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John, the daring Indian fighter of West Virginia. HE came through the Shenandoah valley of Virginia with his brothers, Isaac and Peter and his sister, Brigetta. Peter came as far west as Greenbrier and built a house and fort on Wolf creek. John was a surveyor and found lands to his liking in Hampshire county and on the Greenbrier river, which he patented.
He married in Baltimore, Chloe Standiford, "tall and fair to look upon." She went with him to live in Bottetout county, Va. A few years later in company with six other men, he made a hazardous trip of exploration to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Reaching Fort Pitt they built boats and loaded them with articles for trading with the Indians and Spaniards. They made a successful trip down the river nearly 2,000 miles to Natches where they disposed of their boats and what remained of their goods and then set out on the journey home. The overland trip through an almost impenetrable wilderness was full of peril as they found when they were set upon by a band of Cherokee Indians who killed several and scattered the rest so that they never came together again. John Van Bibber, alone, without gun or compass and no knowledge of the country became hopelessly lost and wandered for months in the forests of Mississippi and Tennessee, until, almost at the end of endurance, he came upon a cabin in a hollow in the woods. It was the cabin of Daniel Boone on the Holstein river.
Daniel and Rebecca Boone gave him welcome and comfort. Thus began a friendship that lasted all their lives and was cemented by a marriage between their children. His return home was indeed a joyful event. No word had been heard from him during his nine months absence and Chloe Van Bibber had given him up as dead. He found the settlement in great perturbation on account of rumors of Indian depredations, and his presence was needed.
John and Peter's only sister, Brigetta, who had married Isaac Robinson in Bottetout came with her husband and family to Point Pleasant in the party with her brothers. They settled on Crooked creek not far from her brothers. It was not long before they were to suffer a fate that was unhappily too common to the settlers on the Ohio river at that time.
Late one afternoon in the spring of the year of their coming to Crooked creek, their son Isaac, a boy about 8 years old, was fishing in the river some distance from the house. He was disturbed by the sound of shots and yells from the direction of his home, and immediately set off running across the clearing. He arrived to witness a scene of horror. His father lay dead. Indians were in the act of killing his baby brother, two years old, and his mother and 4 year old brother were prisoners. Isaac was made a prisoner and the savages after rifling the house set fire to it and made off with their captives and loot.
It was some hours later than John Van Bibber discovered the ruined home. He went immediately in pursuit and came upon the 4 year old John lying dead in the road. The Indians had a good start and they traveled fast that night so that he never caught up with them and had to return.
It was five years before Brigetta was heard of when she was purchased by a fur trader and returned to Bottetourt county. She related a story of cruelty and hardship. After two days and nights of rapid flight from Crooked creek, the Indians stopped to rest. That night beneath the stars a baby boy was born to her. Next day the journey was resumed, and a few days later, the baby, becoming burdensome to her captors, was killed and body thrown at her feet.
Arriving at the Indian village, Brigetta was made to cook and sew and do the work of a servant. This might have been bearable had not the only solace to her grief been taken from her, when an Indian brave adopted her son.
In 1795, seven years after her capture and two years after her release, George Wayne signed a treaty with the Indians under which all captives were to be released. Brigetta Robinson set out at once to discover the whereabouts of her son. It was a long and tedious journey. In one of the small Indian villages where she was led in her search, she fell ill with smallpox that had broken out in the village, and it was months before she could proceed further.
When at last she found him, she met disappointment and grief in his refusal to accompany her home. After weeks of entreaty, he was finally persuaded to return with her to his uncle's at Point Pleasant, where after four years his constitution yielded to the restraints of civilization and he died.
It was shortly after the murder of Isaac Robinson and the capture of Brigetta, that a great sorrow befell John Van Bibber. One day, with his colored man, Davy, he rowed across the Ohio river to make his year's supply of sugar. His eldest daughter, Rhoda, a beautiful young woman of 19 with abundant auburn hair, decided to row over with 12-year-old Jacob to meet him. As they drew near the shore, a party of Indians appeared and attacked them. Van Bibber, hearing the yells and shots hurried in the river. They were too late. By the time they reached the shore Rhoda had been killed and John made captive, and the Indians were in flight. Van Bibber and Davy pursued and killed four of the Indians, wounding a fifth, who was found dead a few days later. The remainder of the savages escaped with Jacob. He was taken to Detroit, where he soon learned to speak the French and Indian languages and was made an interpreter.
The British at that time, 1787, having little faith in the ability of the United States to hold together, were still in possession of the Northern forts, and were inciting the Indians against the advancing tide of settlers from the States. The British commandant of the fort at Detroit was offering bounties for scalps of white settlers on the Ohio and so Rhoda Van Bibber's scalp with its beautiful auburn hair was sold to the commandant for $60. Jacob told of seeing barrels of scalps of women and children. After Wayne's treaty, Mathias Van Bibber, his cousin, went in search of him and brought him home to his mother after an absence of seven years. He died the following year.
This biography is a rough draft. It was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import and needs to be edited.
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On 10 Jan 2015 at 12:52 GMT Keith Hathaway wrote:
I noticed a couple of improvements that can be made to this profile. The first name was probably not "Captain John", but rather "John". Captain can go in the title space provided.
The other thing was there are no sources. There is a biography but it is copied from the West Virginia Historical Magazine Quarterly. It's best to avoid doing that (maybe copyright infringement), but at the very least it should be cited.
To link to a source you can use the URL (from your browser address bar) of the page you are citing. Place that address between brackets in the biography of the profile. It will produce a numbered link to the source.
Let me know if you need any help at all, Robert - WikiTree Mentor
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