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—you preach so much like old Mr. Lacy used to do—and you look like him in your face—and your voice is like his too." Many of the African race will doubtless appear in the crown of his rejoicing.
In the burying ground of New Providence, in Rockbridge county, Virginia, there is a grave, surpassing in interest all surrounding graves. It is by the side of the resting place of a man among the first in his own generation, and a man amongst men of all generations, long the pastor of the people that worshipped in the neighbouring church. Its inhabitant once walked by his side a cherished one, through life overshadowed by his greatness,—wept over his grave the tears of a widow and mother of orphans,—and now lies, where of all places on earth she chose to lie, by his side,—overshadowing in death, him in whose shade she used to live, and on whom, in true affection, she used to lean for support. His deep, blue, sunken eye, that flashed so fiercely in moments of indignation or anger, always beamed sweetly into her full jet black orbs, that could do nothing but smile or weep. But those smiles and tears charmed equally the savages in the wilderness, and Christian people of Providence.
The way to this grave can never be forgotten till another people, with other hearts than now beat in American bosoms, take possession of this beautiful Valley. The maiden name of this woman was Mary Moore. The melancholy romance of her early days, and the Christian excellence of her mature and closing years, make her memory immortal. The history of the sombre deeds attending the destruction of the retired dwelling of her father,—the murder of him with two brothers and a sister on a fair summer's morning,—the captivity of her mother and herself, with a brother and two sisters and a hired girl,— the murder of the brother and one sister on the way to the wigwam homes of their captors,—the death by fire and torture of her mother and remaining sister,—the rescue of herself and the hired girl, together with a brother? the captive of a former year, and their return to their relatives in Virginia,—combines in one story all the boding events incident to the savage captivity always impending the immigrant families taking possession of the rivers and valleys of Western Virginia. It is given as a sample of many captivities and deaths, by savage hands, of men, women and children, on the frontiers of all the States in North America. The authorities on which the relation of the captivity is founded, are in the hands of the Rev. James Morrison, the son-in-law and successor of the Rev. Samuel Brown, having been collected by him with great perseverance and care.
A certain James Moore, of Scottish ancestry, born in Ireland, emigrated to America with his brother Joseph about the year 1726, and took their residence in Pennsylvania. In about two years Joseph died while in a course of preparation for the gospel ministry. James, some time after his arrival in America, married Jane Walker, also an emigrant from Ireland. Her father John Walker, of Wigton, Scotland, emigrated first to Ireland, became the head of a family of seven children, of which Jane was the fourth, and then, a few years after Mr. Moore, emigrated to Pennsylvania. After his marriage Mr. Moore resided in the Nottingham congregation, for a number of years. His father-in-law, John Walker, having removed, with the rest of the family, to Rockbridge county, Virginia, and settled on a creek which bears the family name, Mr. Moore removed his wife and four children and took his residence with them, and made a part of what was pleasantly called by the neighbours, "the Creek Nation." Here six more children were added to his family, which consisted of five sons and as many daughters. The sixth son, named after himself, was the father of Mary Moore, the wife of Rev. Samuel Brown.
This James Moore, the sixth child of the emigrant James, was married to Martha Poage, by whom he had nine children, five sons and four daughters. His fifth child, and second daughter, he named Mary, after his eldest sister, the wife of Major Stuart who lived near Brownsburg, and the mother of the late Judge Alexander Stuart. After his marriage Mr. Moore resided for some years at a place long known as Newell's Tavern, a few miles south of the Natural Bridge, where his first four children were born, viz. John, James, Jane and Joseph. His cousin, Mr. Samuel Walker, on his return from an excursion to the south-western part of the State, to gather ginseng, gave a glowing account of the beauty and fertility of the valleys, and their supposed great adaptedness to grazing. Mr. Moore, dissatisfied with his location, and thinking some of his connexions were less affectionate to him than became neighbours and relatives, visited the country in company with his cousin, and charmed with its beauty and solitude, resolved to retoove his family to the lonely mountains of Tazewell. Accordingly, in company with an English servant, John Simpson, he sought a valley on the waters of the Blue Stone, a branch of New River, cleared a few acres of land, put up a log cabin; and in the fall of the year 1775 removed his family to their lovely, and ultimately bloody home. His chosen home was App's Valley—so named from Apps (Absalom) Looney, a hunter, supposed to be the first white man who disturbed the solitude, or beheld the beauty of the narrow low grounds luxuriating in the pea vine and sweet myrrh,—extending some ten miles in length, by about forty or fifty rods in breadth, and admirably fitted by its position and production for pasturage. The surrounding, and distant scenery partook both of the grand and beautiful. To Mr. Moore the Valley was enchanting; and being out of the track of the savages in their war incursions eastward, it seemed secure equally from the vexations of the civilized and the savage man.
Mr. Looney, the hunter, built his cabin about a mile lower down the creek; Mr. John Poage took up his residence about two and a half miles above; and a number of cabins were scattered about as convenience or fancy dictated. Mr. Moore's highest expectations in raising stock were realized. Assisted by Simpson he soon became possessor of a hundred head of horses, and a large number of horned cattle, which found pasturage sufficient for both summer and winter, with little aid or care from man. His dream of safety was broken. The wily savages discovered the white man's track, and the white man's cabin west of those Alleghanies they resolved should be an everlasting barrier between their residence in Ohio, to which they had fled, and the hated whites that held the corn fields and hunting grounds, of their fathers and their race, between those great mountains and the Atlantic shores.
