After reading various accounts of the Draper’s Meadow Massacre, there has been some confusion in some people’s mind as to “who” of the Bargers/Barrier family was killed at Draper’s Meadow. (I think it is pretty well accepted today that Barger/Barrier/Berger are all the same family, just a different spelling.)
Alvan Lyell Barger, editor of The Barger Journal, A Publication Devoted to the Genealogy and History of the Bargers and Allied Kindred, 1921,states in his book that it was “Philip” who was killed in 1755.
Lewis Preston Summers, in his History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786, states it was “Casper Barrier” (Barger) who was killed. Page 59 recorded July 30, 1755 as the date of the massacre, listing Colonel James Patton, Caspar Barrier, Mrs. Draper and one child as losing their lives, but omitted Philip Barger's name.
From "Mary Ingles' Escape Story Like 'Thriller' Fiction Tale", published by the Charleston Daily Mail June 4, 1937: it states that Colonel Patton, Mrs. George Draper, Jasper Barrier and a child of John Draper were killed. But, it then goes on to state: “About a half a mile or a mile to the west, on their route, they stopped at the house of Philip Barger, an old man, cut off his head, put it in a bag and took it with them to the house of Philip Lybrook, on Sinking Creek . . .”
From "An Extraordinary Woman, And Equal To Any Emergency”
Mary Draper Ingles' Return To Virginia's New River Valley, By Joan Vannorsdall Schroeder, it states that “They left behind four dead -- Colonel James Patton (who fought valiantly with his ever-present broadsword), Mrs. George Draper (Mary's widowed mother), Casper Barger (an elderly widower whose head was carried away in a cloth bag and gruesomely displayed at the next settlement) . . .”
Harold J. Dudley, editor of Trans-Allegheny Pioneers, Historical Sketches of the First White Settlements West of the Alleghenies 1748 and After, by John P. Hale, attempts to cite a bibliography for the Draper's Meadows massacre. He cites a letter written by Mrs. Letitia Preson, the tenth child of Col. William Preston's twelve children, Feb 22, 1843, documenting Colonel James Patton's death. Mr. Dudley wrote: “All the settlers from South Holston to South Roanoke left the country and went below Blue Ridge. Col. Patton maintained his ground, as did Col. William Ingles, Phillip Barger and Phillip Lybrook on Sinking Creek. On the 8th of July, 1755, it being Sunday, a party of Indians came up the Kanawha thence to Sinking Creek thence to Strouble Creek. Ingles and Draper, brothers-in-law, were living at Solitude, the present residence of Col. Robert P. Preston, Barger half a mile nearer to the mountains. The Indians came to Barger's, cut his head off, put it in a bag, (Barger was a very old man).”
(Note: Here there is no mention of Casper/Gasper.)
Lewis Preston Summers, in his History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786, described the above Indian activity (misspellings maintained):
"The New river settlers were not permitted to escape the ravages of the Indians and the French, for on the 8th day of July, 1755, the day before Braddock's defeat, a considerable party of Shawnese Indians fell upon this settlement and wiped it out of existence. Colonel James Patton, Casper Barrier, Mrs. George Draper and a child of John Draper were killed.
(Note: Here there is no mention of Philip Barger.)
From an article "Mary Ingles' Escape Story Like 'Thriller' Fiction Tale", Charleston Daily Mail, June 4, 1937, it states , “a party of Shawnees from Ohio fell upon the Draper's Meadow settlement and killed, wounded or captured every person there. Colonel Patton, Mrs. George Draper, Jasper Barrier and a child of John Draper were killed.” It then goes on to state: “About a half a mile or a mile to the west, on their route, they stopped at the house of Philip Barger, an old man, cut off his head, put it in a bag and took it with them to the house of Philip Lybrook, on Sinking Creek”.
Another article states that: “Of the 20 pioneer in this cutting-edge settlement, five were killed: Eleanor Draper (mother of Mary Draper Ingles and John Draper); John and Bettie Draper’s infant son; Col. Preston (owner of the Draper’s Meadow land grant); and neighbors Casper Barrier and Philip Barger. Neighbor John Cull was severely wounded.”
From The Roanoke Times, Sunday, May 01, 2005 issue:
Drapers Meadow By Kevin Kittredge, 981-3323
Few traces remain of the site of a bloody 1755 Indian attack.
The known dead, as tallied in "Trans-Allegheny Pioneers," were Patton, Mrs. George Draper, Casper Barrier and the Draper baby. Bettie Draper and James Cull were wounded. Bettie Draper, Henry Lenard, Mary Draper Ingles and Ingles' two sons were taken captive. One of them, Thomas Ingles, lived among the Indians for many years and afterward never completely gave up Indian ways.
From: “GETTING TO KNOW OUR ANCESTORS - Thompson Family Sketches”
All the settlers from South Holston to South Roanoke left the country and went below Blue Ridge. Col Patton maintained his ground, as did Col. William Ingles, Phillip Barger and Phillip Lybrook on Sinking Creek, thence to Stouble Creek..[more]...
From: A History of The MiddleNew River Settlements and Contiguous Territory.
By David E. Johnston (1906).
CHAPTER II. 1753 - 1766 (Part 1)
Exploring the Mississippi Valley--French and Indian War--Washington on the Ohio--Virginia Raises Troops--Colonel Fry Sick and Command Devolves on Washington--Fort Necessity--General Braddock Defeated on the Monongahela--Depredations on the Virginia Border--Destruction of Drapers Meadows Settlers--Mrs. Ingles a Prisoner--Phillip Barger Killed—
But then: “. . . a band of marauding Shawnees from North of the Ohio, who killed, wounded and captured every person present. The killed were Colonel James Patton, Mrs. George Draper, Casper Barrier, and a child of John Draper, James Cull; wounded, Mrs. William Ingles, Mrs. John Draper and Henry Leonard, captured. After putting their plunder and the women and children on horses, they set fire to the buildings, and with their prisoners began their retreat to the Ohio, passing on their way, and not far from the scene of the tragedy, the house of Philip Barger, an old white haired man, whose head they cut off, put in a bag, and took it with them to the house of Philip Lybrook at the mouth of Sinking Creek,and where they left it, telling Mrs. Lybrook to look in the bag and she would find an acquaintance.”
(Note: Here both are mentioned!)
The question remains: Was there one or two Barger/Barriers killed during the “massacre”? Was there both a Philp Barger/Barrier and a Casper/Kasper Barger/Barrier killed during the Draper’s Meadow Massacre? We do know that Philip Barger/Barrier (Jr.) returned to that area and lived there later in life. The Barger Journal says that he escaped the massacre and went back North for a few years but then returned and he and his family lived in the area of Drapers Meadow on the Barger homestead, (which I understand is now part of Virginia Tech University). A good question is, who’s son was he - Philip’s, or Casper’s? It has been assumed that as a “Jr.” he was Philip’s son, but thereference to Philip (Sr.) being “an old white haired man” makes one wonder if that is indeed true, as Philip Jr. was suppose to have been about 14 at that time.
Any additional/new information regarding this question will be greatly appreciated!!
Michael E. Barger
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