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Notes on Ichabod Ashcraft

(By family tradition, Ichabod was also at the Battle of Point Pleasant, but this is also very unlikely.) He died intestate; his son, Daniel, was appointed administrator by the court, 14 Mar 1804, at Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

Grew up in the Sleepy Creek area of Virginia.

Will probated 14 March 1804 Fayette County, Pennsylvania (his son, Daniel, was appointed administrator by the court [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 25, 36, 39-41].

Ichabod was responsible for the establishment of Ashcraft's Fort on the line of the Cherokee Trail, in what is now Georges Township (then Springhill Township), Fayette County (then Westmoreland County), Pennsylvania -- about 10 miles south of Uniontown and not far from Smithfield. It was built on the land of the late Jesse Evans, located near Prospect Hill (aka Point Lookout). He had a survey made in 1769 at Buffalo Pastures and received a warrant for the land in 1770 -- but was that before or after the fort was built? Some sources say the fort was built before 1750, which seems unlikely. It was of typical blockhouse construction; the second story had loopholes and projected out over the base, and a stockade was attached. It was located near a spring. also said to be on a hill overlooking the Monongahela, very close to the Catawba Trail, which became "Braddock's Road." [James Veech, The Monongahela of Old; or, Historical Sketches of South-Western Pennsylvania to the Year 1800 (n.p.: n. pub., 1892; reprinted, Waynesburg, PA: Greene County Historical Society, 1971].

The list of settlers in what is now Fayette County in 1772, taken from the property assessment rolls of Bedford County, lists (under Springhill Township) the following:
Ichabod Ashcraft, John Carr, John Carr Jr., & Moses Carr. Under "Inmates" (boarders or residents not heads of families) are included Richard & Ephraim Ashcraft.
NOTE: Springhill Township at that time included that part of what is now Fayette County east of Redstone Creek -- and probably included all of Greene & Washington Counties as well.

Ichabod probably took part in Dunmore's Expedition into the western country, near Coshocton, Ohio, in June 1774. He later showed an intimate knowledge of the area [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 36-37].

In 1775, he enlisted in the first Revolutionary company west of the Alleghenies (the second unit raised in Virginia). Michael Cresap, a friend of the Ashcrafts, raised a company of 130 frontier sharpshooters who fought as irregulars -- and marched 800 miles to Boston. [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 37].

Between 1778 and 1783, Ichabod served as a Ranger on the Virginia frontier, and also as a captain in the Westmoreland County Militia, Pennsylvania Line. [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 37, 42-43; Pennsylvania archives (Philadelphia: J. Severns & Co, 1852-56; Harrisburg, PA: C.M. Busch, State Printer, 1874-99?), vol. 4, p. 428. See also: War Record Certs # 8143 & 8145, specifying patriotic service.]

He was a dealer in salt (from the salt springs on the Kanawha River) and ginseng c1780 in Georges Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania [Neal, Ashcraft Family].

He appeared on all the tax lists between 1785 and 1799 in Georges Township. The assessment roll for 1787 includes: Ichabod Ashcraft [Jr.?], Daniel Ashcraft, Richard Ashcraft, Uriah Ashcraft, John Carr, Moses Carr, Thomas Carr, Elijah Carr, & Absolom Carr. [Ellis, History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania].

Approved into the church "by experience," was later accused of drunkenness, was denied communion, and finally dismissed from the congregation for drunkenness, abusive language, and fighting [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 39].

Meade County Messenger Article
The early Ashcrafts were settled chiefly in Georges township and among the 200 or more property owners of that township in 1787, four years after Fayette county was organized out of Westmoreland, were the following: Ichabod Ashcraft, Daniel Ashcraft. Richard Ashcraft, Rlah Ashcraft. An old fort erected on the Evans farm in that township as a protection from the Indians was named Ashcraft fort after Ichabod Ashcraft, who on May 29, 1770, obtained a patent for 199 acres known as , "Buffalo Pasture." They built this fort near a gushing spring. The fort has long since disappeared but the spring still gushes. The fort was built at the crossing of two Indian trails, and it is probable that many an Indian was shot from it. Tradition has it that Mrs. Rachel Ashcraft, hearing what seemed to be a turkey gobbler calling, suspected it was an Indian trick. Taking down her trusty rifle she waited again for the call. Presently she heard it, and then an Indian's head peeped from behind a Tree to see if any one came out of the fort to hunt the turkey. She thereupon sent a bullet through the Indian's head.

