Friday, January 17, 2014

William Henry Monger, 1713-1788

A long excerpt from The Mongers: A Family of Old Virginia, by Billie Jo Monger, published in 1980. (with links and illustrations added) The Mongers are my ancestors on my Crabill side.

pages 71-74
William Henry Monger was born in Virginia in 1713. This man is referred to as both William and as Henry Monger in legal documents; however, one must remember the custom of the German people using the middle name as the called name and the English using the first name as the called name. In documents originating in Canada or in the Courts, he is referred to as William Monger (File 117 Chancery Court of Augusta County, Virginia). In documents originating from his family here in the Valley, he is referred to as Henry Monger. In both sets of documents he has the same children and wife. See also N.S. 4, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court.

He married Susannah Brodbeck about 1751. It is possible that this was a second marriage for William Henry; however, nothing has been found to document this supposition.

Susannah Brodbeck Monger's parents and birth date are unknown. Her maiden name is found on the baptismal records of the Upper Peaked Mountain Church in Rockingham County, Virginia (Baptismal Record No. 48) No additional information concerning Susannah Brodbeck Monger prior to her marriage has come to light. It is known that the Brodbeck family came from Switzerland prior to the 1750's.

The Peaked Mountain Church in McGaheysville, Virginia.
This building was built in about 1804, and has since been torn down and replaced.
Photo scanned from Armentrout Family History by Russell S. Armentrout
For a clearer photo, click HERE.
She was still living with her son Charles Monger on Grosse Isle, Michigan in 1792 (See Canadian Public Archives Call No. R G 1, 13 Vol. 377). Many historians have felt that Susannah Brodbeck Monger died before the family removed to Kentucky in 1779; however, she did not. The document that has caused this confusion is found in File 117 of the Chancery Court of Augusta County, Virginia. The letter states that David Monger married 5 or 6 years before the family removed to Kentucky, not William Henry Monger as has been recorded incorrectly.

William Henry and Susannah Brodbeck Monger led lives that  are of interest to us, as they were typical of the settlers who bore the necessary hardships of life in order to provide a better future for their families.

William Henry Monger was an industrious, hardworking man. He was a skilled blacksmith (Records in File 117 Chancery Court of Augusta County, Virginia. Also, Deed Book II 397 Page 217 of Augusta County, Virginia, dated December 22, 1762). He passed this skill on to his sons, who in turn passed it on to their sons. Charles's Land Petition in Canada gives him a recommendation from his neighbors as a skilled blacksmith. File 117 Chancery Court of Augusta County, Virginia, shows that David Monger kept part of William Henry's blacksmith equipment prior to 1779. Many grandsons were also skilled blacksmiths-check their individual family lines.

Colonial-era blacksmith.
He was one of the early settlers in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. In 1758, he voted for George Washington in Frederick County, Virginia (See list of that ballot in Frederick County, Virginia, or in one of the many books that contains the list).

On April 26, 1762, William Henry Monger purchased Lot No. 88 in the "new town" of Woodstock, Virginia. He and his family owned many acres in the present counties of Rockingham, Page, and Shenandoah in Virginia (Abstracts of Land Surveys, Ed. by P.C. Kaylor, Rockingham County Historical Society. See also, Court Records for Deeds in both Augusta and Rockingham Counties. The above states that the property adjoined on the North side, Martin Tofflemire's property which laid in the forks of Naked Creek. This creek forms the present boundary between Page and Rockingham Counties; however this area has fluctuated between counties, and was once included in the area claimed by the Fairfax Patent. Residents paid taxes, recorded deeds, wills, marriages, etc. at several Courthouses. This tends to make one believe the individuals moved; however this is not the case. The county boundaries moved from time to time).

William Henry and Susannah Brodbeck Monger had seven known children to reach adulthood. Those seven were John, Henry, David, William, Charles, Mary and Eve (File 117 Chancery Court, Augusta County, Virginia). Some of these were baptized at the Upper Peaked Mountain Church in Rockingham County, Virginia (Baptismal records No. 48 and No. 56).

The Shenandoah Valley was a natural passage for adventurers and settlers seeking less populated areas in which to settle. Families moved into this Valley from Pennsylvania and other points. Some stayed. Some moved on. It was difficult to enforce the "laws" of English rule beyond the Blue Ridge. This Valley was the frontier. Williamsburg was the Capitol of Virginia, but had been so for only a few years when the Valley was first settled. A freedom to do as people chose, including religion, was a deciding factor in the migration to the Valley beyond the Blue Ridge. People of all nationalities found their way to the Valley of Virginia. In reality, this part of the Shenandoah Valley was the first 'melting pot' in America.

The Scotch-Irish settled in the river bottoms east of this area. They located their homes in the foothills, which was similar to their native Scotland. Usually, their built their homes in a small valley, under the hills. A good spring for water seems to have been the only requirement required after the "valley" had been found that was surrounded by hills. These people were of Celtic temperament. They never feared a "good brawl" with each other or with the Indians.

