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Children Kidnapped in Virginia Frontier

Near Site of Old McGriff Homestead

View of Sinking Creek, Giles County Virginia

This story is well documented as it appears in "History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia, 1748-1920" by Wm. C. Pendleton and "History of Middle New River" published in 1906 by David E. Johnston. The John McGriff refered to was my grgrgrgrgrandfather and his son Thomas McGriff my grgrgrgreat uncle.

In 1774, bands of Virginia militia were being formed to march to Ohio to join Colonel Andrew Lewis and would ultimately participate in the Battle of Point Pleasant. While these companies were being enlisted and assembled, a small band of Shawnee Indians came up the Tug River, crossed over to and down Wolf Creek to New River in what is now Giles County, Virginia. They proceeded up the stream to the homes of John Lybrook and John McGriff on the East side of New River. just below the mouth of Sinking Creek.

On Sunday, August 7, 1774 they made an attack upon a group of children who were playing on the bank of the river. Three of Lybrook's children, one a nursing infant, a young women by the name of Scott, and two little girls of a visiting neighbor, a Mrs Snidow, were killed. John Lybrook was at the small mill he had built near his home and was wounded in the arm. John McGriff shot and mortally wounded one of the Indians.

Several years later the remains of the Indian were found under rocks at the base of a cliff near the scene of the tragedy. Three small boys, Theophilus and Jacob Snidow and Thomas McGriff, were made captives and taken away by the Indians. On the following Wednesday night, while camping on Pipestem Knob on Blue Lake in present Summers County, West Virginia, two of the boys, Jacob Snidow and Thomas McGriff, made a daring and successful escape by hiding in a hollow tree until the Indians got tired of looking for them and left with their remaining prisoner, Theophilus Snidow.

As the poor boys were working their way back home they were met by a band of militia sent to try to rescue them. The two boys were safely returned home to their families. Many years later, Theophilus Snidow would be returned home in a prisoner exchange but would die shortly thereafter suffering greatly as a slave of the Indians. Jacob Snidow would remain in the Giles County area and has many descendants still living there today. Thomas McGriff went on to enlist in the Revolutionary War in the South Carolina Militia at 16 years old. He survived the war and eventually moved to Preble County, Ohio where he and his 11 children have many descendants today. Compiled by Jack McGriff, Cincinnatti, Ohio