William Galloway Ice: He was called “Indian Billy” …

Indian Billy was a kind and gentle man, often, but he had “mischievous Indian ways”, like growing a large pumpkin field and helping the neighbor children steal his own pumpkins.

William "Indian Billy" Ice

William “Indian Billy” Ice

William Galloway Ice was born, the second son of Frederick Ice and Mary Galloway, on the 1st of April, in 1730. The family was living in the South Branch of the Potomac River in Patterson Creek, Hampshire County, Virginia. This area would later become part West Virginia. William was also a colorful character and the father of most of the modern day Ice families in the United States, mostly because he was the father of 17 children with three different wives.

After a year with a remarkably good crop, when William was about ten years old, Frederick Ice and several of the men from the town went to the mill. They had a long distance to go, probably to Winchester, Virginia, which at the time was the center of trade for north-eastern Virginia. When they returned to the settlement, they found the Mohawk Indians had raided it, and killed or taken the inhabitants, burned the homes, destroyed the crops, and driven off the livestock. Frederick found the ashes of his home to discover his wife, Mary, and three of his children were captured by the Indians. These children were Christine, William, and Mary. Mary stayed the remainder of her life with this Indian tribe, and only visited the Ice family once afterward, in 1825. Although untrue, she is mentioned in several places as the mother of Tecumseh. Christina married an Indian, had three children with him, and died naturally at age 25. The only member of Frederick’s family to come home was William.

A Newspaper Article from 1978 about William "Indian Billy" Ice

A Newspaper Article from 1978 about William “Indian Billy” Ice

During this time, William was sold to the Shawnee Indians. William tried to escape from the Native Americans several times but was caught, brought back into the Ohio Native towns, and the top of his ears were cut off flat for his attempts. These Native towns are near modern Chillicothe, Ohio. In her book, Virginia Ice Conaway wrote about William’s time at these Native camps.

I have heard my father, T. F. Conaway, tell how his granduncle Bill Ice, as they called him, escaped from the Indians. He (Indian Billy) said that the Indians were away out beyond the Ohio River and once they started on a trail through the woods took him and one of the young Indian boys along. Eventually, they stopped and left most of their horses for him and this boy to take care of. He and Indian Boy got into a fight and he got the best of the Indian in the fight. Then he went into the wigwam. “I did not like the look the boy gave me and decided to leave. The horses were together near camp and I took a horse and followed the trail of the Indians who had left us, and in a few miles, found myself opposite a town. I swam my horse across the river and fastened it in the bushes and walked into Pittsburg. A white man was sitting in the street and asked me if I was a prisoner of the Indians. I said that I was. He told me ‘if you want to escape, go into the house and stay until the Indians leave town. I will take care of you.’ I told this man where I left my horse. He gave me food clothes to wear. I had worn Indian clothes while I was with them. I could talk English learned from other prisoners. I worked awhile in Pittsburg, then went to Canada and stayed awhile. From Canada, I went to Paris, France, and then came back to America, landing in Philadelphia just as they were getting to cut the Mason and Dixon line. I joined and worked with them until I can to Ice’s Ferry. My stepmother was talking to one of the men who belonged to the camp, and told her they had a man who had been with the Indians. She took me home and Father found that Brother John was still with the Indians and arranged to bring him home.

She later wrote about how Indian Billy had been in Philadelphia for years, and Frederick had been there many times during those years, but they passed each other without knowing who the other was. Eventually, however, most of the family was reunited. The trauma they experienced was not isolated or unheard of in their day. There were many struggles between Native trying to hold onto their ancestral land and prevent turning their people into refugees, and the Europeans moving west to create a new life for themselves and their families.

Indian Billy knew he had been lucky to have his life, and he did not waste a moment of it. He fought in the Revolution with the Virginia militia of Prickett’s Fort in Mongolia County (now Marion County, West Virginia). Indian Billy received pay at Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania, and was on the payroll list at General Braddock’s defeat during the French and Indian War. He was also the first to settle Barrackville in Marion County. The 1785 record of survey shows him owning 400 acres on both sides of the Buffalo Creek there. He later surveyed and settled an additional 56 acres in the same area.

