Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Biscuits & Gravy & Remembering

by RODNEY ICE c. 1996

I would walk all the way
To Barbour County
For the taste of
A no-bake cookie
And I'd savor it
As my finest wish

I would crawl on
My grumbling belly
For biscuits
And sausage gravy
I'd prop my elbows
On the table by my dish

I would drive till the sun
Has lost it's glow
For a square skillet of
Fried potatoes
And I'd be glad
To have made the ride

I'd run from Cleveland
To Elkins
For a slab
Of homemade bread
And still be hungry
For coffee and pie


I like the city.
I don't know my neighbor
But I know my friends at work
And the people at church
And I see people I know
At the supermarket
And some I do not know
But see them all the time

I do like to think of the
Old days and old ways, but
I have a job and a family
And I can run down to the
Corner market and buy
Most any thing I need

There are doctors and
Drug stores - pharmacies
A hospital with all the latest
Things, very up-to-date
Mom and Dad will have to
Come here some day

The hills are beautiful, but
They need what we have
In the city
The city is beautiful
In its own way
And it is home
To me


A motorcycle came up the road, the sound echoing among the trees. The sun was just coming up. Mom was in the kitchen getting things ready to mix up a big pan of biscuits.

The motorcycle turned in the driveway and parked under the pine tree.

Dad looked out the window. "It's Rod," he said. He went to the door. Mom followed.

"Rod!" Mom said. She gave him a big hug. "It's so good to see you! Jamie didn't come?"

"She had to work this weekend. I have to be back Sunday night. That's life for us."

"Dad!" Rod said, and gave him a big hug.

Rod took off his helmet and leather jacket and dropped them on the couch.

"I took off just as soon as the shift ended. There's sure a lot of big trucks on the road at night. But I made good time. I was sure happy to see that Barbour County sign!"

"Come in the kitchen," Mom said. "I'm just getting things ready to bake biscuits. The coffee's done. I'll give you a cup."

Dad and Rod watched as Mom poured flour and other things into the mixing bowl. She mixed it all with her hands, then took the dough out and put it on some waxed paper. She patted it down and began cutting out the biscuits with a glass turned upside down. She arranged the biscuits on the baking sheet and popped them in the oven.

"I made the sausage gravy last night," Mom said. "And I have potatoes frying in the skillet. We were expecting you to get here early this morning."

"I see you still have that funny square iron skillet," Rod said. "I got one myself now. Found it down in Cumberland, Tennessee, in one of those Old Time Stores. You always had the best fried potatoes and I thought it was that square skillet that made them so good."

"How're things up in Cleveland," Dad asked. "Is work still good up there?"

"Still is. McDee's fast food is starting people out at $6.50 an hour. That's how good. I wish I could live down here. But I can't give up the money I make. Especially since we have a house to pay for now."

"You sure couldn't get money like that here," Mom said.

"And anyhow it gives you an excuse to get out and ride!" Dad said. "I remember how much I liked to get out and ride the roads on my Iron Mustang."

"I sure like coming down here! I still love the hills and rocks and all that beauty. You can't see much at night, but I like to think about it as I come down the road."

"I used to ride at night when I could see better," Dad said. "It was beautiful at night and there wasn't so much traffic. I didn't mind the big trucks. I just didn't argue the right of way with them. And they didn't poke along either. It sure made for good traveling."

"I remember some other things," said Rod. "Didn't you get us kids up one morning about 3 a.m. and start for the Farm at Columbus."

"When we lived at Owingsville, Kentucky. We had that Corvair Greenbriar Van. You kids would lay down on a mattress over the motor, which was in the back of the van. You must have slept most of the way."

"It was good and warm. The hum of the motor was so peaceful. And the sun would be coming up when we got to the Farm. Grandma and Granddaddy would be just getting up."

"Those were good days! It's been a while. Must be thirty years?"

"The biscuits are ready," Mom said. "I'll get it all on the table just as quick as I can."

Mom set a big bowl of fried potatoes on the table. Then she gave Rod three biscuits on a plate, and set the bowl of gravy near him. She gave Dad two, then took two for herself, and sat down.

Dad led the prayer. "Heavenly Father, we're so glad you sent Jesus into our world. We're so happy Rod came down today and that You gave him a safe trip. Bless this food and bless all of us. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Rod spooned gravy over his biscuits, then put a few shots of Tobasco © on them. "My, that's good eating! It sure makes me happy to get down here to get some home cooking! Jamie isn't a biscuit baker. I don't ask her to bake any. I use frozen biscuits sometimes. But Rebecca is almost as good as you Mom. You taught her well."

Mom smiled. "There's still more coffee. And pie! Mary Edith gave me a big bag of those Transparent Apples. They make the best pies."

"How's your writing coming along?" Dad asked.

"I keep getting rejection slips. But I did get a letter from Easyrider ©. The editor said he liked what I wrote, but it needed stretched to about 4,000 words. I wrote it up and sent it back quickly."

"You're getting up there!" Dad said. Easyrider © pays some serious money for stories. If you get in with them, you've got it made!"

"Things have really worked out for me since I went to Ohio. I wasn't too happy at first. But I've worked at this job twelve years now. The Supermarket has changed hands twice. But I'm still there. For now, at least. I suppose I will be transferred. This store is to close soon. But they have others all around the Cleveland area."

Dad sighed. "That's the city for you. But there are jobs! Maybe some day when they have paved over all of Ohio they will come back and farm these hills again."

"Tourism must be doing things. I saw an ad on TV about Canaan Valley or something. And West Virginia is going to run steam trains again to give rides to tourists! I remember Cass Railroad some years ago when Jamie and I were down here. We rode the short tour to Whittacre Station."

"We rode all the way to the top one time," Dad said. "That was interesting. They had the long trip on WNPB-TV once. I recorded it and it is in the office somewhere. It is a beautiful view of the mountains."

"I wish you were back up in northern Ohio so you would be close to us. But then again, I'm glad I get to come down here to visit. We all like to come back to West Virginia."

"We may come back," Dad said. "We think about what we would do if I couldn't drive and get around. A city bus is mighty handy. I found that out when we were in Ithaca, New York, before I had my cataract surgery."

"You always have a home with one of us, Rod said. We all love you and Mom!
[I wrote this as my son, Rodney, would write.] RDI

R. D. Ice c. 1998
Something in a hill child dies
When taken to level land.
Maybe it's how you think
About things, about the past.
I grew up in the north.
Gotta have a job,
Gotta eat and pay bills.
But somtimes I come back to
See that Covered Bridge
Mom's biscuits and gravy
Eat beans and corn bread
And sauerkraut
Hear Dad's guitar, and tales
About the Old Days.
But home is Lake Erie too
My family is there
My children tell different tales
But we are Family
Stretching back to ancient days
Trying to remember
Soaking up the feeling
Of what might have been.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Frederick Ice - Some History


FREDERICK ICE, The Father of the Ice Family.

Frederick Ice was the first Ancestor of the Ice Family in America. He was born about 1680 in Holland, Prussia or Russia (probably East Friesland in the northwest corner of Germany). Frederick's name was never Iceler, for a signature on an Indenture dated Jan. 30th, 1791, which was a release or sale to Robert Kile of Hampshire County lands owned by Frederick, by purchase from Lord Fairfax, Aug.12, 1761, was Frederick Iaac and Nelley Iaac; Adam Iaac; Hinson Bright and Michael Cain were the witnesses to this sale - of old land on the drains of Patterson Creek in Hampshire County. The deed of release of the Hampshire County land can be found in the Deed Book No.8, page 178, Hampshire County, and the Lord Fairfax Deed to Frederick Iaac can be found in the State Land Office, Northern Neck, Book K, page 311. Another deed of release was made of more land in that county March 19, 1764. This was to Robert Gregg.

Sometime about 1700, Frederick Iaac (now Ice], sailed from Holland to America. Probably he was single, young, and ready for adventure and opportunity, which this new country promised. Nothing much is known of Frederick's early life in this country; where he lived, when and to whom he married.

The following story of Frederick was written by Virginia Hall Conaway, his great, great granddaughter, having been told to her by her Grandmother, Elizabeth Ice Hall, who had visited her father, Andrew Ice, in the State of Indiana in the year 1848. Andrew, at that time, was 90 years old!

"Grandmother Hall told me that her grandfather, Frederick Ice, said that the settlement on the South Branch of the Potomac was doing well. They had cleared ground enough to raise plenty for them to eat, and with the abundance of game and fish that abounded in that country, the pioneer was satisfied. In the year 1745, they had a remarkably good crop. After living at this place for several years, he and several of the men went to the mill. They had a long distance to go. Probably to Winchester, Virginia, which at that time was the center of trade for northeastern Virginia. When they returned to the settlement, they found that the Mohawk Indians had raided it, and killed or taken prisoners the inhabitants, burned the homes, destroyed the crops, and driven off the livestock."

