Billy Dragoo

By Del Osborn

Author's Note:

I have been working on this project for quite a few years now, reading many history books,
including Allan W. Eckert's and many more associated books. I have copied and studied many old maps, many
times into the late hours of the night. I cannot say that this information that I have accumulated came from this
book or that book or came from this person or that person, but this account has come from years of research
and study. Many miles have been traveled on my part and conversations with a lot of people have helped me
to be as accurate as possible. Pictures at bottom of page.

 Billy was taken to the same village that Simon Kenton was made to run the Gauntlet. This was in the same vicinity, within just a few miles, and at the same time as Blue Jacket, Tecumseh, Jonathan Alder, James McPhearson, Tarah and Isaac Zane. Billy Dragoo lived a very hard life while with the Indians. They lived in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, where winters were cold and hard, in little wigwams. Much of what I have learned about Billy has come from an old narrative that he dictated before his death in 1856. It has been written that Billy was an avid reader of the Bible and was a great keeper of records. If
that is true, why did he sign the deeds to his property with an X? I have been told by family members that Rebecca looked like an Indian with her long black hair. While she lived in Licking County, she was a midwife. A friend of mine, that has since passed away, once told me that his father, who lived to be over 100 years old, knew Billy Dragoo when he was a young man. He also told me that his father told him, "Billy Dragoo was a large man and had slits in his ears." From all of the information that I can gather, Billy never completely gave up all of his Indian ways. He made a living trapping and farming. He was a peaceable man and was said to be very religious. Billy Dragoo died February 12, 1856 at the age of 86. He was buried in the Pleasant Grove cemetery on Briarcliff Road just south of Perryton, Ohio. At the time of this writing, there are several descendants of the Dragoos living in Licking County. I cannot be sure of Billy's age. In the narrative that he dictated, he indicated that he was twelve years old when he was abducted, making his birth in 1774; however, according to the 1850 census, he was listed as being 50 years old, making his birth year 1770. On his grave-marker, his age is listed as 86 years making me believe that Billy was unsure of his own age. One final note: Billy never lived on the County road in eastern Licking County, Ohio that is named after him. Delbert B. Osborn 1996 

In the early months of 1786, a band of Shawnees, led by Blue Jacket, met with Colonel Richard Butler, Captain Ephraim Lewis and Ebenezer Zane at a newly completed fort just up from the mouth of the Great Miami River. This fort was named Fort Finney after the man in charge of it's construction, Major Robert Finney. The treaty was just the same as all of the other treaties that the military had offered the Indians, vague and deceptive. One part of the treaty was to allow Fort Finney and Fort Harmar, built at the mouth of the Muskingum River, to remain. They were supposed to help keep the white man from crossing the Ohio River. Ohio was supposed to belong to the Indians. Blue Jacket did not like the treaty and he did not trust the long knives, but he signed the treaty anyway. The treaty, like every one before it, was as worthless as the paper it
was written on. In less than two months after the treaty was signed, the white men were coming into Ohio. They were killing the game that the Indians thought was theirs and building cabins on Indian land. It appeared that no matter what happened between the white man and Indian, the Shawnee always received the brunt of things. Fed up with all of this, the Shawnees ordered some raids of their own. It was on one of these raids that a band of Shawnees from the village of Wapatomica, at the headwaters of the Mad River in West Central Ohio, were doing some raiding in southwestern Pennsylvania. They were stealing horses and causing mischief. On their way home, they came upon a cabin on Finche's Run in Western Virginia. Seeing that no one was home and being very hungry, they decided to take some food from what remained of the garden. Elizabeth (Betsy) Dragoo and her son, William (this is what he was referred to by his family; however, we will refer to him as Billy
and that is what he is known by in all writings and history books), were staying with Elizabeth's brother, Jacob Straight, while her husband, John Dragoo, was at Asa Hall's settlement, near present day Bellview. John was helping Asa with the clearing of land (the Straight cabin was about one mile east of the Dragoo cabin). On the morning of October 3rd, a bright autumn day, Betsy told her son, Billy, that they had better go back home to pick off the rest of the garden . Their timing was very unfortunate. Just as Betsy, Billy and their dog arrived in their garden, Billy noticed that there were some cabbages pulled from the ground. About the same time, their old dog stopped, bristled up the hair on his back and began to growl. Billy saw the Indians coming out of the brush. They had taken cover when they heard Billy and his mother coming down over the hill. Billy and his mother tried to run away from them, but to no avail. They were grabbed and two or three of the Indians started away with them. Six Indians stayed behind, thinking that someone would come looking for the woman and boy and they were right. In just a little while, Jacob Straight, his wife, his daughter (also named Elizabeth) and a neighbor, Nicholas Wood was on their way to the Dragoo home to see why the two relatives had not returned in the time allotted. 