The English who settled in the Valley of Virginia were explorers,  adventurers; people who wanted to be independent, yet be able to make a profit from their labors. They were interested in trade with  the colony, not isolation from English goods and her law. They settled primarily upon the Naked Creek area and on up into the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Germans were found primarily west of McGaheysville, but they were also found in the rich river bottoms east of McGaheysville. They were farmers. They chose a site for a home that was farmable. They built their barn first; then a house. They were peace-loving people, having come from an area of Europe that had seen nothing but war for several lifetimes.

The Swiss, Irish, French and Negroes were intermingled among these major groups.

Most of these settlers wanted to take advantage of the opportunity available. "Land free for the taking." It must be remembered that  in this time period, a man was measured by the amount of land he owned, as the custom was in Europe. It was almost impossible to climb the social ladder in Europe, as all available land was owned; however, in America the story was quite different. Fortunes were made and lost. For once in the history of mankind, the common everyday man had his opportunity to own his land and to be his own man.

Daniel Boone was known by these early residents of the Elkton-East Rockingham County area (This area was known as Conrad's Store before it became known as Elkton). A creek was named for the Boone family in this area. It is still called Boone's Run today. It is easy to understand the excitement, the call of adventure that persuaded these people to leave their home, friends and property to venture forth to explore the yet unknown.

Daniel Boone, drawing by Jack Kennedy Hodgkin.
In 1779, William Henry Monger, his wife Susannah Brodbeck Monger and several of their children, with their respective families, joined with a group of settlers going to Kentucky. Many different reasons have been given for the removal to Kentucky of this band of settlers from the Valley of Virginia. Many of this group were considered "Hot" Patriots in an area that was known for its support of the Colonial Cause. A need was felt by the leaders of that Cause to make secure the "western frontier" of Virginia. It is only logical that this was one of the major factors that made that decision inevitable. Rockingham County was part of the Tenth Legion of Democracy. This area was spoken of by General Washington and other colonial leaders as a stronghold of Independence, and thus Democracy. Patrick Henry was a lawyer in the Augusta County Courts from 1763-1775. In the book by F.H. Hart, "The Valley of Virginia and the American Revolution," on page 83, Hart has this to say: "No frontier area of Colonial America surpassed the Valley in its zeal for  the Revolutionary movement." Kentucky was Virginia's western frontier (at least part of it, as West Augusta County, Virginia, extended to the Great Lakes). These people were not leaving Virginia, they were merely moving West to protect Virginia's frontier from the British. Many things have been written by many persons alluding to these settlers' inability to protect themselves; however, it is necessary to realize these were men and women who were quite capable of self-protection. These men were the backbone of Washington's army. General Lafayette commented on their capabilities time and time again, maintaining they were the finest, most capable individuals he had ever served with - these men from the Virginia frontier West of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Isaac Ruddell, a Captain in Clark's Regmeint, was the leader of this group. He was married to Elizabeth Bowman. Her family had settled in the present county of Shenandoah. She had a brother, Colonel John Bowman of Kentucky. The children of Captain Isaac Ruddell and his wife Elizabeth Bowman Ruddell were Captain George, Stephen, Abram, Elizabeth, John, Isaac, Cornelius, and an infant who was killed in his mothers' arms. (For more material on this see "A History of Shenandoah County," by Dr. John W. Wayland.)

From the very beginning, the expedition was plagued with problems. Leonard Kratz (Cratts, Scratch) was hired as the guide. Leonard had been born in Teutenhoofer, near Frankfurt, Germany on the 14th of February 1756. Leonard was well-qualified for his job (note: other sources dispute his qualifications other than as a strong back who was good with a gun) as he had been drafted into the army at age 20 and sent to aid Great Britain during the American Revolution. Great Britain fell back upon the practice of hiring mercenaries when her recruiting program lagged. The German mercenaries were called Hessians, as more than half of the German troops came from the principality of Hesse-Cassel. The Duke of Hesse-Cassel exchanged one out of every four men in his kingdom for the (blood money) of the English. Over 30,000 German mercenaries came to the New World, and over 12,000 never returned home. These Hessians were greatly feared by all, as all mercenaries have been in history. They were allowed to plunder and keep whatever came their way. They made a fearsome sight, marching - always marching - in their immaculate uniforms, black mustaches (they had been ordered to grow mustaches and to blacken them with boot polish), topped off with their hats. They spoke very little, if any, English, and were rumored to "eat babies."

Hessian Soldiers. See for more information on Hessian mercenaries.
He (Leonard Kratz) participated in several battles and was finally wounded. After the surrender of his army under General John Burgoyne, the soldiers were given their choice of free passage home to Germany or free land in the colonies. Congress had previously offered any Hessian free land if he would leave or desert the British Army. Leaflets advertising this were wrapped around tobacco cans and scattered all over Long Island where the Hessians had proven their skill at "looting."

This offer was made in 1779, when Leonard was on furlough. Upon his return, he found his regiment disbanded; therefore, he remained in the New World. Leonard Kratz decided to make the best of a bad situation. He started to see more of this new land with new opportunities. He was familiar with the woods due to the many and varied expeditions he had been engaged in since his arrival in the colonies; therefore, he drifted South.

