64. JAMES EWING(6)
was born in 1720 in LONDONDERRY, IRELAND.
(8) He died in 1800 in VIRGINA.
BARBARA LOUISE EWING POWELL graciously shared the following historical sketch.
EXCERPTS FROM-- BOOKLET--THE EWINGS ONE AMERICAN FAMILY---WALLACE K EWING, GRAND HAVEN, MICHIGAN--JANUARY 1998.
JAMES THE PATRIARCH
Very little is known of the earliest Ewings, although it is clear that James Ewing emigrated to America from northern Ireland in about 1740, probably at the age of 18 or 20. Possibly he was born in northern Ireland, or he may have grown up in Scotland and later moved to Ireland, and then to his home in the new world. In Scotland the family name was MacEwen, a clan that lived north of the Fitth of Clyde and about 35 miles west of Glasgow. However, as early as 1513 the MacEwen lands were ceded by royal edict to the Campbell Clan, and the MacEwens dispersed to other areas. Any comments about James Ewing's origin would be pure speculation.
Even his port of arrival in America cannot be ascertained, nor do we know whom he married. There is concrete evidence that in April, 1746 James had a survey done of 245 acres of land where the Muddy Run Creek flows into the Jackson River near Warm Springs, Bath County, Virginia. It is probable, though not definite, that all of James Ewing's children were born on this site.
Family legend says that James remarked, upon seeing American corn for the first time, "'Tis a fine straight stalk, but cruel light grain." Although James was a hunter and trapper, he also undoubtedly raised corn and other crops and had livestock.
Apparently James married after he arrived in America. The couple's first-born child was Jeanet Ann, called Jennie or Ann, in 1740 or 1741, followed in 1745 by another daughter, Susan Jean [or Susan Jane], then John on December 27, 1747, a third
daughter sometime after that, and finally a second son, William, born on December 24, 1756. There are hints of a fourth daughter, but nothing conclusive has been found to verify her existence.
On occasion James's hunting expeditions took him west into the Allegheny Mountains, and he liked what he saw there. About 1760 James sold his land on the Jackson River, now grown to 254 acres, and moved his family deep into the mountainous area around Marlinton, Pocahontas County, in present-day West Virginia. The family settled on land bordered by Ewing's Creek, later renamed Knapp's Creek, which flowed into the larger Greenbrier River. West Virginia separated from Virginia in 1863, when a majority of the residents living there sided with the North and voted to form their own state.
It was at this site that James had an adventure which has survived the years. One day two men stopped at the Ewing cabin and asked for something to eat. James's wife was happy to oblige, hospitality being part of the frontier spirit. James had left earlier in the day for some apparently routine business, leaving behind his wife and his prized flintlock. While the visitors were eating one of them spotted the flintlock and decided he would like to
have it for his own-without payment. Mrs Ewing protested, but there was little she could do
to stop men who were not above taking advantage of her friendliness and openness.
When James returned later that day and learned of the theft, he concluded quickly that the two men probably were part of the notorious "Shockley Gang," which had been rustling cattle, thieving, and generally terrorizing the mountainside. James loaded his shotgun with buckshot and used his hunting experience and familiarity with the mountain trails to follow and find the thieves. Toward evening he overtook them as they were preparing camp for the night, convinced they were safe from pursuit. Quietly James re-primed his shotgun, to ensure a clean shot, and stepping up to the campsite he demanded his flintlock.
Shockley responded by raising the stolen gun to his shoulder and aiming it at James, who just as quickly brought his shotgun to firing position. James's gun discharged, but Shockley's weapon misfired and he fell dead with a charge of buckshot in his chest. The two men were so close to each other that Shockley's neck cloth was burned by the powder from the shot that killed him.
James's appearance and the gun fight happened so quickly that the second thief did not have time to get to a gun, but instead he jumped on James, who found himself in a hand-to-hand battle of survival. James ended the fight by using his hunting knife to cause a fatal wound to the man's neck. He gathered his two firearms, called it a day, and returned to his cabin.
