The most important facts about Joseph Conway have already been summarized in the story of his mother in chapter 2(?).? Let it be emphasized here that he was not scalped three times, an event that is not only extremely improbable but probably impossible.?The origin of this tale is unknown, but it was given nationwide publicity by Robert Ripley, who, when I was young, had a very popular daily column called "Believe It or Not" that ran in thousands of newspapers.?Most of what he printed was probably true, although much of it was unbelievable.?Many things that were true have been published about Joseph, and I shall include most of them, even though there will be much repetition.



Two pages that may be from the same source as the "Pohlman papers" of chapter 2(?) provide a good summary of his entire life.?There are several handwritten interpolations, which I shall tag with [square brackets].


??JOSEPH CONWAY, St Louis County


? Pioneer and Patriot


JOSEPH CONWAY, was born in Virginia in 1763 to John and Elizabeth Bridgewater Conway, his wife. At the age of about 14, with his family, Joseph moved to Kentucky, to a fort known as Ruddle's Station. Shortly after arriving, Joseph was caught by Indians, scalped and left for dead just outside the stockade where he was tending a small herd of cattle.?Brought into the stockade, his wounded head was treated to staunch the flow of blood, by using cob-webs, a common practice in those days.


Some time later the fort was subjected to a combined English and Indian attack by a party carrying a single canon. Unable to withstand an assault by the canon, the settlers agreed to surrender after receiving [from the English] promises of protection from the Indians.?The Indians however were not to be controlled and immediately attacked the settlers killing and scalping many.?Those left, including Joseph, were taken to Detroit where he remained for about four years as an adopted son of an Indian family who resided about 40 miles west.


Peace restored between the English and the Continental Army permitted Joseph to return with his family to Kentucky. There he promptly enlisted under General Harmon and later General Wayne, (mad Anthony) with whom he served for the period required to clear the Illinois Territory and make it safe for white settlers. This service in Illinois Territory is considered as an extension of the Revolutionary War and was the basis of recognition by the D.A.R. as Pioneer effort. [on the part of Joseph Conway]


With all his [federal] services in Illinois, Joseph found time to marry Elizabeth Caldwell whose family [had] accompanied [the] John Conway family into the Kentucky area some years prior.?In 1797 Joseph and his wife and three children set forth with his friend Daniel Boone, Boone's wife and family for Missouri Territory arriving that same year. Both families took up land under grants from Commandant Zenon Trudeau who represented the Spanish Governor who resided in New Orleans, the Spanish then being in possession of this Territory. Boone located across the Missouri River in what became St. Charles County while Joseph Conway chose a tract out in St. Louis County located on Bonhomme Creek consisting of about 260 acres.


As the site for his new home, he chose a small valley reached now by a private lane that runs off to the north from Conway Road from a point about 200 yards west of the intersection with White Road. (White Road runs between Conway Road and Olive Street Road from a point about midway between Wood Mill & Mo State Hwy # 141, and Schoettler Road near Chesterfield, Missouri.)


About a quarter of a mile back [west] along the private lane Joseph Conway chose a site for his home just east of a full running spring and the original house, probably of the dog-trot type usual in Kentucky, with open runway between the two sections of the building, was built here of perhaps four rooms to start. As his family increased, four additional rooms were built, on two story plan. toward the north.


All that exists today of the original home, is the foundations upon which there now rests a new building slightly smaller, if we are to credit Joseph's Son, Joseph Jr., in a letter to his son Arthur, written in 1881. The original home was destroyed by fire in 1880. There is no evidence of a stone spring house at present although it stood in the year 1820. [just west of the house.]


The grave of Joseph Conway is located in the private cemetery of the Conway family just at the top of the hill on Conway Road beyond the private lane. A modest stone marker proudly carries the D.A.R. bronze marker establishing the final resting place of one of the Nations Patriots and our County's Pioneer Citizens.


This cemetery plot was established by deed to St. Louis County by members of the Samuel Conway branch, one of the sons of Joseph Conway, and is dated 1832. The frontage [along Conway Road] according to the deed is about 165 feet with a depth of 132 feet.

Of its area of one half xxxx an acre, but one eighth is used for cemetery purposes, the balance of 7/8 of an acre adjacent is being farmed by the property owners adjacent who perform some ground maintainance of the inside grounds, presumably in return for the use of the vacant ground.


