Killbuck is the English name of a prominent war chief, medicine man, and village councilman of the Delaware tribe. His Indian name may have been Bemineo. Killbuck achieved enduring fame by leading bloody raids against frontier settlements in present eastern West Virginia during the French and Indian War.
Killbuck apparently lived for short periods among the settlers in the South Branch Valley before the commencement of hostilities in 1755. He is credited with leading 60 to 70 warriors who surrounded and killed seven of the 16 to 18 militiamen at the Battle of the Trough in late April 1756. The militiamen had been attempting to surprise Killbuck’s band, which was camped at a spring at the head of the Trough, on the South Branch Potomac just northeast of Old Fields.
On April 28, 1758, Killbuck appeared at Fort Seybert with 40 to 50 Delaware and Shawnee warriors and intimidated the fort’s garrison into surrendering. After the capitulation of the fort, 17 adults were executed, and 24 women and children were forced to return with the Indians to their villages in the Ohio country. The day before, Fort Upper Tract nine miles to the west had been captured and destroyed by Indians possibly aided by French soldiers. All of the fort’s 23 occupants were killed. Killbuck either directed the capture of this fort or at least was instrumental in its downfall.
Kercheval in his History of the Valley of Virginia reports that Vincent Williams Jr. and Peter Casey Jr. visited and talked with Killbuck during the later Revolutionary War. The two men reported that Killbuck was blind at the time. Killbuck died at the Delaware village in present Coshocton, Ohio, in 1779. Numerous descendants of Killbuck are scattered across the United States.
This Article was written by Greg Adamson
Last Revised on December 03, 2015
Ansel, William H. Jr. Frontier Forts Along the Potomac and its Tributaries. Parsons: McClain, 1984.
Kercheval, Samuel. A History of the Valley of Virginia. Winchester: S. H. Davis, 1833, Reprint, Shenandoah Publishing, 1973.
C. A. Weslager. Turmoil in Ohio. The Delaware Indians: A History. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1972.
Cite This Article
Adamson, Greg "Killbuck." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 03 December 2015. Web. 23 March 2017.