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.


Shama-Lama Mama said...

That blog you found about Frederick Ice looks pretty cool. Have you written to him?

Audrey said...

Grandpa (Rhoderick Ice) just showed me this blog. Wow, didn't know how much family we had out there...there must be a lot more than we even know of if he had that many kids...

Barbara said...

Very interesting account of Indian Billy! I just read about the ICE family in the book "The William Fleming Family" by Franklin Marion Brand. This book has an account of the will of Billy and the fuss about it.

I am a BAYLES descendant but not of the Ice's Ferry family.

Mr. Dickie said...

Good stuff. Thanks for posting it.

sheilabythebeach said...

We share gr. grandfathers! William Galloway Ice is my 4th gr. grandfather!
Thru son Isaac who married Mary Fortney...then thru their daughter Emmaline that married Elza Van Camp. Hello distant cousin!

Anonymous said...

Indian Billy Ice is one of my great grandfathers that means I am some how related to alot of you

Jenna said...

i was just curious... where did you find the drawing of indian billy? im married to an ice and i swear he looks just like that ,exactly like that without the piercings and feathers of course. but its actually a little creepy

Snowbird said...

Jenna, I actually found it on Someone else had posted it. I'm not sure if this was actually Indian Billy or not. Sorry.


Tish said...

My husband's family seem to be direct descendants of Frederick Ice and Indian Billy. From I've found so far: My husband's father is William Raymond Ice whose mother was Fannie. Her father is Elmore Ice whose father is Issac. Issac's father is one of Indian Billy's children. If you happen to have an pertinent information I would be pleased to hear from you and can be contacted at Yahoo. My e-mail address is I'm looking forward to any information you may have. My father-in-law (William Raymond Ice) passed away in 2005 without ever knowing anything of the Ice ancestry.
Thank you in advance.

Ice1272 said...

The painting of Indian Billy is the same that I got from a lady who had it done. She advised me that the painting was created from a verbal description of Indian Billy as no actaul painting or photographs are known. i am not in a position to identify her because I dont have my records in my hands as I wright this. My grandmother had a very old glass plate picture of what was suppose to be Indian Billy in a uniform of some sort. I was very young at the time and did not realize its importance however she has died and the picture is either gone or hidden away but now estranged family memebers.

Roc said...

William Galloway Ice, Sr. was my 5 Ggrandfather.
Rocky Rhoads

Devon said...

Thanks for posting! I created a group on Facebook for all of us Indian Billy descendants to share info, so I hope to see you there. It's called "Descendants of William Galloway Indian Billy Ice."

Stephanie said...

My Garndmother's maiden name is Shreeves and is from Tyler County, WV. She found Indian Billy's story on and we are descendents of his, how cool! I am going to send her this blog to learn more. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am related also I have been trying to find the book about Indian Billy for some time. I posted his picture on ancestry My mother used to tell me stories about him before she died, she would name most of the relatives. She often talked about Aunt sarah Ice I would like to know how we are related to the Indians? What % of bloodline. Yes the one sister is the cheifs daughter, most of the stuff is true that you have found I remember mymom telling meI would really like to get a copy of all the info you have. Yes he really did have all those children. My email is My name is Jan Stewart

Rick Snider said...

The entire Ice Family was captured by Indians actually, including Frederick Ice.

The British Army helped free Frederick Ice from captivity by buying his release in the Spring of 1762 from the Indians under Mohickan John in NW Ohio.

The rest of the Ice family was released in the Spring of 1765 when Col. Henry Bouquet marched a large army into the Ohio Territory and demanded the freeing of all captives or else face war.

Those listed among the captives freed are Catherine & Christian & Elizabeth & Eve & John & Lewis & Thomas & William Ice.

Anonymous said...

Fredrick Ice has been recognized as a Revolutionary War Patriot by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution. Williams service is believed to be before the revolution and he may have been at Braddock's defeat.

BeOne said...

I hope you still check this. I am also an Ice/Bogard descendant. Thanks for all your good info. By happenstance, we bought a farm in Hampshire County, WV, and moved here in 2007. I had no idea how close we were to my granddad's history as he died in 1926 and we really didn't know anything about him. I have since done lots of research, met Ice cousins in Fairmont and have visited Indian Billy's grave. I sure wish I could find my other close Ice ties. (William Galloway Ice Jr. to Jesse Ice to Rosalee Ice Martin to my grandfather Clarence Leslie Martin.) Thanks for all!

Anonymous said...

I am related to Indian Billy through the Shreve family Evaline (Eva) Ice married Benjamin Shreve who fathered Jonathan Radcliff Shreve father to William Jackson Shreve who fathered Essie Dora Shreve the mother of Mary Sterling Livemont father Henry Calvin Sterling. Mary Sterling was my paternal grandmother so I guess Indian Billy was my gggg grandfather. If you have any other sights I would be very interested.

Heather B! said...

Hi I have been researching my Bayles family history and I came across this blog! I am excited and confused at the same time. it is hard to find the same info on every website. I was looking for the parents of Jesse Bayles who is my 7th generation grandfatther. Some research shows his one daughter (my 6th gen aunt?) married Andrew Ice and may have been captured and mothered Tucumseh??

Gianna said...

My ggggg (not entirely sure how many greats there are...) great grandfather (on my father's side) was William Ice! My grandmother is actually Carol Ice (maiden name), now Carol May. Thanks for posting this!

Ron Ice said...

Ronald Ice ... thanks so much for posting this. I've heard parts of this account of Frederick Ice and subsequently Indian Billy but with little or no documentation. I don't suppose we will ever know for sure but your logic and reasoning make perfect sense. I will make an effort to visit the different places you mention.
Feb. 4th 2014

Anonymous said...

Cwe are another ice family. Ra lph Kenneth Ice was my late husbands Grandfather and was a doctor in Ladue St.Louis. And was born in Virginia. We have a lot of researched papers that Grandpa Ice had done before he passed in 1992.Indian Billy is in these papers. My children are most certainly of his decendents.

Tiffany Rowand Keene said...

William Ice is (I believe) if i am counting correctly my gr gr gr gr gr grandfather through Rosannah Ice who married Daniel Rowand. My grandfather is Paul C. Rowand. It was so interesting to finally read SOMETHING about my ancestors. The only other one I can find any real info on is my cousin Aaron Rowand and it's only because he is an MLB player.

Anandakos said...

If the picture you describe as a "glass plate picture" was a photograph, it cannot have been of Indian Billy. He died in the 1820's. The Daguerrotype process wasn't invented until about 1840.
If it was a painting on glass, of course it could have been him.

looloolooweez said...

Thank you for sharing this info online! I'm descended from Andrew, one of William's younger 1/2 brothers.

L0s3rLUv said...

Holy... we all share the same ancestor ! That's crazy !

Charlotte Booth said...

Thank you for this my line comes from the 2nd marriage of Indian Billy to Margaret Higginbotham, their son Abraham (Lame Abe) Ice is my GGG Grandfather and William (Indian Billy) Galloway Ice is my GGGG grandfather.

My GG Grandfather was James R. Ice my Great Grandfather was William Ice and my grandmother was Mary Rebecca Ice who married James Mobley

Elisa Spencer said...

I guess I'm from his Shrieve side the 4th wife alot ancestry's my last name is Gump who married my grandmother Francis shrievs awesome