From the "Draper Collection Manuscripts" Vol 12CC225-29

David Crouch Interview c. 1835

Draft: 02-08-96

Special thanks to Linda Cassidy Lewis for sharing her insight and proofing this transcript. The extra effort she provided in assisting with this project is recognized and deeply appreciated. Thank you, Linda. -- dh

David Crouch. About four miles North of Sharpsburg, in the edge of Nicholas. Part, and the fullest part of this statement from his wife, who has the liveliest recollection. Both are blind. His wife, a daughter of old Jonathan Cassidy, that had a station in Tygert's Valley, Virginia.

David was born August 1767, on the heads of the Monongahela in Randolph County, Virginia. He (my father) was one of the first settlers there. Came to Tygert's Valley when I was three years old. Tygert's Valley river is one of the heads of the Monongahela (so that I couldn't understand, , not did he seem to know, where his nativity was.) My father lived in Tygert's Valley, 17 years (i.e. from 1770 to 1787. Seemed to have been born on some other of the water courses and in 1770, when he was three years old, his father moved to Tygert's Valley, where he remained 17 years, til 1787.) We were forted there almost till I was a man grown. In fact the Indians did mischief in the neighbourhood after I left. I came to Kentucky and my father in 1787.

My father lived some years on the South-Branch. Went from there to Carolina. Lived two or three years, say, on the Yadkin, in the same (neighbourhood, ??? didn't say so) section with Boone. Then came back again. He wanted to live on the gun and the range. As soon as the range was gone, he wanted to move. When he came to Kentucky he bought five miles this side of Lexington. The range there was as good as a wheat field. When it gave out, he wouldn't stay. Moved to Bourbon and from there again, in due time, to Ohio, where he died. The troubles on the South Branch with the Indians (there were troubles) were before my recollection. My father said he lent his horse, saddle, and bridle to some man to go against the Indians. The man was killed and the horse and c. [company, i.e. the bridle and saddle] he never got.

We were about fifty miles from the South Branch. We had five mountains to cross in going there, that were so steep, a horse could hardly carry a man over them. Never a waggon could get to the South Branch then and I don't know that they could get to it (from Tygert's Valley) now. There was not a wagon, or wagon rut, in Tygert's Valley.

Once a year my father would send in to the South Branch and get two / three bushels (80 lb. to a bushel) of salt. That would last us a year, packed it over on horses.

There was a way to get into Greenbriar, but that was not much better than the other. (this way to the South Branch.) There were two or three pretty stiff mountains on that way and then South Branch was rich country, settled earlier than Greenbriar. There was but little settlement in Greenbriar and perhaps as late as ours, especially in the back part of Greenbriar.

Mrs. Crouch's father was from the South Branch. Her grandfather and her husband's father (Mr. C's) were from the eastern shore of Maryland to the South Branch. My mother said I was four years old when I left the South Branch. It is the earliest thing I recollect, crying for a little toy my cousin Ashby had. I told him he might as well give it to me for I was going away and he might never see me again, and it had been so. My grandfather Ashby was brother to that Ashby that made early pre-emption settlements in this state (Kentucky).

Most of the people on the South Branch were married by the Squire. Had no preachers? living there. But my mother and father were married by one McCue?, a travelling Presbyterian preacher that came along; only stopped a night or two and then went on to Greenbriar, where he lived. One Scarborough, an old man that went about here, teaching, sometime ago, (don't know what's become of him) said he knew McCue well. I was born 14 January 1767 was married 5 December. Would have been 20 if I had waited till the next January 14th. (Which makes her leaving the South Branch to be in 1771 and her being married, December 5, 1786)(I find she was born in '67 from her saying she was 76, 14th of last January; the only way she kept account of her birth.)

Joseph Redding was the first preacher I ever heard. Used to stop at my fathers. He and sometimes John Taylor. Both travelling. That first sermon was when I was seven or eight years old. I recollect the text. "Behold the axe is laid at the root of the tree." and c.. We had only travelling preachers.

  1. John Warrick's Station was the highest up of any in Tygert's Valley.
  2. David Hadden's was next.
  3. Joseph Crouch's the next. He was my oldest brother, moved from there, here and from here to Ohio and there died. This, my brother Joseph's station, was the nearest to me, (Mr. C?) (where I lived) it was one of the last that was built.
  4. George Westfall's, the son. His father's and his were first two forts, I think, occupied in the country. Mr. C. never lived but in one of the forts, George Westfall's.
  5. Ebenezer Pettiss' (of Petty's) next
  6. John Cassidy's (my wife's father) next
  7. Jacob Westfall's, next the father of George. Old Jacob Westfall afterwards had (not at first though) something of a mill. Sort of tub mill. The first fort ever was there, was old Jacob Westfall's, the father. The first year, first summer, we lived there. And then they began to build other forts.
  8. Colonel Benj. Wilson's, next.
  9. Barker's settlement below Wilson's Station.

The forts were not very far apart, but four or five or six miles apart. There were some ten or twelve forts (Mr. C. said without counting). All the forts were stockaded with bastions for sentry to stand in of nights. Something like 25 or 30 miles I reckon, from one end of our settlement to the other. It was the beautifullest country for wild fruit I ever saw. Had it not been for the fruit and game, that country could not have been settled as it was. Of the fruits - in kind, there were Sarviceberries (growing on a tree as thick as your leg and high as the joice, on a common log house, with a bark resembling that of the (maple; the fruit round and red, but not like the haws.) Whortle-baries, Cranberries (Spread a sheet under the tree and shake down a half a bushel.). Two miles of Cranberry swamp by Westfall's 500 bushels could be gotten there. The first difficulty with the Indians I can recollect of, was the killing of Darby Conolly's family. He was settled out about three miles above Warrick's Station. Was the highest up of any family; up near the head of the river.

I suppose, when we first settled in Tygert's Valley, the Indians were peaceable. This was a year or two, maybe three, before the Battle of the Point. I can just remember it. I think it was the first mischief ever done in our section of the country. When the Indians came into now Greenbriar, they would sometimes come over on to the head of our river, into what is now called Randolph County they join. The Indians killed Conolly and some of his family, though not all. For I remember of the oldest boy being in the fort, with me? and being about my age. His name was David too. I think this was in the Spring. They most always did their mischief in the Spring.

Frank Riffle and William Currans were killed next. They were living in George Westfall's fort. Perhaps next year after this first. They were out at their farms, expect were planting. Late, at near dusk, they started for the Station. The men were before, walking, and were shot. Susan Shavers, a married, daughter of Riffle's and some other woman (only one that was with her) I expect one of her sisters, were the women. They were behind, and were to ride. They heard the guns and just mounted the horses and rode to the fort. The horses galloped and Susan Shaver's horse, as he came galloping along, just jumped over her father. It was so dark, she never saw him, only saw a bulk of something, didn't know what it was. The Indians had stripped the clothes every bit off of him and stretched him right across the road. Both the men had farms.

The third inroad of the Indians was at a time of the Meeting of Commissioners to adjust land claims. This was the first and only Meeting of Commissioners held there. After that they went out to Greenbriar. There was very little difficulty in settling the land claims there; it was not a hard matter to do. They had set a day or two at my father's (David Crouch's father) and were pretty nearly through when a case came up in which they had need of a man in Greenbriar, to prove some fact. They sent off Thomas Lackey as a messenger, after him. As Lackey went, he discovered Indian sign and turned back to alarm the station. This discovery and return happened to be seen by the Indians who waylaid their own sign in ambush. Lackey got back to the station that night, but didn't stay. They went on up to Warrick's fort, ten miles above and next morning the ??? (who were men appointed) of the settlers and had farms for whose safety they were also alarmed and six other men went to examine the sign, about six or seven miles. When they got there the Indians fired on them and killed John Nelson, John McClain, and Joseph?/James? Ralston and shot my brother, Jonathan Crouch, through the arm. This was the last of this.

4. John Alexander and his step-son, Jacob Everman were passing from Hadden's fort to Warrick's fort. The Indians fired on John Anderson and wounded him in three places, and took Jacob Everman prisoner. He was with them ten years and didn't come from them till after we came to Kentucky. His step-father and his mother? when they came to Maysville, a year or so before we did, heard of Jacob Everman by some Indian trader to whom they gave $20.00, it may be, and he got Everman for them.

5. William Leavitt's family, was three-fourths of a mile from Cassidy's Fort, in a clearing. It was the last of March, or the first of April, for they were engaged in clearing. The family had all been out assisting. Mrs. Crouch's father (John Cassidy) had been there all the day before; alone and all the morning alone, making them a plough. The Indians never troubled him, although alone, because they saw his gun beside him. A part of the family, [Mrs. Lurenna Leavitt, her oldest daughter, Jane, a little boy of hers, an illegitimate child, (for she, Jane, was not married), Elizabeth, and Lurenna, second, and third? daughters,] came to the house to get dinner. The family yet in the field were William Leavitt, the father, William Leavitt, the oldest son, James?/Joseph? Leavitt, another son, about fourteen years of age, who had cut his foot so that he could not work, and was employed taking care of two little twin babies, Davy and Tom, his brothers, about nine months old, and then there were further Nathan and Katy, who were younger than Joseph and of course, older than the twins.

When they came to get dinner, Mrs. Crouch's father, (John Cassidy) started for his. They wanted him to stay. He said he could get home in time and declined. John Cassidy got home, my mother (Mrs. C's), sat down some dinner to him, and he had sat down and was eating, when old Mr. Leavitt came running to Cassidy's fort with the alarm that the Indians were there. The men staying out in the field, the Indians had attacked the house, as soon as they saw my father leave. When old Mr. Leavitt saw the Indians at the house, he ran as hard as he could to our Station to give the alarm. Joseph forgot that he was lame (found he could run and didn't think of his hurt) and picked up a child, of the twins, under each arm and followed on after his father. (I suppose Nathan and Katy got to Cassidy's also.) William, the oldest son, took off to another neighbourhood (???) to spread the alarm. (Thus all in the clearing escaped. Was old Mr. Leavitt, Mrs. Crouch's uncle.?) When the Indians came, the old woman ran and got as far as the bars?, when an Indian (one of them) attacked her, while the other Indian pursued after the daughters who had started up a hollow. The old woman told me (Mrs. Crouch. ) there were but two Indians.

The one came up to her. The dog flew at the Indian. Said she couldn't help? but laugh. He turned round with his tomahawk and cursed the dog. She was tomahawked and scalped at the bars?. She fell down and didn't stir. Pretended to be dead. She lived eight days after. Was a most dreadful sight. There were not many that could stand it to stay with her. I went, some when they had seen her couldn't get out of the room. She was sure her daughters had escaped, as she had seen them running and the contrary was never told her. She wanted (Mrs. C. or her mother, her mother I suppose) to take Lurenna, her daughter and keep her till she was married. Had the girls ran towards the fort, instead of up the hollow, they might have escaped. But they ran up to where it was so steep they couldn't get out of the way and the Indians just came up and took them. The Indian had tried to take Jane prisoner, could see where they had dragged her along a thousand yards and she had put her heels down and held back. When he found she wouldn't run he tomahawked her. Her little boy wasn't dead yet when they got there. My Father (Mrs. C's) (and uncle ?)(who was at Mrs. C's father's?). This Indian had knocked its head against a tree, and threw it in a drink-hole that was not far from the bars.

When they brought in the bodies to lay them out, they would jerk round so they couldn't keep them straight. Jane was cut and gashed most awfully. They couldn't get them in coffins and had just to bury them so.

In Barker's settlement lived one Jonathan (they thought it was Jon) Buffington. Nobody was forted up at the time we speak of. All living out, till the season when the Indians would become troublesome; which was almost always in the Spring, just about corn-planting time. Buffington went to the South Branch of the Potomac to get salt and while gone, the Indians came, burnt up his house, and destroyed his family. Whether they were taken captive, whether they were first killed and thrown into the flames, or whether they shut alive in the flames and consumed of them alive, he never learned one particle to enable him to know.

