Foreman's Defeat

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Date: 1777
Location: Hampshire County West Virginiamap
Surnames/tags: Harris, Foreman, Miller, Wilson, Greene, Peterson , Powell Shriver
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Action in the Revolutionary War: Foreman's Defeat

In the autumn of 1777, when it became known that the Indian Nations northwest of the Ohio would become the allies of Great Britain, an invasion of their country was planned, this to be commanded by General Edward Hand. A call for troops for this purpose was made on the West Virginia frontiersmen, and Major George Skillern raised two companies in Botetourt county, which, with forty Greenbrier county men under Captain William Renick, repaired to Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Great Kanawha river. At the same time and for the same purpose, Captain William Foreman, of Hampshire county, collected a company of men in the South Branch Valley, and marched to the Ohio, arriving at Fort Henry, now Wheeling, on the 15th of September, fifteen days after the first siege at that place. On Sunday, the 26th ensuing, a great column of smoke was seen down the river and David Shepherd, a County-Lieutenant of Ohio county, believing that the Indians had set fire to the deserted Fort Tomlinson, on the Grave Creek Flats - now Moundsville - dispatched Captain Foreman with forty-five men to that place. No Indians were seen, the fort was intact and the troops spent the night at that place. The next day when returning to Wheeling, the party fell into an ambuscade at "McMechen Narrows," on the Ohio river, now in Marshall county, and twenty-one of the Virginians were killed at the first fire and several badly wounded. The sad event is known in pioneer annals as "Foreman's Defeat", and long was heard the sorrowful story in the homes of the South Branch Valley and among the Hampshire Hills [[1]]

A partial list of the Hampshire County men at the Defeat of Captain William Foreman at "McMechen Narrows" between the sites of Wheeling and Moundsville, West Virginia, September 27, 1777 [1][2]



  • Edward Peterson,
  • Benjamin Powell,
  • Hambleton Foreman,
  • James Greene,
  • John Wilson,
  • Jacob Pugh,
  • Pvt. Isaac Harris
  • Robert McGrew,
  • Elisha Shriver,
  • Henry Riser,
  • Bartholomew Viney,
  • Anthony Miller,
  • John Vincent,
  • Solomon Jones,
  • William Ingle,
  • Nathan Foreman,
  • Abraham Powell,
  • Samuel Lowry,
  • Samuel Johnson,
  • Jacob Ogle,
  • Abraham Powell,
  • John Collins,
  • Robin Harkness,
  • William Linn.[3][4][5]


  1. "The American Pioneer", Vol, II, pp. 347-350; DeHass' "History of the Early Settlement and Indian Wars of Western Virginia", pp. 230-234, 279
  2. "Journal of the Virginia House of Delegates", Session beginning October 5, 1778. P. 47.
  3. History of Hampshire County, West Virginia.
  4. Foreman's Defeat.
  5. Virginia Rangers.

See also:

  • Historical accounts of Captain Foreman's exploits in the northern panhandle of West Virginia consistently spell his name as "Foreman" rather than "Forman"
  • De Haas, Wills. History of the early settlement and Indian wars of Western Virginia; embracing an account of the various expeditions in the West, previous to 1795. Philadelphia: King & Baird. 1851.
  • History of the Upper Ohio Valley. Madison, WI: Brant & Fuller, 1890. p 71.
  • Powell, Scott. History of Marshall County. From forest to field; a story of early settlement and development of Marshall County, W. Va., with incidents of early life and roster of soldiers of the several wars, with other matters of interest. Moundsville, WV, 1925. p 29.
  • Thwaites, Reuben Gold; Kellogg, Louise Phelps (1912). Frontier Defense on the Upper Ohio, 1777 - 1778. Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Historical Society. pp. 301–302.

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posted by Mark Weinheimer