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View Tree for Captain Horatio JonesCaptain Horatio Jones (b. 7 February 1763, d. August 1836)

Horatio Jones (son of William Jones) was born 7 February 1763 in Downington, Chester County PA, and died August 1836 in Geneseo, Temple Hills cemetery.. He married (1) Sally Whitmoyer on 1784 in Schenectady Rev. Samuel Kirkland. He married (2) Elizabeth Starr on 1793 in Groveland N.Y. near Geneseo N.Y..

 Includes NotesNotes for Horatio Jones:
Horatio's Indian mother's name was Gan-no-wan-gus, born near Avon N.Y. and was blood sister to Guy-an-gueata or "Cornplanter" who was half breed son of a Dutch trader named Abel.

Mrs Sarash E Gunn of Leavenworth Kansas is great grandaughter of Horatio and Sally. Mrs Gunn supplied data.

Mrs Frederick Law Olmsted grandaughter of Horatio and Elizabeth Starr of Brookline Massachusetts.

There is also ? grandaughter mrs anna Jones Howland?


History of Livingston County n New York Smith 1678-1881

Among the distinguished patriots and adventurous pioneers who left an impress upon western N.Y., none were more noble and conspicuous than Horatio Jones. Born in Chester County Pennslyvania on the7th day of February, 1763. At an early age he removed with his family to Bedford County in the same state and being fond of field sports became adept in the use of the rifle before he was fourteen. At the age of sixteen he entered the military service of his country as a member of the Bedford Rangers, a rifle company which embraced 32 young men and the flower and chivalry of Bedford County. This company has gained renown for their valuable services in repelling the incursions of the hostile Iroquois who "hung" like the scythe of death upon the frontier settlements inscribing their deeds with tomahawk and scalping knife in characters of blood. In the early spring of 1779 the command most unfortunately drawn into an ambush by a large party of Seneca Indians and fully a third of the Rangers were killed at the first fire. About a third escaped and the balance were prisoners. Young Jones would have got away as he was a very fleet runner but one of the strings of his moccasins became loosened and wound around a straddle in the underbrush which caused him to fall and his rifle had been discharged, he had no means of defense and with several of his comrades, was taken away and securely bound by savages.

After scalping those that were killed, the band and their captives were hurried away through the wilderness and to the Indian country. They suffered great hardship in the march from fatigue and starvation but finally reached the town of Nunda, in this county. From here they were taken to Canadea and forced to run the gauntlet, a ceremony common to captives, previous to their being slain or adopted into families to supply places of those who had died or been killed in battle. The prisoners were required to run 40 or 50 rods from the starting place to the council house. The old men and squaws and boys of the tribe being armed with tomahawks, knives, hatchets, clubs and sticks were allowed to strike the captives before they reached the goal. This ordeal was for the amusement of the tribe but the warriors scorned to engage in this pastime. Jones was the first to run and safely dodge or jump over those in his way and reached the goal without a scratch. His fearlessness and activity being equal to the occasion. His companions were less fortunate and one was killed outright. According to the Indian usage his head was severed and laced upon a war post. Subsequent to this Jones was adopted into the family and given an Indian name. On two occasions he attempted to escape but with nearly 200 miles of trackless wilderness in his front, without compass or trail the effort proved impractical. He finally accepted the situation, learned the Indian language, entered heartily into their sports and soon became a favorite as he could out run and out jump their most athletic young men. During the continuence of the war he was of invaluable aid in saving the lives of prisoners as he was a notable in the case of Moses Van Campen who on one occasion had when prisoner killed several Indians who were guarding him and made good his escape. He was subsequently captured, taken again and brought to Indian country. But by the sagacity and address of Jones was delivered to the British for exchange before Indians learned who he was.

On Sept 1779 when General Sullivan made his famous campaign against the Senecas, to destroy their cross and burn their villages Jones, with the whole tribe except the warriors was kept at a secure distance.

