The Puzzle of Eva Wampler
Last update: 1/14/2001
To see some progress on the questions raised
in this analysis see the update page.
The story of Eva Wampler is a tradition that has been recorded in several forms by historians and genealogists. The Eva of these stories married a man named Kinsey or Kincey after being abducted by Indians at an early age and returned to her parents as a teenager. It is well documented that she died in 1821 and her descendents (1622 of them!) have been tracked by Mark D. Black, Sr. (firstname.lastname@example.org), of Logansport, IN.
The story seems to be confused by records of multiple Eva's: 1) Eva Wampfler [c1-10], a daughter of Hans Peter Sr. who was said to be born in 1738 in Hinsingen, Alsace, 2) Eve Wampler [hp2-1], daughter of Hans Peter Jr., born c. 1748 in Lancaster PA; and 3) Eva Wampler, daughter of an unknown early (1710) immigrant, born in 1738 in Botetourt Co. VA.
To understand the differences between these Eva's, it is useful to examine the historical base of the information about their origins.
1) Eva, Daughter of Hans Peter Sr.
When Fred Wampler (1986) examined church records in Keskastel and Altweiler, Alsace, where Hans Peter Wampfler (1701-1749) had his children christened, he found records for seven children: Anna Magdalena (1720), Hans Peter (1722), Hans Michel (1724), Anna Fronica (1726), Anna Barbara (1729), Anna Elizabeth (1732) and Anna Catherina (1734). No EVA or EVE! However, we know that the list is not complete since Fred found evidence that a son Hans George [c1-8] was also born in Alsace in 1736 and a fourth son Hans Adam has also been tentatively linked to this family. Thus, an Eva born in 1738 is still possible. The Brethren Encyclopedia in a short article written in part by Barbara Wampler indicates that Hans Peter was accompanied by "his wife, four sons, and three daughters." Fred Wampler (1986) found records of the infant deaths of Anna Elisabeth and Anna Catherina. Therefore, the 1741 immigrants were probably Hans Peter Sr., his wife, four sons and the remaining three daughters listed above. In summary, we have no support for a daughter Eva, born in 1738 to Hans Peter Sr.
2) Eve, Daughter of Hans Peter Jr.
In the Will of Hans Peter Jr. (Liber G. M. No. 2, Folio 392, Executor Martin Garber, Sr., dated 6-30-1792, Frederick Co. MD) he writes: "[I] give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter Eve Kincey thirty five pounds current money." This would fit with the story of abduction of some of the children of a Peter Wampler by Indians that has been reported in various sources. For example, I. Daniel Rupp (1844) reports a variety of stories from the Indian Wars of the 1740-1760 period in Pennsylvannia. On page 74 in quotations that appear to be from the Pennsylvania Gazette sometime on or after Sept. 8, 1757, he reports "on last Friday, four children were carried off by the indians from Reading, Berks County...." and later "A letter from Hanover township, Lancaster county, dated Oct. 1st, 1757, says that the children mentioned of having been carried off from Lebanon Township, belonging to Peter Wampler." However, another discussion of the same source (Virgle and Smith, 1962) quotes the source as indicating two female children were taken." The date of the abduction therefore is placed somewhere between Sept. 2, 1757 (the Friday before Sept. 8) and Oct. 1, 1757 when the letter from Hanover Township was dated. This date is considerably later than the 1745 date of the traditional story (Eva is said to be seven when abducted and born in 1738). In addition, the traditional story says that Eve (or Eva) was born in VA and there is no evidence that Hans Peter or Hans Peter Jr. ever lived in VA and certainly not in 1738/39.
3) Eva, Daughter of 1710 Immigrant.
