Jack of all trades would be the simplest description of Charles B. Cracraft.[i] Yet, to leave it at that would be a great injustice to an extraordinary man. Born in the middle of the 18th century, Charles beat the persistent adversities of the era. He took enormous risks for his family and country. He was an adventurer, hunter, farmer, builder, Indian fighter, father, pioneer, a courageous defender of our new nation; he was a self-made physician/surgeon, a woodsman, ambitious, and religious. It is no wonder why he is one of our most documented relatives.
Charles was born along the Shenandoah River near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in 1748 to Joseph and Nancy Ann Stanton Cracraft. [ii]Charles spent the first ten years of life in Frederick County, Maryland, where he learned farming, hunting, reading and writing from his parents and older brothers, Joseph, William and Samuel. When his younger siblings, Sarah and Thomas, arrived it was his turn to help them learn. All family members contributed to their survival in the wilderness.
While living in Frederick County, Maryland his father, Joseph Cracraft Sr. and a friend, William Bowel, were registered on a militia roster in Capt. Moses Chapline Militia Company around 1757.[iii] Most of the people listed on the roster were neighbors. The purpose of this company was to protect the frontier against the Indian raids during the French and Indian War. As more white settlers moved west, there was more and more contact with the Indians. The Indians traded furs and hides for cloth, pots and tools with the early settlers. Indians and colonists had different views about land ownership. The colonists believed that when one bought land that gave them exclusive and permanent rights to the land. The Indians believed that when they were selling the land to the colonists, they were selling the right to use the land. The Indians expected to keep farming and hunting on the land they sold. Many tribes used the same area of land so even chiefs did not have the right to sell the land. This led to many conflicts, fights and raids on both parties for many years. French settlers wanted this same land and incited the natives to attack the newcomers. Some of these organized battles with soldiers became the French and Indian War. This ended in 1763 when the British defeated the French for control of eastern North America. The British Proclamation of 1763 outlawed colonial settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains; the very territory in which Charles would settle. That land was reserved for the Indians. This was ignored by settlers and even by colonial authorities. Five years later the Treaty of Fort Stanwix was signed. This treaty was with the Iroquois Indians stating that land between the Tennessee and Ohio rivers, which included southwestern Pennsylvania and parts of Virginia, was acquired for future colonial settlement; again, this was the colonist’s agreement. This in no way stopped the small raids on individual farmers and settlements throughout America. For the next 120 years, several Cracrafts bore arms to protect settlements and their own families from Indian raids.
In August of 1761 Joseph and Ann sold their 50 acres called Prospect to Josiah Harper and moved west.[iv] Josiah and his nephew opened a ferry across the Potomac River and called it Harper’s Ferry. The Bowels and the Cracrafts followed the Potomac River to the hill country of Virginia near the fork of the Great Cacapon River. This later became Hampshire County, West Virginia. [v]Records show a William Bowel having a survey done in this area as early as 1741[vi]. We cannot be sure this is the same William Bowel as all his children were born in Maryland. Perhaps, it was he who convinced Joseph to move west. It was common for families to move together; there was safety in numbers. If traveled by pack animals they left behind most of their large possessions like tables and chests, etc. They traveled short distances over hills and mountains of the Appalachia. Some part of their journey was in flatboats down the Potomac River, by which could carry necessities, the family, a wagon and horses.
Whichever way they traveled had to be very difficult as there were no roads, tough terrain and a possibility Indians were a problem. The reasons for moving west were many. We can only speculate why the Bowels and Cracrafts moved. Most were willing to endure the hardships to make a better life for themselves and children. America was still under British rule and they were taxing the colonists for almost everything. Most people were farmers and competition was great as to who could sell their goods first. Lack of laws and people to enforce them was another reason why people wanted to get away. Last but not the least reason to move was the lure of adventure.
The earliest known settlers around this region were Germans, being there by 1748. By 1745 the British crown confirmed the rights to this land to an English Nobleman, Thomas, Sixth Lord of Fairfax. He claimed all the land that is now most of West Virginia, nearly 5,282,000 acres; included what are now Jefferson, Berkley, Morgan, Hardy, Hampshire and Mineral Counties.[vii] His estate was managed much like the feudal system in England. He separated his land into large manors. Two manors close to the area where the Cracrafts and Bowels settled, were South Branch with 55,000 acres and Patterson Creek Manor with 9,000 acres. The majority of the tenants obtained tracts from 100 to 300 acres under the plan of lease and release. Each tenant made a down payment and each year on St. Michaelmas Day paid a quitrent determined by the size of the land.[viii]A quitrent is a fixed rent paid in money instead of services.
