Josephas Coonrod joins the list of frontier Indian captives whose
descendants later settled in Ohio.
The Coonrod family came to the New World in 1742 from
Switzerland or Baden, Germany, and settled in Maryland on the north
banks of the Potomac River. About the time the arrived in this
country, Josephas was born. Eventually they pushed on to the
south branch of the Potomac, where in 1758, they lived at Fort
Seybert, Pendleton County, in what is now West Virginia.
After planting spring crops in 1758, the families headed for
a distant salt works to lay in a year’s supply of that frontier
necessity. About 40 women and children, including 16 year old
Josephas were left in the fort.
Attack of the Shawnees
After the men had been gone a while, a band of Shawnees from
West of the Ohio River crossed the Alleghenies and attacked.
Finding they could not succeed by assault, they settled down to
siege and told the women and children they would not kill them if
they would surrender. After a council they concluded it would
be best to surrender and save their lives. The main gates of
the fort were thrown open and the Indians rushed inside.
Thirty of the inhabitants were killed and the rest, including the
Coonrods, were taken captive.
As soon as the massacre ended the captives were marched back
over the mountains to the Ohio country. before they started,
they took the baby boy from Mrs. Coonrod’s arms and dashed its
brains out against a tree. Finally they passed what is now
Chillicothe. The Shawnees had villages in the Frankfort,
Clarksburg and Circleville locales at that time. After camping
on night somewhere between the Scioto and Little Miami Rivers,
Josephas managed to escape and started for his Virginia home.
He traveled by night and hid during the day for about two months,
finally arriving home more dead than alive.
Mother is Rescued
After considerable time, Mrs. Coonrod’s
whereabouts was reported. Josephas’ father went to Ste.
Genevieve and paid $50 in silver for her release from the
Josephas regained his health, grew to manhood and married.
He named the eldest of his three sons, Felix, who in turn named his
eldest, Adam, who named his firstborn Felix, who named his baby
Oliver, who wrote this account for his great-granddaughter Mrs. J.
R. Bick (Velma Coonrod) of… Frankfort.
From a 1970’s Chillicothe newspaper