Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871



From 1764, for about ten years, no war or rumor of war disturbed the inhabitants of Augusta. They appear to have pursued the even tenor of their way in comparative security. On court days Staunton was doubtless crowded with people. Litigation was brisk; the number of causes tried in the county court exceeded anything known in modern times. Hunting or trapping wolves was one of the most important industries. Every year the court granted certificates for hundreds of wolf heads, and for more or less winter-rotted hemp, for which also the law offered a bounty.

The last hostile inroad by Indians into the Valley occurred, it is said, in 1766.* We mention it because it was the last, although it did not occur in Augusta. A party of eight Indians and a white man crossed Powell’s Fort mountain to the south fork of the Shenandoah river, now Page county. They killed the Rev. John Roads, a Mennonite minister, his wife and three sons. A daughter, named Elizabeth, caught up an infant sister and escaped by hiding first in a barn and then in a field of hemp. Two boys and two girls were taken off as prisoners, but one of the boys and both girls were killed while crossing Powell’s Fort mountain. The other boy returned home after three years. The place where one of the lads was killed while endeavoring to escape is still called Bloody Ford.

At a court martial held by the militia officers of the county April 11, 1766, Lieutenant Michael Bowyer was fined for appearing at the general muster on the 10th without a sword.

From the proceedings of the vestry of Augusta parish, and also from Hening’s Statutes at Large, it appears that in 1752 an act was passed by the Assembly at Williamsburg on the petition of Mr. Jones, the rector, increasing his salary from £50 to £100. This act was repealed by proclamation of the king in 1762, and the rector’s salary stood as before, at £50 a year. But until 1765 payment had been

* We give the date as stated by Kercheval; but feel quite sure that it is not correct. Bouquet concluded a treaty with the Indians in 1764, and it is not probably that the massacre mentioned was perpetrated nearly two years afterwards during a time of peace. Most likely it occurred in August, 1764.

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