HISTORY OF THE LOWER SHENANDOAH VALLEY
From the rocks of a given section, as has been said, spring animal as well as vegetable excellence, and a clever illustration of that fact was enunciated by the late eminent Prof. Agassiz, who, in reply to the question of a horse-breeder desirous of obtaining the professor's opinion as to the best mode scientifically, of producing high-class stock, said, "It is entirely a question of rocks." A substantial confirmation of this theory lies in the fact that the Blue Grass region of Kentucky produces a breed of horses that outstrip the world for speed and endurance. The physical structure of the Kentucky thorough-bred is much finer than the horse of other sections, and an examination of the bone of the former shows it to be almost as ivory in compactness as compared to the bone of the Conestoga and other low-bred horses. The soil of the Blue Grass region is a peculiar limestone and all of its products are of the best. The reason is apparent.
The foregoing remarks lead to the fact that limestone is the soil, par excellence, that produces the best results in almost everything-health, fertility, size, strength, and even personal courage; that is a courage that comes from conviction, and not from brute instinct, which is inherent in the savage, prompted by his mode of life for self-preservation. The Shenandoah Valley, and particularly the counties forming the section comprised in this work, has been overlooked by the state authorities in the matter of geology, and there is almost nothing of any consequence in print in regard to its resources in this respect, save what has been embodied in the pamphlets and descriptive circulars of the land companies of the various counties, but that there is a wide field for the speculative as well as the operative geologist its wondrous mountain formation and rich valleys attest. The hills of this section contain much that is not only interesting to the investigator, but will someday, when sufficient capital and proper appliances are brought to bear, bring immense revenue to the inhabitants of this region.
The Lower Shenandoah Valley, for the purposes contemplated in this work, comprises the counties of Frederick and Clarke, Va. and Berkeley and Jefferson, W. Va, and extends, roughly stated, from Cedar Creek on the south to the Potomac on the north, and from the Blue Ridge mountains on the east to the North mountain on the west. The mean length of the section is about forty-three miles, and the mean width about twenty-nine miles. More definitely stated, Frederick is twenty-eight miles long and eighteen wide; Clarke, seventeen miles long and fifteen wide; Berkeley, twenty-three miles long and thirteen wide; Jefferson, twenty-two miles long and twelve wide. It is abundantly watered, being bounded and enclosed on three of its sides by three of the most beautiful streams of water on the continent. Along the northern border flows the historic Potomac, a stream which for romantic beauty, where nature has been exceedingly lavish in according her charms of wood and rock, has no superior anywhere. The Potomac has borne several names. From the Chesapeake bay to its junction with the Shenandoah River at Harper's Ferry, it was called when the white man first settled at Jamestown (or at least the white man so named it), the Paw-taw-mak, a consequence of the tribe of Indians of that name living along that stream. That portion of it west of the junction at Harper's Ferry was called by the Indians Cohongoruton or Cohongoluta. It was known by still another name, for in the grant of the Northern Neck by Charles the Second, as recited in the confirmatory act of the General Assembly of Virginia in 1736, it is called Quiriough, but just where Charles, or his petitioners, obtained that queer title is not now known. This last name appears nowhere else that in the Fairfax grant, so far as the writer has been able to ascertain. Along the eastern border of these counties flows the picturesque and brawling Shenandoah, as it comes tumbling and foaming over rocks and ledges and fallen trees. This stream was originally called and written Gernado, the Sherando, the Shanadore, until by that strange process of change in nomenclature, it came to be known as Shenadoah, but just how and when "the deponent sayeth naught." On the southern border flows the also historic stream, Cedar creek, which Buchanan Read has almost immortalized in his poem commemorating the famous ride of Sheridan when he managed to reach his command, which had been reformed after having been hurled back by Early, in time to participate in the final victory. This stream, heading in the Little North mountain, makes its way with many a twist and turn to the Shenandoah river, having watered with its tributaries all the upper portion of Frederick county. The Opequon creek, which rises a few miles to the southeast of Winchester, flows eastward a short distance, and taking a sudden turn northward, pursues its course through the "slate formation," until it enters the Potomac several miles east of Martinsburg. This steam, the Opequon, it is claimed by several historians, has the honor of having had upon its banks the first settler who came to the valley of Virginia, but which is a mistake, as the present writer will endeavor to show farther along. The northwestern portion of Berkeley and a portion of Frederick are also watered by Tuscarora, Mill and Back creeks. There are a number of smaller creeks, including the Bullskin in Clarke, Abraham's creek at Winchester, and other tributaries of main water courses. The country abounds in springs, some of the largest on the continent, and there are a number of mineral springs of the highest value, whose curative waters annually draw hundreds of persons from all sections of the country. Several of these resorts are most elegantly and conveniently arranged for the accommodation of the public, and present attractions for health and pleasure that have given them a world-wide reputation. The medicinal springs are of all grades and colors of sulphur, white black, blue, yellow and gray; there are also chalybeate and other waters. The general geological formation being limestone, there are numerous caves throughout the entire section, some of them of most wondrous beauty and size.