? Sources for material on Joseph Conway ( 1763-1830)


Jefferson Memorial? Conway Papers

?Grant dated Feb. 10, 1798

?/span>Zenon Trudaei, Lieutenant Governor

?and Commandant and Chief of the

?/span>upper Louisianas

? Conveys to Thos Cropper 250 Arpents of Land

??Creve Coeur River ( Bonhomme Cr.)


?? ?? ( This property acquired by Joseph Conway

?/span>? apparently from Thos Croppier probably

? without formality of record of transfer)

?? Note-

??? Collets?? Index Survey #366

? Confirms Jos Conway as owner of

? 3 pieces ground?266.28, 20 and 114

? Aacres??about the year 1800

(End of two-page document.)


Accounts of the tragedy at Ruddle's Station can be found in numerous places and in such detail that I have devoted Chapter 4 to that story.?The 1903 letter of Mr. Ogle, quoted extensively in Chapter 4, summarizes Joseph's later life as follows:


Your grandfather, after his marriage, I don't know what year he married, settled on a fine farm on Coopers Run in Bourbon Co., but afterward, about 1797 or 98, removed to Missouri, then called Spanish Territory, and settled in St. Louis Co.?After the purchase of Louisiana Territory in 1803, the government made arrangements to send out two exploring companies to go across the great plains, the Rocky Mountains and thence to the Pacific Ocean.?These companies fitted up at St. Louis and began the trip in 1804.? The command of one of these companies was tendered by President Jefferson to your grandfather, but he declined to take it because of his limited education.?A Capt. Clark commanded one of the companies and Capt. Lewis the other.?The latter was a nephew of Jefferson.?Sometime when you are in a Book store get a copy of the book called "Lewis and Clark's Expedition".?No more entertaining book was ever published.


I have heard my mother speak of seeing your grandfather once when she was a girl.?He was on a visit to my grandfather's.?She said he took her on his lap and had her put her hand on his head to feel the place where the Indian scalped him.?[End of excerpts from Ogle's letter.]


In 1985 Marjorie copied the following inscriptions off the various plaques and gravestones in the Conway Cemetery.? (She may have abbreviated some of the words and altered the punctuation.)


In memory of Joseph Conway who was born in Virginia Dec 14, 1763 and departed this life Dec 27, 1830 in the 67th yr of his age.


Plaque: Revolutionary Soldier 1763-1830

Placed by the Lucy Jefferson Lewis Chapter DAR


In memory of Elizabeth, wife of Joseph Conway who was born in Virginia Sept 1st, 1773 and departed this life Sept 30, 1821, aged 48 years.


In memory of Presly Conway who was born Dec 1, 1801, and died in infancy, aged nine months.


In memory of Elizabeth Conway who was born July 1809, died in infancy aged 2 years.


In memory of Mary Conway, who was born Dec 27, 1811, and died in infancy aged 9 months.


Broken headstone:?In memory of Joseph Conway who departed this life Ju______1838 in the 10th ____?of his age.








?/span>{History of Bonhomme Church -- Capt. Jos. Conway 17673-1830 --

church organized in his cabin -- wife Betsy member

Moved to St L 1796

Spanish land grant included old and new churches

Jos Conway jr donated land for church -- clerk of session --

church built 1841

Oct 6, 1816 first service in Bonhomme}



???????????????? CHAPTER 4


????????????THE DEATH MARCH


Accounts of the tragedy at Ruddle's Station can be found in numerous places.?Probably the best from the Conway point of view is a letter written in Paris, Kentucky, January 2, 1903, by Henry C. Ogle, Sr., a grandson of John Conway, Jr.?It is addressed only "Dear Sir"; the addressee was a grandson of John's brother Joseph; it could perhaps have been George Pohlman; it is possible but unlikely that it was Father; most probably it was a Conway.?I shall copy here only the portion relating to Joseph although the letter discusses several other Conways.