As they came down the hill towards the garden, Nicholas was the first in line and as soon as the Indians saw him, he was shot and killed. Jacob, his wife and their daughter started to run. Jacob took a different path than his wife and daughter, trying to distract the Indians. Elizabeth jumped into a dense thicket, while her mother rolled under a large shelving rock. She was so close to Jacob and the Indians when they caught him that she could hear what they were saying. "Don't kill me and I'll go with you", Jacob pleaded "You'll go with us?", stated one Indian bluntly. At that moment, Mrs. Straight heard the blow from the tomahawk that took Jacob Straight's life. While all of this was happening, the other three Shawnees were taking their prisoners toward the direction of Buffalo Creek. The captors were riding their own horses and they had put Betsy Dragoo on a horse that they had stolen from Jacob Straight. The Indians made Billy bridle the horse and while doing so he recognized it as being that of Jacob's. Billy was not lucky enough to ride, he had to walk. For the rest of the day, they did not hurry. They made their way westward toward the Ohio River and every once in a while, one of them would make a remark about Betsy's long red hair. With three Shawnee braves and Betsy Dragoo on horseback, twelve-year-old Billy struggled along on foot, trying desperately to keep up. On the third day of their trip, they came upon the cabin of David Gray, stopping only long enough to raid and then set fire to the cabin. During all of the excitement, Betsy's horse bolted, throwing her to the ground and breaking her hip. It was decided by the braves that a pregnant woman with broken bones was of no use to them. Betsy Dragoo begged for her life, knowing that she was pregnant and also knowing that there may be a chance that the occupant of the cabin would return and help an injured woman. The Indians killed and scalped her, but before Betsy Dragoo died, she had died a thousand deaths at the hands of the young braves. For the rest of the day, they kept showing her scalp to the saddened Billy as they made their way toward the Ohio River. They crossed the Ohio River about three miles below Fishing Creek (near present day New Martinsville, West Virginia). With Billy Dragoo on foot and the others on horseback, they kept on their northward journey. Billy was becoming very weak and could hardly walk. He had not eaten anything since he had been abducted several days earlier. On the Ohio side of the river, they found the carcass of a buck that wolves had killed and had partially eaten. Gathering up some of the mangled meat and bones, they made a fire and cooked it over the open fire. After
their feast of venison, the braves set down for a rest. Billy was glad of that because his feet and legs were so tired that he felt as though he could not take another step. In a few hours, the six braves, that had remained behind at the Dragoo farm, came riding in with several horses that they had stolen. From then on, Billy was permitted to ride, but a twelve-year-old farm boy could not ride as well as the Shawnee braves. Billy had a hard time trying to stay with them and was knocked from the horse several times by brush, tree limbs and grape vines. What a hard time Billy was having, grieving over the loss of his mother and being taken into the unknown by nine of the fiercest men that he had ever seen. They crossed the Muskingum River at the mouth of the Licking River (present day Zanesville, Ohio). From there, they followed the Licking in a northwesterly direction, passing where the village of Pleasant Valley would later be. They were getting close to what would later become Licking County, Ohio. They came past the falls on the Licking (Rock Dam). Twelve-year-old Billy Dragoo was about to become the third known white person to ever set foot in Licking County, Christopher Gist being the first and Chaplin Jones being the second. They passed through what is now Toboso, up through the Licking Narrows, past the Black Hand and on through the gorge to the bottom land toward where Claylick is today. Passing through the Bowling Green (a large, green meadow just east of present Newark, Ohio), they reached present day Newark, Ohio. They took the Raccoon fork of the Licking River and followed it to where Johnstown, Ohio is today. There was an Indian village there (Raccoon Town) and they stopped for food and rest. (The Indian village was just north of present day Johnstown, approximately where the cemetery is now located). After they had eaten and were rested, they set out still in a northwestward direction. It seemed that they were in somewhat of a hurry. By now, the lay of the land was unlike any that Billy had ever seen since he was used to the hills of West Virginia. This land was flat and rolling with no hills. Billy did not like the land. His captors and he were afraid of what lie ahead. They crossed the Olentangy River just south of present day Delaware, Ohio, passing just north of present day Marysville, Ohio. They then passed a Wyandot village near the mouth of the Mad River. (Zanes Town, named after Isaac Zane, a white man who had also been abducted in 1762 at the age of nine. Zane later married Chief Tarhe's daughter, Myeerah, at what is now Zanesfield, Ohio.) The party was met a mile or so from their village by someone that had brought them some drink and bread. (Wapatomica was the same village that Simon Kenton was forced to run the Gauntlet in 1778. The Chief at the time was Black Hoof.) Wapatomica (was located near the intersection of routes #5 and #29 about two
miles south of Zanesfield) sat on a plateau with fertile bottom land to the north, east and south. To the west is frill ground. Standing at the site of a village, a person can see for a long distance in three directions. 

