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Gen. Henry MASSIE

Male 1768 - 1830  (62 years)

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  • Name Henry MASSIE 
    Title Gen. 
    Born 5 Feb 1768  Goochland County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 8 Feb 1830  Jefferson County, KY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Bullitt Family Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, KY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • (1) Bannon, Henry, Scioto Sketches - An Account of Discovery and Settlement of Scioto County, Ohio, Chicago, IL: A. C. McClurg & Company, 1920, pp. 32, 51, 54, 58-59:

      The activities of the two Massie brothers, Nathaniel and Henry, will ever be connected with the settlements in Scioto County [Ohio] and with the establishment of the city of Portsmouth [Ohio]. Nathaniel Massie was the more active in pioneer work. He established the towns of Manchester, Chillicothe, and Bainbridge. Manchester was originally called Massie's Station. Henry Massie . . . established the city of Portsmouth. Nathaniel Massie was a forceful, intrepid pioneer who did not hesitate to make surveys of the region between the Ohio River and Chillicothe, at a time when it was infested by hostile Indians. He made a survey of the Scioto River in October, 1793, from its mouth to Chillicothe. . . .

      In April, 1808, Henry Massie filed the plat of the town of Portsmouth, which was destined to become the principal city of Scioto County. To encourage settlements in the town, Massie offered to convey to each freeholder in Alexandria, the same number of lots in Portsmouth as such person owned in Alexandria, providing that he remove to Portsmouth or build a residence there. The hope that Alexandria would become the county seat deterred the inhabitants from accepting the offer and they remained there, as one of them expressed, "to my sorrow and without benefit.". . .

      The origin of the name for the city of Portsmouth is involved in obscurity. The United States Geological Survey is authority for the statement that it was named for the city in Virginia. The fact that Henry Massie was a Virginian lends some color to such origin. There is a local tradition, however, that Portsmouth, Ohio, was named for Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This tradition has for its source, the story of a quaint character by name of Josiah Shackford, who came to Alexandria in 1802. When Henry Massie came to Portsmouth, he met Josiah Shackford and they became good friends. Josiah Shackford was bom in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and, the story goes, that Henry Massie was requested by him to name the new town for the birth place of Josiah Shackford, and Massie complied with the request. The most plausible explanation for the name has its basis in the location of the city on a good harbor, at the mouth of the Scioto. The pioneers firmly believed that the vast commerce that would arise in the future from Pittsburg to New Orleans would center at the mouth of the Scioto River, whence it would be distributed inland to the Great Lakes region by way of Scioto. The future city, in their minds, was destined to be a great port at the mouth of the Scioto. The origin, no doubt, of the name was based upon such considerations, rather than upon those of trivial circumstance. . . .

      The difficulties, under which Nathaniel Massie and his hardy assistants made the surveys in the Virginia Military District, are of great interest to us. Fortunately, John McDonald, who sometimes accompanied Massie's surveying expeditions, has left us, in his Sketches, a narrative of General Massie's adventures, with a description of his methods. During the winter of 1787, John O'Bannon and Arthur Fox of Kentucky prospected in the Virginia Military District. At this time, they examined the lands along the Ohio and Scioto rivers. General Massie made his first investigation during the succeeding year; but it was not until March, 1791 that he began active operations. He established a base at the location of Manchester. And, as this point was about midway between the Scioto and Little Miami rivers, it afforded convenient access to the southern portion of the District. Here, he organized a settlement of about thirty families, fortified by block houses, and enclosed with pickets.

      As soon as the base was completed, the surveying parties were so organized as to insure the making of the surveys, the safety of the party, and a sufficient supply of food. Four surveyors were engaged in the enterprise and each surveyor was accompanied by two chain-men, one marker, one horse wrangler, one hunter, and one scout, making seven in all. A hunter went in advance of each party, in order to kill game and to look out for an ambush of Indians. The scout, followed in the rear of the party, to watch for Indians who might be lurking along the trail. Each man carried a blanket and a rifle, and the pack horse bore such other articles as were necessary for the men.

