Person:James Ewing (5)

Capt. James Ewing, of Jackson River
b.1720 Scotland
  • HCapt. James Ewing, of Jackson River1720 - ABT 1800
  • WSarah Maysest 1720/24 -
m. bef. 1742
  1. Jeanet Ann Ewing1742 - 1817
  2. Capt. John 'Indian John' Ewing1747 - 1824
  3. Elizabeth EwingABT 1750 -
  4. Susan Jean EwingABT 1753 -
  5. William 'Swago Bill' Ewing1756 - 1822
  • HCapt. James Ewing, of Jackson River1720 - ABT 1800
  • WSarah EdwardsBef 1743 -
m. 1761
  1. Robert EwingEst 1761-1775 -
  2. Sarah 'Sallie' EwingEst 1761-1775 -
  3. Edward EwingEst 1761-1775 -
  4. Mary EwingEst 1761-1775 -
  5. James EwingEst 1761-1775 -
Facts and Events
Name[1] Capt. James Ewing, of Jackson River
Alt Name James Ewing, of Pocohontas and Greenbrier County, Virginia
Gender Male
Birth[1] 1720 Scotland
Marriage bef. 1742 to Sarah Mays
Marriage 1761 Virginiato Sarah Edwards
Death[1] ABT 1800 Bath County, Virginia
Will[2] 1801 Bath County, VirginiaInventory filed

James Ewing was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia


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Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA

Acquisition of Land in Virginia:

  • Page 277 - James Ewing, 370 acres, Locust Bottom, Greenbrier River. October 22, 1751. [Abstract of Land Grant Surveys, 1761-1791, Augusta & Rockingham Counties, Virginia, by Peter Cline Kaylor, pg. 94].

Estate Inventory

  • Pg. 202 - Inventory - James Ewing.
Submitted by James Waddell, Alexander Waddell and Joshua Buckley.
sworn before Thomas Gatewood, July 14, 1801.
1 horse, saddle, shotgun, shot bag, tools, accounts with William Salberry, Thomas Ccchran, John Duffel and James Searight.
[Abstract of Wills and Inventories of Bath County, 1791-1842, Bruns, pg. 25].

Records in Augusta County, VA

From Chalkley’s Augusta County Records:

