Indians Kill Ancestor Casper Barger in 1755 on VA Tech Campus

casper barger 13 EarlyAmericanIndianWar.jpg

Casper Barger immigrated from Germany in 1738. Then in 1755 was killed by Indians at Draper’s Meadow Massacre on land now that is situated on the present day campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. At the time of the attack, the area had been populated by a group of around twenty settlers who were a mix of migrants fromPennsylvania of English and Germanic origin.[1] A marker commemorating the massacre is located near the Duck Pond on the Virginia Tech campus.

casper barger 7 dagger

A dagger and sheath found by Preston at the site of the Drapers Meadow massacre in July 1755 on display at Smithfield.

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The Massacre

Rising tensions between the natives and western settlers were exacerbated by fighting in the French and Indian War and the encroachment on tribal hunting grounds. Recent victories by the French over the British, although north of Virginia, had left much of the frontier unprotected. In the summer of 1755 several settlements had been ravaged by the Indians. On July 9 a force of about 1300 British soldiers under the command of General Edward Braddock had been decisively defeated by French troops and Shawnees at the Battle of the Monongahela, which encouraged further violence against settlers in the region.

casper barger 14

On July 30 (see disagreement of sources about the date below) a group of Shawnee (then allies of the French) entered the sparsely populated camp virtually unimpeded and killed at least five people and wounded at least one person and burned the settlement.[4] Among the victims were Colonel James Patton, a neighbor (Caspar Barger), and two people in Mary Draper Ingles‘ family: her mother (Elenor Draper), and the baby of her sister-in-law (Bettie Robertson Draper), who (the baby) was killed by dashing its head against the wall of a cabin.[2][5] Other children in the settlement may have been killed in a similar way.[6] Colonel William Preston(Colonel Patton’s nephew) and John Draper (Bettie Draper’s husband, Mary’s brother) were not at the settlement at the time of the attack, as they were working on the field, and survived. William Ingles (Mary’s husband) was attacked and nearly killed but managed to flee into the forest.[7]

casper barger 15

One of the victims, Barger, was described as an old man and was decapitated by the Indians; they delivered his head in a bag to a neighbor, explaining that an acquaintance had arrived to visit.[8] Five (or possibly six) settlers were captured and taken back to Kentucky as captives to live among the tribe, including Mary Draper Ingles and her two sons, Thomas (4) and George (2).[1] Mary escaped at Big Bone, Kentucky, without her children, and made a journey of more than eight hundred miles (1300 km) across the Appalachian Mountains back to Draper’s Meadow.[9]

casper barger 16

Some sources state that Mary was pregnant when captured and gave birth to her daughter in captivity, and that she abandoned her baby when she decided to escape,[3][10][11] however there is evidence to the contrary.[2]

casper barger 17 indian-attack-log-cabin

The Aftermath

In the aftermath, Draper’s Meadow was abandoned – as was much of the frontier for the duration of the French and Indian War. William Preston, who had been in Draper’s Meadow on the morning of the attack but left on an errand and so was saved, eventually obtained the property, which became Smithfield Plantation and later Blacksburg. Out of the surviving family members, only the Bargers returned later to re-claim their land and settle.[12]

Survivors relocated in 1787 to Blockhouse Bottom near what is now East Point, Kentucky.[13] After her escape, Mary Draper Ingles reunited with her husband and in 1762 they established Ingles Ferry across the New River, along with a tavern and a blacksmith shop. Mary died there in 1815.

Mary’s son Thomas and sister-in-law Bettie were eventually ransomed from the Indians, but the others who were kidnapped at Draper’s Meadow died in captivity.

In July 1755, a small outpost in southwest Virginia, at the present day Blacksburg, was raided by a group of ShawneeIndian warriors, who killed at least five people including an infant child and captured five more.[1] The Indians traveled back with their hostages to a Shawnee village in Kentucky. One of the captives, Mary Draper Ingles later escaped and returned home on foot through the wilderness. Although many of the actual circumstances of the incident, including the date of the attack is uncertain, the event remains a dramatic and inspirational story in the history of Virginia.