While living in Hampshire County, Joseph’s oldest sons married William Bowel’s daughters. Joseph Jr. married Margaret and William married Sarah. In 1760, William Bowel deeded 92 acres to son in law Joseph and wife Margit and 95 acres to William and wife Sarah. Both areas of land were on the Cacapon River.[ix]Land records show that on December 9, 1765 Joseph conveyed 340 acres to his son Joseph Jr. on the Great Cacapehon on Cronoloway Hill. He also served as a pilot of the surveying crew for the transfer.[x] This part of the country was still very much a wilderness; but a beautiful one with lots of natural resources. Neighbors were not very close and the Indians were a major threat. The summer of 1768 the Shawnee came to South Branch and Cacapehon posing as friends of the settlers. They killed or captured all settlers in the Muddy Creek settlement and then moved down to Lewisbury and did the same.[xi]
We have records of Joseph being a pilot of surveying crews. This may have been the father, Joseph, or the son. Land companies, to record the area of land, hired surveyors. The surveying crew consisted of chain carriers, a marker who recorded the number of chains, a pilot who guided the chain carriers and a surveyor. A link in a chain was 7.92 inches; 1 rod was 25 links or 16 feet; 1 chain was 4 links or 66 feet and 1 mile equaled 80 chains. On uneven land the chain needed to be held level to the horizon and not the land. Many times, especially when Indian danger was present, surveyors received a portion of the land they surveyed. They could survey up to a few 1000 acres a day.[xii] This obviously led many surveyors to acquiring much land wealth. According to Abstracts of Virginia’s Northern Neck Warrants and Surveys[xiii]Joseph was a pilot and William was a chain carrier and a marker for many surveys in Hampshire County, Virginia. This was a good way to get to know the country. It is very possible Charles went with them on these trips.
Records of heads of families in Hampshire County, Virginia in 1782 show Joseph Craycroft with 9 in family and owning 3 dwellings; William Craycroft; and Thomas (a brother of Joseph and William) with 7 in the family and 1 dwelling. The tax records of 1780 show Samuel in Monongalia County, Virginia, he is another brother. According to Franklin Ellis, William Creacraft was one of the original landholders in Dunbar Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania sometime around 1780.[xiv] Samuel obviously settled a little more west than his siblings.
Charles moved to what is now Ten-Mile Creek, Washington County, Pennsylvania. The area at the time was known as Ohio County, Virginia to some and part of Kentucky to others. The western part of Pennsylvania was not part of the colonies; the boundary was the Appalachian Mountains. Fort Pitt to the east and the Ohio River to the west were considered frontier. Heavy with timber, brush and plenty of water, this land was very fertile- an ideal spot for hunting and farming and very beautiful. Several Indian tribes including Iroquoian and Algonquian had been using it for a long time. More and more Americans were moving west. The price of land in Virginia was near 1 shilling per 10 acres. There were no limits and often the land was bartered for much less. The price of land in Pennsylvania was much higher and settlers were limited to 400 acres.[xv]During the Revolutionary War Virginia offered 100-200 acres of land but also a slave for enlisting in the Virginia line. Pennsylvania issued bounty land warrants after the war. They were based on rank. A private could claim 200 acres, ensign, 300 acres, up to 2000 acres for a Major General.[xvi]
We know that by 1773 Charles settled in the area. He was an assignee of Abraham Enlow for 400 acres. “These certificates were granted by Virginia as a result of the settlement boundary dispute between Virginia and Pennsylvania with the establishment of the Mason-Dixon Line. Pennsylvania recognized these titles. Abraham built a blockhouse for protection.” [xvii]He may have been here even earlier. A.O. Marshall, a descendant of Charles, states that Charles settled in Washington County as early as 1768 on a “tomahawk claim” of 400 acres. A tomahawk claim or right was notching the trees with an ax along the boundary. He later traded it to a neighbor, Thomas Atkinson, for other property.