"I will now take up the history of John, Joseph, Elizabeth, Sally and their parents, and their removal to Kentucky.?John first came in 1777 as one of a company of soldiers sent out by the garrison of Virginia to guard the settlers about Boone' Fort, or as was now more commonly known, Boonesboro.?This is the present county of Maidon on the Kentucky River.?He remained a year during which the Fort was twice attacked by the Indians and during one of the attacks besieged 8 or 9 days.?In fact, parties of Indians were frequently skulking about the country adjacent to the Fort watching for chances to kill the whites, and many of them were waylaid and murdered.?He returned to Virginia in 1778, and in a short time after, probably 1779, he came to stay, accompanied by his father, mother, his sister Elizabeth and her husband, William Dougherty, and one child, Joseph and Sally, also several other families.?They settled about 10 miles north of Paris in the neighborhood of what was then called Riddle's Station.?It was really a Stockade or Fort, built for the purpose of sheltering the settlers from attacks by the Indians.?


Early in the spring of 1780 a number of the families of the neighborhood moved into this Fort, also into another called Martin's, 6 or 8 miles south of Riddle's. The men would go out during the day to work, clearing the land, breaking and preparing for the planting of their crops, and while some of them would be at this work others would be on guard around them with their guns to protect them against the Indians.?Oh, but the early settlers of Ky. had terrible times...


In June 1780, one morning (Sunday) 3 boys, Joseph Conway being one of them, were sent out early to drive in the cows for milking.?They were found on the west side of the river.?They started them back but on crossing the river, which was then a shallow ripple, they caught a large Loggerhead Turtle and carried it back to the sandy beach on the west side and began to tease it with willow twigs, watching it snap at them.?Some men from the Fort came down to the edge of the water on the east side washing their hands and faces for breakfast.?An Indian lying concealed in the bushes fired on Joseph, wounding him in the side, and rushed out on him, knocked him down and tore off his scalp, then vanished from sight in the thick bushes.?It was done so quickly that the men on the other side could give no assistance.? The alarm was given at the Fort, the men rushed out with their guns and scoured the woods but could find no trace of the Indian or any of his comrades.?They carried the wounded boy into the Fort.?The wounds from his head bled alarmingly.?Finally an old lady named Wiseman succeeded by using cobwebs in staunching the blood.?The wound in his side was a slight one only, the bullet glancing off from the ribs.? His head was bandaged up the best they could.?


Two or three days afterward the inmates of the Fort were terribly alarmed one morning by hearing the report of a cannon near them, and were soon surprised by the appearance of a larger force of British and Indians, several hundred.?All were under the command of a Col. Byrd of the British Army.?They had come from Detroit which was then a British possession.?They brought cannon with them, cutting a road through the forest and hauling them.?They demanded the surrender of the Fort, promising in the name of the English King to protect the inmates against the cruelty of the Indians.?The walls of the Fort, while proof against the common rifle balls, were not sufficient to resist cannon.?Col. John Hinkston, the commander of the Fort, agreed to surrender


The gates were opened, the Indians rushed in and at once began pillaging the inmates of everything they could find in cooking utensils, bed clothing and the like.?It was with the utmost difficulty that the English soldiers could prevent the Indians from wrecking their fury on the women and children.?They would jerk the feather and straw ticks off the beds, empty them to get the ticking.? While at this work they came to the bed where the wounded boy lay, and it happened to be the very Indian, as was afterward learned, who had wounded him.?He instantly raised his tomahawk to complete his work, but the English soldiers jerked him away.


After robbing the Fort of everything of value, they put their prisoners under guard and then went on to capture Martin's Fort.?It was the intention, it is said, to go to all the other forts to capture them in the same manner with their cannon, but the British commander was so shocked at the terrible barbarities of the Indians that he refused to go any further, and started back toward Detroit.


On the way many shocking cruelties were enacted by the Indians.?A number of very old men and women too feeble to travel as fast as their captors wanted, were tomahawked and scalped.?My grandfather says that one of the men named Riddle had a stone bruise on his foot and limped badly, said he saw him lie down to drink at a spring and while down an Indian drove his tomahawk into his brain and jerked off his scalp.?A few minutes after, the Indian passed him and other prisoners and shook his poor victim's bloody scalp at them as a warning what their fate would be unless they hurried along.


