Friday, October 19, 2012

Lorenzo Dow Brannan

Lorenzo Dow Brannan is described in his Civil War enlistment record as a farmer aged 45 years, five feet eight inches tall with dark hair, dark complexion and grey eyes.  Lorenzo enlisted in 56th Ohio Infantry at Portsmouth Ohio. 
“This Regiment was organized in December 1861 under Colonel Peter Kinney, and took the field in February at Fort Donelson, and in April, was at Shiloh. After the fall of Corinth it marched to Memphis, and in July went to Helena. It joined Grant's Vicksburg campaign and fought gallantly at Port Gibson and Champion Hills, capturing 2 guns and 125 prisoners at the former place. At Champion Hills it lost 135 men killed and wounded. After the fall of Vicksburg, it followed Johnston to Jackson and next moved to Natchez, joining Banks' Red River expedition. It sustained severe loss in the retreat, and when in route on veteran furlough its boat was fired on by Rebel batteries, and a number of officers and men captured. In November 1864, the nonveterans filled the rest of their term on guard duty at New Orleans, where they were mustered out in March 1866.”   Compiled by Larry Stevens

The regiment lost a total of 216 men during service; 3 officers and 55 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 2 officers and 156 enlisted men died of disease.
During the war (late 1862) Lorenzo sustained a spinal injury which resulted in partial paralysis of his body.  He was transported to and treated in a hospital in Saint Louis Missouri. He later died from complications of this injury.

Lorenzo and four of his brothers fought in the Civil War.  William A Brannan fought for the Confederacy and Lorenzo, Thomas, Jacob, and John fought for the Union.  It was truly a war with brother against brother and father against son.

The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and was encamped principally at Pittsburg Landing on the west bank of the river. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack on Grant there. The Confederates achieved considerable success on the first day, but were ultimately defeated on the second day.

On the first day of the battle, the Confederates struck with the intention of driving the Union defenders away from the river and into the swamps of Owl Creek to the west, hoping to defeat Grant's Army of the Tennessee before the anticipated arrival of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio. The Confederate battle lines became confused during the fierce fighting, and Grant's men instead fell back to the northeast, in the direction of Pittsburg Landing. A position on a slightly sunken road, nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest", defended by the men of Brig. Gens. Benjamin M. Prentiss's and W. H. L. Wallace's divisions, they provided critical time for the rest of the Union line to stabilize under the protection of numerous artillery batteries. Gen. Johnston was killed during the first day of fighting, and Beauregard, his second in command, decided against assaulting the final Union position that night.

Reinforcements from Gen. Buell and from Grant's own army arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when the Union commanders launched a counterattack along the entire line. The Confederates were forced to retreat from the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time, ending their hopes that they could block the Union advance into northern Mississippi.

Following the Union victory at Shiloh, the Union armies under Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck advanced on the vital rail center of Corinth. By May 25, 1862, after moving 5 miles in 3 weeks, Halleck was in position to lay siege to the town. The preliminary bombardment began, and Union forces maneuvered for position. On the evening of May 29-30, Confederate commander Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard evacuated Corinth, withdrawing to Tupelo. The Federals had consolidated their position in northern Mississippi.

The Siege of Vicksburg (May 18 – July 4, 1863) was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. In a series of maneuvers, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee crossed the Mississippi River and drove the Confederate army of Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton into the defensive lines surrounding the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

When two major assaults (May 19 and May 22, 1863) against the Confederate fortifications were repulsed with heavy casualties, Grant decided to besiege the city beginning on May 25. With no reinforcement, supplies nearly gone, and after holding out for more than forty days, the garrison finally surrendered on July 4. This action (combined with the capitulation of Port Hudson on July 9) yielded command of the Mississippi River to the Union forces, which would hold it for the rest of the conflict.