Geologically considered, this valley is placed in the Carboniferous, or fourth group of the Paleozoic, or second subdivision of the two great systems into which the crust of the earth is divided. It also partakes in part of the Cambrian and Silurian epochs. this geological period, or strata, gives the coal measures and the gray, or blue limestone, which affords from its disintegration the soil whereon man in all portions of the world has been enabled to produce the finest crops of all the most useful and most nourishing of the gifts of Mother Earth-wheat, corn, oats, and the hardy fruits and vegetables. Although from the Massanutton mountain to the Potomac the soil is as a rule limestone, yet there are ledges of shoal rock, and a singular outcropping of slate. This slate upheaval varies in width from two to six miles, and extends from the northern end of the Fort mountain to the Potomac. The Opequon, with the exception of a few miles eastward from where it rises in the Little North mountain, follows this slate country, and in all its sinuosities never leaves it till it empties into the Potomac. The geological explanation of this singular freak of nature (one, by the way, that is very rare) is, that at some period in the remote past the Massanutton, or Fort mountain, continued northward from where it appears today so abruptly broken off above Strasburg; and that some grand upheaval of the earth swept away this lower portion of the elevation, leaving the slate base as we now see it. This theory is not only plausible, but forces itself upon the mind, when the structure of the Fort mountain is examined. The width of the slate formation and the general width of the range of hills named are the same, whilst at the base of the peak, which is so prominent an object going southward from Winchester, the slate strata correspond exactly with those all the way along for forty-five miles. In fact, this swept-away range doubtless extended far to the northward, for across in Maryland they have what they call the "slate hills," a section that is not as good for farming as their other lands; and even up through Pennsylvania the slate ledges continue. Those slate lands in the Lower Shenandoah Valley have been highly cultivated and upon them are some excellent farms. All the rest is pure gray limestone soil, extremely fertile, and especially in Jefferson and Clarke counties, the soil has been pronounced, and the results have shown for the past hundred years that this section has no equal in the same space for richness and productiveness.
That there is great mineral wealth in the mountains throughout this entire section is not a matter of mere speculation, for investigation and the practical opening of a number of mines of different kinds have given a glimpse of the possibilities that are in store for those who will reach forth and reap the harvest. It has been said by scientific experts that there is enough iron ore of the most superior quality in the mountains of this section from the Potomac to the Fort mountain to supply the world for all time to come and that it is susceptible of easier working, as it lies nearer the surface, than the deposits of Pennsylvania or Alabama. Only to a very limited extent have the mines already opened been worked, yet considerable quantities are shipped to Pennsylvania furnaces. The ores are various, as not only have a large deposits of brown oxides, carbonates and back bands been found, but brown and red hematite, which give the best results, being much richer. Coal, to a certain extent, this been mined, but appliances have been lacking to make the efforts in that direction entirely successful. In the western portion of Berkeley county, however, fine veins of true anthracite have been known and worked to a limited extent for many years. This new anthracite field is destined in the not distant future to yield handsome returns. Geologists and experienced mining operators have pronounced this Berkeley anthracite vein to be a continuation of the anthracite deposits of Pennsylvania. Copper and lead have also been found and worked to a limited extent, and indications of silver have been reported. Rich mines of manganese have been worked for many years, and umbers and ochres are worked with profit. The finest building stone is to be found everywhere, and the most of the fossiliferous limestone is susceptible of the highest polish, whilst the lime produced is of the best quality, containing little or no magnesia. Clays of all varieties are in abundance, and there are found in several localities what is thought to be a genuine "fuller's earth." All varieties of timber here found in inexhaustible quantities: oak, hickory, ash, walnut, maple, popular, beech, birch, white pine, cherry spruce, hemlock, linden, etc.-the mountains from base to summit being covered with them.
