Bell Anthology - Thomas McGuire

The Raymond M. Bell Anthology

Thomas McGuire of Independence Township,
Washington County, Penna.
According to the Draper manuscripts 2E6 and 16S293 at Madison, Wisconsin, Thomas McGuire moved from Hampshire County, (West) Virginia to Pennsylvania in 1772. His son Hugh, said "he came early from Ireland" and married in Hampshire County. Thomas settled at what is now the village of Independence (Independence - earlier Hopewell - Township( at the (West) Virginia border. He and sons, Francis and Robert, were granted Virginia certificates December 14-1779 for land on Buffalo Creek. Francis' land was across the border in (West) Virginia.

Thomas McGuire died in 1793. His estate settlement includes a bill from a neighbor, Baldwin Parsons, dated April 1-1773. His will mentions land in Hampshire County. His estate settlement lists a subscription to Joseph Doddridge, Episcopal clergyman, and money for a new Episcopal church.

The Draper Mss 2E6 lists Francis as a major in the militia. He bought land in Pennsylvania form the Benjamin Wells estate, and had several land grants in Pennsylvania. His1820 will, recorded in Brooke County, West Virginia, names his half-brothers and some nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces. He is listed as a constable in Pennsyvania 1793-94., a justice in Brooke County in 1797. He sold his Pennsylvania land 1801-6. He had no children.

When Thomas moved to Pennsylvania in 1772, his oldest son, Willima, already married, stayed in Hampshire County, where he died in 1789. Son, Robert McGuire, is listed in court records as early 1777. In 1778 he was a private in Captain Joseph Ogle's company. An administration bond for his estate was issued September 30-1782 to Robert's wife, Elizabeth, and his brother, francis. At the sale October 28-1782, Thomas, Francis and William are listed. William may have been on a visit.

     THOMAS McGUIRE born c1723 Ireland, died Hopewell (now Independence) Twp 1794 - 
          to Pa 1772 - m1 c1747 ---, m2 1779 widow Mary Randles, she was living in Brooke Co 
          in 1810. 
     1. William b c1748 d Dec 2-1789 Hampshire Co m1 ---, m2 Rachel --- she d Jun 14-1793 
             Children: Thomas, James c1773-1800 Hopewell Twp m Dec 14-1797 Margaret Smith, 
                            Margaret, Nancy m Nov 16-1797 Benjamin Gossage, Robert, Francis, Mary, Annis 
     2. Francis b c1752 d 1820 Brooke Co m Barbara Miller d 1836 
     3. Robert b c1756 d 1782 m. Elizabeth --- 
              Children: Thomas b c1776 d young, William b c1778 bought land 1802, Robert b c1780 
                            bought land 1802 m Jemima McCormick - in Brooke Co 1810 
     4. Nancy b c1760 
     5. Thomas b c1780 m Jane ---, sold land 1802 to William and Robert - Hopewell Twp 1811 
     6. Elizabeth b c1782 
     7. John b c1784 d 1834 Hopewell Twp m Catherine --- 
              Children: John, thomas, Hugh, Margaret, Benjamine, Letitia, Mary 
     8. Hugh b aug 14-1786 m Mary ---, left 1810, in Richland Co, Ohio 1844, in Milton Twp, 

Ashland Co, Ohio when interviewed by Lyman Draper in 1860, see his report below:

Thomas McGuire came early from Ireland and settled on South Branch of Potomac and there married. Hunted there several times with George Washington on bear hunts while out surveying, Washinngton was very penurious in personal expenses, but generout to the needy. Washington,, James Parsons and John McCormick brought up a negro to keep camp, while making an autumnal bear hunt in the mountains of Hampshire County. There Francis McGuire was born in 1755 (sic) and was raised and Robert McGuire in 1760 (sic) - the boys being William, Francis, Robert, (Thomas), Hugh and John and several girls.

In 1772 Thomas McGuire and family settled on the dividing ridge between Cross Creek and Buffalo, just in the edge now Hopewell Twp, Washington Co. Here erected a block- house - McGuire's - the first in all that region. Francis when quite young went back to South Branck and married and settled on Buffalo Waters, 5 miles from the Ohio and 8 miles from the mouth of Buffalo - in the edge of Virginia - there erected a fort called McGuire's Fort and commanded there.

In 1772 (likely later) Thomas McGuire, his son, Francis McGuire, Luke and Isaac Schemerhorn and one other, while camped at the Big Mound at Grave Creek - making tomahawk improvements - the McGuires and the other person left for home, leaving the Schemerhorns in camp, who remained to further improve and take care of their claims, when one afternoon some Indians stole up and fired at them, killing Isaac and so cutting off all chance to retreat, that Luke Schemerhorn surrendered himself. He had tied around him a very nice belt and an Indian untied it and commenced unwrapping it, when Schemerhorn darted off, leaving the Indian grasping the belt and being fleet of foot, he escaped.

He was subsequently on the Moravian campaign and favored killing the Moravian Indians.