  • Page 493.--11th June, 1751. William Jackson's appraisement by Ralph Laverty, George Wilson, Archibald Elliott. Note of James Ewin, Charles Whitacre, Lofftus Poland. Cash recovered by James Lockridge; cash recovered by Adam Dickinson; by John Ward; by Robert Armstrong; by Thomas Thompson.
  • Page 41.--22d November, 1751. Jeremiah Chamberlain of York Co., Pennsylvania, to John Neeley, 400 arres, branches of James; patented to Jeremiah, 12th February, 1742. Teste: James Ewing.
  • Vol. 1 - MAY 24, 1762. - (253) James Ewing qualified Captain of Militia.
  • Vol. 1 - FEBRUARY 21, 1763. - (2) James Ewing vs. John Jones } Israel Christian, Gabriel Jones, Peter Hog, John Madison, John Bowyer and Daniel Smith--special bail.
  • Vol. 1 - APRIL 15, 1765. - (334) Court of Claims and Grievances. Robert Bratton, claim for provisions for militia. James Kenaday, sergeant, for self and others, ranging. John Dunlop, provisions. John Dicksin, provisions. James Ewing, provisions. Hugh Fulton, provisions. Saml. McCutcheon, provisions.
  • Page 286.--15th October, 1765. John Jameson and Mary ( ), late of the County of Augusta, to Archibald Armstrong, £50. 280 acres on Jackson's River; corner land in possession of James Ewing patented to John Jamison, 26th September, 1760. Teste: Charles Teas, David Bell, John Ward.
  • Page 330.--30th May, 1767. Archibald Armstrong, Sr., and Margaret to Robert Armstrong, Sr., £100, 280 acres on Jackson's River, corner land in possession of James Ewing.
  • Page 33.--13th August, 1767. Charles Lockhart's estate appraisement, by James Ewing et als--To James Ward, Sr.
  • Page 55.--13th November, 1767. Martha Patterson's estate appraised (by James Ewing, John McPheeters, James McCleerey. John McCleere).
  • Page 310.--14th December, 1767. James Ewing (Ervin) to Israel Christian, £10, spotted cow bought from Wm. Davis in Forks of James River, one bay horse called Terrible bought from Edward Sharp, one bay mare bought of Abraham McClellon, 1 rifle with brass mountings.
  • Vol. 1 - MARCH 17, 1768. - (512) Hemp certifrcates Thomas Stuart, James Ewing, James Greenlee, Rob. Breckenridge.
  • Vol. 1 - MARCH, 1769 (A). - James Ewings vs. John Thompson.--To your promise to pay me for your Brother Robert.
  • Page 331.--3d August, 1770. John Brown's estate, appraised by James Ewing, William McPheeters, John Buchanan.
  • Page 1.--19th November, 1774. David Cunningham's will--To wife, Ann, executrix; to son, David, executor; to son, Patrick, 1 shilling; to son, William, 1 shilling; to daughter, Ann, 1 shilling; to daughter, Mary, 1 shilling; to John, David, James, Alexander, Jane, Sarah, all estate. Teste: James Ewing, Capt. James Ewing. Proved, 17th March, 1778, by the witnesses. Executor qualified.
  • Page 481.--4th June, 1775. Robert Campbell's will, farmer--To wife, Sarah, executrix, 390 acres home plantation; Hugh Fulton, son-in-law, executor; to daughter, Mary Richey, daughter Martha Kennedy; to daughter, Sarah Fulton; to Rebecca Crawford, daughter of James Crawford and Isabella Crawford, daughter of testator; to Isabella Crawford, daughter to George and Isabella above; to James Crawford's second wife, 5 shillings to be paid each by Isabella and Rebecca when they come of age; to daughter, Mary Richey, Wm. Kennady, and Hugh Fulton. (Date at end is 4th July, 1775.) Teste: Pat. Buchanan, James Ewing, James Burnsides, Mathew Wilson. Proved, 18th March, 1777, by Buchanan and Wilson. Executors qualified.
  • Vol. 1 - MAY, 1779 (F). - John Clark vs. James Ewing.--Writ, 18th September, 1777. Defendant lives in Botetourt.
  • Vol. 1 - MAY 20, 1779. - (585) James Ewing, returned no inhabitant. (Note: James Ewing was probably in Botetourt).
  • Page 113.--31st March, 1785. Patrick Cunningham and Jane, of Wilks County, Georgia, to John and David Cunningham. power attorney to convey tract which belonged to Alexander Cunningham in his lifetime to James Ewing. Teste: Alexander McNutt, Wm. Hamilton, Med. Wood. Acknowledged before Wilks County Court 21st March, 1785, signed George Dalton, Chief Justice of Georgia. Attest: Benj. Catching. C. W. C.
  • Page 454.--12th June, 1786. Doctor John Jackson, of Washington County, Maryland, to Cap. John and David Cunningham, power of attorney to settle all claims and demands in Augusta County. Teste: James Ewing, Lettice Cunningham.

Biography of James Ewing

James Ewing of Pocohontas County, Virginia (From Article written by Dr. Alvin Enoch Ewing (1864-1945), written about 1936)