After eating, they moved on until they were about three hundred yards from the village. They stopped and Billy was told in hand signals (he knew none of their language) to dismount and proceed up the path that led to the village. Billy was so weak from lack of food and tired from the long journey that he could barely stand. They had traveled more than two hundred miles in a matter of a few days, but with some difficulty, he managed to walk up the path. Needless to say, he was terrified of what lay ahead. Billy would look back at the others and they would motion him to "run". He could see several Indians standing around their council house and there were quite a number of lads about the same size as he. They were lined on each side of the path and each one of them had sticks and clubs. Their fun began. One would hit him from one side and another would hit him from the other side. This went on for quite some time and eventually an old man came and led Billy away to the
council house. The old man's name was Logan, a white man, who did not speak English. Billy was led into the council house, covered with bruises over most of his body and blood dripping from his nose and from cuts that had been inflicted on other parts of his body. In the middle of the room was a post, with a hole through it, about three feet from the ground. He was placed by this post and given hominy and boiled pumpkin to eat. After he had eaten, an Indian took a tomahawk and danced around him, swinging the tomahawk and pretending to hit him with it. Billy was scared to wits end. When the first Indian was done, another Indian repeated this event with four or five more to follow. After these Indians had their fun, an old Indian went to him and told him to "come". Billy followed him to his hut on the edge of the village. This was his adopted father and this was his new home. When they reached the hut, the man's wife took Billy, washed him with homemade soap and water with herbs in it. She then dressed him in a calico shirt, breech cloth, leggins and moccasins. Billy's job around the camp was to gather wood and carry water; sort of a lackey-boy for the women. Back home in Virginia ( present day West Virginia), Indian Billy Ice headed a search party to try to find the young Dragoo and his mother. They found the body of Betsy Dragoo where she had been slain. It is decided that one of the party would take the body home while the rest continued to search for the lad. (It is not known for sure whether Betsy's body was buried just outside of Pine Grove, West Virginia or in the Dragoo cemetery near Barrackville, West Virginia. The place of Betsy's execution is called Betsy's Run and is located outside of Pine Grove, West Virginia.) It had been just a few days since his arrival to the village and Billy was going about his business of gathering wood and carrying water when he noticed an uneasiness among the people; however, Billy was not familiar with their language yet and couldn't tell what was going on. One day, without saying a word to him, his father and mother packed up all of their belongings and left with the rest of the people in the village. Billy remained alone for the whole day, not knowing what to do or where to go, lonely and very scared. Late in the evening, an Indian woman came and made signs for him to follow. She was a welcome visitor, for as bad as he had been treated by the Indians, her company was far better than none. Billy followed the woman several miles into the woods to a lean-to. There was a man, the woman and two or three children. Several times
a day, the man would take his gun and go off in the direction of the village that they had just left. He stayed here with these folks for three or four days with each day the man leaving several times in the direction of the village. Finally, they gathered their belongings and returned to the village, only to find it burned to the ground and all of their corn destroyed. Billy said that he thought it was some soldiers from Kentucky, but did not know who. (This would have been October 1786 when General Benjamin Logan and 800 men made a sweep through the Mac-O-Chee valley in Ohio and burned all of the Indian villages destroying their corn. There were thirteen in all; Moluntha's Town, Mingo's Town, Puckshanoses, Mckee's Town, Waccachalla, Chillicothe, Pecowick, Buckangehela's Town, Blue Jacket's Town, Mackachack, Mamacomink, Kispoko and Wapatomica.) 

In a few days, his father and mother came back and set up their tent and Billy went back to live with them. Not long
afterward, all of the Indians returned to their burned-out village. (Wapatomica was never fully rebuilt.) In a few
days, Billy and his adopted father along with twenty braves, started for Detroit. With them, they had several
bundles of scalps that had been forwarded to them by Blue Jacket and Black Snake from their raids on the
whites along the Ohio River. These scalps were to be traded for supplies. (This was November, 1786.) They
crossed the Mad River and headed north. They passed by where Girtystown was and then by Blanchard's
Fork, continuing north until they reached the Maumee River. From there, they followed it north past Fort Miami
until they reached Frenchtown (present day Monroe Michigan). As they were passing through Frenchtown,
Billy was very tired and hungry and had fallen behind the others. As he passed one of the cabins, the
residents happened to see him as he walked by. Seeing that he was tired and cold, they invited him inside. Billy
had hardly time to sit down when one of the Indians from his company came in and forced him to go. They
traveled further north from Frenchtown to Brownstown (this was a Wyandot village south of Detroit). There,
they stayed for about three weeks. While there, Billy made the acquaintance of two white men by the names of