A Deed of Land from William Ice to Adam Ice (his son)

A Deed of Land from William Ice to Adam Ice (his son)

During his time on the Mason and Dixon line, Indian Billy worked as a laborer. Cutting this line had been difficult. It was started in 1763, but stopped. Again, it started in early June, 1766, and reached the top of the Allegany Mountains. On June 17, 1767, the again started west in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and pushed on to the Monongahela River in October. He also worked as an interpreter during his time on the line and in the French and Indian War. However, during his life he could neither read or write, and he did not know the English alphabet.

Pioneer Home of Indian Billy

William “Indian Billy” Galloway Ice died in April of 1826. He wrote a will:

In the name of God, Amen.
I, William Ice of Buffalo Creek, Monongalia County and the State of Virginia, being very sick and weak in body of perfect mind and memory thanks be given to God.
Calling into mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say, principally and first of all give and recommend my soul to Almighty God who gave it, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in decent Christina burial at the discretion of my wife.
Nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give, demise and dispose of all the same in the following manner and form.
First: I give and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth Ice all my household goods and debts.
I give and bequeath to my loving wife Elizabeth Ice all my land as long as she lives and keeps my name, and if she alters my name then only her thirds.
I give and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth Ice all my horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs and farming utensils.
I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Ice fifteen shillings.
I give and bequeath to my son John Ice fifteen shillings.
I give and bequeath to my son William Ice ten dollars.
I give and bequeath to my son George Ice fifteen dollars.
I give and bequeath to my son Abraham Ice fifteen dollars.
I give and bequeath to my son Adam Ice fifteen dollars.
I give and bequeath to my daughter Margaret Bayles fifteen shillings and I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Shrieves fifteen shillings, and to my daughter Eve Shrieves fifteen dollars,
none of these heirs to be paid till Benjamin Ice my youngest son comes of age.
I give and bequeath unto James Ice and Frederick Ice and Benjamin Ice all my land to be equally divided quantity and quality James to first choice, Frederick second choice, and Benjamin the last choice, and these three boys to pay my daughter Sally Ice one hundred dollars a piece.
I continue make and ordain my loving wife Elizabeth Ice my sole executrix of this my last will and testament by them freely enjoyed.
And I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke, and disannul all and every other former testaments in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Fourth of July 1818.

X (William’s Mark)

Three people served as witness to this will, but it was contested by the children of William’s fist and second marriages against the children of the third marriage. The allegations being that William was too old and feeble of mind to properly decide his bequeaths. Many of William’s acquaintances testified on behalf of the defense as to his ability to make sound judgments. However, in the final outcome the prosecution prevailed. On September 17, 1829, the Superior Court of Chancery held at Clarksburg, Virginia, gave the prosecution a victory under the presiding judge, Judge Henry St. George Tucker.

The grave of William is located in the Ice Cemetery on Barracksville Highway. It is marked by the Ice Family Association today.

Headstone and Marker for William Galloway Ice

Headstone and Marker for William Galloway Ice

The cemetery is near Barracksvillle on US 290. It was established in 1830 or earlier as a private burial ground. Later, in 1881, it was included in property of a Church of Christ. It is fenced and not landscaped. It is considered in fair condition and most lots are marked by corner stone. No burial records were kept for this cemetery, but the earliest stone was marked 1830. It contains 15 graves marked by small, flat, unlettered field stones. Tradition holds these are graves of members of the Fortner and Bayles families, along with many others. Three Civil War and one World War veteran are buried here. In total, there are 119 marked graves and unknown unmarked graves. In 1929, the Ice Family Association erected a native stone monument at the site of William’s grave, with a bronze tablet inscribed:Inscription on Marker


William “Indian Billy” Galloway Ice is my 6th Great Grandfather:

William is the father of Mary Anne Ice (who ended up with 20 acres by the Court’s ruling).
Mary married James Edgell. They were the parents of Rebecca Jane Edgell.
Rebecca married Samuel Starkey. They had Nancy A. Starkey Price.
Nancy married John Abernathy Price. They were the parents of James W. Price.
James was the father of Effie Price.
Effie married Ballard Craddock. They were the parents of Zella Louise Craddock Webb Martin.
Zella is the mother of my mother.



