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The Return of Jacob Stookey Hardy County Superior Court Record 1797-1800

Submitted by David Armstrong

Editor's note:

Few documents of eighteenth century Virginia are packed with the kind of human drama or genealogical value as the case of Shobe vs Hyer in the Hardy County Superior Court record. Jacob Stookey was a youth who was captured by the Indians during the French and Indian War in Maryland in the 1750's. He lived among the Shawnee Indians (as an Indian) for the subsequent half century. Meanwhile, his family migrated from Maryland into what is now Hardy County, West Virginia. Jacob Stookey was never heard of again until the early 1800's when he, as a sick old man, wandered back into the east and demanded his share of his father's land grant. The depositions below are part of the litigation that grew out of that circumstance. Since much of the punctuation in the following documents is unreadable or non-existent, some punctuation has been added for clarity. Documents are otherwise printed as written.

Shobes Lessee
	vs		In E___

Evidence of Valantine Power who proved that about the year 1757 having been previously taken by the Indians from the South Branch of Potocomauk he saw a white man a prisoner among the Indians at Detroit called Jacob Stooky, that he conversed with said Jacob Stookey who informed him that he was taken by the Indians at Connoch colgheauge in Maryland, that he was called among the Indians by the Indian name of Nouegehaw and Jacob Stooky told the Witness that his fathers name was Stooky and wore a long beard, that the Witness was a prisoner among the Indians between four and five years and most of that time knew and frequently seen said Jacob Stooky, that a part of the time the said Jacob Stooky lived on opposite Sides of the river, that soon after the Witness returned from the Indians to the South Branch he met with Jocob Stooky the father and enquired if the Witness had seen a prisoner among the Indians by the name of Jacob Stooky. the Witness replied he had and described him his age and other circumstances upon which the said Jacob Stooky the Elder replied that is my son. the Witness in the month of February 1802 saw Jacob Stooky the Devisor and from all circumstances vizly the foregoing and his conversation with him at this time believes him to be the same man whom he saw by that name among the Indians that he resembled the Stooky family that Jacob Stooky Senr did wear a long beard. the Witness does not recollect to have seen a scar on the temple of Jacob.

Deposition of Margaret Shobe in the presence of Jacob Shobe son of Jacob and Jacob Hyer and also in the presence of counsel for each of the said Parties. The said Margaret Shobe aged about sixty six years after being solemnly affirmed? affirmeth and saith that Jacob Stookey who returned to the said County of Hardy in Jan'y 1802 and what then divided the land in controversy between the said parties resembled the Stooky family and every body that saw him thought he was the man this deponent states him to be, that during Braddocks War there was Waggons pressed to go Cumberland, that the said Jacob with others went with said Waggons to Cumberland and there ran off and left their Teams because they were unwilling to go farther, that the year after the said Jacob was taken prisoner by the Indians as he was drawing grain, that about two years last fall Abrm Eyman sent a letter to the husband of this deponent in which he mentioned he had brought his old uncle from the Shawnee Towns. my Neighbors hearing of this asked me if I should know him. I said I did not know but he had the mark of a kick of a Horse and that if I saw that I would know him, that when he came this deponent took her Specks and looked at the mark and knew him to be her Eldest brother when she saw the mark. this deponent took him to be the man and was satisfied he was her Eldest brother.

