and built up successively the Old and New Chillicothe, or Che-le-co-the Towns. There remained a Shawnee village at the mouth of the Scioto, which was then built upon the other side, the present site of the city of Portsmouth.” 
The Story of Mary Draper Ingles

There's need to include one more incredible story related to Lower Shawneetown.

Mary Draper Ingles was only twenty-three and pregnant when Shawnee Indians invaded the peaceful Virginia settlement where she, her husband and children lived. Taken captive, she lived with the Shawnee for months until she finally escaped at Big Bone Lick, Kentucky by following a thousand mile trail to freedom.

Read this entry for the dramatic tale of Mary Ingles: Jane's Saddlebag –


  • Sharp, William E. (1996). "Chapter 6:Fort Ancient Farmers". In Lewis, R. Barry. Kentucky Archaeology. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 170–176. ISBN 0-8131-1907-3.
  • Stephen Warren, Worlds the Shawnees Made: Migration and Violence in Early America, UNC Press Books, 2014. ISBN 1469611732
  • Henry F. Dobyns, William R. Swagerty, Their Number Become Thinned: Native American Population Dynamics in Eastern North America, ACLS Humanities E-Book; Native American historic demography series; Newberry Library. Center for the History of the American Indian, University of Tennessee Press, 1983. ISBN 0870494007

  • Andrew Lee Feight, PhD. Belli's Town: Alexandria and the Virginia Military District” Lower Scioto Blog

  • Lower Shawnee Town” The Full Wiki.

  • Shawnee Indians.” Ohio History Central.

  • Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996. 
  • Shawnee Indians.” 2017

  • James. L. Murphy. Archaeological Potential of Standing Stones in Eastern Ohio. Ohio State Library. 
  • Andrew Lee Feight, Ph.D., “Lower Shawnee Town & Céloron's Expedition,” Scioto Historical, accessed July 12, 2017, 
  • Henderson, A. Gwynn. "The Lower Shawnee Town on Ohio: Sustaining Native Autonomy in an Indian 'Republic'" in Craig Thompson Friend, ed., The Buzzel About Kentuck: Settling the Promised Land. Lexington: U of Kentucky P, 1999. ISBN 0-8131-2085-3

  • Sugden, John. Tecumseh: A Life. New York: Holt, 1997. ISBN 0-8050-4138-9 (hardcover); ISBN 0-8050-6121-5 (1999 paperback).

Words of Wisdom From a Wise Native American Leader

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing afriend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Nation

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

P.T. to Hugh -- The McLellan Story in Lucasville and National History


One identifiable photo from the past can be the catalyst that allows you to uncover the best folk history in America. Not only can pursuing genealogical findings provide the researcher with bare bones records, but also it can reward the genealogist with excellent, detailed information. The limits of the research depend so much upon the preservation of past papers and records.

Allow me to trace the family of P.T. McLellan, a Lucasville resident whose picture (above) I discovered in the Lucasville Area Historical Society's publication A Backward Glance: The Lucasville, Ohio Area 1819-1919, Volume I. It is a story of one of old Maine's most incredible families.

P.T. McLellan

P.T. (Peter Thomas) McLellan was a merchant and postmaster of Coopersville, Ohio (Pike County). He was born February 24, 1842 in Jasper, Pike County, and he was the son of Thomas and Mercy (Willis) McLellan. (who died in Jasper, Ohio)

On September 13, 1861, McLellan enlisted in the Fifty-third Ohio Infantry as a private, and he was eventually promoted to Sergeant-Major. He served in companies F and S. McLellan was at the battle of Shiloh and with Sherman on his march to the sea.

Uniform of Ohio 53rd -- Unidentified soldier (Lucasville Area Historical Society)

Governor William Dennison authorized the creation of the Fifty-third Ohio Infantry on September 6, 1861. Recruitment occurred at Jackson, Ohio and was not completed until January 1862.