The original 7,500 acre (30 km²) tract that became known as Draper’s Meadow was awarded sometime before 1737 by Governor Robert Dinwiddie to Colonel James Patton, an Irish sea captain turned land speculator.[3] This land was bordered by Tom’s Creek on the north, Stroubles Creek on the south and the Mississippi watershed (modern-day U.S. Route 460) on the east; it approached the New River on the west. The settlement was situated on the present day campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. At the time of the attack, the area had been populated by a group of around twenty settlers who were a mix of migrants fromPennsylvania of English and Germanic origin.[1] A marker commemorating the massacre is located near the Duck Pond on the Virginia Tech campus.

Historical accuracy

Except for a few scattered references to these events in contemporary reports and letters,[4] the primary sources are:

1) the 1824 written account by Colonel John Ingles[7] (son of Mary Ingles and William Ingles, born in 1766 after Mary’s return);
2) parts of an 1843 letter by Letitia Preston Floyd[3] (wife of Virginia Governor John Floyd and daughter of Colonel William Preston, a survivor of the Draper’s Meadow massacre).

There are some differences in the two narratives, suggesting that the Ingles and Preston families had developed distinct oral traditions. The disagreements between these original written sources include the date of the massacre (July 30 vs July 8, according to Ingles and Floyd, respectively), the number of casualties, the age of Mary Ingles’ children, and several other aspects.[2]

John Peter Hale (1824-1902), one of Mary Ingles’ great-grandsons, claimed to have interviewed Letitia Floyd and others who knew Mary Ingles personally, and his 1886 narrative contains numerous details not cited in any previous account.[10]

Popular culture[edit]

The story of Ingles’ ordeal has inspired a number of books, films, and living history programs, including the popular 1981 novel Follow the River by James Alexander Thom, a 1995 ABC television movie of the same name, and the 2004 film The Captives.


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Drapers Meadow: Few traces remain of the site of a bloody 1755 Indian attack”. The Roanoke Times. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Brown, Ellen A. (2012). “What Really Happened at Drapers Meadows? The Evolution of a Frontier Legend” (PDF). Virginia History Exchange. Retrieved1 December 2013.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c Letitia Preston Floyd, “Memoirs of Letitia Preston Floyd, written Feb. 22, 1843 to her son Benjamin Rush Floyd.”
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b “A Register of the Persons Who Have Been Either Killed, Wounded, or Taken Prisoners by the Enemy, in Augusta County, as also such as Have Made Their Escape,” in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. II, June 1895, published by the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia.
  5. Jump up^ Kegly, Mary B. (1980). Early Adventures on the Western Waters . Vol. I: The New River of Virginia in Pioneer Days. 1745 – 1800. Orange, Virginia: Green Publishers. p. 352.
  6. Jump up^ William Cecil Pendleton, History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia: 1748-1920, W. C. Hill printing Company, 1920, p. 270.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b Transcript of John Ingles’ manuscript “The Narrative of Col. John Ingles Relating to Mary Ingles and the Escape from Big Bone Lick,” 1824.
  8. Jump up^ “Mary Ingles’ Escape Story Like ‘Thriller’ Fiction Tale”. Charleston Daily Mail, June 4, 1937. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
  9. Jump up^ James Duvall, “Mary Ingles and the Escape from Big Bone Lick,” Boone County Public Library, 2009.
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b John Peter Hale, Trans-Allegheny Pioneers: Historical Sketches of the First White Settlements West of the Alleghenies, 1886.
  11. Jump up^ Thomas D. Davis, “Pioneer physicians of Western Pennsylvania: the president’s address of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania” Pennsylvania, 1901; pp. 20-21.
  12. Jump up^ “Historic Structure Report: History Narrative”. University Libraries, Virginia Tech. Archived from the original on 2003-05-05. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
  13. Jump up^ Federal Writers’ Project (1996). The WPA Guide to Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky. p. 240. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  14. Jump up^ Luther F. Addington, “Captivity of Mary Draper Ingles,” Historical “Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Southwest Virginia Historical Society, Publication No 2, 1967.