and Whitaker. They became close to the young Dragoo and at one point tried to buy the lad form the Indians,
but to no avail because the Indians had other plans for young Billy. After their stay in Frenchtown, the party
set off north toward Detroit. (At that time, Detroit was nothing more than a fort along the Detroit River and a
bunch of cabins inhabited mostly be French trappers, most of them had Indian women and they farmed long
narrow strips of land called Ribbon Farms. Indian slaves, mostly Pawnee from the far west, helped the settlers
work the land.) After the party had been in the Detroit area for a few days, there was a meeting among several
of the Indians. In a special ceremony, Billy was given to an Ottawa Chief to replace one of the Chief's relatives
that had been killed at the Siege of Shawneetown. This ceremony was as follows: Billy's old father led him up
to the Ottawa Chief and pressed on his shoulders until he sat down by his new father, then a Mulatto man
came to Billy and said, "When that man leaves, you must follow, he is your new father". And when the Chief
left the ceremony, Billy followed. The Chief and Billy left on foot for the Chief's home, which happened to be in
Canada. The Chief and the boy crossed the Detroit River into Canada. Scared of not knowing what lay ahead,
the young lad followed him. They walked for several miles, into a settlement. The Chief was in need of alcohol
and entertainment so the two went into some of the buildings. While the Chief was drinking and having some
fun, two drunken Ojibway Indians decided that they did not like the young white lad and proposed to kill him.
A Frenchman overheard them and promptly put it to a stop. Billy did not like the new father, the company that
he was keeping and he did not like Canada. The next morning, Billy made up his mind that he was going to
return to the people that had brought him here. It was spring, the sun was warm and the grass was starting to
green with the water in the rivers starting to warm. At early dawn, on a warm May morning in 1787, Billy quietly
slipped away from the Ottawa people in Canada and returned to Detroit. He stayed in Detroit for a few days
with some Indians that offered him shelter and in a few days, he set out for his old home on the Mad River.
Billy had a little difficulty with the walk being so long and he did not have much to eat except for what some
Indians in Detroit had given him. Billy spent several days walking by himself. Every creek or river that he had
to cross, if he could not wade it, he had to swim it. To keep his clothes dry, he would undress and place all of
them on a piece of wood, floating them across ahead of him. The waters were cold and some were high and
muddy, but Billy had grit. Upon his arrival at the old village, all of his old friends and acquaintances gathered
around him and expressed great joy to see him return to the village. By now, Billy's outlook on things had
completely changed. The things that he had once hated, he now loved. The people that he looked upon and
loathed, a few years ago, he now embraced as his dearest friends. How he could have become so intrigued with
those cruel savages who had taken him from his real home in Virginia (present day West Virginia) at the tender
age of twelve years, inhumanely butchered his mother and forced him to quit everything that was calculated to
make him happy, and causing him to drag out a miserable term of years cold and hungry is very hard to
understand, but so it was. He now loved their society and never once did he think of returning to enjoy the
society of his aged father and his dear brothers and sisters. Soon after he had returned from Detroit, the
Shawnees were still trying to recover from the damage that General Logan had inflicted upon them. Most had
already moved to the northwestern part of Ohio to land that had been given to them by the Ottawas and the
Wyandots. By now, it was time for the rest of them to move also and so Billy was taken with them. They were
still in need of supplies so Billy was sold to the Ottawas and taken to a camp on the Raison River, just off of
the shore of Lake Erie (near present day Monroe, Michigan). The first thing that Billy's new father did was to
bore a hole through the bridge of his nose. This was a very painful operation, but being young, Billy healed
quickly. They stayed there for a short while and then moved to the mouth of the Maumee River for a winter's
hunt. The village they moved to was an Ottawa village by the name of Agushawas (the mouth of the Maumee
is present day Toledo, Ohio). While they were camped at the mouth of the Maumee, all of the men were called
upon to go meet St. Clair's army. Billy's uncle was the leader of a band of braves and his Ottawa father
accompanied him. They told Billy that they were going to fight the white men. Billy stayed at the camp and
hunted for the family. The braves were gone from the encampment for about twenty two days. When his uncle
returned with some of the braves, they were about one-fourth of a mile away from camp when everyone at
camp heard him give out a shout of victory. Billy very distinctly heard him as he hallooed thirty three times.
They all knew that the Indians not only had gained victory, but that his uncle's company had killed thirty three
whites. When the old man came to the camp, he was carrying a long pole that had been stained red and he had
several scalps attached to it. He took the scalps and trimmed them round, wasted the inside of them and
scraped them. He then hemmed them around a hoop. Billy never did know what he did with them. As the old
man told of their adventure, he said that they had a battle and the big knife nation (the whites) turned their
backs and ran, the Indians caught and killed all that they could. It was several days before his father 
would return, he could hardly walk and showed signs of being in a fierce fight (this was St. Clair's defeat). Life
was pretty normal for the Indians and Billy at the camp, hunting, fishing and just trying to stay alive. In a few
weeks, a Frenchman came along and hired Billy to take a horse to the mouth of the Huron River (present day
Huron, Ohio). He took the horse and without returning to the mouth of the Maumee, he decided to look up one
of his uncles that lived on the southwest side of the Sandusky Bay. This turned out to be a terrible experience
for the young white lad who was now a white Indian. On the morning that he started, it was raining and
continued to rain all day. He traveled most of the day without seeing anyone. Late in the afternoon, he came
upon a single family living alone in the wilderness. Billy was invited into their shelter where he was offered
some fresh venison, boiled pumpkin and bread. After he visited awhile and rested, they told him in which
direction that he might find his uncle. He traveled until almost sundown without finding his uncle's wigwam. It
was almost dark now and he decided to stop for the night. He then thought that he might be close to camp so
Billy fired his rifle three times (this was a signal that Indians used when they were lost) in hopes that his uncle
would hear. After receiving no answer, he knew that he would have to spend the night at this location. He
found some sticks, some hickory bark and constructed a small lean-to. He then found some wild grape vines
and pulled some of the bark from them in order to start a small fire to try to dry out and warm up a bit. (Wild
grape vines will shed water and can be used for kindling even when it's raining.) Wet and cold Billy sat with his
back against a tree under his little lean-to and slept until morning. That morning, he found his uncle without
any great difficulty. Billy spent the winter with his uncle, hunting for food and trying to keep warm. The
lake-effect snows that would come off of Lake Erie would dump several inches of snow at a time and some
days they would have to eat whatever they had in the wigwam. Some days they had close to nothing to eat.
All there was to do on days like this was to sit around a small fire in the middle of the wigwam and try to keep
warm. (What a miserable way of life compared to today.) In the spring, two of his cousins decided that they
would have their ears split for the purpose of hanging ornaments from them. The procedure went as follows:
one of the boys drove a stake into the ground, cut the top off so that it was flat and then one would lay face
down and place their ear on the stake. The other then took a sharp knife and slit the ear. After the two of them
had done theirs, they said that Billy must have his done also, so he submitted to the operation. (The pain of
this was nearly unbearable and this custom along with boring a hole through the bridge of the nose had
become obsolete before Billy left to go back to live with the whites.) After he had his ears split and they had
healed, Billy and his uncle returned to where his father was now living. They had moved from the mouth of the
Maumee back to their old village at the mouth of Stoney Creek (present day Woodland Beach, Michigan). It
was not long after Billy and his uncle had arrived at Stoney Creek, that it was time to move back to the mouth
of the Maumee River. A couple months after they had settled in this place, Billy met a widow woman that was
somewhat intoxicated and she hinted that he should live with her daughter. The old woman was poor and had
no one to hunt for her so he went and asked the daughter what she thought of the matter. She said that she
would like to live with him and it was so that Billy lived with her as her husband. Billy was about nineteen
years old by this time and had developed a skill for hunting and it was a good thing for when he started to live
with the Indian woman, he had to supply meat for his wife, her mother, his wife's brother, two sisters, who were
widows, and several children. This turned out to be quite a chore for Billy. After awhile, it was time to move

