Ewing Family Association

Clan Ewing of Scotland
Elbert William R. Ewing, A.M., LL.B., LL.D.

Chapter XXIX

The West Virginia Septs

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The James Ewing Family of Pocahontas County

Many years before Virginia was unhappily severed, septs of the old clan of which I am writing settled in what is now West Virginia, established in 1863.  Some of the descendants of those pioneers live in that State today; far the greater number, whose ancestors for the most part left while that section was yet part of the Old Dominion, are in other States—some in far distant regions.  Yet for better clearness of location the descendants of all Ewing ancestors who became residents of what is West Virginia, are treated as belonging to the West Virginia family.

As we saw in discussing family traditions, it appears that one branch of the Ewing stock which runs back to the West Virginia pioneers accepts as the foundation of its Scotch ancestry the "six stalwart brothers of a Highland clan" tradition.

As has been said, I have found this tradition in no other branches of the old clan.  It is said that this "six stalwart brothers tradition is an old one and possessed by nearly all the American clans."  But I find no other reliable trace of it outside of those descended from the West Virginia ancestors, except in a few cases where the tradition had been accepted from members of that family.  Dr. Gilbert A. Ewing, a son of Geo. Ewing who was a son of William (Swago) Ewing (infra), accepted this tradition and scattered it extensively.  It is said that the unsigned article in The Times, Galia, Ohio, Sept. 4, 1901, is probably from his generally well-informed pen.  Frances M. Smith gives this story in The Cincinnati Enquirer, Feb. 12, 1910, thus:

According to tradition—and traditions are kept alive religiously by frequent Ewing reunions—the American family traces its origin to six stalwart brothers of a Highland clan, who, with their children, engaged in an insurrection in 1685.  Defeated and outlawed, they fled to Ireland, where they took part in the rebellion of William, Prince of Orange, in which three lost their lives.  Sons of the remaining brothers emigrated to America.

In The Times article the writer lost sight of the very large number of Ewings other than descendants of the West Virginia pioneers.  As we have also seen, it is certain that many of the "Ewings of America" do not trace their descent from the "six stalwart brothers" of 1685 who "fled" from Scotland to Ireland.  It is clear, too, that the writer of the article in The Enquirer had in mind the numerous descendants of one of the West Virginia Jameses and refers to the reunions long maintained by them.  So that tradition, I am fully satisfied, is not generally accepted as an identification of early Scotland-Ireland ancestors outside of those who speak for the one branch.

However, like most old traditions, this one certainly has grown larger with increasing years.  As elsewhere has been seen, there was neither in 1685 nor in any approximate year any "insurrection" or other unlawful outbreak of the Highland clans or any of them.  The Ewings of the border Highlands did, we have also seen, engage in a disastrous "uprising" at a much earlier date; so that it is my opinion that so much of the "six stalwart brothers" tradition as relates to "an insurrection," dates much further back than 1685.  Then, too, as has been seen at considerable length, it must be kept in mind that the clan from which the Ewings of whom I am particularly writing undoubtedly descended, was a Highland clan in no other than the sense of residence in the border Highlands.  Coming from the border Highlands, it is quite easy to see how American descendants came to speak of their ancestors as Highlanders.

The tradition that Ewings engaged with the Protestants on behalf of William of Orange, and that they were among the gallant defenders of historic Londonderry during the terrible siege to which the Catholic forces subjected it, is more generally found among the American families.  But, as I have said also, I have been unable to find any Ewing name on the military rosters of the defenders of that city, the Ewings certainly were among its civilian defenders.  No early history of that siege mentions any Ewing as soldiers, unless the two poems elsewhere mentioned are regarded as historical.  But I credit that tradition because it is supported by a mention of the name in the early poem which I have quoted; and which suggests the fact that many of the defenders of Londonderry were not regularly enrolled with the military.  Jno. G. Ewing of New York City identified a Jno. Ewing as in Londonderry during that siege, but apparently he does not belong to any branch here especially considered; though there certainly were civilian Ewings among the defenders of that city.  Whether soldiers or civilians, the men, women and children shut up within the narrow, disease-haunted walls of that old and badly fortified town, during a siege unsurpassed in brutal ferocity on the part of the besiegers, were heroes and heroines of the most splendid type,--and to have borne any part with the defenders is ample glory, though it were shown, as it is not, that no Ewing was in the active military ranks at that time.

Coming down to later times, the story as published in The Times says that "some fifteen years after Nathaniel, William, Joshua and their sister Ann emigrated to America," and settled in Cecil County, Maryland, their younger brother, James Ewing, came and spent most of his life in Virginia, where he died in 1800."

But this (West Virginia) James, as has also been shown, was not a brother of Nathaniel, William, Joshua and the other children of William Ewing, which children settled in Cecil County.  The brother James of that family settled in Prince Edward County (or in a section which became Prince Edward County), Virginia, east of and across the Blue Ridge Mountains from where this Pocahontas County Ewing located.  Rugged mountains intervened between these two sections; in the early day good roads were unknown and intercommunication slow, and so there was little opportunity for social intercourse.  I am sure that this West Virginia James never lived in that section of Virginia where the brother of the Cecil County family, children of William of Ireland, was located and where, as shown by the records, he earlier became a landowner.  Cumulative with the records we have much reliable tradition distinguishing the eastern Virginia James and his descendants are today identified and clearly differentiated from the West Virginia James. 

It is not at all impossible that the West Virginia James had brothers who located in Maryland, and who may have been named Joshua, William, etc.  As has been shown, there were other early Ewings in Cecil County and other parts of Maryland, the immigrant ancestors of whom were not brothers of the Cecil County Joshua, William, Ann and the other children of William Ewing of Ireland.  A William, doubtless related to but not a brother of either Nathaniel or Joshua and the others of 1725 immigration, settled, we have seen, in Cecil County in 1790.  Repetition of given names, so distressingly in evidence among earlier Ewings generally, may in this case, as in some others, have led to confusion.

It is reasonably certain that James Ewing, founder of this family, was born in Ireland.  Of this early ancestor James it is by his descendants estimated that he was born about 1720 and reached American about 1740.  In a sketch by a descendant published in Price's History of Pocahontas County it is said that shortly after reaching America this James married Margaret Sargent, also born in Ireland, most probably, I am sure, of Scotch ancestry.