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casper barger 8 Mary-Draper-Ingles

– See more at:


casper barger 5 mary draper ingles


Birth: 1708, Germany
Death: Jul., 1755
Augusta County
Virginia, USA

Casper Barger was born in 1708 in Germany, and died in July, 1755 in Augusta County, Virginia about the age of 47. His wife was Margaret –.Casper Berger, 30, was one of 139 males “ages from sixteen years and upwards Passengers on bd. ye Winter Gally, Edward Paynter, Commander [Qualified September 5, 1738].” Also on board were 113 women and children, for a total of 152 passengers. (German Pioneers to Pennsylvania, Passenger Ships’ Lists Includes People from the Palatine, List 52A, published at Lyell Barger, editor of The Barger Journal, A Publication Devoted to the Genealogy and History of the Bargers and Allied Kindred, wrote about Casper:”Casper Barger was born somewhere in the Palatinate provinces of Germany in the year 1708. He was thirty years of age when he sailed for America from Rotterdam, Holland, in the British ship Winter Galley, Captain Edward Paynter, master, and arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he took the English oath of allegiance, on September 5th, 1738. He settled in one of the eastern counties of Pennsylvania, whence he is supposed to have gone to the state of Virginia, to the Shenandoah Valley, and there acquired farm property at the Shenandoah River, near the village of McGaheysville.”His wife was Margaret —-. Indications are they were married in Germany. The next we hear of him is in the year 1755, when, with Philip Barger and Philip’s son Philip, he makes a trip to Montgomery County, southwest Virginia, where, at Tom’s Creek and New River, he had bought farm property. The purpose of the visit there was to make some improvements on the place, preparatory to moving his family there. Philip was, on the same occasion, making preparations to move his family to a farm he had purchased in the same community. The location was new and was designated by several names, as, Smithfield, Draper’s Meadows, New River, etc.”Several families had already located in the isolated spot, as the Ingles, Hermans, and others, but the population at the time, all told, was but a few dozens. This settlement was surprised and attacked by Indians on the 30th of July, 1755, and nearly wholly destroyed; and among the slain were Casper Barger and Philip Barger, Sr., the younger Philip having escaped the savages by an adroit manoeuver. . .”Of the members of Casper’s family, Chalkley’s Augusta County Records name Jacob and Casper, Jr. Were there other children?” (Edwards Brothers, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1939, pp. 36-37)Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, authors of Early Adventurers On The Western Waters, Volume 1, The New River of Virginia in Pioneer Days 1745-1800, wrote:”Casper Barger (Barrier, Barriger, etc.) purchased 507 acres adjoining William Ingles and William Lippard in 1754 (Chalkley, Chronicles, III, 321). This tract was part of the 7,500 acres known as Draper. Barger was one of those killed by the Indians in the same raid that took the life of Colonel James Patton and others in 1755 (Chalkley, Chronicles, II, 510). His widow, Margaret, was made administrator of his estate which was recorded in 1760 (Chalkley, Chronicles, III, 59, 60). She bought lands on a branch of the Shenandoah River in 1765, and the deed was delivered to Casper Barrier, presumably her son, in 1769 (Chalkley, Chronicles, III, 426). There is no evidence that Margaret or Casper, Jr. came to New River.

According to the Virginia Military Records compact disk, Indian Wars in Augusta County, Virginia, p. 29, “The following is a copy of one of the collections of the late Lyman C. Draper, which are preserved by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. As is well known, Dr. Draper was indefatigable in his researches. From 1835 to 1870, he traveled thousands of miles, visiting the residences of descendants of early settlers, and ransacking barrels, boxes, drawers and pigeonholes. He called this paper ‘The Preston Register,’ possibly because he attributed the authorship to Colonel William Preston. There are, however, some errors in the list, particularly in regard to names, which Colonel Preston would not have committed.

“The Secretary of the Wisconsin Historical Society writes that the original paper has the appearance of an ancient manuscript, and as far as he knows has never been printed.

“The number of people killed, wounded or captured by Indians, in Augusta County, from the beginning of the war till May, 1758, was, according to the Register, 307. Many more fell victims to Indian barbarity from May, 1758, to the fall of 1764, when the war ended. It must be remembered that Augusta county covered a much larger territory in 1754-8 than it does now. Monongalia, Holston River, New River and South Branch are remote from the present county limits. The Register fixes the dates and places of various occurrences of more or less historical interest, in regard to which tradition was silent or uncertain. July 8th, 1755, has heretofore been given as the day on which Colonel James Patton was killed and Mrs. Ingles (not English) and others captured; the Register, however, gives the date as July 30th.”

