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American Revolution, Appalachia, Aracoma, Aracoma Hotel, Bluestone River, Boling Baker, C.A. Davis, Cornstalk, Daughters of the American Revolution, Edwin Goodwin, Elmer McDonald, Harris Funeral Home, history, Jimmy Browning, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Lyle Burdette, M.R. Atkinson, Montgomery County, Native American History, Native Americans, photos, sheriff, Virginia, W.C. Turley, West Virginia
Princess Aracoma Memorial Given to the Public by D.A.R. Chapter is Formally Unveiled and Dedicated
The monument to Princess Aracoma was dedicated yesterday afternoon by the local chapter of the D.A.R. which bears her name, with a brief ceremony in which the romantic history of the chief of the first tribe known to have settled in this vicinity was reviewed.
The dedication service took place at 4:30 o’clock at the northeast corner of the courthouse, and was opened with an assembly bugle call by Boy Scout Edwin Goodwin. Rev. M.R. Atkinson led in prayer and Jimmy Browning gave the salute to the flag.
Mrs. S. Elmer McDonald, regent of Aracoma chapter, presided, saying, “We have gathered here to honor Princess Aracoma, an Indian princess who with her tribe first settled in this valley.”
W.C. Turley, whom Mrs. McDonald introduced as the descendant of one of the oldest families of the county gave a talk reviewing the traditional settling of the Indians in this vicinity.
“I think it striking evidence of patriotism for your Princess Aracoma chapter to place this monument in memory of Princess Aracoma,” he said.
Mr. Turley said that Princess Aracoma was born somewhere between 1740 and 1745, the daughter of Cornstalk, chief of the Shawnee Indians, who was killed in the first land battle of the Revolution.
“When the princess was a young girl she interceded in behalf of Boling Baker, a white soldier who had deserted from the British army and had been captured by her tribe. Through her plea his life was spared and he was initiated into the tribe.
“According to the Indian custom, when Princess Aracoma became of age she was given a portion of the tribe to settle under her leadership in new hunting grounds, and chose the island first settled in this territory. Shortly after settling in their new home, the Princess and Boling Baker were married at a large ceremony attended by Cornstalk and other chiefs.
“The tribe lived happily and prospered until, in 1776, a plague struck them taking many of their members including all of the children of the princess and her white husband.
“Baker, seeking to replenish the goods of the tribe went with some scouts to a settlement on the Bluestone river, where, posing as an escaped captive, he gained the confidence of the settlers. Then one night he led his scouts in a raid on the camp, stealing their horses and provisions.
“The sheriff of Montgomery county, of which Logan was then a part, designated Col. Breckenridge and Gen. Madison to lead a force of 90 men to seek revenge on the Indians. In the ensuing battle, which took place near where the power plant now stands, Princess Aracoma was killed.
“According to tradition, she was buried somewhere in the vicinity where the Aracoma Hotel and Harris Funeral Home now stand. Skeletons and Indian burial pieces were unearthed when the excavation for these buildings was made.”
At the close of Mr. Turley’s address, the monument was unveiled by Mrs. Lyle Burdette and Mrs. C.A. Davis.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 28 October 1936.
NOTE: This article incorrectly references the Battle of Point Pleasant as part of the American Revolutionary War.
Andrew P. Price, Appalachia, Canada, Cayuga, Chillicothe, Cumberland River, Dekanawida, Five Nations, Great Lakes, Greenbrier Valley, Hiawatha, history, Iroquois, Jackson River, James Fenimore Cooper, Kanawha River, Lancaster, Logan Banner, London, Marlinton, Mingo Flats, Mohawk, New York, Ohio, Oneida, Onondago, Ototarha, Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War, Rio Grande River, Seneca, Seneca Trail, Shawnee, St. Lawrence River, Tennessee, Tuscarora, Virginia, Warrior's Road, West Virginia, Winchester
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about the Iroqouis and West Virginia dated October 7, 1927:
West Virginia Part of Iroquois Domain
Confederation of Five Nations, Pledged to Peace, Endured For Two Centuries — Hiawatha One of Founders — Vast Indian Drama Told By Andrew P. Price, “Sage of Marlinton.”
You keep hearing of the Shawnees who overran this country prior to the Revolutionary War, and you keep hearing of them to the east and then to the west. You know that when 72 men went from this (Greenbrier) valley to fight them at the mouth of Kanawha, that they were living in Chillicothe.