At the close of the war he was appointed by General Washington Agent and Interpreter for the six nations. An office he held through successive Administrations for a period of over forty years. He rendered the language with singular accuracy. His style was terse and graphic and his manner pleasing and impressive. It is said that the Great Orator Red Jacket would not allow any one but Jones to interpret his speeches. His service as interpreter at the Treaty of Big Tree, now Geneseo in 1797 were of the greatest advantage to the council.

As early as 1785 Captain Jones married a lady of Schenctady and established a trading post at Schanges, now Waterloo in the county of Seneca and the next year was connected with John Jacob Astor in the fur trade at Geneva. Here, his eldest son was born, the first white child born west of Utica. The son Col. William Jones, middle initial W. died at his residence in the town of Leicester in this county in 1870 at the age of 84.

Tom Parrish gave a lecture at Caledonia N.Y. Most of information I had researched but Mr. Parrish stated that Horatio was born in Bristol PA. His father William had a gun shop there and Horatio belonged to the Bristol volunteers. Other research stated Downington PA. Chester county. Horatio belonged to the Bedford Rangers. The later is what all research I have made has said.

Genesee ( History of Genesee Country by Lockwood R. Doty 1925 4 volumes)

Ebanezer (Indian) Allen was the first white settler in the town, but his stay was short and he may be regarded as a transient His exploits are elsewhere described.

The first permanent settlers and indeed, the first in the region west of the Genesee, were Horatio and John H Jones, brothers and Joseph Smith, who came in 1789. Preparations for this settlement had been made the previous year by John H Jones and another brother George.

An account of Horatio Jones and Joseph Smith's capture, running the gauntlet and both accepted as interpreters is the same account as in the History of Livingston County by Doty in 1876, so I won't repeat text.

Ebanezer Allen constructed the first sawmill in the town in 1792 at Gibsonville, and the first grist mill was built by Phelps and Gorham on the west branch of Beard's Creek at Rice Falls. Another grist mill was put up by Noah Benton near Moscow in 1799. Leonard Simpson was the first tavern keeper in Leicester, and his abode was near Jones, Bridge about 1797. Joseph Simonds, Francis Richardson, Pell Teed, Joseph White and Mr Dennison were other early Keepers of taverns.

The first town meeting of Leicester was held in 1803 at the home of Joseph Smith between Moscow and Cuylerville. The officers elected were: John H. Jones, supervisor, George A Wheeler, clerk, Samuel Ewens, Alpheus Harris and Dennison Foster, assessors: Perez Brown, constable and collector; Benjamin Gardner and Adam Wisner, overseers of the poor; William Mills and Joel Harvey, commissioners of highways.

The site of Cuylerville was originally the important Indian village of Little Beardstown or"Genesee Castle", the principal town of the Seneca nation, and the western destination of the Sullivan Expedition; it is a place of much historic interest which is elsewhere recounted.

L. L. Doty's history says "The principal villages of the Senecas lay in Leicester, being Little Beardstown, Squakie Hill and Big Tree, where the chieftains could call the whole warlike tribe upon the battle trail, and if we may credit the tales of the captives, something of a sylvan state was observed by the dignitaries of these castle towns, as old writers call them, whose vaguely defined sites are now devoted to the ordinary purpose of agriculture by the thrifty farmers of Leicester."

note This information found in Volume two.

alias Handsome Boy, Horatio Jones

Handsome boy is the name the Senecas gave their captive, Horatio Jones (1763- 1844). One woman saying that he was the handsomest person, white or red, her people had ever seen. Raised in Downington, Pennsylvania, he was an expert in riding, shooting,wrestling and running. He worked in his father's gunsmith shop and became a skilled marksman. In 1777 at age fourteen, he served as a fifer in a company of minute men; at sixteen he was a scout for the Bedford Rangers; the next year he ran away from home to join them on a foray against the Indians.

On a march into Indian territory one foggy morning, the company was trapped in an ambush. Jones tried to run to safety, but,falling down when his moccasin thong caught in a shrub, he felt sure he was doomed. Instead he heard a friendly voice say, "No be scairt, me no hurt you. You very nice boy; you run like a deer. You make fine Indian boy. Me good friend, me help you." This was a half -white, half-Indian man called Jack Berry, whom a Seneca woman had asked to choose a captive to replace her son killed in battle. She had given Berry a wampum belt bearing her clan totem and family mark, which he placed around Horatio's neck.

