Thursday, September 18, 2008

William "Indian Billy" Ice

Quite awhile ago, in May actually, I wrote a post about my Ice family and promised to follow up with a post about Indian Billy Ice. My daughter brought it to my attention awhile back that I had never done the follow up. Well, here it is--4 months late--but here it is.

William Galloway Ice was supposedly born on April 1, 1730, although there is much speculation about that. Also, I've never seen proof that his middle name was Galloway but it could very well be. His parents were Frederick Ice born in Holland and Mary Galloway, born about 1692 in Philadelphia. Mary's parents were John Robert Galloway, born about 1654 in Scotland and Christina Bruin, born either in Germany or Holland. One unnamed source stated, " "Mary Galloway married Frederick Ice, Jr. a few weeks after meeting him in church in Philadelphia in 1727. "

When William was about 10, his father and his older brother, John, went to the "store". Back in those days, the store was many miles and many days away. That left the mother, Mary, and the younger children, at least two girls-Mary and Margaret, and William at home. While Frederick and John were away, the Indians came to the house. (Some say they were Mohawk, some say Delaware, but I tend to believe it was the Shawnee.) Mary, the mother, was killed and the three children were taken captive by the Indians. Family history says that the sister Mary became the wife of Pucksinwah, a Shawnee chief, and became the mother of Tecumseh and his 6 brothers and sisters. So, this is where I sincerely question the truth of this story. I don't doubt that they were kidnapped. I doubt the stories about which tribe and that Mary was Tecumseh's mother. First of all, several sources state that she was Tecumseh's mother but that Tecumseh was either Delaware or Mohawk. It is well known and documented that he was Shawnee. Also, as I mention in my last post, I have discussed this with a couple of college professors who teach Ohio history and they are sure that Tecumseh's mother was probably a Creek Indian.

Anyway, on with William or Indian Billy as he came to be known. After about 5-10 years, he did escape from the Indians and apparently went to Pittsburg. Some sources say that he went to Paris and then back to America. Some say he was an interpreter for the Indians. Some say he was working on the Mason Dixon line when he accidentally met his stepmother. Who know what is true. Descendants and historians have written books about him and they all seem to differ.

At any rate, William did find his father who had moved from Virginia about 1759 to the Cheat River area near what is now Morgantown, West Virginia. Frederick had remarried and had 5 more children. Frederick had settled in a location which became known as Ice's Ferry. He was a millwright and cut the heavy millstones from the sandstone of that region to be used by his sons in Ice settlement in Marion County, West Virginia. In 1784, George Washington was studying a possible water route from the Potomac to the Monongahela. His diary relates that on Sept. 25, 1784 he was at Ice's Ferry and asked Frederick Ice if a canal could be built. Frederick told him that it could not be done. There is a plaque on the side of the hill which states this as well as an old mill stone which Frederick had cut. Ice's Ferry is also mentioned in "The Frontiersman" by Allan Eckert. As a note of interest, Frederick Ice is buried under what is now Cheat Lake. This used to be the Cheat River and was dammed up to become the lake. I remember sitting in a window of the lodge at Cheat Lake looking out at the lake and thinking about how Frederick was under all that water somewhere. Poor guy!

So, what is true and what is made up about Indian Billy and his family, I doubt we will ever know for sure. Billy did have 4 wives and 16 children. His first wife was an Indian woman and he had a daughter, Mary, by her. His second wife was my g.g.g.g. grandmother, Margaret Higgingbotham. She was born about 1749 and was the daughter of Ralph Higgingbotham and Mary (Henthorn?). Billy and Margaret had 10 children.
#1 Susannah Ice b. about 1768 married Henry Gase or Yost.
#2 Sarah/Sally Ice b. about 1769 married John or Henry Watson
#3 Margaret Ice b. 06 Jun 1770 married Aden/Hayden Bayles
#4 John Ice b. 1775 married Nancy (Fortney).
#5 Thomas Ice b. about 1777 married Drusilla White
#6 Abraham Ice b. 1781 married Mary "Polly" Lewman
#7 Eve Ice b. 1782 married Benjamin Shrieves
#8 George Ice b. about 1785 married Eve ?
#9 William Ice Jr. b. about 1785 married Rebecca Bogard. (my g.g.g.grandparents)
#10 Isaac Ice b. 1788 married Mary Fortney.

Indian Billy married #3 Mary Scott McMullen and had 1 son, Aden or Hayden Bayles Ice born 18 Jul 1803. He married Elizabeth Shaefer.