The Shenandoah Valley has been very aptly termed the "Garden of Virginia," for the happy mean of its climate makes it a most desirable place for the residence of man. The warmth of its summers is modified by the cool mountain breezes, whilst the chilling breath of winter is tempered by the sheltering arms of these same mountains, and their proximity always assures, during the most heated terms, abundant refreshing rains. It has been compared favorably with the climate of California, but it has the salubrity and evenness of the Pacific coast region, without its drawbacks of "dust and dampness"-all rain or none at all. The rains of this section fall in season, and the snows of winter are gradually melted and flow down into the valleys to bring fertility to the soil and freshness to the landscape. To realize what this valley is as far as the mind can comprehend through sight, one should take a position on an elevated spur of the Blue Ridge and facing westward drink in the beauties of his modern Arcadia. Whilst breathing the pure fresh air of the mountains cast your eyes upon the impressive scene that leis before you. Below gleam the pellucid waters of the many streams, skirted by tall trees with drooping foliage; the chamoedaphnes in full bloom, and burdening the air with their fragrance; the mighty forest and smiling fields that lie in almost endless expanse, distance lending to the landscape the effect of the most carefully kept garden. Far away to the right and left, glinting and gleaming in the sunlight winds and brawls the beautiful Shenandoah; here and there hid by the foliage over-reaching its bright waters; anon appearing as some huge silvery serpent; again concealed by a sweep of the mountains; and still beyond it seems diminished to a shining thread. In front of you across the valley are stupendous mountain ranges, all clothes in luxuriant verdure, at places curving far into the plain, and at those places and at the summits, bathed in a sea of golden light; at others, receding, thrown into dark, somber, forbidding shades. Beyond are mountains piled on mountains like an uptossed ocean of ridges, until they melt away in clouds and distance, imagination fancying others still farther on. High in the blue ether float clouds of snowy whiteness, and far above them, in majestic flight, sails the bird of the mountain, with an air as wild, as free, as the spirit of liberty. Everything seems to be rejoicing. Innumerable songsters are warbling sweetest music, and wild flowers, with scarce the morning dew from off their lips, are opening their bright pelts to the wooing sun; whilst even the tiny insects, flitting through the air, join in the universal sense of over-powering delight! These grandest scenes of nature are within a few hours' ride by rail of our busiest cities, yet there are thousands to whom these glories are as unknown as the wilds of Africa. No wonder, then, that when the savage had by decreasing numbers made it comparatively safe for the white man to take up his abode here, that numerous adventurous spirits cut their way through the wilderness and forded raging stems to plant their cabins upon this virgin soil. But it was not then what it is now, in many respects. There were no comfortable habitations; no stores from which to get supplies; no physician in case of sickness; no schools; no churches; no roads that could be called such, only narrow Indian trails; none, or very little of those comforts of life that now make our civilization the best the world has ever witnessed. The entire face of the country was covered with tall grass. So tall that one on horseback could tie it across the saddle. This prairie condition not only exited in the valleys, but extended onto the tops of the mountains, and along the hillsides grew in abundance pea vines, which afforded the best of food for cattle and even horses. There was no timber, or at least very little, with the exception of narrow fringes along the water courses. The deer, the elk, and even the buffalo roamed and fed on the rich grasses, and the streams were alive with fish and aquatic animals.
INDIANS AND PREHISTORIC
THE ANCIENT ABORIGINES-THEORIES OF THEIR ORIGIN-THEIR VAST ANTIQUITY-WERE THEY AUTOCHTHONS?-THE CONQUERING MOUND BUILDERS-THEIR STUPENDOUS WORKS-THEIR NUMBERS AND THEIR RETREAT WESTWARD-THE MONTEZUMAS AND THE INCAS-THE ZUNIS-THE INDIAN AS A SAVAGE-THE BORDERERS-THE SHAWANEES, AND CORNSTALK-INDIAN CONFLICTS-INDIAN SETTLEMENTS-SHAWNEE SPRING AND CABINS CHARACTER OF THE INDIAN-HIS MANNERS, CUSTOMS, HABITS. DRESS AMUSEMENTS AND RELIGION
As heretofore stated, when the first white settlers entered the valley of the Shenandoah the Indian reigned in absolute supremacy, and had doubtless for centuries lived and hunted an fought and died in this splendid country. How long he had inhabited this region undisturbed is now a mater lost to conjecture, even, but that he had been disturbed is beyond peradventure, and by a race of people far higher than himself in the scale of primitive humanity, and whose origin is as far beyond the scrutiny of the present dwellers on the earth as is that misty Past whereof we know naught save that it was. That this prehistoric race-these antagonists of the ancient aborigines-the so-called Mound Builders, were a superior people to the Indian, the numerous works they left, many of which are extant today, amply attest.