According to the Family Bible of Frederick Ice, (now in possession of Mrs. Patricia Gohring family, as she has now passed away, Toledo, Ohio), his four children by his first wife were William, Mary, Christena and John. Frederick's wife was supposed to have been killed by the Indians, and the children carried away, except for John, who may have been with his father, or able to escape at the time of the Indian raid. The men of nearby settlements gathered in force to pursue the Indians, but the Indians got beyond the safety line with their prisoners and booty before the white men could overtake them.

According to the traditional story handed down through the Ice Family, the two daughters of Frederick Ice were carried into Ohio and adopted by an Indian Chief. Mary is supposed to have married a son of the Chief, and became the mother of the famous Chief Tecumseh. The son William is supposed to have been raised for over five years by the Indians before he escaped and came back to his father. Also, Mrs. Marindo Ice Middleton says her Grandfather, Oliver Perry Ice, told her that when he was only four years old, Mary, who had lived with the Indians, came back to visit her people, and he remembered the big feast which the relatives made for her. They wanted her to stay there, but she would not. He said she was very old. This was in 1825, as Oliver Perry Ice was born in 1821. Tecumseh was born in 1768. Virginia Conaway says the Indian raid was in 1745. Mary was between 5 and 10. William (Indian Billy) was 10, so she would be 28 - 33 when Tecmseh was born, and between 85 and 90 when she returned home for a visit. He always insisted she was very old.

Quoting again from Virginia Conaway's book, "Ice's Ferry," Andrew Ice said: "My father, Frederick Ice, had a good learning, and could read and write five or six different languages. He was educated in Germany, but did not teach his own sons to read or write. Daddy always had a good crop raised. He got some men to help him, and we boys hunted and fished most of the time. Father never paid any attention to us. He would ask us sometimes how we were off for powder and lead. I do not remember when we came to the Ferry. There were several families living there, who had their houses close together. When the men went out into the woods to work, they took the women and children along, as well as their guns. Daddy never let the women and children out of his sight, because he had lost his family once. The Ferry settlement was never troubled by the Indians. There were a good many men, and they all stayed close together for a good many years. Daddy always had plenty. He had salt, leather, powder and lead. We had good clothes for that day, which consisted of pants made from tanned deer hide, or knee breeches of the same, with silver buckles, a woolen hunting shirt, a long coat, belted at the waist, and a large fur cap."

"After losing his first family, Frederick Ice married Eleanor Liviston (or Livingstone), a widow with a daughter, Mary Jane. The first child of this marriage was Andrew Ice, born Oct.16, 1757, and died 1858: Magdalene, born Feb. 16, 1760, and died young: Frederick, born July 9, 1762, and died before Feb. 29, 1788, as he was not mentioned in his father's will: Abram, born Nov. 7, 1765, and died 1790. The family moved to Ice's Ferry, Monongahela County, Virginia [now W.Va.]. David Adam was born Aug. 5, 1767, and died July 5, 1851. David Adam was said to be the first white child born west of the Allegheny Mountains, in what is now West Virginia."

"When we lived at the Ferry, our houses were of logs; a double chimney; glass windows; and boards sawed at a saw mill for partitions and doors. There were men at the Ferry who could split as straight a slab as the old mill could saw. The houses all had puncheon floors, split out of logs with an ax, and fastened to the sleepers with wooden pins."

"At Ice's Ferry we had apples and peaches in plenty. There was a good deal of cleared land, which belonged to Frederick Ice. He had good fences and was better fixed to live than when we boys married and moved on Buffalo Creek, but we had taken up land for ourselves, and wanted to work it. Father and mother did not want us to come to Buffalo Creek at all. They said we were leaving as good a home as there was in America, and were worse than the Prodigal Son, who spent his father's substance in riotous living, but we (William, Andrew, Abram and Adam) disdained our father's Heritage and concluded to hew out a living for ourselves."

"Frederick Ice bought of the Indians, four 200 acre tracts of land, paying $15.00 for each tract for his four sons, William, Andrew, Abram, and Adam. This land consisted of ground from Barrackville to Barnesville, and a part of the Dakota mines."

"William is buried in the Ice cemetery, and Abram in the Baptist Cemetery at Barrackville. Andrew is buried at Mount Summit, Indiana, and Adam is buried on the Old Ice Farm a mile below Barrackville, W.Va. Part of this original land is still owned by some of the Ice Family connections. In fact all the Churches and cemeteries were deeded by some of the Ice's for that purpose."

"An account of the death of Frederick Ice, found in Myer’s History of West
Virginia, Vol. 2, page 481, from the autobiography of Rev. Harry Smith, written about 1794, says: 'During the summer I saw a man, said to be 113 years old, ride to meeting on a horse, led by his son, himself an old man. He was a German (Hollander) , known by the name of "Daddy Ice" throughout all the country; I visited him in his last sickness and found his intellect had not failed. as much as might be expected. I preached at his funeral, and it was a solemn time, attended by his children, then old gray headed people, and his grandchildren and great grandchildren."

So ends the history of Frederick Ice; his grave is on his island in Cheat River at Ice's Ferry, but it now is covered by the waters of Cheat Lake, since the damming of the river covered the island with water.

George Washington at Ice's Ferry
[Copied from George Washington's Diaries, Vol. 11, pages 304 & 305]

General Washington spent the night of Sept.24, 1784 at the home of Col. Phillips, about 16 miles from Beacontown, near the mouth of the Cheat River. The entry for the next day follows.

"Sept.25, 1784: "___ set out before sunrise. Within 3 miles, I came to the Cheat River, abt. 7 miles from it's mouth. At a ferry kept by one, Ice, of whom making inquiry, I learnt that he himself had passed from Dunker 's Bottom, both in canoes, and with Rafts. That a new canoe, which I saw at his landing had come down the day before only, (the owner had gone to Sandy Creek), that the first rapid was about 1½ miles above his Ferry; that it might be between 50 and 100 yards through it, that from this to the next might be a mile of good water; that these two rapids were much alike, and of the same extent; that to the next rapid, which was the worse of the three, it was about 5 miles of smooth water; that the difficulty of passing these rapids lies more in the number of large Rocks which Choak the River and occasion the water, not only (there being also a greater dissent here than elsewhere) to run swift, but meandering thro' them, renders steering dangerous by sudden turnings; that from this ferry to the Dunker's Bottom, along the River, is about 15 miles; and his opinion, there is room on one side or the other of at each of the rapids for a Canal. This account being given from the Man's own observation, who seemed to have no other meaning in what asserted than to tell the truth. Though he, like others, who for want of competent skill in these things could not distinguish between real and imaginary difficulties, left no doubt in my mind of the practicability of opening an easy passage by Water to the Dunker’s Bottom. The river at his house may be a hundred or more yards wide; according to his account (which I believe is rather large.) near a hundred Miles by water to Fort Pitt."

"The Road from Morgan Town or Monongahela Ct. House is said to be good at this Ferry - distance abt. 6 miles - the dissent of the hill to the river is rather steep and bad - and the assent from it, on the north side is steep also, though short, and may be rendered much better from the ferry, the Laurel Hill is assendibly an easy, almost imperceptible slope to it's summit thro' dry white Oak Land - along the top of it the Road continues some distance, but is not so good, as the soil is richer, deeper and more stony, which inconveniences (For good Roads) also attends the dissent on the East side, tho' it is regular and in places, steep. After crossing this hill, the road is very good to the Ford of Sandy Creek at one, James Spurgeons, about 15 miles from Ice's Ferry. From Spurgeons to one, Lemons is reckoned 9 miles. From Lemons to the entrance of the Youhigany Glades is estimated 9 miles more, thro' a deep, rich soil. At the entrance of the above glades, I lodged this night (Sept. 25th) with no other shelter or cover than my cloak, and was unlucky enough to have a heavy shower of rain." [Note: It is evident that Washington visited Ice's Ferry in the forenoon of Sept.25, 1784, and that he did not spend the night there since he says he spent the night in the open 33 miles from the ferry.)


"In the name of God amen, the Twenty-ninth of February, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, in the County of Monogalia. Being in great age, weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be unto God, therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die - do make and ordain my last will and testament, that is to say, principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul unto God that gave it, and for my body, I recommend it to the earth, to be buried in a Christian-like, decent manner. At the declaration of my executors, nothing doubting, at the General Resurrection, I shall receive the same by the mighty power of God and as touching my worldly Estates, wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give divided of the same in the following manner and form:

In prime, it is my will and good order that in the first place, that all my debts, including funeral charges, be paid. I give and bequeath unto Ellen, my dearly beloved wife, all the moveables in the dwelling house, cows and hogs, during her life, and then to dispose of them to whom she pleases. Also, the third of the plantation at the Ferry during her life time, and then to fall unto my son, Andrew, wholly at her death. I give to my son Abraham and my son Adam a tract of land on Buffalo Greek, also to William, to be equally divided between them. I further give my son Adam the Roan Mare Colt. I further give unto my grandson, Jessey, a horse and one hundred acres of land, the one half to my son Andrew is to be the expense of purchasing for Jessey for land, and I do ordain Francis Warman Esq., John Mansey Simeon to be Sole Executors of this my last Will and Testament and I do hereby utterly dismiss every other testaments, Wills and legacies and executors by me in any ways before this time, named, willed and bequeathed.

Notifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament, In witness I have here unto set my hand and Seal and year within written.

Signed Sealed, published, pronounced and declared
By Frederick Ice, his last Will and Testament in the
performance of us the Subscribers
Wm. Norris
James Wilke
Frederick * Ice (seal)

Thomas Ice, Sr., (1-2-6-1) born 1/11/1808 died 1/24/1896. married 11/17/1831 to Sarah E. Watson, who was born 10/17/1807 and died 4/15/1900. Both were born in W.Va. and died in Kansas, and are buried in Clinton, KS. They had been married in W.Va., and lived in Marion County, not far from Farmington. Later they bought one of the farms allowed to Abraham (Thomas' Dad) when Indian Billy's deeds were set aside by court order. This farm was located on East Run, some distance east of Mannington. In 1853 Thomas sold the farm to his sister Ruth and her husband, George Watson. The 1860 Census of Barbour County lists Thomas, Sarah, Ruth, Thomas Jr., John and Levina, as living near Philippi. Also in the County at that time was their oldest son, George W. Ice, and Mary as well as their son John, one year old. Another son, Daniel and family, and a daughter Mary, and her husband Oliver Wilson, and family of five children., Thomas, Egbert, Alva, Sarah, and Leeato. Some of the early battles of the Civil War were fought near where Thomas lived, and companies of soldiers, from both sides, were constantly passing through their property. The soldiers would leave worn out horses and take fresh ones, take whatever food stuff they could find, and so on. Because of this constant turmoil everyone was looked upon with suspicion. Thomas was accused by the Northern Forces of harboring rebel soldiers, and taken forcibly on a march toward Richmond. The soldiers decided on the way that he was guilty, so they would hang him, and not have to go to Richmond. A rope was placed around his neck, and he was being pulled up to a tree, when some rebel soldiers, happened by, and dispersed the Yanks, freeing Thomas and saving him from hanging. Afraid to go home, he hid out in the hills under an overhanging rock ledge, or outcropping. According to some of his great grandchildren living in the area, he wintered there, food being taken to him by his wife and son Thomas Jr. Union Soldiers tried to get Thomas Jr. to tell them where his father was, and even held a knife to his throat, threatening him if he didn't tell them. He bore the scars of cuts on his throat, and his Dad the burn of the rope the rest of their lives. But the Yanks did not get Thomas Jr. to tell.

Thomas Sr. had the Bible to read during his time hiding out, and is said to have memorized it so that often times in later life he was known to have corrected anyone, including ministers, when it was misquoted. The Author visited the hideout in 1968 and found it to be less than a quarter of a mile from Thomas Sr’s home, which was on the road traveled by the armies of both sides at that time. Because he couldn't go home he took his family and went further into Southern Territory, to near Hightown, Highland County, Virginia, to live until after the War was over. They settled on a farm in Crab Bottom, and were neighbors of a family by the name of Folks. The men of the Folks family were gone, being in service of the Confederate Army. Thomas Jr. helped the Folks family with their farm chores, and Eliza Folks, a daughter in the family, was later to become his wife.

After the Civil War, Thomas Sr. and his family moved back to Barbour County, W.Va., and lived in Barker Township near Belington. His son Daniel also was living near and had several children. The 1870 Census listed Martha, Martin, Samuel, Laverna, and Sarah. The Census also listed Sarah Ice, and a hired man, Nicholas Vandwenter, and a Rebecca Ice, age 17, who was apparently Thomas' sister. Thomas was listed in Taylor County, where he had purchased a Grist Mill on Little Sandy Creek near Eby, W.Va. Thomas sold the mill in 1886, and moved to Kansas in 1890 to live with his son Thomas Jr. on the farm in Douglas County, where Thomas Jr. had previously moved from Highland Co., VA. Thomas and his wife Sarah lived with his son Thomas Jr. until their deaths, some six to ten years later, attending church services held sometimes in the homes, or in the schoolhouse nearby. The Ice family, always one to help out, always took in the minister, who came from Topeka. One, a Rev. Alex Reed, on a particular Kansas blizzard day, was found by Thomas Jr. between Topeka and the home, with horse going in circles. Thus Tom saved him from death. The Bible of Thomas Ice Sr. was held these many years and at this writing in 1967 is still in the hands of his granddaughter, Dr. Sallie Ice Mebius, living in Denver, CO.

Thomas Ice Jr. (1-2-6-1-7) was a small man, about five feet tall, and in his later years probably weighing only about 120 lbs. He wore a large chin beard which in later years was cut to a goatee that was white. He chewed tobacco a great part of his life but when between 75 and 80 years old he decided he had the will power to quit, and did. Eliza was quite a bit larger in person than her husband, being about five and a half feet tall, and in her later years probably about 150 to 180 lbs. Thomas Jr. and Eliza had ten children, one of whom died at birth and was buried on the farm near Stull.

Some information came from A History of Barbour County by Hu Maxwell.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Frederick Ice chapter 1

This is the rough draft of a historical novel about Frederick Ice. He was a real person, my ancestor. I have used what history I have, and filled in with my imagination. The Reverend Harry Smith actually wrote in his diary. And also George Washington wrote in his diary. The Battle of Galudoghson also is historical fact. I have used names where I had them, and filled in the rest. It is fiction, but as historically accurate as I could make it be. Frederick signed his name as "Iaac" on some papers. Probably pronounced as "Yahtz" (since is Dutch) and began signing as "Ice" which was sometimes misread as "Jice." Other variants were "Iecye" and "Icyce" and some think "Ten' Eyck." Dates are impossible to accurately pin down. Everybody has an opinion. His first wife was probably Mary Margaret Galloway. His second wife was Eleanor Livingston (Leviston?). Frederick's farm at Morgantown WV, where his children ran Ice's Ferry, lies under the waters of Cheat Lake. Again, this is historical fiction based on the traditions of my family.
R. D. ICE © 1996

Rhoderick D. Ice

I shouted and screamed to high heaven when I saw her lying in a pool of blood! Mary Margaret, my beloved wife, murdered by a war party of Mohawk Indians. Three of my children kidnapped. This was something I could not forgive nor forget. It is forever burned into my memory.

My life changed when those Mohawk Indians raided my home in 1745. It was a common enough story and it happened many times on the frontier. But it was different when it happened to me. I helped organize a militia right after that, and we determined never to let such a thing happen again. That is, we tried to prevent it happening. We fought against the bad Indians, and the good Indians helped us. But the bloody French were always agitating. Maybe you know all about that.

As I look back over the years, this is my story. I think my memory is still good. I have used names and places as you might best understand now. Yet of course a lot of time passed before there was a Pittsburgh or a Steubenville. I was born about 1680 as I remember being told. It was in the Northwestern corner of Germany, in an area called East Friesland. That made me a Hollander, yet the area was cut off from Holland when separation was enforced on my ancestors. We were people who had lost our country. My lifetime has now spanned more than a century. I wrote my Last Will And Testament in 1788. And I'm not dead yet.

Let me speak here. I am Reverend Harry Smith. During the summer of 1793 I saw a man said to be 113 years old, ride to meeting on a horse led by his son, who was himself an old man. He was a German (Hollander) known by the name of "Daddy Ice", throughout the country. I visited him during his last sickness and found his intellect had not failed as much as might be expected. I preached at his funeral in 1796 and it was a solemn time. While I preached, his children, then old gray-haired people, and his grandchildren wept. This was a man who had braved the wilderness and raised two families against the odds of nature, Indians, New Governments, poor transportation and nonexistent roads, and all. But Frederick as a pioneer had lived as many others in the early days of our Nation.

The Indians were always amazed to see me and my family, because we are the Blond People. Our hair is almost white and our eyes are a blue-gray. This has always been a dominant family characteristic. And, barring accidents, we have been very long-lived people. I say accidents, but most often wars. My father was killed in a skirmish with government forces. They wouldn't leave us alone. And then there were always the French who seemed to meddle just to make things worse than they were.

I have mixed feelings about the Indians. Some think of them as children of nature - but they are not, certainly not children! Nor are they to be ignored as ignorant savages. I have lived at times in their villages . Some of my best friends are Indians. I would be willing to put my life in their hands and I have done that at times. Yet they do not think like we do and many are not to be trusted. I buy land, and it is mine. They do not understand that concept. They roam the woods and kill and eat what they find. They cannot understand that livestock belongs to the farmer. They see a hog and kill it, and the farmer gets mad and perhaps shoots at them. It isn't only language that divides us. How can we communicate when we see things so differently?

Indians raided settlers in Pennsylvania in the early 1700's. Many of my friends moved on down here to the mountains of Virginia hoping to be safe. But there seemed to always be trouble in those days. There was a terrible battle over in the Valley of Virginia in December 1742, at a place they called Galudoghson. Some trigger-happy White man shot first and then everything exploded! It never should have happened. But it did. There was an report about it published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in January, 1743. Let me tell you about it as we pieced the details together from what we heard.

