Name: Ichabod ASHCRAFT
Birth: 1737 in Sleepy Creek, Berkley Co., WV
Death: 1804 in Fayette Co., PA
_FA1: 1775 Sworn into service--Revolutionary War.
_FA2: BET. 1778 - 1783 Ranger of the frontier
_FA3: 1790 Appeared in Georges Twp, Fayette Co., PA census.
_FA4: 1800 Appeared in Georges Twp, Fayette Co., PA census
Although we have no proof, tradition says that Ichabod was born about 1737. Because his father was in the process of selling Bucks county property at the time, his birthplace is also in question, but he probably grew up in the Sleepy Creek area of Virginia, and several of his children were born there. By 1768 he was a property owner on the North Fork of Sleepy Creek, and, in 1769, he was having Buffalo Pastures in Fayette County, PA surveyed. By 1770, he started to build, with the help of his brothers, Ashcraft Fort. (Another resource suggests Ichabod was born at Point Pleasant in Virginia Territory.)
Ichabod's father, Daniel, had a close relationship with Col. Thomas Cresap. They were neighbors, and the families intermarried. Thomas Cresap married Hannah Johnson and Daniel's son, Jacob, married Hannah's niece, Mary Johnson. Through two generations these families were friendly, they fought the common frontier foes together, and they migrated together.
Ichabod and the Colonel's son Michael carried on this tradition. Michael established a fort at Redstone (present site of Brownsville) and Ichabod established a similar one about 15 miles south of Redstone in what is now Fayette County.
Sharpshooting contests using their long rifles was a favorite sport of the frontiersmen. Ichabod and his brothers took great pride in their skills.
In June of 1774 four hundred men were ordered by the Earl of Dunmore to march into the western country, clearing the land of enemies to make way for the settlers. This was known as the Wappatomica (located just south of the present site of Coshocton) Campaign. They successfully engaged in skirmishes with the Indians under the command of Col. Angus M'Donald; Capt. Cresap was also there. Although no proof has been found, it is reasonable to believe that Ichabod may have participated in this campaign. He certainly had knowledge of this country, because he later advised his son, Daniel, of the beautiful rolling hills and fertile land.
Family tradition indicates that Daniel and Ichabod were both engaged in the battle of Point Pleasant. This battle was fought Oct. 10, 1774 on the narrow point of land between the Ohio and the Great Kanawha in what is now West Virginia. Here General Lewis ably assisted by his brother Col. Lewis, with 1100 Virginia troops met and defeated the celebrated Indians under the leadership of Chief Cornstalk assisted by Logan Red Eagle retiring at night. Lewis's loss was three officers, his brother and Colonel being one of the number. Sixty men killed and 95 wounded. The Indians lost about the same number. Tradition also says that just before sunset Daniel was shot dead by an Indian sharpshooter, but this is somewhat contradictory to the other evidence concerning Ichabod's brother, Daniel. Ichabod went with the Army, crossing the Ohio River and marching out into the Indian country in pursuit of the Indians.
Earlier in 1774, in the March preceding the Battle of Point Pleasant, the destruction of the tea in Boston harbor had taken place, and the Boston Port Bill, the signal for the revolt of the colonists, had been received in May. The expertise of the frontiersmen would be needed for yet another conflict.
Ichabod was sworn into service in 1775, the first company of soldiers raised west of the Allegheny Mountains and the second company in the colony of Virginia to serve in the Revolutionary War. Michael Cresap recruited men equipped with rifles and chose those known for their sharpshooter skills including Ichabod in 1775. The accomplishments of this band of 130 frontiersmen, painted like Indians, is well known. They traveled the 800 miles by foot from the banks of the Ohio to the city of Boston. Ichabod was again recruited and served as a ranger of the frontier from 1778 to 1783.
For ten years, between 1774 and 1784, it seems that Ichabod was seldom home. Undoubtedly, the service of his country demanded much of this man and his family.
Just when Ichabod came to Fayette county, we are not sure, but in the early 1770s he built a two-story blockhouse with a stockade on the property and it became historically known as Ashcraft Fort. The fort was built on the same plan as other early forts. The second story projected out over the lower story so that if the Indians tried to fire the building, they could be shot from above through the loopholes. It was a place of refuge from marauding Indians. The fort was built on the west side of Laurel Mountain, on a hill commanding a view from the mountains to the Monongahela River and from Cheat Hills to the north. There was a spring nearby which is reported to still exist. In the tax rolls of 1 October 1798, it is recorded that Ichabod had a dwelling 28' by 22' with an outhouse, both built of "loggs" on an acre and a half, valued at $130. The second assessment of lands (in the same year) records that he also had a "small barn" and 199 acres valued at $1393.
