Please take a look at our new Ruddles and Martin's Station Historical Association web site! (


"In 1775 John Hinkston and other settlers built fifteen crude cabins on a broad flat ridge above the South Fork of the Licking River, along an old game trail from McClelland's Station (Scott County) to Lower Blue Licks. This site is now in Harrison County. Simon Kenton and Thomas Williams helped build a blockhouse at the station in the winter of 1776-77. Indian threats then caused its abandonment. Isaac Ruddell enlarged and fortified the station in 1779; after that, the site was interchangeably referred to as Ruddell's or Hinkston's. A large number of Pennsylvania German families lived there and at Martin's Station, only a few miles away. Ruddell's Station was attacked by Capt. Henry Byrd and his British and Indian troops in 1780. About twenty inhabitants were killed at the site. The survivors were subjected to a forced march to Detroit, where they remained prisoners for the remainder of the Revolutionary War. The bones of the victims were later gathered and buried in a mass grave covered with stones. The site was included in Hinkston's 1,400-acre settlement and preemptive grant, filed in 1784, and is marked by a stone monument." See Destruction of Ruddle's and Martin's Forts in the Revolutionary War, (Frankfort, Ky., 1957). Written by Nancy O'Malley.
Kentucky Encyclopedia - 1992

Ruddle's Station was SouthEast of Cynthiana.

Collins' "History of Kentucky, Vol. II" says:

Ruddle's Station, on E. bank of South Fork of Licking river, 3 miles below the junction of Hinkston's and Stoner's branches, about 7 miles from Paris, in Bourbon Co.

On a more personal note some of these folks were my ancestors (John and Elizabeth (BRIDGEWATER) CONWAY and son John Conway, Jr.).

Here is my family's account (somewhat condensed):

There had been a lot of rain that Spring and the settlers were not expecting an attack from the North. They did get a warning of potential indian trouble and Monday June 30, 1780 gathered in Ruddles Station. Tuesday, some of the boys were sent across the creek to drive some stray cows into the Stockade. Heavy rain had fallen the night before the settlers thought it would delay any attack. Unfortunately McKee and his Indians and cannon had landed at Falmouth and had arrived early that morning. The boys were making a lot of noise and Joseph Conway was climbing up the opposite bank when he was shot and scalped. The wound was not fatal and after an hour or two managed to crawl across the creek and into the Stockade.

The attack resumed at one when Byrd and the rest of the British and Indians arrived. The settlers defended themselves vigorously. After two shots from the cannon broke the forts walls in, it was clear they could not hold out. They were promised they would not be killed if they surrendered. They surrendered, and the indians promptly set on them tomahawking and scalping the old people and infants. Everything in the fort was stolen or destroyed and by 4pm, the remainder of the captives were begun on the long walk to Detroit. Among them the Conway family. This was the first Kentucky fort to surrender.

The next morning, Joseph's scalped head was bleeding badly. A woman noticed and reached down into an old tree stump and got a handful of spider webs and matted them on the wound, which stopped the bleeding and saved the boy's life...

Draper Manuscript Collection, 24S:169-171, Draper's interview with Samuel Conway, St. Louis Co., MO. From Samuel Conway, St. Louis Co., MO born in St. Louis Co. - in 1799.

Ruddell's Station Taken, 1780. - Joseph Conway (informant's father) was born in Greenbriar Co., Va, in 1763 - Early moved to Kentucky with his father's, Samuel Conway's family, and settled in Ruddell's Station. Henry Groff, one Purseley and others also resided there. About 200 Indians came and attacked the fort - found one side of the fort unfinished; and the whites hastened and finished it, putting up pickets; and that evening the Indians made a violent attack, and whites returned the fire; none were injured in the fort, and not certain that they killed any Indians. Next morning the Indians had retired, and the whites found many articles which they had dropped. The Indians continued to hover around for a couple of weeks altogether, and then retired.

Joseph Conway and two others went out about a mile and a half reconnoitering, when Conway was shot by a party of their Indians, and wounded in the left side, and was caught and tomahawked, breaking his skull, and scalped, and left for dead. The others escaped unharmed. The reports of the guns were heard at the fort, and a party went out and met the two fugitives returning, who reported that Conway was killed; they went on, and brought in Conway, who was gradually recovering, when the indians sent to detroit for reinforcements and cannon.