During an agonizing forced march when Jones saw many of his fellow-prisoners tortured and killed, he gained the Senecas respect by feigning indifference to hunger, fatigue and outrage. One day when a deer had been killed some distance from the party's camp, Jones was told to go with other youths to bring it back. He set off on a run and happened to race beside the Senecas fastest runner. This man had been a runner for British officers at Fort Niagara, who called him Sharp Shins because he ran so fast that his shins cut the air. Reaching the deer ahead of Sharp Shins, Horatio clearly showed he had no intention of escaping and won the admiring comment, "The handsome boy is a fast runner. He runs like the wind." At the same time , however, he won the hatred of Sharp Shins.

After that Handsome Boy was treated more leniently than the other prisoners. But he learned that he had one more ordeal to endure: he had to run the gauntlet. This was a ritual in which prisoners ran through a double line of assailants to atone for their peoples wrongs to the Indians. It gave those that had not been among the war party a chance for revenge. It was also the final test of endurance for any captive slated for adoption.

Jones stood on the banks of the Genesee River in Caneadea. which he must ford before racing the gauntlet to the safety of the Senecas council house. He watched the women and young men line up for the attack, heard the whoops, knew all too well the meaning of their tomahawks, knives, whips, clubs and stones. At the last minute Jack Berry whispered to him the trick of running the gauntlet successfully. He was to follow very close behind the next to last runner and keep so near one line of attackers that they would have neither time nor room to strike him. Jones followed directions and spattered with blood and brains of the man before him,whose head was sliced off, he reached the council house door- only to find his way barred by none other than Sharp Shins, his tomahawk held aloft.

Darting aside and running around the house, the captive heard Sharp Shins tomahawk whirl an inch past his head. Since he found no other door to the house, he ran down a path to the woods. There a woman and her daughter sitting before their house jumped up, pulled him inside and hid him under a bed. His adoptive mother, recognized the wampum around his neck, knew him as her new son.

Later the Indians sat in council to hear Jack Berry tell of his commission to bring back a son for a bereaved mother and all that followed. To this Chief Shongo replied that the Great Spirit had sent this handsome boy for a good purpose, that he would become one of them and that the future would show why he had been given to them. Horatio thus became the son of Chief Cornplanter's' sister and her husband whose name meant "Great Hunter". As he was usually referred to as "Handsome Boy," he was given the Indian name with that meaning.

Coming to terms with life as a Seneca, Hoc-sa-go-Wah gave up any plan for escape. He became fluent in the language and soon served as an interpreter. In his work of questioning white captive he had the delicate task of both pleasing his "family" and sparing white prisoners from vicious retion at the same time. In addition he gradually took on the jobs of gunsmith, blacksmith and silversmith.

He learned that maintaining a stance of bravery at all times earned his fellows respect. He also sensed the importance of ignoring physical hardships, of consistently telling the truth of doing his fair share of the work. At the same time he never accepted an insult. One time a group of young braves, egged on by Sharp Shins, tried to test his patience. When one of them went too far, he thrust a boiling squash down the tormentors shirt- to the delight of the bystanders.Another time Sharp Shins threw a tomahawk at him as if by accident, narrowly missing him. Jones threw back the weapon, injured Sharp Shins and again won approval.

Handsome Boys people captured the border scout Moses Van Campen, who had earlier injured their chief, Mohawk. Had they known his identity , they would have taken special pleasure in torturing and killing him.. Jones learned who he was but, when asked if he knew the prisoners name answered truthfully, " I never saw him before." Thus he saved Van Campen's life, for, by the time the wounded Mohawk reached camp, the scout had been taken to the British at Fort Niagara. Mohawk had with him the tomahawk with witch Van Campen had struck him and which he had retrieved. Made in France, it had been won by Mohawk in the French-Indian War and, instead of the usual axe, had a knife blade. Its top was hollow to serve as a pipe bowl and its handle bored for a pipe stem. This so fascinated Horatio that he prevailed upon Mohawk to sell it and later handed it down to his descendants, who gave it to William P Letchworth's Genesee Valley Museum.

