April 27, 1758: Indian Warriors Attack Pendleton County
On April 27, 1758, Delaware and Shawnee Indian warriors attacked Fort Upper Tract in present Pendleton County. Some accounts state that all 23 settlers in the fort were killed. Others suggest the Indians took some hostages.
The English name of the Indians’ war chief was Killbuck. During the French and Indian War, he led a number of bloody raids against frontier settlements in what is now eastern West Virginia.
The day after his assault on Upper Tract, Killbuck attacked Fort Seybert, nine miles to the east. His warriors intimidated Fort Seybert’s garrison into surrendering—after which, they executed 17 adults and captured 24 women and children, who were forced to return with the Indians to their villages in the Ohio country.
Eventually, most of the captives returned to Pendleton County. Two or more of the smaller children remained with the Indians in Ohio, and at least three others died in the Indian villages.
In 1756, George Washington—who, at age 24, was the highest-ranking officer in the Virginia militia—had ordered the construction of Upper Tract, Seybert, and other forts to protect settlers against this type of Indian attack.