Foreman’s Massacre Remembered

Foreman's Massacre Memorial
Foreman’s Massacre Memorial

The Fort Henry Chapter and the Wheeling Chapter, DAR presented a memorial service on September 1, 2017 at the Foreman’s Massacre monument in McMechen, WV to mark the 240th anniversary of the event. Participating were McMechen mayor Gregg Wolfe, Central District VPG Robert B. Fish, Jr., WVSSAR president Bill Lester, Debi Smith, regent, Wheeling DAR and Jay Frey, president Fort Henry Chapter. Special guests included descendants of Foreman’s company including compatriots Donald Brown (Capt. James Neal Chapter) and Rick Greathouse (Daniel Boone Chapter). Twelve color guardsmen representing WVSSAR chapters Daniel Boone, Fort Henry, Capt. James Neal, Point Pleasant and Capt. Ralph Stewart together with Ebenezer Zane Chapter, OHSSAR and George Washington Chapter, PASSAR presented the colors and fired a musket salute. Wreaths were presented at the monument.

Foreman's Massacre Memorial Color Guard
Color Guard, L to R:
David Ervin (Ft. Henry Chapter); Bob Tomlinson (Ebenezer Zane, OHSSAR); Ted Cox and Ron Barnes (Capt. James Neal Chapter); Larry Perkins (Ebenezer Zane Chapter, OHSSAR); Bob Grumbling, Randy McGill and Ed Cromley, WVSSAR color guard commander (Point Pleasant Chapter); Jay Frey (Ft. Henry Chapter); Rick Greathouse (Daniel Boone Chapter); Bill Lester, WVSSAR president (Capt. Ralph Stewart Chapter); Gary Timmons (George Washington Chapter, PASSAR).

On September 27, 1777 at 11:00 a.m. a company of 46 militia under the command of Captain William Foreman and Captain Joseph Ogle were ambushed in the Narrows on the Ohio River above Grave Creek by a party of 50 Native American warriors led by Half King, a Wyandot chief. Twenty-one of the 46 men were killed including Captain Foreman and his two sons. This event has become known as Foreman’s Massacre.

Ft Henry Chapter SAR Compatriots
Fort Henry Chapter members, L to R: president Jay Frey, Ed Phillips, vice president David McIntire, chaplain Tim Spence, genealogist Gary Auber, David Ervin, Gary Timmons

Captain Foreman and his 24-member militia had come from Hampshire County to join General Edward Hand at Fort Pitt. The company was dispatched by General Hand to reinforce Fort Henry after Wyandot, Shawnee and Mingo warriors had besieged the fort in early September. After several weeks at Fort Henry, Captain Foreman and his men, along with Captain Joseph Ogle and his 10 militiamen, and Captain William Lynn and his nine men set forth to reconnoiter the area south of Wheeling as far as Captina, 18 miles from Wheeling. Their objective was to locate any Native American war parties remaining in the area after the failure of the first siege of Fort Henry.

Foreman's Massacre Memorial
L to R: Ed Cromley, Jay Frey, McMechen mayor Gregg Wolfe, VPG Bob Fish, WVSSAR president Bill Lester

Reaching Grave Creek, the party found the settlement there burnt and no canoes for their return to Wheeling. Captains Foreman and Ogle, ignoring the advice of the more experienced Captain Lynn, chose to make their return marching along the river, while Lynn and his men traveled along the ridges above the river. Half King set a trap by leaving trinkets along the river path, attacking when Foreman and Ogle’s company stopped to examine them. Captain Lynn and his men rushed down the hill toward the ambush, giving the impression of a much larger force of militia and hence dispersing the warriors. Days later a party from Fort Henry returned to lay the fallen to rest in two common graves. A monument was placed at the site, which was removed in 1875 to Rose Hill Cemetery. The present monument was placed by the Wheeling Chapter, DAR in 1927, to mark the 150th anniversary of the massacre.

Foreman's Massacre Memorial
Bob Fish addressing audience