There are theories and theories in regard to the origin of the Red Indians. Some place them far back in the conjectural history of the world; others affirm that they are the lineal descendants of two of the "lost tribes" of Israel; still others argue that in consequence of certain apparently similar characteristics they possess in common with the ancient Seythians, that they had the same origin. All these theorists, as a general rule, agree that at some remote time the ancestors of the Indians made their way from Asia by way of what we now call Alaska. They even place the date as far back as the period when America and Asia were not divided by straits. But whatever the time at which they came, or from what point, on this is certain, that their migration was at so remote a period as to have caused them to bear characteristics of physique in many respects entirely different from any other race of men known to the comparative anatomist, whilst their language contains peculiarities of construction, form and inflection that render it at once strong and unique, having no affinity for any other language spoken by man, so far as the researches of comparative philologists have ascertained-there not being in any of the Indian dialects a single work traceable to any other speech ever uttered. These facts are not only singular but startling, for all other languages can be traced back to a common origin of two or three great groups-all the languages and dialects, for instance, of the Caucasian, or white race, being discoverable in the Sanscrit, that most perfect of written languages, as well as the most ancient, of what we term the Aryan stock, those prehistoric dwellers at the foot of the Hindoo Kosh-the so-called "cradle of the race."
Whence, then, came our Red Man? He may either have landed upon this western continent at so early a date after the Creator had made the world habitable for man, that his ancestors and their language and all knowledge of them had been swept into oblivion, or he may have been what the ancient Greeks claimed for themselves, an autochthon, "a springer from the soil." That two entirely distance races of people occupied the North American continent is probable, for when one nation can be shown to have been engaged in warfare it implies that they had somebody to fight them. From the Gulf of Mexico to the great lakes, and stretching from the Rocky mountains eastward to within one hundred and fifty miles of the Atlantic coast may be found hundreds of artificial fortifications, and other earth-works, all of the same character, and evidently reared by the same people. Along the water courses, especially in the western States, and particularly in the State of Ohio, but extending through all the middle States, may be found numerous mounds of defense and offense, mounds of observation, memorial mounds, sacrificial mounds, sepulchral mounds, and elevations the purposes of which cannot now be well conjectured, two or three of the latter being the alligator, the serpent, and the eagle mounds in Ohio, the exact shape of these animals being reared from four to six feet above the level of the plains upon which they were erected, and in length from four to eight hundred feet. The people who constructed these immense works were not only numerous but must have been considerably farther advanced in civilization that their antagonists. That they had a religion their altars and sacrificial mounds give evidence, and that they were somewhat skilled in the erection of fortifications, the localities and surroundings of their works attest. Situated mostly on the bluffs of streams they combine picturesque scenery, susceptibility of defense, and convenience to transportation, water and productive lands. These are not requisites in the nomadic life of the Indian and unmistakably constitute the Mound Builders as a partially civilized and agricultural people. All these earth works were originally thought to have been simply graves of the Indians, but of late years and after proper investigation they have been shown to be the work of another race of people. The earliest account that the writer has been able to glean in this matter is to be found in a letter published in the Virginia Journal an Alexandria Advertiser of March 2, 1786, wherein the correspondent says:
"Nov. 1st we left Wheeling and landed about 13 miles below, at a place called Grave Creek, from a heap of earth raised in ancient time, about half a mile from the river, called by some an Indian Grave: This I viewed-it stands on an extensive plain of excellent bottom land covered with wood; is raised in pyramidal form, the base about 120 or 130 feet, and the height about 60 or 70 feet diameter and sunk in a regular circle like a basin, about 4 or 5 feet, leaving a perfect marginal around the circle; this pyramid is covered with trees, some white oak I believe 9 feet in circumference; the trees on the plain do not appear as ancient as those on the pile of earth.-The tradition is that this was an Indian burial ground; I am more inclined to believe it is a tower of defense, or a place devoted to acts of worship."
