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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Ohio: Ross County

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John (the Bear Hunter) Cutright
Posted by: John Oliver Cutright Date: April 17, 1999 at 06:13:03
  of 1612

I am interested in sharing information about my ancestor John (the Bear Hunter) Cutright.
John was born a quarter of a mellinium ago a subject of King George II of England. He later fought in the Revolution to free our country from King George III and England. John was a product of the frontier. His restless spirit is in evidence as he moved from the civilization along the Potomac to the wilderness of Kentucky and finally across the river into Ohio. He was a family man who brought his family with him on his wanderings. Elizabeth traveled with him and had his children when they lived on the Potomac, the Monongahela, Kentucky, and Ohio. According to family tradition John was a woodsman--a hunter--a "BEAR HUNTER".

John may have been descended from a Dutchman by the name of Jan Bastiaen van Kortryk who immigrated from Amsterdam to New York in 1663. The family lived in Harlem for several years, then moved to the area of Kingston, NY, and then, before 1736, south to the Delaware Water Gap area known as Minisink. Prior to 1747 several families including Hendrick Cutrack, his wife Elizabeth Hornbeck Cutrack, Cornelius Cutrack and his wife Taatjen (a sister of Hendrick), and their cousin Cornelius Kortregt & his wife Eleanor Hornbeck (the parents of Samuel Curtright) moved to the South Branch of the Potomac in Harrison Co. Virginia near the site of present Moorefield, West Virginia. This is the area where John was born in 1747. In 1773 John leased 50 acres on the South Branch of the Potomac near Moorfield. John is believed to have lived there with his wife Elizabeth and growing family until about 1785 when he bought 304 acres on the West Fork of the Monongahela near Clarksburg WV. In 1787 John started selling his land and in 1789 moved to Kentucky. John is believed to have owned land in Kentucky on Lulbegrund Creek which is east of Winchester. John may also have lived in the area of Pine Ridge north of Winchester where he joined the party of Rev. Finley in their migration to Ohio.

On October 10, 1774 John is reported to have fought at battle of Point Pleasant Va. (Dunsmore's War). In the Revolutionary war John served as a private in Capitan Machen Boswell's Company 2nd Virginia State Regiment, commanded by Colonel Gregory Smith. Gregory Smith was commissioned Captain in Seventh Virginia Regiment, February 7, 1776, and resigned 28th November, 1776. He was made Colonel of the Second Virginia Regiment from 1777 to 1778. Machen Boswell was commissioned First Lieutenant Second Virginia Regiment, 6th October, 1777, and was promoted Captain 15th September, 1778, and served to February, 1781. John was stationed at Camp Middlebrook, New Jersey from September 1778 to February 1779. .

On September, 23, 1793, while living in Kentucky, John enlisted in Kentucky Mounted Volunteers under the command of Captain David Kennedy, Major David Caldwell's Battalion as one of the Kentucky Volunteers under General Mad Anthony Wayne's campaign, commanded by Major General Charles Scott against the Shawnee Indians in Ohio. General Nathional Massie and John McDonald were a part of this campaign. The army marched westward in an arc through Ohio that ended at Fort Washington which is at Cincinnati. This and the campaigns in the next year ended Indian trouble in Kentucky and the Ohio territory. In 1795 the Treaty of Greenville opened up 2/3 of Ohio to settlers.

In 1792 General Nathional Massie led a group of scouts from Kentucky into Southern Ohio looking for settlement sites. From "Historical Collections of Ohio, an Encyclopedia of the State, Volume II," by Henry Howe, 1896; "After exploring in 1792 Massie and others gave glowing descriptions of the beauty of the scenery and the fertility of the soil in the Scioto Country. These reports circulated through Kentucky arousing great interest in this region. This section of Ohio was in Virginia Military Land Tract. After a short time in the revolutionary army, Massie studied surveying and in 1783 went to Kentucky to seek his fortune. He became an expert surveyor and was employed by Col. R. C. Anderson, principal surveyor of the Virginia Military Lands. In 1791 Massie made the first settlement within the Virginia Military district at Manchester. In 1793 Massie was determined to attempt a survey tour on the Scioto River. He and his party of about thirty men proceeded up the Ohio to the mouth of Paint Creek. During 1793-1794 they explored different branches to their sources, which run into Little Miami River. Withstanding many hardships, they continued exploring and surveying during the Winter of 1794-1795. In the spring of 1796, about the first of April, a group of forty or more met at Manchester to form a settlement at the mouth of Paint Creek. They were from Mason and Bourbon Counties, Kentucky, and the Cutrights were among the group. This was the first white settlement in this region and was seven years before Ohio became a state". This may have been with the Rev. Finley party.

About the last of February or first part of March, 1796 a party assembled at Manchester, Adams Co. Ohio and immediately went forth to establish a settlement on the Scioto. A part of the company went in boats up the Ohio and thence up the Scioto and the other part went by land. They were to meet at the mouth of Paint Creek. On the first day of April, 1796 they landed at "Station Prarie" about 3 miles south of the present town of Chillicothe, unloaded their boats and immediately began preparations for planting a crop and establishing homes. At their Station they constructed blockhouses and walls built of trees, as they were found to be the most secure method of defense, and always afforded a place of retreat from danger. In these stations were placed the wives, the children and the moveable goods of the settlers and the land in the immediate vicinity was cleared and cultivated to raise the necessities of life.

From the History of Ross and Highland Counties, Ohio we find that "John Cutright came from Virginia with the Massie party in 1796 and settled at Station Prairie on the west side of the Scioto River. He remained at the Station for a short time, then moved to the east side of the river on land belonging to Nathaniel Massie". This section was the Military District. Massie was a Virginia Military District Surveyor and founded the town of Chillicothe in 1796. By 1797 Massie's offer of free "in lots" and "out lots" to the first 100 settlers had been fulfilled.

John owned land in Virginia and Kentucky, but he owned no land in Ohio. At his death on December 24, 1830 John was living in Springfield Township, Ross county Ohio, and renting from Thomas Massie.
Scioto Gazette - December 29, 1830
On Friday last Mr. John Cutright of Springfield Township, Ross County, Ohio died in the 83rd year of his age. The partner of this venerable man died only eight days before in the 73rd year of her age. They lived together as man and wife 57 years, were the parents of 12, the grandparents of 35 and great grandparents of 54 children; numbering 151 descendants.
"Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great and thine offspring as the grass of the earth." Thou shalt come to thy grave in the full age like as a shock of corn cometh in his season." Job V; 25, 26.


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