GEORGE YOKUM INTERVIEW

GEORGE YOKUM INTERVIEW

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(From the Draper Papers, Circa 1843)

Stories about GEORGE YOKUM INTERVIEW

YOCUM, HARNESS & STUMP

    George Yocum.
    On the state road to Prestonsburg, 3 1/2 miles from Jeffersonville. Methodist, Born, Dec 3, 1763. "I think mamma said at Harnessí fort or close by." My father was married on Dan River, N.C.  
    My grandfather, Matthias Yocum, Michael Harness, and George Stump, were the first three men that ever brought waggons down to the South Branch. They came by way of Winchester; then up Big-Capon.; Lost River; and to the mountain. Crossing over the mountain, they came to the south fork of the South Branch. Grandfather Yocum settled about a half a mile from the mouth of (the) South Fork.

    Michael Harness moved down on to the main South Branch, 4 miles above the fork, or where now Moorefield is. Had a station there. Jac. Pettit, the Cunninghams, and the Sees were there. Michael Harness ((son?)) went down from his fatherís ??? to Vanmetreís fort, and was shot on the road as he was riding home. The Cunninghams afterwards lived above the Harnessí on the South Branch. What was called Buttermilk Station, was in a flat of land, at ? the conjunction of the south-fork and South Branch. The Coffmans, Hornbacks, and Cutwrights were there. Buttermilk Station had plenty of cattle there.

    Captain Charles Lynch , (three brothers came from Ireland) had a fort 1/2 mile from the fork, or where Moorefield now is. We spent one summer there.

    They had a powerful Battle in what was called the Trough of the South-Branch. From where the upper part of the South Branch ran into the mountain, to where it came again into fertile land, was six or seven miles. The mouth of this Trough (on the upper side,) was just opposite to Colonel Vanmetreís fort; where one Waggoner commanded at this time.

    Thirty-six men had collected and started from Lynchís fort. At the falls of the South-Fork, right were one Moore lives, brother to my Lord Moore, they parted. Eighteen continued on up the south-fork. The other eighteen turned, went back, and came on down to the Trough. As the came, they saw the fires of thirty-six Indians cooking at the mouth of the Trough. The Indians ran to the bushes and the eighteen went right up to the fires when the Indians opened on them. The battle lasted all day and their guns got right hot in the fight. It was about a mile from the Battle-ground to the fort, across a bottom when the men at last found that they would send them no help although in sight. They threw their guns into the River, swam over, and ran through the plantations. When they got to the fort, Waggoner wouldnít open the gates. They had to run up to Lynchís fort and Buttermilk fort (about two miles above ours. They called this part of the South Branch, Holland. Most of the people were Low Dutch, from Holland.)

    George and Leonard Reid, brothers, were killed and Dick Burns, Captain Parsons, and John Harness (son of old M.H.) were wounded. Waggoner afterwards sent for some of the men to come to the fort, when he got them there he had them whipped for calling him a coward.

    Captain Job Welton and one or two Delays were killed on Looneyís Creek, 10 or 15 miles from Moorefield. Four of them, who had gone out to put up hay, staid all night in the meadows, sleeping in the hay. Just before day they were fallen on and killed by about fourteen Indians.

    Lord Fairfax did not leave this country, in the time of the Revolution, and therefore did not forfeit his estates. South Branch belonged to my Lord Fairfax and was never confiscated. He sold for ninety-nine years, but the people bought out the interest from his heirs.

    A company was made up by Colonel Neville, Colonel Abraham Hite (who died at Bear-grass,) and old Major Randall, who bought the lots of the town of Moorefield, and paid the Quit rent of to Conrad Moore, Manor Lord. It was Manor Lands. I was then about six years old. They distributed the lots by lot. I was chosen to draw the lots from a hat, and drew for my father Jacob Yokum, the lot adjoining the Court-House, the best lot in the town. (Mr.Coy? laid out the town.)

    In 1782, I went with a company of men to the Big Meadows to find sliver. We were hired by some men who had discovered an icing-glass hill.

