The Lail Family

Subject: Re: Captain Isaac Ruddle's Men
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 16:41:23 -0700
From: Carl Phillips

The following names from the list of persons at Ruddles are misspelled. The surname was Lail, sometimes spelled Lale. The small sons of George, George III and Johnny, ages 10 and 6 were taken by the Indians. Johnny was subsequently released and returned to his parents but George was kept as the Indians moved west. The band finally settled on the west side of the Mississippi River in the area that is now Cape Girardeau Co. George grew up as an Indian. After he married he returned to KY to visit his family. He stayed approximately two years during which time two sons were born. One of them was Robert Lail, my gg-grandfather. George subsequently returned to Missouri where he lived out his life. It is believed that George Lail may have been the first white resident in that part of Missouri.

The three Lail/Lale brothers (spelled Loyl in some records) were at Ruddles Station on that fateful day in June 1780.

We do not know what happened to Henry LAIL and we must assume that Peter was killed. Peter's wife, Mary, and two daughters were taken prisoner and taken to Michigan. Peter also had a son, Peter whose fate is unknown. Many years later Mary wrote a letter dated Aug 7, 1822 that was delivered to Governor CASS of Michigan who in turn sent it to the editor of the Kentucky Gazette, who published it as follows:

From the Kentucky Gazette: addressed to Peter LALE, Kentucky.

"I was taken at Fort Licking, commanded by Capt. RUDDLE and was ransomed by Col. McGEE and was brought into upper Canada near Amherstburgh, (Fort Malden) where I now live after having been 16 years among the Indians. Your eldest sister is now living in Sandwich, but the youngest I could never hear of. Now, my dear son, I would be very glad to see you once more before I die, which I do not think will be long, as I am in a very bad state of health, and have been this great while.

I am married to Mr. Jacob MIRACLE for whom you can enquire.

Your affectionate mother, Mary MIRACLE."

It is assumed the man she married is Jacob Miracle, sometimes spelled Markle, who was also a captive.

Unfortunately, Mary never learned that the youngest daughter, of whom she spoke, was safe with the brother of her husband (George). For some reason, George LAIL and his wife were spared, though they were taken prisoner and later released. But their two little boys, George, aged 7 and Johnny, aged 4 and a daughter, Eva, aged 14, were taken by the Indians. Eva was taken to Canada but was later released. There are conflicting stories about how Johnny was released but he did get back to his parents and lived a long and productive life in Kentucky. Little George was kept and raised as an Indian.

Carl in Hangtown

Refer to for further information on the Lail brothers.

George Lail House

Source: "This Old House" by Katherine Wilson.

George Lail (1727-1792) lived and built this ancient log house during the dark and bloody days of Kentucky. His two sons, two-year-old John, and five-year-old George, were captured by Indians at the massacre of Ruddles or Hinkson Station in June 1780.

The original old logs have been covered with weatherboarding and a frail porch added, which detracts from the pure Early American structure. But it is easy to imagine the old house as it stood in the early wilderness. Reminiscent of bygone days are the deep window sills and the two huge fireplaces, now closed, but with carved walnut mantels six feet tall, one in each front room.

This old house is on the farm now owned by Rev. Logan English and is located a mile back off the south side of the Edgewater Pike, not far from Lair.

Collins History, p. 327 says, "When murdering some of the women and children, after the capture of Ruddles Station, they concluded to adopt little Johnny Lail, two years old, if he should have the nerve and endurance required of an Indian boy, so they rolled him rapidly down the bank and he did not cry-this securing his own adoption and that of his brother George, three years older. Johnny was returned with the other prisoners after the close of the war and lived to be nearly 80 years old and a useful citizen. George remained with the Indians and married among them; afterwards he came back and settled in the home of his childhood but his Indian wife deserted him and went back to her people."

According to Gresham's Kentucky Biographies: "When only three years of age he (Johnny) was captured by Indians at Ft. Hinkson. His mother recovered him by trading some blankets for him. An older brother was captured at the same time, who was never restored to his family; but when 24 years of age he paid his brother, John Lail, a visit, coming from Missouri, where he had located.

It was the custom of the Indians to sell the men, take women as slaves and adopt the children, who could pass certain tests. The favorite test in winter was to break the ice on a stream, dip a captured white child into the icy water and adopt him if he did not cry.