According to the same source, pp. 31-32, the following is “A Register of the Persons who have been either Killed, Wounded, or taken Prisoners by the Enemy, in Augusta County, as also such as have Made their Escape. . . 1755, July 30– Col. James Patton, New River, killed. Caspa Barrier, New River, killed. Mrs. Draper & one child, New River, killed. James Cuyll, New River, wounded. Mrs. English & her two children, New River, prisoners, escaped. Mrs. Draper, jr., New River, prisoner. Henry Leonard, New River, prisoner.”

Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, in their Early Adventures on the Western Waters, Volume, I, The New River of Virginia in Pioneer Days 1745-1800, state: “But Phillip (also Philip) Barger, the son of Margaret and Casper Sr. appeared to reclaim his father’s lands about 1771. . .” (Green Publishers, Inc., Orange, Virginia, p. 190)

On Nov 24, 1760, the inventory of the estate of Casper Barger was filed in Augusta County Will Book 2, pages 436-437. The index for Will Book 2 lists him as Casper Berriero’s, page 436:

“We the subscribers being first sworn before Tras. Tyler on of his Majesty Justices of the Pees have appraised the estate of Casper Barger decd as follows [shown in £, S, and d]

To 1 Red white faced Cow 1 15 –
To 1 Red Cow 32/6 To 1 Black Spoted Cow 27/ 2 19 –
To 1 Black Cow with the £1.10 to 1 brindled Cow £1/10 3 – –
To 1 Red haffer £1.5 To 1 Red – 1 Black hiffer £1.15 3 – –
To 1 with hiffer 16/6 to two brinbled steers £1.15 2 21 6
To 1 black hiffer10/ To 1 wieth steer 25/ To 1 brindled Cool 20/ 3 3 –
To four spring calf £1.10 To 1 Wagon ghind Geers & brest chain 12 10 –
To 1 even small schenes 10/ To 1 Lock Schenes 10/ 1 – –
To two Doung fork one hook and pitchfork – 8 –
To the frissens of One Dobletree 3/ To one pair of Shllands 10/ – 13 –
To 1 Tar and two small tae 6 – 6 6
To 6 Gimlet tree file two Compreses and one lamp – 3 6
To three Mattocks 12/ to five Oggers 7/6 – 19 6
To three faling Ax 13/ – 13 –
To 1 broad ax one hand ax one froshing ax one tomhawk and one froe 15 – –
To two fraing knife one foulaz and one hovel and one – 9 –
To tree viding how one spiad and 1 shofal and 1 smal hose 10 – –
To five Gressle 1 in shase & 1 nose – 4 6
To 1 Box Iron of ledel 1 pech fork 1 Settle pan – 4 6
To 2 platters & Basan 2 pounges 2 plads and one fonel 1 7 10
To 2 probs with their Cover 8/ to 1 Drace Cattle 3/ – 11 –
To 1 smoth bore gun 15/ to 2 Bells with the Coler 7/6 1 2 6
To 1 pane 1 blacking polane Southern & 1 Cane – 9 6
To one gridel 1 hakel & 1 pair of wool Cards – 12 6
To 1 gat 1 pair of Courds & 1 waggon cloath – 12 6
To two Couting nife & 1 Coury Comma – 3 6
To 2 sets of Plow iron two Clenishes and one Sing 2 2 6
To 1 tramble 5/ to 1 Bible & 1 Sarman Book £1 1 5 –
To 1 Chisl 5 to 1 pair of Moll Rings & two Vigges – 13 –
To 1 Table 10/ To 1 Courting knife with the Heel & Boult 8/ – 10 –
To five Bridles – 5 –
To two pair of hames with Iron tresses 1 Coller & 2 bridles 1 – –
To 1 black horse banded CB £4 To 1 black Rone Maer £6 10 – –
To 1 Red Rone horse 5 10 –
To one feather Bed two palow two sheets 1 10 –
To 1 feather Bed One palow one sheet 1 – –
To 1 Crad Cot & 1 per of Briches – 19 –
To one table Cloth and two hand towel – 5 –
In Cash 5 – –
71 13 10

George Trout
William Kerr
Geo Peterson

At a Court held for Augusta County November 24, 1760 This Inventory or appraisment of the Estate of Casper Barger decd being returned into Court is ordered to be Recorded. Teste –”

There is additional support for the theory that Philip (below, b. 1741) was the grandson of Philip who died in 1755. The German pattern of naming the first son after the paternal grandfather would have Casper’s firstborn named Philip. The second son (Casper) was named after the maternal grandfather (Margaret’s father).