To revenge this encroachment on their wished for solitudes, the savages commenced their depredations, and compelled these isolated families, summer after summer, to betake themselves to forts and stockades for mutual defence. On one occasion a number of men being at the house of Mr. John Poage, one of them, on stepping out after night-fall, observed to his companions, that a good look out ought to be kept for Indians that night, for he heard an unusual noise, as of the hooting of owls, which he supposed to be the signal of Indians approaching the house from different quarters. About midnight the house was surrounded by savages; but finding the doors secured and the inmates on the watch, the Indians retired without committing any depredations. One of the party in the house seized a gun, npt his own, unaware that it was double-triggered, pressed the muzzle through the cracks of the cabin against the body of a savage who was slily examining the state of things within, and in his eagerness to discharge the piece broke both the triggers, and the savage escaped. All was stillness both within and without the house; such was the nature of savage warfare. Mr. Poage and most of the families now retired from this advanced position to the more secure neighbourhoods in Rockbridge, Botetourt and Montgomery, while Mr. Moore and a few others remained.
Mr. Moore was a man of courage; he fought bravely in the battle of Guilford; he loved the solitude and sweetness of the Valley, and would not retreat through any fear of the hostile Indians. He feared God, and worshipped him in his family; his wife was devoutly pious, and contented to share his lot. They trained their children in the doctrines and truth of the gospel; to live righteously before God. They trusted in God's providence; and looked to him for protection. Perhaps they tempted him in their boldness and security. Five children were added to his family in this Valley, making the number nine. Of these Mary, the fifth child, was born in the year 1777, and passed the first nine years of her life in alternate solitude and alarms. When seven years old she mourned the sudden disappearance of her second brother, not knowing whether he had gone to captivity or a premature grave by savage hands. On the 7th of September, 1784, James, then fourteen years of age, was sent to Mr. Poage's deserted settlement to procure a horse for the purpose of going to the mill about twelve miles distant through a dreary wilderness. He did not return. The anxious search discovered trails of savages. And in time the hopes that he had hidden in the woods or fled to some distant habitation gave way to the sad conviction that his fate, for life or for death, had been committed to the hands of barbarians. This bereavement grieved, but did not subdue the heart of the father; perils by day and by night lost their power to alarm by their frequency. The children slept in security while their parent resolutely, almost stubbornly, maintained his position in the midst of exposure and loss. After some time a letter was received by the anxious father, from Kentucky, giving him information of his lost son, then supposed to be in or near Detroit. Before any effective steps could be taken for his recovery, another and more mournful scene was acted in App's Valley, on a fair summer's morning, awfully contrasting with the grandeur and beauty of surrounding nature, and the domestic peace and piety of Moore's dwelling.
The morning of the 14th of July, 1786, was the last that dawned upon that dwelling.. The sun went down upon Moore's dead body, the ashes of his cabin and the captivity of his wife. A party of Indians came up Sandy River, crossed over to the head of Clinch, passed near where Tazewell Court House now is, murdered a Mr. Davison and wife and burned their dwelling, and passed on to App's Valley hastily, before any alarm could be given, and lay in ambush for the family of James Moore. A little spur puts out from the mountain, and gradually sloping towards the creek, about three hundred yards before it sinks into the low grounds, ditides; at the extremity of one division stood Moore's house, and near the other the trough at which he was accustomed to salt his horses. At the time of the greatest peril all seemed most secure. It was harvest time; and there were two men assisting Mr. Moore in his harvest. The guns were discharged on the preceding evening, to be re-loaded sometime in the morning. Simpson lay sick in the loft; the men had repaired early to the wheat field, to reap till breakfast time; Mr. Moore was engaged in salting his horses; his wife busied in her domestic concerns; and two of the children at the spring. Suddenly the savage yell was heard, and two parties rushed from their hiding places on the ridge, the one down the slope to the house, and the other towards Mr, Moore. All at the sudden alarm started for the house. Two children, Rebecca and William, were shot dead near the salt block, on their return from the spring; and the third, Alexander, near the house. Mary rushed in, and the door was shut and barred against the approaching savages by Mrs. Moore and Martha Ivans, a member of the family, just in time to prevent their entrance. Mr. Moore finding himself intercepted by the Indians, at the house, ran on through the small lot that surrounded it, and on climbing the fence paused, and turned, and in a moment was pierced with seven bullets. Springing from the fence, he ran a few paces, fell and expired. The two men in the harvest field, seeing the house surrounded by a large company of savages (the party consisting of about thirty) fled, and escaped unharmed. Martha Ivans seized two of the guns and ran up stairs to the sick man, Simpson, calling on him to shoot through the crevices; but the poor man had already received his death wound, in his head, from a bullet aimed from without the house. Two stout dogs defended the door most courageously, till the fiercest was shot. Martha Ivans and Mary Moore secreted themselves under a part of the floor, taking with them the infant Margaret; but the sobbings of the alarmed child forbade concealment. Should Mary place the child upon the floor, and conceal herself?—or should she share its fate? She could not abandon her little sister even in that perilous moment, and left her hiding place and her companion. The Indians were now cutting at the door, and threatening fire. ^Irs. Moore perceiving that her faithful sentinels were silenced, Simpson expiring, and her husband dead, collected her four children, and kneeling down, committed them to God; then rose and unbarred the door.