Many of the little boys would be so tired when they came to logs they would climb up on them and roll over.?One woman had a sick baby which kept crying.?In passing along the bank of a river an Indian jerked the baby from her arms and threw it far out into the deep water.?She tried to rush in after it, but they caught and held her, and she was compelled to witness the dying struggles of her child.?At night the men prisoners were confined by driving stakes crosswise over their legs and arms, first extending them their full length, then passing a thong around their necks and tying this to another stake.? The night after their capture a very heavy rain fell.?Grandfather says they had no protection, and their faces and whole bodies were thoroughly drenched.?The rains raised the river very high.?In crossing the Main Licking in carloes two old ladies, a Mrs. Spears and Mrs. Eastin, and a little child were drowned.


During the confusion and trouble of the march no effort could be made to dress the scalp wound on Joseph's head, and the weather being hot, the green flies made their appearance, and afterward the creepers.?The same old lady Wiseman who first staunched the blood in the Fort, now again came in as the good Samaritan and picked out the loathsome insects and dressed the boy's head, and continued to wait on him till the wound finally healed.? Let the memory of this old lady never be forgotten by the descendants of Joseph Conway.


One other incident I remember.?Sally, then a little girl of 6 years, wore a nice little sun bonnet when captured and of which she was very proud.?In crossing the river one of the Indians jerked it off and threw it in the river.? Another incident.?Some Indian squaws accompanied their husbands.?On the first night, during the heavy rains these squaws came to our great grandmother and threw some blankets over her and the other women to try to shield them from the storm.?


When they reached Detroit the provisions were divided out among their captives.? Several small children were separated from their parents and scattered about among different tribes of Indians.? Sally was adopted by an old Indian and his wife who had no children.?All of the family, 4 years after their capture, were released, and got back to Kentucky except Sally.?Nine years after, a white man who had been among the prisoners (a half grown boy when captured) managed to get away from them and return to Kentucky and told my grandfather wHere his sister was.?He went back and found her about 40 miles west of Detroit.?At this time peace had been made with the Indians.?He bought his sister from the old Indian by the payment of 40 silver brooches.?I have the story of her ransom in a minutely written account of it from my kinsman, Mr. Underwood, her grandson.?It is a very affecting story.?


The men prisoners after awhile were allowed the liberty of the town and to work for any of the citizens who would employ them.?Detroit was quite a trading place then.?The whites were a mixed race of French and English.?The country all south of it was a very heavy forest, and in winter, next to the town for some half mile or so, covered with water from 3 to 4 feet deep.?This was crossed by a causeway.?My grandfather, Mr. Dougherty, and Joseph would frequently go out in the forest during winter to chop wood for the citizens - would also go out and kill hogs for them.?They fattened on the acorns and hickory nuts and would soon become wild and had to be hunted with dogs and shot.?On one occasion while returning at night on the causeway they met a drunken Indian whom they gathered in their arms and pitched out onto the thin ice, and left him breaking through and floundering in the water.?


In what manner they traveled to get home I don't remember that my Uncle ever told me.....


Our great gr-father died shortly after his return to Kentucky, but his wife lived a long time after, dying about 1803 at my grand-father's from a cancer on her forehead.....


Joseph, your grandfather, grew up to full manhood and was for a number of years engaged as a spy to watch the Indians.?Although peace was made with England in 1793, the Indians would still make raids into Ky., stealing horses and murdering the settlers.?The house of a settler named Shanks, living in Bourbon Co., was attacked in February 1787 and the house was burned to the ground, and all the family murdered except one daughter, a widow Gillespie, and one son.? Your grandfather was at the house in the early part of the night but left shortly after dark.?The attack was made about 10 o'clock. ?/span>If you could manage to get hold of any of the histories of Kentucky, you will find a full account of this tragedy under the history of Bourbon Co.?A party was hastily organized the next day to pursue them.?Your grandfather was one of the party.?They overtook them down on the Licking Hills.?Two of the Indians dropped behind and showed themselves, and kept jumping from tree to tree to make the whites, as was supposed, think they were a number of them.?Your grandfather rushed up in shooting distance of them and got behind a tree.? Putting his hat on a stick he poked it slowly and continuously around the tree.?The Indians, thinking it was his head, fired.?He then jumped out and rushed up on them and succeeded in killing one of the Indians.?The other, with the balance, escaped.?


