Feidt Wysong

The following is from The Wysong-Fleshart Line papers from Donna Crockett Mowery, evidently published by Dr. H. Dudley Wysong in October, 1978. Feidt's grandson was William Joseph Fleshhood, the first "Fleshhood."

    Feidt Weissang was born in York County, Pennsylvania about 1754, the 7th child of Lodowick Weissang and Mary Hammer. In 1775 or 1776 he married Elizabeth Phemach and moved to Shepherdstown, Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia), where he was drafted into military service. After being discharged he moved to Fincastle, Botetourt Co., Virginia. In July, 1781 he was again drafted into the military service, and was present at the siege of Yorktown when General Washington accepted Lord Cornwallis' sword as a gesture of defeat and surrender.

    Feidt was a blacksmith and wagon maker by trade. He wielded the hammer at the forge and pushed the plane at the bench. His shop still stands in Fincastle. He was evidently a serious minded and religious man. In his will he describes himself as a shoemaker (horseshoes). Feidt, by his first wife Elizabeth, had the following nine children: Joseph, Elizabeth b 1776-1777, John, Henry, George, Susannah, Jacob, Polly Mary, and Margaret. By his second wife Susannah Coffman, he had three more children.

    There is a copy of Feidt's will with the above document.

                FEIDT WYSONG (1778-1837)

    Everything was going along well for Elizabeth and Feidt. Children were coming along in order and on a timely basis. However, there was a revolution going on, and in early October of 1778 Feidt was drafted in the Virginia Militia of Berkley County for his first time in the Revolutionary War.

    The English had defeated the French and their Indian allies, so in 1774 they made the Ohio Territory a part of Canada. This created much displeasure among the settlers in the western part of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky because they wanted to settle this rich agricultural area.

    The English, along with their Indian allies, were giving the Colonials hell in the western sector. The entire frontier settlements in Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia were being attacked by Indian raiding parties under the direction of the British forces stationed at Fort Detroit. The settlers became apprehensive and felt neglected. General Washington became concerned and wanted to stop this western harassment because it was taking part of his regular army as well as threatening his eastern activities. He wasn't doing too well in the east, anyway.

    General Washington called on General Lachlan McIntosh for a meeting to discuss plans for an expedition against Ft. Detroit. In August of 1778 these two generals drew up plans for the building of a chain of forts west of Ft. Pitt. These were to serve as rest and supply stations for the campaign against Ft. Detroit. They were also to serve as a buffer against the Indian raids.

    In August of 1778, General Washington replaced General Hand of Ft. Pitt with General McIntosh. He immediately sent out a draft to Yohogania, Monongahelia and Ohio counties, Virginia. These draftees were marched to Ft. Pitt and placed under the command of Col. Crawford. He organized them into his first and second regiments. They were then marched west to Beaver Creek where construction of Ft. McIntosh was begun.

    Near the completion of Ft. McIntosh in October of 1778, more men were needed to establish and construct a fort farther west. Another draft went out to Rockingham, Augusta, Hampshire, and Berkley Counties in Virginia. That's when "up jumped the devil" and got ole Feidt and his brother Jacob.

    Jacob Wysong had served one hitch in the Pennsylvania Militia before moving to Berkley County, Virginia. This was Feidt's first experience in the war.

    Jacob was a drum major and Feidt was a private in the construction corp. Both were under Col. Morrison, Capt. Swearingen, and Lt. Isaac Johns. It must have been nice to have a brother and friend along on the rugged marches and campaigns that these two experienced. These fellows were marched directly to the newly constructed Ft. McIntosh. On October 27, 1778, Col. Crawford was ordered to form his third and fourth brigades from these Virginia Militia. One from Augusta and Berkley and the other from Hampshire and Rockingham.

    On October 30, 1778, the Brigade orders called for "1,200 of the activistic and choicest men, ready to march at a moment's notice."

    On November 4, the order to march was given. It took some time to get this organized and under way. It was four o'clock in the afternoon when General McIntosh finally got his troops moving out. They marched directly to the bottom of the slope of the Tuscarawas and began their climb to the top of the ridge. The route followed the Great Trail to its intersection with the Sandusky trail leading to Detroit, crossing the Ohio line and continuing a little south of what is now Negley and Lisbon. Six miles were made the second day, and on November 6 the main branch of the Little Beaver was forded. "This day Lt. Parks and Private Ross of the 13th Virginia elected, against orders, to hunt deer." They were the first casualties of the expedition, paying for their breach with their lives and scalps.

    Col. Boyer's 69 men and pack train caught up with General McIntosh on November 11, and on November 12 a war pole was found along the road with the scalps of Parks and Ross on it. The Delawares reported these had been taken by the Wyandots.

    This march was not an easy one, and some of the men were disgruntled and unruly because of being taken away from their homes at harvest time. However, punishment was also harsh -- 20 to 200 lashes across the back ain't exactly a fun thing, especially in freezing weather and snow. (I quote several of these incidents from Sargent McCready's orderly book -- not copied into this database.)