      The Indians traveled but little through southern Ohio during the winter. While the weather was cold, they preferred to remain in their villages on the prairies. Indian hostility to surveying parties was so bitter that General Massie made nearly all of his surveys after cold weather had set in. During the summer, while the Indians were active, the white men retired to Manchester and cultivated crops.

      Much of General Massie's success in surveying was due to his vigilance in protecting his men against surprise. Soon after supper the different groups retired two or three hundred yards from the camp fires and made their beds. The snow was brushed aside, one blanket was spread on the ground, and the other was used for cover. The group lay down close together; every man with his rifle beside him. They did not rise until quite light; and then, all rose together at a signal from General Massie. Before leaving their bivouac to return to the camp fires to cook breakfast, the scouts and hunters carefully circled the neighborhood, to determine whether Indians were lurking about. This course was adopted to prevent a surprise or an ambush for a favorite method of Indian warfare was to attack a camping party while its members were busy with breakfast.

      General Massie was engaged in surveying for several years, during which time, he and his men often suffered peril from Indian attack, extreme cold, and scarcity of food. But, as there were no such experiences in Scioto County, the relation of such incidents are not in place here. As a result of his strenuous early life, many honors, and much wealth, came to General Massie. His eminent career will ever occupy a prominent place in the story of Ohio.

      (2) Evans, Nelson W., A History of Scioto County, Ohio, Vol. 1, Portsmouth, OH: Nelson W. Evans, 1903, p. 614:

      1. The First recorded conveyance in the city of Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio, is that of Henry Massie, the original proprietor, to James Gilkenson. This deed reads, as did all the early deeds, "This indenture made between Henry Massie, of Scioto County, Ohio, and James Gilkenson, of the same county." The consideration was one dollar, and conveyed Lot 79, where the Tracy Shoe House now stands. The deed was made October 27, 1806. There are no witnesses to it, and the acknowledgement was made before Alexander Curran, Recorder of Scioto County. Mr. Massie had entered the lots on which Portsmouth was founded on the 29th of March, 1801, but he had never obtained a patent for them until August 4, 1806, consequently, all his sales of lots in Portsmouth, prior to the issue of the patent, were by title bond; and it seems he did not begin to make deeds until the 27th of October, 1806. No doubt, he then visited Portsmouth for that purpose and stopped at the hotel of John Brown, and a number of conveyances are acknowledged before John Brown, Justice of the Peace.

      2. On the same date, October 27, 1806, Massie made a deed of indenture to Samuel Salladay. The consideration was left blank. There are no witnesses, and it was acknowledged before John Brown, Justice of the Peace.

      3. On the same day he sold Outlot No. 9, near the corner of Sixth and Washington Streets, to John Gilkenson. The consideration was left blank. John Brown, Justice of the Peace, took the acknowledgement. No doubt, Gilkenson and Salladay had rendered Massie services in the laying out of the town, and the deeds were made to pay for services rendered.


      Gen Henry Massie
      Birth: Feb. 5, 1768, Goochland County, Virginia, USA
      Death: Feb. 8, 1830, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA

      Inscription: Husband of Helen Scott Bullitt, Third child of Col Alex Scott Bullitt and his first wife Priscilla Christian

      Burial: Bullitt Family Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA

      Maintained by: Sara Fielder
      Originally Created by: Alex Olson
      Record added: May 09, 2010
      Find A Grave Memorial# 52166914
    Person ID I41637  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 29 Dec 2018 

    Family Helen Scott BULLITT,   b. 1790, Jefferson County, KY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Dec 1871, Jefferson County, KY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years) 
    Married 11 Nov 1808  Jefferson County, KY Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Last Modified 29 Dec 2018 19:11:43 
    Family ID F17885  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. Details: Details: Details: Citation Text: (1) Kentucky Marriages, 1802-1850 [database online], Provo, UT: Operations Inc, 1997: Name: Henry Massie Marriage Date: 11 Nov 1808 Marriage Place: Jefferson, Kentucky, USA Spouse: Helen Bullitt.