Elizabeth Archer Renick

Elizabeth Archer, daughter of Rebecca Thompson and Sampson Archer, married Robert Renick in 1741. Elizabeth had come from northern Ireland in 1737 with her family, which took up claim to 1,000 acres near Natural Bridge. Her husband had settled in Augusta County, VA in 1740. They lived in what was then the frontier, along what is now the WV/VA border, near Lewisburg, WV.

On July 25, 1757, a band of about 60 Shawnee Indians stole past the fort which was near the Renicks' wilderness home. They made captives of Elizabeth and her children Joshua, William, Betsy, Margaret, Nancy, Thomas, and Robert. Elizabeth was pregnant at the time. They went on to a neighboring house where Mr. Renick and another person were visiting, and killed and scalped the men in view of the children. They then embarked on a long journey to the Miami Indian town in Ohio. Along the way, the incessant crying of little Robert, an infant, resulted in an Indian killing the baby by striking him against a tree.

The children and Mrs. Renick were seperated and divided up among their captors. They were in captivity until October,1764, when Col. Henry Bouquet led an expedition which crippled the tribes in that area and demanded a hostage release. Elizabeth and the female children were released with a total of 88 captives, though it was 1765 before she and her daughters reached Staunton, VA (near their homestead). Her sons followed home within a year. Elizabeth had to contend with children that did not know her who had adopted Indian ways and who feared leaving the tribe.

The child that Elizabeth had been carrying was born in captivity, and was named Robert after both his dead father and brother. Joshua Renick later returned to the Miamis, where he became a leader of a small tribe. William Renick, Joshua's younger brother, became a soldier and spent his life fighting the Indians. William Renick served in an expedition that resulted in the Battle of Point Pleasant, where the Shawnee leader "Cornstalk" was killed, ending forever the strength of the Shawnees and assuring their inevitable submission. Elizabeth lived out her natural lifespan near the area where her home had been attacked. There was at one time a roadside historic marker at this spot, which has apparently been removed due to interstate highway expansion.

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