Lorenzo Dow Brannan * (1815 - 1887)
Is our 2nd great grandfather
Daughter of Lorenzo Dow Brannan
Son of Rebecca Elizabeth Brannan
Son of Charles William Lute and Mary Lou Ella Stewart

Monday, October 15, 2012

Polly Van Metre

Polly Van Metre Evans

POLLY (VAN METRE) EVANS—In the corner of a field to the right of the State Road leading from Martinsburg to Charles Town and on the east side of Opequon Creek and adjoining the old bridge across that stream is a scattered pile of stone which is all that remains of John Evans Fort, and Polly Van Metre Evans was its heroic defender. This was a stockade fort, which was really two forts in one. The outer defense was a stockade, the inner a block house type, built of logs with a stone foundation. This fort was substantially though hastily constructed in the late spring of 1755, after the outbreak of the French and Indian War, by John Evans II, and was a refuge for the settlers of this region when, attacked by the Indians. Polly Van Metre was the daughter of Jacob Van Metre, and when quite young had married John Evans II., a young man of that region. They lived quietly and peacefully, tilling their farm on the Opequon River and had reared a family of boys and girls when the French and Indian War suddenly burst upon them with all of its relentless fury. Polly Evans had learned to use the rifle quite as well as her father. Abraham Van Metre, who, was a hunter as well as a farmer, she accompanying him on several occasions on his hunting expeditions when she was a young girl. She owned her own rifle but had laid it aside for the more peaceful occupation of rearing her family. But when the Indian hostilities began she again took it up in the defense of her home and carried it for a number of years strapped to her shoulder. Tradition relates that when she was prepared for burial her attendants found a depression in the skin across her shoulder caused by the constant wearing of the strap of her rifle. In those days nurses were unheard of and doctors were so few and so far away that it was almost impossible to procure their services in case of sickness, so Polly Evans was the doctor and nurse of the region. She nursed the sick and attended most of the new-born babies of that community. She owned a large dog of the Great Dane breed, who always accompanied her on her expeditions. He could “smell Injun” for a great distance if one happened to be in the vicinity, and would indicate the fact by his incessant restlessness and loud barking. 
The above fort was visited by General Edward Braddock on his march to Fort Duquesne and he remained here the better part of two days, as was indicated by his secretary's account of that expedition.
On one occasion none but the women and children of the neighborhood were at the fort when it was suddenly attacked by the Indians. Polly Evans made the women load rifles and she did the shooting from one port hole after another and kept up such a raking fire on the Indians that they abandoned the attack, supposing, from the incessant firing from the fort, that it was heavily garrisoned. 
On another occasion she was returning to the fort from visiting a sick neighbor, when a large savage warrior suddenly darted from behind a tree and grabbed both arms around her and started to carry her off, deciding, no doubt, to capture a valuable prisoner alive. The dog, for some reason had not accompanied her on this visit. She immediately began calling for him. He suddenly came bounding through the forests and attacked the warrior with such vicious onslaughts that he was obliged to let his captive go in order to defend himself against the dog. This gave Mrs. Evans the opportunity to unsling her rifle, when she shot the Indian dead. 
Many a savage warrior boasted that her scalp, with its long tresses, would dangle from his lodge pole, but it never did. She was dreaded by the Indians, yet was respected by them. They gave her the name of “Wa-hon-da,” which signified in the Shawnee language, “Squaw Chief”. This fort was attacked several different times by the savages—on two occasions led by a white man, supposedly a Frenchman, but were driven off each time. She, together with her husband, were buried within a short distance of the fort. For many years their graves were undisturbed, but were at last desecrated by the plow, and now no mark remains as the resting place of the builder of this fort or its faithful defender.