The mystery of the Shawnee being to the east and then to the west is explained as follows:
When the whites first began to record history the Shawnees were far to the south and were split into two tribes. One lived on the Atlantic seaboard, around Savannah, and the other west of the mountains in the Tennessee country. They were forced north by their enemies and they were sometime after that found with towns at Winchester, in the valley of Virginia, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and in other places in Pennsylvania, while those from the Cumberland basin in Tennessee came north into Ohio. The eastern tribe moved first and no doubt the communicating road between the settlements at Winchester and eastern Pennsylvania traversed West Virginia. They would have to cross Seneca Trail, or Warrior’s Road, and the military town of Mingo Flats lay in their line of travel and that is the occasion of the corrupting of that place and making the garrison traitor to the Five Nations.
The whole of the Appalachia Range of mountains was owned, policed and controlled by the Iroquois or Five Nations. This was the highest type of Indian north of the Rio Grande. For centuries they held a commanding position, their country extending from the mouth of the St. Lawrence river, west on both sides to the Great Lakes and turning there took all the mountain country as far south as Georgia, and they had at least 50 towns along the way from north to south. History deals more with the Mohawks around New York, but the westernmost part in which we live was occupied and kept by the Senecas. The list of the Iroquois or Five Nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondago, Cayuga and Seneca. When the Tuscaroras came in in 1726 they were called the Six Nations.
Government Older Than Ours
This conference lasted for more than two centuries and was perhaps the most notable government ever set up by savages. They are the Indians that James Fennimore Cooper wrote about and they are entitled to every bit of praise that he gives them. They had a council that was noted for its dignity, faith, and ability. The kinds of Europe sent ambassadors to that council for many generations which made treaties, and it was well known in the London of that day as the American Congress is now. The Nations early agreed with the whites to allow the Europeans to settle and thrive on the Atlantic seaboard and they, the Five Nations, kept the mountains and western part of their countries.
Probably the first fraud practiced on the Five Nations was the Greenbrier Colony grant of 100,000 acres on waters that flowed into the Ohio, and this was held up for more than 30 years and only matured after the colonies had gained their independence. It is evident that it was first granted on the mistake of fact, that is, that the Greenbrier, like the Jackson River, flowed into the Atlantic.
Hiawatha an Organizer
The formation of the Five Nations was accomplished about the history the year 1750 and was the work of two Indians of great fame, Dekanawida and Hiawatha. The name of Hiawatha is famous by reason of Longfellow’s poem, but it does not contain a single fact of the history of Hiawatha. The two Indians posed as medicine men and magicians and spent their lives to bring about the league to promote peace and to end war. At the time they commenced their work, war was the religion of the tribes. Hiawatha was a Mohawk, and at times the Mohawks were cannibals. The two Indians traveled from council to council, proposing the scheme of the league to promote peace, and it was debated on the council fires, and it encountered the most bitter opposition. The name of the tyrant Ototarha comes down in history as the most formidable opponent to the peace makers.
The first success they had was to make it unlawful to prosecute family feuds and murders generally. For every murder the killer was required to pay the family of the dead man ten strings of wampum, as the value of a human life. Later the law was amended to require the payment of an additional ten strings of wampum, on the construction that the first payment was compensatory, and the second string to take the place of the life of the murderer which was forfeited under the old law to the blood kin of the slain man.
In time the confederation was formed. First by the Mohawk, Cayuga and Oneida. Then the Onondaga came in and last, the Senecas came in with reservations, and plenty of them. The Senecas refused to disband their armies and were thereupon made the police force of the Iroquois nations, and kept to themselves the department of war and foreign affairs. They gave up murder and cannibalism but clung to their military life.
The league got along pretty well until the introduction of fire-water and gunpowder. After that it was hard to keep the peace. The end of the league of the Iroquois came when they joined the British to fight the colonists. They came out of the Revolutionary War, doomed, and most of the survivors moved into Canada, though some are still to be found on the reservations in the State of New York.
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Martin County Courthouse in Inez, KY. 3 March 2018. Photo by Mom.
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During a recent visit to the Montgomery County Courthouse in Christiansburg, Virginia, I viewed the Last Will and Testament of my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Farley (c.1730-1796). Thomas was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.
