Notes on the Settlement and Indian Wars of the Western Parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania from 1763 to 1783

Inclusive, Together with a Review of the State of Society and Manners of the First Settlers of the West Country. With a Memoir of the Author by Narcissa Doddridge


Author: Doddridge, Joseph
Publication Date: 1912
Reprint Date: 2005
Pages: 320 pp.
ISBN: 9780806347677


In this volume the Protestant Episcopal missionary Joseph Doddridge renders a first-hand account of pioneer life in western Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and the Ohio territory around the turn of the nineteenth century. Doddridge’s father, John Doddridge, was the first settler in Independence Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania. With the exception of a few years of schooling in Maryland, Joseph Doddridge spent most of his life in and along the frontier, recording his own experiences and the accounts of his family and contemporaries. Doddridge’s Notes, originally published in 1824, contain one of the most balanced versions of life in the “Old Northwest” from the end of the eighteenth to the first part of the nineteenth century that we possess. The first third of the volume captures everyday life on the frontier in essays on the state of the wilderness, weather, beasts and birds, style of dress, furniture and diet, weddings and house warmings, etc. Next comes Doddridge’s accounts of warfare along the frontier, beginning with an analysis of the Indian Mode of Warfare and the role played by Native Americans in western Pennsylvania and Ohio during the War of 1763 and Lord Dunmore’s War and continuing with the various Indian campaigns during the Revolutionary War, including the author’s account of an attack on his father’s own fort. The final third of the book consists of an appendix to Doddridge’s Notes compiled by his daughter Narcissa. It is here that we learn of the genealogy of the Doddridges themselves, and of the origins of the various churches founded by Reverend Doddridge in northwestern Virginia and Ohio. Still other segments of the Appendix focus on such pioneering families of the Ohio country as the Teters, Manchesters, Logans, and Girties, as well as on the establishment of the frontier forts of Washington County, Pennsylvania. Genealogists will find the name index at the back of the volume a convenient tool for tracing the ancestry of the subjects discussed herein.

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