Reaching America, this James Ewing probably spent some time in visiting his clan relations in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and then turned his face toward the newer section of the vast domain then within the Virginia boundaries.  Westward civilization was then more rapidly reaching.  From Pennsylvania through Maryland emigrants were moving across the Potomac into the now famous Shenandoah Valley, up which one of the greatest of the old emigrant roads was soon to be trodden by increasing thousands.  This James fell in with the movement up the valley in search of rich lands which called so strongly to all of the earlier fathers.  On the right of that pioneer pathway going southwestward, were the rugged heights of the main Alleghenies; on the left were the timbered reaches of the Blue Ridge.  William Ewing of Rockingham County, we have seen, settled near what is now Harrisonburg, in the Shenandoah, about 1742.  James and possibly some cousins paused near or at what became Staunton, in my view of the facts, before 1747, the year his son John was born.

A brief resume of developments west of the Blue Ridge will give us a better appreciation of the conditions under which our ancestors reached Virginia and will better enable us to understand the sources from which our fathers obtained their lands.

Alexander Spotswood, governor of the colony of Virginia, an intrepid Scotchman, made his historic and spectacular exploring trip westward of the Blue Ridge in 1716.  Led by Indian guides, he left Germania, settled by him, then the western limit of Virginia settlement, in 1714, on the Rapidan, passed the Ridge through Swift Run Gap, and was possibly the first to see the rich valley we now know as the Shenandoah.  There is some claim, however, that others shortly before had made hurried and short trips into the valley; but at the time of Spotswood's visit the Shenandoah regions were uninhabited and unknown to the white people.  Not even Indians lived in the upper Shenandoah country; and there was but one Indian village in the lower part of the valley, and that was near where Winchester now is.  Spotswood's party crossed the valley, apparently, about ten miles below where Port Republic now stands, and passed into the main ranges of the Appalachians, pausing upon a towering peak in what is now Pocahontas County, West Virginia, Callahan, a recent West Virginia writer, thinks.  Spottswood (sic) named the river of the valley the Euphrates.

Shortly after 1716 expansion into western Virginia began from western Pennsylvania.  In 1727 settlements were begun on Mill Creek, now in Berkeley County, West Virginia.  At an early date Robert Harper settled at the mouth of the Shenandoah, or Shanado, as the river soon came to be known, now the historic Harper's Ferry community; and in 1732 Jost Hite and several families, Germans, crossing the Potomac near Harper settled in the vicinity of what became Winchester.  That year, 1732, John Lewis established the first settlement at a point known as "Bellefont," one mile from where Staunton now stands.  That part of the Shenandoah was then in Orange County.  In 1738 that portion to the indefinite and mainly unexplored westward from the Blue Ridge was established as Augusta.  From these earliest footings of civilization in those parts, the Shenandoah was explored to its sources in 1736.

Men of means and influence lost no time in "cornering" as much of the vast areas of those splendid sections of the old colony as possible.  Notably, under date of September, 1736, the royal authority granted upon the upper waters of the "Shenando (sic) 118,491 acres to William Beverly, gent., Sir John Randolph, Knight, and John Robinson, gent."  The patent was recorded at Williamsburg October 15 of that year.  Sir John was one of the dignitaries of the City of Williamsburg and Randolph was then in Henrico County.  Other princely grants were located here and there.  But of them all none surpassed that by Charles the Second to the ancestors of the eighth Lord Fairfax.

That vast estate comprised all the lands between the headwaters of the Rappahannock and the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay, and is known as the "Northern Neck."  These lands reached from what is now Stafford County north and westward until they included much of what is now West Virginia; and, among counties now in Old Virginia, Page, Shenandoah and Frederick.  Lord Fairfax visited his estate and subsequently moved from England in 1748; and, surrounded by a large retinue of slaves, established his home about thirteen miles southeast of where Winchester now is.  At the latter place two houses had been erected as early as 1738, but that community did not become a town until 1752.  Washington, at the age of sixteen, in 1748, plunged into the wilderness and began to survey and to divide into farms the Fairfax lands.  Some of the lands thus surveyed was sold, others given away, it is said, for such trifles as a turkey for a Christmas dinner.

Fairfax died at his Virginia home in 1782, devising his undisposed lands, yet immense stretches covering valleys and mountains, to his relation, Denny Fairfax, in England.  It is interesting, in this connection, to remember that the historic old Washington-Alexandria Masonic Lodge, Alexandria, Virginia, has the only painting portrait of Fairfax in existence, and has a standing offer for it of $150,000.  The Revolution was in full blast at the time of that bequest.  It was contended that acts of the Virginia legislature, looking to the escheat of certain lands in Virginia belonging to those who were alien enemies, operated to divest Denny Fairfax of his right under this will.  Acting upon that theory the State began to issue grants to such of the Fairfax lands as were in demand, notably to land claimed by one Hunter in Shenandoah County.  Denny Fairfax died and his heirs brought suit in the proper court of that county to oust Hunter's lessees and to establish the Fairfax title. From the lower court the case went to the Court of Appeals of the State, and from there to the Supreme Court of the United States.  A decision was rendered in the latter court in 1813, holding that, under the treaty of 1794 with Great Britain, Denny Fairfax took good title, and so the case was decided against Hunter's claims.  That decision reversed the Court of Appeals and sustained the trial court.  That was a day when the status of the State and that of the Untied States were not so clearly understood upon all points and particularly the functions of the United States Supreme Court, in cases involving a State, were not so clearly defined.  So when the mandate of the Federal court reached the Virginia Court of Appeals the latter respectfully declined to obey, holding that the Federal court had exceeded its power.  So the case went back to the United States court.  That gave rise to the famous decision in Martin vs. Hunter, rendered in 1816, in which, among other things now recognized as axiomatic fundamentals of our government, the court pointed out that "while the government of the United States can claim no powers not granted it by the Constitution," yet  "this instrument, like every other grant, is to have a reasonable construction, according to the import of its terms; and where a power is expressly given in general terms, it is not to be restrained to particular cases, unless that construction grows out of the context expressly, or by necessary implication."  Thus began that great distinction between the granted and limited powers of the United States and the reserved, inherent sovereignty of each State, a distinction which is so generally so little understood and which is nevertheless a most fundamental fact of our American government.

In the meantime Fairfax had brought suit against Hite and his neighbors as a result of a dispute regarding title to the lands on which Hite and the others had settled, for they were in the heart of the grant inherited by Fairfax in 1691, made by King Charles sometime before.  Long after the original parties had gone to their last rewards, this weary litigation dragged on; and it is said it did much to retard development in the lower Shenandoah Valley.

It will assist us, also, if we bear in mind that from 1720 that region of the Shenandoah, and thence to the limitless and unsettled westward, was in Spotsylvania County.  In 1734 Orange was carved from part of Spotsylvania, the western limits of the new county extending from the Blue Ridge to the farthest claims of Virginia, embracing an empire now in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia.  Then in 1738 Augusta was formed, as we have just seen.

