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Wetzel County WV

The Battle of Captina

Jefferson, in his "Notes on Virginia, says the battle of Captina was fought on the Virginia side in 1794, and it is probable that he is wrong, for Martin Baker told the author of the history of Ohio (McDonald) the following: He was twelve years of age when the battle of Captina was fought. Now Captina is a considerable stream entering the Ohio at Powhatan, on the Ohio side, and on its banks, says Martin Baker, the battle of Captina was fought. The following is the incident which fell from the lips of Martin Baker: One mile below the mouth of Captina, on the Virginia shore, was Baker's fort, so named from my father. One morning in May, 1794, four men were sent over, according to the custom, to the Ohio side. They were Adam Miller, John Daniels, Isaac McCowan and John Shoptaw. Miller and Daniels took up stream and the other two down. The upper scouts were soon attacked by Indians, and Miller was killed. Daniels run up Captina about three miles, but being weak from loss of blood ensuing from a wound in his arm, was taken prisoner, carried into captivity, and subsequently released, at the treaty of Greenville. The lower scouts having discovered signs of the enemy, Shoptaw swam across the river and escaped, but McGowen, going up toward the canoe, was shot by Indians in ambush. Upon this he ran down toward the bank and sprang into the water, pursued by the enemy, who overtook and scalped him. The firing being heard at the fort they beat up the volunteers. There were about fifty men in the fort. There being much reluctance among them to volunteer, my sister exclaimed that she wouldn't be a coward. This aroused the pride of my brother, John Baker, who before had determined not to go. He joined the others, fourteen in number, including Captain Enochs. They soon crossed the river and went up Captina in single file a distance of about a mile and a half, following the Indian trail. The enemy had conceded that they were on their trail and were in ambush on the hillside awaiting their approach. When sufficiently near they fired upon them, but being on an elevated position their balls passed over them. The whites then treed some of the Indians, who then shot again and hit Captan Enochs and Mr. Hoffman. The whiles then retreated and the Indians pursued but a short distance. On their retreat my brother was shot in the hip. Determined to sell his life as dearly as possible, he drew off to one side and secreted himself in a hollow with a rock at his back, offering no chance for the enemy to approach but in front. Shortly after two guns were heard in quick succession. Doubtless one of them was fired by my brother and from the signs afterwards it was supposed he had killed an Indian. The next day the men turned out and visited the spot. Enochs, Hoffman and my brother were found dead and scalped. Enoch's bowels were torn out, and his eyes and those of Hoffman screwed out with, a wiping stick. The dead were wrapped in white hickory bark and buried in their bark coffins. There were about thirty Indians engaged in this, and seven skeletons were found of their slain, long after, secreted in the crevices of the rocks. McAuthor, after the death of Captain Enochs, was called on to lead the company. The Swaney chief, Charley Wilkey, lead the Indians.

 

David Prunty was the first man to open up a road in Wetzel county. He opened one from Middlebourne, Tyler county, to Reader, Wetzel county, in the year of 1815. The road is now known as eight mile ridge road.

 

In the year of 1790, a man by the name of Turbal erected a grist mill near the present sight of the Wetzel county poor farm.

 

The first mail carried to Wetzel county was carried in the year of 1800, from Fairmont, now Marion county, to New Martinsville.

 

The first two-story log house along Big Fishing creek was erected by James Lowe, in the year of 1791.

 

In the year of 1790, George Wade erected a grist mill in what is now Clay district, and run it by water power; it was built of logs in the old style and for a long time did all the grinding that was to be done for miles around. A two log saw mill was erected by John Leaf in the year of 1835 in Proctor district. In the year of 1846 John Sole erected a grist and saw mill combined and run it by water power; the burrs were made of native stone, but did good work.

 

The pioneer of Grant district was John Wyatt, who came there in the year of 1790. He was followed by James Lowe, Uriah Morgan, James Jolliffe, and a man by the name of Wilson.

The first in Green district was James Troy, who settled on what is now known as the negro quarters about the year of 1791. The property was transferred by him to Benjamin Reader, and from him to Morgan Morgan, who erected a house on the ground in the year of 1804, which stood until the year of 1897. Other settlers of Green district were James Hays, William Snodgrass, Benjamin Hays, Z. Cochran, Aiden Bales, Jasper Strait and many others.

 

The pioneer of Center district was Benjamin Bond, who settled there in the year of 1805.

 

The first settler in Clay district was William Little, who settled where the town of Littleton now stands in the year of 1810.

 

The first settler in Church district was Henry Church, who came there in the year of 1782 and settled where the town of Hundred now stands.


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