We have no record of how George Lail and his wife escaped when their two little boys were captured at Ruddles Station. The massacre itself, however is a familiar story in Kentucky History.

According to Winston Coleman's account, the British officers, Capt. Henry Bird and Capt. Alexander McKee, with an expedition of 150 white men and a large body of Indians under the white renegade Simon Girty attacked the fort on June 24, 1780.

McKee and about 200 Indians surrounded the fort before daylight and fired on the station at dawn, the pioneers defending themselves until about noon, when Capt. Bird arrived with the rest of his force and a threepounder cannon. Two discharges of this gun did nothing but knock in one of the logs of a block-house, which impressed the settlers very little. But when the large sixpounder was wheeled into sight of the startled Kentuckians, they realized it was now a matter of minutes before their stockade would be pounded to pieces.

Isaac Ruddle and his garrison of 49 men surrendered on condition that the prisoners be under protection of the British and not suffered to fall into the hands of the Indians. But as soon as the gates were opened the impatient Indians rushed in and separated husbands and wives and tore little children from the arms of their mothers.

Many were tomahawked and their bodies thrown into a heap. Others were loaded with plunder and taken with the invading army to Martins station, which was taken without opposition. Then they marched to the forks of the river, where Falmouth now stands, and there took their boats and went down to the mouth of the Licking. Here the Indians, riding their stolen horses, divided their plunder and prisoners and dispersed through the woods.

The British took their prisoners up the Big Miami as far as it was navigable and then marched them to Detroit, where some were kept for 14 years and 2 months until the treaty of 1794, while others never returned.

Mrs. W. T. Lafferty says that some of the historians claim there were only two pieces of artillery while others, including Boone, whose statements are generally accepted, are positive that there were six. Be that as it may, one of Bird's cannon doubtless is lying in the Licking River now at what is still known as Bird's crossing, between Cynthiana and Falmouth.

She says, "When I was a child on my way to Cincinnati with my father A. H. Ward, he pointed out to me from the car window this historic spot, and told me the story of Bird's crossing, explaining how he endeavored to make a ford by throwing logs and rocks into the river, and of how one piece of cannon became mired and was left there, where he had often seen it at low water when a boy."

About a quarter of a mile from the Lail house is the graveyard which was put in perfect condition by Dr. Paul Lail about two years before his death. The six gravestones give the names and dates of the following: George Lail and wife, Margaret; their son, John Lail and his wife, Susan Williams, their son, John Lail Jr., and his wife, Burzilla Brown; their son Charles Francis and hiwife, Sara Alice.

Johnny Lail, the little boy released by the Indians has a good many direct descendants numbered among this county's citizens of this generation: the late Dr. Paul Lail, the late Wade H. Lail, the late Thad Lail, Lynn, Everett, Rodney and Middleton Lail, Miss Sara Lail, Mrs. Louise Moore, Mrs. Georgia Vanhook, Miss Anna Eliza Lail, John Lail, William Lail, Mrs. Zeno Fisher and Mrs. Allie Lail Ewalt.

Major and Mrs. Hugh Ewalt's children, Babs, Pamela and Susan, are on their mother's side. the eighth generation removed from the builder of this old house. While on their father's side, they are only seven generations removed. Yet Hugh and his wife, Priscilla Lail are very distantly related.

Henry Lail married a Shawnee Indian woman while in captivity and was held approximately 4 years. When released, he took his wife and went to North Carolina. They had seven children, 5 girls and 2 boys. Henry eventually settled in Arkansas with his two sons.

Eveleas "Eva" Lail married Casper Karsner, another captive, while in captivity in Canada. When released they returned to Kentucky where they had several children. When Casper died Eva married William Dunlap.

Collins History p. 327 under "This Old House" is in error. George Lail did not marry an Indian woman. He married Louisa Wolff, daughter of a German farmer believed to be from Kaskaskia Island, just north of Cape Girardeau County. George and Louisa did go back to Kentucky but only stayed about two years and then returned to Cape Girardeau County where they lived out their lives. They are buried in the Sommers Cemetery near Jackson, MO.

Bob, you may want to link to the names Casper Karsner and Jacob Markle in the list of captives since they both married members of the Lail family.