When Charles settled on Ten Mile Creek, he had an enormous task of clearing the land for crops to grow and livestock to graze, building a house, hunting for food and keeping his family safe. The lands of Ten Mile were thick with vegetation. A minimum of 20 to 40 acres of cleared land was needed to feed a family of 5. His first house was probably a one-room log cabin. The fireplaces were big, 4 X 6 feet to be used for light, to cook and heat the house. As time went on and the family became larger the cabin was added to or another house was built and the original used as a storehouse. Neighbors helped neighbors. All members of the household worked for its wellbeing.
In the early 1770’s Thomas Atkinson built Fort Atkinson for protection from the Indians.[xviii]It was a place of refuge for families of that area from the Indians that frequently raided. The forts were stored with supplies. The firing of a gun at any house could be confirmation of a signal to alert the neighbors. Two shots meant signs of an Indian was seen and three shots meant Indians were sighted. It was very common to have a rifle close by as one worked in the fields. The fort or blockhouse was located on the North Fork of Ten-Mile Creek, adjoining lands of John and Thomas Atkinson and Charles Creacraft.[xix]The Ohio River was about 15 miles away. The Atkinson Fort was about two miles south of Dickinson’s Fort. The Atkinsons, Dickinsons, Cracrafts, Sheridans, Lucas and a few other families used the forts. Their land was equal distance between the forts.[xx]These forts usually consisted of cabins, blockhouses and stockades. The cabins formed one side of the fort and this is where the families lived most of the time. It was not until after the Revolutionary War that they built separate homes on their land. The outside walls were 10 to 12 feet high and the slope of the roof was inward. The floors were dirt. At angles to the fort was the blockhouse, which stuck out about 2 feet from the outer walls. On the side of the water source was a large folding gate. The walls of the fort had portholes. The whole thing was built without nails.[xxi]
Thomas Atkinson and Martha Cross had nine children. Two of them married Cracrafts. Eleanor married Charles sometime near 1775. Thomas Jr. married Charles’s niece, the daughter of his older brother, William. He and Sarah Bowel had five children; Mary Ann b. 1762, she married Thomas Atkinson Jr., and settled in Clark Co. KY; William b. 1769, he married Polly Hazelrigg and settled in Clark County, KY; Thomas b. 1775, he married Mary Manely and settled in Adams County, Ohio; and Basil b. 1779, he married Delilah Williams and settled in Fayette County, PA. They later moved to Union township in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
Like most of the people of the era, Charles and Eleanor were farmers. The most common crops were grain, corn, wheat, oats, potatoes and flax. Each house had a small vegetable garden, which was tended by the woman of the house. A typical breakfast was corn mush, cheese and maybe some meat. The noon meal was the main meal of the day, which usually was stew. The dinner was bread, cheese and leftovers from the stew at supper. Meats and vegetables changed with the season because there were few ways to preserve foods. Later the settlers discovered that fruit trees prospered in the area. Apples, peaches and pears were kept in the cellar. Common drinks of the time were beer, ale and cider, usually brewed at home. Many pioneers feared water made them sick.[xxii]
Most families had cattle, horses, sheep, hogs and dogs. The cattle were used for dairy products and meat. Horses were used for muscle power; pulling plows and tree stumps out of the ground, hauling and transportation. Sheep were shaved. The fleece was cleansed, scoured, and spun by the women of the house. Spinning wheels made the fleece and flax into yarn or thread for a loom. This was woven into fabric. Nuts and berries were used to dye the cloth and then it was sewn into clothes. Some of the wealthier families bought stylish clothes from Europe. Dogs were used for hunting and warning for visitors.
He and Eleanor were blessed with 9 children all lived to adulthood, which was unusual for the times. Their first born, Martha was born in Finley Township in 1776. Nancy (Ann) was born in 1779. Margaret followed in 1781 and then Mary in 1782.
Like their parents, Charles and Eleanor’s children had little formal education. They learned and helped with everything at home. Reading and writing were taught at home using the Bible and then from newspapers when they became available. There was very little money. Bartering or the exchange of goods or services without the use of money was common. People made the most of what they had.
Each year Charles cleared more land for crops and constructed split rail fences.
According to his son, William, Charles was a self-made surgeon and physician. He had great success in curing wounds and fractures.[xxiii] Their farm was located on the waters of Ten-Mile Creek. The area originally was considered part of Donegal Township. In 1788 a petition was granted for the establishment of Finley Township.