This time, Billy and his new family moved to Auglaize County and set up camp at a place that was called
Sugar Ridge. This was where they spent that winter, with three other families and Billy's family of twelve. He
had poor luck hunting all winter, only killing ten deer and one bear. He divided some with other families for
their men were very poor hunters. The rest of their living came from raccoons, turkeys and other small game.
That winter, he had to work hard to keep from actually starving to death. In the spring, they moved again, this
time they moved to Blanchard's Fork in present day Putnam County near Ottawa. There was good hunting with
deer and bear being plentiful. That summer, Billy raised a small patch of corn and when fall came, they moved
back to Sugar Ridge to spend the winter. This same winter, the hunting was good. The next spring, the family
moved to what was called the lower Tawa on the Auglaize River, where he continued to hunt, fish and live as
usual. In this place, there were fifteen families living in the village and the family lived better here than any
other time since Billy had lived with them. (Lower Tawa is the present site of Ottawa, Ohio.) Although the
hunting was good and life was just a little better than it had been, there were still problems. On one occasion,
an old Wyandot Indian, who had married an Ottawa woman and was a trader, had set up camp close to the
village as to be close to trade with the residents. The old man was trading rum for deer skins. When he first
arrived, he treated all of the men to a dram of rum each. This would let him trade more freely. In a few hours, the
men had traded all of their skins for rum and as soon as they were all drunk and helpless, the women would take their turns at the Devil's brew. Billy could see whatwas going on so he took his wife and children and left the village so that he could be away from all of them.After all, he was still a white man. He took his family to the edge of a patch of corn and set up a lean-to and stayed the night. Early in the evening, he heard one of his brother-in-laws hallooing at the top of his voice. He
sounded as if he were in distress and in need of some help. Billy's wife suggested that he go and see what the
problem was. Billy found the man drunk and he had been fighting. It was not a pretty sight to see. The man
drunk, laying on the ground with his face all covered with cuts, bruises and blood. At this point, Billy leaned
over him and tried to calm him down, but to no avail. Billy tried to help the helpless man to be more
comfortable, but this was not working. The man kicked and hallooed more than ever. A cousin of the drunken
Indian heard him and came to see what the matter was. Being under the influence himself, the cousin did not
recognize Billy as he approached from the rear, all he could see was a white man bending over his cousin and
see that his cousin was covered with blood. The man grabbed Billy by the hair and tried to pull him away from
his cousin laying on the ground. In William's words, "This vexed me, I jumped up and hit the man with my fist,
he turned and ran. This was the only man that I ever struck in my life." Later that night, both of the Indians
were running around hallooing for the white man and threatening to kill him, but Billy couldn't be found. They
had all of the village up in an uproar so Billy stayed clear of all of them until they had sobered up. A few days
later, Billy walked down by where the old Wyandot had his camp set up. There, he sat with a young brave that
he did not know. Billy heard some commotion further out in the woods so he walked on to see what it was.
Seeing that it was ten or twelve young braves, drunk and running around in the trees, he decided that it was
not a good place for him to be seen. He walked back toward where he had just come from. Just as he passed
the old Wyandot's wigwam, he met two young Indian women. He did not know either of them, but he spoke
and went on. In a few minutes, he heard a commotion behind him, he turned just in time to see the young
brave, that had been sitting with the old Wyandot, strike the woman in the face. She ran toward him and fell
down. Billy went to the woman, but she told him that she was all right. Billy did not know it at the time, but the
brave had stuck a knife into the stomach of the woman. Billy had left the woman and started toward his
wigwam when he heard a lot of hallooing in the direction from where he had just been. The young brave that
had just knifed the woman, had just stabbed another young brave in the chest, but it did not kill him. The next
morning, both parties had to go and see the Chief and he told them to bury the hatchet and settle their
differences. They did and peace was restored for awhile. The following winter, the infant child of the woman
who the young brave had killed, died. This was probably from lack of attention. The father of the child became
very angry and vowed that he would kill the man that had killed his wife and child. One of the old people in the
village died and it was custom of the people to have whiskey when this happened. It was supposed to make
them cry more freely. Now that most of the men were becoming under the influence of alcohol, the widower and
two of his cousins made a plan to revenge the death of the child and it's mother. They led the young brave into
the woods, where they all sat down and began to drink more whiskey. As soon as they thought the young
brave was drunk enough, the three of them jumped him with the purpose of killing him. They tussled and
fought for awhile and the widower tried to stab the young brave, but the young one grabbed his hand and the
knife went into the widower, killing him instantly. Some of the relatives of the widower met with the Chief. He
told them that he had before given advice on the young brave and he was having nothing more to do with it.