Carl in Hangtown

E-mail correspondence between Jon Hagee (Ruddlesfort group member) and Kim Woodward:

Kim: As it turns out, I am somewhat related to the Lail family in the Ruddles Station massacre. My mother was reading some information out of a Lail Family book to me this weekend that mentioned the Ruddles incident. In particular, a Lail wife and her two daughters were captured and taken into Canada by the Indians. It was a letter from the wife to her son after some 30+ years in captivity. I will check with her this evening and try to be more specific as to how I am related. There are several Charles Lails in my current known Lail lineage.

With the Lail Family book, I am not having too much problem finding out about the Lail family my main focus has been to get the lineage of the Woodward family straightened out.

Jon, I talked to my mother tonight about the Ruddell's Station massacre. Apparently I am more related to the George Lail than I thought. I am directly descended from Johnny Lail who settled in Kentucky. The lineage works out like this: Kim Woodward (me) <-- Wilmer Woodward, Jr. (my father) <-- Mary Edna Lail (m. Wilmer Woodward, Sr.) <-- Charles Bruce Lail (b. 5/7/1888; d. 9/7/1955) <-- Charles Lail (b. 11/28/1846; d. 5/18/1911) <-- Charles Lail (b. 9/15/1807; d. 5/20/1861) <-- John Lail (brother of George Lail; b. 2/15/1776; d. 2/11/1853) <-- Hans George Lail, Jr. (aka George Lail, Jr. of Ruddell's Station fame; b. 6/4/1737; d. 8/7/1793). {info from "The Lagle/Lail Family in America" by Margaret Lail Hopkins and James Donald Lail}

Jon: I'm sure the Ruddles researchers would enjoy hearing from you! May I forward this and your email to them?

Kim: Sure. I'm a grandfather so there are other people in my family tree that I can tell them about as well. Anything I can do to help, let me know. As I said before, I'm just starting out in genealogy and I can use all the help I can get.

Kim Woodward"

George Lail Land Acquisition

Subject: The Lail Promsed land in Missouri - The Ruddles lived on the same farm.
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 00:32:08 -0600
From: "Rob" <>
To: <>

Hello Fellow Ruddlesforters,

Well I think most of you know that I have been searching over a year for the burial site of my gggg-grandfather, George Lail, III. I am proud to announce that I have finally located the old Summers Cemetery. It is listed at the courthouse as Jackson Cemetery # 22. The cemetery is on the Renne farm about 2 miles SW of the city limits of Jackson, Missouri in the county of Cape Girardeau. As many of you know George, III was taken west by the Shawnee that captured him, his brother Johnny, and the Ruddle brothers - along with many others- from Ruddles Station in June of 1780. Interestingly enough Elizabeth Ruddle, daughter of Capt. George Ruddle and Grandaughter of Capt. Issac Ruddle, was the wife of Andrew Summers. Andrew's family built a cabin below the spring in 1804. After the earthquakes of 1811 - 1812 Elizabeth and Andrew, with their family, moved to the farm as well. In his latter years George Ruddle lived with Elizabeth and her family. He is the one who passed down the story of Ruddles Station and Issac Ruddle to the Summers family. It appears that at least three of the Shawnee Captives from Ruddles Station walked the same ground around that spring flowing from the hillside in Missouri. George Lail, III, Capt. George Ruddle and Stephen Ruddle who visited while preaching in Missouri. George Lail, III, and George Ruddle are reprtedly buried there in the Summers Cemetery.

I finally tracked the place down on Thanksgiving day of last year. I was led to it by through information provided by Dr. William Eddleman, Joe Huett, and a newspaper article. The article was published in The Southeast Missourian in February of 1941. It was written by the Edward D. Hayes who at that time, being a Representative of the state of Missouri, was residing in Washington DC. It was reproduced in 1992 by Joe Lee Huett and first given to me by Dr. Eddleman from SEMO University. The following are some excerpts from that article. Please note that all puctuation and spelling is exactly as I recieved it. Also note that the dates are wrong by about 30 years. George actually came to the camp with the Shawnee around 1781 to 1787. I feel that this error in the dates is because the Lail genealogy they used is missing one of the Georges. They have George, III as George Jr. and have George Senior living in Ky. In fact it was George Jr. who was at Ruddles Station with his son George, III in 1780. Since Lorimer did not arrive in the Cape Girardeau district, from Ste. Genevieve until 1793 the basic assumtion of the article still holds true.