Polly Van Meter * (1723 - 1816)
is our 7th great grandmother

Martha Evans * (1755 - 1803)
Daughter of Polly Van Meter

John Barnhouse * (1746 - 1822)
Son of Martha Evans

Philip B Barnhouse * (1770 - 1840)
Son of John Barnhouse

Thomas Holsten Barnhouse * (1803 - 1860)
Son of Philip B Barnhouse

Keziah Barnhouse * (1821 - 1887)
Daughter of Thomas Holsten Barnhouse

Rebecca Elizabeth Brannan * (1849 - 1926)
Daughter of Keziah

Charles William Lute * (1874 - 1905)
Son of Rebecca Elizabeth Brannan

Doran Edgar Lute * (1901 - 1982)
Son of Charles William Lute

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Adam O'Brien

     Adam O'Brien, (1727-1836) was one of the first settlers in what is now WV;  he came to the West Fork of the Monongahela around 1756. In 1763; he defied the order of the King of England and was one of the early settlers west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sutton's "History of Braxton County and Central WV" states that a Capt. G.F. Taylor reported in a letter to a newspaper that Adam O'Brien was disappointed in a love affair with Isabel Burgoyne, the only daughter of Revolutionary General Burgoyne.  Whatever his reasons, Adam certainly wandered over a large portion of what was to become central WV.
     In the "Journal of the Braxton Historical Society" for September 1983, Virginia Carr states that Adam was living on the Potomac River in 1747 as a landowner.  Adam later served as an Indian scout and told an interviewer that he was at the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. Adam was on a list of militia paid at Romney Virginia in 1775.
     Adam was granted 400 acres of land on the West Fork River in Harrison County and 400 acres on Lost Creek. F.J. Baxter's "Notes of Braxton County" states that Adam O'Brien assisted in making the first survey of that county in 1784.  Carr states that Adam moved all his family except his wife from Harrison County to what is now Braxton County WV in 1795, and they lived at the present site of Sutton, WV.
     Withers' "Chronicles of Border Warfare" states that Adam O'Brien was somewhat responsible for the Indian attack on Benjamin Carpenter family in 1798.  Withers’ alleges that the Indians followed trails blazed by O'Brien and discovered the Carpenter settlement.  Withers says that Adam was, "...rather an indifferent woodsman, incautiously blazed trails in several directions..." . This sounds unreasonable in light of the fact that Adam survived to over 100 years of age.
     About 1800, the O'Brien family moved to the West Fork of the Little Kanawha River in what is now Calhoun County WV.  Shortly after he moved to the West Fork, Adam and Mike Fink were attacked by Indians.  Fink was killed, but Adam escaped to return a few days later and bury Mike Fink and an Indian side by side.
     O'Brien had at least four wives and many children.  Icie Barsatti states that at one time, Adam had a wife and family on Steer Creek, Braxton County, Virginia (WV) and another on O'Brien Creek in what is now Clay County, WV.  His third wife died of exposure after she was evicted from a cabin on land claimed by O'Brien years before.
     In the May 1838 issue of "The Southern Literary Messenger" an anonymous writer reports and encounter with Adam O'Brien in Preston County VA (WV) at "Gandy's, far famed as being the worst house on the road."  The reporter told of a conversation with Adam during the course of an evening in which Adam stated that he was ninety three years old.  Adam was on his way to Clarksburg to "ferret out a land title".  Adam said that he had walked the distance of about 125 miles from Kanawha County at the rate of about 25 miles a day. Adam further told the reporter that his youngest child was a year old and that his oldest was 64.  He recounted his loss of his third wife because of exposure after they were evicted from a cabin while his wife was ill. "One of these here speculators had brought suit against me for my settlement, and what with bad management and hard swearing and perjury, he gained it."  "And the sheriff came one snowy day in January, with a writ of possession to turn me out, and out we went."  "I took my poor wife to an old cabin that had but half a roof on, and she never came out of it until she came out a corpse."
     Poet-historian, Colonel John L. Cole, once related a story told by Ephraim Bee, who had spent considerable time in a section, then a comparative wilderness, a neighbor to Adam O'Brien and Peter McCune. According to Bee, O'Brien's general complaint was of the advent of preachers, sheriffs, and lawyers into the area; he however made one exception, this was Rev. Barnabas Cook, who was one of the noted characters of his day. Bee related how a time came when the minister had to separate from his flock, and for the occasion, composed a valedictory hymn, in which he referred to all members of the congregation. In part, it ran as follows:

So fare-ye-well Adam O'Brien,
And good-by Peter McCune,
If one jump don't take us to heaven’
Light, and take a new jump from the moon.