In the Name of God Amen
I Thomas Farley of the County of Montgomery and State of Virginia being sick in Body but of a good and sound memory calling to mind the uncertain estate of this Temporary(?) life and knowing that all flesh must yield to death when it shall pleas God to call. I commit my soul to almighty God that give it and my Body to be buryed as my Friends Shall See cause. In the first place I desire as much of my Estate may be sold as shall pay all my Just debts, Such things as my Dear wife shall think fit. Secondly I give and bequeath to my Dear wife three Negros and all my Pertional estate to dispose of as she Shall See fit and Likewise all Bonds Notes and demands. In the third place I give and Bequeath unto my Dear Sons Such Lands and I have heretofore given them agreeable to Such lines as I have directed and this I believe to be my Last Will and Testament this thirty first day of May one thousand seven hundred and ninety six.
Signed and Sealed
In the presence
?Winney Thomp (her mark)?
I also leave Gordon Cloyd and John Kirk my true(?) Friend as Executors
NOTE: Henry Farley, pioneer settler of Logan County, WV, is the son of Thomas Farley.
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During a recent visit to the Montgomery County Courthouse in Christiansburg, Virginia, I viewed the Last Will and Testament of my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather George Fry (c.1725-1793).
In the Name of God, Amen: I George Fry of the County of Montgomery and State of Virginia, Farmer, Being very sick and weak in Body But of Perfect Mind and Memory thanks Begiven unto God for his Mercy Calling unto Mind the Mortality of my Body, and Knowing that it is appointed for all men once to Die; do Make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament that is to say Principally and first of all I give and Recommend my Soul into the Hand of Almighty God that gave it. My Body I Recommend to the Earth to be Buried in Decent Christian Buriel at the Discretion of my Executors Nothing Doubting but at the general Resurrection I shall Receive the same again by the Mighty Power of God. And as Touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God To bless me in this Life I give Devise and Dispose of the same in the Following Manner and Form, First I give and Bequeath to Anna Fry, my Dearly Beloved Wife one Mare and Two Cows, her Choice out of My Stock to be her own Right and Property to Dispose of as She Shall think Proper…
Also I give and Bequeath to Ann Fry my Dearly beloved Wife for Dureing the time she Continues my Widow My Dwelling Houses and Household Furniture With Five Head of Sheep and My Stock of Swine and my insuing Crop, also the Present Meet and Grain which is provided for Family Use and My Garden and Meadow and Meadow Orchard Likewise the Sixth part of Grain which is Raised on the said Land For During her Widowhood Continuence on the Sd. place. Then on leaving the Sd. place or at her Decease the Sd. property to be Equally Divided Between my Four Daughers…
Also I give and Bequeath to George Fry My Beloved Son all My Iron Tools and Two Suits of Cloaths, To Dispose of as he Shall think proper…
Also I give and Bequeath to Barbary Eley Two Cows to Dispose of as she shall think proper…
Also I give and Bequeath to Susanna Byars Two Cows to Dispose of as she shall Think proper…
Also I give and Bequeath the Balance of my property to my Dearly Beloved Daughters viz Mary Adkins, Chaty. Eley, Barbary Eley, Susanna Byars to be Equally Divided Then to Despose of as they shall think proper…
And I do Hereby Utterly Disallow Revoke and Disannul all and Every Other Former Testaments Wills Legacies Bequests and Confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament, In Witness whereof I have here unto set my Hand and seal this Twenty Seventh Day of March in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety three–
George Fry (My Mark)
Signed sealed and published pronounced and Declared by the Sd. George Fry, as his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us in his presence & in the presence of Each other have Here unto Subscribed our Names…
Source: Wills Box 1791-1799, Circuit Clerk’s Office, Montgomery County Courthouse, Christiansburg, VA.
Note: I descend from George Fry through his granddaughter Mary (Fry) Lucas and his grandson John Fry, who settled in present-day Lincoln County, WV. John and another granddaughter Susannah (Fry) Adkins are buried near my residence.
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I recently had the honor to present a lecture titled “Our Overmountain Men: A Brief Overview of the Revolutionary War in Western Virginia (1775-1783)…and what it means for us today” to the Daniel Boone Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution at the West Virginia State Archives in Charleston, WV. Here’s a link to the lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnJFqADwCpA