Captain Bull, an Indian leader, was born in the Northeast, possibly eastern Pennsylvania, and later settled in present West Virginia. His father, the noted Delaware chief Teedyuscung, was killed during Pontiac’s Rebellion, in which Bull himself took an active role.
In response to the uprising, the British superintendent of Indian affairs, Sir William Johnson, had Bull and his party captured at their village in New York. Released in 1768 on condition they never return, they chose the Western Virginia wilderness, not only for the abundant game and nearby salt springs, but also for the absence of other tribes. Settling in present Braxton County, Captain Bull’s community lived peacefully, trading salt with the settlers.
In the following decade, however, tensions increased between the ever-advancing pioneer population and Indians of the Ohio River watershed, each side exacting retribution for past atrocities. The 1772 murder of Adam Stroud’s family provided an excuse for a party from Buckhannon, including Jesse Hughes and others, to massacre Captain Bull’s village. In fact, the Strouds had been killed by raiding Shawnees. In later years, as participants in the killing of Bull’s people reflected on their deeds, details of the incident revealed its injustice.
What happened to Captain Bull himself remains uncertain. He does not seem to have been killed in the 1772 raid on his village. Some evidence suggests that he resettled somewhere in Missouri along the Mississippi River, where he may have died a peaceful death in the 1790s. Other reports indicate that he may have stayed in the Alleghenies and participated in the border warfare between Indians and colonials during the American Revolution. McWhorter’s Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia claims Captain Bull was killed in 1781 in the Tygart Valley area, and his body identified.
This Article was written by Jaime Simmons
Last Revised on October 01, 2012
Hyer, William H. & Benton B. Boggs Jr. The Bulltown Country no. 10. Charleston: West Virginia Writers' Program, 1940.
Parkman, Francis. The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994.
Withers, Alexander Scott. Chronicles of Border Warfare. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke, 1895, Reprint, McClain, 1994.
McWhorter, Lucullus Virgil. The Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia from 1768 to 1795: Embracing the Life of Jesse Hughes. Hamilton, OH: The Republican Pub. Co., 1915, Reprint, Comstock, vols. 12-13, 1974.
Cite This Article
Simmons, Jaime "Captain Bull." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 01 October 2012. Web. 30 April 2017.