Today in Southern History: The Ruddle’s Station Massacre

20 June 1780  

On this date in 1780…

British Captain Henry Bird, leading a force of 250 whites and 850 Indians attacked 300 American settlers who had taken refuge at Ruddle’s Station, Kentucky. When Bird’s force used cannon against the stockade, the settlers realized they were outmatched and surrendered. Upon their opening the gate, the Indians in Bird’s command rushed into the stockade and killed more than 200 settlers before Bird could regain control of his force.

Nearby Martin’s Station would also surrender, but only after assurances there would be no further killings. All the survivors were marched to Detroit, Michigan as prisoners. “The Ruddle’s Station Massacre” as it became known, remains the worst atrocity of many committed by the British during the American War for Independence. 

Other Years:

  • 1780 – Patriot militia defeated Tory forces at Ramsour’s Mill near present-day Lincolnton, North Carolina.
  • 1863 – West Virginia was unconstitutionally partitioned from Virginia to become the 35th U.S. state.
  • 1924 – Audie Leon Murphy, the most decorated American soldier of WWII was born in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas.
  • 1929 – Future Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner married Estelle Oldham at College Hill Presbyterian Church outside Oxford, Mississippi.
  • 1967 – Boxer Muhammad Ali (formerly known as Cassius Clay) was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The conviction was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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