Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Kerr's Creek Massacre

from Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871, by Joseph Addison Waddell, published 1902, C.R. Caldwell, Virginia, pp. 171-172:

    The smaller band of Indians made their descent upon Kerr's creek, on the 17th of July. Their number was twenty-seven, Robert Irvin having counted them from a bluff near the road at the head of the creek. Some weeks before, two boys, named Telford, reported that when returning from school they had seen a naked man near their path. This report was not much thought of till the massacre, when it was supposed that the man seen by the boys was an Indian spy sent out to reconnoitre.
    Leaving the site of old Millborough, the savages passed over Mill mountain at a low place still called the "Indian Trail." Coming on the waters of Bratton's Run, they crossed the North mountain, where it is now crossed by the road leading from Lexington to the Rockbridge Alum Springs, and where there is a large heap of stones, supposed to have been piled up by Indians. From this point they had a full view of the peaceful valley of Kerr's creek. Hastening down the mountain, they began the work of indiscriminate slaughter. Coming first to the house of Charles Daugherty, he and his whole family were murdered. They next came to the house of Jacob Cunningham, who was from home, but his wife was killed, and his daughter, about ten years of age, scalped and left for dead. She revived, was carried off as a prisoner in the second invasion, was redeemed, and lived for forty years afterwards, but finally died from the effects of the scalping. The Indians then proceeded to the house of Thomas Gilmore, and he and his wife were killed, the other members of the family escaping at that time. The house of Robert Hamilton came next. This family consisted of ten persons, and one-half of them were slain. By this time the alarm had spread through the neighborhood, and the inhabitants were flying in every direction. For some reason the main body of the Indians went no farther. Perhaps they were sated with blood and plunder; most probably they feared to remain longer with so small a band. A single Indian pursued John McKee and his wife as they were flying from their house. By the entreaty of his wife, McKee did not wait for her, and she was overtaken and killed. He escaped. His six children had been sent to the house of a friend on Timber Ridge, on account of some uneasiness, caused probably by the report about the naked man.