The Keener Family
The Tenmile Country by Howard Leckey
|When Betty Spicer was released from captivity amoung the Indians, she
related the events of June 5,1774, the day on which her parents and
five brothers and sisters were killed by the Indians, and she and her
brother, William Spicer were carried off into captivity. She told how
the Indian Chief Logan with another Indian called The Snake left the
scene of the massacre and went directly west, where they met and
killed a man named Keener. Various family traditions have identified
this man as the father of Sebastion Keener or David Keener, but it is
now definitely evident that both these traditions are incorrect. Both
these men were living at a period of ten or more years after
Ulrich Keener(this name is spelled Ulris, Whoolery, Very, Ulery and Kiener, Kyner, Kyhner, Canor, and other ways in official records)was a native of the Palatinate, who came to America on the ship"Goodwill", David Crocket master, which had set sail from Rotterdam and after a brief stop at Palmouth, had arrived at Philadelphia, where on Sept. 27,1727,he was one of the passengers who took the Oath Of Allegiance to the British. In due time he arrived in the Shenandoah Valley where on Feb.19,1746 or 1747 his petition to "Build a water grist mill on ye Narrow Passage Creek near his house" was rejected. Vol.1 Augusta Co. Va. Original Petition and Papers in Court 1745-1748.
Sometime after 1773 he left his home in Shenandoah and became the owner of a track of land in German Township, Fayette Co. Pa. near the headwaters of Browns Run, where his neighbors were the Gillands, Balsingers, and the Overturfs.It is certain that some of his sons were with him, probably John, Samuel, and Sebastian Keener. Then in October 1782, on the 22nd or 23rd, Ulrich,described as being from Monongahela Co. Va. sold land on the North Branch of the Shenandoah River by the Great Wagon Road to Palser Hoover, he of the country aforesaid. The track contained 300 acres and in addition to the cash involved, required the yearly payment of one "pepper corn", the usual quit claim lease and release deed. This deed was witnessed by three of his sons who signed their names Ulrich Caner, David Caner, and Boston Caner.(Shenandoah County .D.B.D. pp 34-35) No wife joined the deed so it is safe to assume his wife was dead. On April 9th 1784 Keener made his will in what is now Fayette Co. Pa. The will was in German script and has been poorly translated. It was witnessed by John Overturf, Valentine Overturf, and John Gilleland, and was probated September 13, 1784. This item disposes of any possibility that he was the man killed on Whitey Creek.(Fayette Co. Will book 1 pp.11-12) Nancy(Johnson)Dennison descendant, in an interview of1861 stated that her mothers name was an Anrhard or Ehrehard and this the only record of the wife of Ulrich Keener, but nothing confirms this nor is any wife named in the will. In the mention of his children, Ulrich Keener named a grand-daughter, daughter of his son John Keener, deceased, which is the clue in the identity of the man killed by the Indians.