It was early in December, the year 1742, in the Valley of Virginia, on the South Branch of the North Branch of the James River, at a place called Galudoghson. An English Plantation House stood on the trail which comes from the northeast going southwest toward the Carolinas. Captain John McDowell and his company of men were stationed there.

Hop Brooks was standing guard on the front porch of the house. As he looked to the north he saw Indians slip out of the woods. He ran inside to tell the captain.

"Cap'n McDowell! There's Indians coming. I seen them come out on the trail just at the edge of the woods. One of them has a pole with something white tied on it."

"Don't get in an uproar. They could be friendly. We'll just wait. But keep your gun ready."

Hop Brooks went back out on the porch. The Indians were about a quarter of a mile away. He stood and watched as they came down the trail. He counted thirty-three in the group. They were clearly a war party, but he could not identify the tribe they belonged to. As they came closer he thought they must be Delawares, judging from their markings.

When they were almost there, Hop went to the doorway and shouted: "Henry, come out here and speak to these Indians."

Henry could speak the two main Indian languages and he served as the translator.

Henry came out to stand on the porch, and then Captain McDowell came out also.

While the others stayed back a respectful and safe distance, the Indian who appeared to be the oldest and who seemed to be the leader came up to the porch. He held a pole with a white rag tied on it.

He held up his hand in a salute and jabbered a few words in a guttural language, with an English word or two mixed in.

"I can't understand him," Henry said. "His name must be Shikellimo, as near as I can understand." He tried to speak to the Indian in the languages he knew, and even tried French, but to no avail.

The other Indians who were waiting were nervous and seemed to be getting more so. Certainly the Indians and the English had no reason to trust each other.

Finally Shikellimo made signs to say that they were friendly, and that they were a war party on their way south to fight another tribe. As you know, the Indians used sign language when they could not understand each other's languages. But this wasn't a very good way to communicate.

Then the Indian took a rolled up paper out of his pouch and held it out to Henry.

Henry unrolled the paper and read it. "Cap'n McDowell, he's got a pass signed by Justice Hogg in Pennsylvania. This says he has safe passage down to the Carolinas."

"Here, let me read that."

Captain McDowell studied the paper for a while, then gave it back to Henry, who then handed it to the Indian.

"Henry, tell him that we honor the pass, but we have no authority to renew it or to give them safe passage on south of here."

Henry tried for several minutes to communicate this to Shikellimo. But how can you communicate with an Indian who doesn't think like you do in the first place, and doesn't understand what you are trying to tell him?

Finally Captain McDowell just shook his head.

"Henry, take them around back to the kitchen and see that they get enough food for the whole bunch. And give them a jug of whiskey."

"Yessir, Cap'n." Henry made signs to the Indian, who then turned to his men and called two of them to come help. They went around the house to the kitchen door.

The Indians took their food and started on down the trail toward the south, then stopped at the edge of the woods and made camp.

Early the next morning Hop stood on the porch and began taking a good look around at things. One of the others had stood night guard. This was frontier. Couldn't be too careful.

As Hop looked to the south he could see signs that the Indians were still camped there. He went in to tell Captain McDowell.

A week went by with the usual people coming and going in this remote area. Colonel James Patton would be due in soon. The Plantation House was a center of activity and also an army post.

"Cap'n McDowell," Henry said, "what're we going to do? You've given them more food and more whiskey and those Indians are still here."

"I've thought on it," said McDowell. "You take a company of men and ride on down there. Make them understand that we cannot renew their pass to go south. They have got to go back north the way they came. Tell them they have another day or two. Then we must take action."

Of course the Indians did not wait a day or two, but gathered up their bundles and started south just as soon as Henry and the company of men had left. They traveled all night and were soon some distance away.

But all this did not go unnoticed. Captain McDowell had scouts roaming the area at all times.

"Sound the assembly!" Captain McDowell shouted. "We've got to go do something about those Indians."

A company of soldiers was soon gathered. That is to say, some soldiers and more militia. And they were as ignorant about the Indians as the Indians were about the English. The scene was set for tragedy.

They started off, the soldiers led by Captain McDowell, riding horses, with the militia on foot following behind them. They began a forced march to try to overtake the Indians, who were now some miles away.

After six or seven hours, toward evening, they came upon the Indians.

Shikellimo faced the soldiers as they arrived. He held up his hand in a sign of peace. But both groups of men were tense. Neither knew just what the other intended.

"Henry, tell them we mean them no harm. Tell them they must return back north. Tell them this will be best for all."

Again, Henry tried to communicate this message. He tried to speak words they might understand, and he used the signs. But to no avail.

Then disaster struck.

One of the Indians slipped into the woods to relieve himself.

Immediately one of the militia raised his gun and fired, wounding the Indian.

Shikellimo immediately fired his gun, killing Captain McDowell. Others had their guns trained on McDowell as well, and he was struck by three bullets. Now both sides blazed away with their guns and several were killed. In perhaps ten minutes it was all over.

To the Indians, the English had attacked them under flag of truce, stupidly, treacherously, recklessly. This was only one more link in the chain of misunderstanding between the English and the Indians.

The militia retreated as rapidly as possible. And so did the Indians. There was no pursuit. Later the Indians returned to the battlefield, carried off their dead, "stripped" the White bodies, and carried off the horses and provision that were scattered on the field. The war party had been so reduced in numbers that they now returned north, dividing into two groups.

Meanwhile Colonel Patton had come to the Plantation House, bringing reinforcements.. When the stragglers came in, they told him what had taken place. He tried to persuade them to return immediately to the field of battle to secure the dead and bring them back. But the men refused and would not go. Finally they did agree to return the next day.

The next morning, Colonel Patton came out to stand on the front porch of the Plantation House.

"Attention!" he shouted. "Gather around me. We've got to go to the field of battle and bring back the bodies of our dead."

In a few minutes they left, taking along some pack horses and a wagon.

Now, you would think those soldiers and Colonel Patton knew something about Indians and warfare on the frontier. But when they got to the field of battle, they were amazed that the Indians had been there before them. Of course the Indians had carried off their own dead; and also stripped and scalped the white bodies. That's just how it is out here on the frontier.

On the Virginia frontier, the youth of the Six Nations met a race of men who were as sudden, as daring, as brave and agile as themselves. Some "white" men took up Indian methods of fighting and became fierce Indian-hunters, devastating the Indian warriors. The Indians never had a chance because they would not work together. They fought each other - as they had for centuries. They sold land rights to the settlers and then did not honor what they had done, because they did not know what they had done. They did not understand treaties and that they were making promises about future action.

But the English were really stupid in the way they dealt with the Indians. Unfortunately the English did not understand the Indians and did not make friends with them. The French were quick to take advantage of this. And so most of the Indians joined with the French in fighting the settlers. I knew there would be trouble ahead. It did come to a climax later, around 1754, in the French and Indian War against the American Colonists. Both sides did horribly cruel and inhuman things to each other. Isn't war always like that! But the Indians had "sold their birthright" by slaughter and mayhem. The settlers could not ignore this. Tragically the friendly Indians suffered along with the guilty.

In 1750 the English actually occupied only a narrow strip of land along the Eastern coast, about 1,000 miles in length. But they claimed everything from Newfoundland to Florida as having been discovered by the Cabots. The French claimed the land all around this, from Quebec to New Orleans and upward to the Great Lakes. They supported their claims with a cordon of forts. Both claimed the land along the Ohio River, and there the rub came in. The rights of the Indians were completely ignored. In 1749 the English Crown gave rights to 800,000 acres along the Ohio River to the Ohio Company.

Now, I can understand what it means to forfeit lands and home. I had lived through all that in the Old Country. The Ohio Company held a business session about the lands along the Ohio River. I wasn't actually there, but I got the report about it. Some Indian Chiefs spoke. "Where is the land of the Indians? The English claim all on one side of the river, the French all on the other side. Where does the Indians' land lie?" And I knew just how they felt.

But I do blame certain of the Indians more than anyone else. War was their way of life and they gave no quarter. More Indians were killed by other Indians than by the white settlers. They fought and killed each other rather than working together. Those bloody French exploited them and sent them against us. It could have been different.

Frederick Ice chapter 2


In the year of our Lord, 1745, we were a happy family. Mary Margaret was as good a wife as a man could find. I was thirty or so years older than she was, but that didn't count. At 65 I was still young at heart and the Lord had blessed me with unusually good health. It ran in our family.

Mary, our youngest, was five years old. Margaret was eight; William was ten; and John just turned fourteen. I couldn't believe our blessings!

