Sunday, November 26, 2006

Potato Pit or Washtub?

Monacan Indians attacked the Virginia plantation of John and Sara Woodson while an itinerant shoemaker named Ligon was visiting in 1644. A six-foot-long musket now displayed at the Virginia Historical Society played a role in the skirmish.

John Woodson was just riding into the clearing around his cabin when a confederation raiding party poured out of the woods. The doctor was struck by an arrow and fell from his horse. Ligon grabbed the rifle from above the fireplace and took a position at a window. Sara bolted the door from the inside and hid her two sons - John in the potato bin under the house, Robert beneath a washtub.

Ligon, the shoemaker, killed five of the attackers with the musket, and Sara bludgeoned two more to death with a heavy iron roasting spit when they tried to come down the chimney. John Woodson lay dead in the clearing, but his family had survived.

“Ever since, there have been two branches of the family,” said Carolyn Lusardi of Brookneal, a Woodson descendant. “You’ve got the ‘Potato Pit Woodsons’ and the ‘Washtub Woodsons,’ depending on whether your line comes from John or Robert.” [Link]

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