Clendenin Massacre

Extract From Narrative by Captain John Stuart

After Peace was confirmed between England and France, in the year 1761, the Indians commenced Hostilities in 1763, when all the Inhabitants residing in Greenbrier were totally cut off by a Party of Indians, headed by the Cornstalk Warrior. The chief Settlements were on Muddy Creek. Those Indians, in number about sixty, introduced themselves into the People's Houses under a Mask of Friendship, and every Civilty was offered them by the People, providing victuals and Accommodations for their Entertainment, when on a sudden they Killed the Men and made Prisoners of the Women and Children. From thence they passed over into the levels, where some Families were collected at the house of Archibald Clendinen (where the honorable Ballard Smith now lives). There were between fifty and one hundred persons, men, women and children, there. The Indians were entertained, as at Muddy Creek, in the most hospitable manner. Clendinen having just arrived from a Hunt with three fat Elks, they were plentifully feasted. In the Mean Time, an old Woman with a sore Leg was showing her Distress to an Indian, and inquiring if he could administer to her Relief, he said: "I think I can," and drawing a Tomahawk, instantly killed her, and almost all the Men that were in the House. Conrad Youcam only escaped by being some Distance from the House. When the outcries of the Women and Children alarmed him, he fled to Jackson's River, alarmed the People, who were unwilling to believe him, until the Approach of the Indians convinced them. The People all fled before them, and they pursued on to Carr's Creek in Rockbridge County, where many Families were killed and taken by them. At Clendinden's a Scene of much Cruelty was performed, and a Negro Woman, who was endeavoring to escape, killed her own Child, that was pursuing her and crying, lest that she might be discovered by its cries. Mrs. Clendinen did not fail to abuse the Indians with Terms of Reproach, 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. The Prisoners were all taken over to Muddy Creek, and a party of the Indians retained them there till the Return of the others from Carr's Creek, when the whole were taken off together. On the Day they started from the Foot of Keeney's Knob, going over the mountains, Mrs. Clendinen gave her infant Child to a Prisoner Woman to carry, as the Prisoners were in the Centre of the Line, with the Indians in Front and Rear, and she escaped into a Thicket, and concealed herself till they all passed by. The Cries of the Child soon made the Indians inquire for the mother, who was missing, and one of them said: "I will soon bring the Cow to her Calf," & taking the Child by the Heels, he beat out its Brains against a Tree, and throwing it down in the Path, all marched over it, until its Guts were tramped out with the Horses. She told me that She returned that Night in the Dark to her own House, a distance of more than ten miles, and covered her Husband's Corpse with Rails, which lay in the yard where he was killed in endeavoring to escape over a Fence with one of his Children in his Arms; and then She went into a Corn Field, where great Fear came upon her, and She imagined She saw a man standing by her within a few steps.

Exploration, Settlement and Conflict (1600-1799)