Monday, February 19, 2018

The First in Ohio in Scioto? The Disputed Title of First White Child


Who was the first white child born in the State of Ohio? The first white born in Scioto County? For good reason, there exists much speculation but no indisputable evidence to solidify this claim. This area has been a cradle of European exploration and settlement since the 17th century. And, considering the considerable interaction between these explorers and Native people, who is to say that “white” ethnic heritage is particularly noteworthy or wholly significant?

Nonetheless, historians do busy themselves with claims of “firsts” and primary importance. Genealogy and curiosity are of great interest to so many, even when proof is scant. And, personal accounts speak to the heart of those who love great stories with authentic voice. In the case of the Ohio-born “first,” the tales are engrossing. Read on, perhaps you will find some interest and pursue your own account.

It is commonly believed the first collective body of white people within the limits of the State of Ohio were the French traders as early as 1680. These traders established posts or stores at almost every Indian town. English traders came into Ohio in 1699-1700. They built a small fort or block house among the Hurons on the north side of Sandusky bay, and in 1748 they were driven off by a party of French soldiers from Detroit. Prior to 1763, the English in Ohio were few in comparison with the French. How many settlers lived here before westward expansion? Historical reference says groups were small – ten, twenty, or fifty traders.

These traders would marry (cohabit with) squaws and have children by them. Only in rare cases did white women accompany their husbands on trading excursions that generally lasted for months. Indians preferred to trade and barter with those connected to their people by marriage.

Though it seems most possible the early traders fathered children in Ohio, there is said to be no information that would help ascertain the date of birth of the first white child to any of the French or English occupants of Ohio prior to the peace in 1763 (the end of the French and Indian War).

There are two cases known in which traders did live with white wives in Indian villages.
  1. (First Name Undocumented) Henry (brother of Judge Henry of Lancaster, Pa. And the family of famous gunsmiths)
Henry was living among the Shawnese (Shawnee) as early as 1768. He was domiciled on the Scioto at a Shawnee village called “Cherlokraty” (Chillicothe?) He married a white woman, who had been taken captive as a child. It is not known if they had children born to them in Ohio, but that is likely since Henry continued living on the Scioto for many years while amassing a “fortune” (for the time).
  1. Richard Conner
Conner was a trader from Maryland who lived on the Scioto at Pickaway. He lived among the Western Indians as a trader for years and is believed to have married a young white woman, also a captive among the Shawnee at Pickaway. In 1771, a male child was born unto them. It is impossible to state at what place, though in all probability the birth occurred at Pickaway on the Scioto.

In 1774, agreeable to the treaty of Fort Pitt, all whites residing among the Shawnee were delivered up at the post. Among these were Mr. Conner and wife, but the Shawnee held back their son. The same year Mr. and Mrs. Conner went to reside with the Moravians at Shoenbrun, Ohio. Mr. Conner, having obtained permission from the American Commandant at Pittsburgh, went to the Scioto in search of his son. He left Mrs. Conner ac Shoenbrun. In the spring, he returned without his child, having made a fruitless search at the Shawnee towns.

During the year 1770, Mr. Conner made a second search for his boy and finally found him. Conner succeeded in purchasing his ransom. Mrs. Conner afterward had children at Shoenbrun, though the dates of their birth remain unknown.

Others have claimed to know the identity of the first white child born in Ohio, but this remains conjecture.

The Scioto Connection

Harlow Lindley, curator of history of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical society, said of five prominent claims for the distinction of the first white child born in Ohio, the history concerning Henry Mallow appears to top them all. Mallow, according to the records submitted to the society, was born November 18, 1785, near where Portsmouth is now located.

And here is the standing of other claims, according to Lindley's records:

James Conner, in September 1771, at what was known as Connersville; John Lewis Roth, July 4, 1773, at Columbian; Ephrian Cable, March 15, 1787, in Jefferson County; and Polly Heckwelder, 1790, in Salem.

The records submitted relative to the birth of the Mallow baby make up a thrilling and apparently untold chapter of the days when the French and Indians were battling the British.

"Henry Mallow's mother," Lindley related, "was captured during an Indian raid on a fort in the upper Ohio valley region. She and her two children, a boy and a baby girl, were taken captive."

"The woman's husband was away when the raid was made." Several other occupants of the fort were taken captive with Mrs.Mallow and the two children. All were started down the Ohio river astride logs."