Another section of Orange was severed in 1748 and out of it Culpeper was formed.  General A. T. Holcomb (1803-1877), a grandson of John Ewing, "with whom he was personally and intimately acquainted," wrote a sketch of this John Ewing (The West Virginia Hist. Mag., July, 1904), says that John was born in Culpeper County, Virginia.  "One of the established facts," of the genealogy of this family, "is that this John was born in 1747."  As shown by this John's deposition, we shall see, this date is correct.  Easily Holcomb could have been in error as to John's birthplace.  It is said that Summer Ewing, a descendant of the pioneer James, has an old, badly worn manuscript family record of this John, supposed to have been made in his lifetime, and which descended to the present owner through his grandfather, Hon. John Smith Ewing.  "In it John Ewing's birthplace is designated as Orange County, N. C.," writes A. E. Ewing.  Since it is an unbroken tradition, with this exception which does not appear to be widely known, in the family of this John that he was born in Virginia, and since his first certainly identified home was many miles from North Carolina, and in a section which was, about the reputed date of his birth, a part of Orange County, Virginia, I regard it as certain that that county in Virginia was the place of his birth.  As that section became Culpeper the next year after his birth, it was natural, when talking to Holcomb (who knew him personally) to speak of Culpeper as his birthplace, though if born in 1747 he may have been born in Orange County, Virginia, and yet have been born in the Shenandoah Valley, and in that part which became part of Culpeper in 1748.

Orange County, as compared with its earlier days, is now small and entirely east of the Blue Ridge and east of the Valley.  This fact, as in many similar cases involving the earlier history of Virginia, has misled some to think that James, the father of this John, first settled east of the Ridge.  Culpeper County has been similarly attenuated.  There is no trace so far as I have found of this James east of that mountain.  The descendants of the Ewings who settled east of the Blue Ridge in the main went westward along the Old Wilderness Road into southwest Old Virginia on out through historic Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and even beyond; or southwest into North Carolina and into that section now Tennessee.  That James Ewing became an early landowner in the Greenbriar region is suggestive of earlier residence in the upper Shenandoah Valley; and when this is considered in connection with all the facts, the conclusion, unless something not now known develops, is reasonably satisfactory.

On the western borders of the Valley regions both in Frederick and Augusta Counties towered the rugged stretches of the main Alleghenies.  Hostile savages long held the passes of those grim barriers against the whites.  In 1753 the royal government undertook to encourage the settlement of the "western waters" in Virginia; and "for the protection and encouragement of the western settlers" the legislature in 1754 appropriated £10,000.  The encouragement of 1753 appears to have given some temporary impetus to the westward expansion.  A deposition in the Augusta records says that "Washington on his return from Venango in December, 1753, or January, 1754, met many families crossing the Alleghenies."  (2 Chalkley Augusta Transcripts, 168).  But the French, who then held Canada, with an advance force at Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), aided by the Indians, moved speedily to put to pause the British growth.  In 1754 Governor Dinwiddie, alarmed by the encroachments of the French from their strongholds in Canada, issued a proclamation promising a land bounty to volunteers against the French.  He particularly desired to have built a fort at the Forks of the Monongalia.  Stimulated by this promise, Col. Joshua Fry raised a regiment; and, out of Alexandria, he led it into the wilds of the wilderness in March, 1754.  Fry died in camp and Col. George Washington succeeded to the command.  This was followed by the fighting between the French and Indians on one side and the British on the other, from time to time up to the battle of Point Pleasant, early known as Fort Randolph, in 1774.  Pursuant to these land promises lands were granted at the mouth of Little Kanawha to David Richardson and others, under patent of December 15, 1769; and subsequently other grants were issued for lands on the Great Sandy and the Great Kanawha, and on waters of the Ohio between Sandy and Kanawah (sic).  Washington was among those who received a grant to a large body of land in that distant, unsettled Virginia region.  Patents in time, based on these military claims, were issued; and during many years there was between claimants much litigation.  However, for our purpose now we are mainly interested in seeing that that military movement toward the Ohio River served as what may be called one of the salients in the frontier line which the Alleghenies long halted.

In 1761 the British king issued a proclamation, out of deference to the Indian claim to the lands, commanding his subjects within the bounds of the colony of Virginia, "who were living or who had made settlements on the western waters, to remove from them."  Settlers, however, paid no attention to this order; and as events subsequently transpired, it came about that in large part land titles to land here and there along the Virginia frontiers were obtained from the State after the independence of Virginia.

Concerning men and events of the upper Shenandoah regions, the old records of Augusta County, beginning December 9, 1745, are our greatest mine of information.  But as to James Ewing they leave us, in the absence of helpful traditions, perplexed.  The abridgments of those records so laboriously made by the late Judge Lyman Chalkley and published in three large volumes in 1912 by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, in a limited edition, is the only accessible source outside of the old records at Staunton.  It has been impossible to verify Chalkley's work, and it sadly needs annotating.  So I am following him.  I offered to pay Mr. Bernitt, the clerk of the court where the old Augusta records are, to make some examination of them along indicated lines; but, for the first time in all my experience, the clerk of a Virginia court flatly refused in these words:

I am returning your check and letter.  It is not customary for this office to look up genealogical matters, and know of no one to whom you could write.

As thus copied by Chalkley, the first trace of James Ewing in the upper Shenandoah is a mention of him as "Ewin" in the records of 1751.  The next is disclosed in a suit filed March 1784, against James Ewing, Sr., on a bond (or note under seal).  This note is dated February 10, 1761, and reads: "James Ewing, of Staunton Town in Augusta County in the Province of Virginia, Chapman," &c.  Chapman means either peddler or merchant; and in this case clearly merchant, as the maker of the note was evidently established in the town.  Thus we start with a possible two by the first name of James.  In 1762 James Ewing qualified as captain of the Augusta militia.  In 1763 there is a record of a suit by James Ewing.  April 15, 1765, James Ewing was allowed by the court pay for provisions furnished the militia.  This must have been the captain.  And in that year land is mentioned as adjoining the land in the possession of James Ewing, located on Jackson River.  In 1767 he was yet in possession of this land.  In that year James Ewing was named by the court to help appraise an estate.  In 1768 James Ewing bought property at a sale.  In 1769 we find a suit by James Ewing.  March, 1773, discloses a suit against James Ewing, Sr.  In 1775 James Ewing witnessed a will.  Apparently early in 1777 Capt. James Ewing resigned his commission, as his resignation is mentioned and his successor recommended May 20 of that year.  In 1778 James Ewing was awarded "a hemp certificate."  This doesn't mean that he was hanged!  To encourage the growth of hemp, from which flax for ropes, clothing, &c., was made, the colony paid bounties upon certificates by the local courts.  Another record, it is interesting as light on that day, discloses that "good hemp sold for 35 shillings for 112 lbs."  A shilling was equivalent to 16 2/3c of our money.  A process in a suit against James Ewing September 18, 1777, was returned by the officer:  "Defendant lives in Betetourt," that is Botetourt County.  In 1774 "James Ewing and Capt. James Ewing" (certainly two) witnessed a will; and in 1778 the "witnesses" proved the will in open court.  That looks to me like those two James Ewings were yet residents of the county,--but even in 1774 the county was yet a vast territory.  So prominent a man as Capt. James would not have returned "no resident" unless he had been such.  Another process against James Ewing was turned May 20, 1779, "no inhabitant."