I was a little too fast.?When the Indians attacked the house, which was a double cabin, they managed to break into one of the rooms where a couple of the grown sisters were weaving, and tried to carry them off.? One of them defended herself with a knife which she used about her work on the loom, and killed one of the Indians.? They then killed her and took the other girl captive.?When they found the whites on the pursuit they were about to overtake them, they sank their tomahawks into her heart.?


So much for Mr. Ogle's letter, which, as I said, is the best account of th events from the Conway viewpoint.?A more scholarly account, and possibly a more authoritative one (with numerous source footnotges is the book "Destruction of Ruddle's and Martin's Forts in the Revolutionary War" by Maud Ward Lafferty, published by The Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky, 1957.? I have copies of 13 pages; on rereading it now I wish I had a few more pages.?Much of the information is of little interest to the Conways, so I shall quote only snatches of it.


Over that narrow trail, the largest body of people ever gathered together in the Wilderness of Kentucky, wended their way into the Indian country, about 1200 of these consisting of the invading force, and about 470 miserable prisoners, loaded down with house-hold plunder from their own cabin homes.?Captain Bird himself reported the miserable northward trek in a letter to Major DePeyster, written July 1, 1789:


I marched the poor women & children 20 miles in one day over very high mountains, frightening them with frequent alarms to push them forward, in short,. Sir, by water and land we came with all our cannon &c., 40 miles in 4 days ... rowing fifty miles the last day--we have no meat and must subsist on flour if there is nothing for us at Lorimiers.


A kettle on the head of a gentlewoman, Mrs. Peter Smith, so injured her scalp that the hair never grew on her head again, and she wore a cap the rest of her days. ...


Joseph Conway, who had been scalped by the Indians two weeks before, was claimed by an old Indian whose daughter was allowed to travel with him to dress his bandaged head.


James Breckenridge and his wife, (Jane Mahan Breckenridge) in their interview with Rev. John D. Shane, said that Bird was "an inhuman wretch" who gave them for rations only a pint of musty flour which sometimes turned green, though he had an ample supply.?When George Girth killed some deer and brought it in, Bird purchased it for himself and his officers, but gave none to the prisoners.?According to the Breckenridges, thereupon, Girty cursed Bird "as being meaner than any Indian, having plenty of rations and carrying his prisoners back to starve without them".?They declared that the British officers at Detroit were very much displeased and talked of breaking Bird's commission.?Jane Marshall told Draper that Bird was court martialed for his conduct at Ruddle's, but was acquitted.


James Morrow was captured while hunting and was forced to run the gauntlet which he did successfully.?A little later, however, the Indians decided to burn him at the stake and had made all their ghastly preparations when a hard rain set in.?He was finally saved by an old Indian who bought him for twenty buckskins.?The Indians took him to the house where the British bought both prisoners and scalps and sold him for five pounds, a neat profit since a buckskin usually sold for a dollar and the price of twenty buckskins in the parlance of the woods was "twenty bucks."? While Morrow was in that house he beheld the scalps of the prisoners taken and heard an old Indian declare that the Great Spirit would be angry because they had scalped so many little infants.



To Mrs. Wilson, another daughter of Patrick Mahan, who lived to a ripe old age in Woodford County, we are indebted for many details of that sad journey.?She says that Bird gave the men a cup of flour and the women an children only half a cup.?She saw an Indian comfortably riding one of her father's best horses "and her saddle", while she was compelled to walk during the journey of six weeks and four days and carry a heavy pack.?She says when they were taken to an island, the men had to work or go to prison.?A Captain Grant was building a mill and made the men haul rock like horses, paying them a York shilling a day for their labors.?While at Montreal, she says:


We had a very good house to stay in.?After we were taken first, they wanted us, the single ladies, to go into the gentlemen's kitchens and cook for them.?We single ladies and Captain Dunkin's lady and Mrs. Lapost and Mrs. Mahan, my mother and Mrs. Agnes Mahan, my brother's wife, sent a petition to Major Halderman, telling him we had never been accustomed to work in the kitchen and we wanted houses to live in.?We considered it was too low, we never had been used to such business.?General Halderman granted the petition.?The second petition also, to let our men be out with us, and if that couldn't be, to let us have someone to wait upon us.? They made them give oath that they wouldn't leave, and sent them out on parole....


