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Home: Surnames: Renick Family Genealogy Forum

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Robert+Elizabeth Archer, son Joshua, VA
Posted by: Ralph Jenkins Date: March 20, 2000 at 13:30:22
  of 285

This is not my direct line. I have the following information because Elizabeth Archer, wife of Robert Renick, was the niece of Ann Archer m. John Mathews, my 6ggparents. The story here may be useful to Renick researchers who have not seen it. I welcome any additions or connections.

The date of Robert Renick's death, and the capture of his wife and children,is established by Chalkley's Chronicles as 1757. Waddell's doubt is apparently based upon his thinking that George Mathews (born 1739, later first governor of the state of Georgia , cousin of Betsy Archer below) would not have been in an engagement with the Indians at age 18. I know of no reason to think he would NOT have been in the action thus described merely because he was 18.
Jos. A. Waddell, Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871, 2nd ed. 1902, rpt. C. J. Carrier Co., Bridgewater, VA, 1958.
p. 164
Our chief authority for some two years is Withers' "Border Warfare". . .
Withers states that in the summer of 1761 about sixty Shawnee warriors penetrated the settlements on the headwaters of James river. They avoided the fort at the mouth of Looney's creek, and passed through Bowen's gap in Purgatory mountain (near Buchanan, in Botetourt county). Coming to the settlements, they killed Thomas Perry, Joseph Dennis and his child, and made prisoner his wife, Hannah Dennis. Proceeding to the house of Robert Renix [footnote: "properly Renick"] , who was not at home, they captured Mrs. Renix and her five children--William, Robert, Thomas, Joshua and Betsy. At the house of Thomas Smith, they shot and scalped Smith and Renix, and captured Mrs. Smith and a servant girl named Sally Jew. [footnote: "The 'Preston Register' gives the date of the killing of Robert Renick and capture of his wife and children as July 25, 1757. It mentioned the capture of Mrs. Dennis at the same time, but says nothing about the killing of Joseph Dennis and child and of Thomas Smith. The probability is that Withers confused a raid which occurred in 1757, with the one in 1761, in which George Mathews appeared as an actor. Mathews was only 18 years old in 1757."]

George Mathews, of Staunton, and William and Audley Maxwell were on their way to Smith's house at the time of the assault. Hearing the report of the guns as they approached, they supposed there was a shoooting match at the place; but on riding up to the house, they discovered the dead bodies of Smith and Renix lying in the yard. The Indians had concealed themselves in and behind the house when they saw Mathews and his companions approaching, and fired upon them as they wheeled to ride back. The club of Mathews' cue was cut off, and Audley Maxwell was slightly wounded in the arm.

The Indians then divided their party, twenty of them with their prisoners and plunder returning to Ohio, while the remainder started towards Cedar creek to commit further depradations. But Mathews and the Maxwells had aroused the settlement, and all the people soon collected at Paul's Fort, at the Big Spring, near Springfield. Here
p. 165
the women and children were left to be defended by Audley Maxwell and five other men; twenty-one men led by Mathews, going in search of the enemy. The Indians were soon encountered, and, after a severe engagement, took to flight. They were pursued as far as Purgatory creek, but escaped in the night, and overtaking their comrades at the mouth of the Cowpasture river, proceeded to Ohio without further molestation. Three whites (Benjamin Smith, Thomas Maury and the father of Sally Jew) and nine Indians were killed in the engagement. Returning to the battlefield the next morning, Mathews and his men buried the dead Indians on the spot. The whites slain there, and those murdered on the preceding day, were buried near the fork of a branch in what was (in 1831) the Meadow of Thomas Cross, Sen.

Mrs. Dennis was detained by the Indians at Chillicothe towns till 1763, when she made her escape, as will be related. Mrs. Renix remained with the Indians till 1767.

The late Dr. Draper of Wisconsin, in unpublished notes to Withers' Border Warfare, gives some further account of the Renix, or Renick, family. Upon authority of the 'Preston Register,' he states that the date of the captivity was July 25, 1757. He obtained his information from various descendants of Robert Renick, who ws killed, as we have seen. The son Robert, was about eighteen months old, and was carried by his mother the greater part of the way to Chillicothe. His crying, however, irritated the Indians, and they dashed out his brains against a tree. On arriving at the Indian towns on the Sciota, the prisoners were divided among their captors and scattered. Joshua, who was about five years old [footnote: "Joshua was baptized by the Rev. Mr. Craig in 1746, and was therefore at least eleven years old in 1757."], was taken to Piqua, reared in the family of Tecumseh's parents, and after the birth of Tecumseh was the companion of that celebrated Indian and his brother, the Prophet.

Soon after reaching the Indian towns, Mrs. Renick gave birth to a male infant and called his name Robert, after his murdered father and little brother; and in 1867, William Renick of Greenbrier, then seventy-five years of age, son of the child born in captivity, related the family traditions to Dr. Draper.

p. 201
Mrs. Renix [footnote: "So written by Withers and others, but properly Renick"], who was captured on Jackson's river, in 1761 (or 1757,) was not restored to her home till the year 1767. In pursuance of the terms of Boquet's treaty, she was brought to Staunton in the year last mentioned. Her daughter died on the Miami; two of her sons, William and Robert, returned with her; her son, Joshua, remained with the Indians and became a chief of the Miamis. He took an Indian wife, amassed a considerable fortune, and died near Detroit in 1810, according to one account


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