Did that James (or were there two who had changed residences?) return to Augusta?  The records do not disclose unless we assume that those mentioned later were in part identical with those we have so far seen.  I do not know that such an assumption would be justified; but those most interested may decide.

It was not until 1784 that suit was brought on the James Ewing note made at Staunton in 1761.  It is my guess that that James was in 1784 yet a resident of Augusta.  You are entitled to your guess, however.  In 1780 and in 1781, as at other times a James or more appraised estates, &c., in Augusta.  And in that year two James Ewings are on the tax lists.

In 1785 James Ewing bought land in Augusta.  March 22, 1786, Jane Ewing, daughter of James Ewing of Augusta, married Moses Moore.

One of these could have been the founder of the Pocahontas family, as Augusta County up to this period embraced the section where I believe he lived.  We must remember constantly not to confuse the vast regions within the earlier Augusta with the present greatly narrower county limits.

In 1795 the will of a James Ewing was filed for probate.  The testator left lands and other property to his wife, Martha, to his sons James and Joseph and to daughters Martha and Nancy.  The executors were the wife, John Wilson and Mathew Willson, Jr.  Some of the lands were in Beverly Manor, now in Rockingham County.

September 20, 1796, the county court recommended James Ewing for the post of lieutenant of the second battalion, 32nd regiment.

An inscription on a tombstone, found in Chalkley, in the old Glebe graveyard on the Thompson farm in Augusta, in 1902, shows the grave of James Ewing, born March 4, 1762; and who died September 26, 1794.

December 15, 1795, James Ewing, possibly with James and Robert Patterson, sureties, married Mary Hunter.  Sometimes a man signed his own marriage license bond.  This may or may not have been true in this case.

On October 30, 1795, James Ewing, formerly a resident of Augusta County, gave a deposition before justices in the "Southwest Territory, or Territory South of the Ohio, Blount County," now Tennessee, Blount County, comprising the Knoxville neighborhood.

The records show that James Ewing, son of James Ewing, owned land in and lived in Augusta January 4, 1800.

In 1807 Jane Ewen was appointed administratrix of the estate of James Ewen, deceased.

In 1820 in the suit of Henry Whistler vs. James Ewing, it was shown that Whistler some years earlier bought 150 acres of land of this Ewing, the land located in what became Rockingham County; and that this Ewing removed to Kentucky.

Now, how many James Ewings were there in that part of Virginia in those days and what became of them?  I trust this record will assist their descendants.

These Ewings were evidently respected and regarded as men of sound judgment, for they were frequently called upon to appraise estates, witness wills, &c., functions which meant much in those days; and they were neighborly and men of means, for they "went surety," hence some of the suits in which they were involved.

Of course, even in the light of tradition, these records furnish no satisfactory light upon the Pocahontas Ewings.  However, we do know that Ann Ewing, certainly older than the two boys and probably the oldest child of this James Ewing, married Archibald Clendennin (often spelled Clendinning).  This Clendennin's father was also named Archibald; and the later, prior to 1784, was living on his lands on the Cowpasture River.  That stream rises in what is now Highland County, Virginia, and flows southwardly through the present Bath County.  These counties lie west of the Shenandoah Mountain and east of the main range of the Alleghenies, and just across the latter range from what are now Greenbriar and Pocahontas Counties, West Virginia.  Archibald, Junior, the records disclose, was either owner of or interested in lands on the Cowpasture before his father died.  Ann Ewing Clendennin had a daughter born in 1758; and, placing the mother's age at eighteen at that time, gives us 1740 as certainly the latest possibly reasonable date of her birth.  Pioneer conditions considered, it is almost certain that this Ewing family lived on the Cowpasture at the time young Archibald wooed and won Ann Ewing.  At that time the Cowpasture Valley was the westward frontier line.  Hence, as I interpret the few remaining fragments of the story, from the upper Shenandoah James Ewing moved slowly westward with expansion, crossed the Shenandoah Mountain and before 1748, paused in the Clendennin neighborhood in the valley of Cowpasture.  Far out to the westward lay the main range of the wild and rugged Alleghenies through the passes of which the deadly Indians had as yet not ceased to fall upon the skirmish line of white civilization.  Westward of the main Alleghenies Greenbriar watered a lonely plain, and on and yet on westward and northward and southward lay many long miles of unexplored Virginia domains—a vast empire of wild nature, wilder savages, and filled with all kinds of the most abundant game.

John Stuart, who left a written account of the early days of that part of Virginia, says the first information of the Greenbriar country was given by a man who wandered into the wilderness during periods of lunacy in 1749.  That sounds to me in some measure just a bit "too crazy;" but it appears certain that not until about 1750 did even the hardy hunters venture across the mountain and into the Greenbriar Valley.  General Lewis, a noted surveyor and military leader of his day, led a party into that valley in 1751 to survey the lands under a grant by British authorities, to one of the big concerns doing their best to "corner" the unsettled Virginia.  Lewis found two men who were "long hunters" rather than settlers.  Lewis offered the lands to settlers and between 1751 and 1763 several families moved into the Greenbriar region and west of the main Alleghenies.

In that year Archibald Clendennin and his family were living on a settlement claim, purchased from a man named Lee, "down on the levels not far from the present town of Lewisburg, perhaps some thirty or forty miles from Buckeye," as the location has been described.  With Archibald, his brother-in-law, and Ann, "his older sister," then lived John Ewing, a lad sixteen years old.  This John was this James Ewing's older son.  It was July 15, 1763, when authentic history lifts the curtain.  The story comes to us from Stuart & Withers, contemporaries; and records have also been left by those who gathered the facts from survivors, notably a detailed account by "Rev. Samuel Brown of Bath County, who collected the incidents from the descendants of the sufferers many years ago."  Then there is the article written by Geo. P. Mathews at the dictation of Gen. A. T. Holcomb, a grandson of this John Ewing; and which, after being condensed by Hon. A. T. Holcomb of Ohio, was furnished The West Virginia Historical Magazine; and therein printed along with a version of the story as given in 1901 by Mrs. Rhoda Briggs, of Iowa, who was a daughter of Samuel Ewing, the youngest son of Indian John.  Samuel Ewing was born in Greenbriar County in 1797 and died in Ohio in 1855.