Two weeks after Conway was wounded, Colonel Bird and party appeared, with cannon. They first fired a cannon shot and missed; then a second shot, which knocked out one of the corners of a block-house, and then the inmates concluded the British and Indians could take the place, and listened to terms.

The British pledged protection to the prisoners and their property, and were not to be surrendered to the Indians; but no effort was made by the British to fulfill their pledge.

Conway with his head bandaged was taken by an old Indian and his son, who were really kind to him; they also took an unmarried sister of Conway's, older than he was, who dressed his head. Before leaving Ruddell's, one Indian tore off the bandage from Conway's head, but he was repelled by the old Indian and his son as interferring with their prisoner. They were taken direct to Detroit, and turned over to the British there, and remained there four years. Conway was placed in the hospital, and when recovered, was placed on the limits, and permitted to work as he could get employment. The rest of the Conway family, father, mother and two daughters, with their son and daughter already there, all got together at Detroit.

Joseph Conway returned to Licking River and went out on Harmar's and Wayne's campaigns. [The rest of the narrative deals with Joseph Conway's life in Missouri.]

There are several conflicting dates for the attacks on Ruddle's and Martin's Stations. Ardery says June 24, 1780 for Martin's. Coleman says Byrd arrived in Cinc'y on June 9 and June 26 for Martin's. In another of Coleman's books, he says June 24th for Ruddle's. Drake/Wilson/Ardery, say June 22, 1780 for both.

For Ruddle's (4 or 5 miles from Martin's), Mann says June 1780 on a Sunday morning for the first attack, then "2 or 3 days later" finally captured and then Martin's that same day. "History of Bourbon County" says June 1780 as does Ardery. Diane Perrine Coon suggests 19 June 1780. My family account says Tuesday, July 1, 1780; and the initial attack, capture and then Martin's taken on the same day. The KY Encyclopedia just says 1780.

Note: June 19 was on a Monday. June 22 was a Thursday, June 24, Saturday and the 26th Monday. July 1 was on a Saturday.

Here is William Perrin's account from "History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties."
Ruddel's Station, which some authorities locate in Bourbon County, and others just over the line in what is now Harrison County, [fort location in present-day Harrison, was Bourbon] in 1780 by a large force of Canadians and Indians, under the notorious Col. Byrd, a British officer. His force amounted to some six hundred men-white and red-with six pieces of artillery, said to be the first cannons that ever awoke the echoes of the Kentucky hills. On the 22d of June (1780), this formidable force appeared before Ruddel's, and Col. Byrd demanded its surrender to His Britanic Majesty's forces, at discretion. Capt. Ruddel complied on the condition that the prisoners be placed under charge of the English instead of the savages. But when the gates were thrown open, the Indians rushed in, seized the first white person they met, claiming them as individual prisoners. When Col. Byrd was remonstrated with by Capt. Ruddel for this disregard of the conditions of surrender, he acknowledged his inability to control his savage allies. The scenes which ensued after the capture are almost indescribable and are unsurpassed except, in savage warfare. Wives were separated from their husbands. and mothers from their young children without hope of ever being re-united. After the prisoners were secured and the booty divided, the savages proposed to move against Martin's Station in Bourbon County, but Col. Byrd refused, unless the prisoners should be given into his charge--the Indians to take for their share the property, which was agreed to. Martin's Station was then captured without opposition. The savages were so elated with these successes, that they were anxious to proceed at once against Bryant's Station and Lexington, but for some inexplicable reason Col. Byrd refused, and the expedition returned north of the Ohio River.

After the Conway family was released from captivity they returned to their home in Kentucky. Joseph's brother, John Jr. married Anne Sutton in 1790, remained on the same farm and reared their family. John & Ann Conway were my g...grandparents.

