The Corbly family lived one mile north of Garards Fort, in southwest Pennsylvania at the John Corbley Farm. The massacre occurred on Sunday morning, May 10, 1782, as the Corbly family traveled on foot to their place of worship. The Corbly family had left their home and were on their way to worship at a place where Reverend John Corbly was to preach. When Corbly discovered that the Bible, which he thought was in Mrs. Corbly’s care, had been left at home, he returned to get it and then followed his family, meditating upon the sermon he was to preach.
A party of Indians were on Indian Point, an elevation of land from which they could see John Corbly’s cabin. The Indians descended the hill, crossed Whitely creek and filed up a ravine to the place, about forty-nine rods north of the present John Corbly Memorial Baptist Church, where the helpless family was massacred. Two of Corbly’s daughters, Delilah and Elizabeth, lived after brutal scalpings. Mrs. Corbly and the three remaining children were killed.
Because of the rise of ground the fort was out of view of the massacre, but was within hearing distance. The screams of the Corbly family were heard there and in a few minutes men on horseback rushed from the fort to give help.
The John Corbly Memorial Baptist Church was built in 1862. A plaque erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 1923 and set in a boulder reads: “Fort Garard built about 1774”. The Corbly massacre took place about 279 yards north on May 10, 1782. A family reunion of John Corbly descendants takes place every year on the last Sunday in June, at the John Corbly Memorial Baptist Church in Garards Fort, PA. A historic review follows the 9:30 AM church service at 11:00 AM with a potluck dinner afterwards.
Delilah lived to age 65 and reared ten children with Levi Martin. Elizabeth died at age 21, a few days before she was to marry Isaiah Morris of Garards Fort. Only John Jr escaped unharmed.
On wikipedia, I found a transcript of a manuscript which was a handwritten account of the Hanna and Corbly families, with the following passage [misspellings are as they were written]:
My History on My Mothers’ Side – She was a grand daughter of the Rev John Corbly.
A copy of a letter from Mr John Corbly a Baptist Minister to his friend in Philadelphia – dated Muddy Creek Sep 1 1792 (Whitley was called Muddy Creek at the time).
“The following are the particulars of the destruction of my unfortunate family by the savages on the 10th day of May last 1791. Being my appointment to preach at one of the meeting-houses about a mile from my dwelling house, I set out with my loving wife and five children for public worship, not suspecting any danger. I walked behind a few rods with my bible in my hand meditating. As I was thus employed on a sudden I was greatly alarmed by the frightful shriks of my dear family before me. I immediately ran to their relief with all possible speed vainly hunting a club as I ran. When within a few yards of them my poor wife observing me cried out to me to make my escape. At this instant an Indian ran up to shoot me. I had to strip and by so doing out ran him. My wife had an infant in her arms which the Indians killed and scalped after which they struck my wife several times but not bringing her to the ground. The Indians who attempted to shoot me approached her and shot her through the body after which they scalped her. My little son about six years old they dispatched by sinking there hatchet into his brain. My little daughter four years old they in like manner tomahawked and scalped. My elder daughter attempted an escape by concealing her self in a hollow tree about six rods from the fatal scene of action. Observing the Indians retiring, as she supposed, she deliberately crept out from the place of her concealment when one of the Indians who yet remained on the ground espying her ran up to her and with his tomahawk knocked her down and scalped her. But blessed be God she yet survives as dose here little sister whom the savages in like manner tomahawked and scalped. They are mangled to a shocking degree but the doctors think there are some hope of their recovery. When I supposed the Indians gone I returned to see what had become of my unfortunate family whom also I found in the situation above described. No one my dear friend can form a true conception of my feelings at this moment. A view of a crime so shocking to humanity quite over come me. I fainted and was unconsciously boarn off by a friend who at that moment arrived to my relief. Thus my dear Sir I have given you a faithful though short narrative of the fatal castraphe amidst which my life is spared but for what purpose The Great Jehovah best knows. Oh may I spend it to the praise and glory of his grace who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. The government of the world and its church are in his hands. I conclude with wishing you every blessing and subscribe myself your affectionate though afflicted friend and unworthy brother in the gospel ministry. John Corbly. “
my grandmothers grandparents were Levi and Deliha Martin.I wish I could find family members from the Martin family
I have the book with the Corbly family tree that should have a lot in it, I’ll try to send you an email with the copied pages if your included email will work? 🙂
I am a descendent of the Martin family as well, we are trying to find out who Levi’s father was..I would like a copy of that Family tree, my grandfather is Floyd Martin.
I have some family visiting today, but will send you an email as soon as I can. 🙂
I just sent off the page that has to do with your family. Your line was the second wife for Rev. John Corbly… Due to the massacre the family tree for that line in the book is only a page. The Corbly reunion might have more information and it’s possible they have access to more copies of the book too. Let me know if I can help find any other info! I’m descended from Corbly’s 3rd wife.