An old adage says, it takes three generations of ladies to make a needlewoman, and these were ladies.?Mrs. Wilson continues:


The women of us were generally pretty good at our needles, and we had pretty good employment at that.?Got a dollar and a half for every fine ruffled shirt that we made... When we came to leave we had seven pieces of Irish linen in the house that we had to return...


[Mrs. Lapost] was in a store in town and a town lady came and wanted to know if she wasn't one of the Virginia prisoners [Kentucky being part of Virginia].?Said the report was through the town that the Virginia prisoners were the proudest people in town.?She said--Why shouldn't we be??We always had good homes and always had a plenty.


Major DePeyster was a great friend to the prisoners.?We had no want of food after we got to Montreal.? Captain Hare was very kind.?Would stay behind out of Byrd's sight to give Mahan, the old man, an opportunity of riding his horse.


The Indians killed and scalped a number of children because they could not keep up on the march.? They seemed, however, to have taken a fancy to little Johnnie Lail, two years old, and decided to see if he would make a "good Indian," rolling him rapidly down the river bank.? He didn't cry, thus securing his own adoption and that of his brother George, three years older.?


A couple of more items from Lafferty's book. She tells how John Hinkson, who had built the original Ruddle's Fort, managed to escape during the march and "finally arrived safely at Lexington bearing the first news of the tragedy that had taken place at Ruddle's and Martin's Forts."?When the group reached the Ohio, "the Indians scattered to their villages taking their captives with them.?Captain Bird proceeded to Detroit with so many prisoners that De Peyster was filled with consternation, having difficulty in distributing them among various sections of the surrounding countryside.?Finally he divided them among Detroit, Niagara, and Michillimackinac.? Those who remained at Detroit lived on Hog Island, some were sent to Carlton Island and as many as possible were distributed among the farmers to help with the harvest."?


Again from Lafferty:?When the captives returned after the Treaty of Greenville. they found no fort where the buffalo trace had crossed Stoner Creek, but in its stead, a stone church -- The Cooper's Run Meeting House.?Its church book of hand-tanned leather, dated June 1787, gives the history of the community which gathered around Martin's Fort.?It was written in longhand by James Garrard who used a quill pen and home-made ink.?This document describes a crude structure without heat and with many inconveniences.? Absences were severely dealt with, and members careless about attending divine worship were excluded from fellowship with no exceptions being made regardless of color or social position until the backsliders had mended their ways.?It was one and the same whether the offender was sister Conway or Brother Isaac Ruddle's Black George."


A final quotation from Lafferty (page 32):





What of the rest of the captives??Who were they??What became of them after that sorrowful six-week journey to Detroit, Montreal and Mackinac?


Some of these questions can be answered because Lyman Draper became interested, followed them up and interviewed many of them.?He discovered that they were often separated from their families and divided among the British and the Indians.?Those held by the Indians either became like Indians themselves or lived in slavery.?After Wayne's Treaty of Greenville was signed, many of these captives returned to their Kentucky homes and attempted to reunite themselves with other scattered members of their families.?From the Draper Papers and such materials as have been preserved for us?in the form of old letters, newspapers, wills and settlements of estates, the following incomplete list has been compiled in the hope that other will take up the search and find a more complete answer to the questions we have posed.?Approximately 250 names of soldiers and captives have been uncovered all total."?


There follows a list of 54 surnames, some representing individuals and some, families.? Included are:


LONG.?John W. Long, his wife (formerly a Conway) and Rhoda, age six.?


CONWAY.? Samuel Conway, a brother, his wife, two daughters and a son, Joseph, born in 1763, who had been wounded by Indians two weeks before his capture.


CONWAY.?John Conway. wife, and seven children.?Among the children were Elizabeth, Sallie, six, John, twenty-two, and Joseph, fifteen.?Elizabeth later married W. M. Daugherty.?Sallie was returned to Kentucky when she was fifteen.


[Note that these seven children were the offspring of John Conway, SR. (1731-1801), and it was his son Joseph who was scalped.?Whether John's son Samuel also had a son Joseph (who would not have been scalped), I have not been able to determine.]


[Note also that Lafferty states that the woman who dressed Joseph's scalp was an Indian.? Since other sources give her name as Wiseman, and Lafferty's listing of captives includes "a Mrs. Wiseman", she was almost certainly not an Indian.]

(compliments of Conway family researcher Conway W. Snyder)