On a trip to visit relatives in Canada, Jones's adoptive family halted at Tonawanda Creek because the canoe kept there for crossing the water was on the opposite bank. His offer to swim across and bring back was met with horrified protests- witches, living in those waters would drown any swimmer. Scorning such superstition, he swam the distance and returned with the canoe whereupon he was received as one come back from the dead, his feat told and retold until he was seen as a charmed person.

This fame brought him to the attention of a Captain Powell of the British forces at Niagara who offered to buy Horatio's freedom. When his offer was declined, Powell told Great Hunter he could name any price, as the British king had unlimited funds. "The Great Spirit sent this boy to us as a special gift for the good of the Senecas," came the father's reply, "and he cannot be taken from us until the Great Spirit so directs. We have adopted him, and he is considered by all of our people one of my own children. Go, tell your master the King, that he is not rich enough to buy Hoc-sa- go-wah. A Seneca will not sell his own blood." Soon afterward the members of the Hawk clan assembled to elect Horatio a chief with a new name of Ta-ya-da-o-woh-koh
meaning "lying across," symbolizing his bonding of whites with Indians.

One of the approximately eighty other white captives of the Senecas was Sarah Whitmore. Twenty years old in the early 1780,s she confided to Horatio her problem that an Indian whom she did not like was urging her to marry him. Her trouble vanished when Horatio asked her to marry him instead. He had previously married an Indian woman by whom he had a son, but she had either died or left him, and the son lived with the clan. Horatio's and Sarah's marriage was solemnized by her accepting from him a gift more valuable than the one her Indian suitor had offered. When the treaty of Fort Stanwix set the pair free at wars end in 1784 they were married in Schenectady by the missionary, the Rev. Samuel Kirkland.

"Handsome Boy" no longer, Horatio was by then a man of twenty-one with adult responsibilities and a difficult decision to make. He said that he had become "as Indian in my tastes and feelings as if I had been born one." Happy as he was living with Indians, he must have felt that he should become independent and take up life in the larger world. Reluctant as his people were to lose him, yet wanting to abide by the treaty, they encouraged him to leave. "Remember that you are one of our children, " a chief said."and whenever you return, a seat shall be given you where your old age may be passed in peace."

The next year Horatio began work as a fur trader. After building log houses in two locations near Seneca Lake, he moved to the intersection of two trails where there was more travel, becoming the first white settler of what would later be Geneva. The couples son, born in 1786, was named William for Horatio's father and Whitmore for Sarah's family. He was the first white child born on the trail leading west from Utica. Instead of the usual cradle fashioned from a hollow log, his father made him one of boards from a wrecked boat. Three more sons were born to the couple before Sarah's death in 1792 (Ironically two were killed by Indians in1813.

One evening soon after Horatio had begun trapping, a man who had lost his way in the forest came to his door for shelter. He was John Jacob Astor, then starting his career as a trader. Buying Horatio's entire stock of furs on the spot, he hired him to collect pelts exclusively for him and to deliver them to New York City; theirs was a relationship which continued many years. Joseph Smith, a former white captive, moved near the Jones's and was employed by Horatio for a while.

In 1788 Jones began his nearly forty years service as an interpreter for the United States Government. Appointed by George Washington, he first translated negotiations
leading to the Treaty of Buffalo Creek, in which the Iroquois sold Nathaniel Gorham and Oliver Phelps all New York State land between the preemption line, which ran from Great Sodus Bay along the west bank of Seneca Lake to the Pennslyvania border, and the Genesee plus a tract to the west. Jones traveled to Philadelphia in 1792 with a delegation to the government which included Tall Chief(since Tall Chief is said to have
dined with Washington, their dinner together may have been during that trip."
The next year Jones helped effect a treaty between the United States and Indians living northwest of the Ohio River. Both he and Jasper Parrish, another former captive turned interpreter, took part in the Big Tree Treaty deliberations in 1797. Here Jones did more than merely interpret; he persuaded the Indians to re-light the council fire when the offended Red Jacket called off negotiations, and he helped Mary Jemison outwit Thomas Morris in obtaining a larger tract of land than Thomas Morris had intended for her.

