December 1, 2023

The Indian Attack of 1766

Since today's CDP theme is "Local history," I drove over to Narrow Passage Creek to expand upon the story that is told on this sign.

A series of conflicts between settlers and Native Americans, including the French and Indian War, the Cherokee War, and Pontiac’s War, occurred along the western frontier of the colonies. The last documented clash in the Shenandoah Valley took place nearby in 1766. A small band of Indians attacked the Sheetz and Taylor families as they fled for safety to the fort of Woodstock. Mathias Sheetz and Taylor were both killed, but their wives used axes to fight off the Indians and escape with the children. 
This historical marker stands beside US 11, the Valley Pike, which followed a major Indian trail. In the early 1700’s, "Colonial governors wanted a buffer between the French and their Indian allies in the Ohio River Valley, and the primarily English settlers in eastern Virginia." [Source: NPS] German and Scotch-Irish Immigrants were encouraged to settle in the Shenandoah Valley to farm and build communities in this buffer zone. 

The attack described on the sign occurred after the French and Indian war ended. The French had left the Ohio Valley, but the native peoples were not ready to give up their ancestral territory.

The Sheetz family had settled here next to Narrow Passage Creek where it joins the Shenandoah River. Mathias Sheetz and his wife were both born in Germany and came to Pennsylvania as children. They met and married in Philadelphia, and eventually settled here in Virginia. Mathias built a mill on Narrow Passage Creek. After he was killed, his wife ran the mill. You can read more of the dramatic story on the FindaGrave website. (There’s an interesting old article in the illustrations.)

Reflection, Black and White 

This afternoon I drove down to the boat landing where the creek joins the river. The rain had just stopped so the light was not very bright. But I wanted to show you Narrow Passage Creek. The mill is long gone now, although it operated until the 1920s.

The creek (left) joins the North Fork of the Shenandoah 

I actually posted a picture  of this historical marker before, but it was in 2009. And that post, I chose to give a little background of the marker and how it happened to get changed.

Note about CDP: City Daily Photo is a group for photo bloggers. Participation has been declining, so if you post photos daily, or several times a week, please consider joining. I have really enjoyed seeing the excellent photos there. Theme Day is just once a month, so you are free to post on a variety of topics.


  1. What a great piece of local history

  2. It seems almost quaint that the women used axes as weapons. Now we have guide missiles to take out entire cities without disturbing our afternoon tea.

  3. ...I find historia markers intriguing.

  4. What an interesting piece of history. We had some tough women back in those days, didn't we? You have a good one. Latane

  5. Fascinating history - and a very attractive reflection!

  6. I love little tidbits of history like this.
    It seems the French history of the US has been long obscured. Even Oklahoma has quite a bit of French history.

  7. Fascinating to read and lovely photos.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. Very interesting!

  9. Beautiful shots! I miss seeing those history signs.


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