They removed the arrow from James’ hip. But he continued to suffer from the wound. Some years later a visiting doctor examined the healed wound. He removed part of the metal that had still been lodged in the hip. After that James was fully recovered.
But the most notable event in Peggy Chenoweth's life, is remembered as the Chenoweth massacre. On July 17, 1789 Shawnee Indians advanced on the Chenoweth's land. The state historical marker lists 5 dead. Of all those present Levi, Margaret and Polly were listed as killed. Various accounts differ on the fate of all of the family members. One of the guards named Bayless was killed. Six year old Naomi was asleep in her bed and overlooked by the Indians.
Peggy Chenoweth ran for the spring house. She was shot in the back with an arrow. The Indian approached the fallen woman and pulled the arrow from her back. Peggy Chenoweth remained silent and lifeless. Perceiving her to be dead, the Indian then took a dull knife blade to remove the woman's scalp. He cut around her hairline, then placed a foot upon her back and grabbing her hair proceeded to tear off the entire scalp. The blood loss was extensive but through it all Peggy Chenoweth remained silent. She did not cry out. No screaming. Letting the Indian think she was dead was her salvation. She was eventually found in the spring house. One account says she used the cold spring water to slow the bleeding. The scalp wound, the arrow shot and two tomahawk blows were her injuries, any one of which could have brought about her death.
My admiration for this pioneer woman has to do not so much with the attack she lived through but the life she lived to the fullest. As Kentucky became more settled and Indian attacks lessened many could put those days behind them. Peggy Chenoweth wore a "skull cap" until the day she died. It had to be a constant reminder of the attack. She was a small woman, described as "no taller than a girl of 12 or 14." And yet she looms as a large figure in terms of Kentucky history. In a time when the stories of women were scarcely remembered her story is commemorated.
Although her eldest son, Thomas, was found alive after many years what heartache did this woman suffer. First the not knowing what happened to him, then the thought that he might be dead. Later the realization that he was alive and finally the confrontation of the life that had changed him. He had grown to manhood in another culture. Three children killed by Indians. How did a mother not become bitter and hate the land she had moved to.
The Chenoweth's did not live an easy life. The decision of Richard Chenoweth to head the building of Fort Nelson had lifelong repercussions. Like George Rogers Clark he used his personal money and good name for the endeavor. Clark's later monetary trials were well documented. Virginia lost the records of all the transactions of his military campaign and it left him permanently in debt. From the law suits and records left behind, Richard Chenoweth suffered a similar fate and never regained his money. His heirs continued well into the 1840's trying to regain any part of the losses he had suffered.
Paggy Chenoweth bore two more children - Tabitha and Ann. The date of her husband's death varies in different accounts but is generally considered to be 1803. Peggy then moved with her remaining children to a place called Big Spring near Shelby County where she died in 1839. Her age was believed to be about 88 at her death