Many of these prehistoric mounds have been known to the settlers in this valley ever since its occupation, and some of them have been opened, revealing much that is not only curious but puzzling: stone axes, flint arrow-heads, spear-heads, pottery of various kinds, the bones of fish, birds and other animals, and numerous skeletons, some of very large size. Located near a great many of the larger mounds-mounds of fortification-are to be seen "pitholes," depressions in the ground, which were evidently the houses of those who occupied the forts. Many of these pits, which are now very shallow, have been examined and at the original bottom of them have been invariably found ashes and bones of animals, such as the turkey, squirrel, raccoon, opossum, deer, bear and fish, showing that these depressions served as the living places of the inhabitants, where they slept and ate. Roofs of wood or the branches of trees may have been used to shelter them from rain and sun, as a people who had the patience and the ingenuity to erect the wonderful and stupendous mounds we now find, would have undoubtedly had an eye to their own personal convenience and comfort. As to the region of these ancient dwellers, it has been argued that they were sun-worshipers, from the fact that the front, so to speak, of nearly all their works looks to the eastward, but this fact may be accounted for upon another theory, that they came from the westward and consequently made that portion of their works upon the east, toward their antagonists, who were slowly receding eastward, the strongest.
The Indians adapted many of the burial mounds to their own uses after they again became possessors of the land from which these "strange people from the far sea" (meaning the Pacific) had driven them, and it is, indeed, thought by very eminent archaeologists that a third race, distinctive from the Red man and the Mound Builder, occupied this soil for a time, for between the remains of the Mound Builders at the bottoms of the elevations and the Indian graves nearer the surface, are to be found a third class of interments, called by the scientists intrusive graves, which bear characteristics differing from the other two, but which may be accounted for from difference in class or rank, as all primitive races, and modern peoples, too, for that matter, have endeavored to give their high and mighty dead a sepulcher varying from that of the common herd when placing them in the bosom of Old Mother Earth, who, however, receives all her children, king and thrall, with the same fond embrace.
Whether more than the two great nations now known as the North American Indian and the Mound Builder dwelt upon this continent, is but a matter of speculation, for no evidences of a third occupation of the country are discernible, save in the matter of grave, which is at best small proof. The Indians at first dwelling, possibly, in the warmer sections of the west and southwest, along that portion of the coast comprising at present California, Mexico, and Central America, were encroached upon by a race of hardy adventurers who had landed upon or made their way to the northwestern potions of the continent, and these interlopers, in the course of time increasing very rapidly in consequence of their partial advancement in civilization, gradually became as numerous at the original occupants, and forthwith set about their conquest, for it seems that the next thing the primitive man is impelled to do after he has satisfied the cravings of his stomach, is to fight something or somebody. Now these ancient warriors-these conquering Mound Builders, whom we so call because we know no better name for them-kept pressing his inferior foe backward and still backward, everywhere erecting his fortifications and establishing his towns and altars, till the Indian was driven eastward to the Atlantic coast. This conquest may have been accomplished only after centuries of fighting, but that the inferior race was driven to the east is almost beyond doubt, for the following reasons: Running north and south across the State of New York and a portion of Pennsylvania, a series of mounds averaging about then miles apart is still to be seen, although in some instances they are almost obliterated by the hand of man. These offensive and defensive earthworks represent the line at which the Indian made his "last ditch," for beyond these fortifications there is no trace of the Mound Builder eastward. Becoming desperate, as a pursued and oppressed people will upon occasion, the Indian rallied, turned upon his oppressor and eventually beat him back to the western coast, where, after the lapse of centuries, the Mound Builders founded the splendid barbaric civilizations which resulted in the Montezumas in Mexico and the Incas of Peru. The mysterious tribe of Indians known as the Zunis are also supposed to be lineal descendants of the Mound Builders, a portion of that ancient race, possibly, who always adhered to their time-honored religious rites, who looked upon the gilded advancement of their people as a profanation in the eyes of their gods, and who took up their dwelling places far away from the splendor of the courts of their emperors.
