My husband’s 5 times great grandfather was named Ephraim Walters Sr. and he was born in 1744 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to John Casper Walters (1715 – 1756) and Hannah Barbara Baer (1714 – 1756). Ephraim’s story is a particularly interesting one!
On July 8, 1756, when he was about 12 years old, his family’s home was raided by a group of Native Americans. The story states that Ephraim’s father, Casper, was killed right away and that his mother was tortured, but survived. Three of his younger siblings are said to have been killed at the same time. The four oldest children, including Ephraim, his brother John, Mary and Rebecca the children were taken in by Native American families and traveled through Ohio and Western Pennsylvania areas. Ephraim was eventually adopted by a Shawnee chief named Yougashaw. Over time Ephraim and his siblings were rescued from the Native American families they were with. John, however after serving in the Sandusky Expedition in 1782 was displeased “with the ways of the whites” and family legend has it that he returned to the Native Americans and married a Native American woman.
During his time with the Shawnees, Ephraim became a skilled hunter and warrior. He also fought with the Native Americans who sided with the French.
Ephraim was ‘liberated’ by Col. Henry Bouquet in November 1764, as reported by the Pennsylvania Gazette of January 17, 1765.
In 1770, Ephraim married Mary DeBolt, who interestingly enough was the granddaughter of a full blooded Shawnee woman.
Ephraim claimed 7,00 acres of land by “tomahawk title” meaning that he claimed the land he purchased by carving his initials into some of the trees he felled. This land was in what is now Fayette County, PA.
Ephraim and Mary had the following children:
George Washington Walters (1770 – 1844)
Andrew J Walters (1771 – 1831)
Elizabeth Walters (1772 – 1838)
John E Walters (1774 – 1864)
Ephraim Walters (1776 – 1865) my husband’s 4 times great grandfather
Jacob Walters (1780 – 1870)
Henry Walters (1782 – ?)
Mary Polly Walters (1783 – 1859)
Henry Walters (1785 – 1836)
Aaron John Walters (1788 – 1866)
Charity Walters (1790 – 1851)
On May 15, 1774, he was elected to help chase Tories and Native Americans away from the Fayette and Greene Co, areas of Pennsylvania. He served in Captain Bazil Bowell’s 1793 Fayette Co. Militian where he acted as an “Indian Scout.” Since Ephraim Walters had spent so much of his youth with Native Americans he knew their fighting styles and taught this to the whites he was now working with. I do find this interesting, as I have read accounts of how his wife Mary was a frontier nurse and assisted both whites and Native Americans. I wonder how they came to terms with these kinds of differences in their household.
Ephraim applied for pension as a Revolutionary War Vet when he was in his 90’s so he was not approved as all those who had served with him had already passed away. He is listed in the Revolutionary War Rejected Pensions as follows: “Suspended for a more perfect account of his services.”
Ephraim died on December 8, 1835 at the age of 91 in Fayette Co., PA.
The following is from
DEBOLTS IN AMERICA:
THE DEBOLTS OF FAYETTE
AND GREENE COUNTIES, PENNSYLVANIA
C. Gerald DeBolt
“In 1770 [Ephraim Walters] located by “tomahawk title” about 700 acres of land in that country, which to-day is among the finest and most valuable land of any in western Pennsylvania. In the same year he married a Miss DeBolt, of French descent, and from this union there were reared seven sons and three daughters, three lived to the age of ninety; six to over seventy-five, and one to fifty-five. During the Revolution, Mr. Walters raised a company for the defense of the settlement. Many a night when he was out on a scout, his wife fearing the Indians, would leave the cabin and with her children sleep “in the bush”. In the war of 1812, his youngest son being drafted, Mr. Walters, though over seventy-five years of age, offered himself as a substitute, and was accepted. His thorough knowledge of the Indian character, rendered him very efficient. For a number of years he filled the office of Justice of the peace. Mrs. Walters was a remarkable woman, always full of life and energy. She served as midwife for the frontier settlement for some forty years; kept a fine horse, and no kind of weather day or night appeared to make any difference to her. She died in 1842, aged ninety-four.’ Ephraim Walters died in 1835. His will was probated Jan.5, 1836. See p.34 for his will. His wife, Mary (Debolt) Walters, died in 1842. As mentioned at the beginning of the story on Ephraim and Mary, they are both buried at Jacobs Lutheran Cemetery.”