  1. 1 Quest. by plts. atty: Where did your father live when your eldest brother Jacob Stookey was taken by the Indians? Ans: about two miles from Hagers Town and he was taken prisoner about 10 or 12 miles from there on her fathers farm.
  2. 2d Quest. by same: How long before your said Brother was taken prisoner was he employed to go with said Waggons to Cumberland? Ans: The year before and at the time he went as aforesaid to Cumberland he was hired by Jacob Miller who lived about three miles from Hagers Town. The deponent knows of her own knowledge he was hired at this time to Miller and that he went with said Waggons.
  3. 3d by same: Do you know he the said Jacob your Brother was kicked by a Horse? Ans: he was kicked by a mare which had a colt . he went to handle the colt. and the mare flew at him. this deponent was present at the time and thought he was killed for he laid as if dead.
  4. 4th By same: How old was your said Brother when he received this kick? Ans: about 8 or 9 years of age. the kick was about the Temple on the left side of the face and left a scar about and inch long after it was well.
  5. 5th By same: Do you know he was bit by a Dog? Ans: Yes, when he was about the age of ten years he was Riding behind me to our uncle Heaters. just as we got to the house the dog caught him by the Leg and pulled him off the Horse.
  6. 6th By same: when your said Brother returned from the Indians did he give you an Account of those things? Ans: he did. That is he mentioned particularly the manner in which he had got the said kick as fully as this deponent has now done and more so. He also related to her as particular as above states the manner in which he was bit by the dog. he also mentioned his going to Cumberland with the Waggons and that he was hired by said Miller. he also explained in what manner he was taken by the Indians in his said fathers grain fields.
  7. 7th By same: when did your brother return to your husbands house after being taken by the Indians? Ans: She thinks in Jany. 1802.
  8. 8th By same: How old was your said Brother when taken by the Indians? Ans: in the 16th year of his age and he was taken in the month of August.
  9. 9th By same: Did you and the said Jacob always live at your fathers house together until he was taken by the Indians? Ans: Yes, except the year he was hired to Miller.
  10. 10th By same: was you older than your said brother? Ans: yes about two years.
  11. 11th By same: was your Brother the said Jacob the eldest son of his father Jacob Stookey the elder? Ans: Yes, that the elder Stookey had two other sons Michael and Abraham but they were both younger than her brother the said Jacob.
  12. 12th By same: How long did your Brother Jacob live after he returned as aforesaid? Ans: 9 or 10 days and that during that time he made his Will.
  13. 13th By same: where did your father Jacob Stookey the elder remove to from Congo ohiague? Ans: up to the South Branch about 12 miles above Moorfield where he died.
  1. Quest: By Defts. Counsel: did you know him to be your Brother from all the circumstances herein related as well as the Mark? Ans: Yes.
  2. 2d By same: did the scar appear to be as large on his return in Jan'y 1802 as it did before he was taken by the Indians? Ans: Yes I could see no difference.
  3. 3d By same: Was it on your fathers plantation your Brother Jacob recd the kick? Ans: Yes, when he lived in Pennsylvania. from Pennsylvania her father removed to Conego ohiague.
  4. 4th By same: Did you ever see your Brother from the time he was taken by the Indians in the year 1755 or 1756 till his return in Jany 1802? Ans: No.
  5. 5th By same: did you see the scar on his leg from the bite of the dog after his return from the Indians? Ans: No I never Examined his leg.
  6. 6th By same: after the receipt of the letter before mentioned from Eyman and you being asked if you should know your Brother did you tell any person from or going to that place that if it was your Brother he had a scar on his left Temple? Ans: Yes I told the people generally about home and my son Daniel who went shortly afterwards to the Illinoise that Daniel had a sister at his place and this deponent her said son Danl if he saw her Brother Jacob that she wished to see him and wished Daniel would bring him in as they were both getting old but that he did not see him. her only object in sending this message was to see her brother.
  7. 7th By same: Who lived on the land devised by your Brother Jacob Stooky to your son Jacob Shobe before your fathers death? Ans: Michael Stooky.
  8. 8th By same: how long did he live on said land before your fathers death? Ans: I do not know exactly but perhaps 8 or 10 years.
  9. 9th By same: did you not understand from your father that the lands that Michl and Abrm Stooky lived on should belong to them after his death? Ans: yes that at that time he supposed his son Jacob was dead but said that if he came home before his death he should have a part. She does not recollect the time her Father made this observation but it was some time about a year before his death, that the said Michl Stooky died about 10 or 15 days before his father and that the Deponents father died in the month of January next after Cornwallis was Taken.
  10. 10th By same: after your brother Michaels death and before your fathers did you hear your father say to whom the land Michael lived on should belong? Ans: yes, that he would leave it to Michaels Children and that after Michaels death her father talked of making a will and that his last sickness continued less than one day.
  11. 11th By same: would you have known your Brother after his return had it not have been for the scar? Ans: from the scar and his being able to inform me of all the circumstances above mentioned and family likeness I knew him. Sealed and subscribed and affirmed to by the Witness before us and in our presence the day and time first above mentioned
(Signed)	D. Welton						   her
(Signed)	Adam Fisher					Margaret  x  Shobe		(Seal)