The 1700’s were full of unrest for this part of the country, not to mention the everyday hardships families endured to survive. There were Indian attacks, the Virginia, Pennsylvania boundary dispute, Dunsmore’s war, and then the Revolution.
Between 1750-1780 both colonial Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed this land we call the northern neck of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. Officially, it was frontier territory. There were numerous settlements and the pioneers became weary of the disagreement between the two colonies. They felt they had improved the land, defended their country from Indians and were ill-treated in courts of justice, militia laws and land affairs. They voiced these opinions in a petition to the Continental Congress for a new state called Westslvania. George, William and Thomas Atkinson and William and Charles Creacraft signed the petition [xxiv]. It was not until after the early 1780’s that the boundaries of Pennsylvania and Virginia were settled.
It was not enough for Charles to farm and support a wife and young daughter on the outskirts of civilization. Nor was it enough for him to protect his family and neighbors at Atkinson Fort against local Indian raids. Charles must have felt a need, a desire or possibly just plain determination to make his world a safer place to live. He volunteered on a number of campaigns against the Indians.
Not all Indians were bad, in fact, most kept to themselves; hunting, trading and making a living. Sometimes one or two would come to a pioneer home to trade or maybe steal livestock or food. However, every once in a while, a group would attack a pioneer family. The men would be killed and women and children would be taken and used as slaves. The killings were gruesome. When the Revolutionary War began the British incited the Indians against the Colonialists.
In the summer of 1777 Francis Bedle of Washington County, PA served one month as a substitute for Nathan Hathaway in a company of rangers under Capt. Cracraft. They were called out to protect the frontiers and were stationed at Jackson’s Fort.[xxv] Rangers were the local militia. They served 3 months each year. They were subject to call at a minute’s notice. They were to help the regular militia companies patrol the lines between forts. Sometimes they had to go deep into Indian Territory to recover captives or punish a depredation. Some stayed at the forts to make a show of strength or prevent an incursion. The scouts and spies were continuously moving from one fort to another.[xxvi]
In 1781 a draft was ordered in the militia of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. 1/5 was to go into Gen. George Roger Clark’s campaign against the Indians. That meant if 5 persons furnished a man from the area where they lived, they escaped the draft.[xxvii]They were to report to Col. Archibald Lochry, County Lieutenant of Westmoreland County, at Fort Pitt. Charles was already part of Gen. Clark’s volunteers having been on an earlier campaign on the frontier.
Col. Lochry had a difficult time recruiting men and was late getting to Fort Pitt. Gen. Clark left for Wheeling with orders for Lochry to immediately follow him and meet him at the mouth of the Great Miami River (Louisville) with boats.[xxviii] Gen. Clark continued downstream and left Major Cracraft and Quartermaster Richard Wallace with a squad of 5 men to wait with a dispatch to give to Lochry. Col. Lochry met Major Cracraft and his men. They all continued downstream. About 400 miles south of Pittsburgh, Lochry’s force camped. Lochry did not have much ammunition or provisions. There was much discontent among the men. Maj. Cracraft and his squad left in a single canoe to catch up to Gen. Clark and inform him on Lochry’s position and his capturing some deserters.[xxix]
Meanwhile a party of Indians saw this canoe and reported to the main party of Indians. The Indians took positions on both side of the river and waited for Maj. Cracraft and his men. They found themselves surrounded by Indians. They were easily captured without a shot being fired.[xxx]
Charles’ account is as follows. When they were going down the river, Charles saw a small group of Indians. He felt sure there was a larger number further down. They expected to be attacked when 2 or 3 Indians began running down the bank. At the bend of the river they saw a large number of Indians who began firing at once. The distance between them was too far for the balls to injure anyone. Several canoes with Indians came at them. Charles pulled off his hat and waved it in the air. The Indians stopped firing and they were towed to shore. Charles had a written order from Gen. Clark to remain 2 days for Lochry’s men and if he did not arrive to take the boat down river to Clark. Gen. Clark intended to wait for them down river. Charles was afraid the Indians would see the order so while getting out of the boat he took it out of his pocket and rolled it in a small compass and dropped it in the water. He stepped on it and pushed it into the sand under his feet.[xxxi]This day was August 21, 1781.
