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Pendleton County, WV
Fort Seybert Massacre


Fort Seybert
Seybert's Fort, 1758
located on Route 33 at Oak Flat, Pendleton Co, West Virginia

Massacre at Fort Seybert.—Fort Seybert was a frontier post which stood twelve miles northeast of Franklin, the present seat of justice of Pendleton county. Like other structures of its kind, it was a place of refuge for the settlers when threatened by a savage foe. In May, 1758, when between thirty and forty persons were within the enclosure, it was attacked by a body of Shawnees. Finding neither threats nor bullets of any avail, the cunning savages resorted to strategy, and that, too, with most fatal success. They declared to the inmates that if they surrendered the fort their lives should be spared; but if not the siege would be continued until every one within should perish. This promise of safety lured the unfortunate victims and they yielded quiet possession of the fort. Perfidious wretches! What cared they for promises ? Of the number who surrendered, all except eleven, were at once put to death.
["History and Government of West Virginia" By Virgil Anson Lewis, 1896]

Seybert's Fort was situated on the South Fork, twelve miles northeast of Franklin, in Pendleton County. At the time of this invasion, there was a fort located on the South Branch, garrisoned by Capt. James Dunlap and a company of rangers from Augusta county. Preston's Register states, that on the 27th of April, 1758, the fort at which Capt. Dunlap was stationed, was attacked and captured, the captain and twenty-two others killed; and, the next day, the same party, no doubt, attacked Seybert's Fort, killing Capt. Seybert and sixteen others, while twenty-four others were missing. Washington, at the time, placed the number as "about sixty persons killed and missing."

A gazette account, published at Williamsburg, May 5th ensuing, says: " The Indians lately took and burnt two forts, where were stationed one of our ranging companies, forty of whom were killed and scalped, and Lieut. Dunlap and nineteen missing."

Kercheval's History of the Valley gives some further particulars: That Seybert's Fort was taken by surprise; that ten of the thirty persons occupying it, were bound, taken outside ; the others were placed on a log and tomahawked. James Dyer, a lad of fourteen, was spared, taken first to Logstown, and then to Chillicothe, and retained a year and ten months, when as one of an Indian party he visited Fort Pitt, and managed to evade his associates while there, and finally reached the settlements in Pennsylvania, and two years later returned to the South Fork. It is added by the same historian, as another tradition, that after the fort had been invested two days, and two of the Indians had been killed, the garrison agreed to surrender on condition of their lives being spared, which was solemnly promised. That when the gate was opened, the Indians rushed in with demoniac yells, the whites fled, but were retaken, except one person
(Transcriber's Note: a man named Robinson escaped) ; the massacre then took place, and ten were carried off into captivity.
Transcriber's Note: other sources say 11 were taken captive and were taken to the Shawnee Indian village at Chillicothe, Ohio. Five of the captives, including Captain Seybert's son, Nicholas, later escaped)

Still another tradition preserved by Kercheval, says the noted Delaware chief, Killbuck, led the Indians. Seybert's son, a lad of fifteen, exhibited great bravery in the defense of the fort. Killbuck called out to Capt. Seybert, in English, to surrender, and their lives should be spared; when young Seybert at this instant, aimed his loaded gun at the chief, and the father seized it, and took it from him, saying they could not successfully defend the place, and to save their lives should surrender, confiding in Killbuck's assurances. Capt. Seybert was among the first of those sacrificed. Young Seybert was among the prisoners, and told the chief how near he came to killing him. "You young rascal," laughingly replied Killbuck, " if you had killed me, you would have saved the fort, for had I fallen, my warriors would have immediately fled, and given up the siege in despair."—L. C. D.
[Source: "Chronicles of border warfare, or, A history of the settlement by the whites ... By Alexander Scott Withers", 1895]

Bemino, known as John Killbuck, Sr, was a renowned medicine man and war leader of the Delaware Indians during the French and Indian War (1754-63). He was a son of Netawatwees, at one time principal chief of the Delaware, and his own son was Gelelemend (John Killbuck, Jr.), a Delaware chief during the American Revolutionary War.

Bemino’s phratry (clan) is unclear but he was a member of either the Turtle or the Turkey phratry.

As leader of Delaware and Shawnee warriors, he destroyed British positions at Fort Upper Tract and Fort Seybert (in what is now eastern West Virginia) on April 27 and 28, 1758.
[source: wikipedia.org]


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