Note: Other accounts state that Leonard Kratz was captured, and transported to Albemarle, Virginia, as a prisoner, and then escaped. These accounts also state that Leonard met the Monger family before signing up for the expedition. See 

Soon after joining the expedition to Kentucky, Leonard Kratz met Mary Monger. He soon realized that he loved her and wanted her to be his wife. When he proposed marriage, William Henry Monger, Mary's father, objected to him as a stranger. Desperate situations called for desperate measures. As the party advanced into the wilderness, in constant danger of Indian attacks, Leonard brought it to a halt by announcing that he would go no farther until Mr. Monger gave his consent to his marriage with Mary. After some delay, Mr. Monger gave in. The Mongers were very slow to forgive their new son-in-law.

Their destination was a fertile valley on the east bank of the South Fork of the Licking River, 3 miles below the junction of Hinkston and Stories Branches, about 7 miles from Paris in Bourbon County, Kentucky (Collins, History of Kentucky).

They arrived in Kentucky too late to plant crops. This did not endear Leonard to his new in-laws, but everyone felt that they should have few serious problems, if everyone used the provisions they had brought with them wisely.

This proved to be a very difficult time for these settlers, as it was on of the worst winters ever recorded in the New World. Problems arose over food, clothing, fuel, and with the Indians who were looking for the same things. These people had to depend, day after day, upon what God provided as they used their supplies up faster than they had anticipated.

The War for American Independence was being fought during this time period. General George Washington had broken camp at Valley Forge on June 19, 1778. These settlers were all members of Captain Isaac Ruddell's Company, which was in Clark's regiment. The War for Independence encompassed the whole eastern part of the United States.

In the spring of 1780, Colonel Henry Byrd (Bird), and Lt. Simon Girty of the Indian Department, with approximately 600 Indians of various tribes descended first the Maumee River and from there the Miami River. Boats carried men and supplies. The purpose of this expedition was to secure Kentucky for the British. A cannon was brought along with the expedition to insure the success of this goal.

The Indians became so very excited over the prospect of blasting an entrance to the frontier stockades that it was decided to strike the populous central section of Kentucky instead of Louisville as had been planned. It is difficult to realize that bounty was paid to the Indians for the scalps of white colonials, but it was being done by the British in Canada. The Indians were by nature cruel; it was considered a sign of weakness in them to show or ask for mercy. They respected physical strength and the ability to endure torture.

Ruddell's Station, with its 300 inhabitants, was the first to be attacked. The cannon was successful. After two shots had been fired, the pioneers were forced to realize that resistance was useless; they were even out of supplies due to their late arrival and their sojourn in the wilderness. Captain Ruddell answered a demand to surrender by replying that he would do so only if the prisoners would be under the protection of the British troops and not turned over to the Indians. This conditions was agreed upon by Captain Byrd.

The gates were opened. The Indians forgot Byrd's pledge, if they had ever been made aware of it. They looted, plundered, raped and murdered. They worked themselves into a frenzy. Men, women and children were brutally murdered, their bodies dismembered and mutilated. There remains no reliable estimate of the number who died in the massacre that day. Ruddell's station contained about 300 inhabitants. The majority were butchered. Another 50 prisoners were taken at Martin's Station.

The surviving prisoners were divided among the Indians at the forks of the Licking River. Captain Hinkson made an escape. The prisoners were taken to Detroit for ransom. They were not released for 4 years. A large number of those were never released, but remained with the Indians. Of the 350 persons captured in Kentucky at Martin's and Ruddell's Stations, only 100 or so reached Detroit.

For more info on Ruddell's Station massacre and capture:'s_Station

Of those who remained with the Indians, little is known. It is known that Captain Isaac Ruddell's sons Stephen and Abraham remained with the Indians until they were grown men. Abram never became civilized. He married a squaw and in all manners was an Indian. He was in several battles with the whites, as was Stephen Ruddell his brother. Rev. Stephen Ruddell grew up in the same village as Tecumseh. He was converted to Christianity about 1800, was given an education of a sort and became a Baptist Preacher. He made missionary journeys to the Shawnees and Delawares. He preached in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. He died in Adams County, Illinois in 1845. His wife, an Indian, returned to her people after his death. John M. Ruddell, son of Rev. Stephen Ruddell, represented Adams county in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1846-1848.

Ruddell's Station was captured on June 20, 1780. The male prisoners were marched to Detroit where the commander, General McCoombs, paid for their freedom from the Indians in blankets (they were not freed, simply exchanged from being a prisoner of the Indians to being a prisoner of the British). The women captives were put into canoes and taken by water to Detroit. (Like many characters of this period in history, Mr. McCoombs was either a scoundrel or a great man, depending on whose side the person was on who was doing the speaking. Many say he was a renegade trader; others that he was a General for the British. Nevertheless, these people were not set free. They were merely freed from the Indians - that is, the ones the Indians wanted to give up. Some were adopted into the tribes, as were the Ruddell boys. The ransomed prisoners were held on Hog Island (now called Belle Isle) near Detroit for over 4 years.)

The Monger family survived the capture and the period of captivity, but not without scars. (to be continued in chapter on Leonard and Mary Monger Kratz)

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