    In the year 1781, I went down with 40 or 50 men under Captain Tiverbaugh, to supply the stations in Tygertís Valley. We passed on our way one Greggís, on Seneca, a branch of the North fork of the South Branch. Two or three days before we came along, while the old man Gregg was out hunting his horses, the Indians came to the house, and shot Greggís weaver at the loom through the window. They then came in a tomahawked Greggís little daughter, that was quilling for him. While this was doing, another daughter (Jesse Greggís sister) and the only other person at home, came in, shut the door, went by the Indian, and stood in the jam, by the fire as if stunned with of fright: When she saw what was doing, she went out again, and ran over to Paul Keeterís (3 Miles) When old Mr. Gregg came towards home, from the back of the plantation and saw the house set on fire, and the Indians with the trenchers out in the yard, eating he hallowed out, cursed them for etc. When they got there from Paul Keeterís the little girl was scalped, and crawling away from the fire. She died in consequence of the heat of the fire before, or by the time she could be gotten to his house. There were but four forts in theValley -- Wilsonís, Westfallís, Cassidyís, and the first I forget. Two days before we got there, within a 1/2 mile of Westfallís we saw them laying the body of Captain Adam Stonemaker. [He] Had on an officerís coat and Maccaroni-hat. In the evening of the day before, they went to Wilsonís fort, and were on their return, when the Indians shot him right in the small of the back, missing his friend, who got into the Westfallís fort, and gave the alarm. His horse gave three jumps before he fell off. We crossed Cheat nine times before we got to Wilsonís and Westfallís. We went in March to Westfallís staid about half the time at Cassidyís and returned back in August. We were not interrupted any after was got to the Stations.

    In March 1783, fourteen men of us, with two Negro boys, started from the Monongahela; some of them surveyors; to lay pre-emptions in the Indian country. Congress had forbid such entries and when we got to Louisville, Martin Elliott and I came up to Harrodsburgh, by McAffeeís station, alone, unhurt. We started on the 1st of March, and I got home on the 25th day of July. Five of us come through the Wilderness together. About a days travel from the Crab-orchard, we met an old man alone, on foot, his head whitened with age. He had left his family in Powellís valley and was on his way to make provisions for them in Kentucky. We gave him (provision) a supply to carry him through.

    On Greenbriar, perhaps, about a mile from some fort was one Bingerman, his wife, her father, and a young man. The Indians got into the house and one of them was endeavoring to tomahawk her father, an old man, that lay in the bed down stairs. Every time he went to strike, Mrs. Bingerman would catch his arm, so that he couldnít effect his purpose; till at last, Bingerman brought him a blow, which killed him, with his shoehammer. The Indians would have him all up on their shoulders, sometimes. He scuffled and fought with them until he had killed seven. The young man staid up stairs all the time of the fight. Mrs. Bingaman was shot through about the nipple of the right breast and out on the same side of the back. Mamma saw a silk handkerchief drawn through her several times to cleanse the wounds. She lived, and was a great hearty woman.

    The last of the seven, that was killed, had started, with 2 or 3 others that had gone off; but when they got onto a Pine? hill in full view, about 300 yards off (in a straight line) This one showed his posterior side and Bingaman fired and killed him.

    After the war closed, Washington made a tour to Western Virginia to see his lands. Returning, he called on Captain Joe Logston, on Difficult Creek, Hardy County. In the morning, when about to start, Washington asked him what was to pay which had like to have insulted Logston; but he got on his horse and rode 30 or 35 miles with Washington to Colonel Abraham Hiteís within five miles of Moorfield. Washington commended him afterwards as a brave man.

    Logston afterwards lived in the edge of the Barren Was riding along near the Lick one day, when two Indian fired on him. The one creased his horse so that he fell. The other took him across the breastbone which in him projected remarkably -- on each side, and just deep enough to graze the skin on the hollow between. Logston fired and shot the little one. The other then made up to him and after a desperate struggle, he succeeded in drawing the blade of the Indianís knife through the hand in which he was just getting it, and running it into him. He now loosed he hold. The little Indian, whose back was broke, stood balancing against a tree and was trying to get an opportunity to shoot. Logston had had a great struggle and was glad to get off. (Besides, in getting his gun, the little Indian might have shot him.) When they came out the next day, the found the little Indian had stabbed himself.

    David Allington was one of us, under David Tiverbaugh to Tygertís Valley, in 1781. His sister it was Nancy Allington, that was taken by the Indians and married and had three children by one. She then left them, and come home. (Had repeated wished to come, before she got off.) When she got here, she refused to go back. The Indian came twice after here, and then went? and made a threat to kill her, for not coming. Some Indian was afterwards killed out upon Licking which was thought to be him.

