m. ABT 1702
m. est. 1730
Facts and Events
John Painter was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
Acquisition of Land in Virginia
Records of John Painter
Account of Indian Massacre at Mill Creek
The Germans in the Shenandoah had lived in peaceful coexistence with the few remaining natives for a dozen years. Suddenly in 1753 the remaining natives withdrew over the mountains to the west. The settlers understood this was a bad omen. The French and Indian conflict exploded into war March 28, 1754. Three years later the natives who had vanished from the Shenandoah sent their warriors back to raid the settlements. The many steep narrow canyons leading from the mountains into the Valley made it vulnerable.
German immigrants George and John Bender made their homes in the canyon of Stoney Creek on the western slope of the Great Northern Mountains. They tilled their land without hired hands. They ran their own mills and did their own smithing--supplying the labor from within their large families. They began to use the anglicized (phonetic equivalent) name "Painter."
In 1758 a raiding party of fifty Shawnee and four Frenchmen swooped down the canyon of Mill Creek toward George Painter's log house. George gathered his family of nine into his cellar. Forty of his frightened neighbors crowded in as well while two of his sons ran for the ridge to find a better hiding place.
The attack was swift and brutal. George was shot in the back three times trying to escape. The others quickly surrendered and watched as the raiders stripped the dwellings of all worthwhile items and tossed George's body inside the house. The rest of the family were pushed aside as the house was torched. Those who lived to tell the tale said that while the house burned the warriors wrenched four infants away from their mothers and hung them in trees and held a marksmanship contest untill all the babies had been shot dead. Then they set fire to the stables killing the sheep and calves, after which they rounded up forty eight prisoners, including George's wife, five daughters and one son.
Later that night one of the sons of George who had hidden, crept out under cover of darkness and, a long with a neighbor boy, ran barefoot in shirt and trousers fifteen miles to the nearest fort, Fort Keller for aid. The Fort dispatched a small party to rescue but when they learned the size of the raiding party, turned around and fled.
The Painter children and neighbors were led by the captors over the mountains out of Virginia. They walked for six days to reach their captors' village in the Ohio territory. On arrival one of the boys was tortured to death. Mrs. Painter and her children were kept in captivity three years. In 1760 all but three daughters were released. It was said that one of the women returned with an infant son, conceived with a 'distinguished chief.' Of the Painter women who stayed with the tribe in Ohio, one was the youngest, Mary, who was nine years old. Fifteen years later 24-year-old Mary finally returned to virginia after eighteen years of captivity./p>
The sons of George went to live with their uncle Mathias in Timberville and when the youngest son, Adam returned from captivity he went to live with kinfolk in Timberville also. The Painter home and barn was rebuilt of stone and named Fort Painter. A stone dwelling and barn replaced the log structures. The buildings were inter-connected and fortified. See reference (3)
The Painter family nevertheless survived and grew. Along with cousins in Timberville and those who migrated south to Botetourt County, many became pioneers in Ohio after the Revolution.
Estate Records of John Painter