Some of the Conway descendents and associated families were OVERBEY, MULLIKIN, WELLS & CRAIG. The above account was taken from John & Ann's grandson, Richard (& Jane Mullikin) Overbey. Richard's grandson Oscar P. Overbey was a Corporal in the Civil War, CSA 3rd Battalion Mounted Rifles. Oscar's granddaughter was Miriam Wells Craig who was my grandmother. -Jon

Margy Miles is a descendant of Capt. Charles Gatliff. Margy sends in an interview taken from Captain Gatliff:

"In 1778 in the month of June I commenced as an Indian Spy, the first tours with different mates. I served upwards of 5 months. I assisted in erecting Ruddle's Fort in KY. in 1779. I volunteered in Capt. Haggan's Company and was on Bowman's Company, had a battle at Chillicotha with the Shawnees, we got but one scalp but lost 10 or 12 men. After our return I engaged to hunt game to supply Ruddle's Fort. I continued until I concluded to build another fort, called since Martin's Fort. I hunted for Martin's Fort sometime. Isaac Reace, my hunting mate being killed, I took such others as I could get to serve. When I was absent the fort was taken by the British and Indians and its inhabitants, made prisoners amongst whom was my wife and four children..."

"In 1783 I met my family below Staunton who had been taken prisoners from the Martin's Station in Ky. and with them returned to Ky. in the month of May."

An extensive Book List dealing with frontier explorers and families captured by Indians.

List of Known Captives: Ruddle's and Martin's Forts

Some more information on the Ruddle's Station area.

Bob Francis' excellent Bourbon County Research Site.

Ruddle's and Martin's Fort Research.

The Ruddles' and Martin's Station Historical Association!

Some more comments: wrote:

  My name is Karen Duncan email ( that is D one K one....)
  I never see the last name of Barton name on the lists for Ruddles
Station. Yet, my cousins, Bart Wise and Kathy Anderson have a CD that
lists Mrs. Barton as being there at the time of the attack. Also, our
library has a book: Book; According to the KY papers index of the
Draper report of Manuscripts, copyright 1925 ,page 514 of the index
Daniel Barton - captured Ruddelll's station (  this book also says
this information  was learned from an interview with John D. Shane).
Another book: Pike Co , ILLinois ,History,  donated by Boone Family
Research Assocation of Mo, August: 1996: As early as 1826, in Scholl's
cabin , the first preaching was heard in the northern woods. In
October of that year Stephen Ruddle, noted pioneer Christian minister
who had spent 16  years as a captive among the Indians in the Ohio
country, preached at the House of his friend, Scholl. He and Scholl
had known each other as boys in Ky, prior to Ruddle's capture by the
Indians at the fall of Ruddle's Station in 1730. Abraham was 2 years
older then Stephen, he being 62 and Stephen 60 at the time the latter
preached at Scholl's house in 1826. Ruddle in the same year, preached
the first sermon heard in the south, at Thomas BARTON's log house in
what is now Pleasant Hill township. Ruddle, captured when 14, escaped
his Indian captors after 16 yars spent in their Ohio fastnesses,
returned to Ky at the age if 30, and located in Scott county, that
state, whence he came in 1817 to Ramsey Creek in Pike county,
Missouri, where as early as 1810, there had settled a clony from KY,
peioneer forebearers of several Pike county ( Illinois) famililies,
among them Joseph McCoy,Daniel McCue, Eli Buckaloo ( spelled Burkalew
in Missouri records), and Joel Harpole ( spelled Harpool in Missouri).
(** Note: Pike Co, at one time was part on the Missouri side and part
on the Illinois side)

  Do you have any Barton's on your list?
  I believe they should be on the list and have been over looked.
  I do not know the name of Daniel BARTON's wife...but I believe she is
  Mrs. BARTON mentioned.

  Thank you ,
  Karen Barton Duncan

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 18:32:58 +0000
Subject: Ruddles Station

I was uncertain as to whom to address this e-mail.  You just lucky.

One of my ancestors, John McFall and family were at Ruddles Station during
the attack.  He and children were taken to Canada.  I have a photocopy of
their being listed there with ages.  In another account I found where the
troops chasing the Indians on another occasion two years later, came across
Mrs. McFall and was exchanged for an Indian.

I also have the administration papers when John McFall died dividing up the
land and giving all of the children's names.  My direct ancestor, Joseph,
married in Bourbon Co. to Polly Marsh and moved to Bartholomew Co., Indiana.

I thought the site was very nice and was extremely pleased to come across the
page. Unfortunately, I have no stories that were passed down, but find the
history very interesting.
I you are interested in what I have , please let me know.

