History of Dunkard Township, Greene County, Pa.
From: History of Greene County, Pennsylvania
By: Samuel P. Bates.
Nelson, Ruchforth & Co., Chicago. 1888.


THE valley of Dunkard Creek, embracing the townships of Dunkard, Monongahela and Perry, was the earliest occupied of any part of Greene County, and was the scene of some of the most exciting events in its history. As early as 1754 Wendell Brown and his two sons and Frederick Waltzer took up their abode in this neighborhood. At about the same time David Tygart and one Files goat a foothold in Tygart's Valley; but the Files family having fallen a prey to Indian savagery, Files himself and the Tygarts left the country. At about this time Dr. Thomas Eckerlin and two brothers made a lodgment' near the mouth of Drunkard Creek, which took its name from the designation of the religion they professed. Whether from a desire to insure themselves greater safety, or a wish to obtain better lands, they removed to what have been known as the Dunkard Bottoms, on Cheat River, West Virginia. They are reported to have applied to the chiefs of the Six Nations in May, 1771, at Logstown; for permission to settle on the Youghiogheny, but were refused. Their supply of ammunition, and other necessaries, having become exhausted, Dr. Eckerlin, with a stock of rich furs, went to Winchester to barter them for the articles which they most needed. On his way back he stopped over night at Fort Pleasant, where he was detained on suspicion of being a spy in collusion with the savages. Asserting his innocence so strongly, he was permitted to go under guard to his home, on condition that he would return with them if his assertions should prove untrue. To his grief and amazement, on arriving at his. home he found his cabin hurried, and his two brothers inhumanly murdered and scalped. His truthfulness was acknowledged by his captors, and, touched with pity, they assisted at the burial. Thous ended, in sadness, the first attempt at permanent settlement in this valley.

In the year 1760 Conrad Sycks emigrated from Germany, and in process of time made his way to what is now Monongahela Township, Greene County, and built a cabin on Rocky Run, some two miles from the mouth of Dunkard Creek, on land now owned by Mathew Green and Daniel Sycks. Here he took to wife Miss Bonnet, a niece of the famous Indian fighter, Lewis Wetzel, and were blessed with a family of ten children, among them Henry and Christina. When Henry had grown to man's estate, Enoch Enix lived a mile north of the Syckses. A half mile westward was Leonard Garrison. Lane Robinson lived to the south of Dunkard Creek, and the Selsors, at Selsor Fort. Swearengen's Fort across the Monongahela was the only real stronghold in the neighborhood. Rumors of hostile savages in the vicinity induced Garrison to move his family to a place of security; but as the Syckses were to remain, Garrison engaged Christina Sycks, then a maiden of ten, to milk his cows. One evening she was reluctant to go to her task, manifesting a presentiment of impending evil; but at the prompting of her mother, bravely went. While driving the cows homeward through the sugar grove she was suddenly overtaken by two stalwart savages, the one hideous in black paint, the other red. The one in black hurled his tomahawk at the innocent girl with deadly aim; but something in the countenance of the maiden touched the heart of the other, and at the opportune instant he dashed the weapon aside, only cutting her tresses, and seizing her in his arms bore her away into captivity.

Not returning, the household was disturbed, and when darkness began to deepen and still she did not come, grasping his rifle the father started for the cabin of Enix for assistance; but the latter seemed unwilling to go until morning. The father, now with distracted mind, started alone, when the neighbor relented, and mounting his horse, joined in the search. As they approached the cabin of Sycks two shots were fired by the lurking foe, and Enix tumbled from his horse mortally wounded. Aroused by the shots, the son, Henry, and a companion, George Selsor, who were in the cabin, were eager to rush out, but were held back by the mother, and the father returning, on the following morning the entire family set out for the strong fort across the Monongahela In their consternation a sleeping infant was forgotten; but the boys turning back soon brought off the treasure. Again these boys returned to reconnoitre and warn' the settlers. At Robinson's the wife with an infant was prevailed on to escape to the fort, which she did, and was saved. But Robinson could not be persuaded to abandon his home. At Fort Selsor, where a number of the settlers had gathered, it was determined to leave all and escape across the river to Fort Swearingen. On the way the dogs became terribly excited, and soon started an Indian from his covert, who dashed away; but tripping, fell. The dogs were upon him, but could not be induced to grapple him, and he finally made his escape; the party reaching the fort without casuality. On returning to the scene of the massacre Enix was found, scalped, and in a dying condition. Robinson was found murdered and scalped, and his body stripped naked. Even the hoop was picked upon which the scalp of Enix had been stretched to dry.