This was taken by the relatives to be okay with the Chief to kill the young brave and that is just what they set
out to do. They found the young man, overpowered him and commenced to stab and slash him with their
knives, but the blades were too short and all they managed to do was to mangle the brave something terrible.
He had cuts all over his body and several stab wounds is his back and stomach. He managed to cling to life for
six weeks before he died from the wounds. This was a tragedy that had, in all, caused the loss of five lives. As
soon as the old Wyandot ran out of whiskey and rum, he left the village and all was quiet again. Billy had been
living with the Indians for about eight years. He was completely satisfied with the way of life that he was now
living. He had three children, a wife, had become a very good provider for the family and never once did he
think of ever returning to the family that he had been taken away from in the hills of West Virginia. It was now
about 1804 and Billy was in need of a new rifle. He had saved up enough pelts to buy one so he left his home
on the Maumee and went to Pittsburgh to do so. Pittsburgh, at that time, was a bustling western town.
Supplies were coming from the east by wagon train and then being sent down the Ohio by flat boat. Anything
that came up the river was brought by Keel boat. While in the big city, he made acquaintance with a young
man that knew his father in Virginia. The man tried very hard to talk Billy into returning to see the old man. The
man said that they were only eighty miles from his old home. He had seen his father but 

but awhile back and that the old man had great desire to see his son, but Billy was completely satisfied with
living in the wigwam with the savage company. He gave the man some kind of an excuse and left him, never
thinking of it again. The next year, he had been to Pittsburgh and developed a great sore on his leg. It was
some kind of an open sore where infection set in and he suffered everything but death. His wife would take no
care of him, he couldn't go hunting or fishing and he came very close to dying. With a little help from a
medicine man, however, he was able to become completely recovered and once more living as usual, hunting
and fishing. Three years after he had taken the trip to Pittsburgh, Billy took his family to visit some relatives
near the rapids of the Maumee (present day Waterville, Ohio). They stopped one night and was about to
spend the night with a French trader when some old acquaintances of Billy came along and offered them to go
to their wigwam and spend the night. Billy was in the process of catching his horses to make the trip to his
friend's wigwam when two men from the other side of the river called over and asked for a canoe so that they
may cross. Billy looked, but could not find one. So Billy and his family traveled down the river to spend the
night with his friends. Soon after dark, the French trader came and told him that one of his brothers was at his
place and would like to see him. Billy borrowed a canoe from his friends and paddled up the river as fast as he
possibly could. When they met, the brother took Billy by the hand and said, "Are you William Dragoo?"
"Yes," Billy said,"are you Ben?" The two brothers hugged and kissed each other as they wept. The two
Dragoo brothers talked all night without any sleep. Ben told Billy about his father, his brothers and his sisters.
This was such a happy time for the both of them. The next morning, Ben tried over and over to get Billy to
return home with him, but he refused. Finally, Ben suggested that the two of them would meet in eighty days at
their brother John's home which was three miles below the falls (Rock Dam), on the Licking River and about
one mile north of the river. John had just moved there with his wife, Mary Coverdale Dragoo, and her family.
(This place would later become Irville, Ohio.) Billy agreed and the two brothers parted. Billy went to his family
that he came to visit and spent a few days. After that, he returned to his home on the Maumee, where he soon
began to make plans to keep his promise to is brother. When it was time for Billy to leave his home for the visit
to Virginia, he asked one of his brother-in-laws (Bonnisui) to accompany him on his journey. Bonnisui agreed
and the two of them were off to visit another world to them. By this time, Billy Dragoo was an Indian in every
respect except for the color of his skin. He had silver half-moon ornaments hanging from his nose and silver
ornaments hanging from his ears. The first settlement they passed through was Negrotown on the Sandusky
River. Then it was a long treck through the wilderness until the next settlement was reached. It was about six or
eight miles north of Newark on the north fork of the Licking River. There, the pair stayed the night with a man
named Hughes. Mr. Hughes had been an Indian fighter and he entertained the pair with stories of his exploits
and Billy told him of his travels and of being first taken by the Indians. ( This was Elias Hughes. He and his
nephew, John Ratliff, were the first settlers in Licking County. They had settled on the Bowling Green, just East
of present day Newark--close to present day Marne. Elias now owned an Inn at present day Vanatta, Ohio.)
