Archiver > PAWESTMO > 2000-04 > 0956497403

From: "ljohnston" <>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 09:43:23 -0400
References: <>


I'm going to jump into the middle of the story of the destruction of
Hannastown as printed in George Dallas Albert's book "The History of
Westmoreland County" (1882):

The Indians during the afternoon had not mad a concerted attack
upon the for; they were evidently afraid to do so. The suspense which
those cooped up there during that time sustained many with effort be
imagined. Hoep, the only medicine for the miserable, was about all
left them. If their neighbors should not come to their help during
the night, they could expect nothing but captivity if the next morning
they shouls surrender, and if they resisted and fought, possibly a
frightful death. The terror of the women part was heightened by the
fate of young Peggy SHAW, who lay in agony on a cot in the cabin of
the stockade.
The death of this maiden was long the centre of interest in the
incursion, and whenever and wherever Hannastown has been talked about
among the descendants of these people this episode has been talked of
with it. It is not then to be wondered at that more than ordinary
interest attaches to the narrative, nor that strange and exaggerated
stories should have been coined and passed for current. The story has
been told in many ways, but the most simple and truthful way is
enought to make her character beautiful, her actions heroic, her life
romantic, and her death full of glory.
Margaret SHAW was the sister of David SHAW and Alexander SHAW.
Alexander SHAW was the last man to go into the fort on that day, and
David was a hunter and scout widely known, one of those rough
backwoodsmen who, raised in the wilderness and on the verge of war,
knew only the duty of defending the outposts and killing Indians, who
could not to his dying day brook the conventionalisms of civilization,
and who, in short, belonged to that class who had made a law unto
themselves. He had gone, when of age, into the army as a substitute
for his father. His term of service being over he was now at home,
and almost as much in war as he could have been anywhere, and as much
in his element as a wolf in the forest. All knew and remembered how
quick he had been to apprehend the danger, and all admired his sonly
devotion in seeing that his olf father was in the fort before he
himself went in. His sister was of the same blood. She was young at
that time, only twelve or thirteen years, but for her age was large
and muscular.
After they had gone into the fort, and while yet all was
confusion, and each one appearing to be interested in his won personal
safety, a little child had crept unnoticed towards the picketing of
the stockade. Peggy SHAW seeing it ran to fetch it back. This was
under the random fire kept up by the savages. As she stooped to
gather it into her arms a bullet struck her in the right breast and
penetrated her lung. She did not die suddenly, as is supposed, but
lingered for some two weeks. This fortnight must have been one of
intense suffering. Instead of having good clinical treatment, she was
submitted to the barbarous manipulations of unskilled backwoods
surgery. A silk handkerchief was drawn through the incision, and
allowed to be continually drawn back and forth as long as any greenish
discharge followed. A bulletwound, from a half-superstitious belief,
was thought to be poisonous, and the presence of the poison was taken
to be denoted by the pus which exuded from the suppurating sore. In
her lingering her body wasted to a mere frame. Her remains were laid
to rest in the burying-ground of the old Middle Presbyterian Church,
two miles northeast of Mount Pleasant. It was then not to be wondered
at that the act was talked of with admiration, and she in her death
remembered with pity. Truly she died, as on long ago expressed it, a
victim to her kindness of heart.
It is said that the child she saved by her own death lived and
grew to womanhood, but the identity is lost in the number who have
been so designated...........

A letter from General William IRVINE to President MOORE - Fort Pitt,
July 25, 1782 - "The destruction of Hannastown put the people
generally into great confusion for some days. The alarm is partly
over, and some who fled are returning again to their places; others
went entirely off. I have got the lieutenant of the county and others
prevailed on to encourage some of the inhabitants to reoccupy Hannas
Town, by keeping a post or small guard there." Penn. Arc., vol x.

Excerpt from The Erie Purchase - ....."He who would write a full
history of the destruction of Hannastown and incorporate therein all
the traditions and memorabilia of that war would fill a book much
larger than this, for the destruction of Hannastown was to the
inhabitants of that section what Noah's flood was to the inhabitants
of the ancient world. If all reports were to be credited touching the
individual claims of those whose ancestors were reported to have been
in the fort when the town was burnt, the number would reach such a
magnitude that it would cease to be credible.
Of the SHAW family, some member of which bore such a conspicuous
part there, much has been preserved and much related. Moses SHAW and
Margaret, his wife, had there three sons -- David, a young man perhaps
twenty years old, Alexander, about eight years, and John, quite young;
not above one year--and two daughters, Sarah, about sixteen, and
Margaret, or Peggy, about fourteen, who was wounded in the fort and
who died about two weeks thereafter. John SHAW was the father of
David SHAW ATKINSON, Esq., of the Greensburg bar. The family have
preserved among themselves the incidents which we now relate. On the
day to which Hannastown was burnt, Sarah SHAW, whose descendants now
reside below Trees' Mill, on Beaver Run, was washing, and when the
attack was made she fled with her parents and the other children into
the fort, leaving the pot full of clothes on the fire and the
smoothing-iron before the fire. Although the house was burnt, the pot
and the iron withstood the fire and are yet in the possession of the
SHAW family.
They say also that it was Mrs. MOORE'S child that Margaret SHAW
was carrying when she was shot. Mr. MOORE'S presence as a child at
the fort has been noticed before, of which fact there can be no doubt.
Charles Sterret was killed on the SHAW farm, in Salem township,
now owned by a Mr. Longsdorf. David SHAW and William HAYS buried him.
His grave is pointed out at this day...........

I hope this helps you to help your friend in his research.

Linda Johnston

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joann Cupp" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2000 9:58 AM

> This query is for someone who is not online.
> Seeking information about John IRVIN (b abt 1811, d April 29, 1857)
> married
> Ann Hunter SHAW d/o Alexander in 1833. They attended Poke Run and
> Salem (Delmont) Presbyterian Churches before John's death. Children:
> Matilda, William W. (d 1856, buried at New Salem Presbyterian Church
> Cemetery), Mary E., Margaret, Sarah A., John S.(m Mary Miller in
> Alexander, Ellen.
> Could Ann Shaw's father Alexander have been at Hannastown at the
time it
> was attacked and burned?
> Thank you.
> JoAnn Cupp (for Harry N. Irvin, Jr.)
> ______________________________

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