Meanwhile the Jones family had moved to Little Beard's Town(later Cuylerville), where members of Sarah's adoptive family lived. A year after her death Horatio married Elizabeth Starr, Seventeen year old daughter of a Cayuga County family, then living at Williamsburg. In 1797 they moved to a farm on 3000 acres between Geneseo and Little Beard's Town which was given to them by the Indians and which he named Sweet Briar. Their move pleased the Indian friends, who feared that this area was haunted by a headless ghost, but believed Horatio's powers would counteract it's evil.

Besides interpreting, Jones carried various commissions for the government. One assignment to carry a large sum of government funds to Buffalo Creek, was very dangerous because thieves frequented routes to the Niagara frontier. Jones instructed friends that , if he were killed while in camp, they should look for the money where he would bury it each evening; twenty rods northeast of where he slept. One night on his
journey he was awakened by a dream telling him that if he stayed where he was his bones would be in a pile. Finding no one nearby, he went back to sleep, but was again roused by the same dream. Furthermore, something had frightened his horse.
Quickly retrieving the money, he rode away and within a few minutes met a man holding a large club but got safely past .Further along the trail he saw a man tending a fire under a large kettle- designed, perhaps, to cook his body into a "pile of bones?"
In any event he reached Buffalo Creek intact.

White settlers credited his influence with preventing Indian raids, and once he did forestall a massacre. Indian warriors had gone to some pioneers home demanding liquor and when refused, attacked the family. Jones happened to come upon the scene just in time not only to dissuade the Indians from fighting but also to jolly them into good humor. Lest he be made to sound too saintly however, there is the anecdote of his meting out pioneer justice to a man known as "the Refugee Walker". Walker had the perverse habit of terrorizing settlers with fictitious alarms that indians were about to attack them. Exasperated by one such tale Jones struck him with an axe and might have killed him if friends had not interfered. Walker sensibly departed for Canada. Jones's diplomacy no doubt saved the life of Simeon Hovey, a carpenter who built barns for the Wadsworths and Judge Phelps. In breaking up a fight between two Indians, Hovey hit one with a stick. Other Indians were afraid that the injured man would die and wanted to take "the little carpenter," as they called him hostage. Jones persuaded them not to with the assurance that, if the man died, Hovey would pay them ten dollars. That satisfied them, besides which, the Indian re-covered.

Once an Indian woman was so angry at being excluded from a pow-wow being held near the Jones home that she set fire to dry hay on the river flatland. Trying to rescue his stock, Jones was surrounded by flames but lay down on a patch of green grass where the wave of fire passed over him. Yet he was not quite invincible. The story is told of a white guide who protested when a crowd of Indians repeatedly threw one of their group into a fire. His His interfering in their affairs led a crowd to attack him until Jones appeared and began to fight him alone. It is said that Horatio was then beaten for the first time in his life.

A council of the six Nations gave Jones and Parrish land near Lake Erie in 1798, when Farmer's Brother said "They... have for several years been serviceable to us as interpreters; we still feel our hearts beat with affection for them and now wish to fulfill
the promise we made them for their services."

Horatio must have enjoyed his later years. As a prosperous farmer he associated with the Genesee gentry and still kept contact with old friends. At a dinner given by James Wadsworth to which several Indian Chiefs were invited, he and Sharp Shins marked the end of their rivalry by smoking a peace pipe. He saw his and Elizabeth's twelve children become respected citizens. Active throughout his life, he interpreted at the trial of an Indian accused of witch-killing in1831 and was said to have kept court and audience in good humor with his remarks.

