Mary Catherine Cornstalk

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Mary Catherine Cornstalk (See)

Birthdate: (79)
Birthplace: South Branch, Augusta, Virginia
Death: April 23, 1827 (79)
Ohio, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Frederick "Michael" See and Catherine Vanderpool
Wife of Elinipsico Cornstalk
Mother of Margaret "Peggy" See and (unknown if any) Cornstalk
Sister of Margaret Roach; Sarah Lois See; Michael See; Elizabeth Shoemaker; George See and 1 other
Half sister of John Sharpe, Jr.; William Sharpe and Mary "Polly" Petro

Managed by: Marjorie Joan Green
Last Updated:

About Mary Catherine Cornstalk

Catherine See, born February 26, 1754 (sic: 1748) in South Branch, Augusta Co., Virginia; died April 23, 1827 in Hardy Co., Virginia.

From Cornstalk’s Raid (31)

These [the list of captives returned 1764] most certainly are names of Virginia captives. There is Mrs. Gilmore and two children; Margaret Yokeham, the wife of either Felty or Valentine; Peggy Reyneck (Renick); the two See boys and Mary See, which could be Mary Catherine See, the mother or younger sister. The list reveals the physical condition of children; the fact that some either didn’t know their own names or the clerk was lax in recording it. When the day came for the captivated’s departure, scenes of grief and anguish prevailed for many Indians refused to give up their beloved adopted children and many half-savage children clung frantically to their foster parents. Despite orders from Colonel Bouquet many of the Indians followed the returning army at a distance. Only a night or two after leaving the Muskingum, little John See stole away from the encampment and rejoined the Indians. Tradition tells that his Uncle Michael See gave a trader one hundred dollars to get him back. John See returned to Hampshire to live with his uncle’s family. He told Nancy Greenlee See when he visited at Point Pleasant in Mason County, Virginia on his way from Kanawha Falls to Indiana about 1825 that when he was a lad returned from the Indians his Aunt Barbara used to tell some of the family to watch and follow him on his excursions into the forest for fear he would return to the Indians.

We can well imagine the rigors of this winter journey through the forest to the fort at the forks of the Ohio. Later the captives were taken by their military escort to Carlisle, Penn. where their relatives had been awaiting to be reunited with the long lost, the supposed dead. That scene defies description. There was joy, sorrow, tragedy, and disappointment; many were unclaimed and utterly homeless.

Catherine See had her burden of grief for her daughter, Elizabeth (Catherine) did not return with the captives; legend recites that she was the mother of an Indian babe and either remained with the Shawnees by choice or restraint. Her story is unknown. Only one fact is recorded. It is found in the diary of Van Meter, who with George Harness, whose wife was a See, and a Stump made a trip from Moorefield, Virginia to Chillicothe, Ohio and met a Mrs. Johnson who was related to them all. She was a daughter of Frederick See, who had been killed by Indians. (From Ohio Archaeological Records).

The Virginia captives were doubtlessly placed in the custody of Captain Morgan of the Virginia Rangers. One source says they were taken to Staunton where they were restored to their relatives.

The See family returned to Hampshire County to live with their kindred. Catherine See married John Hardy, pioneer of Hardy County. Later they all returned to the Greenbrier, where John Hardy’s name appears on the county tax list in 1783-1786. There is no record of the daughter, Lois, but tradition relates that she married ______ Van Bibber, as yet this fact is unconfirmed. There is little, too, regarding the youngest Catherine (Elizabeth). But a tattered copy of Reverend John Anderson’s marriage records from 1776 to about 1785 gives Peter Tho- or Sho- to Elizabeth Lee (See) in January 1776.

"In accordance with Indian custom a general council decided the division of the spoils and the fate of prisoners taken by the tribe. The older daughter, Catherine (sic) was given to the son of Chief Cornstalk for his wife. This girl could hardly have been more than fourteen."


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Mary Catherine Cornstalk's Timeline

Augusta, Virginia
Age 16
April 23, 1827
Age 79
Ohio, United States