The next morning, the two of them started on toward their meeting place on the Licking River. They passed
through Newark, which consisted of a few log cabins. That night, they made camp along the Licking. The next
day, they reached John's place and they found John and Ben waiting for them. They stayed there for about
three weeks and then they (Billy, John, Ben and Bonnisui) started their journey to Virginia. Four days later,
they were a few miles from Billy's old home. His father, John Dragoo, and some 40 or 50 others had come to
meet them as they knew that they were coming. The old man grabbed Billy and hugged him. He was glad to see
his long lost son. Although Billy had not seen his father in some twenty one years, he recognized him at once.
All were glad to see Billy and Bonnisui. If Billy had been raised from the dead, there would have not been more
astonishment. Billy had a feeling deep inside that he had not experienced for years. This feeling was the love
for his father that was returning after being hidden for so many years. In just a couple of weeks, Billy was
starting to forget his Indian friends. He felt as if he had entered into another mode of existence. His father,
brothers and sisters now felt dear to him. He could talk with his English-speaking friends, but he had forgotten
the meaning of a lot of the words. In only a short time, his old language had returned to him. Billy stayed with
the old family for two months. While there, they took him to a revival meeting at a church tent (tent meeting).
There, he heard the Gospel preached by a man that would play a part in his life, later in years. The preacher was
the Reverend Levi Shinn. They concluded their visit and Billy and Bonnisui started their journey home to the
banks of the Maumee River in northwest Ohio. They went back the same route that they had come a few
months earlier, through Newark, up the north fork of the Licking and again spending the night with their new
friend, Mr. Hughes. In a few days, they were home. His children were very glad to see their father and his wife
was not as glad because she had expected him to bring her a present, but Billy brought her nothing for it was too far to carry anything. The woman was not a very friendly person. Billy said, "She was a cross, ill-mannered woman to say the best." They lived as usual after Billy returned and by this time, Billy had four children, two boys and two girls. The ways of the white people's life stuck in his mind and he had heard the word of God. This also was heavily on his mind. He was very unhappy
now with the life that he was so accustomed to. Many times, he tried to talk to the Indians about the Christian
religion that he knew and tried to tell them that it was wrong to violate God's word, but they paid him no heed.
He knew that the life they were now living was not a good way to raise children so he finally made up his mind
to return to the white way of life and take his family with him if that was at all possible. He talked this matter
over with his wife and she would have nothing to do with moving and leaving her people. Billy took two
horses and his two sons, John and Isaac. John was ten and Isaac was two. Without exchanging words with his
wife, he left. He felt bad for leaving with two of his children and leaving the two girls behind. This time, he took
a different route than the one he and Bonnisui had taken when they went for the visit. He came almost straight
south, to where the old Shawneetown village had been, this was where he was first taken by the Shawnees
when he had been abducted. Isaac Zane now lived on the spot where the old village once stood. (Isaac Zane's
house was two miles from the village site.) He remembered the clearing where the Indian boys had given him
the whipping of his life, he remembered the spot where the old council house once stood and for a few
minutes, Billy relived his life in that village as a twelve-year-old lad that was scared almost out of his wits. Billy
and the two boys stayed the night with Isaac Zane and the next morning, Isaac showed Billy the trail that he
should take. They found white people every few miles and the people were very kind to him and the boys,
offering them food and shelter. (Just picture in your mind; a thirty six-year-old man, a ten-year-old boy and a
two-year-old boy, traveling on two horses in the wilderness.) They passed through Granville and Newark on
their way to his brother John's place, just east of the Rock Dam on the Licking River (was Irville, Ohio). Billy
and the boys stayed with John and Mary for about a month. While they were at John's place, there was a camp
meeting and the family attended. There, Billy was baptized by the Reverend Levi Shinn, a Methodist preacher
that had just moved to Ohio. One day, while Billy was staying with his brother, his horses ran off. Billy
followed them for several days before he caught up with them just north of Granville. He spent the night with a
man there before returning to his brother's place in Muskingum County. Billy and the two boys were
well-rested now and it was time to move on to Virginia. They passed through Zanesville, going back almost the
same trail that he had passed over twenty four years earlier. 