Because the baby girl cried, according to information furnished to Lindley by Clara G. Mark of Westerville, Ohio, a descendant of the Mallows', she was abandoned along a trail and left to die.

"The Indians took their captives, " Lindley continuted, "To a camp on the west side of the Scioto River, but north of the Ohio river and opposite of where Portsmouth is now situated. Because Mrs. Mallow was a fine seamstress, she gained favor with the Indians.”

Then, according to the story handed down in the Mallow family, a baby boy was born to the woman on November 18, 1758. He was Henry Mallow. A statement taken from the record submitted by Miss Mark says "the Indians took the baby and bathed him in cold waters of the Ohio to wash out all the white blood and make a good Indian out of him."

Meanwhile, Mrs. Mallow's other son, identified as Adam, had been taken to another Indian camp near where Chillicothe now stands.

Sometime after the birth of Henry Mallow, Mrs. Mallow and the baby were taken to New Orleans by the Indians and sold to a Frenchman who provided transportation for the woman and the child back to the settlement, in what was known then as Virginia, where she was captured.

Mrs. Mallow rejoined her husband, but they never returned to Ohio, according to the family history. However, Adams Mallow, who has been released by the Indians, made his home near Chillicothe.

Here is another account of Henry Mallow from the Laben & Rachel (Harman) Eye Family:

"Henry Mallow served in Colonel Benjamin Harrison's Regiment in the Revolutionary War. His pension application S45892, was filed October 3, 1832 and granted January 11, 1833, retroactive to September 4, 1832. Henry gave his date of birth as Nov. 18, 1759 in his pension application. His tombstone, in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Upper Tract, West Virginia shows Nov. 18, 1858. He was illiterate, and was likely mistaken about the date. Henry died September 18, 1834.

“Parents: Michael Mallow and Mary Miller; Mary was taken on April 27, 1758 by a band of Shawnee Indians, Killbuck, a half breed Delaware Chief was their leader. They burned the fort and killed the soldiers there and captured many civilians. They captured Mary Miller Mallow, her son Adam about
6 or 7 years old, and her baby daughter. Adam lived with the Indians about 6 years until about 1864.

“Mary's baby daughter which she carried in her arms, began crying. A savage seized the baby, placed it on a rock, and forced Mary to move on. Mary never saw her daughter again.

“Mary was sold to the French fur traders. Mary's son Henry was born Nov. 18, 1758, on a French fur trader's Barge on the Mississippi River. A family tradition holds that Mary and her son Henry, were held in French captivity in Louisiana before making their way home. Michael must have born the Indians a bitter hatred for burning his home, enslaving his wife, and murdering his baby daughter. Michael accepted Henry as his son and left him a large farm in his will.”

And Yet Another Scioto Claim

The saline mines, although not strong, they did serve a good purpose by bringing comparatively cheap salt to the early settlers, and they drew the attention to outsiders of the advantages of settlement in the area. Of course, fertile land did so, too.

Samuel Marshall came down the Ohio River in company with Gen. Anthony Wayne in the fall of 1795. The group left Pittsburgh and passed down the river as far as Manchester, where they remained until Wayne made his famous treaty with the Indians.

Marshall had viewed the mouth of the Scioto and the lands on the border of that river. When it was distinctly understood that there would be no more Indian wars, he immediately returned up the river in the same boat. He then landed about three miles above the mouth of the Scioto, opposite the mouth of the Tygart Creek. His wife was Frances Mary Hazelrigg.

Samuel Marshall is known as the “first permanent settler of Scioto County” because “he was the first settler in the county who came here with the intention of making this his permanent home.” Marshall is also known as the person in the county “who built the first cabin, who raised the first crop of corn, and who fathered the first child.” Francis (Fanny) was born on February 16, 1796. She has the distinction of being “the first child born in the Scioto County. On reaching womanhood, Francis married George Skunkwilder (Shonkwiler?)

A.T. Goodman. First White Child In Ohio. A Historical Society. Number Four. 1871.

Heitzman Family Tree. October 8, 2009.

Williamson and Jolly Family Tree. July 2, 2008. 
C_Braton. Plumb/Surlet Family Tree. April 24, 2009.
1790 United States Federal Census 1. Citation provides evidence for Name, Residence.
Henry Mallow Believed First Ohio White Baby.” The Lima News. March 6, 1935.

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