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Indian Story of Jacob Persinger of VA & His Children & Homestead

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Indian Story of Jacob Persinger of VA & His Children & Homestead

Posted: 1067340227000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Persinger, Fudge, Wright, Carpenter, Rose, Reed/Reid, Callaghan, Clarkston
This story is in "A Centennial History of Alleghany County Virginia". by Oren F. Morton. J.K. Ruebush Co., Dayton, VA. 1923. Reprint Higginson Book Co. Salem, MA.

First, Morton tells the story of the 3 Persinger’s (Christian, Philip & Jacob) that went from Greenbrier Co., VA to Rockingham Co., VA abt. 1751 until they were driven out a few years later (assumed to be brothers).

He separates the Jacob Persinger b. 1748-1749 & captured by the Shawnee from this family as follows:

“Another Jacob Persinger was known as Jacob Jr., to distinguish him from the father of Christopher & Henry. He was not related by blood to the other Persinger’s, and concerning him there is an interesting story.

During the raid of 1756 a boy 6 years of age was carried off from Jackson’s River, Alleghany Co., VA. At one of the Shawnee towns he was adopted by a squaw who two sons of similar age. The Indians were kind to this white captive and punished him only when he presumed-contrary to Indian usage-to assist the squaws in their work. After he grew up, the Shawnees did not ask him to join their war parties against the white people.

After 8 years the boy was given up in the general delivery at the close of the war with Pontiac. No one claiming him, he went back to his foster-mother, who was greatly pleased. At a council called to consider the case, the warriors argued that since the youth voluntarily returned, their obligation had ceased. But as the chief ruled the treaty must be strictly observed, 3 braves returned him to Jackson’s River. He escaped from them and again made his way to the Shawnee village. This time the squaw concealed her adopted son, but at length he was seen by chief, who said he must go to the white people. The youth now concluded that the Indians had forsaken him, and though he came back to the white settlements reluctantly, he made no further attempts to rejoin the people of the forest, for whom he continued to hold a friendly feeling.

It was probably in the battle of Point Pleasant that he was recognized by one of his Indian foster brothers. There was an immediate truce between the two men and a cordial exchange of greetings.

On his third return to Jackson’s River, which was probably a year or more after the first, he was claimed by a Persinger woman, who had lost a boy. Mrs. Persinger was but 4 feet 6 inches tall, while the youth stood at 6 feet 4 inches. Her own son had a scar on the foot from the bite of a rattlesnake. Although the returned captive could exhibit no such mark, she took him to her home, where he lived a while, although he was not placed on the same footing as her own children.

He now became Jacob Persinger, Jr., yet he never believed that he was one of her children. He thought the name of his parents was Godfrey. The Persinger home did not look like the home he recollected, nor were its surroundings the same.

It is not proven who this Persinger woman was, although it is likely she was the widow of Christian Persinger and had continued to live on Jackson’s River. It is not easy to see how the Persinger woman could be the second wife of Jacob Persinger, Sr. because she never lived on the frontier until she accompanied him on his return about 1770. Also, the narrative speaks of her as though she was a widow, and Jacob Persinger Sr. lived until about 1774.

For a while the Indianized youth attended a “Dutch” school and had trouble learning the language. This is another snag in the story. It suggests that Mrs. Persinger’s home was either in Greenbrier or Rockbridge Counties. The early settlers of Alleghany were almost wholly non-German. Be this as it may, the youth was suspicious of the stern discipline then in vogue, and with an eye to possible trouble, he always took his rifle, tomahawk, and hunting knife, whenever he went to the schoolhouse. He afterward attended an English school, but only for 3 months.

At length the young man purchased a survey on Potts Creek, nine miles above Covington, and here he lived until his death in 1841, when he was above 90 years of age. He always took more kindly to hunting and fishing than to farm work, and thought nothing of sleeping outdoors under a tree. But his hunting was profitable. He became a slaveholder and one of the most substantial residents of Alleghany County VA.

In the Dunmore War Jacob served as a scout, and he campaigned 18 months in the Revolution. He then married Mary Kimberlin. When the bride found he had only a little, rough cabin, and that the only bed was two bearskins spread on the floor, she insisted that they live in a more civilized manner. The husband readily complied. He put up a better cabin and at length built as good a farmhouse as there was in the valley.

Jacob Persinger outlived his wife 20 years. Their children were John, Mary, Andrew, Joseph, Alexander, Elizabeth, Martha, Susannah, Nancy, Sarah, Jane, and Granville.

John, a colonel of militia, was unmarried.

Joseph and Alexander went to Missouri, and the latter became a Judge.

Susannah, who married a Reed, and Jane, who married a Karnes went to Tazewell Co., VA.

Mary married Samuel Carpenter, Sr.

Andrew married Elizabeth Stickleman.

Elizabeth (born 1780, died 1846) married Conrad Fudge.

Martha married a Rose.

Nancy married Charles Callaghan.

Sarah married Peter Wright.

Granville married Henry Clarkson.

Soon after the murder of Colonel John Persinger in 1842, the homestead was purchased by Lee Persinger, a son of Moses (son of Christopher, son of Christian)”
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