Statement of Elizabeth Keener Dobbins
I Elizabeth Dobbins now make the following statement under oath. I am the widow of John Dobbins who was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, of the Pennsylvania Lines and that he enlisted in a company commanded I think by James Taylor of the 4th reget----line commanded by Col. Wayne. That my deceased husband was in several battles and received different wounds and received a pension of 96 dollars a year from about 1820 or 21 to the day of his death which took place the 11th day of April 1823. My said husband lost his original certificate and obtained from the Department of War a duplicate there of about the year 1830-31 and I farther say that I am about ninety years of age, cannot say precisely, there being no record of my birth now to be found. That I was born near the Shenandoah River about one mile from Millers Stone Road called Woodstock in Va. I am informed and there lived to about ten years of age when my father who's name was Samuel Keener removed with his family to the state of Pennsylvania on what is called Whitey Creek and about fifteen miles from Morgantown in Va. and once there resided with most of the time with my parents to the time of my marriage which took place in the state of Penn. and aforesaid but the name the place or County or Township I do not remember, at near thirty years of age and in the immediately vicinity where my parents lived, to John Dobbins aforesaid by one John Minor Esq. I farther state that after my marriage I lived near where I was married. Once from there I was removed to Patterson Creek in Hamptonier, Va. where my Sam Dobbins was born. "the statement goes on to her moves." That I was legally and lawfully married and before the day of June 4,1794 and ever since the death of my husband John Dobbins aforesaid I have remained a widow. Gilmer Co. Va. August 14,1845
West Virginians In The American Revolution
By Ross Johnson
Dobbins, John Service-Pennsylvania Va.No.16401 No. W 3784
On June 6,1819, before the Greenbrier County Court, John Dobbins, aged 72,declared that he enlisted in 1776 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the company of Captain James Taylor, Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment. He served his term of one year and reenlisted at Charlestown, Pennsylvania in 1777 in the same company, but this time was with the Fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, commanded by Colonel Francis Johnson. He continued in service until 1783 with the wagon trains and was not in any battles. The soldier received pension in 1820 for six years service. He died April 11,1833. Sometime before 1794 the soldier married Elizabeth Keener, daughter of Samuel Keener. She was born about 1755 in Millersville, now Woodstock, Virginia, and moved with her parents to Whitey Creek, Green County, Pa. 15 miles north of Morgantown when she was ten years old but they may have lived for a time in Lancaster Co. before going so far west. John and Elizabeth Dobbins had one son, Samuel, born on Patterson Creek, Hampshire, Co.,(W)Va. about 1786. The widow applied for pension which was granted in 1846. Her claim was supported by her brothers John, who lived in Braxton Co., Va. and George, who lived in Taylor Co.Va.in 1845. They both stated that they had been born on Whitey Creek, Pa. and that they attended the wedding of their older sister, Elizabeth.
Deposition of George Keener:
Taylor County, Va. August 25,1845
George Keener states that he is Seventy Two years of age. That he was born in the state of Pennsylvania and removed to the State of Virginia some Fifty years ago and his residence in Va. And since stated that a sister of his married John Dobbins, who was a soldier of the Revolution. That his sister's name was Elizabeth Keener, that said Elizabeth was much older then himself, that she was the oldest of the family. Since then informant would farther say that he cannot remind the precise year that his sister aforesaid married with John Dobbins, but that it must have been about 60 years since and this informant would farther say that he well remembers the wedding and the time that the marriage aforsaid took place, that said Dobbins was a stranger and not long from the army and that this informants parents at first objected to the marriage of sister Elizabeth to said John Dobbins. That after the marriage aforesaid, this informant after lived with John Dobbins and at the time lived with them three years, that when John Dobbins and family moved to Harrison County, Va. on the Little Kanawaha, that informant went with them.
Deposition of John Keener:
Braxton County, Va. August 9, 1845
John Keener on his oath states that he is now Seventy Eight years of age. That he was born in the State of Pennsylvania and near a creek called Whitey Creek but that the name of the County does not remember that it was some miles from Morgantown, that he has since lived at several places but for the last thirty years has resided in what is now the limits of the County of Braxton aforsaid but was formerly Nicholas and Lewis, And this informant farther states that Elizabeth Dobbins who was Elizabeth Keener is a sister of his. That he well remembers the times and was present at their marriage of said Elizabeth with John Dobbins, who was a soldier in the War of the Revolution and a pensioner for many years and died some twelve years since. That the said marriage took place near Whitey Creek aforesaid. That the marriage aforesaid took place shortly after the Revolutionary War, and about sixty years since of Samuel Dobbins the only child of said Elizabeth is now near Sixty years old, since this informant was at the time of said marriage about Sixteen years old. This informant farther states that since John and Elizabeth Dobbins lived together as man and wife until the death of said John. He states that his father lived in Shenandoah County in the state of Virginia at the time that his said sister Elizabeth was born who was oldest of the family and between him and Elizabeth there were several children and that said Elizabeth was about twelve years older then himself.(He states other things about the moving of Elizabeth and the death of John.)
Back to Main Trunk