After the burning of the Buffington's house they took one Daugherty and his wife, old people, living alone, prisoners. She was too frail to travel and two Indians staid behind and tomahawked her. They then took her scalp and bringing it along, when they came up, shook it in Daugherty's face. Daugherty lived in Barker's settlement. Did Buffington?

From this they went to Alexander Roney's . (Don't understand this - of the same party of Indians, some divided and went down into Barker's Settlement. First they went down from Buffington's living in some other neighbourhood.) "Barker's Settlement was adjoining to ours, (Mr. Or Mrs. C?) in the direction of the settlement on the west fort of the Monongahela". They shot Alexander Roney down in his yard and then went into his house. The took Mrs. Roney and her boy prisoner. Her face was dirty and smeared over. They told her she was an Indian. No, she said, she was a white woman, and right pretty little woman when she was dressed up. When they tied Daugherty by the fire? for the night, they told him they meant to burn him when they got him over the Ohio (to the towns.) They didn't have to tie Mrs. Roney.

The Indians had to pass over the west fork of the Monongahela to get over into Ohio. About 20 or 25, not over 30 miles to the West fort of the Monongahela, very little settlement between us and them, very little there An express was sent over. Major William Lowther? of that neighbourhood, who raised men and pursued. They came on them in the night. It was in a rainy time. When they found they were in sight of the camp, they turned back about three miles and shot off all their guns in a hollow log and loaded them afresh. They then came again, crept up, and waited till near day break. They crept so near, they could punch them with their guns. Mrs. Roney lay between two Indians, Captain Bull and Captain Johnny. She rose up twice. The little Indian's dog said Whoo-hoo and she would raise up and say there were white people about I really believe. At length they became tired of her disturbing their rest and told her to be still "Bets". This was what Daugherty said and the men were so close they could hear her talk.

It was said that one bullit shot through two Indians and the Roney boy. Shot them all in the head. It was said they killed seventeen and all but one, and that he bled mightily. They tracked him to where he ran up the side of a stout branch, and thought he must have jumped into a deep pond that was there to keep them from getting him. Daugherty called to them not to shoot him, he was a white man. Father said this was later than the Indians had formerly come and he had hoped the would not. Mrs. Roney afterwards lived at Ebenezer Petty's fort. The women there were threatening to drown her for whenever she got a dram, she began to cry about Captain Bull and Captain Johnny, that she lay between that night. The men were going to drown her when she got back, she talked so. Would say she really was sorry for Captain Bull and Captain Johnny. We never pursued the Indians much from our neighbourhood. If they did mischief they could get away and couldn't be tracked and we could never do any good following them. If they had taken horses we could have followed them and I don't recollect of their ever taking any horses from the valley.

Old Jacob Stallnicker [Stalnaker], and Adam, his son, lived in Jacob Westfall's fort. Adam had been to Colonel Ben Wilson's mill and was returning, he and his father. They had gotten their flour and were returning home. The Indians fired and killed Adam. His father escaped on his horse. Old man, I think, said he saw but two Indians. I saw the tree that Adam fell against (the blood was there a long time) and I saw him after he was scalped and nobody ever would have known him. He had been as pretty a man as you would see in a month. But his face was now all sunk away to be not wider than your hand.

John White lived at Jacob Westfall's fort. Killed by the Indians in the neighbourhood of Jacob Westfall's fort. Had married Adam Stallnicker's sister, Katy. Adam helped to dig the grave. John White had gone up to the upper part of the valley on business. Adam Stallnicker helped make a coffin, which they sent up to bring White down in, when he was killed and while it was gone, he helped dig the grave in which White was to be buried. It was in the middle of summer. They found him so black and mortified they couldn't bring him and so brought back the coffin. Not long after, Adam Stallnicker was put in the same coffin and interred in the same grave which himself had prepared.