    One of the major offenses which took time in court martial was the insistence of some of the troops of firing their rifles without orders.

    The march was held up by rain, snow and generally cold, bad weather. By the 13th of November, they were only 50 miles out of Ft. McIntosh. On the 14th of November, word came that their allies, the Delaware Indians, would meet them at Sandusky Trail.

    By the 16th, they were about 62 miles out of Ft. McIntosh but could not march on the 17th because of rain and very disagreeable weather. However, they did march on the night of the 17th and arrived at the Sandusky Creek branch of the Tuscarawas River about two hours before sunup. There they halted for the reception of their Indian allies. This is described in Sargent McCready's orderly book as: "And when our front advanced near theirs they began the salute of three Indian cheers from thence a regular fire was returned by a hasty running fire round our whole lines which being done we encamped around our brethren and included the place Col. Boqueat had formerly erected a block house."

    There were orders against bartering with the Indians, another irritant to the militia, but nothing of consequence appeared in the journal of November 19 except "the employment of fatigues and artificers to carry on the work of the fort." On the 20th, McCready's journal noted: "The Indians made a present to the general of a quantity of venison and skins and express their great grief over the loss of white eyes, their chief, but assured the general there was yet among them that would render him much service as white eyes could do were he then alive. And to keep the chain as bright, they likewise insisted much on the general going down to their town to build a fort for their defense and safety."

    They immediately began the construction of Ft. Laurens, the first fort built in Ohio, named after the first president of the Continental Congress. Even with all the disgruntled and misfits, these men worked long and hard in constructing Ft. Laurens. They finished in short order and due time.

    On December 5, a pack train arrived and that same day the return to Ft. McIntosh for the main body of the Virginia Militia was approved. This left Ft. Laurens in the hands of Col. Gibson and 176 men and three women.

    After the return to Ft. McIntosh on December 20, General McIntosh issued the following order: "All officers and soldiers of the line are to be served with a gill of whiskey each and the general is sorry horses could not be procured to bring more of this necessary article. They who came up with the whiskey are not to have any as two kegs are missing."

    The General Orders of December 20 from Ft. McIntosh reflect the good manners, possibly exasperation, but at the same time understanding of a gentleman: "The general returns his hearty thanks to the brave militia of Virginia for a conduct during this campaign which would do honor to the best regular troops, except a few individuals who he hopes will stay at home the next time, and never come here again to poison and corrupt an army so determined to serve their country. That they many not be detained, he desires they may be all mustered this morning, agreeably to the Regulations of the 27 of October last; in order to enable them to make out their payrolls properly. After which, an officer from each county may stay to receive their money. As a farther mark of the general's satisfaction with the behavior of the militia he orders them to be served with a pint of whiskey each man, and be discharged immediately after they are mustered, although the time of very few of them is expired yet. He also releases Captain Pierce from his arrest, and pardons all those who have forfeited their pay by shooting or any other breach of orders; and requests the favor of all their field officers to dine with him today. This order is to be read before every company. The Adjt Genl and Major Leete are to muster their men, as there is no Muster Master or Commissary."

    So Feidt, Jacob and the other Berkeley County boys, discharged December 18, 1778, head for home. Feidt rejoined his family in December of 1778 and stayed in Berkeley Co. through part of 1779.

    Getting back to Feidt and Elizabeth -- On April 10, 1779 they sold their lot and other properties in Shepherds Town and moved to Fincastle, Botetourt Co., Virginia. In Fincastle he set up his blacksmith and wagon shop. Here he became quite active in civil and church affairs. We find that he served on the May 15, 1779 grand jury. He was also on the August 10, 1779 jury, and I copied from the court book the following: "Kian Tarvis, Aug. 10, set aside. Not guilty after the jury sworn to by the Justice Bivins at to wit: James Lockhart, Hugh Allen, Fyatt Wisong, George Wothz, Francis Flesheart, James Anderson, Conrad Francis, Jacob Gish." (Franz Flesheart was Feidt's son-in-law, married to Elizabeth Wysong.)

    Then again in October 1779, Botetourt County Court, "George Seacott exhibited an account of the court for guarding Ralph Elliott, a criminal, to the district Gaol. 24 miles going the same route which was ordered by the court testified Fite Wysong the same; Henry Smith the same; Mish Book the same. Fite Wysong the same for guarding Med Masp's boy, the same as the night above. Fite Wysong in all his account to the county for keeping the courthouse up to this date amt. $25.00 doll(ars)."

    What the above guarding and delivering criminals of the district represents is that those accused of being loyal to the King were taken prisoner and put in the district gaol (jail). Afterwards they were P.O.W.'s. The others arrested were put ___________ jail. Note that they spelled the district prison with the English "gaol" and paid ole Feidt $25 bucks to keep up the county jail.

    Actually these people were not always guilty of being Loyalist. If a neighbor got overly peaved at a fellow, he could go to court and accuse him of being loyal to the King. In this way he could really lay something on a fellow. You went to the district jail guilty or not. I don't know if the neighbor had to apologize if you were later proven innocent.

