The Frontier Fighters

Frontiers should not be confused with borders.  Borders in the  1770′s were more or less permanent even if contested.  Frontier were  inhabited areas vulnerable to invasion from an external enemy.   This potential for invasion or fear of assault made daily life for settlers a living death.  The fear and desperation of frontier life was much worse than actual warfare – a thousand times worse than that of a soldier engaged in the most severe yet regular combat.  Darkness on the frontier amplified sounds disrupting sleep.  Daytime was not much better.   These irregular conditions forged a frontier people.

The story of the battle between the Poe brothers and the Wyandot Indian War Party has become iconic in the Tri-State area centered around the once rough and tumble frontier town of  Georgetown.  Today there does not seem to be an original version.  In each account details differ.  Time changes them.  Logic changes them.  History perverts them.  Each adaptation, shifted sideways by its author, commemorates the events of the struggle.  Yet, no myth is entirely fable.

The letter written on 22 Mar 1849 to Lyman C Draper by Adam Poe (son of Andrew Poe the Indian fighter) provided insight into details of the Poe battle and life in the frontier sttlements.  In the 1830′s, Lyman C Draper of Philadelphia was the premier historian of Indian Wars that occurred in the Ohio River Valley.  His correspondence with survivors and relatives of the early settlers, including this series of letters from Adam Poe, comprise the largest first-hand account of the history of the region.

The only thing that really matters is that Georgetown had the Poe brothers and the whole mystique that goes with the name.



List of Accounts of the Poe Fight.

1.  Capt Adam Poe, “Early History of the Poe Family in America”, East Liverpool Crisis, about 1890, p 7-12.

2.  Allan W Eckert, “That Dark and Bloody River, Bantam Books, New York, 1995, p283-290.

3.  Rev Joseph H Bausman, “History of Beaver County Pennsylvania”, The Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1904, p 161-163.

4.  M Randall, Jr, Esq, “The Canadian Reader”, Walter & Gaylord, Stanstead, L.C., 1834, p 167-172.

5.  Author Unknown, “The Poe Brothers and Big Foot”, Beaver County Historical Milestone Vol 22 No 2, Summer 1997.

6.  William Dean Howell, “Stories of Ohio”, American Book Co, New York, 1897, p43-46.

7.  Samuel Kercheval, “A History of the Valley of Virginia”, 1833; 3rd ed 1902 (Electronic ed 2009), EagleRidge technologies, Rockwood, TN, p 240-243.

8.  Author Unknown, “Moravians and Wyandots”, Westmoreland Co Genealogy Report Chapter XXII.

9 Ben Douglas, “The History of Wayne Co Ohio from the Days of the Pioneers and First Settlers to the Present Time”, Robert Douglas, Publisher, Indianapolis, IN, 1878, p 830-834.

10.  Alfred Creigh, “History of Washington Co, Pennsylvania”, 1870, p62.

11.  Patrick M Reynolds, “Pennsylvania Profiles The Poe Brothers”, The Red Rose Studio, Willow Street, PA, 1985.

12.  Charles McNight, “Our Western Borders”, 1876.

14.  Marie McClure,  “Pioneer Daring Exhibited in Life and Death Struggle”, Central News, 13 Jun 1974, p30.


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