Sarah Eliza Gibbons


Personal and Family Information

Sarah was born on 5 MAY 1742 in Winchester, Frederick County, VA, the daughter of James Gibbons and Mary Miller.

She died on 16 SEP 1832 in Winchester, Frederick County, VA.

She had two marriages/partners. Her first husband was Unknown Native American, who she married in ABT 1760. The place has not been found. Their only known child was Abraham (c1764-?).

Her second husband was Cornelius Lister, who she married in 1762. The place has not been found. Their six known children were Lydia (?-?), John (1763-?), William (1767-1856), Mary "Molly" (1768-?), Rachel (1770-1800) and Cornelius (1775-1885).

Pedigree Chart (3 generations)


Sarah Eliza Gibbons


James Gibbons


Mary Miller



Birth5 MAY 1742
Place: Winchester, Frederick County, VA
Death16 SEP 1832
Place: Winchester, Frederick County, VA


Note 1

Sarah Gibbons was born May 5, 1742 Winchester, Frederick Co. Va. died September 16, 1832 Winchester, Frederick Co. Va.

In the spring of 1756 (probably April) Indians attacked at North River Mill. It is believed that Sarah's father, James Gibbons, was killed in this attack. Sarah was captured by the Indians and lived with them for about 9 yrs, during which time she reportedly was the wife of the son of a chief and gave birth to a half-Indian son whom she named Abraham Gibbons.

Sarah and her son were returned to her family in 1765.

On Oct 9, 1774, Sarah's son, Abraham aged 10 years, was bound to Daniel Sowers. A few months later Sarah filed a suit against Sowers for mistreating her son. Abraham rejoined his fathers people and nothing more is known of him.

Sarah was known as an "Indian Doctor" because of the healing skills, using herbs, which she learned from the Indians.

Sarah Married Cornelious Lister born 1740 in Ireland (believed to have been a runaway priest) died May 6, 1805 Frederick Co. Va.

children: John b abt 1763 Frederick Co. m 1797 Mary Grove

Cornelius b abt 1765 Frederick Co m Mary ?

Lydia d abt 1809 m Stephen Powell

Rachel b May 5, 1770 d Sept 16, 1800 m Geo Shiner

William b abt 1767 Frederick Co. m Juliet Dawson

Source: Hal Gibbens

Note 2

Source: Vickie McCracken

In addition to othe r families, Ind ians also assaulted and pillaged the property and family of J ames Gibbons, During 1756 raid at North River Mills his daughter, Sarah Gibbons, born May 5, 1742, was taken prisoner, along with a neighbor Mrs. George Horner, and held for eight Or nine years. Presumably Sarah was returned to Old Frederick County In 1764/5. Family history states that while being held Sarah was the wife of the son of a chief! When she was returned to her family she was accompanied by her Indian son, Abraham Gibbons.

Abraham,listed as age 10 years on October 9, 1774, when he was bound to Daniel Sowers, to learn the blacksmith trade. A few months later Sarah filed a suit against Sowers for mistreating her s on, Abraham. Abraham later joined his father's people. Sarah was known by occupation as an 'Indian Doctor' - use of herbs.

After her marriage to Cornelius Lister, Sarah became known her locality as a "Doctor for Children" because of the medical property of herbs she had learned while being an Indian wife. This was written from research of Harry L. Shiner and filmed for the SLC Gen. Lib. (reported by Betty Hawley

Sarah married Cornelius Lister. She and Cornelius had 6 children. George Huse Shiner and his sister Cynthia were left orphans at an early age and raised by their maternal grandmother, Sarah. They lived on a little farm on the Opequen Creek, about four miles east of Winchester. Sarah a North Dakota Cynthia lived with him until they died. Cynthia Washington was crippled from rheumatism.

Sarah passed away at the age of 90 at the home of her daughter Rachel and her husband George Shiner .(reported by Betty Hawle y,

Note 3

The Story of Sarah Gibbons

    The Gibbons family was living near Fort Thomas Parker. When Sarah Gibbons  was 13 years old she was kidnapped by Indians . She was taken to an Indian  village and was raised by the Indians. Sarah married one of the braves and  had a child. The child was named Abraham Gibbons.

    In 1765 or 1767 Sarah left the Indian village to find her natural parents.  Her home place had been sold to Dr. James Craik. (This was George  Washington's personal physician.) Her father, James Gibbons, had died in  1760. Her mother had married Durret Covey. Mr. Covey was a member of  Lewis's militia who came to the rescue when the Indians had kidnapped Sarah.  Sarah's brother, Jacob, was now living along Opequon Creek, near Winchester. 