Adam O Brien * (1727 - 1836) is my 5th great grandfather
Margaret Christina O Brien * (1767 - 1859)
Daughter of Adam O Brien and Katherine Christine Westbrook
Mary P McCune * (1785 - 1834)
Daughter of Margaret Christina O Brien and Peter McCune
Keziah Barnhouse * (1821 - 1887)
Daughter of Mary P McCune and Thomas Holsten Barnhouse
Rebecca Elizabeth Brannan * (1849 - 1926)
Daughter of Keziah Barnhouse and Lorenzo Dow Brannan
Charles William Lute * (1874 - 1905)
Son of Rebecca Elizabeth Brannan and Andrew Lute
Doran Edgar Lute * (1901 - 1982)
Son of Charles William Lute and Mary Lou Ella Stewart

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Peter McCune

McCUNE "BOYS" RECALL OLE PETER - Bruce And Norville Remember
By Bob Weaver 1999
One of Calhoun's most historical figures of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, Peter McCune, (1748-1832) was the first permanent settler in Washington District. Coming from Ireland to the Monongalia-Harrison County area, he enlisted twice during the American Revolution.
After serving three years, he was discharged in 1781. McCune, an acquaintance of Daniel Boone, married 14-year-old Christina O'Brien in 1881, the daughter of explorer Adam O'Brien. Oral history tells of McCune asking the young Christina to stuff handkerchiefs in her bosom to appear more mature.
The relationship started in 1780, after the O'Brien's had sought refuge from Indians at Fort Richards near Clarksburg. They had ten children. Peter McCune is buried at the Knotts Cemetery below Orma.
Many of their descendants are among the early pioneer families of Calhoun County, including Norville, 80, and Bruce McCune, 83, who still reside on Crooked Run, not far from the original McCune cabin built in 1815 at Orma.

Genealogist, Jim Mulloly of Wheeling examines McCune razor and hair, held by Bruce McCune of Orma.
The McCune boys have an original straight razor and a lock of hair belonging to their famous ancestor, which came with him on his voyage from Ireland. They are both outstanding storytellers.

The earliest record we have found of Peter is the Revolutionary War. In 1777 he enlisted into a company of regulars under Captain John Lewis and Colonel Henias Morgan of the 2nd Virginia Regiment.
In 1778 he Re-enlisted at Pittsburgh, Pa. (Fort Pitt) and served 3 years fighting the British and the indians under Captains Campbell and Lewis of the 9th Virginia Regiment,Continental Line. Commanded by Colonel Lewis Gibson.
He was discharged at Wheeling, Virginia in 1781. He was also one of 50 McCunes serving in the War of 1812, with the 5th Regiment of the Virginia Militia.
According to records of Land Speculation for Harrison County, Peter McCune was awarded a land certificate entitling him to 400 acres at the mouth of Rooting Creek. (Near the boundaries of Upshur & Barbour Counties)
The following was taken from an article written by Martha Hall
Peter died in Washington District Calhoun County, West Virginia. It is said that he was buried outside the fence of the Knotts Cemetery.  With the aid of the Calhoun County Historical and Genealogical Society a monument was placed at the gravesite.
The Phoebe Cunningham DAR Chapter of Grantsville, West Virginia marked the grave with a DAR emblem and conducted a memorial service on the afternoon of May 31,1980.
On 13 Jan 1781 when Peter was 33, he married Christiana O'BRIEN daughter of Adam O'BRIEN, (1727-1836) in Ft. Richards near Clarksburg, Wv.5 Born in 1767. Address: 15806 Roland View Dr., Chester, Va 23831. e-mail:
During a tour at Ft. Richards near Clarksburg, West Virginia, Peter met and married Christinia. They were married by a Baptist Minister named Edwards.
Peter was a Guard at this time and was dressed in his uniform at the marriage. He continued to fight against the Indians for several months and Christinia went with him. When she was ordered to sleep on his arms, she slept by his side. 

Peter McCune * (1748 - 1832)
is my 4th great grandfather

Mary P McCune * (1785 - 1834)
Daughter of Peter McCune and Margaret Christina O'Brien

Keziah Barnhouse * (1821 - 1887)
Daughter of Mary PMcCune and Thomas Holsten Barnhouse

Rebecca Elizabeth Brannan * (1849 - 1926)
Daughter of Keziah Barnhouse and Lorenzo Dow Brannan

*Charles William Lute (1874 - 1905)
Son of *Rebecca Elizabeth Brannan and Andrew Lute
*Doran Edgar Lute (1901 - 1982) and Margaret Mae Belle Bramblett
Son of Andrew Lute and MaryLou EllaStewart