"Although Louis Lorimer is generally understood to have been the first white man to locate in the Cape Girardeau District, the fact is that another had proceeded him by many years. In 1757, 35 years before Lorimer established his settlement, the progenitor of the present Lail family became an inhabitant of what finally became known as Cape Girardeau County, Missouri." ... "About two miles southwest of the present city of Jackson, they came to a hill from the foot of which ran a sparkling spring of clear water. On the crown of this hill they made their camp. The streams were alive with fish; buffaloe's and bear's were numerous as well as deer and wild turkey's and other game; and the only white men for hundreds of miles were the far settlers of Ste Genevieve and Kaskaskie." ... "During the latter days of Spanish control, John Summers had obtained from the government an extensive grant of land which included the cabin site and spring where Lail had spent so many years, but Lail and his wife were never disturbed in their occupancy of the place. Being an industrious man of high character and good intelligence, as well as a schrewd trader, Lail made some money during the early part of the century, and on June 4th, 1830 he bought 420 acres of land, including the house and spring out of the old Spanish land grant which had been made to John Summers."

With this information and a good knowledge of all the gravel roads in the area, knowledge obtained during my teenage years, I was able to find what I thought must be the site. It had the hill, the spring and what is now known as Hubble Creek flows past southward in the meadow below the spring. Please recall that the article , which by the way came from stories passed down thru the Lail family, mentioned streams in the plural form. This last fact is what clenched it for me so at the risk of being rude I knocked on the door of the Renne farm on Thanksgiving Day.

Mrs. Renne answered the door and after hearing my story she invited me in talk to her husband. Sitting on the couch was the Co-Saludictorian of my graduating class from Jackson Public High School. Although I am sure the Renne's, being most hospitible folks, would have helped me anyway i am sure that graduating with their daughter helped to break the ice. One way or another within 20 minutes I found myself at the wheel of Mr. Renne's pickup while he tended the gates and guided me to the cemetery. He was quite knowledgable about the property. He was able to tell me much of its history. He took me to the cemetery which is now a cow pasture. The stones were all knocked down in the 70's by folks who claimed to be relatives of people buried there. They dropped some trees onto the stones and the fence surrounding the cemetery, cut up the logs and were never seen again. Mr. Renne cleaned up the mess and removed the fence which had been destroyed. Many of the stones were still there and I was able to locate the marker for Louisa Lail, George, III's daughter.

Well I cannot tell you how I felt. As I stood on that beautiful hill looking out over the very spot where the Shawnee were reported to have settled with George, I was filled with many emotions. Two of these stand out in my mind as I relate this tale to you. The first is the fact that I first set foot on The Missouri Lail's Promised Land on Thanksgiving Day, and I praised GOD for that blessing. The second was awsome wonder at the fact that the "clear flowing spring" was still flowing clear 212 years after my gggg-granfather first laid eyes on it. With the drought of 1999 I counted this last as a blessing also!

In closing I would like to say that The Renne family keeps an immaculate family farm and that his family has retained the beauty of the place. George would I think be proud of him. The Renne's have provided me with copies of the deeds and maps from the dispensation of George's will. They also provided me with a transcript of George Lails last will and testament. They have been nice enough to allow me to return to the cemetery, which I intend to do once spring arrives. Since Mom and Dad still live in Jackson I return there quite often. Dr. Eddleman has shown an interest in going with me to map the site. I personally feel that much of that cemetery is still intact and waiting just below the surface. If anyone is interested in seeing the place or helping with the clean up please contact me and I will call The Renne's on your behaf. I know these folks admire and respect our ancestors but I just don't want them getting swamped with messages from folks that they do not know. Remember what happened to them when the last set of ancestors came to clean up the cemetery. Also I have not yet forgotten how close we came to missing out on a trip to the Ruddles Fort site because of a similar situation.

My mailing address is:
Robert D. Jones
892 Whitley Way
Eddyville, Ky. 42038
Phone: 1-270-388-2119


Thanks to all those who helped and I will post all this info to a website if others are interested. Also any Ruddles who would like a transcript of the article concerning their relatives could download it. Just let me know one way or the other.