Although John McColloch, Sr., had died in 1778, his son Samuel had to wait until May 14, 1780 to inherit his father's estate. As eldest son, he received everything. This evidence comes from a court martial which occurred in Hampshire County.
Next, Samuel McColloch and Frederick Prentling were cited in a civil suit, a peace bond, on September 5, 1780, with Prentling bearing the burden of keeping the peace.
Order Book 1, p. 97
"Frederick Prentling and Samuel McColloch came into court and acknowledged themselves indebted to the Commonwealth in the Penalt sun of one thousand pounds on Prentling and McColloch in five hundred pounds on Proviso that Prentling keep the peace to next court."
As seen above, McColloch's military record is highly obscure. We know that he participated in the Coshocton expedition, April 10-28, 1781, because his pay is listed as $350.
"Payroll on ye expedition to Coshockton commg. 10 April and ending 28th inclusive 1781 for nineteen days ... Sam'l McColloch, Maj. $350."
Officers received a horse and forage also. The Coshocton Campaign was a show of strength and retaliation for incidents with the Indians.
About February 1, 782, Samuel married Mary Mitchell, the daughter of Capt. John Mitchell, from whom Samuel had once purchased land. The actual date, and other information about the short marriage is not forthcoming. There were no children, and after Samuel's death, Mary married Col. Woods.
On April 5, 1782, McColloch attended a conference of field officers at Fort Pitt, following the Moravian massacre on March 6, in which John McColloch participated, and the replacement of Gen. Brodhead with Gen. Irvine. As Ohio County's sole representative, although it was allowed three, McColloch gave an inventory of supplies, but refused to provide troops since everyone was already in the Pennsylvania militia. This statement alludes to the fact that draftees could be sent anywhere, even across state lines.
The final event was Samuel's often recorded death on July 30, 1782. While on a scouting mission with his brother John, Samuel was killed when the two were ambushed about 2 p.m. near Girty's Point Hill. The Indians disemboweled Samuel and ate his heart, while John rode to Van Metre's Fort to seek help. The following day, Samuel's body was retrieved and buried in the fort.
We know that the Indians would not eat portions of those they despised, which again points to McColloch's esteem even among adversaries. Samuel's death may have been retribution for John's part in the Moravian massacre. Dehass interviewed an Indian who was a member of the group which killed Samuel. He is quoted as saying, "John McColloch had killed a great chief, and now we had killed a greater one of the white man."
Narcissa Doddridge's account of Samuel's death relates that Mary, his wife, was not present at Van Metre's Fort and that Samuel, seemingly having a premonition of his fate, gave his watch to his sister-in-law, John's wife, Mary Bukey McColloch. This information is based on Doddridge's interview with Mary many years later.
The seeming obscurity which dogged McColloch throughout his life carries over to his death. His traditional fame is not entirely supported by documentary evidence. The "Order Books," sources of much of our knowledge about all phases of life at that time, have only one reference to Samuel's death, in an entry fro May 5, 1783, ten months after the fact.
"Ordered that Zachariah Sprigg Gent. be recommended to his excellency the Governor as Major of the militia of this county in the room of Samuel McColloch deceased."
There are reports of officers who had been killed which were sent to the commanders of the Western Department at Fort Pitt. No report or letter yet found mentions McColloch.
From the above resume, one can see that the 32 years Samuel lived and especially the final five, were full. Recognized as an entrepreneur and soldier, he aided Ohio County repeatedly with money, military expertise and bravery. He undoubtedly is one of, if not the most famous frontiersman in Northern Panhandle history. It remains surprising that, in fact, little has survived concerning this remarkable individual.
The authors wish to point out that this record of McColloch's life is as complete as possible within the limits of time and space. Research such as this is an ongoing process, one which may never be totally completed. It is hoped that this article, and others like it, will inspire all to look with renewed interest at the people and events which shaped out lives today.
Service provided by the staff of the Ohio County Public Library in partnership with and partially funded by the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation.