A Paper Related To The Factual History Of Daniel Boone


The original account is part of an article by the name of "The Van Bibber Family", by Mrs. M.W. Donnally, printed in the West Virginia Historical Magazine, July 1903. As noted toward the end of the article, this story was told to the author by O.D. Hill, a grandnephew of David Van Bibber, who was a grandson of John Van Bibber through John's son, Mathias Van Bibber. David had told O.D. Hill the stories in 1882.

"Shortly after the Van Bibbers had left their lands in the state of Pennsylvania, and settled in the Kanawha Valley, about 1787, there were still a few bands of marauding Indians, which occasionally gave the settlers some trouble. There were four girls in the Van Bibber family: Chloe, Myrian, Hannah and Margarie, running in age from about six to fourteen years. During one of these hunting excursions, a band of Indians had killed two of Morris children, on Peter's Creek, in what is now Nicholas county, one evening when they had gone for the cows. About the same time, another band of Indians captured and carried off one of the Van Bibber girls. Months after her capture, Captain Van Bibber learned that she was still living, and had been adopted by a band of Indians and was then in the northwestern territory in what is now the state of Oregon. Upon learning of her whereabouts, he went in person on horseback into Oregon, and purchased her freedom by delivering to the Indians a horse-load of furs, and brought her home with him to the Kanawha Valley. On this trip Van Bibber has a personal encounter with a massive Indian, who, after they had exchanged shots, tried to take Van Bibber's gun away from him, and with each man a hold of the gun the Indian was so strong that he could lift Van Bibber up in the air, and he swung over the Indian's head, but with his mighty grip, still hung to the rifle gun, and finally wrenched it from the Indian's grasp. This extremely strong grip is remarkable in the hands of the Van Bibbers to this day, and when a many with Van Bibber blood in his veins shakes hands with you, he invariably displays a sample of what has been known as the "Van Bibber Grip."
During her stay with the Indians this Van Bibber girl had been tattooed on the face by them. She later married either a son or a nephew of Daniel Boone's and they settled at what is now Booneville, in the state of Missouri, which town is now named for them.
And the writer of this article, who is a great grandson of Mathias Van Bibber, who was the son of Captain Van Bibber, has seen a picture of this old Missouri lady about twenty years ago in Kansas City, Missouri. This picture was taken when she was 95 years old; and the tattoo marks were brought out plain in the picture, and looked like great burned scars which extended up and down her face on each side of the nose, and were perhaps three inches long about one-fourth inch wide.
On his trip to Oregon, and return, Captain Van Bibber was gone for 84 days, and since in those days there were no calendars, he whittled out a small piece of laurel root about three inches long and about the size of a pencil, which he whittled our square, and attached it to his shot pouch by tying it there with a buckskin string. On the corner of this stick he cut a notch for each day he was gone. This stick is still attached to the old Van Bibber shot-pouch, which is now in the Department of Archives and History, at the Capitol Building, in the City of Charleston, West Virginia, and can be seen there, together with the old Van Bibber buffalo gun and the Van Bibber razor %u2013 together with the Van Bibber Spinning wheel.

About forty years ago, these articles (objects) were secured from David Van Bibber, who then resided in Nicholas County, West Virginia, by David M. Hill, his nephew, of Belva, West Virginia, a son of Dr. Moses Mann Hill, late of Culpepper County, Virginia, and by O.D. Hill, his grandnephew of Kendalia, West Virginia, who brought these articles from Van Bibber's home in Nicholas County, West Virginia, and delivered them to Dr. John P. Hale, who ws the then representative of the West Virginia Historical Society.

Although the stick which Van Bibber whittled out, upon which to place the notches which kept a record of his time spent on his trip to and from Oregon is more than one hundred years old, the eighty-four notches are still visible on the small piece of wood which Van Bibber had whittled out of a laurel root, and by which he kept a daily record of the number of days it took him to go to Oregon and back in the redemption and reclamation of his daughter, who had been stolen and carried away by this roving band of Indians, and who later married a kinsman of Daniel Boone and established the town of Booneville, Missouri.

In 1882 the information contained in the above articles were verbally given to me in person by my great uncle, David Van Bibber, who was the brother of my grandmother, Mrs. Doctor Moses Mann Hill. He, David Van Bibber, was the son of Mathias Van Bibber and the grandson of Captain John Van Bibber. At the time this information was given to me, he resided in the old Van Bibber home about four miles west of the town of Summerville, in Nicholas County, West Virginia, At that time David Van Bibber was about 90 years old. For a man of his age, he ws in fine physical condition; his mind was alert; his memory of these events was perfectly clear, and these stories as told by him were accurate, clear and convincing; and to me, as a descendant of the Ban Bibber family, were of much personal interest.

George W. Hill, who was a grandson of Mathias Van Bibber, at one time had a part of the uniform which Captain Van Bibber wore when he was an officer of the Army in Holland. It had on it the insignia which showed his official rank and also had the brass buttons containing the seal of the Government of Holland. [End of Account Inserted by O.D. Hill]

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02 May 2007
02 May 2007
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