Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Moffetts & the Piqua

From Annals of Augusta County, by Joseph Addison Waddell, pub. 1902, C.R. Caldwell, pp. 177-178:

    Col. George Moffett, son of John and Mary Christian Moffett, was born in 1735.—His wife was a sister of Colonel Samuel McDowell. He lived on the Middle River farm, owned for many years past by the Dunlap family, called Mount Pleasant, and built the stone dwelling house still on the place. He was not only prominent during the Indian wars and the Revolution, but was so also in civil affairs, having been a justice of the peace, an elder in the Presbyterian church, and one of the first trustees of Washington College, Lexington. He is said to have been a man of commanding presence, and eminently religious. He died in 1811, aged seventy-six years, and was buried in Augusta church graveyard. His children were John, James McD., Samuel, William, Mrs. General McDowell, of Kentucky, Mrs. Col. Joseph McDowell, of North Carolina, Mrs. Kirk, of Kentucky, and Mrs. James Cochran, of Augusta connty. James McDowell Moffett was the father of the late Mrs. John McCue, and Mrs. Cochran was the mother of Messrs. John, George M., and James A. Cochran.

    Two of Col. Moffett's brothers removed to Kentucky in 1783, with their half-brother, James Trimble and many other Augusta people. Robert Moffett, one of the two, settled in Jessamine county. He had two sons, John and George, who were captured by Indians soon after their arrival in Kentucky. The ages of the boys were about six and eight years, respectively. They were taken to the Indian town of Piqua, on the Miami river, in Ohio, and John was adopted into the family of Tecumseh's mother. At Wayne's treaty, in 1794, these prisoners were given up, and their father was present with the Kentucky troops to receive back his long-lost sons. George, the younger of the two, was eager to return home; but John was reluctant to leave his Indian mother and friends. He went back, however, with his father, but was restless and unhappy and finally returned to Piqua. There he remained with the Indians till they sold their reservation and removed west of the Mississippi river.

    The late John A. Trimble, of Ohio, in a letter dated March 31, 1881, and addressed to Dr. George B. Moffett, of West Virginia, says that when he was a child, in 1807, he saw John Moffett, who was then on his return from a visit to Kentucky. He was in the vigor of manhood, dressed in Indian costume and traveling on foot. Mr. Trimble saw him again in 1828, at his home near Piqua. He had lived during his boyhood and youth with Tecumseh, the celebrated Indian chief, and seemed much attached to him. At the time of Mr. Trimble's visit, Moffett had recently married an elderly lady and settled down to civilized life. But in his early life he had an Indian wife. Mr. Trimble says:
      "I was descending the Mississippi in 1819, and landed at a point below Memphis called Mill's Landing. Mr. Mills, the pioneer settler there, had a trading post with the Mississippi Indians, who were encamped about the post. My brother, Cary Trimble, was with me. Mr. Mills, hearing we were from Kentucky, claimed relationship, his wife being a grand-daughter of Robert Moffett, of Woodford. We were invited to his house and my brother at once recognized Mrs. Mills as a relative whom he had known fifteen years before in Kentucky. She related a strange surprise she had a few evenings before from a very old Indian woman. She had noticed for several days the manners of this woman and her close scrutiny and eager gaze as she would meet her. At last she came up to her, exclaiming : 'Moffett! you are Moffett!' Somewhat startled, she called to Mr. Mills, who understood the Indian language, and he learned that the woman was the repudiated wife of John Moffett, a prisoner among the Indians at Piqua, ' long time ago. The woman said she knew Mrs. Mills from her likeness to her uncle when he was a boy. She said also that she had a son, Wicomichee, a young Indian chief, so called 'because his father left him.'"