Monday, September 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Michael Frederick Zeh

M, b. circa 1710, d. 15 July 1763

Catherine Vanderpool
F, b. circa 1725
Last week I posted information on John See. Tonight I'll tell you a little bit about his parents, Michael Fredeick Zeh and Catherine Vanderpool, my fifth great-grandparents.

Little is known of this family until about 1749, when the Sees set out to view the land of the south branch of the Potomac. It is said soon after this territory was open for settlement Frederick, perhaps with his father, journeyed there. He is thought to have made the entire trip on foot which is a distance of 500 miles round trip. In 1750 this family of Sees journeyed to Virginia to the Kanawha Valley, the land opened up for settlement. Listings of Greenbrier District of county settlers show Frederick See had 480 acres on May 1, 1751. His nephew Felty Yokeham also had 480 acres near him at this same time. Five months later George See is listed with 368 acres, John See with 250 acres. Other See families who came, settled in different counties nearby which later formed into one county. 

In 1755 many settlers retreated from their Greenbrier settlement due to the English-French war going on around. It is believed Frederick See with his family remained and continued to raise their family of seven children. If there were other children born to this couple, which of course is possible, they are not known. In this time stillborns were common and seldom named. In 1761 those settlers who had retreated returned to find their peace short-lived. For in 1763 the Indians broke out in war and terrorized the Kanawha Valley. It is believed the Indians approached the See home under a guise of friendship. After being kindly entertained by Frederick See, their home was attacked. Frederick See, his son-in-law Greenberry Roach, and his nephew Felty Yokeham were massacred by Indians on July 15, 1763. 

The women and children of these and other victims of this massacre were taken prisoners. Leaving the dead where they were slain, the Indians began marching their prisoners back to their camp. On the way to Oldstown, in Ohio, these women and children who were unable to keep up were killed. The first born child of Margaret (See) Roach, a boy, was killed in a most brutal fashion after being snatched from her breast. Accounts related by James Olson, also told by a descendant, was that Frederick See's children held up for two to three days. The smallest, John, was quite weak and Catherine feared for his life. Seeing a warrior riding their horse, Catherine indicated to him that she wanted it. When he refused, she picked up a club and attempted to knock him off the horse. About to kill her, the amused Indians prevented the warrior from doing so, calling her a "fighting squaw." Once they reached the Indian campgrounds in what is now Ross County, Ohio, it is said the Shawnee had a celebration. The women were forced to sing for them, and Catherine was called upon to run the gauntlet. Grabbing a stick she began making whirling moves swinging the stick which pleased all the warriors greatly. Captives now for several months, soon cold weather was upon them. There was not enough room inside for all the prisoners, and was crowded by old Indian squaws they shared a tent with. A child of Catherine's, a son, had to sleep outside with the dogs to keep warm. One day the warriors went off hunting leaving Catherine in charge of all the old Indian squaws sitting around the campfire. One had a fainting spell, falling into the fire. Catherine let her fall, thus making room for her children in the tent, a bravery which helped her family to survive, intact. 

A document written by Colonel Henry Bouquet to William Penn, Governor of Pennsylvania, on November 15, 1764, stated all Indian tribes lead by Chief Cornstalk had at least agreed to release the prisoners. The 150 prisoners were to be handed to troops who would send them to the fort at Carlish, Pennsylvania, where they would be provided with the necessities of life until all were claimed. Records indicate a total of 206 captives were released from November 1764 and 1765. The three sons of Frederick See were taken to Ft. Pitt, Virginia. However, the youngest, John, escaped the first night of his release, rejoining his captors. John See spent several more months with his captors until his Uncle Adam could again secure his release. Tradition is that John's behavior caused his aunt to throw her hands up in despair during her attempts to civilize him. 

Frederick See's widow is thought to have remarried, but nothing has been found to indicate she did or who to. Her whereabouts were unknown. The massacre on Muddy Creek in 1763 completely destroyed one of Greenbriers' first settlements. Yet in spite of such terrifying occurrences the brave pioneers continued to fight for the foothold they had gained in the wilderness. A stone marker in a field on a hill marks the site of the massacre. Frederick See's name, spelled "Sea" is listed. The graves of the victims may still be seen in what is known as the McKee burying ground. In 1772 a lone man, Samuel McKinney, built his cabin near this tragic spot. Others soon followed and two years later there were enough settlers to warrant the building of Fort Arbuckle on Muddy Creek for their protection. Muddy Creek, and its companion Mill Creek, which joins it at Blakkers mill seemed to have appealed to the pioneers. Perhaps a chief reason being their suitability as grist mill sites. Though most mills are long gone, several early houses are still existing. One was an early settler, Jacob Hockmans. He was not the original patentee but purchased the 365 acres of land on the west side of the creek in 1794 from GEORGE SEE who was the son of Frederick, for 5 shillings currency money of Virginia, to them hand-paid. This tract of land joined the lands of Peter Shoemaker and John Wilson, including the survey made in1751 for Frederick See, one of the few recorded victims of the massacre which occured on his land. The house on this land is on a carefully selected site on a high hill which gives a distant view. One of the best of the earliest stone buildings in appearance and preservation. The house is barely noticeable because of its inaccessible spot. It was believed to have been built in the 1790s, probably by the Sees who owned the land from 1751-1794. Linda M. Nixon, "The Ellison Tribe," pp. 293-94. Michael FrederickZeh was also known as Frederick See. Michael was born circa 1710. He was the son of George Ludwig Zeh and Margaret Tschudi. He married Catherine Vanderpool circa 1744. Michael died on 15 July 1763.

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