46 thoughts on “William Galloway Ice: He was called “Indian Billy” …

  1. Great work, my cousin!
    Indian Billy had a son, William Galloway Ice, Jr.
    William G. Ice, Jr., had a son Jesse Ice.
    Jesse Ice had a daughter, Rosalee “Rosie” Ice.
    Rosie Ice married Spencer W. Martin and had a son, Clarence Leslie Martin.
    (Birth record indicates Leslie Clarence but he switched it up–didn’t care much for Leslie.)
    Clarence “Slim” Martin had a daughter, Lois Ann Martin–my mother!
    My name is Paige. 🙂


  2. Hello cousin. My name is Tia and I am from Williams son Thomas’s line. I was curious as to why you dismissed his sister mary from being Tecumseh’s mother. my research has supported it.


    • Hi Tia! Thanks very much for your comment. I debated about putting that in at all, but in the end I did because despite my best efforts, I have been unable to locate a primary source for Tecumseh’s connection to the family. Several secondary sources mentioned it, but according to my local professional geneologists, the likelihood is very low for his relation. I would, however, LOVE, to write a correction! Do you have a primary source you could share? I would appreciate any help I can get finding those tricky primaries! Or, if you are a decedent of Mary, have you taken a DNA test? I have had three DNA testing companies look at my ethnic makeup and I have absolutely no Native American ancestry, but I am not the decedent of that line, so this neither helps nor hurts the argument. Please feel free to correct, or add, to any information I have here; I love learning new things abut my family!


      • The jury is still out on the Tecumseh relation for me also Lizzey. I have seen the books (parts) Shawnee Heritage I,- II (so I hear there are 7 now) by Don Greene, who claims to be a Shawnee Chief. But I have yet to see or verify any sources for the info he gives on Billy marrying an Indian woman Catherine Pheasant and having like 6 kids with her. (not buying that whatsoever). I have a .doc file that I compiled with all the books that I have found, along with family stories, etc. trying to make sense of all the conflicting stories. I also have photos of all the original handwritten Court docs from the ICE vs ICE case over the property.


      • On the FB group there is a descendant of Tecumseh via Jenny Cross his daughter. He has been DNA tested and comes back with ICE connections. I don’t know much about DNA but he is convinced it is thru Billy’s sister Mary. His name is R Scott Miller on FB.


    • Tia, I am also from Thomas’ line. Really haven’t came across many out of the researchers that I do communicate with, actually only 1 and she is from Thomas’ son Abraham, as I am from Thomas’ son Isaac Watts Ice. Are you on FB? If so, join the Group: Descendants of William Galloway “Indian Billy” Ice, we are all cousins there and quite a bit of info shared and old pictures also.


      • Stephen are you on Facebook? If so join the group I mentioned above. We actually have one member that I know who is related through Tecumseh on there. Like I said there are several docs and photos that are shared in that group. If you could email me at tracylynnice@yahoo.com I can share with you.


  3. Hello my dear Ice cousins! What a wonderful find to locate this website as my family is currently on vacation here in WV and plan on visiting Indian Billy’s gravesite this week! Lizzie, I tend to agree with Tia and Tracy about dismissing the possible Tecumseh lineage as there is no evidence to refute that possibility yet either. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, however. Thank you for putting this site together Lizzie!


  4. Where can I find a link to this original newspaper article. Picture is too blurry to read?? Can anyone help with this? My stepfather is Larry ice of morgantown and is interested in researching this topic. Thank you



    • Chris, I have searched for the article written by Glenn D. Lough for the newspaper. I have a photo taken at the museum where this same photo comes from, however this is not the original newspaper lay out, but someone who had purchased the paper and cut it out and pasted it in a binder (that punched holes through the type) but not completely in the proper order or cut off parts, so it reads rather strange in some parts. There is another news article also written by Glenn Lough that is in the same shape as this one here. I have both and they are readable, I have also transcribed both into a pdf document if you would like copies of any of the above you can email me tracylynnice@yahoo.com.