 Recruitment Poster for the 53rd
Here is a summary report of their action at Shiloh:

“On February 16, 1862, the 53rd boarded a steamboat at Portsmouth, Ohio and proceeded to Paducah, Kentucky, where the organization joined the Third Brigade of General William T. Sherman's division. Sherman's command boarded steamers and sailed to Savannah, Tennessee, where the division disembarked and moved against the Memphis and Charleston Railroad near Iuka, Mississippi.

“Upon the expedition's conclusion, the 53rd entered camp near the Shiloh Church at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. On April 6, 1862, more than three hundred of the regiment's enlisted men and one-half of the organization's officers were so ill that they were unfit for duty. On that day, a Confederate army attacked the Union's Army of the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing.

“In the resulting Battle of Shiloh (April 6 and 7, 1862), the 53rd performed admirably, slowly retreating on the engagement's first day with the rest of the Union army and driving the Confederates from the field on the second day. On April 8, the regiment accompanied a cavalry battalion after the retreating Southerners. Confederate forces attacked the cavalry units, capturing many of these Northerners. The 53rd launched a counterattack, freeing most of the prisoners and prompting the Southerners to withdraw. After this engagement, the regiment returned to the organization's old camp at the Shiloh Church.”

P.T. was discharged August 2, 1865. The Ohio 53rd engaged in 69 battles and skirmishes and traveled 6,400 miles. The regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 76 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 6 Officers and 190 Enlisted men by disease. Total 276.

After returning home, McLellan successfully engaged in the mercantile business (Records account for carrying a stock of about $2,000, with sales amounting to about $9,000 a year).

In 1872 P.T. was married to Jane, daughter of James and Phoebe Rodgers. They had three children – Delia, Florence and Flora. Mr. McLellan was a member of Orient Lodge, No. 321, A. F. & A. M., and he belonged to Colwell Post, No. 245, G. A. R. P.T. died February 2, 1924, in Ashville, Pickaway, Ohio.


Thomas McLellan, Father of P.T.

Thomas was born May 19, 1794. He was married to Mercy Willis on April 19, 1829. Very little else is known.

Thomas McLellan and Jenny Paterson, Grandparents of P.T.

P.T.'s grandfather, Thomas McLellan (1753-1829), was a native of Gorham, Maine, and he was of Dutch and Irish descent. Thomas was the youngest son of Hugh and Elizabeth McLellan, whose family was among the very first settlers of his county. Thomas McLellan lived and died in the old family mansion on the home in Maine. The structure is believed to be the first brick house built in Cumberland County, and is among the oldest surviving brick buildings in the state. He married Jenny Patterson of Saco. Thomas died January 13, 1829, age 75. Mrs. McLellan died October 30, 1841, age 84.

And, this is where the story opens into an entire chapter of American history – Hugh and Elizabeth McLellan were noted pioneers of Maine.

Hugh and Elizabeth McLellan, Great-Grandparents of P.T.

The McLellans of Gorham, Maine are descended from Hugh and Elizabeth (Lewis) McLellan. The family itself descended from Sir Hugh McLellan of Argyle, Scotland, who was knighted in 1515. The McLellans were Scottish people that fled King James II and his persecution of their Covenant branch of Presbyterianism to live in Northern Ireland; however, some of the more wealthy Scottish were expressly invited by the King to Ulster at this time to settle the area and make it less Catholic.

In the 1700’s, many of the Scottish and Irish immigrated to the colonies and began settling in downtown Portland Maine (then part of Falmouth).

The title The History of Gorham, Maine, was actually written by Hugh D. McLellan while being compiled and edited by his daughter Katharine B. Lewis. It is a priceless, rich history of the town. It is the primary source of the information in this report.

The town of Gorham owes its origin and settlement to the so-called Narragansett War. The Narragansetts were a numerous and powerful tribe (Estimates number them with some three or four thousand warriors.). The tribe was deemed to be “jealous of the English and of the Mohicans, both of whom had remained friendly to the English.” The Narragansetts eventually fought the settlers.

The war was also known as King Philip's War. Metacomet (He adopted the English name Philip due to the friendly relations between his father and the Mayflower Pilgrims.) was the second son of Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanog Confederacy who had coexisted peacefully with the Pilgrims for nearly 40 years. On the death of his brother Alexander, Philip succeeded to the chieftainship of the Wampanoags, and like Alexander, Philip became “the determined enemy of the white man.”