As is to be expected, some details differ; but there is satisfactory agreement regarding the main events; and as told by these writers they are as follows:

In 1761 a Mrs. Dennis was captured by Indians in a raid on the upper James, the neighborhood of her residence subsequently becoming a part of Botetourt County.  In 1763 she escaped.  After terrible experiences she reached the settlements on the Greenbriar and Ann Ewing Clendennin took her in charge for much needed nursing and recuperation.  When strong enough she was placed upon a horse and sent to her own people.

Shortly after she left, about sixty Indians under the command of Chief Cornstalk, who was subsequently in command of the savages at the battle of Point Pleasant, reached the Muddy Creek settlement, a few miles from the Clendennin place.  At first the Indians were friendly and were treated hospitably by the white people.  But suddenly the savages fell upon the whites "and tomahawked all except a few women and children, whom they reserved as prisoners."  At the Clendennin settlement there were "between fifty and one hundred persons, men, women, and children."  It is a little difficult to understand, perhaps, why so many people should have been at Clendennin's.  That there were from seventy to one hundred, however, is the evidence of contemporary writers, of whom one was Col. John Stuart, the pioneer settler of the Greenbriar.  See his Memoir of the Indian Wars.  Those early writers are followed by Waddell and other later historians.  The Clendennin settlement, which was only about a mile from where Lewisburg was subsequently built, according to the Holcomb account, and the Muddy Creek settlement, were the extreme outpost in the Greenbriar region.  During the days of acute Indian dangers no one settler, as a rule, built alone.  Cabins stood in groups.  Too, the pioneers, during many years, moved in groups, often in large caravans, and it is quite probable that many new settlers were camping at the time of the massacre near Clendennin and his neighbors.  Any way, the Clendennin place the Indians next visited.  Clendennin, "just home from a hunt, feasted them on three fat elks," ignorant of his neighbors' fate.  But again, in an unguarded moment, the white men, women and children, except a few to be enslaved, were brained and knifed.  In part the sickening story reads:

At Clendennin's a scene of much cruelty was performed; and a negro woman, who was endeavoring to escape, killed her own child lest she might be discovered by its cries.

Mrs. Clendennin did not fail to abuse the Indians, calling them cowards, &c., although the tomahawk was drawn over her head with threats of instant death, and the scalp of her husband lashed about her jaws. 

"Mrs. Clendennin fought like a fury," is Price's interpretation of the older writers.

Mrs. Clendennin, however, was not murdered, and so Ann Ewing Clendennin and her infant child, John Ewing, Ann's brother, and Jane Clendenning, Ann's five year old daughter were taken prisoners.  The male prisoners to be slaves to the Indians, the girls, when old enough, were to be slave wives to the "braves."

Leaving the prisoners under guard, some of the other Indians dashed further into the settlements, murdering, burning, pillaging, going as far as Carr's Creek now in Rockbridge County, "where many families were killed and taken by them."  Other parties, wild with the intoxication of bloodshed, spread ruin and death in other directions.

At length the Indians assembled, gathered the booty, loaded it upon the prisoners and set their faces toward the dark and rugged wilds beyond the Alleghenies.

As the party climbed along an Indian trail over Keeney's Knob, "Mrs. Clendennin gave her infant to a prisoner woman to carry, as the prisoners were in the center of the line with the Indians in front and rear, and she escaped into a thicket and concealed herself."  The endless stretch of dense laurel and other growth which, in many places, almost obscured the trail, made escape not so difficult.  She hoped, though vainly as it proved, as some time had passed since the first attack, to find a rescue party and give quick intelligence of the Indian movements and so recover all the prisoners.  One version of the story says she believed the Indians would kill her baby; and she could not remain, when possible to escape, to see that done.  Too, she knew that the father had been struck to his death as he was attempting to escape with another child, just older than the infant, in his arms.  Were they certainly dead?  Was it dead?  The night before the sad prisoner line started up Kenney's Knob, she heard, from crag and glen, the howl of the wolf, the cry of the panther, the whine of the wildcat.  Her dead lay unburied where they fell, a blood offering to the expansion of American civilization.  Rescue or no rescue, she would return to the scene of the devastation, to the but yesterday happy settlement where now lay about seventy mutilated bodies, scalpless.

In the line of march of the Knob, when the mother had gone, the dear little baby cried; the cunning savage, suspicious, asked for the mother.  Receiving no reply, he divined the truth.  With a terrible oath he shouted, torturing the baby to make it cry, "When the calf bawls the cow will come," then, the mother not hearing and not returning, "he took the child by the heels and beat its brains out against a tree."  "Throwing it in the path, the savages and horses trampled over it."  John Ewing, one version says, obtained permission and "tenderly buried the remains beside a mountain brook."

The versions differ as to how far Mrs. Clendennin was from the devastated home when she escaped; but it is certain she was many miles; and that much of that distance she made under cover of darkness.  While hidden in a sinkhole during the day following her first night after the escape, the Holcomb version says, "she heard rapid footsteps approaching her hiding place."  She thought an Indian was about to retake her; and she determined to tell him "she was lost and hunting for the band."  Jumping from the hole "she found herself face to face with a black bear.  The surprise was mutual. . . .  The bear trotted off into the woods."  "After numerous hardships she at last reached her ruined home, seven days after the tragedy.  Her husband lay unburied in the July sun, his faithful dog keeping watch and ward beside him."

Why not some of our family artists—and we have some of no mean ability—put that scene upon canvass?  It is an eloquent and pathetically representative picture of the contribution by the dog and by the pioneer to early American territorial growth.

Holcomb adds:  "Just as the low, mellow sunbeams were fading away in the west, that heroic wife and mother, with her own hands, buried her murdered husband"--and, of course, the remains of the little child that was clasped in the father's arms when cut down by the savage.

One of the early histories says the grave was made under the porch of the home; but the evidence shows that the home was laid in ashes.

Mrs. Clendennin was not seven days reaching the ruins after the escape.  We must remember that the prisoners were detained before starting toward the Ohio, until the return of the savages from Carr's Creek and other points.

Mrs. Briggs confirms the story about the faithful dog, and adds that when Mrs. Clendennin "tried to call the dog away, he would not leave his dead master, and she left him there with nothing to eat but burned corn," evidently by the new-made grave.

Mrs. Clendennin made her way back to some unharmed settlement—most probably to the home of James Ewing—and the Clendennin massacre had passed into history.      

Thus the vestiges of settlement in the Greenbriar country were exterminated.  From 1763 to 1769 the country was uninhabited.  (J. A. Waddell, Annals of Augusta County, 113.)

