Josiah Ramsey Captured by the Indians

     Thomas Ramsey settled on the North Fork of Holston near Kingsport prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, where he had an early frontier fort. The family probably came to the area from Culpeper County, Virginia. While living in Culpeper County, he had a small son, Josiah, captured by the Indians. The story was told in a letter written to Dr. Lyman C. Draper in October, 1851, by General Johnathan Ramsey of Calloway County, Missouri, which follows:
     "In 1757, in Culpeper County, Virginia, was captured Stephen Holston and Josiah Ramsey, youths, perhaps half a dozen or more years old. Holston, a year or two older, was out in a mulberry tree gathering fruit, and was captured by Indians. Holston got back - perhaps surrendered at Boquet's Treaty. The prisoners brought in at Bouquet's Treaty belonging to Virginia were sent to A. C. Buford's (afterwards Colonel and settled in Kentucky).
     "Thomas Ramsey went there to see if he could find among them his lost son, seven years gone, and unable to recognize him certainly, finally concluded a certain lad was the one. Took him, reared him as his son never doubting the fact. He ever after bore the name of Josiah Ramsey, but the youth as he grew up doubted this view of his paternity. He had no recollection whatever of his captivity, which if old enough to have been in a mulberry tree he should have had. His earliest recollection was of the French abandoning Ft. Duquesne, throwing flour and other articles into the river and the Indians getting them.
     "On the Virginia frontier in 1756 was taken by the Indians a man named George Coon or Kuhn. His youngest child, a boy, and his mother, Euceete were retarded in their march and an Indian stayed behind with her, but the Indian soon overtook the others without her. He had killed her. The children were scattered among the Shawnee Indians. Ramsey's Indian father used to tell him that he ought to be grateful to him, that when he first captured him he was very young and he had to go get a cow to furnish milk to him. That was when his mother was killed. His father, who could talk French, ran away from the Indians. Josiah Ramsey also recollected, while quite small, with the Indians, a white girl coming from another Indian Town, taking him up, caressing and crying over him, whom he thought must have been his sister. George Kuhn subsequently settled and died in Tennessee (probably Abraham Kuhn, the white Wyandotte War Chief was one of his children).
     "Josiah Ramsey was at the Point Pleasant battle (1774). Thought he was born in 1744, and if a Kuhn was probably taken in 1756-57. Used to say that during the battle both whites and Indians indulged mutually in blackguarding each other. The whites called the Indians nearly starved - little or no game, found only one turkey and that just gone to roost and very poor. He considered Cornstalk a great warrior and commander."
     Josiah Ramsey had also served in the battle of Long Island Flats (Kingsport) in July, 1774, before he went on the Point Pleasant Campaign in the fall of 1774. At this battle:
     "Thomas Price, Josiah Ramsey and Ezekiel Smith were (Indian) Spys, and were rising somewhat separated to the summit of a ridge and there Ramsey discovered an Indian on one knee, his gun leveled, resting it on the side of a sapling, aiming at Price, some forty yards off to one side. Ramsey at once shot and killed the Indian who proved to be a principal man among his people. Other Indian spys nearby ran, dropping some match coats and some conjuring conch shells and some other articles accidentally. The firing attracted the attention of the nearest of the troops who ran up to see and were near enough to see the match-coats, and among those who ran forward was John Sicks, (an early settler on Holston) but without venturing further returned to the whites down the hill. Here a sort of council was held and resolved to return to (Amos) Eaton's Fort when price and the Spy party came. Cocke (Col. Charles Cocke?) said, 'We've got their conjuring tools, they ain't going to come any more - this will satisfy our wives and children.' Sicks and others said they had seen the match-coats and would go to get them, that the Indians were coming. The result was they returned and fought the battle." (July 20, 1774).


 
 
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