From "Old Ridge Runner" By Herman Hebb
Published 1997
Available from McClain Printing Co. Parsons, WV
(Submitted by Louise Ethel Righman)


Peers t’ me
      We are sometimes surrounded by bits of history that even those concerned do not realize.

      A few weeks ago I was chatting with Mrs. Frances Ferguson about people in the county and where most of their ancestors came from. Frances, of course, is an authority on this sort of thing, having made genealogy her lifetime hobby. She really does a good job and can come up with something relating to about anyone in the area. She was telling me about one name that she had come across in her studies and it led to an interesting story. One, I think, many people in the area would be interested to hear. That is the name of Billy Hebb.

      Billy was born in England in 1757. Like many of his descendants he liked to see what was on the other side of the hill and at an early age he enlisted in the British Army and soon found himself in the Colonies. We do not know whether he was discharged from the army here but we do know that he joined the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington and rode in Gen. Washington’s life guard, he was an excellent horseman and was with the cavalry at The Battle of Cowpens in south Caroline. Billy had been wounded and Col. Washington took Billy’s horse had been shot. Col Washington took Billy’s horse and was riding it when he cut the fingers off the British general’s hand.

      Billy was wounded three times during the war. He was honorably discharged in south Caroline by Col. Washington at the end of the war. When Billy was 60 years old he applied for a pension. When asked if he could prove he had been wounded in the war Billy pulled off his shirt and showed them the three musket ball holes through his body. He received a pension of $8 a month.

      After the war Billy settled in Westmoreland County, Virginia. there he met and fell in love with a young widow who was his own age. The young widow returned Billy’s love and so he and Jemima were married.

      Jemima was from on of the old aristocratic families of Virginia but she was adamantly against slavery. We freed all the slaves in her possession and she and Billy decided to go to the new frontier beyond the Blueridge Mountains. They settled in the area now know as Seven Islands on the Cheat River. They then settled down to a frontier life and started rearing their family. Five children were born to them, four boys and one girl. Thomas, Robert, John, Reuben, and Nancy. As the children grew up they married and settled in the area and nearby counties, becoming farmers, woodsmen, and one school teacher.

      Billy and Jemima are buried at the mouth of Wolf Creek where it empties into Cheat River near where US Rt 50 comes down over the mountain near the river.

      By the way the name of the young soldier was William Hebb and his wife’s name was Jemima Washington Jenkins. Before her first marriage her name was Jemima Washington, daughter of Thomas Washington and niece of Gen. George Washington. So if any of you “Ridgerunners” can trace your ancestry back to William and Jemima Hebb you can claim Gen. George Washington as your great uncle and his brother and niece as your great-grandfather and grandmother.

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