And we lived at peace with our Indian neighbors. This was 1745, and it wasn't the Old Country. Lots of us Germans had settled here in the mountains where Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia come together. Fort Cumberland was just to the north in Maryland. We had a little settlement of five houses where Patterson Creek drains into the Potomac River. Jim Hesler, Henry Fleenor, Friedel Copenhaver, Jacob Hartstein, and me, Frederick Ice. Wood was free, the forests all around. We built sturdy and well. We knew how to split logs with an ax, smoother than any sawmill could do. We built houses and barns with Old World craftsmanship. We cleared away some of the forest to create fields. It seemed wasteful, but was necessary. The soil is rich and fertile. You just put the seed in the ground and then jump back as the plants shoot up!

We praised the Lord as all good Lutherans do. We are the Lord's Church. But Churches are scarce out here. There is a Lutheran Church in Winchester, Virginia. But that is several days away, and through a wilderness. Once or twice a year a visiting priest came through and we would have holy communion. We worshipped together with our neighbors once every month. I would read from my German Bible, Luther's Version.

Our children grew up as wild as Indians. None of our children could read. Who needed it here? They could speak German, English, and several Indian languages. But here we were out in the wilderness. The children would pitch in and help with the work. Hunting and fishing and farming took up all our time. Who could sit around and read books, if they even had any. Life is quick and simple and often sudden here on the Frontier. But I did think sometimes of the Old Country and how we did things there.

"Mary Margaret, I want to start to Winchester tomorrow. I'll take John with me. He is old enough. I want him to see what life is like in the city. Why, there must be several hundred people living in Winchester now."

"Mr. Ice, I'll need some things from the store."

"Just tell me, and I'll get them."

"Mr. Ice, I've been keeping a list in my head. We always need to get grain ground, and flour, and sugar and salt. You will want powder and shot. I would like a sharp steel knife and some other kitchen things. We need many things to use here at home."

"I will remember it all," I said. And I did. No need to write things down.

I'm sure you think this sounds too formal. But we are that way here in the wilderness. She calls me "Mr. Ice" in public and in front of the children. But she calls me "Frederick" when we are alone.

"John, you are going with me this time. You can drive the other team and wagon. We'll leave at first light in the morning."

John let our a war whoop! I could tell he was pleased.

"Father, we want to go!" All the children were shouting in German.

"Children, you are too young to be wandering around in this wilderness. You must stay at home where you are safe."

But little did I know what was to happen to them while I was away.

We were a community, as I said. All five families worked together. Many hands make light work, as the old saying goes. The wagons had already been packed with the dried meat and berries and furs and other things to trade. The grain was all loaded. Everything was ready to leave as soon as there would be light enough to see.

It was still dark when we gathered in the yard and hooked up our teams to the wagons. It made sense to go as a group. This was a hard trip. We always left our families at home. No need for them to go through the difficulties. Winchester was seventy miles or more away, over mountain trails. It took three weeks going and coming, in wagons. This was a big undertaking. We did it spring and fall.

We had to have some light to find our way, or we would have started sooner. I did miss the roads we had back in the Old Country. Here we had to chop our way through the brush to get the wagons over the trails.

Mary Margaret gave me a big hug. "Frederick," she whispered in my ear, "must you go? I feel so alone when you are away. What if we are attacked?"

"My dear Mary Margaret. Don't worry so. Our Indian neighbors are our friends. You have nothing to fear from them. They'll help keep you safe. But keep the musket loaded and nearby, just in case."

Now, if I had known Mohawk raiding parties were on the way from Ohio, I would never have left them alone. Springfield, Ohio [I have used the name which you know], was 360 miles away, or more, through mostly trackless wilderness. Who could have expected warriors to come and do what they did? It still troubles me when I think about it. Couldn't I have done something to prevent this tragedy?

We spoke to the horses and the wagons began rolling across the fields to the edge of the woods. I was leading the way and the others followed. This is wilderness. There are no roads here. Occasionally someone comes along on a horse, following one of the animal trails. A wagon is much more difficult to take through high grass and weeds and bushes with trees all around. We had to use axes to chop our way through sometimes.

You would find it strange that in our homes we ate just two big meals a day: one in the middle of the morning, and the other in late afternoon. We didn't eat breakfast like city people do. And when we got hungry any time day or night, we just helped ourselves. There was always meat in the smokehouse, fresh milk, and buttermilk. The women always had corn dodgers made up. And we had some stronger drinks in the jug to take away the miasmas that sometimes plague us.

Out here on the trail we would eat Indian style: pemmican made of dried meat and berries pounded together, and corn dodgers. We had all the fresh mountain spring water we could want to drink. And the jug, to kill the miasmas, the bad air that causes disease.

It was well into the afternoon by now. The sun filtered through the trees. The wagons were moving along single-file.

Suddenly Jim grabbed his musket and fired. "Bam!"

"Got him!" Jim jumped down from the wagon and ran over into the brush to pick up a wild turkey.

"Mr. Ice, ain't it about time to stop and rest the horses?"

Sure sounded good to me.

We found dry sticks and soon had a fire going. It didn't take long to cook that turkey and we had fresh meat! Can't beat a wild turkey for taste.

We were used to sleeping out in the open. We were a lot like our Indian neighbors. We lived close to the land. We always built a good fire and one of us stood guard to watch for varmints and such while the others slept.

We finally came to a regular trail and followed it to Winchester. It was a hard trip and took several days. But no special problems. I should say that travel in these parts has lots of problems and takes a lot of effort. When we came to a steep hill, we had to hitch all the horses to each wagon in turn to take them up the hill one by one. Going down the other side we would just tie the wheels so they couldn't turn and skid them down the mountainside as best we could. The horses were strong and we were strong. It surely felt good just to be alive!

We did meet Indians and other people from time to time. We would stop to say "Howdy!" and ask about the news. We were eager to hear just what was happening. But none of us had any reason to fight anybody and so we parted in peace.

"Mr. Ice. Up ahead. It looks like an open space."

"Jacob. I saw that. We're coming close to Winchester."

We came out of the trees into a cleared area. We could see the town up ahead. We all whooped and hollered! We were so glad to be at the end of our journey.

"Father! Look at all the houses! I've never seen a city so big!"

"John, back in the Old Country we had many such cities as Winchester. Some were so big you couldn't even imagine them."

"Okay, men. First things first. We are here on business. John and I will take the grain to the mill. You others take the skins and trading goods on to the trading post. We'll be there as soon as we can."

John and I drove our wagons to the mill, which was down at the riverside. The mill ran on waterpower.

The miller came out to meet us.

"Mr. Koenig. Howdy! It's been a while."

"Mr. Ice! It has been a while. How are the Indians behaving over your way? We heard of a family being murdered north of here and house and barn and crops and everything burned."

"Why, things were as peaceful as could be when I left home. Our Indian neighbors are good friends. We get along fine. No problems from them."

"Well. I don't know. I never trusted no Indian at all. Got to be careful. But enough of that. What can I do for you, Mr. Ice?"

"I've got corn to be ground into meal, and wheat to be made into flour. What toll will you take to grind my grain?"

Ben Koenig scratched his head, shuffled his feet, then stood up straight.

"Now Mr. Ice. You know I have to make a profit to stay in business. Why, I've heard that some take as much as a peck out of every bushel of grain as a toll to grind it."

"Never!" I said. "That would be robbery."

"That's what I said. I could never charge that high. What about a gallon and a half? That's 3/4 of a peck."

"Still too much. I put a lot of work into growing that grain. I can't give it away. Half a gallon would be too much."

"You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Ice. You're going to run me out of business. Tell you what I'm going to do. You're a good friend. I will grind it for a gallon and a quart."

"Make it a gallon, and you have a deal."

"A gallon and a gill it is. Don't tell anybody how you took advantage of me like this. I'll have to close the mill and go out of business."

We shook hands and closed the deal. I surely got the best of Ben this time. I don't know how he can work so cheap and still stay in business.

"John, let's go. It will be a day or two before the grain is ground. And that's fast. The mill runs on a water wheel for power. That sure speeds things up."

Ben's son came and took the wagons over where he could unload them. We unhitched the horses and took them to the corral and turned them loose in it. We walked on to the trading post.

When we got there, we could see the others waiting for us.

"Mr. Ice! We've been waiting for you to come and make the deal. You're so good at arguing with people. Come on up here on the porch."

Some old friends were on the porch also. I shook hands with each one. "Jeff Taylor. Emmet Eisenman. Tom Gribble."

"Mr. Ice," Jeff said. "Good to see you. How's things back in the hills? You still keeping those Indians peaceful?"

"That your boy?" Tom said. "He favors you right smart."

"This is my oldest son, John. It's time he saw the big city. He's growed with the Indians and bears and panthers and such."

Helmut Kaufman came out onto the porch of the trading post. He was always ready to turn a dollar or two. He would give us a good price, but you had to give him an argument first. I think he enjoyed the bargaining more than making money.

"Mr. Ice. I've been waiting for you. What you got in the wagons?"

"Just come here and look. Ain't these the most beautiful furs you ever did see! And we've got dried meat, pemmican, a few jugs of that good stuff you like, and some other things. Just come take a look!"

I watched as Helmut walked over and looked into each wagon. He picked up some things in his hand and brushed the furs.

