Before the departure of Dinwiddie, the Earl of Loudoun, commander-in-chief of British forces in America, was commissioned Governor of Virginia, but it is believed he never visited the colony. Francis Fauquier was afterwards appointed, and arrived in June, 1758, the duties of the office being discharged in the meanwhile by John Blair, President of the Council.
It is stated that in the early part of 1758 sixty persons were murdered by Indians in Augusta county, but exactly where or when we are not told.--[Campbell’s History of Virginia, page 500.] Possibly the allusion is to the massacre at Seybert’s fort.*
This fort was in the northern part of the present county of Highland, then Augusta. There the inhabitants of the surrounding country had taken shelter from the Indians. Between thirty and forty persons of both sexes and all ages were in the enclosure. No Indians having yet appeared, a youth named James Dyer and his sister went outside one day for some purpose, and had not proceeded far before they came in view of forth or fifty Shawnees going towards the fort. Hurrying back to provide for their own safety and give the alarm, they were overtaken and captured. The place was incapable of withstanding a vigorous assault, and the garrison was poorly supplied with ammunition. Captain Seybert, therefore, determined to surrender, and did so in spite of the opposition of some of the people. The gate was thrown open, and the money and other stipulated articles were handed over to the Indians. Thereupon, one of the most ruthless tragedies of Indian warfare was perpetrated. The inmates of the fort were arranged in two rows and nearly all of them were tomahawked. A few, spared from caprice or some other cause, were carried off into captivity. Young Dyer was the only captive who ever returned.
He was taken to Logstown, thence to the Muskingum, and thence to Chillocothe, where he remained a prisoner nearly two years. Accompanying the Indians to Fort Pitt, he there concealed himself in a hovel, and after two years more returned home.
* According to the “Preston Register,” Seybert’s fort was captured on April 28, 1758, and 41 persons were taken prisoners.
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Edited Annals of Augusta County,Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 copyright © 2006-2017 by EagleRidge Technologies, Inc..