Tucker/Cunningham Family


Ordeal of Phoebe Tucker Cunningham

Glen D Lough's History of Marion County As Told by my Great-Great Grandmother (Leah Hardman Beall Granddaughter of Phoebe) Jack B. Berthy Dec.1997

Grandma(Phoebe) and the children were eating dinner when the shadow of an Indian tomahawk fell across the threshold. Grandpa had gone to Pittsburgh to buy need things was expected home and grandma had set place at the table for him. Grandma and Grandpa were both born in 1761 and were married at 19 years old by a minister Haymond at Pricketts Fort in 1780. Henry was 4, Lidia3,Walter2, and Thomas was 6 months when killed by the Indians.

At first Grandpa and Grandma settled on Ten Mile Creek, but later moved to land on Bingamon Creek where Thomas' brother, Edward and his family then lived. Edwards wife was Sarah Price. The day the Indians came Grandma, 24 years old, a tiny women and always very charming had washed a beautiful red and white coverlet and put it on the fence to dry. The Indians came up from the woods and crouched behind the coverlet. Signs told they had been there for two or three hours watching. One of the savages, a tall,very fat one,painted for war,all red and yellow and black crossed the yard and entered the cabin at noon time.On the table were bear meat,new potatoes,fresh peas,apple sause, a fresh baked vinegar pie and sweet milk. The Indian went to the table and fingered a potato saying " Do week dah" which is potato in Wyandotte tongue, and popped it into his mouth. He then ate the pie and drank all the milk. Afterward he went to the window that opened next to Edward's house wich was 60 feet away. It was then that Edward looking out the window saw him and told Sarah to get his rifle. A moment later the Indian fired at Edward and Edward fire back but with no harm done. The Indian then asked how many were in Edward's house and Phoebe held up her hands and the Indian said " aug. sigh". Later when a captive Phoebe learned this was ten. The Indian ate another potato, then pulled the tick off the beds and set them afire causing a think smoke. When the house was filled with smoke he jerked Grandma out of her chair and shoved her across the room. At that moment another Indian ran from the woods into the yard. Edward shot him and he crawled off under the fence into the woods. The Indian in the house watched until his companion was out of sight, then drove his tomahawk into 2 year old Walter's head and took the little brown haired fellow's scalp. The Indian then led her from the house with the baby in her arms and Henry and Lydia hanging onto her skirts. She and the children were hidden from Edward's view because of all of the smoke. Grandma and the children were taken into the woods where there were the wounded Indian as well as others. Henry and Lydia were murdered and Grandma and little Tommy were taken off.

The wounded savage was carried on a rough litter and they all departed crossing the ridge to Binghamton Creek where they found a cave where Phoebe and the baby were concealed for shelter. Grandma said she and the baby were taken over the hill to a large over-hanging rock where the Indians had heaped up brush and logs and made a den. Here they were for four days until the wounded Indian died. On the fifth day they were taken from the den and the journey to the far west of the of the Ohio river began. On the ninth day little Tommy was chopped to death and left in the open for the wolves.

Grandma was taken to the territory which later became Madison County, Ohio to Wyandotte village where the chief was a kindly Indian called "Darby". Big Darby Creek was about 20 miles west of what is now Columbus, Ohio. She was not treated badly after she became acquainted with the Indians and their white captives, some of whom became her friends. Three years later a conference preparatory to a treaty between the whites and the Indians was pending, when one evening she noticed a unusual commotion in the village and learned that the great Simon Girty occasioned it. She determined to as him to interced for her release and on the following day, seeing him passing by on horseback, she went to him and lay hand on his stirup and implored his interference in her behalf. He recieved her release, made provisions for her ransom, and had her conveyed to the commissioners who negotiated the treaty.

During the autumn of 1788 she was taken to the great Indian conference at the foot of the Maumee rapids and while here, Captain Girty brought the case before the British agent( Alexander McKee) who furnished the trinkets for the ransom, and she was set free. From there she went to Kentucky with two gentlemen who came to the conference in quest of their captive children. After much difficulty she reached the home of Edward in Harrison County and found that her husband Thomas, on hearing of her release, had gone in quest of her. She was depressed by the disappointment of not meeting him and by the danger and peril that attended his every footstep. But in a few days her husband, hearing that she was home, returned and with unspeakable joy, clasped to his bosum again his long lost wife.

Though the remberence of the tragic fate of their children shadowed the joy of their reunion, time alleviated their sorrow and seven more fortunate children came to bless their home. From these children are decended no small percent of of the present population of Ritchie and Marion Counties. Thomas and Phoebe settled in now Ritchie County 1807. Thomas died there on the homestead in 1826. He was the first Methodist Minister in Ritchie County. Phoebe spent her last years in Calhoun County (Freed) with her daughter, Mrs Issac Collins ( Rachel Cunningham). Phoebe died in 1845. She is buried at the Gainer-Shimer Cemetery on Leading Creek Road in Calhoun County. The D.A.R has erected a monument in her honor. Thomas is buried on the Barker Farm, on Fonzo Road near Smithville, Wv--- submitted by Capt. Jack

There is a book on Marion Co. History called " Long ago and far away" witten by Glen D. Lough that you may want to see if you can get your hands on. We (the family) believe that this "Phoebe" story is the most accurate of a bunch of articles written on her, because my Great Grandmother was the narrator and she and Phoebe were very close. I am told by the experts that Glen G. Lough's data is always very accurate. Dorthy Beall Moffett of Clarksburg ( a genealogy expert on the Beall Family) has asked that I pass this information on to you. She is past President of the Harrison County Historical Society .....Jack


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