The deposition of Christopher Armentrout Sr was taken before us this 4th day of September in the year of our lord 1804 at the dwelling house of John Armentrout in the County of Hardy State of Virginia between the hours of ten oclock in the forenoon and five oclock in the afternoon of the same day by Virtue of a Commission from the District Court holden at the Courthouse in the County of Hardy to us the subscribers two of the Justices of the Peace for said County of Hardy and Adam Fisher directed to be evidence _________ in a suit now depending in the said District Court in which Jacob Shobe is Plt and Jacob Hier Deft at which time and place the said Jacob Hier was present and the said Christopher of lawful age being duly sworn deposeth and saith that about forty years ago the deponent was a prisoner with the Indians, that at the Indian Towns he met with a white man also a prisoner with the Indians who told him his name was Jacob Stookey and that his fathers name was Jacob Stooky, that this deponent at that time was not acquainted with Jacob Stooky the father of Jacob Stooky the prisoner but from what the said Jacob Stooky the prisoner told this Deponent at the time he saw him he has every reason to believe that he was the son of Jacob Stooky who died on the South Branch about twenty or twenty two years ago and who owned the land which the said Jacob Hier now holds part of, that after he this deponent came in from the Indian Towns he became acquainted with Jacob Stooky the father and told him that he had seen his son Jacob a prisoner with the Indians, that the said Jacob Stooky the father did not doubt this deponents word but turned away and cried, that the said Jacob Stooky the prisoner told this deponent when he saw him at the Indian Towns that he was sixteen years of age when he was taken by the Indians, that he was taken on Conoco ohiague and that he had an uncle whose name was Paul Shaver, that this deponent saw the man Jacob Stooky under whom the said Jacob Shobe claims the land now held by the said Jacob Hier when the said Jacob Stooky came into this Country about two years ago but he was so sick at the time this deponent saw him that he could not talk to this deponent or this deponent could have discovered with certainty whether he was the same Man Jacob Stooky whom he saw a prisoner as aforesaid, that Michael Stooky another son of the said Jacob Stooky the Father. died before the said Jacob Stooky the father.

Quest. By the Deft Jacob Hier: Do you know for certain that the Man you saw here two years ago that you speak of was the same Man you saw at the Indian Towns? Ans: I dont know that he was. Quest By Deft: How long did Michael Stooky live on the land now in dispute? Ans: I dont know. perhaps Eight or Ten years. May be more may be less. And further this Deponent states that when he met with the said Jacob Stooky the prisoner at the Indian Towns the said Jacob the prisoner enquired of this Deponent where he had been taken from, that when this deponent informed him that he had been taken from the South Branch of Potowmack the said Jacob then enquired whether this deponent was acquainted with Paul Shaver who lived on the said South Branch, that this deponent answered him he was and that said Jacob then told him said Paul Shaver was his said Jacobs uncle this deponent. this deponent states that he was acquainted with the said Paul Shaver and that he was a relation to the family of the said Jacob Stooky the father. Quest By Deft: how did you know that Paul Shaver was related to the said family of the Stookys? Ans:. I heard Paul Shaver say so. further this deponent saith not. taken before us as above stated.