"Well...I don't know, " he said. "Lots of furs around just now. What're you asking for these?"

"Just look at these furs," I said. "These are the finest grade. You never saw furs such as these. Them Easterners will surely give you top dollar. You can count on it!"

"Well," Helmut said. "I'll have to think about it. I suppose we can always work something out."

You just have to wait on Helmut. He was enjoying himself.

"Here's my list of supplies we need," I said. I told him everything. He didn't need to write it down. He had a good memory. Besides, you didn't write if you could help it. A lot of people couldn't write, or read. But Helmut could.

"You make us a deal," I said. "The furs alone will more than pay for the supplies we need. You can give us cash for the difference."

"It'll take a while. I got the Hite brothers working for me. They'll have it all ready by tomorrow night."

Helmut went back inside.

Meanwhile we sat on the porch just talking and passing the jug around. There was a lot of things to talk about.. We don't get much news, being where we are, and when we do hear it's weeks or months old by then. Winchester is the trading center for a large area. Many are the people who pass through here. We might hear something new and important from them. It's good just to talk a while.

Helmut came back out on the porch.

"Mr. Ice," he said. "You all are welcome to come eat supper with me. Maw always has lots cooked up. It'll be a change to eat home cooking."

"Thank you kindly," I said. "We've been on the trail several days. It'll surely be good to eat civilized."

"Yah, sure," the others joined in. "Much obliged to you!"

It was a supper we would remember. Helga surely is a good cook! Venison, cornbread, potatoes, lots of gravy, and real English tea. That was a treat. We had seconds and some thirds.

After we had thanked them both again, we went out to make camp for the night. We would rather sleep outside in the open. And there would not have been room in the house for all of us. We had a peaceful night.

We woke at first light and began stirring around. We stretched and yawned. Then we went on down to the river to wash. There's some who never wash. But we don't live that way. We are civilized people, even if we are out here on the Frontier.

We would just laze around today and maybe tomorrow. Nothing to do for a while but wait. We chewed a little bit of pemmican when we got hungry. We drank plenty of fresh spring water, and a little from the jug.

"Mr. Ice," Friedel Copenhaver said. "We are going on over to the trading post to see what might be happening."

"We'll be along directly," I said. I'm going over to the Lutheran Church first."

Now there is a Lutheran Church in Winchester. John and I walked over to talk with the Pastor, Joist Hennighausen. It is always a treat to speak German with someone, especially a brother in Christ. It wouldn't mean much to you, perhaps. He spoke of our relatives in Germany and what he had heard of them. Terrible persecution were still happening back in the Old Country. It sure made me sad. But it made me happy to be in this New World.

I said my good-byes to Pastor Hennighausen. He gave John and me big hugs. It was a treat for him to speak with someone from the Old Country as well.

John and I started on over to the trading post.

The others gave us a hearty greeting when we got there. It was just them on the porch at the time. Probably everybody else was working somewhere.

Every once in a while somebody would come by and we would talk to them.

Tom Gribble came up on the porch to say hello.

"Mr. Ice, did you hear? Big things happening over East. Sure glad we're too far away for them to care about us."

"Yah," I said. "Pastor Hennighausen mentioned that when he was telling me about the Old Country. It seems you can't get away from the troubles, even here in this New World."

He talked a while and then went on down the road.

Just about the time the sun was reaching its highest, a troop of soldiers came along the trail into town.

"Howdy!" I called to them as they rode up to the trading post.

They dismounted and came on up to the porch.

"Don't I know you?" Jim asked. "Ain't you Rupert Kohler?"

"Why, if it ain't Jim Hesler! What are you doing in Winchester? I thought you were way over in the mountains."

"We came here to trade with Helmut Kaufman. What are you doing in these parts?"

"I and my men are on the way to Fort Steuben [again, the name you know] over on the Ohio River. Mohawk Indians been causing trouble. We're reinforcements."

"As close as that!" I said. "And Mohawks! I sure don't like the sound of that. I hope to God they stay on the Ohio side of the river!"

"Sam," Rupert said to one of his men. "Go in and get our supplies. We've got to be on our way to Fort Steuben."

"Come up on the porch," I said. "We'll pass the jug and talk a while."

We were all as friendly as could be. But I couldn't forget those Mohawks.

"What about them Mohawks," I said. "Do you think they'll come over this way?"

"Who can tell what Indians will do? But they sure been on the warpath along that Ohio River, all the way to Fort Duquesne and the little town of Pittsburgh."

"That's miles away," said Jim. "They'd have to go a long ways to come over where our families live."

"You'd better hope so," said Rupert. "They are a mean bunch!"

"Why," I said, "Indians can really travel. They could come from Fort Duquesne to Patterson Creek in just a few days if they took the notion. I don't like the sound of this."

"Mr. Ice," said Jim. "Those soldiers will chase them Mohawks back over into the middle of Ohio Territory. We don't have nothing to fear from them at all."

Sam and the other soldier came out of the trading post and loaded the supplies into the saddle bags on the horses.

They all mounted up, and then pranced the horses to show off a little.

Rupert turned and waved his hat. "Be seeing you. Better watch your scalps!"

We all laughed and waved as they rode off.

"Mr. Ice," John said, "is there really danger from those Mohawk Indians? All that kind of talk scares me."

"Son, it's a dangerous world. It was more dangerous to us back in the Old Country. You can't be too careful. We'll get out of here and head for home just as soon as we can."

"Mr. Ice," said Jim. "I would feel a lot better if we were home already. Those Mohawks won't be anywhere near us. But I would just like to get back in a hurry."

"Let's try to do just that. I'll go see Ben Koenig and try to speed things up."

I walked on over to the mill, and John followed. Maybe Ben Koenig might hurry up a little. We ought to get home as quickly as we can. It wouldn't take quite so long going back anyhow, since we had cleared trail in coming to Winchester.

Frederick Ice chapter 3


It had been a most beautiful day in the tiny settlement on the Potomac River at the drains of Patterson Creek. Summer was past and the crops had been wonderfully good. It was a great time to be alive!

Mary Margaret Ice had not yet closed the shutters of the windows. She stood watching the shadows of evening fall, wishing Frederick were back home safely. This journey to Winchester was difficult and dangerous.

Her children stood behind her, also gazing out at the shadows. William, age 10; Margaret, 8; and Mary, 5. John, age 14, had gone with his father to Winchester this time. Like Frederick and Mary Margaret, all had blond hair and blue eyes, just like their ancestors in Germany.

The women in the other houses were also waiting for their husbands. This was wild frontier in the year of 1745. It took courage, some said it took foolhardiness, to push back the wilderness, clear the land, and plant civilization as well as crops.

It was now dusk, difficult to see very far. The dogs began a wild barking. Mary Margaret peered out into the dusk and thought she saw shadows moving. She could not be certain.

"William! Take Mary and Margaret into the loft. Hide yourselves. Quick!"

A devout Lutheran, Mary Margaret began reciting the Lord's Prayer. "Vater unser, Du bist im himmel..."

"Suddenly wild shouts and bloodcurdling screams filled the air! Mary Margaret snatched up the musket which was always kept handy in these parts. She fired at a shadow, but could not tell whether the bullet hit.

By now the Indians were shooting fire arrows into the thatching of the roof. She could smell smoke and sparks began to fly through in some places.

A bright glare showed that they had set fire to the corn stalks still standing in the fields, and to the brush. As one of the Indians came into the light, she could see by his markings that he was a Mohawk. What were they doing this far from their home? She continued to fire the musket and hit one Indian, who went limping away.

Then some of the Indians picked up a large log. They ran with it toward the door of the house.

Crash! The door smashed inward to fall on the floor. Indians charged into the room. Two wrestled Mary Margaret into a corner and tied her hands behind her. Another climbed into the loft and soon threw the children down to those below.

"Just look at the hair," one of them said, in the guttural Indian tongue. "White, like snow."

The Indians were amazed at the blond hair and blue eyes. They ran their fingers through the hair. Then they carried Mary Margaret and the children outside. Some had taken captives from the other houses. The Indians quickly melted into the woods, dragging their captives along.

"Hurry!" they shouted. They slapped the captives and punched them, forcing them through the dense underbrush. Pursuit would be behind them. They must escape quickly and cross the Great River into Ohio.

But the captives could not keep up with the warriors. Finally Mary Margaret stumbled and fell. In disgust a brave split her skull with a tomahawk, then took her scalp with his knife. It was over quickly.

The warriors rushed on, dragging the children.

Frederick Ice chapter 4


Frederick and the others hurried to pack the wagons and get started home as soon as there was enough light to find their way. Surely there would be no danger from the Mohawks. Yet they rushed to be home to see their loved ones and reassure themselves of their safety.

They hurried as fast as they could. It helped that they had cleared brush and made a trail on their way to Winchester.

Then as they came over the mountain they could see smoke still rising from the ashes of the houses and barns. They screamed in rage and whipped the horses to run faster!

When they reached the smoldering ashes, they could see bodies. A woman and a baby were dead. Each had been scalped. Quickly they searched. The children were gone. Mary Margaret was not there.