So reads this bloody, sad chapter in the life of another of our clan kindred,--a story left us by writers who got the facts direct from the survivors.  On August 16, 1763, "Ann Clendenning" administered on the estate of Archibald Clendenning, deceased, in the Augusta court.  Though spelled Clendenning upon the face of the record, it is clear that this administration was upon the estate of the Clendennin who married Ann Ewing and who was killed in this Indian raid July 5, 1763.  April 5, 1764, the administratrix filed an itemized appraisement of the personal estate of the deceased.  It is a pathetic chapter, giving part of the story left by our ancestors of the Virginia frontiers:  "One tomahawk, one pipe, one pistole, one cow wounded with an arrow."  The savages had carried off or destroyed all else. 

Jane and her uncle, John Ewing, so it is shown in depositions and court documents on file among the Augusta records in Jane Davis v. Rogers et als., were kept prisoners in the same nation "though not together except on their journey to Pittsburgh" (at the time only a fort) where they were delivered and surrendered by the Indians May 14, 1765.  This surrender was under treaty stipulations.  This is particularly John's statement in his deposition after 1803 given at his home then in Galia County, Ohio.  They returned to their relations in Virginia.  John Rogers married Ann Ewing Clendennin, the widow, in 1767.

In the Holcomb article Mrs. Clendennin's first name is given as Nancy; and it is said that some of the Ewing descendants spoke of her as "Aunt Jennie;" and Mrs. Briggs had forgotten Mrs. Clendennin's first name.  But the old Augusta records show that her real first name, whatever she may have been usually called, was Ann.  Too, John Ewing's own deposition, as reported by Chalkley, shows that he and Jane Clendennin were captured and the Clendennin massacre occurred July 5, 1763; and that they were released May 14, 1765.  We must conclude, therefore, that later stories which assign to him and Jane longer captivity are in error.

After some preliminary hardship, such as running the gauntlet by John and one of the Clendennin Negro boys carried off at the same time, the prisoners were adopted by Indians; and, so the story goes, had not great hardship.  When John was being adopted he thought he was being married to a young squaw.  "The Indians cried," it is told, called him brother, and then he realized that he had been adopted as a son of old squaw Modgaw, and not married to her daughter, "White Swan," who "was pretty."

His captive home was on the Sciota River, "three miles below the present city of Circleville, Ohio."

When John was told that he was to be released, he went to get his niece, "for he knew she would be the only heir to the property in Virginia," it is said.  "When he found her she was sitting on a pile of skins on a pack horse returning from a hunt; she was about as broad as long, fat and hearty," bare-headed and tanned.  "In later years, after having some trouble over her property, she said that while she was thankful to her uncle for bringing her back to her people, she almost wished he had left her with the Indians, and she would never have known the difference," says Mrs. Briggs.

That is why the Indians took children captives; taken young they became Indians; and a girl thus brought up, becoming the squaw of a "brave," often refused, when entitled to release by treaty, to leave him.

From the old historian, Howe, we learn that in 1770 an outpost fort, called Fort Savannah, was built where Lewisburg, now in Greenbriar County, West Virginia, stands.  Civilization in that section thus got a permanent hold west of the main Allegheny Mountains, and in the midst of the splendid plain of the Greenbriar River, whence the name Savannah.  Protected against savage raids by Fort Savannah, settlements spread up and down the Greenbriar River Valley.

John Stuart was the first, accompanied by a few men, to venture back to the Greenbriar.  That was in 1769.  In a deposition yet among the old Augusta records, in Luddington v. Stuart, he states that at that time "the country was then uninhabited."

The McNeils and Moores, long among the older families of the upper Shenandoah Valley east of the Alleghenies, went to the Greenbriar shortly after Stuart had commenced in 1769 what became the first permanent settlement of the Greenbriar regions.

In the old suit of Davis v. Rogers, it is shown that Rogers, who married Ann Ewing Clendennin, located on the Greenbriar in 1772.  This year, I am of opinion, gives us about the time that Pocahontas James Ewing and the other members of his family pitched, for the first time, their tents in the Greenbriar Valley.  Though it is possible that James Ewing may have gone about the time that Captain Stuart and his party went.  But since there appear to have been other Ewings in that section shortly later than that time, we cannot be sure.   Price says that about 1770 "Moses Moore settled on Knapp's Creek, known at that period as Ewing's Creek, and so named in some of the old land papers."  Price also says that the "tract of land purchased by Moses Moore from one Mr. Ewing, for the consideration of two steel traps and two pounds English sterling," lay between the place owned in 1901 by Andrew Herold and Dennis Dever.  (History of Pocahontas County, 112).  Knapp's Creek is just across the mountain and along the eastern border of what is now Pocahontas County.  Jane Clendennin, who, with her uncle John Ewing, had been carried into captivity at about five years of age, married John Davis in 1774.  They most probably were married in the Greenbriar country, since Jane must have gone there in 1772 with her mother.

"Jane was married after Archibald's mother," says Chalkley's transcript, but that is a misprint; the word "mother" should be "widow."  "Archibald's widow Ann married John Rogers," says the record; and in a deposition Rogers says "he married the widow of Archibald Clendennin in 1767."  "Jane was born January or February, 1758."

John Rogers and, presumably, his wife, Ann, had at least two sons, Archibald and James.  (2 Chalkley, 93.)

In another suit among the Augusta records it is said that this Jane Davis was a widow and living in Greenbriar County in 1803; and that she had a daughter who married Ballard Smith, an attorney at law.  (Id. 183.)

It is yet a tradition among the McNeils, who are of Scotch ancestry, as are the Ewings, who are descendants of the pioneers of that region, that the Ewings came in big, canvass-covered wagons, called "schooners," drawn by teams of sleek, powerful mules—suggestive, in the light of that day, of a goodly share of valuable property.

Price says that after Clendennin was massacred the "widow refugeed to Augusta County."  Augusta at the time covered the scene of the crime; and Mrs. Clendennin merely went to another point in the same county.  That point, with reasonable certainty, was the home of James Ewing, her father.

Price also says that this widow of Archibald Clendennin "afterwards married Ballard Smith, the ancestor of the distinguished family of that name, so prominent in the annals of Greenbriar citizenship."  As we have seen, the old court records show that it was Ann Ewing Clendennin's granddaughter, daughter of Jane Davis, who married Ballard Smith.  Price did not have access to Chalkley's work, it is fair to remember.