  5. Hello All,

    I am an Edgell by birth but was adopted and given a different last name. I am now married and have 2 children of my own. When I was younger I kept in touch with my fathers family, The Edgells. I recall when I was younger my great grandmother, Mildred Barnes married to Everett Gail Edgell telling me the stories about William ‘Indian Billy” Ice. I had forgotten all about it until today, I stumbled across a paper consisting of the family tree that my Great Aunt Mary, the wife of my Uncle Gail Edgell had started prior to her death. It appears by this source she compiled my grandfather by 5 generations was the husband of Mary Ice. Of course looking at this their was Mary Ice married twice. I am clueless with this stuff but finding it very interesting. I think I may even get DNA tested. I am also going to go the FB page as well.


    • Hi Yvette, This is Robbie (Roberta Gayle Edgell, now Griffith, Wooster, OH), your Dad’s cousin, daughter of Howard Gail Edgell and Mildred Mae McGrath (not Mary, she was my other aunt 0n Mom’s side). Mom did lots of research on family tree. I have just recently begun to research. Haven’t gotten back to Indian Billy (William Ice), but have heard that he shows up 3 times in our tree! I have often thought of you, wondering where you are! I remember when you were born, a better time for your immediate family! Then didn’t know how to contact you…I have submitted my DNA, want to know as well. I want you to know that you do still have family that thinks about you! My brother Rick (Richard Everett Edgell) and your uncle, Virgil Lee Scott, both live in Tucson, AZ. You have other family, our kids, their kids, all out there wondering about family. Please feel free to contact me. We have a very large family tree! That’s why it’s slow going backwards to Indian Billy! Hope to hear from you! Phone # 339-464-3025


  6. William “Indian Billy” & Margaret (Higginbotham) Ice were my 4th great grandparents
    Abraham “Lame Abe”.& Mary Polly (Leuman) Ice were my 3rd great grandparents
    Abraham & Perdilla (Unknown) Ice were my 2nd great grandparents
    Gurn Stevens & Nettie Maud (Johnson) Ice were my great grandparents
    Harry & Elma (Ice) Knisley were my grandparents
    Norman Lee & Ida Lodema (McCarty) Knisley were my parents
    Hello cousins, I am Larry Knisley


  7. Hello, I’m Angela Ice, Indian Billy is my husband, James Ice’s 4th great-grandfather. My husband’s side of the family is linked through Frederick Ice, Benjamin Franklin Ice, Andrew Jackson, Sr., and Andrew Jackson, Jr, Ronald Ice, then James Ice. We don’t know anything about the Ice family after my father-in-law Ronald “Gene” Ice. Andrew Ice, Jr. abandoned his two sons Robert and Ronald at a very young age. Robert was killed in war. His body was never returned to the family, Andrew Jackson did not call the family or attend the memorial service of his oldest son. My husband told me a story of his father receiving a phone from a man claiming to be Andrew Jackson’s son, He told Gene that Andrew was dying and wanted to make amends with him before he passed away. Gene refused to go see or talk to Andrew Ice. He felt than Andrew never cared about being in his life. The man was a complete stranger to him. So, out of curiosity, does anyone know anything about Andrew Jackson, Jr.? I would like to know who his other family was and why he abandoned his two sons. I think Andrew was living in California when he died.


    • I don’t know anything personally about Andrew Jr. however in 1940 he lived in Hermosa Beach, and 1935 in El Centro Ca. with his new wife Hedwig Schwartz but I do not see any children living with them. And I cannot find him on a 1930s census at all.
      In your husbands direct line you are missing Benjamin Shreves Ice (he was Benjamin Franklin Ice’s father and Frederick Ice’s son. I have everyone in my tree, but I don’t have the two sons death info or marriage info, my tree for that branch ends on their births.
      You should join our group on Facebook; “Descendants of William “Indian Billy” Galloway Ice” lots of cousins, DNA, and photos. I do not know if you are on Ancestry.com or not my tree is there if you are a paying member, if not I can invite you as a guest.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, I am related to Indian Billy twice, I believe. I am a descendant of Eve Ice Shreve: Indian Billy – Eve Ice – Jonathan Shreve – Nancy Shreve – Thompson Yoho – Arthur Yoho – Robin Yoho Retzler (me). I may also be related through the Edgell line mentioned above, but I cannot seem to find the connection mentioned for Mary Ice. Was she indeed the daughter of Indian Billy and Margaret Higginbotham? I’m guessing that perhaps she married James Edgell and then when he died in 1805, married a Shreve which is why her name in the will is Mary Shreve? If so, then I am also descended as: Indian Billy – Mary Ice – Nancy Edgell (who married Jonathan Shreve) – Nancy Shreve – Thompson Yoho – Arthur Yoho – me.