Frederick screamed in anger and pounded his chest in frustration! "Quick! We must find them before they get away! They have almost a day's travel already. John! Go tell the other communities! Spread the word! Get help!"

They unhitched the horses and started off in pursuit.

These men were woodsmen. They could read trail. But the Indians had been careful to try to cover up signs of their passing. And conditions were different then. You could go for many miles in any direction without coming out from under the trees. It was a wilderness of trees and bushes and vines.

Frederick and the others frantically tried to force their way through the brush, hoping to guess which way the Indians had gone. The thick forest made travel all but impossible, and then night fell. They made torches of dry wood and pushed on, trying to pick up the signs and trail of the Indians. They were helpless and hopeless.

As the new day dawned they speeded up their travel. These men were in excellent physical condition. Frederick was 65 years old, but had health like a young athlete. His eyes were sharp and could pick out the faintest signs. Most of the day they toiled through the dense underbrush, sometimes chopping their way, following what sign they could.

By now some others from surrounding settlements had rushed to catch up with them. These people worked together to fight the common enemy. No one was safe when Mohawks attacked.

They came into a clearing only to find a grisly sight.

"God! No!" Frederick cried out in his grief. Mary Margaret lay among the bushes, her skull split by a tomahawk. She had been killed and scalped.

"You go on, Mr. Ice. We'll bury her. We'll take her body home when we come back this way."

Quickly two men dug a shallow grave and buried Mary Margaret. They piled logs on the grave to protect it from animals. Then they blazed a mark on a nearby tree, to be sure to find the grave again.

Day and night they rushed as fast as they could, cursing the dense brush which held them back. Finally they came to the Ohio River. They searched frantically up and down the riverside. But it was hopeless. The children and the others were gone forever. This was one of the facts of life on the Frontier.

A few people lived along the river. They learned from them that the soldiers had chased the Mohawks as far as Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, but had not caught up with them.

In great sorrow Frederick and the others returned to their home site at Patterson Creek

Frederick Ice chapter 5


Frederick and the others came out of the woods into their Patterson Creek settlement. They stared at the ashes where their homes had been. They shouted and cried in anger and despair!

"Oh God!" Frederick shouted to the heavens. "How could this happen! God, we call upon Thee to punish those Mohawk murderers! Take vengeance on them, O God! Why did we ever go away and leave our families unprotected!"

While they stood in anguish, some of the Indian friends came out of the woods and approached. They signed "Friend" with their hands. Then they came to us.

The chief, who we called Chickahominy, spoke in the Indian tongue. "Mr. Ice, how can we tell you of the deep sorrow we share with you. Some of our own people were killed by these Mohawk warriors. It is a time of great mourning for our families."

"You are our true friends," Frederick said. "We thank you."

"We buried your dead," said Chickahominy. "We tried to do for them as white men do."

"Come," he said. He led them over to a plot near the forest. "There they lie. We marked the grave with a feathered lance."

The Indian lance stood straight, with feathers dyed deep red at the top.

Frederick made an Indian sign with his hands to show his thanks. "You have done us a great kindness, dear friends. May God bless you for your kindness."

The Indians each shook hands with everyone, then melted into the forest.

They gathered around the burial plot. Mary Margaret would be buried here also when the others returned with her body.

They stood in silence for some time. Then Frederick began the Lord's Prayer. "Vater unser, Du bist im himmel..."

The others said the words with him.

Then Frederick spoke. "Lift your hands to heaven. Let us pray together at God's throne of grace."

He prayed: "O Father, we leave these departed dead in Thy keeping until the end of the world. We cry out to Thee in our sorrow! We beg Thy comfort and consolation. Through Christ our Lord, Amen."

When they returned from the burial plot, the wagons were still standing where they left them. The Indian friends had guarded them and protected the goods they contained from the varmints in the woods.

Frederick and the others searched through the ashes to salvage anything that might be used. What bitterness they felt! Their whole lives were gone! Wives and children! Great sorrow!

But Frederick was a man of action.

"Listen men. We are still alive, and God is still in His heaven. He will hold those Mohawks accountable for what they did. And so will He judge us. We must ask His forgiveness. We must keep ourselves in His favor. We dare not allow hate and bitterness to build up in us. We must ask God to forgive us for the hate we are feeling, and to purge us. We can't forget our wives and children. No! Never! But God loves those poor ignorant savages too. God will take revenge for what happened here. He will judge us too, and we must pray to Him."

They gathered around Frederick. He began. "Vater Unser, Du bist im himmel. Father, we can't understand this thing that has happened to our families and to us. We pray for the souls of the dead. We believe Thou hast taken them to Thyself. If our children are still living, we implore Thy help for them. We pray for the souls of those heathen who did this. Will Thou grant repentance to them. May they never again do such evil deeds! Remove bitterness and hate from our hearts. O God, help us to get through this valley of dark shadow, this great sorrow. Forgive us our sins, and lead us in righteousness, in Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."

In their great sorrow they hugged each other. They stood for some time in mute silence. How alone they felt. How empty.

Finally Frederick spoke. They looked to him as their leader. "Men, life has to go on. We can't just lay down and die. Let us pledge our faith and trust to our God above and to each other. We will build new houses and barns, right here on Patterson Creek, the Lord willing. This is our land. We have a patent from Lord Fairfax. Our dead are buried here. This place is sacred to us. We must preserve it."

"What'll we do now" Ben asked? "It'll take a while to cut timber and rebuild. Winter is coming on."

"Listen," Frederick said, raising his voice so everyone could hear. "We're going to Fort Cumberland. We'll winter over there and come back early in the Spring. We'll get help, and we will rebuild Patterson Creek and rebuild our lives. We owe this to our precious loved ones who have died."

There had been very little in the ashes. The fire had taken almost everything. They hitched up the horses to the wagons, then started up river to the Wiley Ford. They must cross the Potomac River to the Maryland side. That in itself took a while. Plus travel time. It was a few days altogether. But finally they came to Fort Cumberland. They hoped to live there until Spring, when they could return home to Patterson Creek.

Meanwhile the Mohawk warriors continued to their home, first to near Chilicothe, Ohio, and then on to a village near where Springfield, Ohio, now stands. They had been making other raids along the Ohio River. Soldiers from Fort Steuben had pursued them. But they were too swift, and had always escaped.

In time Frederick was to learn that Mary Ice had grown up and been married to Pucksinwah, Chief of Kispokatha. Their children were: Chiksika, b. 1756; Tecumseh The Panther, b March 9, 1768; triplets b. Jan. 30, 1771: Kumskaka, A Cat That Flies; Sauwaseekau, A Door Open; Teliskwatawa, A Loud Noise (known as The Prophet); Stephen Reddell was a white baby adopted as a son, b 1796. Mary Ice went to visit her Ice family when she was very old, but continued to stay with her Indian family. She died in 1823. Pucksinwah was killed at Point Pleasant (W.Va.) Oct. 10, 1774.

"Mr. Ice! There's the Fort!"

In the distance they could see the palisade of the Fort, walls made of logs standing up on end to form a defensive barrier. Blockhouses were atop the walls. The soldiers could defend the Fort by shooting from slots in the blockhouse walls.

The heavy wooden gates stood open and a guard met them.

"Mr. Ice! You remember me. I'm Homer Hartwick. Captain Waldo told us that your houses had been burned. He said some of you were dead. This is surely a terrible time! We share your great sorrow."

(Captain Waldo was the name they gave to an Indian chief who often came to Fort Cumberland. He traveled widely around the area and therefore knew many things about the happenings.)

"Thank you for your sympathy," Frederick said. "Our wives are dead, and our children carried off captive. We've lost everything in the Indian raid. We've come here to the Fort to spend the winter if you'll let us."

"You're sure welcome!"

They each shook his hand.

Homer turned and shouted to a soldier nearby.

"Go tell Major Livingston that Frederick Ice and a party of men are here asking shelter for the winter."

"Bring your wagons on in," Homer said. "Then go to the Major's quarters in that building just over there. He'll be out to speak with you."

As Frederick and the others walked up to the building, Major Livingston came out.

"Greetings. I am Acting Major James Livingston, Commander of Fort Cumberland. What can I do for you?"

Major Livingston. I am Frederick Ice. These men are part of our community on the drains of Patterson Creek over in Virginia. I am pleased to meet you. I knew your predecessor."

"Mr. Ice. I've heard of you. I give you my deepest sympathies. I, too, know something of the Indian wars. My dear brother Andrew was killed. His widow Eleanor lives here in the Fort, with her daughter, Mary Jane."

"I have heard about your brother. I know there are many widows and widowers and orphaned children because of the Indian troubles. We all give you our sympathy."

"Thank you for your kindness, Mr. Ice. All of you are invited to come eat supper with me and my family. It won't be fancy but Kate is a very good cook. She always has plenty on hand."

"Thank you kindly! We certainly could use a good home cooked meal."

Frederick and the others washed their hands and faces at the horse trough. Then they filed in through the door into the Major's kitchen.