In the full text from "Wampler Ancestors and Descendents in America, Journal #2" (Barbara Wampler, 1977) quoted below, Eva is born in VA, the daughter of early Holland immigrants of 1710. The initial tendency is to discount this description on the basis that the ships that the 1740's immigrants used originated in Rotterdam, Holland, and that Henry Kinsey is the Kincey mentioned as the husband of Hans Peter Jr.'s daughter. However, it is interesting that the immigration date (1710) of this Eva's parents correlates with the tradition mentioned in the story of the ancestors of Daniel Wampler. There is also a Peter Wampler mentioned in this lineage and as indicated in The Puzzle of Daniel Wampler, the tradition for this story lead FROM VIRGINIA to PENNSYLVANIA and, therefore, potentially to the Indian abduction story as well. Note, also that the one record in support of this story is a land purchase in Pennsylvania by a Peter Wampler in 1740 in Lebanon Co. PA where the later story of Indian abduction also occurredb. This land purchase date, if correct, predates the immigration date of Hans Peter Sr. and Jr. The birth date of this Eva is not consistent with her being the abducted young child of the 1757 story above (she would have been 19 years old).
Rupp (1844) also relates stories of returned captives after the peace with the Indians in 1764. In one story (pp. 318-320) two girls, 19 year old Regina and another 11 year old are returned at Bethel Township. His book is full of accounts of murders, scalpings and abductions throughout the period from 1744 to 1764. In the quote from the Sept. 8, 1757 Pennsylvania Gazette the grim nature of the conflict with the Indians is clear:
"Our accounts, in general, from the frontiers, are most dismal; all agreeing that some of the inhabitants are killed or carried off; houses burnt and cattle destroyed daily- and that at the same time they are afflicted with severe sickness and die fast, so that in many places, they are neither able to defend themselves, when attacked, nor to run away."
He further reports that in the same letter that reported the abducted children were those of Peter Wampler, it was state that "the frontiers are almost without inhabitants.."
Thus, we are left with two possibilities:
1) That the traditional story, below, is essentially correct AND that there are two Eve Wampflers, one who married a Kincey and one who married a Kinsey, both children of a Peter Wampfler each of whom had children abducted by Indians. At first, this explanation seems to contain too many coincidences, however, it is important to remember several things about the times and the Wampflers of those times:
a) Eve and Eva are common names in the family at that time
b) The isolated communities that they lived in resulted in many incidences of multiple marriages between the same families
c) It is obvious from the accounts in Rupp's book and others that most of the frontier families must have suffered indian incidents of one kind or another. There are also consequences to accepting this explanation:
a) There was at least one Wampfler immigrant prior to the 1741 family of Hans Peter Sr. b) There were THREE Peter Wampflers in frontier Pennsylvania in the 1740-1760 period. c) There were Wampfler's in Virginia before 1740.
2) That the story of Eve 1 and Eve 2 are the same story and, therefore, that several parts of the traditional story are incorrect, i.e. that she was not born in VA, she was born after 1741, her age at death would have been something less than 83 and, of course, her father didn't immigrate until 1741.
The Traditional Story
This is the traditional story as reported in "Wampler Ancestors and Descendents in America, Journal #1," Barbara Wampler (1977, pp. 23-24):
During last summer (the year being 1899), Mrs. Z. Luther of Oakland, California on a visit to her old home in Dayton, Ohio, called upon the Dayton Historical Society and told the story of her great-grandmother, who was buried in the Soldiers Home grounds. She visited the graves of this pioneer family. The spot was soon located on the knoll where the Deer Lodge now stands. Mrs. Luther requested of the managers that she be granted the privilege to place the unkept graves in good condition, and the privilege to mark the historic spot with a monument in honour of the soldiers of 1812, the pioneer family, and Eva Wampler, her great- grandmother, who was the little girl stolen by Indians in 1745.