    Sarah gave up her son to Daniel Sowers as an indentured servant. In 1774,  Sarah filled charges against Sowers for child abuse. The child was returned  to her. Sarah married Cornelius Lister and lived three miles south of  Winchester next to her brother's home.

From an article by Stephanie Bailes' articles on North River Mills

Note 4

From A History of the Valley of Virginia By Samuel Kercheval

Chapter VII


After the defeat of Braddock, the whole western frontier was left exposed to the incursions of the Indians and French in the spring of the year, 1756, a party of about fifty Indians, with a French captain at their head, crossed the Alleghany Mountains, committing on the white settlers every act of barbarous war. Capt. Jeremiah Smith, raised a party of twenty brave men, marched to mee this savage foe, and fell in with them at the head of Capon River, when a fierce and bloddy battle was fought. Smith killed the captain with his own hand; five other Indians have fallen, and a number wounded, they gave way and fled. Smith lost two of his men. On searching the body of the Frenchman, he was found in possession of his commission and written instructions to meet another party of about fifty Indians at Fort Frederick*, to attack the Fort, destroy it, and blow up the magazine.

The other party of Indians were encountered pretty low down the North Branch of the Capon River, by Capt. Joshua Lewis, at the head of eighteen men; one Indian was killed when the others broke and ran off. Previous to the defeat of this party they had committed considerable destruction of the property of the white settlers, and took a Mrs. horner and a girl about thirteen years of age prisoners. Mrs. Horner was the mother of seven or eight children; she never got back to her family. The girl, whose name was Sarah Gibbons, the sister of my informant**, was a prisoner about eight or nine years before returning home. The intention of attacking Fort Frederick was of course abandoned.

*Fort Frederick was commenced in the year 1755, under the direction of Gov. Sharpe, of Maryalnd, and was probably finished in 1776. It is still standing on the Maryland side of the Cohongorution. Its walls are entirely of stone, four and a half feet thick at the base, and three at the top; they are at least twenty feet high, and have undergone but little dilapidation. Dr. john Hedges and his son, Capt. John c. Hedges, aided the author in the examination of this place, and measuring its area, height and thickness of the walls. Its location is not more than twelve miles from Martinsburg, in Virginia, and about the same distance from Williamsport in Maryland. It encloses an era of about one and a half acres, exclusive of the bastions or redoubts. It is said that that the erection of this fort cost about sixty-five thousand pounds sterling.

**Mr. Jacob Gibbons was born the roth of September, 1745. Since the author saw him, he has departed this life - an honest, good old man.

Written by Harry L. Shiner Reference ALOB2 S.L. Library

George Huse Shiner and his younger sister Cynthia were reared by their maternal Grandmother, Sarah Lister on a little farm on Opequan Creek, about four miles west of Winchester Virginia. Sarah Lister died September 16, 1832 at the age of 90 years 4 months and 11 days, at the home of George Huse Shiner with whom she made her home. Spelling of her name in an old Bible is Lister but was pronounced as Lester. Mr. Shiner's mother was a daughter of Sarah Lister but no authentic record so far of his father. I presume his Father's name was George Shiner, as the U.S. Census of 1790 shows such persons as head of a family in Fredrick Co. at the time. Mr. Shiner was married at Winchester, VA December 10, 1820 to Rachel Curlet Pierce, daughter of Michael Pierce and wife.

Cynthia was a cripple with rheumatism for years. Aunt Jane Strickland has an old muff box that belonged to Cynthia. She thinks that there was an old Bible with her name in it. She also had an old reader that Grandfather Tobias R. Shiner used in Virginia. George Huse was a miller by trade and run Carter's Mill on Opequah Creek for years. It was a water grist mill.

Sarah Lister was born May 5,1742, possibly near Winchester. She died September 15, 1832 at the home of George Huse Shiner. According to a record in an old Bible there is a tradition in the family that Grandmother (her maiden name not known) was captured by Indians when a young girl. She lived with them for 8 or 9 yearsand became quite contented with their mode of living. She evidently was quite well thought of by the Indians for she married the Indian Chief's son. They had one child, a son.

Her brother found her with the Indians and induced her to return to the white people; in fact, I think she was forcibly taken at first, as she had become so attached to the indians, she prefered to live with them.

Awhile after her return to her people, she married ________ Lister. His first name probably Michael. Mr. Lister was from Ireland and tradition says he was being educated for the priesthood when he ran away to America and married Grandmother Lister.

Sarah was quite well known in locality as a doctor of children, no doubt her life with the Indians being acquainted her with the medical properties of many herbs and she was well known as an Indian Doctor. It is said when she went to see a sick child she always took a dainty for the well children.

Grandmother Lister's Indian child grew up with the White Children, but was always more of an Indian than a white and when he ran away to the Indians, Grandmother Lister said, "It is best and it is only right that his Father should have him".