Supposing the elder Philip Barger was Casper’s father, Casper Barger and Margaret — may have had the following children:

*i Philip, b. Sep 1, 1741, m. 1st, Eve Clements on Feb 4, 1765; 2nd, Barbara May on Mar 2, 1792, d. Aug 3, 1803
ii Casper, Jr., b. 1743
iii Jacob O., b. Oct 26, 1745, m. Elizabeth Hedrick, d. Aug 24, 1794
iv John B., b. Nov 11, 1746, m. Mary (Molly) — in 1776, d. 1831

Family links:
Philip Barger (1741 – 1803)*
Jacob Berrier Barger (1745 – 1794)*

*Calculated relationship

Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]
Created by: Larry Cornwell
Record added: Jan 27, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33300030


John Brownlee & 3 year old son killed by Indians:

John Brownlee Meadowlane Farm.jpg


John Brownlee Meadowlane Farm 1

Birth: 1779
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Jul. 13, 1782
Westmoreland County
Pennsylvania, USA

John Brownlee was the son of Capt. Joseph Brownlee and Elizabeth Guthrie. Joseph served in the Revolutionary War and was later an Indian fighter. While attending a wedding at Miller’s Blockhouse on July 13, 1782, Indians attacked. They burned Hannastown and took captives. When they found out Joseph Brownlee’s idenity, they killed him with a hatchet blow to the head. Not wanting any male Brownlees to survive, They murdered 3-year old John by swinging him by his ankles and smashing his head against a tree. Elizabeth and young John’s sister, 4-month old Jane was taken as prisoners. Read Elizabeth’s memorial for the rest of the story. Capt. Brownlee and little John were buried in a field of the Meckling Farm, the site of the wedding and Indian attack.

Elizabeth Guthrie was the wife of Capt. William Guthrie. They had 10-children. Elizabeth Guthrie gave an account of the burning of Hannastown on July 13, 1782 and her experiences as a captive of the Indians in her petition to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Guthrie & Jane Reed. Before her marriage to Capt. William Guthrie, she was married to Capt. Joseph Brownlee. In the attack by the Indians on Miller’s Blockhouse on July 13, 1782, the Indians killed Elizabeth’s first husband Capt. Brownlee and her three year old son John, and took her, her four month old daughter Jane, and several others prisoner.The Indians took them to Buffalo and to Niagra where Elizabeth was sold to British officers for $20.00. Jane was sold also for $10.00 and two gallons of rum. The British took the captives to Montreal as prisoners of war. They were there exchanged for British prisoners and returned to Hannastown, Pa. in July of 1783. Elizabeth married Capt. Guthrie there one year later in July of 1784. Daughter Jane grew up, married James Hugle and moved to Muskingum County, Ohio.

THANKS TO Al Haxton for the following information:

Meckling Farm grounds is now known as Meadowlane Farm. You might want to add this so people can find it.

Family links:
Joseph Brownlee (____ – 1782)
Elizabeth Guthrie Brownlee Guthrie (____ – 1842)

Mary Wallace Simpson Guthrie (1741 – ____)**
John Brownlee (1779 – 1782)
James Guthrie (1786 – 1851)**
James Guthrie (1786 – 1851)**

*Calculated relationship

Note: THANKS TO Betty Rudolph of Boise, Idaho for the photo of the Brownlee grave.

Meckling Farm Grounds
Westmoreland County
Pennsylvania, USA
Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]
Created by: Mr. Ed
Record added: Jul 17, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 132954819



One Response to “Indians Kill Ancestor Casper Barger in 1755 on VA Tech Campus”

  1. 14 Immigrants to America – Parkman-England, Coffin-England-France, Brownlee-Scottish, Breck-England, Keinadt-Germany, Derst-Germany, Angi – Hungary, Kordos – Poland, Walbridge – England, Clap – England, Barger – Germany Says:

    […] […]

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