When they went ashore Joseph Brant, a Mohawk Chief, in full British uniform, met them. Brant interrogated Charles as to what force was coming down the river. Charles replied, Anone.@ Brant asked in good English for his papers. Charles gave him his commission, number T-DV1P207, which was signed by Gen. Clark by the authority of the Virginia government. Brant looked at his papers and replied AYou are a Virginian Officer, the first I have had the pleasure to see.@ Brant then yelled at him with his sword raised and told him he had a mind to split him down. Charles said, AI am your prisoner, you can do what you please.@ Brant said, AI know that, damn, you!@ Charles was stripped of his clothes and tied. Soon Simon or George Girty gave him a shirt, pants and a hat.[xxxii]
George Girty, a known Indian sympathizer, and Brice Reagan, a deserter from the 13th Virginia Regiment questioned Cracraft and Wallace. The men did not talk until they were threatened with death. They then told them of Lochry’s force coming behind them. Charles was coerced to cooperate with the Indians. He was to lure Lochry’s men to shore. If he did not cooperate, they told him of excruciating tortures he would endure and that the Indians would kill all the men. Wallace and Cracraft were tied to trees and under a close watch through the night.[xxxiii]
While at the mouth of the Miami River, Lochry’s men shot and killed a buffalo. Since they had not rested or eaten very much since the campaign began, Lochry promised them, after an early start, that they would come ashore and cook and eat the buffalo. The next morning, they went 4 to 5 miles and came to a good place to stop. This place was only a few dozen yards near the proposed ambush. As they came ashore the Indians emerged. They shouted for the soldiers to surrender or be killed. Some soldiers tried to get away but gunfire erupted. More than 30 of a force of 107 were killed and others were wounded and taken prisoner.[xxxiv]
While Charles was tied, he could hear but not see the slaughter. Thomas Stokely, a neighbor from Washington County, Pennsylvania, was wounded. Charles extracted a ball from Stokely’s neck. Years later, Stokely showed William, Charles’s son, the scar and told him the story. Soon after the slaughter one of Lockry’s men sat on a log near where Charles was tied. He was in much pain. An Indian came up and looked at the poor fellow, went to Charles, took his hat and put it on his head. The Indian walked to the injured man, returned the hat back to Charles, whirled about and with his tomahawk smashed his head, scalped him, gave a war whoop and walked away.[xxxv]
The prisoners were made to sit down and their wrists were bound behind them. The Indians collected the guns and supplies. Some Indians scalped the dead. Capt. Robert Orr and Col. Lochry were directed to sit on a log. A short time later a Shawnee warrior walked up and killed Lochry with a single tomahawk blow and scalped him.[xxxvi]
The Indians sent the prisoners north to Detroit. Some others went after Clark at the falls of the Ohio River. These men who left their homes in Pennsylvania to go on this expedition one month before would not return to their families for a long time. Less than half returned to their homes.[xxxvii]
General Clark was waiting down river for Major Cracraft and Col. Lochry. General Clark stated he was unaware of what happened and of the great number of Indians in the ambush. The defeat was mourned by Americans everywhere but especially those in Virginia and Pennsylvania. General Clark was criticized heavily. This was his last hope of a successful campaign against Detroit. The people of Pennsylvania believed Clark should have prevented Lochry’s defeat. Many believe that the disagreement over the boundaries of the two commonwealths prevented men to volunteer to help General Clark, a Virginian.[xxxviii]This capture was the greatest misfortune that had yet befallen the Colonialists. It is known as Lochry’s Defeat. An island in the Ohio River near the place of Col. Lochry’s death is now known as Lochry’s Island.