The idea that the Mound Builders were an older race than the Indian has been generally believed, but thinkers are no beginning to consider the Red man as one of the Almighty's earliest pieces of handwork. That he was exceedingly inferior to this great antagonist, and entirely unacquainted with the least semblance of the arts of war is very apparent. He knows nothing of the value of fortifications, and in all his contact with the white man he was never known to erect any mode of defense whatever, not the simplest piling of one log on another. When he endeavored to repel the Mound Builders, from whom he may possibly have gained his first lesions in fighting, it is thought that his only weapon was nature's first implement of warfare, the club, the Mound Builder using the bow and arrow, and from whom the Indian learned the trick of that effective weapon. The Indian of the today has no knowledge of any of his ancestors having made a flint arrow-head, and none of those with whom the white man has ever come in contact has related any tradition that his people ever made them. How an extremely hard piece of flint can be chipped as accurately and as delicately as we find in thousands of cases, by a people who seem to have no knowledge of a single metal, is one of those inscrutable mysteries destined never to be solved by this age. But these little stone missiles have been literally found by the peck. A more ingenious, a more patient people that the Red Indian did that work. He simply used them after obtaining form his conqueror the "trick of the bow and arrow." The retreating Mound Builder let stores of them in his flight as a modern army leaves its ammunition when hard pressed. Why, the skill of the most experienced lapidary of today would be taxed except with the best tools to make a facsimile of a first-class flint arrow-heat. The lordly Indian of not many centuries ago was simply an inferior barbarian with the skin of a wild beast around him and a club in his hand.
The question has frequently been agitated as to whether the Indian was naturally warlike and cruel, many contending that up to the time that he came in contact with the white man that he was not; his advocates and apologists even going so are as to say that he lived in a state of absolute peace, that his principal occupation was to hunt the wild game, roaming through sylvan dells of the flowery forest, or recline beneath the shade of some stately oak, etc., but the facts do not bear out this Arcadian theory. When the white man began his settlements in the new world he found the Red Man at war with his own kind: nation arrayed against nation, and tribe against tribe, and when some luckless settler wandered away from his cabin alone he rarely returned; neither age, sex nor helplessness was respected. An infant would be snatched from the breast of its mother and its brains dashed out against a tree or rock with less feeling that we of today would kill a chicken. The sentiment of mercy seemed not to have an abiding place in the savage breast, and gratitude was unknown; treachery seemed inherent, and this faculty was cultivated to such extent that whilst in the act of achieving favors and kindness from the white man, the ungrateful recipient would strike his friend to the earth with his tomahawk. Years of contact with civilization leave no impress upon this savage-he is a savage and nothing more. An instance of his extreme treachery and ungratefulness to those who would have benefited him may be recalled in the incident happening about fifteen years ago, when a party of gentlemen, commissioners of the government, were brutally murdered by a number of what were supposed to be the better class of Indians, the savages rising whilst holding a council with the party and striking the unsuspecting and unprepared whites to the earth. True it is that the Red men had great cause for enmity against the white invaders, who encroached upon their favorite hunting grounds, but their acts of barbarity and fiendish cruelty outweighed the wrongs inflicted in that respect. The old pioneers of this valley learned to cope with the savage foe, and soon beat him at his own game. Bitter experience produced those sturdy borderers, the Boones, the Frys, the Bradys, the Wetzells and the Poes, those fearless advance guards in the march of civilization who cut the way with rifle and "long knife" that the wheels of progress might onward pass.
There seems to have been two grand division of Indians in Virginia when the settlement was made by the whites at Jamestown, those inhabiting the county east of the mountains being ruled by Powhattan, and those beyond the mountains by some other powerful chieftain, the ancestor, doubtless, of the lordly Indian known afterward as Cornstalk. The Indians of the east called those across the mountains the Massawomacs, their hereditary and natural enemies. This entire valley along the Shenandoah River, at least, is supposed to have been held by the powerful confederacy of Shawanees, at the time the first settlers came here, and were ruled by the father of the great Cornstalk, who must then have been a boy in some wigwam along the beautiful river just mentioned. This great warrior may have been born and reared near the famous Shawnee Spring at Winchester, which is supposed to have been the headquarters, or court, of the Indian emperor, as it is the only locality in the valley that is known distinctively by the title "Shawnee." The Indians as a body, however, left this section about the time of the arrival of the whites, and took up their abodes beyond the Alleghany mountains. There is no tradition left of any great battle having been fought in their valley by the Shawnees and their enemies across the Ridge, but a number of extensive lines of graves are to be found, now almost obliterated, along the south river as well as in the main valley. The last great battle between powerful tribes occurred at about the mouth of the Antietam creek on the Maryland side of the Potomac. The Delawares, who inhabited the eastern and a portion of the middle sections of Pennsylvania, and the Catwbas of the South, appear to have been at deadly enmity from time immemorial. The Delawares had gone on an expedition against the Catawbas, but the latter, pursuing the former, overtook them at the Potomac at the old Packhorse Ford, east of Shepherdstown, when a battle ensured which resulted in the total annihilation of the Delawares, with the exception of one, who, however, being pursued was overtaken at the Susquehanna and killed and scalped, but the old chronicler who relates this event was considerably mistaken, for the Delawares may years after that battle were a large tribe, some of their descendants still living on reservations of land in the West at this date Another battle is said to have occurred at the mouth of the Opequon between these same tribes, who would go hundreds of miles for the sake of scalping their enemies or getting scalped themselves. Other Indian engagements occurred in the adjoining valleys, and one especially at the Hanging Rocks, in Hampshire county. The large number of graves existing at this point gives evidence of a very sanguinary affray. These graves have been lately (1889) opened and many skeletons and relics have been unearthed by agents of the Smithsonian Institute at Washington.