The big difference was that this time, he knew where he was going. They camped along the trail every night, crossing the Ohio River at the mouth of Fishing Creek and traveling on to what is Wetzel County, West Virginia. They stayed with his sister, Elizabeth and her husband, James Hayes. Billy and the two boys stayed with the Hayes family for about two years. He then
moved in with his father on the old Dragoo farm near present day Barrackville, West Virginia. Billy's father
gave him 43 acres of land. On December 1, 1814, Billy married fifteen-year-old Rebecca Matheny. At that time,
Billy was about forty years old. The oldest half-Indian boy, John, stayed with his grandfather. He became quite
skilled as a wood worker and it is said that Isaac returned to the Indians to become a preacher. ( This, I cannot
prove or disprove.) John continued to work on the farm and do wood work while Billy and Rebecca were
starting a new family. On September 13, 1815, he and Rebecca had their first son which they named Jacob.
Their second born was a girl, named Elizabeth, born May 19, 1817. All the while, Billy struggled to make a living
at farming and trapping. Then, on April 30, 1819, they had another son, Peter. For four more years, Billy and
Rebecca worked hard at making a living on the hillside farm in present day West Virginia. In 1823, the
half-Indian son, John, died from Tuberculosis. This was somewhat of a setback for Billy. For the last thirteen
years, the two daughters that he left behind, when he left the Indians, still weighed heavily on his mind. He
said that because of the war of 1812, he never got to see them again. Billy had stayed in touch with his brother,
John, that lived in Ohio and by now, John had a good job working at the Mary Ann Furnace. It had opened in
1817 and they mined their own iron core, cut their trees for the purpose of making charcoal, they forged their
own products and they made stoves. Billy, having been in touch with John, packed up his family, sold his 43
acres to his brother, Jacob Dragoo, and moved to Perry Township, Licking County, Ohio. He knew that the
future in Ohio was brighter than that of Virginia. The first land that he owned was 50 acres on what is now the
old Evans Road just south of Perryton. (This property is presently owned by Dale Barrick of Perryton.) The
main reason that he settled here was because it was close to the only road east through Licking County. It was
called Coshocton Hill Road and went from just east of Newark to Coshocton. On March 12, 1824, they had
another daughter, Ann Dragoo. Billy worked this little farm and did some hunting and trapping, then on
October 25, 1828, they had another daughter, Margaret Dragoo. On June 7, 1838, the  their last child was born, Rhoda Dragoo. John Dragoo, a nephew of Billy, had left Virginia and moved to
Licking County where it looked as though a better life could be built there. On June 19, 1836, John married Billy
and Rebecca's eldest daughter, Elizabeth and settled next to Billy in Perry Township. On April 16, 1839, Billy
sold the property to Levi Orsburn for $400.00 and carried the mortgage. He then bought the south half of lot
#30 in Perry Township, 47-1/2 acres, for $62.00. Because he was dealing with an estate, Billy did not get the
deed straightened up until June 25, 1851. That property, today, is owned by Dickie Hockman and is situated on
Osborn Road just East of Hanover, Ohio. When Dickie bought the place, there was an old log cabin there that
had fallen down. Dickie rebuilt it and from the way it was constructed, I have been told that it is probably the
same cabin that Billy built in 1839. In 1838, Jacob Dragoo married Susan Bright at the home of her father, David
Bright in Fallsbury Township, Licking County. David Bright was the first settler in Fallsbury Township. He
settled there in 1818. The farm, today, is owned by Fred Hay and is along State Route 586 at the intersection of
Buckhill Road. In the early 1850's, Jacob Dragoo, his wife, Susan, their six children and his in-laws left Licking
County and moved to Chatsworth Township, Livingston County, Illinois. On October 22, 1840, Peter Dragoo
and Janette Welsh married in Knox County, Ohio. Just before the troops from Licking County were to leave to
fight in the Mexican War, the troops were paraded around downtown Newark. The tallest and best built soldier
always lead the parade and because of his tall and manly physique, Peter Dragoo was the man to always lead
the parades. He served during the Mexican War. In the late 1840's, Peter sold all of his property in Licking
County and moved to DeKalb County, Indiana. Ann Dragoo married William Orsburn on August 12, 1841 and
she died on October 14, 1846. Rhoda Dragoo, the youngest, was about the same age as her nephew, William B.
Dragoo, the son of her oldest sister and John, her cousin. William B. and Rhoda were pretty close. They went
to school together at the Pleasant Grove school, did their chores together and on March 19, 1857, they were
married in Muskingum County, Ohio. They then moved to Marion County, Virginia and on June 17, 1858, they
had a son, John W. Dragoo who died on October 14, 1860. It is written that he died from a sore throat. Rhoda
and William had a daughter that also died at a very young age. William B. joined the 12th Regiment Company F
Virginia Volunteers to fight in the Civil War and died April 8, 1863. He is buried in the old Dragoo cemetery at
Barrackville, West Virginia. After Billy's death in 1856, Rebecca sold the farm to James Walcott on November
23, 1857 and moved to West Virginia where she married Mariman Price. They lived in Farmington, West
Virginia until her death on July 14, 1876. On January 17, 1864, Rhoda Dragoo married James Walcott. James and
Rhoda had two children, one boy and one girl. The girl died young and the boy grew up and lived around
Frazeysburg, Ohio until his death in the late 1940's. His name was William Abner Walcott. He was a very
talented man, he worked as a telegrapher for the railroad, built several houses around Frazeysburg and he had
the first automobile in Jackson Township, Muskingum County, Ohio. Margaret Dragoo married their neighbor,
Abram Orsburn on February 17, 1845 and of that marriage were three sons, William Henry, John Thomas and
Albert Orsburn. Almost all of the Osborns that came from the eastern part of Licking County are descendants
of William and Rebecca Dragoo. 

In 1962 or 1963 a great aunt gave me a box and told me that they were personnel effects of Billy Dragoo, some
of them and his grave marker, which I had re-lettered just as it had been are in photos below. This writing is for
your personal enjoyment only any copies or reprints or putting on another web site must have my permission,
I have put years into this. Thank You. The lady below is Margaret Draggoo Orsburn, my great,great
grandmother. Daughter of Billy Draggoo.  Comments,

margaret.jpg (27106 bytes)    billygrave.jpg (27460 bytes)    brdax.jpg (4591 bytes)    crknfe.jpg (4423 bytes)   

fro.jpg (4681 bytes)    lantern.jpg (5338 bytes)    pouch.jpg (3809 bytes)    rhoda.jpg (14242 bytes)

skillet.jpg (3966 bytes)    tarbkt.jpg (6157 bytes)    wspoon.jpg (4673 bytes)   



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