There are conflicting stories about whether or not James collected the reward of several hundred dollars that had been on Shockley's head. One version says he did, the other says he declared it was reward enough to retrieve his gun and get rid of the two "pesky varmints."
From 1770 to 1791 there is no record of James's life. In 1791 he received a grant of 1,000 acres of land, possibly as a reward for military service. If so, a record of his service has not been uncovered. In any event, some years later James sold the acreage for $400 to James Searight of Augusta County. Unfortunately James had to sue to get his money, and by 1799 he had two other law suits pending. The cause of each is unknown, but both were dismissed by the court, although the same litigants were named two years later as having accounts outstanding against the estate of James Ewing, in addition to similar claims against Mr Searight and a John Duffield.
James did not leave a will, but since his estate was inventoried on July 14, 1801, it's reasonable to say he died at least a few months before that date The complete inventory consisted of:
One bay horse
One shot gun and bag
One pair overalls
Cloth coat and jacket
One pair blankets
One pack handkerchiefs
Total value: 26.29 pounds
No record has been found regarding the death of James's wife. She remains a mystery.
* NOTE Although Margaret Sargent was once thought to be the wife of James Ewing it was never proven to be fact by anyone in the family. Further it was later withdrawn by the person who had it so published. To date we do NOT know who James married. We also have no bases in fact that James was ever a Capt. in the Revolutionary war. This was also an error made by early Ewing historians. There was a James Ewing married to a Margaret Sargent but it appears that he is NOT "our" James.
32 i. "SWAGO BILL" WILLIAM EWING.
ii. "INDIAN JOHN" JOHN EWING was born on DEC 24 1747 in Orange County, Virginia. He died on DEC 23 1824 in GALLIA COUNTY, OHIO. He was also known as Indian John.(8)
John was a captive of Indians as a teenager was later released along with his niece at Fort Pit and was called "Indian John" thereafter.
BARBARA LOUISE EWING POWELL graciously shared the following historical sketch.
EXCERPTS FROM--BOOKLET--THE EWINGS ONE AMERICAN FAMILY---WALLACE K EWING, GRAND HAVEN, MICHIGAN--JANUARY 1998.
When James Ewing's son John was 16, he visited his married sister, Jennie Ann Clendenin, at the family's cabin, about one-half mile west of Lewisburg, West Virginia. There, on July 15, 1763, five months after the formal conclusion of the French and Indian War, he was captured by Indians during a Shawnee raid, led by Chief Cornstalk, as part of Pontiac's War. Cornstalk was chief of the Shawnee tribe whose principal villages were on the Scioto
River in Ohio. In that summer month, Cornstalk's band crossed the Ohio River, sank their canoes at the mouth of the Kanawba River near Point Pleasant, and traveled by foot approximately 160 miles across present-day West Virginia, and came upon the settlements at Muddy Creek. There the Indians began their raids, killing some of the settlers, selecting desirable household items, and making prisoners of the women and children. The next day they came upon the Clendenin land.
The Clendenins had not heard of troubles with the Indians, and Archibald considered their visit a friendly one, although his wife claimed to he suspicious of their motives because their paint was different from what she had seen before. Her husband assured her that there was no danger.
Outside the Clendenin cabin, under a scaffolding to protect her from the hot July sun, Ann was boiling meat and bones from her husband's recent successful hunt. As she took a plateful of the meat to the Indians for their meal, she heard Archie exclaim, "Lord have mercy on me." She turned and saw one of the Indians with her husband's scalp, shaking the blood from it. Ann rushed at the brave, and in a frenzy begged him to kill her, and spit in
his face as further provocation.
In the meantime, John Ewing and two of the Clendenins' hired hands had been working in the cornfield. Noticing the visitors, the three of them left their work and went to the cabin. John got there just in time to witness his brother-in-law being scalped and to see Ann's attack on the Indian. As the Indian raised his tomahawk to kill her, John cried out, "Never mind her! She is only a woman." "Yes, "agreed Indian, "and she damn fool, too." But
he did release her.