    Interestingly, my step-father’s first wife is descended from Ralph Higginbotham, Margaret’s father. Margaret’s brother, William, is her ancestor. My parents were good friends of my step-father and his wife, Joreen, before both my father and Joreen passed away. I was not aware of the relationship until my step-father passed away a couple of years ago and I found out Joreen’s maiden name!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Indian Billy is my husband’s 5th great-grandfather. Mary Ice and James Edgell’s son William … his son Francis Marion … his son Francis Maurice … his daughter Cora Dell Edgell m. Bob Miller … their daughter Norma Miller m. Earl Golling and is my husband’s mother. I am confused by all the wives Indian Billy had, LOL … who was Mary Ice’s mother?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary was raised by William Galloway Ice and Margaret Higginbotham, but a lot of question has come into play whether Mary was adopted or not. She was part of the family but her having Native Blood has come into question. We have a Facebook group the is called “Descendants of William Galloway “Indian Billy” Ice” that you and anyone that is related can join. We also have an “Ice Family DNA Project” group on FB, that is in the growing stage, where we are trying to obtain as many Family members DNA Raw Data to compare among the group. This will help us in determining whether Mary was adopted. And there are several group member who descend from Mary and James Edgell son William.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I put in a request to the FB group. Bill’s grandmother, Cora Dell Edgell, always claimed to have Indian blood, but a lot of Americans believe that for some reason. With a forebear named “Indian Billy” it’s easy to see how the story might be believed! It would be interesting to know, if true.


      • Glad you joined! You will be able to search out Mary posts. The Indian blood from the Mary line could be from her, but the Edgell line also is said to have the Indian Blood. However Indian Billy has zero Indian Blood he was called that for being raised with them for 5 yrs.


      • I am a direct descendant of his daughter Mary Ice who married James Edgell and had William Edgell. My daughter and an aunt who is also a direct descendant from that line did their Dna from ancestry.com and they were both negative of native blood. Hope that helps.


  10. Hi relatives! My name is Michelle and i am a descendant of William Galloway Ice aka “Indian Billy”. he is my 6th great grandfather. I have been working on my family tree through ancestry.com and have learned quite a bit but i want to learn as much as i can about the Ice Family as well as others like the Edgell’s, Talkington’s, Grogan’s, Starkey’s just to name a few. I have lots to read on here and just wanted to say HELLO and to Thank you all for this information you have provided! This is so important to me as i’ve always wanted to know where i came from so to speak and what my ancestors went through in their lives. Here is how i am related to Indian Billy:

    William Galloway “Indian Billy” Ice
    6th great-grandfather

    Mary Ice
    daughter of William Galloway “Indian Billy” Ice

    Rebecca Jane Edgell (1795 – 1883)
    daughter of Mary Ice

    Rebecca Ann Starkey (1835 – 1925)
    daughter of Rebecca Jane Edgell

    Levi Talkington (1846 – 1911)
    son of Rebecca Ann Starkey

    Susan Elmira “Louise” Talkington (1869 – 1913)
    daughter of Levi Talkington

    Lillie Earnestine Baker (1909 – 1990)
    daughter of Susan Elmira “Louise” Talkington

    Susan Juanita Broady (1948 – )
    daughter of Lillie Earnestine Baker

    Michelle Monique Hughes
    You are the daughter of Susan Juanita Broady


  11. William Galloway “Indian Billy” Ice is my 4th great grandfather. My linage is William Galloway Ice, Hayden Baylee Ice, John Baylee Ice, Elmer Ellsworth Ice, Charles Ross Ice, Clyde Ervin Ice and me, James Ross Ice. I have been building my family tree on Family Search.com


  12. Hello. I just discovered that I am a descendent of William Galloway and came across your article when looking to find out more about him. Thank you for sharing all of the info you found. It’s a very interesting background.

    My relation:
    son: Isaac Ice had daughter
    Lavizini Ice married Wilson Kimble
    had son William Kimble
    had daughter Alta Edna Kimble who married Schulyer Walker
    who had son Robert Walker who is my grandfather.


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