Friday, November 25, 2011

Stewarts - Part 4 - Capture and Escape

Stewarts, Washington, and General Braddock’s Defeat
(A historical story in 7 little parts)
By David L. Green

Capture and escape 

James Stewart is first mentioned in the county records when a road was commissioned to be built from “Stuarts Run” to Carters Mill on the Calfpasture River.
James served in the Virginia militia under Captain Dickenson and saw service during the Indian wars. I haven’t found much information concerning his military career as most accounts jump right to the unfortunate story of his tragic death.
In September of 1757 James and his son were captured by Indians. Several others who were also working outside an unguarded fort were also killed or taken captive. Most reports say they were Pawnee, but it is more likely that the Indians in question were from the Shawnee nation (Shawnee) as the Pawnee (Pawnee People) were located much further west.
The story goes that James Sr. was burned at the stake and his son was made to watch his father die. I cannot imagine a worse fate for either of these men.
The good news is that James the younger, 18 years old at the time; escaped from the Indians later that year and returned to his family. Details of the escape are sketchy and how young James found his way back to the Cowpasture is not detailed. However it is recorded that young James is at the settling of James Sr.’s will - his children were allowed to choose guardians to live with thereafter. (Mai, 1996)
James’s brother, Robert, went on to serve with George Washington at Braddock’s defeat at Fort Duquesne.

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