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18th Century

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470 hits since 13 Sep 2019
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2019 10:03 p.m. PST

"Elsewhere in this volume will be found chapters dealing with Indian wars in general, as they affected the state. The present chapter will be devoted to depredations which took place within the limits of Hampshire county, or near its borders. No tribe of Indians occupied and claimed this part of West Virginia when it first became known to white people; but large and small parties of the aborigines frequently occupied it temporarily, and no doubt sometimes remained for a considerable time. Indians from Pennsylvania on the north, North Carolina on the south and Ohio on the west often hunted along the South branch and over the neighboring mountains, and also in the valley of Virginia. And in time of war Indians from these same localities made incursions into Hampshire and adjacent sections, often murdering many people. These war parties usually came from Ohio and western Pennsylvania. A complete record of their murders does not exist, but a conservative estimate of the number of persons killed by the savages in Hampshire county from 1754 to 1765 would reach one hundred, and in addition to these, many were carried into captivity and never returned. There is no lack of evidence that the valley of the South branch was once the. home of Indians. Their numerous graves attest this fact. Flint arrowheads in abundance were formerly found, usually on ridges overlooking the valley, and in the vicinity of springs where villages were probably located. Excavations in the graves a century ago. occasionally revealed bones or entire skeletons in a tolerable state of preservation. This was proof that no great time had passed since occupants of the graves had been laid to their final rest. Under favorable circumstances a skeleton may lie in a grave one hundred years, or probably longer, without total decay. There are accounts of skeletons and bones of giants dug from some of these graves, but these stories should be accepted with caution. That there have been giants in the world is well known, but authentic history records no race of giants. Individual Indians may have been abnormally large, the same as individuals of other nations, but doubts may well be entertained whether so many of them existed in the vicinity of the Potomac as old stories relate. It is said that a jawbone was plowed up near Moorefield which would pass over the outside of a common man's lower jaw; that it contained eight jaw teeth on either side, and that they sat transversely in their sockets. A bone of that size would have belonged to a man eight or nine feet high. That there were eight jawteeth on either side may safely be set down as a mistake. Another jawbone of enormous size is recorded as having been discovered near Martinsburg. The skeleton of a giant is said to have been dug up near the Shannondale springs. On Flint run, in Shenandoah county, the thigh bone of a giant is among the discoveries claimed. It was three feet long. This would indicate that the owner, in life, was fully nine feet high. The catalogue of large bones might be continued almost indefinitely, but they do not deserve a place in history because of the element of exaggeration attending their description…"
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