In 1776, the
first Assembly of the newly-declared
The act creating the county further provided "that it shall and may be lawful for the landholders of said county qualified to vote in the General Assembly to meet at the house of Jonathan Cobun, in the said county, on the 8th of December following, then and there to choose the most convenient place for holding courts for the county in the future."
In 1796 the
Nor can it be stated with certainty who were the first sheriff and clerk of the county. In Monongalia, tradition names Captain John Dent as the first sheriff and Colonel John Evans as the first county clerk, while a Fayette county tradition makes Joseph Coombs the first clerk.
Morgantown.-In October, 1785, the General
Assembly enacted "That fifty acres of land, the property of Zackquell Morgan,
lying in the county of Monongalia, shall be, and they are hereby, vested in
Samuel Hanway, John Evans, David Scott, Michael Kerns and James Daugherty,
gentlemen, trustees, to be by them laid out in lots, which shall be, and the
same are hereby, established a town, by the name of Morgantown." Purchasers of
lots were required to build upon them within four years. In December, 1789, the
time was extended three years, because of Indian hostilities. Five years more
were granted in 1792, as it was found difficult to procure material. An Act of
the Assembly passed February 3, 1810, empowered the freeholders of
The Deckers were the first white men who
visited the site of
David Morgan's Encounter with two Indians is a record of personal heroism exhibited by an aged man. In the spring of 1779, the settlements along the upper Monongahela were comparatively free from Indian attack. Yet the families who the previous autumn had taken refuge in the forts did not venture to return to their cabins. Among those who had sought safety in Prickett's Fort-about twelve miles above the present site of Morgantown-was David Morgan, a bold frontiersman and a near relative to General Morgan, of Revolutionary fame. At the time of which we write he was more than sixty years of age. Early in April feeling somewhat indisposed, he sent two of his children, Stephen and Sarah, to feed the stock on his farm, a mile distant. Becoming uneasy at their long absence, he went in search of them. He found them engaged in clearing a patch for melons, and seated himself on a log to wait for them. He had been there but a short time when he saw two Indians come out of his house and walk rapidly toward the children. Not wishing to frighten them he called to them to go quickly to the fort, and himself answered the whoop with which the Indians started in pursuit. The Indians at once turned on him. He first tried to escape by running, but soon found the fleet warriors gaining on him. He then turned to fire at them. All three sought trees. One Indian, to gain a nearer position to Morgan, threw himself behind a log, which only partially concealed him. Morgan at once shot him, and again tried to escape. Running a short distance, he looked back and saw the other Indian ready to fire. This timely glance saved his life. He jumped aside and avoided the missile. The conflict was now hand to hand. The savage, with a demoniac yell, threw himself on his intended victim. Morgan threw the Indian, but the latter, younger and more active, turned him, and holding him down, reached for his knife. He grasped it close to the blade, and Morgan seizing the handle drew it through his hand, and thrust it into his enemy's side. The Indian sank on the ground, and Morgan fled to the fort.
Indian Incursion on Cobun's Creek.-During the summer of 1778, a body of savage warriors made their appearance on Cobun's creek "and were making their way," says Withers, "as has generally been supposed, to a fort not far from Morgantown, when they fell in with a party of whites returning from the labors of the cornfield, and then about a mile from Cobun's Fort. The Indians had placed themselves upon each side of the road leading to the fort, and, from their covert, fired upon the whites before they were aware of danger. John Woodfin, being on horseback, had his thigh broken by a ball which killed his horse, and enabled them to catch him easily. Jacob Miller was shot and soon overtaken, tomahawked and scalped. The others escaped to the fort."
Indians near Statler's Fort.-About the year 1779, the Indians made their appearance near Statler's Fort on Dunkard creek. The following account of their dread work is subjoined from Withers' "Border Warfare":- "The Indians lay in ambush on the roadside, awaiting the return of men who were engaged at work in some neighboring fields. Toward evening the men came on, carrying with them some hogs which they had killed for the use of the fort people, and on approaching where the Indians lay concealed were fired on, and several fell. Those who escaped injury from the first fire returned the volley, and a severe action ensued. But so many of the whites had been killed before the savages exposed themselves to view, that the remainder were unable long to sustain the unequal contest Overpowered by numbers, the few who were still unhurt fled precipitately to the fort, leaving eighteen of their companions dead in the road. These were scalped and mangled by the Indians in a most shocking manner, and lay some time before the men in the fort assured of the departure of the enemy, went out and buried them."
Attack on Martin's Fort.-In June, 1779, a party of Indians surprised the inmates of Martin's Fort, on Crooked Run. We again quote from "Border Warfare ":- "The greater part of the men having gone forth early to their farms, the women were engaged in milking the cows outside the gate, and the men who had been left behind were loitering around. The Indians, who were lying around the fort, rushed forward and killed or made prisoners of ten of them. Instead of retreating with their prisoners, they remained at a little distance from the fort until night, when they put the prisoners, under the custody of two of the savages, in an old house near, and the remaining eleven went to see if they could force an entrance at the gate. The dogs were shut out at night, and the approach of the Indians exciting them to bark freely, gave the inmates notice of the impending danger in time for them to avert it. The savages returned to the house in which the prisoners were confined and moved off with them to their towns."
Murder of Fannie and Phebe
of these girls lived at the mouth of Pike Run. One day in August, 1779, the two
daughters started for the meadows, near the site of Granville, to carry dinner
to laborers there. The father was to accompany them, but being detained, the
girls proceeded alone. Soon Captain Scott heard the report of a gun. Crossing
the river in all haste, and following the direction of the sound, he ran rapidly
up the path toward the meadows and found the body of his murdered daughter
Phebe. Fannie was missing. The father supposing she was a prisoner, set out at
The State University is located at
In the Richmond
Convention of 1861, which passed the ordinance of Secession, Mr. Willey occupied
a seat, having been chosen without opposition to represent the people of
Monongalia county therein. His last vote in that body was in opposition to the
Ordinance, and on the 21st of April, having obtained a permit from Governor
Letcher to leave the city, he began the journey home. At
Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]
Transcriber: was not able to decipher page 512 of this book about the
Copyright © Genealogy Trails