Historical records say “the Indians began their bloody work” on June, 1675, falling upon the town of Swanzey in Plymouth Colony, burning the town, and killing, it is said, “nine English.” The war raged on and became known as “the single greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth century Puritan New England,” and it is considered by many to be the deadliest war in the history of European settlement in North America in proportion to the population.

An early and reliable historian of the times, Benjamin Trumbull, says after careful consideration, that one of every eleven men capable of bearing arms was slain in the conflict, and one-eleventh of all the dwellings in the united colonies burned in the war with the savages.

The first action in Maine came when a 25-man militia gathered at Falmouth in 1675 and sailed to an Indian village, thought to be a part of the Abenaki, “with a single sloop and towing shallops.” The Indians drove them off and took the shallops (small boats) from them. Later that month, the tribe crossed the Saco River in the captured shallops and attacked the settlement of Winter Harbor. Little damage was caused, and similar raids were conducted on Wells and Falmouth later that year.

Philip was killed on August 12, 1676, by the brother of the Indian whom he had slain for advising him to sue for peace. With his death, hostilities largely ceased … for a while.

The McLellan Link

In 1733, Hugh and Elizabeth McLellan (of County Antrim, Ireland), along with their first child William, sailed from Londonderry. After a rough, stormy passage of two months, they arrived in Boston. On their voyage another child was born to them. This child died in infancy. From Boston, they went to York, then to Wells, where they purchased land and remained for a time, but their farm proving to be poor and unproductive, so they disposed of it and went to Saco, where Hugh's brother James lived.

From Saco the family went to to Falmouth where Hugh had a sister. Fearing Indian depredation, they finally moved to Falmouth Neck. While there, Hugh purchased a grantee's right of land in Narragansett No. 7, which consisted of 200 acres, now known as Gorham. Hugh's deed from Shubael Gorham was given August 10, 1739.
It is one of the seven townships granted by the General Court of Massachusetts to eight hundred and forty persons, who were either “personally present at the fort and fight at Narragansett, or who were descendants from those who were, or who were in the strictest alliance with them.”

Captain John Phinney and his family were the first settlers in this remote township – a part of Falmouth then called Presumpscot. Most of the people settling there were of Puritan and Pilgrim stock, but this region was in no way under puritanical ideals.

The McLellans moved in the latter part of the winter (1738-1739) to a logger's or hunter's camp Hugh had repaired earlier that year. The Hugh McLellan family became the second group of settlers in No. 7.

It is reported that the McLellans “moved on (to No. 7) with an old white horse harnessed to a drag – two long poles, the forward ends confined to the horse, like carriage shafts, the other ends dragging some twenty feet behind.” On these pieces they laced cross-pieces, on which they secured their effects. William, “then a lad of seven or eight years, drove the little cow,” and Hugh, the father, “carried Abigail, the babe, two or three months old, a part of the time, and drove the team, while the mother carried the babe part of the time.” There was no road or track. The family began life as pioneers.

French and Indian War

April 18, 1746, an attack loomed. The McLellans had four guns in the house, and two men, Hugh and his son William capable of using them, while Mrs. McLellan “was not much behind her husband in point of courage and ability to defend their home in the wilderness.” All through the night, the McLellan's dog appeared upset, and no one slept in fear of an attack. Yet, no attack came.

The next day it was revealed that about a dozen Indians engaged in an attack on Gorham – they had planned to attack the Bryants, the Cloutmans, the Reeds, and the McLellans. The McLellans were not attacked because the Indians had already scored a victory with the murder and capture of others. They did not push their luck.

Early in the day, Mrs. McLellan sent her daughter Abigail to go to the Bryants because the McLellans had heard a gunshot they believed came from there – in those days, often a sign of inquiry and alarm.

Poor Abigail found “a sight past the description of everyone.”