The Ewings and other first settlers in the Greenbrier (sic) country expected to take titles to the lands they selected from the Greenbrier Company, to which the royal authority had made a large grant years before that section was inhabited.  But before deeds were made the Revolution interfered.  One of the very first things that Virginia did, when the Revolution was well under way, was to arrange to determine who were entitled to the "lands on the western waters," which comprehended most of the country as far as settled within the original Virginia bounds and west of the Blue Ridge.  So in 1777 the Virginia authorities, acting under the newly asserted independent sovereignty, though not yet recognized by Great Britain, appointed a commission to grant certificates to persons entitled to lands in Greenbrier County (created that year) and in other western counties.  Laws were provided, known as the homestead and preemption laws, under which bona fide settlers could claim four hundred acres by virtue of bona fide settlement; and by preemption, that is by selecting and marking up to a thousand acres in addition to the homestead could be purchased at what now appears a nominal fee.  The commission sat to hear evidence of settlement and preemption claims; and when a determination was reached, certificates were issued which went to the Land Office, which in the meantime had been established.  Pursuant thereto deeds, generally known as grants, were issued by the Land Office.  All of the earlier grants to lands then regarded as upon "the western waters" are now of record in the Land Office of Virginia.  Thus the claims of the big land companies in western and southwestern section of Virginia were repudiated in favor of the actual settlers and titles issued pursuant to the laws enacted by the independent sovereignty of Virginia.

The first certain identification of the James Ewing family after reaching what is now Pocahontas County (now West Virginia) is in the findings of the commission just mentioned, which for the Greenbrier section, sat at Fort Savannah (Lewisburg).  The findings of that commission, touching lands then in Augusta, Greenbrier and Betetourt Counties, after different hearings, were handed down in 1780 and '82.  In the main the settlers thus identified had gone upon their lands a few years before the hearings by the commission.

As has been said, I found the original list of those thus found entitled to lands, in the Virginia Land Office at Richmond, where it had reposed for perhaps a hundred years or more—all untouched.  This list of men found entitled to lands has never been recorded except thro the recordations of the deeds or grants later issued pursuant thereto.

The report of the commission made April 12, 1780, discloses the following Ewing lands located in Greenbrier County:

John Ewing, 150 acres; William Ewing, 250; James Ewing, 140; James again 400; William, 170; Joshua, 400; Joshua again, 250,--each by right of settlement; and Joshua, 100 acres under the preemption law.  Another list from the commission made April 12, 1782, for lands in Greenbrier County, when then included what are now Pocahontas and other counties, certifies to James Ewing, 400 acres by right of settlement and 100 acres under the preemption law; to James Ewing, Jr., 260 and again 400 acres, both by settlement; and again to James Ewing, Sr., 400 acres by settlement and 100 by preemption.

Both these certificates I found in the same old batch of faded and worn papers in the State Land Office in a neglected nitch.

By Land Office records subsequent to the finding of this commission, we learn that James Ewing assigned a survey of land in Greenbrier made in 1780 to Joshua Ewing.

In 1795 William Ewing, son of James, the founder of the Pocahontas County family, took title to his lands on Swago Creek, a branch of Greenbrier River, the land then being in Bath County, which originally reached beyond the main Alleghenies.  Again in 1796 he obtained land in Greenbrier County; and in 1800 John, Sr., obtained lands on the waters of the Greenbrier in Bath County.

Of those early Ewing landowners of Greenbrier I have no record, unfortunately, of any except the James and family whose genealogy I am giving.  Perhaps there are few neighborhoods where the older Ewings lived which did not have more than one Ewing of similar given name, leading to endless vexation, and which suggests caution against such conclusions as that of a correspondent of many years ago when he wrote:  "All the Ewings of Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana are descendants of Captain Patrick Ewing of Maryland!"  Had I time to count I am sure I could prove that statement was at least ten thousand out of the way!

In this connection it is interesting to note that Hon. Alvin E. Ewing writes me:  "My grandfather once told me that back in the early days of Virginia (clearly in what was then Greenbrier or Bath County) there were several William Ewings in the same neighborhood.  To distinguish them they were 'nicknamed', 'Long Bill', 'Short' or 'Stumpy Bill', and one who once shot at a wild turkey and hit a neighbor's cow, 'Turkey Bill,' and his own father, because he lived in 'Swagger' (Swago or Swego) Creek, 'Swager Bill'.  Grandfather referred to 'Stumpy Bill' as his cousin, and was, I believe, a son of Indian John," writes a grandson of Enos Ewing.

The widely scattered settlement on Swago (or Swego) and Greenbrier Creeks, where this James and his sons acquired rich valley lands, was for many years in turn the outposts along the Virginia frontiers.  Opportunities for the finer things of life were few; but the evidence indicates that the family made the most of such advantages as were afforded and enjoyed the highest respect of their neighbors.  Father and sons became experts with the old-fashioned flint lock gun, the only gun then to be had; and many are the interesting stories of the daring, prowess and splendid nerve they enjoyed, that have come down to us, tales of encounters with wild beasts then numerous among the surrounding mountains of that section, and with the yet more dangerous Indians.  As a rule the pioneers of the earlier American frontiers (similarly as were the early California pioneers of later days of whom Walt Whitman has written so entertainingly) were honest and fully trustworthy.  Except as against the Indians, doors were seldom barred and livestock was usually safe upon the commons or in some indifferently fenced enclosure.  But there were now and then exceptions to the prevailing integrity.  In such cases, as later upon the plains and in the far West before the municipal law reached the advance guard, summary punishment, sooner or later, was the usual end of the lawless and the dishonest.  In that early day in Greenbrier courts were far distant, as along the Virginia frontiers generally where, we see, many of our Virginia ancestors were in the most advanced picket line; roads were few and often hardly more than paths; and it was often necessary that the head of each home be judge, jury and executioner in the defense of his property and in the protection of the lives within his fold.  As the representative instances here and there related show, our ancestors met the duties and the stern responsibilities of the hour as became men in whose veins ran the best blood from the prehistoric days of old Scotland,--an ancestry than which none is nobler.  An incident of the earlier Virginia days is found in an experience of this (Pocahontas) James, and the story comes to us through a descendant of his grandson, Enoch Ewing.  The story furnishes a bit of coloring to those far-off, distant times, which for its light upon character is worthwhile.  It is representative, too, of the determination and cool daring of our American Ewing ancestors.

The gun was to the pioneer what the officers of the law are in our day to us.  This James Ewing had acquired a new gun.  Guns were not only far from the modern weapon but costly and not plentiful.  Naturally he prized it highly.  It might mean the preservation of his life or that of his family, or both.