The exact year of James Ewing's birth is not at present known, nor do we know exactly the year he came to America. He was the first American ancestor of our Ewing line. Grandfather Enoch Ewing never saw his Ewing grandparents. A few facts about them has been handed down to him and these he handed down the line. He said Grandfather James was born in the north of Ireland, but of Scotch parents, and that he came to Virginia when a young man and soon after married an Irish girl whose name he did not remember but though lived to a ripe old age. James had two boys and three girls, John was born in 1747 and William in 1756. One of the girls Jean, married Moses Moore as late as 1786. Elizabeth married George Daugherty and is said to have moved to Tennessee. The other daughter, Ann, must have been older than her brothers for, in 1763 when her brother was but sixteen, she was the wife of Archibald Clendennen and the mother of three or four children. History records that in July 1763 the Shawnee Indians of what is now Ohio raided the Virginia settlements on the Greenbrier River, killed Clendennen, two little boys, and took prisoners Ann (Ewing) Clendennen, her little girl, Jane, her little boy Johnny and her brother John who was at that time living with the Clendennens. It was this tragic incident that helped fix matters in grandfather's mind and it was one of his stock stories, although it happened thirty six years before he was born. Since it belongs to our Ewing history, the story may well be related briefly here.
Ann (Ewing) Clendennen escaped from the Indians the first night of their march back to Ohio. She made her way back to the ashes of her home, buried the dead and started back to the older settlements east of the Allegheny mountains. She came near losing her mind, but recovered and lived to marry again. Her infant was killed by the Indians after her escape from them. Her daughter Jane, three or four years old, was taken by the Indians into the Ohio country and there adopted into a tribe of Delawares where she remained a captive for nearly two years. Her little boy Johnny was killed by the Indians after reaching Ohio to settle a quarrel between two squaws as to which of them should have him.
John Ewing, brother of Ann Clendennen, and uncle of Enoch Ewing was adopted into a tribe of Shawnee Indians in Ohio and remained a captive with them for nearly two years. He and his niece Jane were liberated at the same time and returned to Virginia. Jane grew up and married John Davis in Virginia and had a family.
John Ewing later married Ann Smith in Virginia and raised a large family of ten children. In 1802 John moved with his family to Gallia County, Ohio and settle on lands over which he had been when an Indian captive. His Indian captivity made John conspicuous in his day. He came to be called "Indian John".
What we know of John Ewing and his sister, Ann Clendennen, helps us to approximate the age of their father James and the date of his coming to Virginia. If Ann had four children in 1763 when John, her oldest brother, was sixteen, she must have been at least six years his senior, even if she married young. This would place her birth at about 1741. If she were the oldest of James's children and I believe she was, we can estimate that James was married about 1740. Then applying grandfather Enoch's story that his grandfather James came to this country a young man and soon after married, if we allow that James was at least twenty when he married, it would place his birth year at about 1720, and his coming to Virginia in about 1740.
Many attempts have been made to connect James Ewing with other well known Ewing's who came to America much earlier than 1740, but there is nothing yet to prove the relationship, whatever it may have been. Scotland was full of Ewings: as protestants and non-conformists, many of them fled from Scotland for safety, taking refuge in the northern counties of Ireland - Antrim, Londonderry and Donegal; they were known to be there prior to 1690. For the next thirty or forty years, the Scotch-Irish (Scotchmen born in Ireland) flocked to America, and among them were several Ewings who landed at various points along the Atlantic seaboard at different times. They were doubtless related to each other as fathers, sons, uncles, cousins, and nephews. Just what degree of relationship and of these bore to our James is not yet known, and the chances are good that it will never be known. The fact that James did not come over until about 1740, leads me to think that he came alone and that he left his parents --dead or alive-- in Ireland.
It has also been claimed by some that our James Ewing was a soldier of the Revolution, that he was a captain, and that he fought at the battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina in 1780. In my opinion these claims are unfounded. I have been unable, after years of research, to find a single proof of any such claim or claims. There was another James Ewing in Virginia during the Revolutionary period who was a soldier, and the names become confused. Besides this, grandfather Enoch Ewing stated time and again that he never knew of his grandfather's being a Revolutionary soldier. Had he been, I am sure that the fact would have been talked about and handed down to his grand children. Moreover, he was at least sixty years of age in 1780. Another claim that has been made is that James Ewing's wife was Margaret Sargeant. Although I have heretofore spread the statement as fact, I do not believe it was an error due to confusion over the two James Ewing's who lived in Virginia.
We do not know when James Ewing died or whether he lived to see the Revolution. A few facts have been gleaned from records. In 1760, James Ewing appears to have owned 254 acres on the upper waters of Jackson River where it is joined by Muddy Run in which is now Bath County, Virginia. To the best of my judgement, this is where James Ewing raised his family of three girls and two boys. If you will turn to your map of Virginia and West Virginia, you will see that the two states are separated by the Allegheny divide. Jackson River is east of the divide, while Greenbrier River is west of the divide. The two rivers parallel each other and are scarcely more than twenty-five miles apart--as the crow flies. Apparently James sold this land, just when we do not know, but ten years later, in 1770, we find him selling land over on the west side of the divide, on Ewing's Creek (now called Knapps Creek) to one Moses Moore of Ewing (Knapp) Creek. If you find Buckeye marked on you map, that is the closest point to the old William Ewing home and the old Thomas McNeill settlement. Another small branch of the Greenbrier is a little north of Marlinton, is Stony Creek and it was upon this creek that John Ewing (Indian John) settled and raised his family. We also know that Ann Ewing Clendennin's home was in Greenbrier County, some 20 miles south of Buckeye. We also know that Jean (Jane) Ewing became the second wife of Moses Moore in 1786. The other daughter, Elizabeth, married George Daugherty--presumably there in Greenbrier County, and it is said they moved to Kentucky, so have no trace of their family, if they had one. It seems to me therefore, that there can be no doubt that James Ewing and his entire family left their Jackson River home sometime prior to 1770, but subsequent to 1763, and settled in Greenbrier County west of the mountain divide. At what point and in what years James Ewing and his wife died, we do not know, but it is my opinion that they both died in Greenbrier County after the Revolution. Enoch Ewing, born in 1799, stated that he never saw either of his Ewing grandparents.
Now comes another bit of interesting news which prompted me to write this sketch. In the December 24, 1936, issue of the Pocahontas Times appears an article of considerable interest to those interested in our Ewing family history. From it appears that the lands once owned by James Ewing on Ewing Creek were included in a grant of lands surveyed October 11, 1751 for General Andrew Lewis. The grant of lands was not actually completed until June 2, 1780, when Thomas Jefferson, then Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, executed the conveyance. It included 480 acres at the mouth of "Ewens Creek". It commences "Beginning at three white oaks near the east side of Ewens Creek. Then it runs this way and that from one tree to another, and ends up thence north 48 E 240 poles crossing Ewens house to the beginning". This doubtless had reference to James Ewing's cabin. If the house was there in 1751 when the original survey was made, it suggest that James Ewing may have "Squatted" there prior to 1751. It is my private opinion that James Ewing was very much a hunter, and that he may have established hunting and trapping headquarters on "Ewens Creek", spending much of his time there, while his family still remained on Jackson River.
The reason for my thinking that the James Ewing house was maintained on Jackson River to a later period is that when Ann Ewing Clendennen escaped from the Indians in the summer of 1763, in Greenbrier County, she made her way back to the old settlements on Jackson River. It would have been much nearer to "Ewens Creek" if her folks had been living there at that time. Again when John Ewing was liberated from the Ohio Shawnees in 1765, he returned to his old home and was greeted by his sister. I feel certain that this was the old Jackson River home.
General Andrew Lewis was of the famous Lewis family who also came to Virginia from the north of Ireland. They were land "boomers" and induced many Scotch-Irish to emigrate to America. I suspect they were the cause of James Ewing coming to Virginia. Each of James Ewing sons--John and William-- had a son named Andrew, and I am disposed to think they were named Andrew in honor of Gen. Andrew Lewis.
Both John and William Ewing raised large families. John moved to Gallia County, Ohio in 1802, and William moved to the same county in 1810.
This is for your Ewing historical file.
Dr. Alvin Enoch Ewing