The party sent to Bryants' had “fulfilled their bloody work.” The Indians had found the wife and the children in the house and captured them without trouble. Four of the children were “dispatched with the tomahawk and scalped, and an infant, two weeks old, had its brains beaten out on the stones of the fireplace.” The oldest child in the house was a girl about fifteen years of age, and tradition says that she would have been made captive with her mother, had it not been that one of her captors had, at a previous time, received an indignity from her, for which he had promised her that he would have his revenge when war came.

When Abigail arrived at the Bryants', she saw that the eldest daughter was still alive. In fact, in a feeble voice, she called Abigail by name. They had been companions in play and intimate friends. She could not even help her friend.

Stricken with horror at the sight before her, Abigail was completely paralyzed with fear and her tongue could not utter a word. At that moment, she heard Indians talking near the back of the house, and she instantly flew “with the swiftness of an arrow toward home.”

Upon her arrival at home, her mother could not get Abigail to speak of the tragedy: she was frozen in fear. However, sensing the seriousness of the situation, she went to the door and blew a horn of alarm. Hugh and William had been plowing, and they returned home. Then, the McLellans joined the rest of the community in assessing the situation.

It was eventually revealed that Mrs. Bryant was dragged into captivity and carried to Canada, where she subsequently married, and soon after died. Mr. Bryant and his son James were not at home at the time of the attack. Indians saw Mr. Bryant nearby, fired at him, and broke his arm. Bryant was able to secret his son in the woods, and his son returned safely to the fort the following morning.

As for the father … Bryant did not survive. He saw a resident, Daniel Mosher, and the men tried to shoot the pursuing Indians, but Bryant was weak from exertion and loss of blood, and “the rapid blows of the tomahawk quickly dispatched him.” The Indians scalped him and made their escape into the woods. Mosher did luckily escape to the fort to raise an alarm.

Mr. Cloutman and Mr. Reed were captured in the raid and taken to Canada by the Indians. Reed died in prison in Quebec in 1746. The brawny Cloutman made his escape in just a few days; however, he never reached home and was feared drown.
Soon, all the settlers of Gorham secured their families in the fort for greater security against the Indians.

So it was that during the French and Indian War, the McLellan family lived in “the fort on the hill,” which they entered on April 20, 1746, the day following the massacre of the Bryant Family. There, their daughter Jane was born.

Although the formal declaration of the French and Indian Wars did not occur until March, 1754, Indian problems continued to occur in the area for some time.

Young Bill” McLellan

When war was declared, the tribes around Gorham town joined the French. William McLellan, or “Young Bill” as he was then called, when at work one day in the field, saw a young Indian about his own age who had often eaten and played with him, and whom “he had many times hired to help him do his boy's stint that they might have the more time to play.” They had often in sport, when at play, threatened to shoot or make prisoners of each other in case a war should come. Little, probably, did they think of what would really happen when war did come.

Young Bill discovered his “old friend” stalking him with murder in mind. The Indian was crawling on his hands and knees, trailing his gun, and Bill was busy hoeing corn. His row fortunately would lead him directly to the point to which the Indian was crawling. He saw the Indian, but the Indian did not know he had been discovered.

Bill had his gun in the field, but it was “by a stump some rods behind him.” He eventually hid from the Indian, got the gun, and called out to him. For some reason, the Indian stood up. Bill's “leaden messenger was on it way as soon as his words had arrived.” The ball took effect in the Indian's bowels. He immediately put his hand over the wound and make for the woods, calling out, “Bill, you shoot him well.” Whether the Indian died from his wound was never known. The gun barrel with which the Indian was shot is still in the family, and owned by the author of the history of Gorham.

Elizabeth, Indian Slayer

Then there is the tale of Elizabeth McLellan's slaying of a hostile Indian. One day the men and the boys were in the field. As no Indians had been seen, no danger was apprehended. The women and children of probably ten families remained in the fort.

The McLellan family had an old dog and had instructed him to make no peace with any Indian. That day the dog came quickly bounding into the fort, “showing indications of great anger and of being much disturbed.”

Mrs. McLellan immediately closed the gate of the stockade. The dog quieted down at once, and Elizabeth said she was “certain sure Indians were about because Bose knew an Indian.” She then took a gun and went into the watch-box with another woman, Mrs. Watson, who “not withstanding old Bose's intelligence, was rather incredulous.”