One day, when Margaret, his wife, was, except the children, alone in the home, distant from neighbors, a scoundrel, widely known along the frontiers as a renegade and outlaw, Shockley, and a companion, by chance or design, visited the home.  Shockley saw the gun, probably resting upon deer antlers over the doorway on the inside, took it down and decided to appropriate it.  Of course Margaret protested; but she was a woman and the officers of the law were far away beyond distant mountains.  So Shockley and his companion started off with the coveted gun.  When James Ewing returned and got the story, he carefully loaded and primed (putting powder in the pan in which the flint struck) another gun, and which he probably had with him, and alone went "in pursuit of the ruffians."  Surprising them in camp some mile distant from his home, he marched up to Shockley and demanded the return of the stolen gun.  Shockley replied by bringing his gun to firing position; the flint sputtered and the powder flashed in the pan.  But at that moment Ewing fired; and the soul of the thief went to trial before the Great Judge of the Universe.  The other outlaw seized Ewing and for a short interval the struggle was one of life or death.  Ewing was fighting for home and rights which could not otherwise then be protected.  He finally got his ever ready hunting knife at the throat of his enemy, and the spirit of the second desperado went to give a final account of the sins of the body.  A reward had been, by authorities, offered for Shockley, dead or alive; and when James' friends knew the story it was suggested that he claim the reward.  "No," he declared, "with true Ewing aversion to money," sagely adds one of his descendants, "it was not money he sought; he was content to recover his property and to rid the community of 'such vermint.'"

To this James Ewing, who moved from Pocahontas County, Virginia, to Galia County, Ohio, were born five children:  Ann (as shown by the suit in the Augusta court), who married, first Archibald Clendennin, and then John Rogers; and probably two other girls, Susan Jane, who married Moses Moore, and Elizabeth, who married George Dougherty; and certainly two boys, (Indian) John; and (Swago) William.

Indian John Ewing enjoyed splendid mental power.  While in this he was not an exception to the Ewings generally, yet he left a more definite record than some others.  At an early day he developed a fondness for books which followed through life.  "He found a benefactor in the parish clergyman," says Holcomb, "a Presbyterian minister, who, admiring the good taste of the youth, extended him the use of his library."  Late in life he could "repeat the whole of Milton's Paradise Lost;" and had a phenomenal knowledge of history.

However, most probably the "clergyman" who then befriended John Ewing was a Methodist.  The Ewings generally, as elsewhere said, were Presbyterians; but Presbyterian ministers did not keep in touch with the frontiers.  The Methodist did.  The early Methodists were often men of considerable learning.  The Presbyterians had no church even in Staunton before 1811, (Waddell, Annals of Augusta County, 209)—years after John Ewing was a boy; and I find nothing to suggest that the Presbyterians went early into what became Pocahontas County.

In 1774 (Indian) John married Ann Smith, of Irish descent (Irish by birth but probably Scotch by blood), and to them were born eleven children:  William, 1775-1858; Susan, 1766; 1778-1837, the Honorable John Smith Ewing, who served in the legislature of Virginia from Bath County, secession 1812-'13, is his descendant; Janet, 1781-1855, who marred a Howell; Sarah, 1782-1850, who married Gen. Samuel R. Holcomb; Anne, 1785; Andrew, 1787-1866, who served in legislature of California; Elizabeth; Nancy, who married Mills; Lydia, 1792-1872, who married Buris, whose son subsequently was member of the Missouri legislature; Samuel, 1797-1855.  This John Ewing died December 23, 1824.  Indian John's descendants through these children are legion.  "They may be found in nearly every Western State, and are generally successful," it is written of them.  Among the many identified descendants of Indian John, we mention:

Gen. A. T. Holcomb (1803-1877), a grandson; Sumner Ewing, Stockton, California, son of Benjamin, son of Hon. John S.; S. G. Burnside, Kansas City, Missouri; Jennie G. Spruce, Greenville, Illinois; Mrs. Elizabeth Squier, Angola, Illinois; John Ewing, attorney, Grant City, Missouri; Thomas Ewing, Eddyville, Iowa; Mrs. Laura Ewing Dunning of Gustine, California, daughter of Hon. Andrew Ewing, died 1895, who served as a Democrat in the legislature of California beginning 1877, the father of irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley, son of Hon. John S. Ewing; and Edward Ewing Altshire, attorney, Kansas City, Missouri.

William Ewing (Swago Bill), brother of Indian John, was born 1756.  His descendants identify him as the William Ewing who served in Arbuckle's company of Virginia troops in 1774, participating in the epochal battle of Point Pleasant on October 10 of that year, between the whites and the Indians, when the Virginians put to flight the distinguished Indian Chief, Cornstalk, and his braves.  Cornstalk and his band murdered the Clendennins.  This battle is regarded as the signal gun of the American Revolution, the pregnant rumbles of which were then filling the land.  This William married Mary McNeil.  This couple established their home on Swago (or Swego) Creek, near what is now Buckeye, Pocahontas County, and hence for distinction he came to be known as Swago Bill.  They had twelve children, all of whom were born at the old Swago home:  Elizabeth, 1787-1852, who married Doddill; Thomas, 1788-1874; Johnathan, 1790-1850; William, 1792; James, 1793-1824; John, 1795; Sarah, 1797-1827, who married Wallace; Enoch, 1799-1885; Jacob, 1802-1878; Abraham McNeil, 1804-1891; George, 1807-1883; and Andrew, 1809-1885.

Enoch married Susannah Rodabaugh, who died in 1855.  Hon. Alvin E. Ewing, who married Miss Hank of the Abraham Lincoln maternal ancestral line, attorney at law, Grand Rapids, Michigan, who served his state in the legislature and has been otherwise honored, is a descendant of Enoch.  A few of the many other known descendants of "Swago Bill" are Dr. G. A. Ewing, Jackson, Ohio; Dr. G. K. Ewing, Ewington, Ohio; Dr. U. B. G. Ewing, Richmond, Indiana; Dr. William Leonard, Fostoria, Ohio; Rev. Thomas E. Peden, Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Ogden, North Carolina; and Arthur L. Salisbury, Burnside, Illinois, a descendant of Rebecca Ewing who married Jonas Roush; Hon. Geo. E. Matthews, Portsmouth, O.; E. B. Matthews, Jackson, Ohio; Hon. W. S. Matthews, Columbus, Ohio; and Miss Ova Powel, Tahlequah, Okla.  There are many of this branch of the family in the Burnside neighborhood, where, as is the custom in some Ewing communities, annual reunions are held, at which sometimes hundreds of blood relations gather.  (See reports of some of these reunions in The Dallas City, Illinois, Enterprise, and in The Carthage, Illinois, Republican, 1918.  Other genealogical data are in West Virginia Historical Magazine, vol. 4, 203; and in W. T. Price's Hist. Sketch of Pocahontas County, 646.)

Indian John and Swago William moved to Galia County, Ohio, in 1801 or '02, with their families; and from that locality their descendants have scattered afar and as have been all the descendants of this family have been successful and always men and women of splendid character and good report, contributing substantially to the leadership of the country.

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