Scalping Near Bush’s Fort, Virginia
During 1770 or 1771 Bush’s Fort was constructed near New Castle, Virginia, about one mile west of “Rock Farm”. It sat upon a spring owned by William R Mead near the later construction of Mud Store, as told by Mr. WIlburn Waters. Mr. Castle built the first log cabin in the region. As the tale goes, a party of seventeen Indians stealthily approached the fort at a time when the men were absent and the only occupants were women and children. A typical work day included leaving the fort to plan corn and other foodstuffs on the newly acquired mountain land and then return home in the evening. Before the Indians arrived at the fort to do their damage, however, they met up with a young woman by the name of Ann Neece who had gone out for some purpose, and proceeded to scalp her with a tomahawk. Then left her for dead. Then, while the Indians approached the fort to do damage, they were discovered by Simon Oesher, Henry Dickenson and Charles Bickley who happened to be working at a mill nearby. The white men ran towards the fort with the Indians chasing behind. They got safely into the fort through a shower of balls without receiving a scratch, thus literally “running the gauntlet”. There were only two guns inside the fort and Oesher and Dickenson fired, each killing an Indian. The balance of the savages, knowning nothing concerning the strength of the fort and their guns being empty, hastily picked up their fallen companions and fled into the woods. Some hours later, a bloody Ann Neece was seen as though she had been dipped into a pool of gore, with streams jetting from her head, apparently as numerous as had been the hairs of her head before she was scalped, each jet about the size of a hair. The story ends with her recovering from the experience, marrying and raising children which left descendants in Russell County. Henry Dickenson was a soldier in the Indian Wars as well as of the Revolutionary War, and was at the great battles of Point Pleasant and King’s Mountain. Source: Annals of Southwest Virginia, an account of frontier life by Wilburn Waters.
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