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Fort Ashby in the Youghiogheny Glades page 11

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One may infer that the blood-thirsty Indians who were after the scalp of John Ashby who had foiled them a few years earlier, and they now decided that this was one way of getting even with him. There were many instances in pioneer history where white women were taken prisoners and forced to adopt an Indian tribe. Who the women were is not stated. The writer holds that Sarah was one of them. Somewhere prior to 1781 the Ashby family returned to Fort Ashby in the Youghiogheny glades and remained in that neighborhood for the rest of their lives.

In 1948 Arthur (Bud) Ashby, age ninety, a great grandson of the pioneer, related to the author the following story as told by his grandfather, William Williams: "When William Walton Ashby and his wife, Sarah, lived in the Ashby fort at the present village of Gortner, they also had a cabin and a farm about three miles away. To this cabin Ashby, his wife, and two children went one morning. When the parents worked at the cabin William, a boy of ten, and his older sister, Winnyford, cleared a turnip patch—the boy digging out the hazel bushes, and his sister piling them in small heaps for burning. About noon the parents went to look for the children. When they sighted them they saw two Shawnee Indians making a dash for the little ones. The father ran toward the children and urged them to make for the fort as fast as they could. He then took deliberate aim and shot and killed one of the savages. The other Indian grappled with him, but after a fierce hand-to hand fight, William dispatched the Indian with his hunting knife. These red men were scouts, and a few days later the entire band attacked Fort Ashby. A bloody battle, lasting for hours, resulted in a heavy loss of life for the enemy." In June of 1962 the writer visited this site, with young Hershberger. Together they stood on the charming banks of Cherry Creek, and viewed the Fort site o'er.

Fourteen years earlier, along the Monongahela River, between what is now Morgantown and Fairmont, a similar incident took place when David Morgan rescued his children from Indians. Fifteen years earlier (1778) on Snowy Creek, between Crellin and Terra Alta, a Mr. Brain and a son were killed, and two sons of a Mr. Powell were captured. One was stripped naked, had a tomahawk sunk into his head and a spear rammed through his body. The third son of Powell escaped and ran eight miles east to Fort Ashby. A party of men equipped themselves and went immediately to the scene of action; however, the Indians had departed.

In June of 1962 Iret Ashby and the author visited this site on Snowy Creek, near Corinth. More than 50 years earlier the writer had walked east eight miles, all the way from Snowy Creek to the site of Fort Ashby, and traversed much of the route taken by Powell in 1778.


Rev. J. C. Breuninger

Summer 1963

Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Editor: Felix G. Robinson

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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