The old Catawba or Cherokee Indian Trail, originally a part of Braddock's Road ran nearby the fort. This trail ran from Florida north through Georgia, Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York to Canada. The Indian trails became the traders' traces which in time became roads and turnpikes, and then railroads.
Ichabod and his companions traversed those trails and went also from the mountains to the sea. Salt was an important necessity to early settlers. They filled pack trains with furs and ginseng roots and after seeding time each year made a pilgrimage to the sea. Discovery of salt springs on the Kanawha River freed that part of the west from the long journeys. Family lore tells how the Ashcraft men went with gunny sacks to hunt ginseng, and how they used it to trade for their necessities.
Mt. Moriah Baptist Church (near the present day Smithfield, Fayette Co., PA) records show that Ichabod and Rachel Ashcraft were approved into the church by experience. Just nine months later, the church minutes, dated June 12, 1790, show an accusation made against Mr. Ichabod Ashcraft that he "drank to excess several times and in particular at a burying on May 22 last. This left as stands to see if his future conduct will be better." We are left to wonder who died in May, but that may have been an excuse to indulge, because his problems continued. A number of complaints were lodged against Brother Ashcraft of drunkenness, abusive language and fighting, until finally, in 1803 he was denied communion.
Rachel applied for a letter of dismission September 9, 1809, and it was granted.
Sometime between the time the census of 1803 was taken and the time Daniel was appointed to settle his estate, Ichabod died. On March 14, 1804, his son Daniel was appointed by the court to settle the property of Ichabod, who had died intestate. The tax assessments of 1804 list Buffalo Pastures under Rachel Ashcraft, but in 1805 it was listed under Daniel's name.
Whatever Ichabod's faults, his contribution to the making of this new nation cannot be denied. His bravery and leadership in all the contemporary battles of the time and his courage in pushing forward the frontier are not to be questioned.
The Ashcraft Family, by Martha Ashcraft Neal, 1994
They settled in Sleepy Creek, WV, in Berkley County, and were the parents of eight children, when in 1774, due to increasing Indian raids which brought death and horror to the whole frontier, Governor Dunmore organized forces to attack the Indians west of the Ohio River. Andrew Lewis was placed in command and Ichabod and his brother, Daniel, were quick to join a force of about 800 men who marched to Point Pleasant, where, at daybreak on the morning of October 10th, they were attacked. The ensuing battle was one of the fiercest and most bloody in the annals of Indian warfare. Lewis led his men with uncommon skill and courage to defeat Chief Cornstalk. As a far-reaching consequence, there was peace with the Indians for the first three years of the Revolution, along the whole American frontier. Ichabod's brother, Daniel, was among the eighty-one Virginians who lost their lives in the conflict, having been shot by an Indian sharpshooter. Ichabod survived to later join the Westmoreland Militia as a captain during the Revolution.
Fifth Series PA Archives, Vol IV, page 428: Ichabod Ashcraft, Captain, Westmoreland County Militia Continental Line of PA, 1778-1783.
DAR Patriot Index, Vol II, p. 7.
War Record Certificates #8143, 8145, issued to Ichabod on December 21, 1783 specifying he performed patriotic service during the Revolutionary War.
Information obtained from PA Archives, Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17120.
Interest Register, Vol. A., p. 248 -- Militia Loans of 1784-1785.
Father: Daniel ASHCRAFT b: 14 AUG 1698 in Stonington, CT
Mother: Elizabeth LEWIS b: 1702 in WV
Sarah Elizabeth COLEMAN b: ABT. 1733 in WV
RACHEL b: ABT. 1737 in Berkeley Co. Virginia Territory
- Daniel ASHCRAFT b: 1761 in Berkeley Co. Virginia Territory
- Ephriam ASHCRAFT b: 1763
- Jacob ASHCRAFT b: 1764
- Jediah ASHCRAFT b: 1766
- Rachel ASHCRAFT b: 1768
- Sarah ASHCRAFT b: 1770
- Elizabeth ASHCRAFT b: 1772
- Hannah ASHCRAFT b: 1775
- Felix ASHCRAFT b: 1785
- Nimrod ASHCRAFT b: 1786