Lake Shawnee history and Clay Massacre - Pt. 1
wanting The service business of is now O. more create did* other in read have both were days made be many whole page in stated, time, contains Yesterday And Today-Mercer County Raided By Shawnees By SHIRLEY DONNELLY As one passes Shawnee Lake In Mercer County from Beckley to Princeton he will see a West Virginia Historic Marker reading as follows: "Mitchell Clay* Here Mitchell Clay settled in 1775. Eight years later Indians killed two of his children and captured his son, Ezektel. Pursuers killed several of the In- dains but the boy was taken into Ohio and burned at the' stake/' For sheer excitement and thrilling adventure, p i n s bloody tragedy, few things that have occurred :in the territory of present West Virginia surpass this Mercer county massacre. The Mood- curdling story will constitute today's offering. Â· * * AS READERS possibly know, Shawneee Lake is an artificial creation. It lies five or six miles noth of Princeton as one heads t o w a r d Beckley. Mountain springs pour their waters into Shawneee Lake long a rendec* vous for picnickers* Per close to two hundred years this little mountain valley has been known as Clver Bottom. Bluestone River flows through Clover Bottom on the way to New River* This is the same river which gives its name to Bluestone Dam near Hinton. Clover Bottom was first the property of John Draper, pioneer Indian fighter on the Virginia frontier. As payment for his service In wars against the French and their Indian allies, Lord Dunmore. English Governor of Virginia, gave John Draper this rich and fertile land. At the time the land was given Draper by the Royal Governor it was a wilderness without white inhabit- ants. Upshot of the whole matter was that John Draper did not care to move to his land, and traded it off. Â· Â· * SINCE THE GRANT had not been fully completed when it was decreed to be given to John Draper, he had it assigned direct* ly to Mitchell Clay. In the swap, Mitchell Clay gave John Draper B Nerro woman and her child for die 800 acre tract. In 1775 Mitchell Clay moved his family from Franklin County, Va., to his newly acquired property. Overlooking his fine bottom land, Mitchell Clay built a log cabin for himself and family. Once when some of us were at Shawneee Lake some years ago, the remains of the flagstone chimney were still in evidence. Too, there were some apple trees, gnarled and knotted and dying, which Mitchell Clay had set. Mitchell Clay's nearest neighbor was Andrew Culbertson who had a frontier fort in Crumps Bottom in Summers Count) of our day. Â· t Â· MITCHELL CLAY'S father and Henry Clay were brothers* That made Mitchell Clay the nephew of The Great Peacemaker from Kentucky. Mitchell Clay married Miss Phoeba Belcher in 1760. She was Â· native of Franklin County, Va. They set about rearing one of the largest Â· families on the frontier. They had the following sons: Mitchell, Henry, Charles, William, David, BarUeyandEze- klel. Daughters in this same noted pioneer family were: Rebecca, Pauline, Sallie, Obedience, Nannie, Mary, and Tibitha* It is said that these girls were among the most beautiful and attractive on the frontier. Mitchell Clay was the first white settler in Mercer County. In a forth coming article the members of the family will dealt with because the members of the Mitchell Clay family their descendants number some of the most notable persons Virginia has ever had. One of them was Judge E. Johnson whose work on "Middle New River Settlements" is a must in every library West Virginia. Judge Johnson was a descendant of Rebecca Clay, daughter of Mitchell Clay. Â· * * IN AUGUST, 1783, Mitchell Clay told Bardey and Ezekiel, to go down in the bottom Shawneee Lake now is, and fences around the stacks of so that the cattle could graze the stubblefield. It was the time Mitchell Clay was to the two alive. While the boys were building the fences Clay took his rifle and went up Bluestone River hunt. He was on the lookout deer. While Ezekiel and Hartley Clay were fencing the wheat stacks, Tabttha Clay and some the younger girls had gone to river to put out the family washing. In those days die of Bluestone were dear as crystal. e t Â· EZEKTEL end Bartley Clay had just about finished the around the wheat stacks when report of a rifle was heard. Bartley Clay fell dead. One a band of Shawnee Indians--hence Swawnee Lake of our day and age -- had fired the shot that killed the lad. Exekicl Clay captured by the marauding savages. Tabitha Clay left the family wash and dashed to the scene and tangled with the Indian had raced to scalp his victim. Tomorrow, the fight between Tabitha Clay and the Sbawnee savage.