From "The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography" - Volume 9, By Virginia Historical Society, William Glover Stanard, pg. 215:

Ewing Family—I beg to call your attention to some of the questions 1 sent you some time ago, concerning the Ewings of Virginia, and with special reference to the record of James Ewing, the grandfather of Enoch Ewing, whose cut appears above. I have been trying hard for a long time to locate the county that James lived in in Virginia, but I have been so far unable to do so. Enoch Ewing, the above, and all his brothers were born in Greenbrier county, but I think the boundaries of that county have materially changed since that time, 1790-1810. Enoch Ewing told me he was born in Bath county, now Pocahontas county, West Virginia. All the other records have that the children were born in Greenbrier county. Enoch's father, William, was called "SwagoBill," because he lived on a creek by that name. I have located Swago creek in Pocahontas county, West Virginia, not far from Buckeye. This "Swago Bill" had a brother John, who left a will devising certain " lands in Bath county," on " Strong's creek, a branch of the Green- brier." Now according to the present boundaries, I cannot make out that any branch of the Greenbrier touches any part of Bath county, all of which leads me to think that perhaps, formerly, the boundaries of Bath county took in some part or all of the present county of Pocahontas. Have you any information at hand concerning the organization of these counties, and whether or not as a matter of fact there is a " Strong's creek, a branch of the Greenbrier, "and whether or not Pocahontas was once a part of Bath, or of Greenbrier. I told you in my former letter about a record of land grant to James Ewing and Francis McNutt recorded in the land office at Richmond. This deed describes land as lying in Green- brier county, and the land lies upon the waters of Indian creek and Turkey creek. I have been unable to find either of these creeks within the present bounds of Greenbrier county, but through a correspondent in Monroe county, West Virginia, I am informed that Indian and Turkey creeks are in that county a few miles south of Union, not far from VVtl- lowbend. This leads me to think that Monroe county was once a part of Greenbrier county. Am I correct ? I am trying to run the matter back in hopes that we may find out something more definite about James Ewing, the father of " Swago Bill." I think he came from Scotland or the north of Ireland; he is said to have married after he came to this country, and one tradition has it that he married Margaret Sargeant. Another tradition says he was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and received a grant of land by reason of it; if so, that must be a matter of record somewhere. I think he was something of a backwoodsman, or rather a frontiersman, which would be borne out by the tradition that he followed and captured or killed the outlaws who stole his rifle. If you have run across anything that throws any light upon these questions, I would greatly appreciate the information. Another point that might be of assistance in identifying the region where these people lived is that an older sister of the aforesaid William and John was Mrs. Clendenen. Her husband was killed by the Indians in one of their raids, and she and the aforesaid John were taken prisoners. Mrs. Clendenen escaped, but her baby was brutally murdered, and John was detained by the Indians several years, in fact he was adopted by the tribe, and although he was afterwards given up, and returned to his settlement and married an Irish woman, his descendants to this day distinguish him from all other John Ewings by the title " Indian John." We know enough of his history to make quite an article, and if you think it would be interesting to your subscribers, and a matter worth preservation, I might at some time in the future furnish you with the story.

