Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week 9: John See, My Patriot

Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about John See, my 4th great-grandfather, whom I was able to prove my lineage to and join The Daughters of the American Revolution under.

John was born 10 October 1757 in Hardy, West Virginia. He was the son of Michael Frederick Zeh and Catherine Vanderpool. Last week I wrote about his father, Michael Frederick Zeh. Today I will tell more of John's story.

John was taken hostage around age six by Shawnee Indians during the Muddy Creek Massacre. (See Week 8: Federick Zeh.) (To learn more on the Muddy Creek Massacre, visit*). 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 his mother feared for his life. Seeing a warrior riding their horse, she indicated to him that she wanted it. When he refused, she picked up a club and attempted to knock him off the horse. 

Catharine See and her children were taken to Old Town and kept there by the Shawnees until there was a treaty and an exchange of prisoners about a year later. A document written by Colonel Henry Bouquet to William Penn, Governor of Pennsylvania, on November 15, 1764, stated all Indian tribes led by Chief Cornstalk had at last agreed to release the prisoners, not only from the incident at the See home but a number of other similar incidents at other family homes on the South Branch.

Catherine and at least some of her children must have been separated during their captivity, because her youngest child, John, was adopted by an Indian family who had lost their son. The couple repeatedly told John that he would be burned alive if retaken by the whites. John became very fond of his new Indian parents, and the year with the Shawnees apparently did much to erase from his mind the memory of his natural family and his former life.

After being released from the Indians the party traveled about nine miles before darkness overtook them, and made camp for the night. Young John made his bed between two of his sisters, but he did not sleep. He lay awake until he was certain everyone else was asleep, then crept out of camp and hurried back to his adopted Indian family.

When the time arrived for the Indians to release their prisoners, all of the See family except the twin, nine-year-old Elizabeth, were freed. Cornstalk would not agree to let her go, but kept her for nine more years during which time his young son took her as his squaw and, according to family tradition, she had an Indian child by him. Later she escaped or was ransomed, because she eventually left the Indians, and married a white man named Peter Shoemaker. 
Here he stayed for some time. One version indicates one year, while another says four years, and yet another source says seven years. (LIST F   BOUQUET to GAGE, March 4, 1765, GAGE  Papers, CLEMENTS Library, University of Michigan.  List of Prisoner's delivered up by the Shawanese  I.) Eventually his uncle, Michael Adam See ransomed his nephew John and took him back to Hampshire County, Virginia where the rest of the See family was then living. Tradition is that John's behavior caused his aunt to throw up her hands in despair during her attempts to civilize him.
Reaching manhood, he fought in and around Greenbrier County in 1775-76 against the Indians. In August 1776, he enlisted in the regular army for a term of one year. He was a dedicated Revolutionary soldier. After he had served his year, he re-enlisted again. This time he began serving three years under Capt. Lapsely in the 12th Regiment of General Scott's troop which was later to join General Washington's army. General George Washington met the forces of the British led by a general named "Howe" who had the Americans far outnumbered. This was known as the famous Battle of Brandywine. During this battle, John See was wounded in the chest. Even though injured, he remained with the troops while recovering. When Washington took his 11,000 men, ragged and tired, to make winter quarters at Valley Forge, John was with him and he and many fellow soldiers remained loyal to Washington in spite of the many hardships. There were only about 1,000 blankets for 11,000 men to keep warm. Half the troops were without shoes, and the supply of food was always scarce. Malnutrition, pneumonia, inadequate clothing, and lack of the medical supplies needed for the wounded killed hundreds of men. John Survived through such difficulties and went on to fight in the "Battle of Germantown" near Philadelphia; he was in the "Battle of Stony Point" near Monmouth, New Jersey; and the last battle he served in, "Battle of Camden." These were very important engagements of the war.
After Canden he was discharged after fighting for five years for his country. Returning from the war, John married Margaret Jarrett. They settled down in Greenbrier County where they began raising their family. They had nine known children. John and Margaret left Virginia going to Indiana in 1814. Where he died is a mystery.A document on file at the War Office Department states that John See of Koscuiski County, Indiana, appointed John Nugen to be his lawful attorney. Pension papers state that he received his last pension payment in January 1837. This is, in most cases, an indication the pensioner has died. A letter to the Henry County Genealogy Association stated he was buried on a farm once his in Henry County, Indiana. 

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