During a summer night about 1778, the horses aroung McGuire's Block-house were heard running around, jungling their bells, as if greatly alarmed. Next morning 2 horses were missing - one was Robert's - brother of Francis McGuire. Robert started off alone to see what he could descover, when Simon Girty darted from behind a large root of an upturned tree and jumped upon his back and held him fast.

When an Indian the other side of the root struck at McGuire with his tomahawk, McGuire threw up his right hand to protect his head and received a severe wound in the palm of his hand. Girty baade the Indian desist and tied his prisoner with tugs. They now let the horses loose, which they had tied with bark, having only caught them so as to entrap whoever might follow after. They now directed their course to the mouth of Cross Creek, where the Indians had a bark canoe, in which they with their prisoner descended to Ohio to McMahon'c Creek and up that stream to its head.

There they got a cub bear and pushed on about a mile, up a hollow, at a spring, where the Indian who had appropiated to himself McGuire's fine new rifle and thrown his almost worthless musket into the Ohio. He had stood the rifle against a tree and was digging out the spring, while Girty had gone back to bring up the cub. When McGuire who had on moccasins cocked the gun with the toe of his foot and seized the rifle and as he was pinioned at the elbows could not raise up the gun so as to take aim - as the Indian was now drinking at the spring he had just cleared - fired aas well as he could and within a few feet and shot him in the neck. He bounded up and fell backwards. When McGuire seized the Indian's knnife and cut himself loose, reloaded his rifle, adjusting his powder horn and bullet pouch from the Indian's body and was prepared to meet Girty on equal footing. But Girty heard the report of the gun and suspecting what had happened, cleared himself..

McGuire took the Indian'a scalp, and went down opposite Wheeling and called over. He was suspected of being a decoy and so told, but he declared he was not, and said he was a brother of Frank McGuire and jad just escaped from captivity. Finally Colonel Zane said he would go alone and bring him over, but halloed to McGuire to wade in as far as he possibly could - he couldn't swin - and if he was discovered to be a decoy, that he, Zane, would shoot him. McGuire waded in as far as he could and was soon conveyed over in safety. This was in the morning. He had been taken the previous morning, killed the Indian near night of the same day and travelled all night to reach the Ohio opposite Wheeling.

Not long after a cow and calf missing, Robert McGuire went to a neighboring ridge, where he discovered two Indians and a negro, and all treed about the same moment. And as McGuire saw one of the Indians espose himself in peeping to discover his adversary, shot him in the breast, when the Indian clapped his hand to the wound nd then seized hold of the tree, leaving the print of his bloody hand there and soon fell over to the ground. McGuire began to reload, but the ball going down hard, to conclude to run for the blockhouse, which he did, chased by the surviving Indian, who shot at him as he jumped the fence. the ball passing through the folds of his linen hunting shirt. The Indian and negro now dissappeared.

When 19 years of age, Robert McGuire got married and in 1782, when out hunting on Virginia Cross Creek, about 4 miles above its mouth in a deep hole in the stream, where he used to swim in on horseback to get the ducks he had shot - in some way when alone by himself he got drowned. He left a wife and three children. He was very venturesome. He was on the Moravian expedition.

Colonel David Williamson lived on Buffalo Creek near Rice's Fort. On the Moravian campaign, intending to take the Moravian Indians to Pittsburgh, finding a good many pieces of women's clothing, it was put to vote and carried by six majority to kill them all. Francks McGuire strongly opposed it. His brotther, Robert, favored it. Major Francis McGuire said Colonel Williamson, who opposed it, had not determination enough in his character to exercise proper authority - hence the voting. An Indian boy came to Francis McGuire and clung tightly to his legs for protection, some 6 0r 8 years old. McGuire promised the whites, if they would let him have the boy, he would relinquish his share of the booty and pay $100 desides in money. The men seemed seized with a frenzy. They scouted the offer. When McGuire began to get excited by their want of humanity, toward said mere child, drew his knife and declared he would defend the boy. Some of the party rushed up and tomahawked the lad, the blood and brains flying over McGuire's clothes.

Then McGuire, sickened of such sights, went off into the bushed and discovered an old squaw creeping in the tall grass and bushed, in the edge of the river, with her head above the water. When someone of the friends discovered and shot her, the pall passing directly through both eyes. When she arose and held up her hands imploringly or in prayer - another shot quickly followed, which relieved her from her sufferings. There were 96 white altogether. Some Indians were near when the whites first appeared. Whites called them to come over the river and give themselves up. Some of them did and others ran off.

Major McGuire said he never should have gone on the expedition, had he anticipated the horrid result. Said to was the most affecting and heart-rendering sight. The whites used to say, :Frank McGuire cried for d--d Indians". He said he did not shed tears, but he confessed he felt bad enough to have done so.

This article was transcribed by Helen Durbin of Charleroi, PA in May 1998.

Raymond M. Bell Anthology     Genealogy in Washington Co., PA

Published with permission of Raymond M. Bell.