Eve Wampler was born in Botetourt County, Virginia in 1738, Her parents being of the early Holland settlers who emigrated to Virginia in 1710 and located on the frontier of the said state. The Indians were very troublesome. At an early age of seven, her parents left her in the house to care for the younger children while they went to work in the fields. A band of roving Indians came to the house one day, ransacked it and destroyed everything they could. They took the featherbeds and ripped them apart and poured molasses over them, not daring to burn for fear of being detected. They carried off the little girl, Eva (and according to other stories, some of her sisters as well). She was inconsolable and refused to eat anything. The Indians would take their tomahawks and chop into the trees and make motions to her that they would do the same to her if she did not eat. But, finding that didn't help and they couldn't force her with threats, they set her to feeding the Indian papooses and gave her sweet cakes; and in chewing the sweet cakes to give to the papooses, her hunger overcame her and she ate the cake, and in that way broke her fast. The Chief of the tribe became interested in her, and she became his favorite, and at the age of 14 was his promised bride. But, about that time, peace was declared and a reward was offered by the United States Government for the return of all whites stolen by the Indians. Eva was then soon away from her tribe and returned to her parents.
Upon her return, she was not able to understand a word of English. Her parents made great efforts to have her speak or understand but they could not arrest her attention. Finally they gathered around her and began singing a familiar hymn which she recognized, and she began to sing. But she could not speak a word for a long time. One day she went out into the field with her father who was making a fence. He had just brought a rail and started back for another when all at once she exclaimed "I will fetch that rail"! Her father was so overcome with joy that he took her home at once to tell the rest of the family the glad news that Eva had spoken.
At about the age of 23, Eva was married to Henry Kinsey. They raised a family of six children some of whom married and settled in Va., but around the year 1800, she with her husband and family emigrated to Ohio and a section of land six hundred and forty acres, now included in the Dayton's National Home. They left behind their two married daughters, one of whom married Jacob Wolf. The parents, anxious to have their daughter Hannah near them, wrote often to them to come to Ohio, and they would give them land. Finally, Jacob Wolf, husband of Hannah, wrote to the parents saying that if they could find him a good spring of running water they would come. They found the spring which now bears the name "The Grotto Spring". The Wolf family then moved to Ohio, arriving in 1805, and settled in the old log house which stood on the top of the hill at "Grotto Spring", which afterwards became the first headquarters of the National Soldiers Home, and the old red barn became the dining room which the veterans had, while the sugar grove nearby, which for years furnished the supply or sugar, cast its ample shade on hot summer days for the soldiers to enjoy.
Jacob Wolf served in the War of 1812 as a teamster, hauling supplies for the Army between Dayton and Fort Wayne, furnishing his own team of horses. He was protected by only one bodyguard on this long and dangerous drive. One night while in a dense forest they stopped to cook coffee, and attempted to start a fire by placing powder in the pit of the flintlock musket, but they forgot to close the opening into the barrel of the gun. The fire flashed into the lock causing a loud report. They were terribly frightened, thinking that the Indians would find them, but they were not disturbed. He was honorably discharged as a soldier and his wife recieved a pension after his death. While a teamster and upon arriving at Fort Wayne with his supplies, the officers would mess with him, and he would make chocolate for them as they were very fond of it. He served for three years in the Army and one night after his return from a trip to Dayton his horses were stolen at Fort Wayne. He was then allowed to return to his home.
Eva Kinsey closed an eventful life in the year 1821 at the age of 83 and was laid to rest in the knoll near the old Deer Lodge at the National Soldiers Home, which spot also marks the resting place of her husband, Henry Kinsey, who passed away several years prior to Eva's death. Some years later the daughter Hannah died, and afterwards Jacob Wolf, in 1849.
Seventy-eight years have passed and what to this early pioneer family and veteran soldier in the days of the tomahawk and scout was an almost unbroken wilderness and cherished by them as their home -has become the home in retreat for veterans of the late wars, and in the March of Civilization, the cooling spring for which the veteran while yet in Virginia has asked, has been transformed from the spring at the milk house to a beautiful romantic spot. The Grotto Spring where thousands have been refreshed by its cooling waters, and the old farm has become a historic spot that gives rest and shelter to the brave boys of 1861.