									(Signed) James Seymour
									(Signed) Abraham Shobe

Agreeable to a Commission to us directed issued by the clerk of the District Court holden at Moorefield we the subscribers two of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Ross in the state of Ohio have this 15th day of October 1803 at the Courthouse in the County of Ross in the state of Ohio between the hours of 10 oclock in the forenoon and sunset of the same day proceeded to take the depositions of George Whetstone, Jacob Stingley and Sarah Whetstone. 1st The deposition of George Whetstone who being duly sworn on the holy Evangelist of almighty God deposes and saith that in a conversation with Margaret Shobe he heard Her say that she had sent a letter or would send a letter to Jacob Stookey who had been taken prisoner by the Indians and had been absent about forty three or forty four years to come in and recover the land occupied by Michael Stooky and after his decease occupied by Abraham Stooky and David Stooky and sold by them to Jacob Hier. the above conversation took place after the sale of the land to Jacob Hier.

  • Question: How long did Michael Stooky occupy the land now occupied and claimed by Jacob Hier? Ans: about ten or twelve years. Question: How long did Abraham and David Stooky occupy the land after their fathers decease? Ans: about nineteen years.
  • Question: Was there not a number of persons taken prisoner by the Indians from the same neighborhood that Jacob Stooky was taken? Ans: Yes.
  • Question: had not some of the persons taken an opportunity of being acquainted with the family and concerns of the father and family of Jacob Stooky that was taken prisoner by the Indians? Ans: I cannot say.
								George   x  Whetstone

The deposition of Jacob Stingley who deposeth and saith that in a conversation with Jacob Stooky decd about four years before He died he informed him that the land he lived on should belong to his two sons Abraham and Michael Stooky.

  • Question: How long did Michael Stooky occupy the land after the decease of Jacob Stooky his father? Answer: about ten or twelve yesrs. Question: How long did Abraham Stooky and David Stooky occupy the land after their fathers decease? Answer: about nineteen years. Question: in the conversation you had with Jacob Stooky deceased in speaking of his personal and real property did he not say that as to the Land it belongs to the boys meaning his two sons Abraham and Michael? Answer: Yes. Question: did not his two sons Abraham and Michael Stooky know each their own fields and occupy the same during the lifetime of their father and by his approbation and consent? Answer: Yes.
								(Signed)	Jacob Stingley

The Deposition of Elizabeth Stingley deposeth and saith the facts mentioned in the Deposition of Jacob Stingley are all within her knowledge and if drawn at length would be the same.

								(Signed)	Elizabeth Stingley

The deposition of Sarah Whetstone who deposeth and saith that about one year ago last winter a person called at the house of this deponent who said his name was Jacob Stooky and that he was brother to this deponent. he staid there for some but this deponent did not know him as a brother.

  • Question: did he not tell you he had been some time at the Illinois and had been in the family of persons from the South Branch of Potowmack? Answer: Yes he had been there a considerable time. Question: are you or are you not interested in the event of the suit in which these Depositions are to be read? Answer: No in no wise.
  • Question: Did you ever hear Jacob Stooky decd your father say who should have the land at his decease? Answer: Yes frequently the boys meaning Abraham and Michael Stooky.
								(Signed)	Sarah Whetstone

The deposition of Margaret Huffman taken before us, Abraham Shobe and William Heath in a suit between Jacob Hyre and Jacob Shobe this deponent being first sworn deposeth and saith that after the death of Michael Stooky she heard Jacob Stooky his father say that the said Michaels two sons should have one half the place, that people had said that Abraham Stooky after his death should be heir to all the place but he said No, Michaels boys should have what their father was to have. Question by Deft: how long since Jacob Stooky told you this? Ans: 22 years next January. Questn by Conrod Carr as agent for Plt: how long did Michael Stooky die before his father, Jacob Stooky? Ans: nine or ten days and further this deponent saith not. Subscribed this 25th day of August 1804.

									Margaret  \  Hufman
(Signed)	Abraham Shobe
(Signed{	William Heath
							Teste		John L. Sehon  C. C.

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