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1956
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Doors to the Past

History

Copied from Microfilm in the Cabell County, WV
Library:
The Herald-Advertiser,
Huntington, WV,
Sunday morning, January 12, 1930
by Cal F. Young

 Indian Raid on Ritter Park


    More than a score of men, women and children massacred on
Four Pole Creek, Ritter Park, by a band of Black Shoe
Indians, an off-spring of The Shawnee or Mingo Tribe.
    Such a story would circle the globe within a few hours and
be printed in newspapers within a day in more than a score of
languages--as if it had "broken" yesterday, instead of 140
years ago.
    There are evidences of the truth of the slaughter.
    What is stated above is reported to have taken place
about 1790, or early in the 1790's.
    Betty Tackett, a young woman living with her parents at the
junction of the Ohio and Guyan rivers, now Guyandotte, witnessed
the scene of the slaughter before the bodies were disposed of
and frequently related the incident to members of her
family and relatives.  Betty Tackett, as Mrs. Reuben Cremeans, died
in Mason county in 1884 at the age of 118.

 
                 Shop Man Relates Story
 
    A son, Henderson Cremeans, through whom much of the data
relative to the early inhabitants of Huntington, was brought
down to existing relatives, was well known in the Ohio Valley.
His death occurred in 1913 at the age of 115.
    Our information comes through these two persons to Henry
R Bryan, 2344 Ninth Avenue, a night foreman at the Chesapeake
and Ohio shops.  Some of the data Mr Bryan remembers having
heard Mrs.  Reuben Cremeans (Betty Tackett) relate on visits
to the home of his parents in Mason County, to himself and
Henderson Cremeans, and as retold by Henderson Cremeans, to
Henry A Bryan. Of some of the incidents Mr. Bryan is not
certain of the exact date but he is certain as to the
incidents and the approximate dates.
    According to the information thus obtained the first white
settlers in the Huntington section were the Tacketts--Mr and Mrs
Ambrose Tackett, one daughter, Betty and four sons.  They
came from the waters of the Rappahannock in Virginia via the
New River to the Creek just east of St. Albans, now known as
Tackett's Creek.
 
                   Talks With Cornstalk
 
    Here the caravan of ox teams and many hogs encountered Indians,
who showed no disposition to be friendly and the Tacketts
headed down the Kanawha River to Point Pleasant, reaching
there before the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774,
in which Tackett participated against the Shawnees under Cornstalk.
    At this time, Betty Tackett was about eight years old, having
been born in 1766.  Betty was also present at the killing of
Cornstalk in 1777, and was reported to have frequently talked
with the great Indian chieftain, who she greatly admired and
whom she always had been mistreated by the white men.
    Following the battle between Lord Dunmore's forces and the
Shawnees in 1774, and the killing of Cornstalk, the Tacketts
came down the Ohio to the junction of the Guyandotte and Ohio,
and built a home where now Guyandotte is situated.
Trips back and forth between here and Point Pleasant were
numerous.  On one of these trips to Point Pleasant Betty frequently
related, she saw General George Washington.
 
                  Friendly With Indians
 
    As handed down, the early trials of the Tackett family in
what is now Guyandotte, were varied. Tackett counted upon
this section as his future home.  In most instances he and the
scattered Indian bands had few difficulties.  About 1790, it is
related, a band of Red Hawks, with which Cornstalk's son,
Elinipsico, at one time affiliated, were located at what is
now known as Indian - Guyan, opposite the Ohio from Guyandotte.
With this band the elder Tackett and his sons had numerous
and friendly dealings, frequently trading hogs to the
Indians. This tribe is claimed to have been a branch of the
Shawnees.
   At the same time there was also a settlement of Indians on
the hill east of Guyandotte.  Some of the old mounds are still
visible.
    The exact date of the massacre on Four Pole is not definitely
fixed by the data available, but was either in 1790 or
within the next year of two.  Just when this white band settled
on Four Pole and erected their block houses, is also lacking,
except they were not there when the Tacketts reached the
junction of the Guyan and Ohio and the immediate year thereafter.
It is known that the white band had erected a number
of block houses and had taken precautions against an Indian attack.
 
                   White Colony Attacked
 
    These precautions were neglected on a hot summer day and
the double barricades to the houses were left open.
    Apparently watching for an opportunity the Indian band of
Black Shoes swooped down and completely annihilated the white
colony.  Children were picked up and swung about, their brains
being smeared about the trees.  every one of the colony was
either killed or later died from injuries received in the conflict.
It was from the injured that the Tacketts got their story.
    The Tackett family witnessed the scene immediately after
the attack and saw the bodies scattered about the stockade.
Betty and her son, Henderson Cremeans, are reported to have
frequently related.  Henderson's story coming from his father,
mother and uncles.
   In 1797 Betty Tackett married Reuben Cremeans from what is
now Mason County.  She is said to  have been the first white
woman married west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The ceremony
was performed by an army chaplain at Point Pleasant.
    Almost immediately the Cremeans took up their abode near the
junction of Mud river and Lower Creek, about one mile from
the present town of Milton in this county.
 
                  Felled Indian with turnip
 
    In 1820 the family moved to Mason County, locating on Knife Branch
of Guyan Creek.
    Henderson Cremeans, a son of Reuben and Betty, was born
in 1798.  He died in 1913, aged 115 years.  Until a few years before
his death he was very active and frequently visited the
scenes of his parents' early life.
    Like most frontiersmen, Henderson was of a rugged type and
able to give a good account of himself in any kind of an encounter.
While a resident of Mud River Henderson was attacked by three Indians
while gathering turnips.  With a turnip he felled one of the
Indians and sprang on him and soon finished the Indian off.
The others escaped.  These were the last Indians seen in
that community.  This experience was related with a
certain degree of satisfaction
by Henderson.
    Mr Bryan stated that both Betty and her son Henderson,
who was Mr Bryan's uncle, enjoyed relating their early
experiences.  Expecially would the latter enjoy relating
the experiences of his mother as she had related them to him.
 
                Saw Buffalo in River
 
    Among some of the experiences were the activities of the
Buffalo when the family resided at what is now Guyandotte,
She told of having seen droves containing as many as 75
buffalo and swimming the Ohio river at that point. The
only land routes in those days were the Buffalo Trails.  That
is all they had to follow over the Blue Ridge Mountains
into the New and Kanawha River Valleys, and on to the Ohio
they would declare.
    What is now known as Reservoir hill, was named Panther
Knob by the Tacketts  A disturbance among the hogs one night
was found to have been caused by a panther, but that fact
was not definitely known until the next morning when the animal
was found in a tree top where it had been chased by a number of
dogs. The Tackett boys secured one of their flintlocks and killed
the panther.  The animal measured eleven feet from tip to tip.
thereafter the hill was known as Panther Knob...
 

"The facts and dates in this article are not verifiable"
 

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