Additional Sources

"Captain James Ewing", p. 611, Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County []

The Ewing family of Pocahontas County and vicinity was founded by James Ewing, born near Londonderry, Ireland, of Scotch parents, about 1720. He came to Virginia as a young man, and there married Margaret Sargent, of Irish birth, who bore him live children: Jennie, who married Clendennnin, Susan who married Moses Moore, Elizabeth who married George Dougherty, John, and William. John was born in 1747. At the time of the Clendennin massacre in Greenbrier County, John, a mere lad, was taken prisoner by the Indians, and carried into the Ohio country. There he was adopted into an Indian tribe, baptized according to Indian custom, and given an Indian name. But John's Scotch-Irish blood was not easily converted to Indian, and when a returning party of warriors brought back as a curiosity an English Bible, he explained to them that it was the word of God. The Indians asked whether his God was an Indian or a white man, and when John answered that he was a white man, they would no longer listen to his reading the book.
Captain James Ewing, the founder of these families, died probably about the year 1800. He was captain of a company of militia in Augusta County during the Revolutionary war, and tradition asserts that he received a large tract of land in consideration of his services. Tradition makes him the hero of more than one occasion. One of especial interest is told of how he captured an outlaw by the name of Shockley, who was a terror to the country, and who had stolen James' rifle from ever his cabin door. His descendants have reached to the eighth generation, and numerically have reached into the thousands. His Highland Scotch instinct made him to prefer the mountains to the plains, and it is probable that in his mountain home, surrounded by the perils of pioneer life, beset on the one hand by wild animals, and on the other by savage Indians, he found life quite to his liking.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kathy Vaughan Brisbin. Brisbin email. (email to Thomas F. Ewing, 10/19/1997).
  2. Sproul, William III. Early Ewing Families of Augusta County, Virginia.

    James Ewing, born in 1721 and an early settler of Pocahontas County, was the fifth child of John Ewing of Carnashannagh, Ireland, and his second wife Janett McElvaney. His brother John had a son, Joshua, who also settled nearby on land originally assigned to his uncle James. The background of the John of Carnashannagh family is well documented in Evelyn (Jones) Ewing's Ewings of Shenandoah Valley Virginia,[4],[5] and more detail of this family is presented in Margaret Ewing Fife's Ewing in Early America.[6]

    James Ewing was an early pioneer in the Jackson River and Greenbrier River areas of what is now western Virginia and West Virginia. His earliest recorded date is for a land survey, 254 acres on the Jackson River at Muddy Run in 1746, so he must have been there by then, but probably not long before as that area was just being surveyed and opened following a 30,000-acre grant to Andrew and Thomas Lewis in 1743. James later moved about nineteen miles further west to settle and establish the name of Ewing Creek (now known as Knapps Creek). He is noted in a 1751 survey there with a call "over the top of Ewing's house." This is in the area near today's town of Marlinton in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.

    In 1770, James turned over his claim to Moses Moore for a steel trap and ₤2. This is the last known transaction involving James Ewing. His inventory was filed in 1801 in Bath County so he lived to eighty years of age. His inventory included only a horse, gun, saddle, and some clothes and blankets. His children were by then grown and long off on their own.