The captive maiden, Christina, was hurried onward, and when tired out her captor would carry her on his shoulders. A piece of a gray colt's leg was given her to eat, which she pretended to do; but she could not bring herself to swallow the unsavory dish. For their next meal a lusty warrior brought in a large fat hog, which he had slit open, and placing himself within the beast, marched in, with its head surmounting his own, and the sides of the hog completely enveloping him. The style of butchering and cooking was still not sufficiently appetizing to tempt her to partake. But on the third day they brought her a nice piece of well cooked wild turkey, and this she devoured with a relish. For twenty two years and six months she was a captive, when, in obedience to treaty engagements, she was released at Detroit and returned. Having lived so long with the savages, she could with difficulty be brought back to civilized customs, being satisfied with her life with the red men, and ever ready to defend them when abused. She lived to a good old age, and was buried near Clarksburg, West Virginia. Captain Enoch Enix, who died a few years since, near Mount Morris, was the babe of four weeks left with the mother on the fatal night when the father was murdered. The only son of Leonard Garrison married Mary Sycks, the babe which was left sleeping in the cradle at the time of the flight of the family, but was rescued by its brother Henry, who subsequently married Barbary Selser, who had been one of the escaping party when the dogs started the lone Indian. She bore him twelve children, and by a second wife he had twelve more. Daniel Sycks, the latest surviving child, through a nephew, Dr. W. Green, of New Geneva, has detailed the above facts which Mr. L. K. Evans has recorded. with particularity in his fourth Centennial article.

Near the intersection of the Morgantown State road and Crooked Run, just across the Virginia line, Martin's Fort was located in the immediate vicinity of the present site of Martin's Church. It was in the midst of a table land of several thousand acres. This is probably one of the earliest tracts. settled in this part of the Monongahela country. Being in the midst of a considerable population, when the Indians became troublesome, it was probably thought necessary to build this fort for mutual protection. Lying near one of the great Indian war paths, the settlement was particularly exposed to savage depredations. One morning in June, 1779, whilst the women were engaged in milking the cows, and the men were weeding the garden patch, and preparing to go to their days work, all unsuspicious of danger, thirteen burly Indians, who had been lying in ambush, suddenly burst upon the settlers, bewildered and helpless, arid mercilessly slaughtering James Stuart, James Smalley and Peter Crouse, and took captive John Shriver and his wife, two sons of Stuart, two sons of Smalley and a son of Crouse.

Lurking about the fort till night fall, they shut up their captives in a neighboring cabin, and placing two of their number on guard, the remainder returned for the purpose of effecting a lodgment in the fort. But the settlers had now strengthened their defences, and the savages despairing of making further captures, disappeared with their victims. It is reported that the first grave ever made in Martin's graveyard was for the body of an Indian, killed in the neighborhood of the fort. There is a tradition that the Indians were accustomed to torture their captives, and the stump of a hickory tree is still visible here to which they lashed their victims in order to practice upon them their devilish arts.

Harrison's Fort was also located on Crooked Run on land now owned by Josiah Ross, in this general neighborhood. This was probably a minor stockade for a single family, or a few neighbors, and was not a common rendezvous, as was Martin's Fort. At the time of a general alarm, in 1782, when the neighbors had gathered at the fort, Thomas Pindall came in, and induced three young men, Harrison, Crawford and Wright to accompany him to his cabin, alleging that there was no danger. In the night the females in the family awakened Mr. Pindall, saying that they were sure they heard a whistle, as of an Indian upon a charger. Pindall endeavored to allay their excitement, and all remained quiet until morning. In the morning while Pindall had gone out to catch his horse, and the three young men were at the spring, a volley was fired by lurking savages, and two of the young men, Crawford and Wright, fell dead. The women, terrified by the report of firearms, sprang out of bed and ran wildly for the fort, but Mrs. Tindall was overtaken, slain and scalped. The others, Mrs. Rachael Pinball and the young man Harrison, made good their escape to the fort.

Drinkard Township in its present reduced territory, is situated in the southeast corner of the county, and is bounded on the north by Greene and Monongahela Townships; on the east by Monongahela Township, and the Monongahela River, which separates it from Fayette County; on the south by Mason and Dixon's line, which separates it from West Virginia, and on the west by Perry and Whiteley Townships. The surface is greatly rolling, the soil fertile, and under a good state of cultivation. Drunkard Creek and its tributaries, and the Monongahela River drain its surface and furnish ample means of waterpower and navigation. From its being early settled the country presents the appearance of greater cultivation than many other parts of the county, the meadows are smooth and carefully seeded, the houses and outbuildings in good state of repair, and the highways kept in excellent condition. The best breeds of cattle, horses, sheep and swine, are reared in great numbers, and abundant crops of corn, wheat rye and oats reward the hand of the diligent. Davistown, in the north central portion of the township, is a thriving village, and being located in the midst of a rich farming population is likely to become a place of considerable importance. Taylortown, or Fairview, situated on Drinkard Creek in the southwestern part of the township, is likewise in the midst of an excellent farming country and bids fair to make substantial growth. The postoffice here is known as Drinkard. It has intercourse with Fayette County by Dilliner's upper and lower ferries. The township is credited in the earliest report under the revised school law with eight schools and 360 pupils. The school directors for the current year are: Isaac Vanvoorhis, President; E. S. Taylor, Secretary; W. Knotts, John Caigy, David Donley, Eli Russell.

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