    It seemed that Feidt made a good move when he left Shepherds Town for Fincastle. He was making money. The kids were growing and eat'n good. He and Liz were populating the world as fast as nature would allow. He was becoming a real religious and civic leader of his local community. Things were just too good to be true. And, that's a damn fact because in July, 1781 came another draft. Feidt was back in the Virginia Militia from another county. He stated that he was drafted this second time under the orders of Capt. Joseph Looney, Lt. Tosh, and Ensign William McClanahan.

    Feidt didn't have all the hardships and deprivations that he had in the freezing snow of his first hitch. This outfit marched from Fincastle to Bottoms Bridge, Virginia, a little south and east of Richmond. There they camped for several days. They were joined almost daily by other militia from various places. When they all had arrived at Bottoms Bridge, they were marched to Yorktown. There they joined General Washington in the siege of that place. Feidt remained in Yorktown until the surrender of General Cornwallis on October 19, 1781.

    Sometime during the siege, Feidt was assigned to General LaFayette's forces. So he was on that side of the line of troops when Cornwallis' sword was presented. Ole Corny was too mortified to appear himself; his sword was tendered in surrender by General O'Hare. It is interesting to note that in 1783, General McIntosh was exchanged for this same General O'Hare. Mac was taken prisoner in the battle of Charleston in 1780.

    After October 19, 1781, Feidt was again discharged and returned to his family in Fincastle. Things picked up right away, for he had been gone only three months. Liz was slowing down just a tad in the baby business, just scattering them out a little more. And the wagon and hoss shoe business must have been pretty good, for that year he was taxed on four cattle and ten horses. I guess it took four cows with all those children.

    On January 8, 1784, Feidt bought his first farm in Botetourt County. He acquired this property from William McClanahan and his wife, Mary. Remember old Bill was Feidt's Ensign in his last army hitch. Feidt paid taxes on this and several other pieces of real estate until his death. In 1785 he was taxed on a log dwelling with a shingle roof and brick chimney. That's the way it was written in them days, folks.

    On February 11, 1784, Feidt was appointed surveyor of the highway to be established from Col. Hancock's fence to John M. Creery's and thence to the house of James Hulse.

    Also in 1785, Feidt was appointed to collect the Tithe taxes in the Catawba, Roanoke, and Fincastle areas of Botetourt County. Tithe taxes in Virginia were actually a head or poll tax and did not mean one tenth. Tithe tables were white males over 16 years of age, male and female slaves over 16, and bonded servants over 16.

    On December 18, 1813, Feidt signed a petition "without regard to religious distinction" asking the Virginia House of Delegates for permission to build a church in Fincastle on the site of the old Episcopal Church. Permission was granted and that beautiful old church is still the Presbyterian Church of Fincastle. Feidt was buried in this church yard and you will find his name on the Revolutionary Soldier Monument in this cemetery. Elizabeth died soon after this.

    Feidt remarried on March 22, 1816*, to a young chick. I say young because she was about 27 years old, born the same year as my great-grandfather, one of Feidt's and Lizzie's youngest. The second wife was Susannah Coffman. Feidt and Susannah started in the kid bit about the time the preacher said I pronounce. Anyhow, here come Elizabeth Ann, Harriet, and Sarah in proper time and order.

    On the 28th day of March 1833, Feidt wrote his last will and testament.

    On May 11, 1833, Feidt appeared at the courthouse, with witnesses, and applied for his Revolutionary War pension. He gave an affidavit about his two hitches in the army (now you know where Dr. Dudley Wysong got the above information). Of course, he got his pension and was paid $53.32 in March 1833, then paid a semi-annual allowance on Sept. 4, 1833 of $13.33. So his annual pension was $26.66.

    Feidt was a blacksmith and wagon maker by trade. The shop, where he wielded the hammer at the forge and pushed the plane at the bench, still stands in Fincastle. He was evidently a serious minded and religious man, and one well thought of by his fellow townsmen. In his will he simple names himself as a shoemaker, "hoss shoes", that is.

    The last contract Feidt made was one for the running part of a wagon between him and Catherine Rose. This is also contained the the file from Donna.

    Feidt died in August of 1837. After his death, Susannah and her daughter, Elizabeth, continued to live in the old home place. This was agreed between Elizabeth and her father. Elizabeth married George Shank in 1841. They lived with and took care of Susannah until her death of typhoid fever.
by Dr. H. Dudley Wysong







Memorial plaque on the door of Feidt's blacksmith shop in Fincastle. 
 Feidt's Blacksmith shop in Fincastle, Virginia. The building was purchased by the Wysong family, then renovated and donated to the town of Fincastle. This is how the building looked in 2009.
 Inside Fedit Wysong's blacksmith shop in Fincastle. (Courtesy Donna Crockett Mowery)
The Presbyterian Church in Fincastle, Virginia which Feidt Wysong helped establish. He is burried on the church grounds.
 Memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers from Fincastle on the grounds of the Fincastle Presbyterian Church.
 Closeup of the Revolutionary War monument at Fincastle Presbyterian Church showing Feidt Wysong's name.