Friday, May 22, 2020

2020 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 11: "Lucky" - Samuel McClung

John McClung and  Rebecca
Stuart: Colonial Pioneers 
Nancy Richmond
Week 11 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge featured the theme of "luck." When a family has as much Irish heritage as mine has, you'd think that we would have a bit more luck on our side. (Honestly, how did that whole bit about the Irish being lucky come about? Historically speaking, the evidence is not in favor of this saying.) However, one of our Irish ancestors turned out to be quite lucky indeed when he found himself in mortal peril, and he is the hero of our story today.

Samuel McClung was born in 1744 in Natural Bridge, Virginia to John McClung II and Rebecca Stuart McClung. John was an Irish immigrant who came to America as an indentured servant, and Rebecca was the sister of Archibald Stuart, a somewhat wayward son of a noble family from Scotland. Samuel married Rebecca Bourland, daughter of James Bourland and Sarah Dean, in 1769. They had ten children together: Jane, Joseph, Andrew, James, Sarah, John, Charles, William, Rebecca, and Samuel. (For more information about the family of John McClung, please check out the book John McClung and Rebecca Stuart: Colonial Pioneers by Nancy Richmond.)

Samuel served in the Revolutionary War; he fought at the Battle of Point Pleasant, and he also furnished supplies to the Virginia Militia. It is not certain how much combat he saw, or whether he came face-to-face with any of the Native Americans that along with the Virginia Militia were the main participants in the battle. However, long after the battle was over and Samuel was back at his little cabin in Greenbrier County, he had an encounter with some Native Americans from which he was very lucky indeed to escape.

An illustration from the issue of Ripley's
Believe it or Not!
that featured Samuel's story.
The story that was passed down to Ruth Woods Dayton, the author of Greenbrier Pioneers and Their Homes, is a thrilling tale that actually made it into an issue of the Ripley's Believe it or Not! magazine in the 1950s. The McClung family vouches for its truthfulness to this day, and honestly, I have a gut feeling that it really is true. Something like this is too scary and too bizarre to be made up.

Samuel was chopping wood in the forests near his cabin, when he was ambushed by a traveling group of Native American warriors. At this time Native American attacks had all but stopped in Greenbrier county, and in fact Samuel's encounter was afterwards known as the last of such episodes. Perhaps they felt threatened because of the axe that Samuel was using, or perhaps they felt that he was encroaching on their land. Whatever the reason, it quickly became apparent that they were not happy with him, and a chase ensued. Samuel ran for his life through the forests that he knew as well as any Native American, straight toward a small ravine with a wide, deep stream running through it. During the chase they shot at Samuel, and one bullet came so close to his head that it actually shot off his ponytail, which in those days was known as a queue. Smauel leaped across the creek, narrowly making it to the other side. The ravine was so wide and the stream so deep that the Native Americans feared to follow him, and gave up their pursuit.

Whether you want to call it luck or the intervention of divine providence, some miraculous force was certainly on Samuel's side that day. He lived many more years, and later passed away on April 6, 1806, at the then-respectable age of 62. 

~ ~ ~

My descent from Samuel McClung is as follows:

Samuel McClung 1744-1806
7th great-grandfather

Joseph "Joe Bush" McClung 1776-1850
Son of Samuel McClung

Allen McClung 1812-1897
Son of Joseph "Joe Bush" McClung

Amanda F. McClung 1845-1936
Daughter of Allen McClung

Hurndon Lindsay Shawver 1865-1912
Son of Amanda F. McClung

Nora Maggie Shawver 1904-1971
Daughter of Hurndon Lindsay Shawver

Madaline Eva Moore 1923-2017
Daughter of Nora Maggie Shawver

Phyllis Carolyn Hunt 1943-
Daughter of Madaline Eva Moore

Lora Marlene Quinn 1961-
Daughter of Phyllis Carolyn Hunt

Allison Quinn Kessinger
You are the daughter of Lora Marlene Quinn

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