Source: McClure, Daniel E. Jr., Two Centuries in Elizabethtown and Hardin County, Kentucky.

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Some members of the Carr family came to Kentucky in the 1790’s, about the time when some of the Ashcrafts, Jenkins, and Shacklets came to what is now Meade County.
Ellis’ History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, relates that in 1787 the number of property owners in George’s Township had increased until there were more than two hundred, among them - four Ashcrafts: Ichabod, Daniel, Richard, and Riah (Uriah?); five Carrs: John, Moses, Thomas, Elijah, and Absalom; Benjamin Hardin (possibly the Benjamin Hardin who with his wife, Sarah Hardin, his cousin, were parents of the noted lawyer, Ben Hardin. Sarah Hardin was a sister of Colonel John Hardin); John Jenkins and Philip Jenkins; five Phillips: John, Isaac, Thomas, Jenkins and Benjamin; and John Shacklett. There are other names among those 1787 property owners in Fayette County which appear on Kentucky tax lists, militia rolls and other public records in later years.

A description of Ashcraft’s Fort in what is now Fayette County as found in the Ellis history may be of interest,

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especially to the many descendants of the Pennsylvania Ashcrafts. As found on Page 566, “On the property now owned by Mrs. Evans Wilson (1882), in this township (George’s), and on the line of the Cherokee trail stood the Ashcraft fort. The settlers were accustomed to fleeing to this place of refuge when Indian difficulties were feared.

It was named for Ichabod Ashcraft, who took up this property (199 ¾ acres called “Buffalo Pasture”) receiving his warrant May 29, 1770. Here they built their fort near a bubbling spring. Long since the fort has disappeared, but the spring gushes forth to the sunlight just as it did a century and a quarter ago. The fort was built on the same plan as the other early forts. The second story projected out about one foot over the lower, so that in case the Indians should attempt to fire the fort they could be readily shot from the loop-holes above. There was a stockade of an acre with a ditch and picket-line for the purpose of protecting the livestock from the depredations of the savages.”

It is related that one morning Mrs. Rachel Ashcraft was awakened by the call of a turkey gobbler. She told her husband that she believed she would go out and kill it. Her husband said she had better not, it might be an Indian. The call was repeated and Mrs. Ashcraft cautiously opened one of the port holes and looked out. Presently the call of the turkey gobbler was repeated, and then out came the head of an Indian to see if anyone was stirring in the fort. She quickly took down her trusty rifle and the next time he gave the call and protruded his head from behind a tree she sent a ball through his head, striking him squarely between the eyes.

Ashcraft’s fort was built at the crossing of two Indian trails, one being the old Cherokee, or Catawba Trail. At this cross roads were buried suicides, in conformity with an old English custom. It is said that the Indian shot by Mrs. Ashcraft was buried at this place. It is also related (but how truly is not known) that he was skinned, and his skin tanned and made into razor straps, which were distributed among the settlers as trophies.

The above Ichabod Ashcraft was a captain of militia in what is now Fayette County in the late summer and early fall of 1782, when preparations were being made for another expedition against the Indians, following Crawford’s tragic defeat earlier in that year, were emboldened to bring their terror back into western Pennsylvania. The other captains of the Fayette County companies at that date were John Beeson, Theophilus Phillips, James Dougherty, Armstrong Porter, Cornelius Lynch, William Hayney, - Nichols, - Ryan, - McFarlin, Thomas Moore, Robert Beall, Daniel Canon, John Powers, John Hardin, Moses Sutton, and Michael Catts (Cates?). This planned expedition, which was to be supported by some regular troops assigned by General Washington, was cancelled by the ending of the war with Great Britain and the “Indians all called in” by the British government.