The Indians plundered the cabin, set fire to it, and departed with Ann, her two children, and John. A day or two later Ann escaped from the single-file procession by running off to the side of the trail at an appropriate spot and hiding behind a large rock. Before long the Indians noticed her absence and shouted, "Make the calf bawl and the cow will come."
The baby was killed, but Ann remained hidden and unresponsive, possibly too far away to hear the infant's cries.
She traveled at night, concealing herself by day. By the second night she was back at her cabin, and in the fading light saw again the bloody desolation. She returned to the safety of the woods and rested until morning, when she found her husband's body and tried to cover it with earth. Weak from hunger and exhaustion, she was unable to complete the task. Ann continued her walk, living on very little, and eventually met a group of white
men about 10 miles from Lewisburg who gave her some food She finally arrived at the settlement where her parents lived, and stayed with them until she married a John Rodgers a lew years later. When the two of them returned to the site of the massacre, she found the meat dish where she had dropped it on that fateful July day.
John and his six year old niece continued with their Indian captors, hiking to the mouth of the Kanawha River. There the canoes were raised and the party crossed the Ohio River, and in the middle of August they arrived at an Indian village near a salt lick on the Scioto River, about three miles below the present city of Circleville. This village became the captive home for John and his niece.
John was adopted by the mother of Wabawasena, or White Otter, the warrior who had taken him prisoner. John had high regard for his captor, who was a young war chief, and considered him "highly intellectual," and one of the most upright, honest, and honorable men John ever knew. John was given the Indian name "Petercob." John said that the months of his captivity were as enjoyable as circumstances allowed. He and Pla-Waugh [Turkey], who was John's age, played together as much as they could. They filched melons, cookies, and
sugar, and generally gave the squaws a headache or two. One time his adopted mother accused John of stealing a melon from her patch. He denied it, but was caught in his lie when she took him to the patch and pointed to his tracks, and then to his four-toed foot. As a boy he had lost a toe in an unexplained accident, and thereafter left a distinctive footprint. Being proven a liar and a thief was punishment enough, and that episode ended John's days as a petty thief
John was an apt learner and quickly picked up the Shawnee language. One day he was asked to explain the Bible to Thobqueb [hole-in the-Day], a council chief. Thobqueb was said to be over 100 years old and reputed to be wise and eloquent. When told that God created man, Thobqueb asked whether it was a red man or a white man. John replied that it probably was a white, to which Thobqueb exclaimed, "I don 't believe the Great Spirit made the poor, ignorant white man before he did the red man!" John also had difficulty explaining the great flood. He used the Shawnee word "canoe" for "ark," giving its size and the
number of people and animals put on board. The old chief remarked, "Now you know that's a lie. There never was a tree big enough to make such a canoe as that."
A Bible wasn't all the Indians obtained from the white settlement. They also had their first experience with small pox. John's adopted mother and sister were among the victims. When John felt he was coming down with the disease, he went a short distance from the village, cut down a large hickory tree, made a fire from it, and wrapped himself in a
buffalo robe and blanket. Feeding on roasted squash and cold spring water, he passed the critical period with scarcely a mark to mar his features. He said he never found a better remedy for small pox.
Nearly two years after his capture, John was returned to a white settlement at Fort Pitt, now the location of Pittsburgh. When he discovered his niece Jane was not among the returned captives, he went back to Ohio and the Indian village where she had been sent. The Indians teased him on his return, saying he preferred Indian life to the white man's ways. John found Jane, sitting on a pile of bearskins, plump, tanned, and content with her Indian life. She later said she would have been just as happy if her uncle had left her with the Indians. On April 22, 1774, John married 23-year old Ann Smith, a native of Ireland. John and Ann settled on 195 acres of land on Stony Creek near Marl inton, West Virginia, and they raised 10 children. John was always known as "Indian John" after his return from captivity. Frontier nicknames, such as "Indian John" and "Swago Bill," were useful in distinguishing people with identical names, which wasn't uncommon then.
iii. ANN EWING.
iv. JEAN OR SUSAN EWING.
v. ELIZABETH EWING.
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