Chief Benge: A Real “Indian Outlaw”

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6 Responses

  1. Ann Downs McKown says:

    Ms. Wright, It is with interest that I read your article on Chief Bob Benge…. My husband ‘s 9th great-grandmother was Sarah Ware Livingston.. It is our family that was the last to be raided by Benge..

    • Laura Wright says:

      Hello, Ann. Thank you for visiting. I’m delighted you enjoyed the article. He was quite a character that isn’t really talked about, certainly nothing like you would think. From what I found during my research, he was discussed in a romantic way for a century after his death. After that, his attacks seem to be just forgotten.

      • Ann Downs McKown says:

        Benge has never been forgotten in my family even after all this time.. People do romanticize about the past but for those who endured those hardships it must have been sheer terror that we in the 21st century can’t possibly even imagine….

        • Laura Wright says:

          I would imagine not. One of the worst factors when people like Benge are forgotten, is their victims are also forgotten, and the killers become glamorized and glorified until they become fictional.

  2. Fay King says:

    Laura, I came across this site when researching my husband’s family. Robert Benge was his 4th great grandfather, and what a surprise it was to us to read what a despicable person he was. We knew there was Indian in the family history, but had to idea it was one with such notoriety. Even though it was so long ago, it make one want to say “I am so sorry for what was done to your families”, and I feel we are. You never know what you’ll find when searching family history. I have ancestors on my side that died at the hands of Indians in Oregon. These people, the good & the bad are part of this great countries history.

    • admin says:

      Hello, Fay! Thank you so much for visiting. Please don’t feel bad. None of us have ever asked for our ancestors and we can’t pick them any more than we can relatives. You have a beautiful message though, thank you so much for sharing it. I am not related to him, or any of his victims, although I am in southwestern VA, so there are many spots where he visited. I am in no way excusing what he did, but I think Benge came from a horrible childhood that was filled with hatred for Europeans. He was only half-Indian, his father was Irish (I think that’s where the disdain came from). Benge lived in what we call a “broken home,” where both parents had multiple spouses and illegitimate children. That was hundreds of years ago, so I’m sure people were very different about that than they are today. His father actually had 2 full families, until he was found out, and the first European family had nothing more to do with him. His father had no choice, but to remain with the natives because he’d disgraced himself and his family among the settlers.

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