A few days later, Charles and his fellow prisoners marched under various parties of Indians for Detroit. They suffered a lot not having anything decent to eat. Near the Maumee River the Indian who was in charge of him and several other prisoners stopped for the day. This Indian went across the river to where some Indians lived. He bartered his calico shirt for some corn and squash. He gave them to the prisoners and lay down to sleep. The captives cooked it. Charles went to the Indian (John) and told him to get up and eat. The Indian refused saying in English, “You have not enough to eat yourselves.” It was with great difficulty that Charles got him to eat what he sold his shirt to obtain. They went on to Detroit where Charles was sold to the British. The following spring Charles went to Fort Niagara. When he came ashore John, the Indian who brought him to Detroit met him. The Indian seemed very happy to see him.[xxxix]
The British report of the affair states Capt. Joseph Brandt, the Mohawk Indian Chief Thayendanegea, and George Girty with some Indians came upon one of Clark’s boats after going down the river in the night. They found Maj. Craigcroft’s orders that more troops were to follow under the command of a Colonel Lochry. They (Indians) lay in wait for them. They attacked and took them whole, now allowing any to escape. There were 37 killed including Lochry and some officers. The Indians did not think they had enough men to go after Clark so they decided to watch Clark’s motions.[xl]
It should be noted that not all the men from Lochry’s company made it to Detroit, many died of wounds suffered during the attack. Christian Fast was a prisoner of the Indians and wondered the woods with them. He was with them when they attacked Fort Wheeling in 1782. The fort refused to surrender so they decided to attack the settlements. The Indian family, which kept him, did not go on this particular raid. After obtaining their confidence Fast ran away. The next night he came upon their trail and followed them. He took a circuitous route and ran all day and rested at night. The next day at about 4:00 p.m. he arrived a Ross’ fort on the waters of Ten Mile Creek, Washington Co. PA. He alarmed the settlers. At sundown the Indians attacked but the settlers resisted. Fast then returned to his family in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.[i]
Thomas Atkinson, the brother in law of Charles (Eleanor’s brother), was with him during Lochry’s Defeat. They were separated when the prisoners were taken to Detroit. Thomas was held near the Upper Sandusky by Chief Big Pine. He was unable to escape until 1784. [ii]Shortly upon returning he married Mary Ann Cracraft, daughter of William who was Charles’s older brother.
While a prisoner in Detroit, a British Major De Poyster would come to visit with Charles. De Poyster seemed very nice but complained about the unhappy state of the Colony. He told Charles there might be pardons yet for the Rebels and even an opening in the British Army. Wanting to stop these talks Charles quoted Job, “that naked he came and naked would return rather than turn his back on his country.” He never received an invitation from De Poyster after that.[iii]
As a prisoner Charles was treated kindly. He became acquainted with a Mr. Alexander McComb. He furnished him with things to read to pass the time. Charles was allowed to move about up to 3 miles from the limits of Detroit. On June 9, 1782 he went to Montreal. On July 22 he was held in St. Mary’s Prison in Quebec. In October of 1782 he was exchanged according to the rules of war.[iv] After hearing of Lochry’s defeat in August of 1781 and Charles not returning, Eleanor and his family believed him to be dead. When he returned there was much rejoicing.
The United States government offered Charles land near what is now Detroit, Michigan for his distinguished services. Charles refused stating,” I have done no more than my duty for my country, and I am still able to provide for myself and family.”[v] According to the Haldimand Papers, British records of Lochry’s defeat, Charles was taken prisoner 21 August 1781 and returned to the United States 22 July 1782.[vi]
A nephew of Charles served the militia during the Revolutionary War. Charles, the son of Samuel, joined the Virginia Militia in 1781 at the age of 14. For the next 15 years he served in several regiments in Monongalia County, Virginia and Washington County, Pennsylvania either in the regular militia or as an Indian fighter. It is quite possible he aided his Aunt Eleanor and her family of young girls during Charles absence.
Charles and Eleanor finally had a son, Joseph, born in 1783/4 then came the following children; Elizabeth born 1786, Charles 1791, Eleanor, 1792, and William Atkinson 1794.
Over the years Charles bought and sold land. In the 1782 and 1783 tax records of Amwell Township, Charles had 300 acres next to George Atkinson and Thomas Sargent. He also had 400 acres in Morris Township named Red Bank.[vii]February 11, 1792 he purchased the tract of land called AContent@from his brother in law, William Atkinson located near his other property.[viii]
Charles and his family are listed in the U.S. Pennsylvania Census of 1784, 1793, 1800, 1810 & 1820. Their oldest child, Martha married Jeremiah Post. They had four children and lived in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Ann married Robert Graham. Margaret married Samuel Marshall. They had ten children and resided in Shelby County, Ohio. Joseph married Ruth Chase. They had six children and moved to Richland County, Ohio. Mary married Joseph Sternburger. Elizabeth married Abraham Chase, Ruth’s brother. They resided in Washington County. Pennsylvania. Eleanor married Samuel Clark. Charles married Mary Whitham. William married Sarah Saxe. They had seven children. William eventually lived in Charles’ house. He supplied much of the information on Charles’ experiences with Lochry to William Draper for Draper’s historical manuscripts.