There were eight or nine families living in Warrick's Station. The Indians attacked that station. They came in the night. Tied up a bundle of splits into a faggots and threw it onto the backshed of Warrick's house. (Kind of back shed that formed a part of the stockading.) The roof was of clap-boards. These will crack in burning and when they got to burning, the cracking waked the inmates. Warrick got a stick and punched a hole and let the bundle fall through. As soon as he saw it, he knew it was Indians. It was tied with a buffaloe or bear tug. He then pushed the other boards loose so that all on fire fell down. (As they could get up in the loft, and throw on water.) A black woman was poked through and told to go and alarm the nearest station. There was a barn about seventy or eighty yards from the fort. The loft was full of grain and below were two horses in it. The Indians next set this on fire. The horses ran round till they broke open the door and got out and so escaped. Warrick had a Negro man that understood shooting very well. He at first wanted to go and open the stable door and let them out. His master wouldn't consent to his meeting the danger. He then watched at the fort gate, through the port holes, and saw an Indian that appeared in the light of the fire and fired. It was not known what harm was done, but no more appeared in the light. This fellow also got up in the loft, when it was first known they were there and seeing it, he cursed and abused them. That was the only time while we lived there that the station was attacked. (I think he said it was attacked a second time after he left there.) John Warrick's oldest son, Captain Jacob Warrick, William Montgomery's son-in-law, was killed at the Battle of Tippacanoe. John Warrick was in the Point Battle and fought from sun up to sun down. Jacob was then a baby and I nursed him while his father was there.

We came to this country from that and old John Warrick together. My wife's father came in the Spring by water and we came by land. My wife, then his oldest child. He had no son then grown. Great part of the old settlers moved out when we did. The swamps were drained by the new settlers and brought it was said, fine corn. Indeed, too, we did not know how to make a living, but mostly as our father had taught us, we lived by hunting. Knew little of farming. (Mrs. C. demurred to this and maintained we had stock and c.) That section was erected in Randolph County while we yet lived there. It was Randolph County while we yet lived there.

By land was the cheapest way to come west. We drove our stock. It was the fall season. We had narry river to ferry at all. Greenbriar and New River were the only rivers we had to cross (of any size.) Did not cost us $5.00 to come. Stock would fall away, travells so far, and only having the range at night. When they went down by water, they had to pack down to Red-Stone. They said there was a fall of 50 feet in the Monongahela somewhere.

We came through Greenbriar and on to Holston and on to Kentucky on its South side. Lexington bore the crack of the best part of Kentucky. Everybody wasn't satisfied till they saw it. We lived a mile this side of Bryan's Station for sometime. I carried my gun half my life, for fear of Indians, and never saw a wild one.

Saw 17 prisoners Ben Logan had taken the year I came. I went over to Danville to buy some salt. There was a blanket hung up at the door of the fort house where they were. I lifted up the blanket, the house was full, and looked in - they never turned their heads to see me, but kept them another way.

John Cassidy (Mrs. Crouch's father) was the first prison at Morgan's Station after the attack. He had a station on Licking at that time. Cam to Morgan's Station in the night.

Harp? of truth in it, McEl??? sketches that I could witness old David Morgan, brother of Gen. Morgan, lived on the west fork of Monongahela, not only about 30 miles from us. Was 70 years old at this time. Was in an encounter with two Indians. He killed one, then in a scuffle, with the other, he got the Indian's finger in his mouth. Indian had gotten his knife out and had thought to kill Morgan with it. Morgan at length got it out of the Indian's hand and ran it into him, handle and all. He then flayed the Indian and tanned his hide. Was ever after called Savage Morgan. My brother, Jonathan Crouch, saw a razor strap that had been made out of that hide.

Mr. Crouch had a sister that married a Ryan. That sister's son, living in Mercer married into a family of Runyons. Runyons lived on this side of the Kentucky River, between there and Lexington. The whole family (of the Runyons?) joined the Shakers, and younger Ryan's wife thought she must go too. She left twins lying in the cradle and went. This brought Ryan into conflict with one, whom he beats himself severely. Another one, that came to his house, he beat nearly to death. The man thought to go to the law but the magistrate advised him to keep away and let Ryan alone. For the more minute details in this account I am indebted to Mrs. Crouch. Little things are erased from men's minds, while they are retained by women.)

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