Indian Billy married #4 Elizabeth Shrieves and had 4 children.
#1 James S. born about 1805 married Barbara Burton
#2 Frederick William born 17 Mar 1807 married Mary "Polly" Martin
#3 Benjamin Shreve born 07 Oct 1809 married Sidney Evans
#4 Sarah "Sally" born 1812 married Abner Brown

Indian Billy died at the age of 96 at his home on Ice's Run, Buffalo Creek, Barrackville, Monongalia County, Virginia (present day Marion County, West Virginia.) At the time of his death he was almost totally deaf and blind. He is buried in the Ice Cemetery, Barrackville, West Virginia. I visited the cemetery and took pictures of the grave marker which has William Indian Billy Ice on it. Unfortunately, I don't know where the pictures are now. Guess that's an excuse to go back and visit.

The following is the controversial last will and testament of William Galloway Ice. This will was contested in 1829, the judgement of the court follows:
In the name of God, Amen. I, William Ice of Buffalo Creek, Monongalia County and the State of Virginia, being very sick and weak in body of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God. Calling into mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say, principally and first of all to give and recommend my soul to Almighty God who gave it, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of my wife. Nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give, demise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form. First: I give and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth Ice all my household goods and debts. I give and bequeath to my loving wife Elizabeth Ice all my land as long as she lives and keeps my name, and if she alters my name then only her thirds. I give and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth Ice all my horses, cattle, sheep and hogs and farming utensils. I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Ice fifteen shillings. I give and bequeath to my son John Ice fifteen shillings. I give and bequeath to my son William Ice ten dollars. I give and bequeath to my son George Ice fifteen dollars. I give and bequeath to my son Abraham Ice fifteen dollars. I give and bequeath to my son Adam Ice fifteen dollars. I give and bequeath to my daughter Margaret Bayles fifteen shillings and I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Shrieves fifteen shillings, and to my daughter Eve Shrieves fifteen dollars, none of these heirs to be paid till Benjamin Ice my youngest son comes of age. I give and bequeath unto James Ice and Frederick Ice and Benjamin Ice all my land to be equally divided quantity and quality James to first choice, Frederick second choice, and Benjamin the last choice, and these three boys to pay my daughter Sally Ice one hundred dollars a piece. I continue make and ordain my loving wife Elizabeth Ice my sole executrix of this my last will and testament by them freely enjoyed. And I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke, and disannul all and every other former testaments in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fourth of July 1818.
William Ice (his mark)
Charles Conaway
Elizabeth Conaway
Alexander Cossett
The will was contested by the children of William's second and third marriages against the children of the fourth marriage. The allegations being that William was too old and feeble of mind to properly decide his bequeaths. Many of William's acquaintances testified on behalf of the defense as to hiss ability to make sound judgements. However, in the final outcome the prosecution prevailed. On September 17, 1829 and filed on October 05, 1829 the Superior Court of Chancery held at Clarksburg, Virginia, Judge Henry St. George Tucker presiding, decreed the following settlements:
56 acres to Elizabeth Ice
10 3/4 acres to Sarah Ice junior
10 1/2 acres to John Ice
10 acres to Aden B. Ice
10 3/4 acres to Thomas Ice
12 acres to Abraham Ice
Deed. #7 to Frederick Ice
11 acres to Eve Ice/Scrieves
14 acres to the children of George Ice; Mary Ice/Martin, Margaret Ice/Dunn, Uriah Ice, Milley Ice, Surrenia Ice, Elizabeth Ice, John Ice, Sarah Ann Ice, George Ice.
11 acres to Isaac Ice
9 1/4 acres to Benjamin Ice
9 1/4 acres to Margaret Ice/Bails
9 1/4 acres to to heirs of Sarah Ice/Watson; George Watson, Mary Freeland, Sarah Youst, Susannah Owens, William Watson (to his heirs; John Watson, James Watson, Elizabeth Watson)
12 1/2 acres to William Ice
20 acres to Mary Ice/Scrieves
24 acres to James Ice
Signed: William Haymond, CM, September 17, 1829

I have a copy of the will and court proceedings. Really interesting reading. The children of the 2nd and 3rd marriages contended that his last wife took advantage of his illness, his age, his deafness and blindness and made him sign a revised will.

Needless to say, Indian Billy had a colorful life which continued after his death as evidenced by the court action taken against his will. His father also was the proginator of many, many descendants. If your name is Ice or you have Ice ancestors, chances are you are descended from Frederick.

While googling Frederick Ice I found this blog. It is written by Rhoderick Ice, a descendant of Indian Billy's through his son, William, who happens to be my ancestor. He has written some history of Frederick as well as chapters from a book he has written about Frederick. Interesting reading if you have some time.

I love the Ice family. They have made for a lot of research, family stories, and hours of thinking about what is true and not true. But in the end, it has been fun--and to me that's what genealogy is all about.