Shortly after the year 1810 Charles married a widow, Anna McCollum Ruple. She was the widow of Baltis Ruple who died in 1796. Anna was the mother of five children, James, David, Elizabeth, Mary and Margaret. Charles and Anna raised these children. James became a Colonel in the U.S. Army. James married Diana Goodrich and had twelve children, one of whom they named Joseph Cracraft Ruple.[ix] It became a tradition in this family to have the name Cracraft as a middle name, even to this day.
By 1800 all of the Atkinsons left Ten-Mile Creek, Washington County, Pennsylvania and removed to West Virginia and Kentucky.
Charles died Monday, March 15, 1824 at his home in Morris Township of apoplexy. He had at least two homes on his property. One with 400 acres was given to his son William. Descendants of Charles lived on the farm as late as 1940. The farms are located on Cracraft Road, parallel to Buffalo Creek in Franklin Township. They are within 3 mile of each other. We have 2 accounts of Charles’s burial. One is from Allen Chase, a descendant, who was raised on William’s farm and believes there was a cemetery on a hill behind the house. When the land was sold the cemetery was bull dozed, reportedly by the new owner, to make room for a pasture. Some of the tombstones were pushed into Buffalo Creek. Another account is from Scott Cracraft who saw Charles’s grave at a Quaker Cemetery located nearby in a state park.
For the next 200 years the heirs of Charles and Eleanor followed his footsteps in many ways. They settled in all parts of this country. Some became educators. Many served proudly on both sides of the Civil War and in the following wars and conflicts for the United States of America. Lawyers and judges; doctors and surgeons are common professions past down for generations. In fact, a descendant whose family had a doctor in every generation has Charles’s surgeon bag and glasses.
One can say that Charles led a very hard but exciting life. He faced many challenges with a sense of duty and with the determination that his efforts made a difference. He tamed his part of the wilderness for the benefit of his family and their needs. He volunteered to make this country a safe and free place for future generations. As a prisoner separated from his friends and family he stuck to his beliefs. As a self-made doctor he was a man filled with compassion. He raised 2 families. His children became successful in their own right. They in turn passed these traits to each generation. Charles Cracraft was a jack of all trades and then some.
[x] Shomo-Joyner, compiler.@Abstracts of Virginia Northern Neck Warrants & Surveys 1697-1784.@ Vol. IV. 1987.
[xi] Rice, Otis, K. AWest Virginia, a History.@ The University Press of Kentucky. 1985. Pp 27.
[xii] From <email@example.com> to Dianne Hume on August 20, 1999.
[xiii] Joyner, Peggy Shomo, complier. AAbstracts of Virginia’s Northern Neck Warrants and Surveys; Dunmore, Shenandoah, Culpeper, Prince William, Faquier & Stafford Counties, 1710-1780. Vol. III. Denver, Colorado. 1987.
[xiv] Ellis, Franklin. History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania.Vol. 1.L.H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia, 1882.
[xv] Fayette County online mailing list. Online <PAFAYETTE-L@rootsweb.com> August 25, 1999.
[xvi] Fayette County online mailing listPAFAYETTE-L@rootsweb.com August 25, 1999.
[xvii] Bell, Raymond. AThe Enlow Family:@ Keyhole Magazine, Washington County Pennsylvania Genealogy Society of S.W. Pennsylvania. October 1983. Pp 181.
[xviii] Bell, Raymond, George Chapman, AThe Atkinson family of Washington County, Pennsylvania.@ Manuscript.
[xix] Newton, J.H., C.G. Nichols and A.C. Spankle,. AThe Pan-Handle; being historical collections of the counties of Ohio, Brooke, Marshall and Hancock, West Virginia. Published by J.A. Caldwell, 1879.
[xx] Bell, Raymond. George Chapman, AThe Atkinson family of Washington County, Pennsylvania.@ Manuscript.
[xxi] Montgomery, Thomas, editor. AReport of the Commission to locate the site of the frontier forts of Pennsylvania. Vol. 2. Harrisburg, PA, 1916.
[xxii] Rice, Otis K. AWest Virginia, a History.@ The University Press of Kentucky, 1985.