Since the Indians had counted all the males at work in the field, they were not so cautious that day. Elizabeth thought she saw a bush move. It was a warm day, and no air was stirring. Up popped the head of an Indian, who “after looking warily about, stepped out from his cover in order to more clearly view the fort.” Elizabeth fired her weapon and saw the Indian “give a leap into the air and fall flat on his face where he lay a minute, pawing the earth with his hands as if to draw himself back into the bushes.” The two women watched with much anxiety.
As expected, the men, having heard the gunshot, came running to the fort to see what was the matter. Seeing nothing of Indians, most partook somewhat of the incredulity of the women, but Mrs. McLellan and her companion insisted that Elizabeth had either killed or desperately wounded one.
An examination of the spot where the enemy had fallen began. The spot was examined and proof was evident that either death or a desperate wound had been the result of her shot. A large pool of blood was on the ground, and a trail of blood was seen running some distance through the woods, where the living had carried the dead or wounded body. Mrs. McLellan had most likely killed an Indian. 
The fort was actually burned by Indians in 1747 and badly damaged. 
In 1757, Hugh McLellan agreed to complete reconstruction work for the General Court at the price “on each right (person) one shilling four pence, lawful money for repairing the fort.” The fort was fortified with cannons for the purpose of defense against the Indians and to warn the neighboring towns when they were discovered “to be prowling the vicinity.”

After the long war, the McLellans returned to their log-house, and subsequently by industry, perseverance and prudence, they “accumulated a competency, and even became wealthy for the times.” Hugh became a successful farmer and lumber worker, and “in 1763, and for many hears thereafter, he paid the highest provincial tax then paid in the town.” 

About 1770 the Mclellans commenced the erection of the brick house on the north side of Academy Hill. It was not completed, however, until four years later. It is the oldes brick house in the county. The bricks were made by family on their own land near the brook.


Hugh died on January 2, 1787, aged 77. His wife Elizabeth was a remarkably intelligent woman who retained her faculties down to a late period in her life. 

Tombstone of Hugh McLellan

Elizabeth McLellan always “held unconquerable antipathy against Indians”; still, she treated them kindly. In passing through the town, Indians always made her a call (Perhaps, they respected her bravery and marksmanship.), and she never let one go away hungry while “making her conduct invariably kind to them.”

At the age of ninety, Elizabeth put the saddle and bridle upon her horse and mounting from the horse-block rode over two miles to the house of her daughter, Mrs. Warren, spent the day, and returned alone. She died July 16, 1804 at age 96.

Reverberations Continue To Today

The payoff for the student of history and genealogy is the record of these early times in American history. Much like the Lucasville Area Historical Society owes key families of the past for a fine recorded heritage, the residents of Maine are indebted to the McLellans for their interest in preservation. The forward of their book reads ...

The author, Hon. Hugh D. McLellan, was a member of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society. During his entire lifetime, he took a deep interest in all things related to the history of his native town, and when but twenty years of age, he commenced to gather its historical material that it might not be lost. People in the town, knowing his fondness for such things, often presented him with old books, records, and papers then considered of but little more value than to make a nest for the mice or to swell the sacks of some traveling tin peddler, but of inestimable worth to the future historian. Stories, anecdotes, and traditions were also written down from the lips of those now long since passed beyond recall.”


Through my research, I believe P.T. was actually in Company F. (Lucasville Area Historical Society Photo)


Drake, James David. King Philip's War: Civil War in New England, 1675-1676. The University of Massachusetts Press. pp.1–15. 1999.

John K. Duke. History of the Fifty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, during the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865. 1844.

Mike Mangus. “53rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1861-1865).” Ohio Civil War Central. January 24, 2014.

Hugh D. McLellan compiled and edited by his daughter Katharine B. Lewis. The History of Gorham, ME. By Portland: Smith & Sale, Printers 1903.

The McLellans of Maine.” Old Blue Genes: Adventures in Ancestral Research. April 18, 2010.