John Carpenter Family of Londonderry Township From: "STORIES OF GUERNSEY COUNTY OHIO History of an Average Ohio County"
By William G. Wolfe
published by the Author
Cambridge, Ohio 1943 pages 873-875

"At the western Edge of the unincorporated village of Londonderry, crossed by the William Penn highway, is the quarter section of land entered by Edward Carpenter and family, the first settlers of what is now Londonderry township. The history of the Carpenter family is an eventful one, and is closely connected with the early history of Eastern Ohio.

JOHN CARPENTER, who was the first of this Carpenter family in America, was born in England. He came to Virginia between 1750 and 1760 and settled on a plantation near the home of George Washington. He fought with Washington in both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Near the close of the latter Washington sent him west of the Alleghenies to assist the settlers in fighting the Indians who had become allies of the British. Here he became an associate of Lewis Wetzel, the Zanes and other famous frontiersmen. His adventures would fill a volumes. He was a short-legged, heavy-set man. Washington once said of him that as he could not run fast, the British or Indians would eventually get him. But, Carpenter was not the kind of man who would run from an enemy; he would rather stand and fight.

Of Nancy, his wife, two stories have been told. It was said that a French settlement was raided by Indians and every inhabitant massacred except one baby girl who was overlooked. She was discovered a short time afterwards by some English soldiers who came upon the scene, and taken to Virginia where she was reared. Who her parents were was never learned. She was named Nancy, the only name she bore until she reached young womanhood and married John Carpenter, about the year 1770.

According to another story John Carpenter was a member of a party on an expedition against the Indians in Western Virginia. They came to a burning cabin which Indians had just left. Rushing into the cabin, Carpenter found a young woman lying on a bed, her face covered in blood from a tomahawk wound. Her husband had been killed. Carpenter bore her from the cabin. She recovered and became the wife of her deliverer.

John Carpenter was amongst the first, if not the very first white man to settle west of the Ohio River. His cabin was located at the mouth OD Short creek, below the present site of Steubenville. It was afterwards strengthen and known as Carpenter's fort. Carpenter started to Fort Pitt one day with two pack horses to obtain a supply of salt for the fort at the mouth of Short creek. He was captured by Indians and taken to their town which was Sandusky. He afterwards recalled that they passed through the present day Londonderry township and turned north to the Moravian Indian town of Gnadenhutten. Here they traded Carpenter's clothing for Indian garb. The Moravians were peaceful Christian Indians.

Carpenter's disappearance gave rise to the belief in the settlement that he had been killed by Indians. When some soldiers visited the Moravian town later and discovered his clothing there they felt certain that this had been his fate, and that the Moravian Indians were the guilty ones. Indians from west of the Ohio river had been raiding settlements in western Pennsylvania, and had killed all the members of the William Wallace family. At Gnadenhutten the solders found the clothing belonging to his family. A short time after this, the Moravian massacre occurred, when ninety men, women and children were murdered by soldiers under Col. David Williamson. A court of inquiry was called at Fort Pitt to determine why this, the most cruel tragedy in early history of Ohio had been enacted. the actors attempted to exculpate themselves from blame by exhibiting the clothing found in the village. This evidence of the Moravians' guilt, they claimed prompted them to make the attack. John Carpenter was summoned as a witness for the accused. He identified the clothing as his own, but explained how the Moravians came to possess it. Two weeks after Carpenter's capture the party of Indians reached Sandusky with him. Knowing his reputation as a fighter, they wished to adopt him as a member of their tribe, as did Indians try to adopt Boone and Kenton when they captured them. Believing it wise to appear pleased with their plan, Carpenter so conducted himself as to gain their confidence. He was allowed the freedom of the town and occasionally sent outside for the horses. On such an errand one day he found that they had strayed farther away than usual, and he decided this to be an opportune time to attempt escape. He mounted one of the horses and rode towards home, reaching Fort Pitt after several days almost starved and exhausted.

In 1797 the Carpenters moved from the fort to Stillwater creek near the present site of Smyrna. From here John Carpenter moved to what is now Coshocton county, leaving the farm in charge of his son Edward."

Submitted by:
Patricia Poitinger
Toledo, Ohio
4th Great-granddaughter of John Carpenter

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