Mary W. Glenn

Patty Mulherin Tedrick writes:

On your Ruddle's Station homepage, you stated "James Ruddle who married into
the Mulliken family".  Jane Mulherin (in some accounts spelled Mulharen) was
married to James Ruddell as well as his first cousin Cornelius .  James was
the son of Archible Ruddlle/Ruddell( a brother to Capt. Isaac Ruddell, Sr.).

Jane Mulherin b. 25 Jan 1761 in Lancaster, Pa.
    married Cornelius Ruddell 1782--he was killed by Indians in 1786 Bourbon
    married to James Ruddell 29 Dec 1788, Bourbon Co., Ky---6 kids(he was b.
                                        ---   Aug 1758, Frederick Co. Va,
died 1839, Boone Co., Ky.)
    died  1834 Boone Co., Ky

Another thing is that Capt. Isaac & wife Elizabeth Bowman Ruddell had a
daughter, Elizabeth.  She married Jane's brother, John Mulherin.  They
lived in Bourbon Co., Ky. until 1817.  Then, they and many of the
Ruddells--including her brother Stephen--moved to Pike Co., Mo.  I'm a
descendent of John.

I hope you don't mind my writing to correct the Mulherin name on your page.

Patty Mulherin Tedrick

President George Bush is a Ruddlesforter! He descends from William McCune according to a genealogy website for his son who is running for president. He is also possibly a descendant of Peter Faure (Foree) who was killed at the fort. They had "probable" next to the name of Joseph Foree who was Peter's son. This is how President Bush descends from William McCune: 1. William McCune, b. Pa. C. 1750, d. Pike Co., Mo. Betw. 8 Aug. 1827 & 15 Nov. 1830 m. Elizabeth (McClintock?) 2. John McCune, b. Pa., 15 June 1772, d. Pike Co., Mo., 31 Jan. 1852 m. Bourbon Co., Ky., 7 Dec 1793 Mary (Polly) Shannon, b. Lancaster Co., Pa., 7 Dec. 1776 d. Ky. 24 Sept. 1823 3. Joseph Holliday b. Ky. 15 Sept. 1789, d. Monroe Co., Mo. 17 Dec 1870 m. 18 Mar 1816 Nancy R. McCune, b. Bourbon Co., 16 June 1799 4. John James Holliday, b. Pike Co., Mo. 23 July 1819 d. St. Louis, Mo. 18 Sept. 1881 m. Randolph Co., Mo. 9 May 1843 Lucretia Green Foree, b. Ky. 2 Sept 1822 5. James Hutchenson Wear, b. Otterville, Mo. 30 Sept. 1838, d. St. Louis, Mo. 14 Sept. 1893 m. St. Louis 4 Dec 1866 Nancy Eliza Holliday, b. Hannibal, Mo. 17 Sept. 1847, d. St. Louis, Mo. 25 Feb 1942 6. George Herbert Walker, b. St. Louis, Mo. 11 June 1875, d. New York, NY 24 June 1953 m. 17 Jan 1899 Lucretia (Loulie) Wear, b. St. Louis, Mo. 17 Sept 1874, d. Biddeford, Me. 28 Aug. 1961 7. Prescott Sheldon Bush, b. Columbus, Ohio, 15 May 1895, d. New York City, N.Y. 8 Oct. 1972 m. Kennebunkport, Maine, 6 Aug. 1921 Dorothy Walker, b. near Walker s Point, York Co., Me. 1 July 1901, d. Greenwich, Conn. 19 Nov. 1992 8. George Herbert Walker Bush, b. Milton, Massachusetts 12 June 1924 m. Rye, New York 6 Jan. 1945 Barbara Pierce, b. Rye, New York 8 June 1925
Fellow Ruddle's Fort researchers,

Bob Francis has begun a discussion group for interested historians,
genealogists, and descendants of the survivors of the destruction of
Ruddle's and Martin's Forts in pre-Bourbon County, Kentucky (Virginia)
during the Revolutionary War.  Hopefully, through this forum we can
begin to "flesh-out" the history of this period and be able to compile
a more accurate listing of the many men, women, and children who
experienced the harrowing events of that fateful day of June 24, 1780.
Also, this forum is a way for the many descendants of those brave
souls to get to know one another and swap stories, chew the fat, and
generally have a great time!


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By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.

O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Psalms 137