Kate, the Major's wife, was a buxom woman of maybe forty years. A lovely person. But when Frederick saw Eleanor, his heart jumped. She looked so much like his poor, dead, Mary Margaret. She appeared to be in her twenties, and also had blond hair and blue eyes. She stood about five feet tall, the same height as himself. She was strikingly beautiful.

They sat down at the table. The Major introduced everyone around. Then he led in a prayer of thanks.

Kate and Eleanor dished up the food. It certainly appeared excellent. Kate was a very good cook.

"Eleanor cooked much of this," Kate said.

Eleanor blushed.

"It surely is a treat to eat civilized," said Frederick. "Much obliged to you both."

The other men spoke their approval also.

"Mr. Ice, call me Nelley," Eleanor said. "All my friends do. And this is Mary Jane, my daughter." She put her hand on Mary Jane's head. She looked to be about eight years old.

"Nelley," said Frederick. "A pretty name for a pretty woman. This is my son, John." And he put his hand on John's head.

Now, you're probably thinking, how can he be so friendly when his wife is not long dead in the grave. But this is frontier, and different rules apply. He would not forget Mary Margaret in a million years. Never! But life has to go on. It is no disrespect at all to say that the dead are as dead as they will ever be. Nelley is not long a widow. What she said has told Frederick that she has noticed him favorably. He in turn has responded to her.

Frederick and the others put their food and supplies in with the Fort's stock. They would work for their keep just like everyone else. Share and share alike. They were carpenters and craftsmen, and hunters. The Fort needed people like them. And they needed to keep busy. Coming through such great loss, they had so much with which to come to terms.

Everyone of us was so very busy. Life on the frontier is demanding. There is hardly time to think. Yet in the month that had passed, I did think. It was now time for me to act.

I walked around to the Major's house and knocked at the door.

"Why Mr. Ice," said Nelley. "Do come in."

I sat in a chair. Nelley sat across the room. That was the polite way to do it.

"Nelley," I said. "I would like to come courting you."

Surely this sounds blunt and sudden. But remember this is frontier. This was the way we did things.

"Frederick, I would like that very much. It's been six months since Mr. Livingston was killed."

He knew how long Andrew had been dead. But she mentioned this to let him know that she was ready to move on with her life. When she called him "Frederick," she showed that she had already mulled all this over in her mind. This was a very tender and precious moment.

"I'll come this evening," I said.

"Come for supper. I'll bake you a pie."

We stood up. We met in the center of the room, joined hands and gazed into each other's eyes. This was sort of a pledge between us. We did not act in haste, since this we had thought this out very well.

After a few moments, I turned and left. We both went about our business until the night fell.

Supper was always a happy time and everyone enjoyed both the food and the conversation.

When supper was concluded, the Major and Kate and the children slipped out of the room.

I and Eleanor went into the parlor and we sat together on the bench. For a while we just talked about life in the Fort. It was an exciting time here in the Fort, and yet people were having to do the same things over and over. Life did go on.

Finally the time was right. I turned to her and looked deep into her eyes. I took her hand.

"Nelley, I love you. Will you be my wife? I will honor and cherish you. Together we can make a new life."

"Yes, Frederick, yes! I have thought about you since I first saw you. My life has been so empty. It would make me very happy to spend my life with you."

"We'll get married just as soon as a preacher comes through."

"Frederick, the Major has authority to marry people. If you like, he could do it right now."

Again I remind you that this is frontier. This was the proper way to do things. With life being so uncertain, it was best to act promptly.

Nelley went to the inner door and called to the Major. He came with Kate and the children. Then one of the children was sent to bring my son John and the others. A wedding was a time of excitement and great joy on the frontier.

When everyone was present in the room, Nelley and I stood up together and joined our hands. The others were standing around the sides of the room. This was a time of great happiness and rejoicing. And it was exciting!

Major Livingston read some from the Bible and then began the traditional wedding service.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony. It is a solemn time and also a time of joy!"

"Frederick Ice, do you take Eleanor Livingston as your lawful wedded wife, so help you God?"

"I do," Frederick answered.

"Eleanor Livingston, do you take Frederick Ice as your lawful wedded husband, so help you God?"

I do," Eleanor answered.

"You have made your promise and pledge one to another in the face of this company. By my authority as Acting Major of Fort Cumberland, I pronounce that you are husband and wife. Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen."

We wrapped our arms around each other and kissed. The sorrows of the past fell away and were forgotten. We became Adam and Eve in the Garden, seeing each other for the very first time.

After lots of hugging and kissing and celebration by everyone, we went to the room that was to be our bridal suite.

We lay in bed together, holding each other, feeling the bliss of the moment.

Suddenly there was such a noise and clatter! Gun shots, and some one was banging on a kettle. It was our friends. Klingeln! A Belling! Or as you might say, Shivaree! It was an old custom to bang on pans and shoot guns and celebrate the new bride and groom.

Everyone was up most of the night, talking and passing the jug and just generally having a good time. Everyone loved us newlyweds and we deeply loved all of them in turn. That is the way it should be. We were a close knit family here in the Fort.

By the time morning came everyone was deeply asleep. Some had to get up and stand guard, of course. Always alert! That's the frontier. Nelley and I slept late, as did most.

Now you may have noticed a great difference in our ages. I am about 66, Nelley in her 20's. But on the frontier, this doesn't count. Nelley and I were so happy together. We had lost so much in the past. Now we held on more tightly to each other. We thanked God for putting us together to share our lives and our future and our great happiness and joy!

"Nelley! It's looking more like Spring! I have asked Captain Waldo to spread the word. We are going to rebuilt our settlement at Patterson Creek!"

" Oh Frederick, do you think we can? How many men will it take to do it?"

"Well now, I suppose somewhere between fifty and a hundred will come out. Many hands make light work, as they always say. You'd be amazed at what can be done in just a week when you have people to help do it."

When the day came, at least a hundred men were there, including some of our Indian friends. Nelley and the other women built a big fire. They cooked up lots of food. All of us worked from "can't see yet" to "can't see anymore." Whenever anyone got hungry, why we just ate. On the run if we could do it. There were corn dodgers and lots of meat. Just grab some and take it with you. The women carried water jugs around. Hard work made for great thirst. Everyone was doing his or her best.

Most men cut trees in the forest, and trimmed the branches off. Some hitched up horses and dragged the logs back. Others squared up the logs and got them ready. Houses and barns went right up! By the end of the week it was all done. Our Patterson Creek Village stood better than ever. No signs at all of what happened there. It just goes to show you what can be done when people work together.

Some of us gathered up rocks and built a wall around the burial plot. That should have been done before we went to Fort Cumberland. But, with all that had happened, it was too soon for anyone to think clearly.

One day Major Livingston rode up to our reconstructed Village. I went out to meet him.

"Major Livingston! So good to see you!"

"This surely is a beautiful place. I can see why you love it so and wanted to rebuild it. Why, if you ever want to sell this, I just might buy it. Let me know if you do."

"This is our home and we intend to stay. I'm glad you like it. Why don't you light and sit a spell. Nelley will get some food on. We sure are glad to see you. Seems like it's been a while."

Everyone was organizing militias. Nobody wanted to be caught unawares in this troubled time. Scouts were sent out and everyone kept his ear to the ground, so to speak. Captain Waldo was a great help, along with the Indian friends. Those of us at Patterson Creek joined in with other villages in the area for our protection.

Two new families came to live at Patterson Creek. This made added numbers and added strength.

A few years went by in a hurry. It was a good life.

About this time Mary Jane Livingston, Nelley's daughter, decided to get married to a Jeff Hostettler, one of the soldiers at Fort Cumberland. She was all of fifteen by now, plenty old enough out here. Lots of girls got married at that age. We all cried, of course, over losing her. But we were happy for her too. Jeff was a good man, about eighteen years old, from a good family, and had a good future with the Army. Now, we wanted them to come to Patterson Creek to live with us, but they decided to stay in Maryland.

The next year Jeff and Mary Jane had a son. They named him Frederick. I was so proud!

These were perilous times, what with the French stirring up the Indians and sending them against the settlers. There were many settlers whose stories were much like ours. The colonial government was not deaf to all of our pleas. Colonel George Washington established a chain of forts across the mountains. Frontier defense included blockhouses, stockades, and cabins. Fort Sellers was built around 1748, and was a few miles southwest of Patterson Creek. It was garrisoned by an officer and 30 men. Fort Ashby, built in 1755, was only a few miles south of Patterson Creek. This was war being fought by all of us!

The "French & Indian War" really began in 1689. The French wanted Canada, and so did the English. But the worst for Nelley and I and the other settlers was from 1754 to 1763. We had to fight many times to protect all of our families. Yet life went on in spite of this. But when ever I had to go somewhere distant, I would not leave my family alone, but I took them along!

Finally things settled down a little when the English captured the French forts and Quebec fell. The treaty of Paris in 1763 ended French control in Canada and the West. But Indian troubles continued for us.