One of the annual visits that he and Moses Van Campen exchanged, Jones gave his old friend an awl handle which he had carved from bone and polished with sand during his captivity. He also made a wooden ladle for Van Campen's daughter. J. Niles Hubbard has written of Jones in the 1830,s that at this time he was "quite a ubiquitous character; he was here, he was there, and anywhere, and all pretty much at the same time and more extensively known than any other man in the
Genesee country."

Several months before Jones death in 1836, Charles Augustus Murray met him while
visiting James Wadsworth and his daughter Elizabeth. Murray described the old gentleman as "at heart more than half Indian" and learned from him some Indian lore he used in this story, "the Prairie Bird." Another writer to whom Horatio Jones told
Indian legends was William H.,C. Hosmer. This man who could not read or write, Hosmer said "towered in intellectual stature above common men as the pines rise above the smaller trees of the forest."


Harris, George H, " The Life of Horatio Jones"
Hubbard J. Niles Sketches of Border Adventures of Moses Van Campen
Livingston Republican Apr 22 1875
Peer, Sherman " The Genesee River Historical Sketches"
Turner, Orsamus Pioneer History of the Holland Land Purchase

Continued on notes for Sarah.

More About Horatio Jones:
12: lived Sweet Briar, Geneseo N.Y..
Fact 2 1: Adopted into Seneca tribe.
Fact 2 2: 1779, Scout for the Bedford Rangers.
Fact 4: Ran Gauntlet @ Canadea.
Fact 5: Skilled marksman and fast runner.
Fact 6: 1777, Served as fifer in company of minutemen.
Fact 7: 1784, Fur trader with John Jacob Astor.
Fact 8: 1780, Joined Bedford Rangers.
Fact 9: Fluent in Seneca language interpreter.
Fact 10: Commissioned by Pre. Washington interpreter.
Fact 11 1: Skilled mechanic.
Fact 11 2: Farmer almost baronial estate.

More About Horatio Jones and Sally Whitmoyer:
Marriage: 1784, Schenectady Rev. Samuel Kirkland.

More About Horatio Jones and Elizabeth Starr:
Marriage: 1793, Groveland N.Y. near Geneseo N.Y..

Children of Horatio Jones and Sally Whitmoyer are:
  1. +William Whitmore Jones, b. 18 December 1780, seneca lake outlet near geneva, d. 1870, leicester n.y..
  2. George Jones, b. 17 June 1788, d. 1813, Lewiston war of 1812.
  3. +Hiram Jones, b. 20 December 1789, Geneva N.Y., d. 27 February 1870, Leicester Cemetery, Leicester N.Y..
  4. James Jones, b. 17 March 1791, d. 1813, Lewiston war 1812.

Children of Horatio Jones and Elizabeth Starr are:
  1. Horatio Jones, Jr, b. 1796, Sweet Briar Geneseo, d. 15 April 1863, Moscow.
  2. Mary Ann Jones, b. 1798, Sweet Briar Geneseo, d. date unknown.
  3. John Jones, b. 1799, Sweet Briar Geneseo, d. date unknown.
  4. Ann Jones, b. 31 May 1802, Sweet Briar Farms,Geneseo N.Y., d. 14 March 1875, Leicester N.Y. buried cemetery Leicester..
  5. +Rebecca Jones, b. 1804, d. date unknown.
  6. Elizabeth Jones, b. 1805, Geneseo N.Y., d. date unknown.
  7. +Sarah Jones, b. 1807, Geneseo N.Y., d. date unknown.
  8. Hester Jones, b. 1809, Geneseo N.Y., d. date unknown.
  9. Julia Jones, b. 1811, Geneseo N.Y., d. 26 December 1871, Temple Hills, Geneseo N.Y..
  10. Seneca Jones, b. 1813, Geneseo N.Y., d. Aft. 1854, California.
  11. +Charles Jones, b. 27 August 1815, Sweet Briar Farms,Geneseo N.Y., d. 26 February 1899.
  12. Jane Jones, b. 1820, Geneseo N.Y., d. date unknown.
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