Many evidences of Indian settlements were a few years ago to be seen along the Shenandoah river, at Shannondale Springs, along Cedar creek, the Opequon and Back creek. The Tuscaroras resided on the creek of that name in the county of Berkeley. In addition to the settlement near Winchester known as the "Shawnee Cabins" and "Shawnee Springs," an Indian town was in existence till a comparatively late date on Babb's Marsh, three or four miles northwest of Winchester. "Abraham's Delight," as the old Hollingsworth place was named by Abraham Hollingsworth before 1732, was one of the favorite camping spots, in consequence of water, for the Indians, and the famous Morgan Spring on the farm of the present Col. W. A. Morgan, near Shepherdstown, was known far and wide among the aborigines.
As to the character of the
Indian, it varied little save in degree of ferocity. Frequently some chief would
attain greater importance that his fellows in consequence of the exhibition of
sterner stuff in his make-up and shredder qualities in the conduct of a tribal
campaign, and occasionally one of these chiefs would loom up as a savage
Hannibal or a Caesar. Powhattan and Logan and Cornstalk were examples of this
class. Of Cornstalk it is said that "he was gifted with orator, statesmanship,
heroism, beauty of person and strength of frame. In his movements he was
majestic; in this manner easy and winning." Of this oratory, Col. Benjamin
Wilson, an officer in Lord Dunmore's army, says: "I have heard the first orators
in Virginia, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, but never have I heard on
whose powers of delivery surpassed those of Cornstalk." In proof of these claims
is the fact that he was the head of a great confederacy of tribes, and led them
at the battle of Point Pleasant. He met his death at Pont Pleasant in 1777,
under the following circumstances: Cornstalk had gone to the fort for the
purpose of interviewing Capt. Arbuckle, the commandant. He was accompanied by
Chief Red Hawk and a few attendants. About the tie the council closed, two of
the soldiers returning from a deer hunt , on the opposite side of the river were
fired upon by some Indians concealed on the bank, and "whilst we were
wondering," says Stuart, an eye-witness, "who it could be shooting contrary to
orders, or what they were doing over the river, we saw that Hamilton ran down to
the bank, who called out that Gilmore was killed. Young Gilmore was from
Rockbridge; his family and friends had been mostly cut off by the incursions
headed by Cornstalk in 1763; he belonged to the company of his relative, Capt.
John Hall. His companions hastily crossed the river, and brought back the bloody
corpse, and rescued Hamilton from his danger. The interpreter's wife, lately
returned from captivity, ran out to inquire the cause of the tumult in the fort.
She hastened back to the cabin of Cornstalk, for whom she entertained a high
regard for his treatment of her, and told him that Elinipsico (son of Cornstalk,
who had lately arrived at the fort) was charged with bringing the Indians that
had just killed Gilmore, and that the soldiers were threatening them all with
death. The young chief denied any participation in the murder. The canoe had
scarcely touched the shore until the cry was raised, "let us kill the Indians in
the fort," and every man, with his gun in his hand, came up the bank pale with
rage. Capt. Hall was at their head and their leader. Capt. Arbuckle endeavored
to dissuade them, but their cocked their guns, threatened him with instant death
if he attempted to bar their way, and rushed into the fort. Elinipsico hearing
their approach trembled greatly. Cornstalk said: "My son, the Great Spirit has
seen fit that we should die together, and has sent
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