Questions raised by Barbara Wampler
Following the copy of the story above, Barbara Wampler (1977, p. 25) raised the following questions concerning Eva:
The Story of Eva Wampler was sent to me twice. Robert Hume North, who passed away in 1974, And Marjorie Moore, were the donors of the material.
And, as with all traditional stories -there are discrepancies in this story, too. I chose to print this longer version of the story because it does give more detail, and includes Eva's daughter, Hannah and her husband Jacob Wolf, The other one did not.
This is a beautiful story of an ancestor and we hate to be the one to bring up any questions, but hear me out, please. For instance, in the story it clearly states that Hannah died before her husband, and if this is the case, then she could NOT have recieved his pension. This we all know is impossible, and by the writer's own pen - he or she must not have noticed what they were writing conflicted.
Other records I have recieved from Wampler collaterals suggests that Eva was born around 1745 and taken by Indians in 1752 - and this is not possible if she died in 1821 at the age of 83 years. It doesn't take much figuring to know that couldn't be true. She would have had to be born In 1738 to die at 83 in 1821, that's the fact. Therefore she could not be the daughter of Peter Wampler Jr. who died in 1792 Frederick County, Maryland who mentions a daughter Eve (married to a Kincey) because as the story says, her parents lived in Virginia and she went to Ohio from there, Peter and wife both died in Maryland, and as far as we can determine they never went into Virginia at all, And the date of his birth was 1723, which would have made him only 15 years old when Eva Wampler was born. John Wampler, his son, was born on Sept, 11, 1768 in Lancaster County, Penna., in fact.
As we find further information about this particular problem, we will publish it for the rest of you to read. But, we don't feel this story should be continued to circulate without being corrected, after all, that's why we are here.. to help you sort and straighten out records of our ancestors.
Bessie Hill sent this story to Mike Horvat, who in turn sent it to me. The other story (the short version) was sent by Robert H. North evidently to persons with Wampler blood in their backgrounds, and it reached me through Marjorie Moore. I don't care how the material reaches me, just so it does get into our records. It is all very important, and with careful understanding it can be worked out, I'm sure.
I hate having to be the one who cut short a branch of a family tree, but it has happened to me more than once -and it is no happy feeling when that has to happen, but better you find it out; now than think you have reached the end of your ancestry in America and never finding out you were wrong until it was all over ----because then you just have to do it over again anyway. We will help you all we can to get this lineage straight, I promise you that.
Comment on Barbara's Concerns by J. D. Morgan
In Journal #2, page 20, there are the following excerpts from a letter by J. Derald Morgan of Rolla, Missouri, Dated Feb 11, 1977:
"I have recieved book #1 of your publication, and wish to respond to your assessment of the Eva Wampler story. I was the one who provided Mr. Robert North with the full length story, including the protion on Jacob Wolf, during some of our correspondence in the early '70's. First of all, your first assessment that Hanna died before her husband and therefore could not have received his pen- sion would be true if indeeed, the writer of the story was indicat- ing that Hanna was the one that received the pension. However, Joseph Wolf (and he writes Joseph here; not Jacob) remarried and it was his second wife who received his war pension after his death. Certainly the author did not make that particular point clear, but the fact that he did have a wife who received his pension is in- deed true....
The Story of Eva Wampler Kinsey's capture by the Indians, however, seems to be very deeply seated in the additional stories among the Wolf Family. I suspect that the essence of the story is probably correctly founded. I do think, however, that you have pointed out the proper problems as to whether or not the dates and location of birth and therefore age at death are correct. I have a number of letters from Mr. Robert North which I will attempt to get an opportunity to xerox and send to you. He questions the fact that Eva was born in Virginia in the first place, and is convinced that she was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and that it is very likely that she did not enter Virginia until following the Revolutionary War, probably early 1800's."