    Jimmy Youngís wife was taken too at the same time.

    These Cutwrights had a station on Stover? where Hornbackís mill is. Philip Hammond was in the defeated camps on Flat Creek. He, his wife, and their little child, were in the Company. They had undressed and lain down. He sprang, snatched up the child and his gun, and his wife followed after. His money was safe in a belt that was round him. He was moving to this country.

    His pension papers were destroyed, when the Capitol was burned in the late war.

    I waggoned at Bullitís Lick for six or seven years after I came out with my family. I live in Mercer Waggoned at the Lickís every fall till I got a load of salt. Sometimes they would give me two bushels for going out three miles in the night, for one load of woods. I gave $2.00 down there, and would get $4.00 a bushel up here.

    One Casey that worked about Bullitís Lick was caught by the Indians and tied and whipped on top of the knob, right in sight of the Licks. The first or second night, he got away, without being taken over the river. Tullis,? an apprentice to the gun-smithing business, to my cousin Bob Shanklin between Bullitís and Mannís Licks, was taken a little before night, passing from one place to another. It got dark and they passed through a thicket of spice bushes, some being before, and some behind. I just dropped down beside the path till those behind had gotten by, then crept off through the bushes. They presently missed him, and he heard them howl and whistle round, but got in safe that night.

    Two miles from Grantís Station toward Paris, was a widow and six children. The Indians came and knocked. One of the children went to open the door but the mother forbid till they should know who it was. They then began to tomahawk the door. The boys shot through the port holes and killed two Indians. It was a double log-house, and two of the children had gone to bed in the other part of the house. In it there was a parcel of tow. The Indians set the house on fire and their room was filled with smoke so that they awoke and cried down that they couldnít stay there. The family then knew that the house was fire. Part went out at one door and part at another. The old woman was killed crossing the fence. One of the girls was taken prisoner, but being too closely pursued, was tomahawked on the way. Nearly all the Indians were killed. A snow had fallen.

    A little before this, they took a whole team of horses, of on Fisher. One Goodnight, got back about this time. He had been taken at Martinís and Riddleís Station. Saw an Indian taking his horse. Ran after him and hallowed for them to come on as if there were a great many with him till he made so much noise they got frightened and left the horse go.

    In the spring of 1793 sixty of us went in through the wilderness choosing Captain Blueford as our leader. We went to the Crab-Orchard. The night before, they had been out from the fort, and buried thirteen in one grave. McFarlan who was coming to see Enoch Smith, a surveyor at Mt. Sterling, was along. He killed two Indians and a white man that was with them. A wounded man was carried in on a blanket between two horses. Another man that had no gun, snatched up a little girl, and carried her till night and then hid her in a hollow log, telling her to stay there till he came again. He wandered all night and in the morning found himself coming by the same hollow log. He then took out the child, (which in all probability he never would have found) and carried her along till he found his way to the road and then went to the Crab-Orchard.

    Some few days before this a man named Drake, who had taken a woman (his miss?) and a little girl that called her aunt, and was coming along alone through the Wilderness, was fired upon by the Indians. Drake put the woman on her horse three times, but at last let the niece go, or the Indians would have had them all. When the took her, each Indian gave her a broach, one had none and he took a pewter plate they had dropped in the road and made her a rude pewter broach and gave her. And this made eighteen in all. In this way we knew the number of Indians that attacked the company that McFarlan was with. When these Indians made this attack on the Company, they left her behind, and she wandered off and got away on Laurel Creek 12 miles from Raccoon Creek.

    In the attack, the Indians left a little girl about nine or ten years old, at the fire. When they began to kill she run. McFarlan saw itís tracks and hunted for it. She went to Laurel Creek and could get no farther. He wandered up and down the Creek without meeting with it but said he was determined to hunt till he found it. While looking for her, they found another little girl that had been of the Company. It had been carried back on its grey horse so far as Laurel Creek, and there could get no further had to stop and was found. Torrence at the Crab-Orchard, took it home and gave it to his mother, who received it with every mark of affection and took it in to raise. The first little girl (the two spoken of before are the same) had hid in a hollow log, which McFarlen had passed once, but she was too fearful it was Indians to come out, she said when he asked her. When he returned along by where she was, she saw him and came out. She was the larger of the two, and both had been out now five days. We have enumerated all of the Company, that escaped. The woman, called Mrs. Drake, lived down in Fleming.

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