Does anyone have any information about Delilah? Are there any paintings or photos of drawings of Delilah and Levi or their children? How did they move from PA to Ohio? May I have a copy of the book as well?
I should have information – I’ll try to look later today. I’m not sure about drawings, but I can check what I have in my files. There is a family reunion every year in PA, and a Leola Murphy wrote the book (and the sequel). I think she is usually at the reunion. I know I got my copy of the book from her. The 87th Corbly reunion will be held at The John Corbly Memorial Baptist Church on Sunday June 24, 2018. – And info about the Corbly Association can be received from William M Miller (current president)
1308 Garards Fort RdWaynesburg, PA 15370
I’ll email you later today with anything I find tonight though. I know my branch of the family moved from PA to Illinois. I think it was during the land grabs that were going on, Rev Corbly had 3 wives and a lot of children, so I suspect that they moved as they didn’t have land of their own. Delilah was the one surviving daughter of the middle wife and survived being scalped by the Indians.
I discovered last fall that I am a descendant of Delilah.. I plan on attending in June 2018
That’s great! I’m hoping to go too.
My name is John Mitchell from Humboldt Co. Ca. My grandmother was a Martin , which goes back to Levi Martin.
Nice to meet you!
My grandfather is a Martin from Levi and Delilah as well. They were his grandparents or great grandparents
I realized I’ve created a folder that will help. 🙂 Delilah Corbly I’ll send more later to your email. This link is a google doc folder on my google drive.
I suspect my William P. Martin is a son of Levi of Delilah Corbley Martin. William married twice (that I’m aware of) and fathered children in both marriages. His first wife was Camille Wiley, his second wife was Mary Blue(?) He had a daughter named Mary Emily Martin who married Daniel Henry Jones in 1836 in Clinton County Ohio and the family migrated to East Texas by 1852.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Levi Martin’s will that was April 15, 1835 listed a William Martin, but the book I have doesn’t have any information about a spouse or children for him. He is listed as William P Martin and the book has him born February 15, 1830. Does that seem like it might be the same William?
My William P. Martin has a birth date of January 21,1803 Troy, Ohio. Lived in Indiana at one point later in his life, as he’s said to have had connections to the Underground Railroad running through Elkhart County during the Civil War. He died August 2, 1882 and is buried in Martin Cemetery, Grundy County, Missouri. Conflicting information has his middle initial as standing for “Pate” or “Polk”.
I’ll see if I can find any information today. I have a couple other books on the Corbly family and one may have some information. The Descendant book wasn’t always completely accurate, but Delilah was born in 1774 – married Levi in 1789 and it does say that Levi had ventured to OH before they married. They moved to Troy Oh. I just noticed though that the William P Martin that is born in 1830 is the grandson through a Joseph. They do have another William with no initial listed for the middle name. If you click on the link Delilah you can see the pages. I’ll look today and see if I can find more information.
My grandmothers father was William Martin he died in july1898.
I have a William P Martin in my tree that was born around 1830… And another that was the son of Levi Martin and Delilah Corbly – that I don’t have any dates for but was probably born between 1787 to 1815. Does either of those sound right? 🙂
I am both a Corbly And Martin(Ohio) descendent. Mr gr Grandmother was Estella Corbly Grandaughter of George & Lydia Martin and Daughter of Stephen Gerard Corbly. My line goes Rev John Corbly, John Corbly Jr(also Rev) then a Stephen Davis Corbly who married Margaret Riggs. Anyone from that line I would love to attend the memorial celebration in June. Does anyone know the origin of Garrards/Gerrards station/Fort? I also descend from a Rev John Gerrard whose gr Grandaughter Julia Ann Gerrard married Stephen Davis Corbly. My eyes are beginning to scramble and I thought my Massachusetts Lanes were difficult. Thanks Darlene
what Indian tribe were these savages.?
I haven’t been able to find anything telling for sure what tribe it was. One article mentions a multi tribe coalition – The murder of Corbley’s family near Pittsburgh was indicative of just how perilous the Pennsylvania frontier was before General Anthony Wayne crushed the multi-tribe coalition of Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. I also though found information showing where the English were also scalping the native Americans. This was near Fort Garard…
What interstate is the memorial church close to?
I was wondering ifCorbly decemdents moved to Montana my grandmother was GLAYDES and she married Emil NIEMAN the Corblys lived in Lewistown Montana at 718 Pine Street
It’s highly possible. There is a book that lists all the descendants that Leola Murphy knew of, but there were definitely a lot more. My branch came to Illinois – but Rev Corbly had a lot of descendants. I’ll try to look tonight and see if that branch is listed in the book and then email you.