Written by Alexander Scott Withers of Clarksburg and published in 1831 by Joseph Israel, a Clarksburg printer, Chronicles of Border Warfare is a West Virginia classic. The book is a significant representative of the early 19th-century historical genre that featured 18th-century Indian wars and border heroes of the trans-Appalachian region. Like similar works of the time, it rested heavily upon recollections of participants and upon oral traditions rather than contemporary documents. Such works were very popular. Historian Lyman C. Draper declared that copies of the original edition of Chronicles were read by firesides until they were worn out and scarcely legible.
Chronicles received its impetus from the writings of Hugh Paul Taylor, a Covington, Virginia, antiquarian, who gathered stories of settlement and Indian warfare from pioneers still living, with the intention of publishing them in a local newspaper under the signature ‘‘Son of Cornstalk.’’ Withers drew upon Taylor and also upon materials amassed by Judge Edwin S. Duncan of Peeltree, in present Barbour County. Withers also used materials and stories provided by Noah Zane of Wheeling, John Hacker of the Hackers Creek settlements, and others. Useful and colorful though it is, Chronicles, like similar works, suffers somewhat from the fallibility of human perceptions and recollections. Fortunately, the Reuben Gold Thwaites edition of 1895, with notes by Thwaites and Lyman C. Draper, provides corrections to some errors of fact or interpretation and a broader milieu for local events treated by Withers.
This Article was written by Otis K. Rice
Cook, Roy Bird. Alexander Scott Withers, Author of Chronicles of Border Warfare. 1921.
Hesseltine, William B. Pioneer's Mission: The Story of Lyman Copeland Draper. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1954.
Turk, David S. Hugh Paul Taylor, Historian and Mapmaker. West Virginia History, 1997.
Cite This Article
Rice, Otis K. "Chronicles of Border Warfare." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 08 March 2012. Web. 26 February 2017.